Jury of Peers - Glen Phillips on the D-tar Solistice Preamp

September 1, 2004

Who? Former Toad the Wet Sprocket singer, now a solo artist and member of Mutual Admiration Society.

What? The Solstice ($469 retail/$335 street) is a 2-channel, mixer/stereo preamp designed to blend signals from a variety of acoustic pickups, transducers, and microphones.

Glen’s Gear Lakewood M32 acoustic loaded with Fishman Matrix bridge pickup and Crown GLM-200 mic in soundhole.

Testing Environment On tour with Mutual Admiration Society. (See story on page 50.)

Cheers “This is a very high-quality piece of equipment,” says Phillips. “The EQ is excellent—especially the high end, which delivers a very open and airy quality without sounding artificially bright or brittle—and the overall sound is clean and quiet. The routing flexibility is exceptional, and that’s important to me, as I like the option of sending my guitar’s pickup and microphone signals through separate channels of the house sound system. You can control the Mute function with a footpedal, which is quite nice, and there’s an effects loop. It also seems as if I can bring the microphone level up higher before getting feedback than I could with some other preamps.”

Beefs “Initially, I experienced the same problem with the Solstice as I did with my previous system, which was a loud ‘thunk’ that occurred whenever I hit the Mute button. Also, the production model’s balanced XLR output didn’t have an attenuation feature, so I couldn’t optimize my output levels to work with some consoles. In those instances, the house engineers would often patch me over to a line-level input, and I didn’t want that. D-TAR instantly fixed both of these problems for me—making the mute quiet and rewiring the preamp’s output fader so that it controlled both the XLR and the TRS outputs—and I was told these changes would become standard in future production models.”

GP Review? Check out Andy Ellis’ evaluation in the May ’03 issue. He gave the Solstice an Editors’ Pick Award.

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