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Good reasonably price preamp?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Alman, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Alman

    Alman Guest


    I'm looking for a decent budget preamp.
    At the moment it's between the Presonus Blue Tube DP(2 channel) and the Studio Projects VTB1(1 channel).
    I would be using it for mics and instruments, such as bass.
    The 2 channel thing isn't essential though it could come in handy.
    I really just want a good sounding pre.
    Anyone any experience with these or any other pre's that may suit me?
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I don't think either is worth the money. How much are you willing to spend? Neither of them really utilize the tube. It's just there for looks.
    For about $500 you can get an FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp or a Groove Tubes Brick. For about $250 you could look into a Joe Meek Three Q.
  3. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Aphex 107- cheap on ebay
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Or Aphex 207- basically the same box, although the 107 is all you need.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Please step away from the BlueTube!

    Very noisy, you'll kick yourself if you get one.

    Presonus makes some good pieces of gear, that however is not one of them.
  6. Alman

    Alman Guest

    I'm not looking to spend to much as I'm just setting up a little home studio.
    I was thinking of up to 200 euro or so.
    I would be willing to go more if it's worth it though.
    I dont like buying crap.
    bent what would you recommend over the BlueTube.
    hueseph, how is the Joe Meek as a pre? Is the compression any use?
    I sometimes dont trust these things that have a lot of features at a cheap price.
    Is that the FMR Audio RNP 8380? Is it really worth it?
    How is it as an instrument pre plugged direct in?
    Sorry for all the questions.
    I'll have a look at those Aphex's Link555.
    Thanks guys.
  7. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Let's back up a minute...
    What do you have currently, maybe there's something better (or entirely different) that will get you to the next level.

    Sometimes folks already have good sounding gear, not really knowing what they've got, ya know?
  8. Alman

    Alman Guest

    I dont have anything at the moment bent.
    I'm a true newbie.
    But I've been around it all so long I'm hoping I'm gonna learn quick.
    I'm basically setting up a home studio for writing and recording.
    I'm gonna be buying a lot of stuff but on a kinda budget, ya know.
    I'm basically looking for a good mic and instrument pre.
    I'd like something that has a nice transparent sound but that you can also get nice drive out of as I am a fan of nicely overdriven vocals when it suits the song.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Yeah, If you are looking below the level of the RNP, Brick, and a few more in that range the pres are all pretty similar. The biggest problem is that they all sound bad when pushed to maximum amplification. The trick to using them is to run them well below clipping. Yes, this will mean you will have to boost the level in your DAW and get more noise. But the added noise is almost always worth the tradeoff for a more linear response from your pre.

    BTW - on the Blue Tube - I have one, but I use it as a glorified distortion effect for my keyboard. Wouldn't think of putting a mic through it.

    UPDATE: I see that I cross posted. If you are just starting out put your money in the interface. Don't spend on a separate pre. The pres in a good interface will be as good as the low-price pres that you mention (often better).
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Have to agree with Bent and BobR. If you get a decent interface it'll likely have reasonable preamps.

    Regarding the ThreeQ. It's a budget preamp which is what you asked for. Honestly I don't have one but I put some trust in the name. Aside from the fact that it does have a lot of features, all of them function. Whereas you're not paying for an LED lit tube. It's solid state which does account for some of the price. Nice features about it though are Burr Brown VCAs in the preamp section.

    All that being said it's rather pointless if you don't have an interface to use it with, which could leave you spending another $200-500 for a reasonable quality two input interface.
  11. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    We haven't even talked about the recording medium yet.

    What are you thinking there?

    There's free software to start you off, have you tried out any programs?
  12. Alman

    Alman Guest

    I'm gonna be getting an all in one as my access to a computer is gonna be limited for the next while.
    I was thinking the Yamaha AW1600.
    I know you guys probably dont like all in ones but that's the way I gotta go.
    So I've read I'll probably need an external pre with most all in ones though I could be wrong.
    I think even something like the Blue Tube will be better then the built in pre's though I dont know for sure..
    Does the RNP overdrive well?
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Although, I definitely prefer the 107 over the 207. The 207 is prettier looking, but the 107 has a bit more open of a sound.

    Of course, as others have stated, a good interface could cover your needs as well.
  14. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    If you are looking to get an all-in-one, just go with the pre-amps that are on the unit. Save your money for more mics or maybe for a better pre-amp down the road. Since you will already have 8 pre-amps in the box theres no need to try and replace them with one of the cheap ones that are out there.

    The pres on the all-in-ones are not amazing but you can get a good signal recorded with them. I haven't used the Yamaha machines before but I've used Fostex and I've gotten surprisingly good recordings with them.
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I have nothing against All In One units other than I hate trying to read that little screen when I'm switching banks or editing.

    Regarding the RNP, no it doesn't overdrive well. As BobR pointed out, these preamps weren't designed to be driven. They were designed to give clean gain. Personally, I would settle for the preamps in that Yamaha but if you're set on getting distortion, go ahead and buy that BlueTube and push it. It will distort. Whether or not that will sound good is another question. You could always add some distortion with effects after the fact.

    I think the distortion you're looking for is tape saturation which IMHO you can't get no matter what effect you use unless of course it's a 2 track Otari.
  16. Alman

    Alman Guest

    Thanks for the advice guys.
    I'll have a think about it.
    I think I'll try and find out more about the Yamaha pre's but I've heard even a half decent "budget" pre would yield better results but you cant be sure till you try it I suppose.
    Maybe I'll wait and get a decent preamp, though I could probably afford one that's a bit above budget now if I pushed it.
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I wouldn't tend to agree. A basic budget pre won't give you much if any improvement over those built into those devices. Only a select few budget pres are worth anything or even marginally better than the ones built in as most of them use the same opamps and similar circuitry.

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