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Best pre around 500 US for AKG C4000B?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by skan, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. skan

    skan Guest


    I have an AKG C4000B and am just currently using the pre's on my Mackie desk. Can anyone suggest a preamp that will do the microphone justice..perhaps one well suited to it?

    Tubes optional but some color would be nice, my vocal recordings sound quite sterile to my ears.(Which isn't a totally bad thing I guess as at least I have room to move when mixing)
  2. blaumph2cool

    blaumph2cool Active Member

    May 2, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I'll be the first to say it, but probably not the last.

    for your budget, get the GrooveTubes The Brick.

    I own one and its the best $400 I spent on a pre.
    I've heard people getting them for even $350.

    You will definitely notice the difference between the mackie pre's and the Brick.
  3. skan

    skan Guest

    May I add the following question...which is probably more the important issue here:

    Based on the premise that the preamp is just as important than the mic, is the C4000 a decent enough mic that I should be happy with it (in that it has no real vices as such), and now be concentrating on getting myself a great preamp to really get a pro sound?
  4. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Well... It sure is expensive enough to be good! I have no experience with this model, but it is an AKG, and they make nice mics.

    A bit late now to make mic recommendations, but I would suggest that if you'd like to try a similar quality tube pre to compliment your Mackie pre's(Which I use as well.), you investigate the DBX 376 Tube Channel Strip. They've been available for some years, I have one, works fine. Lots of buttons to play with - includes analog, SP/DIF and AES/EBU out(I use AES/EBU at 24/48.). You can try different tubes as you like. Comes with a 12AU7A, and a DBX tech told me that he uses a 12AX7, in his, so it's apparently safe to try... When I bought it, it was the ONLY "channel strip" with ALL the features I wanted - most STILL don't offer as much! The "tube pre" itself was the only thing I wasn't sure of, but, as it had everything else --- I got it. It's made more than it's share of coins for me( I do voiceover.). I paid 400, I see them now for about 500...

    I wonder what you use for a soundcard/interface? THIS is the heart and soul of our systems! I have a LynxOne, the oldest of the Lynx cards. Analog, SP/DIF, AES/EBU, MIDI I/O, great converters, marvelous tech support. It still does everything it does to the highest degree of professionalism - no compromise. Truly, the best part of my audio system and has stoodup to upgrades of anything else(Though I'd like to add a LynxTwo, myself, just for fun, when I can.).

    Teddy G.

    BTW: I use an AKG C1000s(200 bucks)... All the AKG I could afford at the time - though I wanted a C414. The 1000 is OK, though I will certainly upgrade at some point. Your 4000 should do m-u-c-h better(Has a lot higher number!)...... If, at some point, you want to add another mic, I suggest a fine dynamic, like the Sennheiser 421 or the Electrovice RE20(My fave), or Beyerdynamic 99. Your AKG and a great dynamic will "cover all the bases" nicely...

    My partial upgrade list?

    John Hardy pre - likely the Jenson special, or a Millennia.
    Pendulum Audio Quartet.
    LynxTwo(Or their latest at the time I get to it.).
    AKG C414, Gefell 930 or Beyerdynamic M34.
    EV RE20 or Beyerdynamic 99.
    New speakers. Maybe 6" Bag End or Dynaudio passives, powered by a Crown.
    More room treatment.
  5. skan

    skan Guest

    Thanks for your response Teddy, I'll check the dbx out...though I'm leaning toward the 1 channel Sebatron at the moment. Haven't really heard a bad thing about them.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I don't know the Sebatron, or it's price - though I didn't think you could get one for 500 dollars US - but, if you don't need all the buttons of a channel strip, I'll bet it will be fine.

    My main reasons for a "channel strip", period, and this one in particular would be what you get for the price and a chance to "see/hear how it all works in one box"(Really good for the price!), and that you would use it "pretty much" the same most of the time, as I do with VO. Being able to set EQ/Compression/De-essing, etc. "once" and going-in at that, with actual knobs, saves alot of "fixing it in the mix", as it were and is quite educational. Certainly, low price or not, DBX is not a company to "fear", their stuff is OK. The included AES/EBU can be neat-o(Though the converters in the Lynx are so good it really doesn't matter for that, perse), as I can get "3"(Or 4) input channels, with only the LynxOne "stereo" card, using both the analog and digital ins at the same time. Kind've nice. And, as your new mic should be very good - yet not neccessarily a KH Edition Brauner(10 grand!), I didn't want to "overspend" your bucks - at least not until you might have a better idea(From experience) as to what you really needed to do your best work...

    Be great to hear how the new stuff works out for you...

  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but:

    Summit 2BA-221.

    It's around $500 and it sounds amazing. It's also one of the more versatile mic pres I've ever used.

    Instead of the usual "tube gain" that increases or decreases the voltage to the plate, the Summit has seperate gain stages and seperate outputs for tube and solid state. If you want clean, SS gain - hook it up. If you want full saturated tube sound - hook it up. If you want to choose later - hook them both up and send them to seperate tracks. It really is that flexible.

    Oh, and it's got an internal PS, beautiful build quality and some awesome looks! (I dig those "glass jewel" power lights!! Oh so retro!!)

    I think, overall, it's a better pre than the brick. However, the brick is about $150 cheaper and a damn fine pre too.

    As for the C4000 B, it's not my favorite mic. I definitely think AKG missed the mark when it came to their project series mics (1000,2000,3000,4000, SolidTube, etc). To me, the sound elicits no character whatsoever - not transparent, just lifeless. I don't mean to sound harsh.

    I will say though, that with a good pre, you'll find you can extract some life out of these mics and make them quite usable.

    J. :cool:
  8. skan

    skan Guest

    Which method do the Sebatrons use? And have you heard these units side by side?


    P.S. Spot on re: C4000...it is kinda lifeless. I'm looking at something around the $400 USD mark to compliment a nice tube pre in the near future.....
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Hey Skan,

    I haven't used the Sebatron - it's on my short list, but many things are ahead of it (it's a long short-list... :lol: )

    From what I can tell, the Sebs have only one gain stage. Meaning, the level of tube saturation is what comes standard and that's it. (Not that it's a bad thing, just that the Summit allows a bit more). On many tube pres, there's an input and an output stage. Lowering the input but cranking the output puts the tubes in full swing.

    That's kind of the principle that the Summit works on except that it gives you 3 simultaneous ways out of the box at the same time including 2 with tube saturation and 1 dry. (Which, BTW, is awesome for the occassional double tracking of vox, guitar and keys as you can saturate the hell out of one signal leaving the other untouched.)

    As for mics in the $400 pricerange, I can't sing the praises of the AT 4040 or 4033 enough. They're both fantastic and the 4040 is cheap enough, it will save you some $$ for some cables and a stand, etc. You might also want to chat with Joe H. He reviewed the new MXL V6 and he REALLY liked it. Based on his review and the fact that I trust his ears, I'll be picking one of those up, especially considering their low price.

    I hope this helps.


    PS - Seb - if you're watching this post and I stated any inaccuracies, please correct and accept my apologies. :D
  10. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    but with the seb 4000e you can just loop hiout the the hiin on so you can use all four pres in the same chain and give it a true multi gain stage
  11. skan

    skan Guest

    Thanks for all your input Cucco...I'll check the AT's out.

    Frob, that sounds like a very tasty idea!
  12. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I used a C4000 through some DBX 2RU tube channel strip (sorry I can't find the model number, I think it is a little old) for some vocals one time, and it sounded very full and alive. I think with a good preamp stage (tube is nice) and a good compressor stage, this mic can sound pretty darn good.

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