X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

The VPR Alliance is a program of standardization and consistency guidelines set by API Audio for manufacturers, to make our products physically fit and electronically conform to API's 500 series rack specifications. Customers benefit from the VPR Alliance through the elimination of any confusion as to which products are endorsed for placement in API racks. Customers also benefit from a wider range of module choices for their racks, safety in the knowledge that the specification of the third party unit is correct, and that there is no risk of damage occurring.

FiveFish Audio is a member of the API VPR Alliance.

X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

The X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp delivers a big, aggressive, mid-forward sound, reminiscent of that 70's L.A. Sound. A USA made Mic Input Transformer adds the right sonic flavor to your recording and a custom USA-made Output Transformer takes care of balancing the beefy outputs, and also adding it's own sonic signature.

This preamp is perfect for rock, and aggressive music! The smooth high-end response of this preamp also makes it a great multi-purpose preamp, excellent for use in other sources like vocals where it delivers the right amount of "angst" and rawness to your vocals. Bring back the golden age of rock with the X12 preamp!

  • Using Custom, Made in USA Input and Output Transformers
  • 12-step Gain from 22dB to 68dB, at 4dB/step
  • Output trim control
  • LED-lighted push buttons for 48V phantom, pads, and polarity reverse switches
  • Relay Controlled Polarity Reverse
  • Relay Controlled -20dB Pad
  • Soft-start/Ramp-up 48V Phantom Power
  • 5-LED VU Meter
  • Using high-performance chips, and quality components
  • Option to use Discrete OpAmps with the 990/2520 format
  • Use of high quality 1% Metal Film resistors, and high-quality ceramic and electrolytic capacitors
  • Output surge protection circuit
  • Input RFI protection
  • Output RFI protection

Hey Folks, I received my x-12mk500 preamp and wanted to say thanks for the fast shipping, and how great this thing sounds! Fantastic preamp!! - Dave Albro, Capricorn Sound Works, Nashville, TN

At tax time, i wanted to add some nice flavor to my studio. I bought an A-Designs 500-HR rack and (2) 500 series units: a name-brand preamp and the Five Fish Studios X-12. I used both for various purposes over the next 2 months: upright piano, drums (kick, snare, OH,) guitar, bass guitar...And in the end, I got rid of the name-brand preamp and picked up another X-12, no contest. I found the X-12 to be crisper and clearer, easier to use, easy to dial in the perfect gain structure. That's just my personal take on it. I think the name-brand preamp is great but for my money, it will always be the X-12, no contest. - post on Gearslutz.com

Just got my pre-built x12.. its totally rock solid. Messed around with it a little today, great addition to any collection of preamps. The x12 had a little of that signature grainy upper mids with a more focused bottom end. No DI included, but it loves to amp the Countryman DI. I like the meter, its handy. The construction is top-notch, solid knobs and switches, good illumination. You can get in there and swap out the IC for a DOA, etc.. but I think the transformers are making the "sound". Oh yeah, its quiet too. - Andy S, USA

X-12mk500 - I can't believe the value & quality of these preamps! Amazing! - eBay Feedback

I bought an X-12 and iiked it so much that I had to get rid of my other peamp and replace it with another X-12. Kudos on making such an awesome design, I look forward to outfitting my studio with some more of your other tonal options in the near future. - Justin H., USA

I got the x-12's that I ordered hooked up last night and I did some experimenting. Well, I have good news, and I got bad news. The good news is they sound unbelievable! The bad news is they put the rest of my preamps to shame. I'm spoiled now. Man, I love these things. Thanks for all your hard work. - Daniel S., USA

Man, am I impressed by your kits!! Fell in love with the X-12 at my first listen.. Warm, big, punchy... Im glad you guys are out there!! Keep up the good work!! - Fredrik L, Sweden

I bought an x12 about a month ago and i've finally gotten to play around with it a little bit and i have to say that it's killer on my snare with a Sennheiser e604. I'm actually selling my other preamp and i'm thinking of picking up some more of your units. - Roy H, Canada

I recieved your X-12 pre. It's a great sounding/looking pre. Sounded big, bottom end extended way down..! - Clinton, USA

Anyway, I still love the X-12 preamps and use them almost exclusively to power my drum overhead mics when doing a kit, and also for just about any lead vocals recorded with the BLUE Kiwi microphone! They are totally great preamps. - http://www.wayoutweststudio.com

I just got an assembled X-12 pair in the mail today. Build quality is excellent. Not much time to mess around with them yet, but I did have a chance to check them out for a few minutes with an SM7B. The only other pres I have in the room at that moment are the pres on my Toft ATB. So I tried that first, and it sounded pretty good. Plugged in the X-12 to compare and HOLY S*** did it sound good. Huge and very detailed. I'm looking forward to putting some distorted gtr through it later tonight. I'm already thinking about picking up another pair, or maybe one of the X-72's. - posted on Gearslutz forum

Hey, just want to say thanks! I bought one of your X-12 lunchbox pre last month to try it out. your low price and free assembly makes it a sweet deal I can't pass up. I admit I didn't have high expectations due to it's low price, but when I finally got to try it out, WOW! honestly, I didn't expect this high sound quality. it stands equal with my other pres costing twice as much. But it's the sound, man, it's the sound that matters and this X-12 has got the balls, you nailed it! It just sounds great! I just bought another X-12 a few minutes ago. When I get paid I'll try your X-72 next. Keep up the great work!

Just wanted to give you a quick note about the X-12. It's in my nice 500 rack and almost every day up and running. Did some heavy band session checking it out on various instruments with different mics. I love the precision and fatness of the sound - different to all my other 500 pres, but in a positive way.

BTW your X-12 ROCKS. I really like the sound of this pre. I did some experiments with acoustic piano and condenser mics this past weekend... it is REALLY sweet! - Steve K., USA

Read more FiveFish reviews!

X-12 mk500 Mic Preamp

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Audio Demo

Male Vocals using X-12 Mic Preamp

Courtesy of Jim Wheeler, Owner & Producer

"Just got done recording the vocals to a piano song. It really sounded nice. Helped it really cut through the mix so clearly, I barely have to do anything to it! It was clear where the X-12 was shinning. It contained more lows, the low mids were about even. It was less present in the 2k area but more present in the 4k. High-mids and highs were louder. It just handles those bands sooo well. Really smooth and musical to my ears." - Jim W.

The vocals in the mix setting:

CREDITS: Performed by Derek Waldron
Vocals recorded and mixed by Jim Wheeler

Female Vocals using X-12 Mic Preamp

Courtesy of Jason Mallow!

How does the X-12 pre sound with vocals??? This clips shows the X-12 preamp used as a vocal mic preamp with a Shure SM7 into an LA-3 type limiter with no more than 3dB of reduction. A little EQ, compression and reverb and it SOUNDS GREAT!

The X-12 Preamp and the SM7 is my favorite pairing. It's a very good pairing.
It really kicks a*s on vocals. It does that thing that you hear on old Foreigner records. It adds the right amount of angst.

The vocals in the mix setting:

CREDITS: Performed by Madison Rhoades
Vocals recorded and mixed by Jason Walsh, Farview Recording, www.farviewrecording.com

X-12 Preamp on Everything - Farview Recording Studios

Special thanks to Jason Walsh of Farview Recording studios for providing these audio samples!
Note: This is an UNMASTERED mix recording created by Jason Walsh of Farview Recording Studios. X-12 preamps was used on everything... drums, ryhthm and lead guitars, and bass.


'Servant', written and performed by Jason Mallow
The guitars were recorded with an SM57 into the X-12. The rhythm guitars have no EQ, compression, or any other processing. The lead guitar is Eq'd to stand out in the mix more.
The bass was recorded through the direct output of the amp into the X-12 and just has a little compression in the mix.
The kick is a Shure Beta 52 through an X-12 preamp. Eq'd and compressed in the mix
The snare is an SM57 through an X-12 preamp.
The toms were Sennheisser 421's through an X-12 preamp. Eq'd and compressed in the mix
The overheads SM-81's recorded through the SC-1 preamps. (Another FiveFish Studios product). Eq'd and compressed in the mix.

CREDITS: Written and performed by Jason Mallow
Recorded and mixed by Jason Walsh, Farview Recording, www.farviewrecording.com