How do I set the gain on MR816 to correspond to unity gain?


Ever since I bought my MR816 CSX I have been using no additional hardware except a Focusrite Octapre (or an Octapre LE, I have both models since my DSP Factory days)

But now I feel like adding some outboard equipment and I am a bit insure how best connect and set it up for best performance.

  1. First up is a Vintagedesign CA73 mic pre, which is a well made Neve 1073 clone. Should I connect it to one of MR816’s balanced inputs (e.g. input 2) or should I connect it to the unbalanced insert jack of channel 1 or 2, to bypass the first amplification stage?

  1. Since the CA73 has an output level control, I wonder how I should set the MR816’s input gain control. I would assume setting it to unity gain would be ideal, but how do I set the gain knob to obtain unity gain? (Unity gain = same level as if there were no gain control, like on some A/D converters with fixed input gain.) Any ideas?

  2. Or do I need to get a separate A/D converter which is line level only to get a decent result? If yes, what do you recommend which is on par with MR816 or better, but still at a sensible price level? It needs to have SPDIF output, because the ADAT input is already used for my Octapre.

  3. Or would I be better off connecting the CA73 to my Focusrite Octapre which has separate line inputs on a DB24 connector? (The Octapre has built in A/D converters is connected to my MR816s ADAT input.

Response to any of the above would be much appreciated.



Any ideas? Does anyone here use externat mic-pres, or does everyone use the ones in the MR816?


Well 2 choices really.

1: Use the insert on channels 1 and 2, that’s line level. However I’ve heard that it’s not great to do that after someone over on Gearlutz did an freq analysis.

2: engage the pad, turn the input down to zero and you’ll be close to line level.



The inserts are unbalanced and part of the sound signature of my preamps comes from their fine transformer balanced outputs and I would prefer using them.

Both pad and the gain all the way down sound to get unity gain sounds a bit weird. Are you sure?

Have you tried external mic pres? If yes, how did you set the gain om the MR816?


I use external pre’s all the time and I use either of the methods I described.

I have a Universal audio 610 and 1176 going into the insert in channel 1
Joe Meek VC1Q going into insert channel 2
AMek/Neve 1098 going into channel 3 /pad on volume at zero
Amek Neve 1098 into channel 4 same settings

with the insert channels I adjust the levels by ear, i.e. I set the level I want coming into Cubase by balancing the input/output on the pres to the level control on the MR, source dependent.



  1. Do you prefer the insert jack way or the padded mic input, or do think that they are equally good?

  2. You have some serious transformer balanced mic pres. Do you feel that you can fullt benefit from their qualities despite the MR816’s lack of balanced line inputs?

I wouldn’t get too het up over mic pre’s to be honest, unless you’re driving them for a particular sound most ‘decent’ pre’s ( and that’s most pre’s theses days) are fine.

The MR/UR pre’s have good history coming from Yamaha. Remember when the O2R came out 20 years ago Roger Nichols did a remix on a steely Dan record he’d done and said the O2R sounded better. hour Glass by James Taylor was recorded using an O2R and that’s one hell of a great sounding record.