Behringer's Ultragain ADA8000 mic pre misses a trick
The world is not overpopulated with 8-channel mic preamplifiers. We need more choice right across the price range. However, the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 looks to be a useful product at a very attractive price. Behringer's traditional high performance/price ratio should ensure good user satisfaction ratings.
But the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 isn't quite a traditional 8-channel microphone preamplifier. Normally you would expect eight inputs, eight analog outputs, and maybe a digital output option. Here, the unit accepts eight mic level signals fine, but the outputs go directly to an ADAT optical digital 'light pipe'. The mic preamplifiers do not have analog outputs.
But the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 has eight line-level output sockets on the back, so what gives? If they are not the analog outputs of the mic pres, what can they be?
The answer is that you can connect another ADAT-format light pipe back from your recording system into the ADA8000. These digital signals are converted to analog and are available on the analog outputs. It is just a little difficult to imagine what the purpose of this could be. No doubt someone will find a use.
Now it is possible, if you are crazy enough, to connect the ADAT output directly to the ADAT input and use the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 as a traditional 8-channel mic pre. Just that there is an unnecessary stage of analog/digital and digital/analog conversion in the signal chain.
Even so, I would guess that few people could actually hear the difference, so the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 is effectively the most inexpensive 8-channel mic preamp around.