Karlik TP-1
Karlik TP-1

Předzesilovač Karlík TP-1 byl původně vyráběn pouze pro využití ve studiu SONO. V průběhu let se ovšem často opakovala situace, kdy klient přišel do studia, slyšel zvuk předzesilovače a chtěl si ho koupit. Většinou jsme TP-1 vyšroubovali z racku a zákazník s ním po natáčení odjel. Např. pan A. R. Rahman si takto odvezl do Hollywodu hned dva kusy, když slyšel svojí symfonickou hudbu přes 26 kanálů tohoto preampu.

Postupem času jsme díky roustoucímu zájmu začali vyrábět a prodávat malé série TP-1.

Během let získaly nahrávky natočené přes TP-1 dvakrát americkou cenu Oscar za nejlepší filmovou hudbu, nominace na americkou cenu Grammy a řadu spokojených majitelů či uživatelů mezi špičkovými hudebními osobnostmi - viz Who is using Karlík TP-1.

The preamp Karlík TP-1 was originally built for Studio SONO's use only. When the client came to the studio and heard the sound of the preamp he decided to buy the preamp. This resulted in repeated purchases more and more often. Usually, we had to unscrew the preamp from the studio rack and the clients would leave with it after the recording session was finished. Mr. A. R. Rahman for example took two pieces of the preamp to Hollywood because this way he was able to hear his symphonical music through 26 channels of preamp like he could never do before.

Thanks to the growing interest we started to build and sell a small series of TP-1 preamps.

The records made through the preamp Karlík TP-1 received two Oscar Awards for the best film music and also a nomination for the Grammy Award, and a few czech Awards Andel during the last few years, as well as satisfied customers and users among the industry top musical personalities. See Who is using Karlík TP-1.

Karlik TP-1
Karlik TP-1


product description

The KARLIK TP-1 is a high quality Class A two-channel tube preamplifier. The preamp is completely hand made with great care. It is a 19 inch 2 unit rack mounted unit. The power supply is located externally from the TP-1. This design has proven to be the best solution to eliminate background noise.

It blends two stages of vacuum tubes and input and output transformers. The unit accepts microphone, line and hi-impedance input signals, such as electric guitars and basses. The only active components used in the signal path are tubes. It means no transistors, no integrated circuits.

The preamplifier provides warm vacuum tube sounds with an extremely large frequency response, great dynamics, very low noise level and fast transient attack response. TP-1 as being a tube preamp is harmonically rich. That is why the TP-1 is suitable for working with the digital domain as well. In addition to all these technical qualities, the TP-1 has a robust consistent build quality and a user friendly interface.

preamp controls

+48 V 2 position switch. You´ll get phantom power +48 volts for condenser microphones when switched up.
LF CUT 2 position switch. You´ll get low frequency filter shelving type when switched up. Frequency 75 Hz attenuation -10 dB.
PAD 2 position switch. You´ll get 20 dB of input attenuation when switched up
LINE/MIC 2 position switch. Switching between line input on front panel and XLR microphone input on rear panel
PHASE 2 position switch. You´ll get 180 degree phase shift of the audio signal when switched up.
LINE INPUT 1/4” jack on front panel.
When the LINE/MIC switch is in „LINE” position this input accepts hi-impedance instruments such as electroacoustic guitar, basses keyboards etc. This is a direct input into the preamp tube, bypassing the input transformer.
When the LINE/MIC switch is in „MIC” position you are using rear XLR mic input.
GAIN Variable resistor controls output volume for microphone input as well as for line input.
VU-METER High quality VU-meter. +4 dBU corresponds to 0 VU. When a red color appears on your meter, your input tube is overloaded.

rear pannel connections:

MIC INPUT Female XLR for microphone signal in  Karlik TP-1 - rear panel
BAL OUTPUT Male XLR for pro level +4 dB balanced signal out/pin 2 is hot
JACK BAL OUTPUT ¼ stereo jack for balanced/unbalanced output
POWER SUPPLY special power supply connector


OUTPUTS: + 4 dBU corresponds to 0 VU. The output is transformer balanced.
The recommended output load is more than 600 Ohm (min. load).
Maximum output is +20 dB (8V). Unbalanced output is available too.
INPUTS: The mic input is transformer balanced. Input impedance is 2,5 kOhm.
Sensitivity 1,5 mV for output 0 VU. Recomended source (mic) impedance is 200 ohm.
The line input is unbalanced. Input impedance is 220 kOhm. Sensitivity is 30 mV for output 0 VU.
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: mic. input 10 Hz – 80 kHz, output loaded 10 kOhm
line input 10 Hz – 90 kHz, output loaded 10 kOhm
NOISE: less than – 85 dBu at unity gain from 10 Hz – 80 kHz Karlik TP-1 - power supply box
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: less than 0,05 % at 0 VU from 16 Hz – 80 kHz.
PAD: -20 dB attenuation over full bandwidth
LF CUT: -10 dB from 75Hz, shelve type filter, 12 dB/oct
PHANTOM: +48 V on input XLR
PHASE: when switched down – the same phase from input to output
when switched up – the opposite phase from input to output
POWER: 20 Watts, 230 V/50 – 60 Hz. The power supply is located in
another box, separately from the preamp, to attain the best
quality of noise ratio and lower distortion.
PANEL SIZE: standard 19“ by 3,5“ (two units of rack space)
WEIGHT: 3,1 kg – preamplifier Karlik TP-1
2,2 kg – power supply
Karlik TP-1

who is using KARLIK TP-1 tube preampflier

Doug Wimbish

Doug Wimbish

the bass player: Living Colour, Rolling Stones, Annie Lennox, Madonna and others
„Pavel is way ahead of the curve. His Karlik TP-1 provides universal possibilities and works in any sonic enviroment. A SONIC GAME CHANGER! Well Done Pavel! Peace and Love. Doug”
Phill Brown

Phill Brown

the legendary producer and sound engineer: Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Talk Talk, Dido and many others
„The Karlik TP-1 is wonderful. Clean and warm, and very ‚present‘. I am a big fan and have used them for recordings with These New Puritans and John Porter. I love them. Phill Brown”
Steve Greenwell

Steve Greenwell

the producer and sound engineer of Joss Stone, Peter Galagher, Sarah Hudson, Disney and many others
„Joss Stone and I traveled to Sono Studios in Prague to record vocals & strings for the Soul Sessions Vol 2 record. There, we used Pavel’s custom Mic Pres and compressors and I have to say I love the sound they provided. They have a warm balanced sound. Very elegant & soulful. That said, we’ll be going back to Sono soon to work with Pavel in his wonderfully equipped facility. Steve Greenwell Producer/Mixer/Engineer for Joss Stone”
Chris Eckman

Chris Eckman

the musician, producer, engineer: Walkabouts, Brian Eno, Dirt Music, Warsaw Philharmonic orchestra and others
„I have probably worked on a dozen or more albums where the Karlik TP-1 preamps were a central part of the sound. These units are solidly built, super easy to use and they have a variety of tonal possibilities. Hit them sensibly and they are clear and transparent. Hit them a little harder and you start to hear some subtle, though pleasing coloration. As good as any preamps I have ever worked with. Chris”
John Califra

John Califra

Emmy nominated classical music composer: sountracks for Tarnation, the List, Time Square 2000, Rebirth – music for the 10th Anniversary Commemoration of 9-11 tragedy
„I have recorded with the San Diego and Oakland Symphonies in the USA, as well as with the RTE orchestra in Ireland and several other orchestras in Europe. None of those studios were able to reproduce the instrumental depth and warmth achieved at SONO - where I have also recorded many times. During each session, it would be explained to me how the pre-amp Karlík TP-1; a device of their original design, was the essential element in the creation of the sound so I came to love. John”
David Koller

David Koller

the musician, composer and producer: Lucie, Koller band, Pusa, Jasná páka
„Oba páry předzesilovače Karlík TP-1 používám na OH a Room na mých nahrávkách bicích nástrojů od r. 1999.
I use both pairs of preamp Karlík TP-1 on the OH and Room on my recordings of percussion instruments since 1999.”
Viliam Béreš

Viliam Béreš

Producer and composer: Baromantika, Toxique, Lanugo, currently working for BANG.
„Karlík TP-1 je rozhodně jeden z mých nejoblíbenějších "go-to" předzesilovačů. Použil jsem ho v mnoha projektech všech možných žánrů od jazzu po elektronickou hudbu a pokaždé jsem dostal čistý vřelý zvuk s opravdu vyjímečným charakterem, který prostě miluji. Je vážně úžasný na vokálech a bicích a vždycky přinese do vašeho mixu extra život.
Karlík TP-1 is definitely one of my favourite go-to preamps. I've used it on many projects and diverse array of genres from jazz to EDM records and every time I get clear warm sound with cool character which I really love. It's really great on vocals and drums and it always brings some extra life into your mixes.”
Petr Ostrouchov

Petr Ostrouchov

hudebník, skladatel, producent, majitel labelu Animal Music.
„Na "Karlíky" jsem ve studiu Sono natočil už několik desítek CD pro svůj label Animal Music a hudbu k osmi filmům a nedám na ně dopustit. Zkušenosti praví, že pro kvalitu záznamu je potřeba dobrý předzesilovač a mikrofon, dnes tedy bohužel i převodník, pokud se nerozhodneme roztočit pásy... Karlík TP-1 považuji za předzesilovač rovnající se bez nadsázky svou kvalitou světové špičce, má nádherný teplý zvuk napříč širokým frekvenčním pásmem a pomáhá bezchybnou modulací udržet autenticitu zvuku ze studia, což při své orientaci spíše na akustickou hudbu (ať už je to jazz nebo orchestr) považuji za zásadní! Věž "Karlíků" je jedním z hlavních důvodů, proč jsem ve Studiu Sono jako doma a nehodlám na tom nic měnit.”

Other musicans, producers and sound engineers using Karlík TP-1 tube amplifi er are:
A. R. Rahman, Cold Play, Marcus Curtis (Soundwave), Lars Larson (Abba producer), Julian Lennon, Joss Stone, Living Colour, Nazareth, Levellers, Czech Philharmonic, Film Screen Orchestra...


film soundtracks recorded with Karlík TP-1 tube amplifier

... and most part of Czech films and documentary films
Karlik TP-1

safety guidelines

  1. Before first use, please read the entire manual carefully.
  2. Make sure that the voltage of your electrical outlet corresponds to the voltage on the information label of your Karlik TP-1.
  3. Never use this appliance if its power cord or plug has been damaged ( e.g. by sharp or hot objects, open fl ame atc.), if it is broken, if it has been damaged by fall, or if it has been damaged in any other way. In such cases, never try to repair the Karlik TP-1 yourself. Have repairs done by authorised service centre instead.
  4. Never use the Karlik TP-1 with another power supply other than the original Karlik TP-1/PS, always use with the Karlik TP-1/PS only.
  5. The Karlik TP-1 is designed for household use only.
  6. Do not use your Karlik TP-1 outdoors.
  7. Do not operate your Karlik TP-1 in or around water or moisture.
  8. Do not be tempted to place drinks or liquids on Karlik TP-1.
  9. Do not use Karlik TP-1 for other purposes than for what it is intended.
  10. The manufacturer is not responsible for damages caused by incorrect use of your Karlik TP-1 or its accessories.

how to use it, tips and tricks

The TP-1 is a high quality fully tube signal path microphone/line preamplifi er which will suit you for all types of studio situations. It’s also currently being used in live situations by musicians on stage.
Both the input and output are transformer balanced so you will never have troubles with any hum or ground loops.
The TP-1 can be also used in situation where it is necessary to split the signal to multiple destinations simultaneously or also used as a high quality D.I. box.

Just like with many other units, you will fi nd a best results with volume knob somewhere between 3 to 7.

Extreme adjusting can bring extreme results.The unit is powerful and you can get a clean signal output up to around 8V (+22 dB) where lot of other recording equipment would already be overloaded.

The input tube is open all the time so the signal from your mic or line could be too strong sometimes.

There is an overload warning which is shown on the VU-meter in red color. If using the mic input when an overload occurs, switch the PAD to ON and increase the volume knob to desired output level.
If the input is overloaded by using the line input, you‘ll have to decrease the volume knob on the keyboards, bass guitar or whatever the source is.

On the other hand the TP-1 can be used slightly overloaded to increase harmonic content of the audio for additional tonal variances. Using this feature depends entirely on the user’s preferences and the studio situation.

The TP-1 offers a wide range of tonal color, from very clean on to harmonically rich.

Karlik TP-1


Pavel Karlík

tel: +420 603 502 500

+420 605 287 386

e-mail: karolk@volny.cz

Hand made in SONO recording studios, Prague, Czech republic.