Multi preamp interface to acompany Fireface 800

Discussion in 'Budget Gear' started by HaHallur, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. HaHallur

    HaHallur

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    Hi, I'm looking for an 6-8 channel preamp interface with preamps that match those that are in the Fireface 800.

    What I've found so far is the Focusrite octopre mkII OctoPre MkII Mic Pres

    My price range is 300-500 dollars on this unit.

    Can anyone recommend the Octopre MkII or point me at another device with pre's equal to those you find in the Fireface interface.

    Regards
    /Hallur
  2. Scott Griffin

    Scott Griffin

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    My gut instinct is that you should keep that money in your pocket unless it's an absolute MUST that you have 12 preamps available at this point. The Octopre preamps aren't even going to be as good as the onboard pres on the Fireface. Save a few bucks up and go for the TL Audio Ivory, then start really saving your pennies for something like the API 8MX2.
  3. HaHallur

    HaHallur

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    I need the extra inputs to be able to record drums, I'll be able use 10 inputs, 6 on the back 4 on the front.

    From what some people have told me I shouldn't need a super expensive preamp when I'm not using a super expensive mic, and in addition I'm mostly recording metal music.
    The mics I plan on using on the drums are Shure SM57's, Beta57A, Beta52A and RODE NT-4 , which will most likely take up all 10 inputs.

    I'm not a professional recording engineer and the equipment I use is for personal use, which means I'm not making a living of recording, that makes 2000$ a-heck-of-alot for 8 preamps when the Fireface costs 1700$ and is already boasting 5 pre's

    The TL Audio Ivory is out of my price-range because it isn't the only piece of equipment I need right now.

    Is M-audio Octane any better ?

    Any other suggestions ?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  4. Scott Griffin

    Scott Griffin

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    Here's your second opinion:

    Rethink how many mics you need to record drums. I've recorded metal drums just as successfully as other varieties of music with 3-4 mics. Hell, I used to be in a prog metal band, with a drummer who played furiously, and we did fine recording him with a pair of overheads, a kick mic, and a snare mic. The snare mic wasn't even necessary, in retrospect.

    This should be a sticky at the top of the forum, for all beginning recordists: You DONT NEED TO MIC EVERY DRUM to get a good drum sound!
  5. soapfloats

    soapfloats

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    Scott is right on. As someone about to purchase the FF800 (more for interface than preamps), you're not gonna do any better, let alone come close to what you've got in the RME unit.
    Improvements? Something like the API he mentioned, or the 3124 (also on my short list), which runs around $2400 for four channels.
    Yeah, that's cutting where it hurts - but it hurts so good.
    Seriously, beyond the FF, expect to spend $500-$800+ per channel to improve.
  6. HaHallur

    HaHallur

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    Thanks for the replies, I get what you are saying but I'm having a hard time believing that each preamp in the FF is worth 3-500 dollars. I'm not looking to improve the quality just expand the usable inputs.

    Shouldn't RME QuadMic Preamp have the same preamps as one would find in the Fireface.
  7. Scott Griffin

    Scott Griffin

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    I would venture a yes on that. Big difference, though, between 4 pres for $550, and 8 pres for $400.

    I still encourage you to consider what I said about recording drums. Most of us learned the hard way that more mics on a kit makes for a bigger pain in the neck, not a bigger drum sound.
  8. HaHallur

    HaHallur

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    Just out of curiosity, why are preamps so expensive?, what is the main production cost of preamps?
  9. Scott Griffin

    Scott Griffin

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    Honestly?

    1) The transformer. A cheap preamp will have a wall wart or a cord wart. A top-shelf preamp will have a big old hunk of proper pig iron in the box. A must for continuity of power and thus continuity of gain staging. Cheap transformers and/or wall warts will result in the unit suffering from suckouts when under heavy load. You can literally hear a cheap preamp compress when it's not getting enough input power, and the sound is NOT pleasant. It's the same problem starved-plate "tube" preamps have - not enough juice going to the gain stage, making it sound all hairy and nasty.

    2) The circuitry. A cheap preamp will utilize a single IC, often times for ALL the inputs. Top-shelf units have discrete circuitry for each pre, and the best of the best are point-to-point hand wired, using real capacitors and resistors instead of a crappy Logic chip. All those discrete components require more time, effort, and labor to assemble, versus a quick run through an SMA machine and a quick inspection under the microscope. All of this results in a massive differential in sound quality.
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