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DBX 786, ISA 428, AMek Pure path. I need help.

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by tengu, May 8, 2005.

  1. tengu

    tengu Guest

    I need a preamp to record mainly vocals, nylon string guitar, trumpet and flute and to a lesser extent didgeridoo amd percussion. From what I have been able to find through research and my money constraints these preamps, DBX 786, ISA 428, AMek Pure path, are to my liking.

    Eventually I wanna record drums so I will be definitely be getting teh ISA 428 with digital option at some stage. Right now I just want a decent preamp, two would be better, with a nice clean sound but some little nuances so that I can pull out some nice tones. The DBX looks to be my favoured choice. But if the ISA is as good as the DBX or AMek I may as well get that now.

    Any form of advice with regards to this and any other preamp would be much appreciated. I don't really want a tube preamp so I would preferably like responses regarding transformer based preamps.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I'd likely have some other options for those applications that you list, but if I had to choose from that list, it would be the dbx. This is assuming that the AMEK you refer to is the dual channel mic pre and not the CIB.
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I have a Great River MP2NV. I like it alot (Forest Gump)
    But I hear the AMEK is pretty nice too!
  4. tengu

    tengu Guest

    Thanks for the replies peoples.

    AudioGaff, I have had trouble finding reviews on the DBX and from what I can see it seems to be a slept on piece of gear.

    Have you had experience using it and how does it go with vocals?

    I would l;ove to hear from anyone who has experience on using any of these with vocals.

    Another piece that has come to mind is the Grace Lunatec V3 as I have some jobs coming up doing location recording. Howdoes the preamps in it stand up.

    If you read this Kurt could you give me some feedback.

  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I've used the dbx 5-6 times. A few of those just for vocals. It worked great. I want one myself one day if only so that it matches one of my dbx 160SL's. The AMEK I own is the CIB. Very good mic pre, but I bought it specific for the eq.
  6. bounce

    bounce Guest

    had any thoughts about the OSA modular pre's? look purdy ; ) who's got these mamas?

  7. songman

    songman Guest

    I've got a Millennia STT1 (with Telefunken tubes) and a CIB. Millennia for all things pure like acoustic guitar and backing vocals. CIB just great for main vocal that needs to sit prominently but in a pleasing way upfront in the mix. Love it.

  8. jslevin

    jslevin Member

    For what it's worth, we're pretty happy with our ISA 428. We have it racked up with API, Chandler, Grace and Avalon pres, and while it isn't anybody's favorite, it definitely isn't out of place among those.

    Used to have an Amek 9098 and one of the lower-cost dbx units, was never wowed by either one. The Amek was perhaps comparable to the Focusrite, but the cost per channel was a lot more. (Both fall into the general category of less popular Neve designs, still very nice quality.)

    The best value I've found for truly top-notch pres is the API 3124+ ... the ISA 428 can be thought of as a poor man's version of that, but it does have 80 db of gain control and four switchable impedance settings.
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Don't confuse the dbx Blue series 786 and 160SL with all the rest of the current crap that bears the dbx logo. The other exception is the Purple 162SL. I much prefer the Focusrite Red sound over the newer ISA stuff.
  10. tengu

    tengu Guest

    Thankyou for all the replies.

    AudioGaff, How does the DBX 786 hold up against the red series stuff?

    The thing that attracted to me with the 428 was the addition of the 4 inputs via the ADAT card. However I have heard several people suggest getting an AD converter via ADAT into my multiface. This would mean I wouldn't have to keep the ISA in the future should I grow tired of or not like the Pre, or, simply want to update.

    I think I prefer the idea of having the converters in a seperate unit. The ISA AD converters eems a bit gimmicky now I think of it.

    Also has anyone heard the Grace Lunatec. I do field recordings and have developed an interest in it.
  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The dbx 786 holds up well to the Focusrite Red. The 786 is a little more clean and articulant and is in the fast category. The Red is bit more mellow and musical and is in the slower category. I really like the Red for general purpose. And Since I have the Red-7 with the compressor, I much prefer it.
  12. tengu

    tengu Guest

    AudioGaff, once again thanks for your replies.

    What do you mean by 'fast category'?

    One other thing is that if I get the DBX it will be from the US, I am in Australia, and will need a transformer. Will this affect the the preamp adversely in anyway?
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I can speak to the Focusritre and the AMEK .... both are very good and as to which I would choose it's atoss up .... I would base my desicion on the features at this point... as far as the DBX goes, I've never used one.
  14. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Think it throug. Fast=what kind of sound? Slower = the opposite of a fast sound.
  15. tengu

    tengu Guest

    I think I gotcha. I guess you are referring to higher freq's when you say faster.
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Nope. Not quite. Think in terms of audio waveforms. Which kinds of instruments/sounds have fast/hard transients and whcih ones have slow/soft transinets.

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