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Anyone own any high end Channel Strips &/or Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Dr_Willie_OBGYN, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    I'm looking into some new gear in my quest to get that full, bright, balanced, "expensive studio" sound. Mainly I record instrumental stuff: keyboards, sampled drums from my MPC-4000, direct bass, and miked guitar. I never record more than 2 tracks at a time. There's so many choices as far as preamps, channel strips, EQ and compressors, it's really hard to choose what to buy. Especially when only Focusrite has MP3 comparison samples on their website comparing their "platinum" series gear.

    Let's say I wanted to spend $3,000.00 What gear would give me the most bang for my buck? Blow it all on an Avalon AD 2022? Buy two Focusrite ISA 220 Session Packs? Buy Focusrite TwinTrak Pro + a EL7 Fatso?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    You'll find opinions are as many and varied as the gear choices available. No shortcuts. Do your research on the net and in music stores, search and find what your favorite artists are using, keeping in mind that just becuase they got the sound they did with the gear doesn't mean you will be able to.

    Rent some of your narrowed down choices and then check them out. That is about the only real way you will know onw from another. Or find someone that does know that your trust and buy what he tells you.

    A few more things. Don't trust and evaluate samples or MP3's as they are surely not going to sound the same when you use the same product. And don't think just because you have a great sounding strip that you will get the same sound as an expensive studio as there is much more to it than that.
  3. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    Believe it or not, there is a CD out there that has recording examples of all the current pre's out there. I can't recall the name. Try google for preamp cd.
  4. vv-tim

    vv-tim Guest

    If you're looking for a channel strip... I'm sure someone is bound to recommend the Sebatron Thorax, I've heard good things about it (can't afford one myself).

    If you're going strictly preamp, there's the Sebatron single or multi-channel VMP series...
  5. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    I've used the M5 by avalon which I believe is the single channel version of the 2022 you mentioned. I really loved it, great on acoustic guitars, just a wonderful sounding pre. You may want to consider and Avalon 737, I don't have experience with it and its not related to the 2022 but it is a full blown channel strip so it should fit your needs, and I've heard nothing but good things about it, plus you'd have another grand to blow. Just a thought.
  6. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    I gather that the 737 doesn't have AS extravagent ciruitry as the 2022 because the 737 has got EQ and Comp on there too for just $500 more. The problem is that Avalon moved their warehouse and every store is OUT OF STOCK on Avalon gear.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Several choices come to mind. API 3124 w/without the stereo mixer....Old School Audio..rack/power supply and any number of different mic pres each with its own character. John Hardy rack/power supply and 4/3/2/1 M1 pres...Ya did say you wanted the high end stuff....these are the high-end stuff. If you cant make record quality noise with this bunch then the problem is elsewhere.There are others...Focusrite ISA 428, Focusrite Red 1...and so forth.
  8. Digger

    Digger Guest

    Two channels at a time.....hmmmm, well there are a couple of trains of thought. If you wanted or needed a balanced stereo recording you would probably want to get the same preamp. If that route is what you are looking for you have to decide what you want to record. Judging by your list I don't think you would want something ultra clean - Tubes and or transformers all the way.

    As far as channel strips go I really like the flexibility of a ISA430 MKII. Some in this column will complain about the quality of the preamp (or Focusrite period) but I have not had any issues with it. Nice, transparent EQ, Good compressor, De-esser and a Gate. Seperate in and outs for the EQ and Compressor. I have seen them go for as low as $1899 on Ebay. If you raised your budget by a G you could buy two units! Alternatively, I also own an AMEK Pure Path Channel which is an outstanding value - I have seen them go for as low as $1100 on Ebay, I paid $1399 for mine - This is a Rupert Neve designed strip you can't go wrong. You will lose some flexilibty found in the ISA 430 but nothing sonically.

    The other option is to get a reasonably clean solid state channel (i.e. ISA430) and something with a little more character like a Universal 6176 - I don't own a Universal strip but a close friend of mine does and I definitely have some preamp envy. I own a Tube Tech MEC1A which is also wonderful BUT expensive. I recently saw someone selling a pair of 6176's on Ebay for $1500/unit, but that got snapped up pretty quickly. This combo (ISA and Universal) would give you a nice combination of tube based and solid state mic pres + plus a selection of compressors to choose from.

    Although I do own a 3124 I think that might be a bit of a waste considering that you will only be recording 2 channels MAX at a time. No need for four mic pres if that is the case. I have never used John Hardy mic pres but from what I can gather they are noted for their transparency which is most typically sought out for acoustic jazz and classical recordings. Based on your instrument list it doesen't sound like you will be recording either of the aforementioned. Old School I have never tried either but they could make nice alternative. I am luke warm on my 737 on everything except Bass where it really seems to shine for me.

    BOTTOM LINE -if it was my choice - I would raise my budget a grand and get two channel strips - one solid state (ISA430 MKII) and and one tube (Universal 6176).

    Good Luck
  9. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    But for recording stereo keyboards are these linkable for stereo operation?

    Also do you ever use the ISA 430 for mixdown purposes?

    (I do a lot of techno stuff / funk techno with direct in keyboards layered, programmed drums on the MPC 4000, and bass guitar.)
  10. protone

    protone Guest

    If it was just one channel, I'd say Millennia Origin stt1. It has tube AND solidstate pre, tube AND solidstate eq and REALLY nice compressor!

    I think its the most versatile unit out there.
  11. aztec

    aztec Guest

    I agree with most of the other users suggestions, top notch stuff.

    If you are looking for a clean path strip , like avalon etc have a listen to mindprint DTC as well, the eq on that strip is a killer, it delivers a very smooth surgical result. It also has variable tube drive so you can select how much of your signal goes into the tube included, no tube=clean path, more tube drive=sounds more like "tube" channel strips. Dtc also has an adaptive compression mode that works like a charm in my opinion, and it always depends on your settings, i was never into "auto" release stuff till i heard this one, really transparent.

    Happy shopping
  12. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Some good advice here! Thanks. OK. After much research on the net on this and other forums, and some of Mix Magazine's reviews I ordered a ISA 430 MKII. In 6 months I'll probably order a second one so that I can run stereo keyboards. For now I'll live with direct bass, mic'ed stuff, and certain mono drums like hi-hats, kick, and what not. At this price range it seems like comparing Lexus with Mercedes and Jaguar. I'm taking a step up from a Beringher Eurodesk for Christ sake! BTW Avalon just lost some business from me. They're obviously not experts at the logistics of moving to a new warehouse. Sweetwater said that some people placed orders back in JUNE for preamps and are STILL waiting....
  13. Digger

    Digger Guest

    You won't be dissapointed, it is a top notch channel strip. Two units will give you quite a bit of flexibility. This will be a significant step up from your Behringer gear. Godd Lcuk and Enjoy!
  14. aztec

    aztec Guest

    enjoy your new buy :>

    off topic, i read somewhere that focusrite got ripped off last week or something, they stole tons of gear from them! i hope they have enough backstock to send you the unit.

    I'm pasting what i read from that site
    Monday, August 15th 2005 was a gloomy day for Focusrite and its sister company, Novation. As the morning unfolded, it quickly transpired that the companies had been the victim of a major burglary. Missing stock included a host of classic Reds, ISA and Platinum rackmount units, Novation X Station keyboards, and the recently launched Saffire desktop interface. Fortunately, Focusrite has software backup solutions in place, so the company was able to fully function within 48 hours and, thanks to Computer Warehouse, promptly reinstalled computers. Needless to say, Focsurite has since significantly reinforced its security measures.
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

    I, at this point only buy that which will retain its value. All of the newer preamps loose about 1/3 value right away.For 3K there is plenty of vintage preamp out there. A ice V72, V72a, or even V76!. API's are nice, Calrec. There are some very good places to purchase these that offer very nice sevice. I have bought a lot from ebay but you need to be careful. My last "high end" pre came from Vintage King and I was happy.
  16. tmcconnell

    tmcconnell Guest


    Maybe this is so obvious no one said it but ... you don't need a preamp for an electric keyboard. In fact, if you use your keyboard into a mic preamp, all you will end up doing is coloring and attenuating the signal. The inputs of your recorder are ready made to accept line level signals, and there is no impedance match problem either if you are using regular AD ins to a DAW, as far as I know.

    I would not use a compressor with a keyboard in my home studio either unless you just don't trust your dynamics. Just do it in software if you must do it at all.
  17. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    tmcconnell, At least I don't think my Nuendo multiband compressor or the Nuendo EQ can hold up to the ISA 430's comp / limiter or EQ. I haven't tested it for keys yet... only bass. I'm definitely getting the bass sound I've been looking for for ages! Limiter + dial in some beefy lows and a little highs. Sweet!

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