At NAMM 2018, boutique preamp maker LaChapell Audio (a Digital Audio Labs brand) announced a pair of new products – the 500DT Audio Dual Topology Preamp and 500CS Audio Channel Strip. They are designed with the idea of bringing the sound quality LaChapell is known for down to an accessible price point. Indeed, both units cost a reasonable 500 USD each, which is fairly low for what can be considered boutique gear.
LaChapell Audio Dual Topology Preamp
The 500DT preamp has two faces – tube & solid-state. Switching between both nets you sonically different results. Tube is about those warm harmonics we’re all longing for, while solid-state is for capturing audio with maximum transparency. For added fun, there’s a blend knob that lets you mix the two topologies and coax the best of both worlds. While there’s no information about the solid state section, we know that the tube section is based on LaChapell’s 583 500-series tube preamp. So there’s a nice bit of legacy there.
LaChapell Audio Channel
Describing it as the Swiss Army knife of its 500-series modules, the Audio Channel has two halves that function either independently, or in series. The first side is a sonically transparent preamp with Hi-Z input. The second side is an effects section which combines a mastering-grade three-band EQ and compressor, along with a trim and gain stage. Some of the LaChapell Audio 583E’s preamp/eq functionality is also present in there.
Price & availability
Both units cost a reasonable 500 USD each and will ship in Winter 2018. That’s a lot of waiting around to do, so let’s hope LaChapell has some good reasoning behind this unfortunate delay.