I'm really considering investing heavily into preamps. Over the years I've had the good fortunes to record at some fantastic facilities and have worked with a ton of pres and consoles (stuff I could only dream of working on again). My personal preference is towards the 1073 sound or the API sound. I record primarily rock, metal, hip hop and gospil/R&B. Its a wide range of genres and I think both of those pres would be a great addition. The API's would be great for rock and the Neve's would be amazing for everything. I cut some tracks a few years back on an 002 using vintech 1073 rack units and I really enjoyed the sound. It didn't feel like I was loosing much "color," if any at all. I cut that session at 96k. At the same facility I recently cut a track on an HD2 system using the same preamp rig. This session was at 196k and the high end sounds much more full than on the previous cuts. This is due to the sample rates, but also in part due to the better A/D conversion. Since the sound of a studio relies on many factors here is some information. My mics are high end and are industry standards for most uses(D112, M421's, U87, Royers, SM57's ect) I have a good mic cab with plenty of options. My rooms are treated with acoustics, including 1 very dead room for cab's and vocals with a larger 30' x 18' room for drums and pianos. I don't feel like I need any more plug ins but I could possibly use a Distressor rack as well as some extra outboard gear, such as a harmonizer. My outboard options are rather limited at the moment. I'd be upgrading my pre's from an Allen and Heath mixwizard and Mackie 800R(which I am probably keeping for the extra 8 ADAT channels). Out of all my options I feel that the preamps is the best way to improve my sound. Should I invest in high end pres if I am not going to upgrade to an HD system anytime in the near future? One other thing I was considering was getting a rack of Seventh Circle pres (I have alot of electrical engineer friends so the assembly is not at all a concern). My industry friends claim that the newest neve clones are audibly different from the originals when compared on reel to reel. However, in the digital realm there is not much difference if any at all. The few people I know to have used the pres say great things about them. I don't expect them to sound like the Vintech's or API's but a close color for the investment savings in a studio like mine may not make a big sound quality difference. I know the purists will be displeased, but I can't help but be intrigued with the SCA products. The C84 is the only one I have heard and I thought it was a decent pre. Unfortunately I wouldn't use it as I would opt for the N72, A12, and J99 models. My preamp options: Vintech X73, or 1073 rack 2-4 chans or API 500 or 200 series 2-4 chans or Portico Neve 1/2 rack pres 2-4 chans or Seventh Circle Audio 8 channels The only advantage to the SCA pre's is that I would be able to run a more variety of pre amps than if I went with brand name pres. The 1073 and API racks are massive investments and are more expensive to initially rack due to the extra purchase of the rack and power supplies. I cannot afford to get multiple channels of each. I've also considered combining the SCA's with the real deal, but there is something precious about having that unified set. Any thoughts or insight? Thanks for reading.