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Help me choose pres

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by HaHallur, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    I've got a pretty good budget for pres this summer.
    I just don't know which ones to get and I am not in liberty to try preamps out.

    It has to be a dual channel pre, use will be heavy guitars, vocal, acoustic guitar and overheads. But mainly heavy guitars and vocals. I also like to keep this simple so i'm not looking for alot of knobs on the pre. Gain preferably above 60db.

    I'm a fan of modern music with vintage sheen e.g. Opeth and that is what i'm looking for.
    If I need to be more specific let me know!

    My budget will be 1000-1500$ +/-

    I'm open to all suggestions.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Personally I would look at Great River and other "opinion" brands of preamp in this same circle of friends.
  3. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    I was checking out the dual channel Great River pre, it is about 2300$ which is way over budget.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    MP 2NV

    yes, but you mentioned heavy guitars, vocal, acoustic guitar and overheads. Great River is in that group.

    But, my point is, to follow the opinions from those who recommend that pre and other pre's that those people recommend. If you are serious about sound, it is my opinion there is a ton of gear out there that is all the same in a different package and then there is the real stuff not much more expensive. So follow the opinions in those circles if you want to find where the cream is. You can also find quality pre's used that may be closer to your budget.

    Hope that helps some...
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    API and True Systems are the others that go a long way here.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    $500-$700 per channel is a pretty tough price point for preamps of the style you are looking for. There are four channel units with good color within double your budget (e.g. API 3124+) and there are some good transparent, neutral, two channel pres within your budget. I don't own any of these, but True and Grace keep getting good reviews from the guys recording classical. Of course, there are all kinds of one channel preamps and channel strips that fit the description of what you want and are within your budget. You might consider going the Lunchbox route. There are several threads on 500 series preamps in the archives. Lots of great preamps within your price per channel, but you have the overhead of buying the box first.
  7. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    Yeah I know the budget is a tad bit tight since most API and Neve pres start around 1800$

    I have been looking at Grace but they are a bit too expensive.

    You mentioned True Systems and I found the P2analog @ 1500$.
    True Systems P2analog | Sweetwater.com

    Looks very promising but may be too clear for heavy guitars?

    The 500series is also tempting, but before I go further, any objections to the P2analog.
  8. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    I also found the True P-Solo, it is said to be based on the P2analong, at 600$ it's very tempting.
  9. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    Ok, I've gone through some pres in my range and found 4 that I think may suit me.

    Slate Pro Audio Fox (1699$) has the exact description I want, very simple, has 2 independent preamp circuits in each channel, classic circuit provides 1073-style sound and modern circuit provides ultra-clear sound.
    I'm currently most fond of this one!

    Vintech 1272 (1300$) built on Neve 1272

    Vintech Model 273 (1750$) based on the Neve 1072

    Miktek MPA-201 (1500$), which is a new one that I don't know anything about but looks like it has more bells and whistles than the others.

    Let me know if anyone has tried any of these out!
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There two approaches to heavy guitars. One is to get the attitude and aggressiveness from the source and record it very clean and clear and the other is to add aggressiveness and attitude at the mic pre.

    The True system will NOT add this aggressive nature but it WILL add dimension and depth and will impart that professional sound quality and sheen. The API is simply plug and play as it IS THE pre you have heard on most recordings of this nature. The Vintech gear is quite good. Well built and a little more versatile in its ability to drive a signal into that sweet spot. The Great River is the most versatile of all of them and will impart that huge soundfield to your recordings with any input. It is not some of the most expensive without reason.

    If you can swing just a bit more there are other options. These are not exactly household ideas nor will these show up on a lot of suggestions or forums...but if you can, look at something like a Grace pre for your cleans and perhaps a Hamptone for your aggressive. Hamptones cone in kits but the also make already assembled. They are really good.

    Another relatively forgotten but very aggressive pre is a Peavey VMP-2. Before you go , HUH!!?? check them out. Not built anymore and a bit noisy for really clean sources, but made distorted guitars big and fat. Relatively cheap on the used market and built like tanks.
    Digtlartst likes this.
  11. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    Thanks for the response Dave.
    There is one thing I'd ask regarding "aggressive", what does that mean, more distortion?
    I'm using high gain amps and high output pickups, Engl' and Mesa', it's usually a matter of setting it as heavy as possible without getting harsh, I hate harshness and the hiss you get around 5,8k hz, so I try to minimize the EQ cut I have to do.
    So when you say the pre could make it more aggressive does that mean more distortion, because I really don't need any more distortion (or least I think so) (please take into account that i'm a total noob compared to you guys). =)

    To me its more desireble to dial the high end amp and have the pre hear what I hear. In addition to that, a clean pre would also be more versitile for acoustic gtr, vocals and overheads.

    The Slate Pro Audio Fox says it's got both the vintage warmth you'd get for a Neve 1073 as well as a clean mode you'd get from the True P2analog, anyway that just sounds like a sweet deal.
    I know they started shipping on the 17th of this months so obviously no-one has gotten their hands on it.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    "Aggression" and "warmth" when used in the context of describing sound can interpreted in several ways. "Warmth" can and usually does describe a type of added distortion but in a pleasing way. Its not the same type of distortion one would associate with a high-gain guitar amp but rather a subtle sort of softening of the even order harmonics yet retaining an audiofile clarity that has depth and width to its soundfield. "Aggression" as I meant it, is simply a pre that has a nice "hot" ouput full of all the frequencies. Theres not mush or slewing that leads to a less than quality soundfield. So you can have an "aggressive, warm" pre. I think that the API and Neve pres as well as many of their clones fall into this category.

    You seem to be looking in the right direction for your needs. With all of the gear available now as well as the huge amount of information readily available on the 'net, its no wonder there are so many confusing choices. It must be especially hard living in a place where preview and try-outs would be non-existant.

    A great example is the current thought that you NEED a TUBE pre for this or that. And the manufacturers are making sure that a TUBE pre is part of their selection. The fact that most of the TUBE pre's from long ago that these are modeled after were simply the circuit architecture of the times and the designers were building them to be as clean and pristine as the technology would allow. It was only later through experimentation that it was discovered that driving these boxes into a bit of distortion would enhance the sort of music that people wanted to write and record. It was NOT the intention of the designers as most were used to record classical and jazz and big-band at that time. You certainly didnt want ANY distortion for those styles of music.

    Now they all want to harken back to these past designs. Its kinda funny, but some of the greatest designs that turned out to be "warm" or "aggressive" weren't TUBE at all.

    I'm a person that looks for the highest caliber of versatile gear as well as the lowest amount of cash outlay. Bang for the buck. Any preamp that will pass signal is going to be usable, so you have to decide where in your recording chain the weakest link is and approach your changes from that standpoint. It sounds like you are getting what you want from your source. Engl and Mesa are really good at saturated phat and capturing that as you hear it is a fine place to start.

    But before you decide what will be best, look to small changes in your acoustics, your mic placements and all the periferals you have physical control of.

    You might find all or part of your solution there.
  13. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    I did a bunch of research on dual channel pre's and discovered the DAV BG1 and the JDK RE20.

    From the reviews the JDK RE20 at less than $1,000 for two channels seems to be a great piece of gear. It's made by API.
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I think you mean the R20; the RE20 is a large-diaphragm dynamic mic from Electrovoice.

    The DAV BG1 does not really fit the requirement voiced by the original poster in his opening post in this thread, although it is a very open-sounding pre-amp. I have several of them, and they find use for orchestral, solo instrumental and classical vocal work, but I would not usually consider using them for miking a guitar cabinet.
  15. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Seventh Circle Audio and a Sebatron VMP2000 are two other choices. I love both on distorted guitar although I don't really deal with much metal stuff.
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Jeemy also has the JLM pre. His is 8 channels but they do make a dual. Thats a consideration....
  17. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    Thanks for the response everyone, and nice explanation from you Dave!

    But yeah too many options, I did however hear the Vintech x73 and it sounded fabulous.

    If anyone can lead me to a site where there are sample i'd be greatful, it's hard to find good examples.
  18. mdb

    mdb Active Member

    Maybe those here who have some of these pres and the ability to sample them should post some here.
  19. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Yes, I meant to say the JDK R20..not RE20. sorry.
  20. HaHallur

    HaHallur Active Member

    What about SSL?
    I first assumed that it would be something super expensive but... then i saw this!
    Solid State Logic Alpha VHD | Sweetwater.com

    4ch @ 1580$ (more the marrier right?)
    Someone mentions "I can make this thing sound clean and straight, or fat and warm!"

    Also the SPL Gold Mike Mk 2 at a very friendly price.
    It has a variable price depending on 2x Lundahl Line Out & 2x Lundahl Line Out which I have no idea what is.

    Can anyone elaborate on these?

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