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cheap preamps for bass and guitar

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by nedjinski, May 2, 2005.

  1. nedjinski

    nedjinski Active Member

    hi all -

    there's always a raging discussion about mic preamps and which ones are the "best",etc. - but that's usually from the point of the cleanest or purest "warm" sound, and usually for voice work.

    but what about when you need a preamp for mics that are going to be on a bass cabinet or a guitar cabinet?

    i would assume that you are going to get and / or want a fair amount of distortion so why spend big $$$ on preamps that you probably won't "hear" anyway?

    in that light, does it make a difference between the cheapos like behringer or nady or SM audio, etc. or the next tier up which would be presonus tubepres and the like.

    i want a 4-8 channel preamp that fits into this category.

    any suggestions?
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    It sounds from the tone of your post that you are really looking for the green light to purchase some cheap pres ... so go ahead.

    Once you've decided for yourself that your behringer, nady and SM audio pres are crap then we will talk.
  3. nedjinski

    nedjinski Active Member

    thanks kurt -

    i was actually trying to figure out if high end or low end preamps actually make a difference when their main function is to get blasted by an instrument cabinet pumping out high spl's into a dynamic mic.
    so is this a dumb question?
    i see that you are the only one to reply to this query which means that you are the good guy i have known you to be and you are humoring me a bit (that's okay) , and / or you are the only one who has a clue about such things anyway and have an informed opinion to give (which i appreciate very much BTW)

    in the interim between posts i did read up on the SP828 which for the price is certainly affordable, and i know you like their stuff, but is something on that order really that much different than the high end cheapos you referred to?

    on a more newbie note - my main interest in these pre's at all is to turn a dynamic mic level signal into a line level signal so i can plug it into a line input on my mixer. are there other devices that just perform this function only? obvisouly, for micing instrument cabinets i don't know that i care about "warmth" or "transparency" or anything but creating a clean line level signal, so why do i need high(er) end preamp anyway?- are there such things as just simple converters for this purpose?

    thanks as always for your informed thoughts!
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Good mic pres always make a difference even on screaming guitar cabs.

    In your case, I would use the pres you already have in the mixer. Most likely they will serve you just as well as something 3 times the price. I really don't think you will hear much of a difference between them and any other cheap or mid priced pre.

    I can't really say what the SP 828 sounds like .. it has a lot of features and is the most reasonably priced multi channel pre amp in its range. If I were looking for something like that, I would certainly give it a look /listen.

    I have not heard the SM pres either (there are a few different ones).
    I read a recent magazine review of the channel strip version, that wasn't very flattering at all. I would listen first before purchasing or be sure I could return it if I wanted to.
  5. nedjinski

    nedjinski Active Member

    kurt -

    thanks again for taking the time to give an objective view point - something not always easy to find here - but you are the man!

    maybe i'll get one brick for high end vocals, then i have four Onyx preamps in the mixer for the next level down, and then some affordable multi-channel pre's for micing the instruments.

    sound like a plan?
  6. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I can tell you right now that I've been able to record with some high quality preamps and a lot of low quality.

    When I first recorded my old band I used crappy pres and SM57's on the guitar cabs. (Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier w/Mesa cab and Marshall JCM900 w/1960a cab). The sound turned out ok.

    Then I bought my GT Brick, re-recorded the guitars and holy smokes! Depth, fatness, and holy tone. I was able to hear why a Mesa costs so much money in my recording....normally I wasnt hearing that because of my crap preamps. I could hear the "tone" in the room with the amp, but not on the recorded track until I had the better pre. I guess it came down to depth and detail?!?

    So yea...there is a little story to think about. Remember that a good engineer that knows the ins 'n' outs of their gear...no matter what quality gear....can turn out some respectable stuff! So if you are on a budget...save up and only buy once. In the meantime you'll have time to develop your chops on your current gear. That is my plan for now.

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