Using the PreMax™

The following page describes how to quickly set up and use the PreMax. For more details, feel free to download the full manual by clicking on the icon to the left.

Making Connections

Before making connections, make sure your power rack is turned off and level controls on your recording system are turned down. This will avoid connection transients that could damage more sensitive components such as tweeters. Carefully plug the PreMax into your power rack and secure it in place using the supplied screws. Do not over-tighten. Once connected, your 500 series power rack will automatically route the XLR inputs and outputs to the PreMax. If you are equipped with a Workhorse, the ¼" TRS, D-Subs and Omniport will all become active.

Start Positions:


  • Set the gain control fully counter-clockwise to 8 o'clock
  • Set the 3 EQ controls to 12 o'clock
  • Set the 180° to the out (bypass position)
  • Set the 100Hz high-pass filter to the out position
  • Set the EQ to bypass mode (out)
  • Set the Omniport instrument input to off (out)
Click to enlarge

Turn on your recording system and monitors and slowly increase the volume. Always test at a low volume. Start speaking into the microphone and slowly turn up the PreComp's grain control. Once you have confirmed it is working well, try depressing the 180° polarity reverse and the high pass filter (HPF) to familiarize yourself with how they work. Reversing the polarity will likely change the tone in the bottom end, depending on where you are sitting in your room. Activating the HPF will cut low bass to reduce resonance. This can be very helpful when recording as it will reduce bass clutter and help clean up your recording so that the instruments cut through with less modulation.

Adding Compression

Activate the compressor by depressing the IN switch. If you are new to recording, we suggest you test the compressor using a dynamic cardioid microphone as this type of mic is much less sensitive to feedback.

  • 48V Phantom Power
    If you are using a dynamic mic, turn the phantom power off. The LED will be off. If you are using a condenser microphone, turn on the phantom power on using a tweaker or small screwdriver. The switch is recessed for safety. We recommend using a dynamic cardioid mic for testing as it is less prone to feedback than a condenser. This will give you more freedom when testing the EQ.
  • Setting the gain level
    Slowly increase the gain. Check the signal with the mic to see if the green signal LED illuminates. Increase the level until you see the red LED flash, then slowly back off the level until it goes out. This will usually give you the maximum signal-to-noise level depending on how loud the source is. Turn up your recording system to a moderate listening level.
  • Adjusting the phase and HPF
    Once you are comfortable with your levels, try changing the phase by depressing the 180° switch. This may change the low frequency sound depending on where you are sitting in your room and the acoustic room modes that are present. Then try the 100Hz high-pass filter. This will remove bottom end.
  • Using the equalizer
    Now activate the equalizer using the EQ ON switch and begin testing the three EQ bands. Remember, when it comes to equalizing a track... less is always best! This generally results in a more natural sounding end product.
  • Connecting an instrument
    If you are equipped with a Radial power rack, it has a special jack on the rear called Omniport that changes function depending on which module is being used. With the PreMax, the Omniport is dedicated as an instrument input and is activated using the front panel switch. Simply connect your bass or acoustic guitar to the PreMax via the Omniport jack, depress the front panel switch and adjust the level and tone to suit. The input impedance has been optimized for use with magnetic pickups such as those found on most bass guitars for a more natural tone.