Does anyone remember how Brandon did his research on the Rane MS1B?

Does anyone remember what went into Brandon’s preamp research? About the circuity of the Rane MS1B, and how he arrived at the conclusion that it was exceptionally well designed? What were the parts of the unit and aspects of the circuit design he concluded had the most relevance to the overall performance?

I don’t know what went into Brandon’s research, but here’s a link to the schematic diagram of the MS1B.

It uses a Texas instruments balanced instrumentation amplifier IC at its core: INA163

Rane hosts schematics on their web site for all of their products.
I have owned several Rane products over the years and their engineering work is always top notch.
They utilize a minimalist aspect to their designs and probably decided on the INA163 because it is low cost, yet has extremely low distortion specs and if one designs the support circuitry correctly, it becomes a wire with gain.

I designed and built a 4 channel 1U mic preamp for my home studio based on the INA163 a few years before Brandon discovered the MS1B and had not heard of the Rane model until Brandon was bragging it up.
I hand matched every differential component (caps, resistors) to the smallest degree of accuracy that my equipment could achieve and that is critical to reducing noise in the design.
All additional support ICs were also Burr Brown components and I used the same level of component matching throughout my design.

I can get > 70 db of gain on a channel with minimal circuitry noise and I can hear dust particles hitting the capsule as well as my heartbeat when using my Rode NT2A near full gain.

Rumor has that Grace also uses the INA163 in some of their designs, although I cannot verify it.


I think he had bought the $2500 Martech preamp, a known pro pre standard.
This was the big part of his work, imo, he was funding the tests with pro gear.

He used some oscilloscope like software and did several sound samples A&B on different sources if I recall. He never said the Martech sounded bad it was more a nod to the Rane, imo, and the price difference.

The build quality and stuff was some money in the Mattech obviously very well built, but soundwise the Rane matched it in sound.

You might want to look at the Rane DMS22 instead if you want the traditional 19" rack setup. The MS1 are the desktop style, more like the Millenia HV32P and the Grace M101 vs the 19" rackmount ready units.

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The DMS22 is interesting. I like the 3 band eq with sweepable mids.