I scored myself a Triton Audio FetHead for Christmas – pretty sweet present right. It is a little in-line phantom-powered mic preamp. The interesting thing about it is that it has a really high input impedance which is meant to work a treat with ribbon mics and some moving coil dynamic mics.
I gave it a quick test today with a custom ribbon mic and a Shure SM7B. The difference tonally on the SM7B seemed reasonably subtle, although it sounded a bit more open to me (SM7’s seem a bit muffled to me most of the time) and the additional gain was nice on what is a low output mic. On the ribbon mic there was a much more pronounced effect though. The difference in gain was much more than the published 20dB, although on the standard FetHead it is noted that this is dependent on the input impedance of the mic preamp that the FetHead is coupled with. I also found that tonally there was quite a difference. My custom ribbon is a fairly dark beast, and I think the colour is a lot of what I like about it. I mostly use it on guitar amps. The FetHead opens up the upper mids and top end a lot more, and thins out the bottom end. Here is a frequency response plot for quick comparison.
Essentially I found the FetHead to give the ribbon mic heaps of additional clean gain, and a brighter response but with less bass. I’m not sure the tonal change is something that I’ll always want, but I reckon the FetHead is going to make my ribbon mic much more useful for recording quieter acoustic instruments and the like.