Every preamp has it's place, or perhaps more accurately, provides you with one.
I had been overlooking this unit, using it mainly for it's ability to insert other preamps and be used as an 8 channel ADAT interface with great clocking. The reason I shied away is that it always sounded kind of small to me compared to other units. Read more
Now that's no deal breaker, considering you will often want things to sound full bodied yet not demand too much space in your mix... things recorded with this preamp always hid well for me without disappearing, so if I wanted something in the mix as support, something that got out of the way during moments when other tracks needed the spotlight, I would go for the 710 or something like a Focusrite Octopre.
I've recently fallen in love with the 710 again for other reasons... After a few experiments tracking a Korg M1 piano sound, we discovered that when it comes to rich midrange content, it was crushing a number of more expensive pres (API, SSL) quite easily for this particular task. After a few more sessions, I was surprised to learn that my I/O box really shines on guitar, synth, toms, piano...anything with a rich harmonic content in the mids just glowed like a rainbow.
It isn't the biggest sounding preamp in the rack... when stacked next to Neve (Vintech), API, LA610, etc, it comes off as a bit small at times, but you don't need or want every track to be a monster... it's natural tendencies to highlight harmonic content in the mids lets it stand out without demanding the whole soundstage... the tube blend knob seemed useless to me outside of a little transient control until I used it to tame the buzzy attack of an overexcited overdrive box... it cured the problem with the hair without killing the top end!... at that point I just knew this was a pretty solid guitar tool and it's been my go to ever since for both guitar and any synth that doesn't need earth shattering low end. The bottom isthere, but it doesn't fill the room the way Neve or SSL do.
It's also fantastic for the whole drum kit in a situation where they aren't front and center. I wouldn't recommend it for Hip Hop, Pop, or even modern Country (80's rock), but for Folk, Acoustic oriented music, Bluegrass, they just skooch right back there and do their support job nicely, sitting behind your lead focus. remaining audible and very pleasant, but never in the way.
At first glance it seems like a good B unit, but when yo get to know it, you'll find a unique midrange utility knife that, when used for the right source, can easily hang with any studio gear on earth.