In the end of May, Neumann teased a new product on its Facebook page, and it was not a microphone. Coming “this summer”, the mystery unit glimpsed in the short video looked more along the lines of a preamp, an audio interface, or a monitor controller. Well, it turned out to be a dual-channel preamp!
In the initial closeups, we saw an aluminum chassis with lit-up buttons, a -20dB pad switch, and a large rotary control. Now, Neumann exposed the whole unit – a dual-channel 2U rackmount preamp.
The Neumann V 402 is the Berlin manufacturer’s first-ever standalone mic preamp. As such, it offers two preamp channels with microphone and instrument inputs. There are switchable low cut controls and volume controls for each channel. Monitoring is possible from a proprietary headphone amplifier. The unit is hand-made in Germany. That’s a remarkably sparse feature set, which we will talk about in a second.
At a MSRP of EUR 2749, there’s no putting it mildly – that’s a boatload of money to ask for a dual-channel preamp with a no-frills feature set. However, Neumann’s name is worth something in this business, and I actually find the manufacturer’s restraint an indicator of extremely high quality. The most legendary of audio hardware is usually exactly like this – one unit, spartan design, clear purpose, no bells and whistles. That’s how you know the money went into respectable engineering and build quality in place of getting syphoned into a marketing funnel.
The V 402 will be available from Neumann’s dealers worldwide in the weeks ahead.