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i wanna buy a tube pre amp and a compresser

Discussion in 'Recording' started by NINO1, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. NINO1

    NINO1 Guest

    can u guys give me some equipment you think i should buy i already di some research but i wanna what you guys have to say...first of all i got a at4040 and a mbox 2 i wanna get a tube pre for it and a compresser/gate also and eq rack..my budget is about anywhere from 150 to 250 but i dont really need the eq rack i just want one but it could wait or what would u guys suggest cuz i could always eq with a plug in...well thanks for ya time..
  2. hummel

    hummel Guest

    I think you are going to have trouble, especially at that budget. Why not do this all using software?
  3. NINO1

    NINO1 Guest

    well cuz i thought it was better that way..like cuz i know u have to have sumthang to warm up your vocals...and i wanted to compress them and all the stuff and just add alil eq and mix them...well my budget could go higher like maybe 350....but i was thinkin about the Studio Projects VTB1 Variable Tube Microphone Preamp and maybe Alesis 3630 Compressor i heard nuthin but good things about them....
  4. hummel

    hummel Guest

    Well, here are three quotes from another forum on this topic. The thread is old (2003) but do support the 3630.

  5. NINO1

    NINO1 Guest

    so the aleisis 3630 is good well i think im get that at least and i dont know what can i use to add like warmth to vocals and make them fuller
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I would not go for the compressor. I'm not a fan of the 3630 in general, but especially in your case where you have all the PT LE plugins. Have you really deeply explored the compressors, limiters, and eq that you already have? There is no way that a cheap outboard compressor is going to do a better job than what you have in the box. Yes it may had distortion and noise in a way that you like (in some circles the Alesis unit is known as the dirty-six-dirty) but its not going to do a better job as a compressor.

    There are some inexpensive tube pres (e.g. the GT Brick) that you could save up for and would be noticeably better than the pre in the mbox, but the lowest level pres are really in the same category. You would just be buying more of the same.
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    The 3630 has one decent feature that comes in handy at this time of year. It lights up like a Christmas tree! It has a terrible reputation for killing the highs under heavy compression, the output stage is "smeared" sounding when pushed, the gate is USELESS, and the wall-wart connector easily loses its' grip on the plug. I have several compressors, including 2 3630s. One is stock, it is pretty weak. I use it to "ride" an effects send from my board. The other is a Black Lion-modded version. They no longer do this mod, it is very labor-intensive with many resistors and a few ICs that got replaced. It really is a big difference in clarity and noise levels. You may find one of these on e-Bay.
    You might look at the dbx 266, which is in the same price range, made by the people who specialize in dynamics processors. I have several 166XLs, as well as other dbx models. Their quality is always better than the Alesis units.
    And, Like BobR said, the mic preamps that you listed are not "real" tube units. The Brick is the cheapest one I've seen on the market that is the real thing.
  8. NINO1

    NINO1 Guest

    okay so i can just use a plug in comp and it will be the same thing....
    okay will as far as tube pre i want sumthang to make my vocals like sound warmer and fuller cuz i record now directly to the mbox then the computer and they sound light and thin....and i was talkin to my friend he has a a studio
    and he said i need sumthang to warm up the vocals....so im lookin for a a tube amp or anything that will work and make em sound better
  9. Gertok

    Gertok Guest

    Buy Brick. ~400, I am saving up for that one right now.
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    What mic are you using? Just curious. The thing with gear is that it's only as good as the person using it. Both the talent and the engineer need to be up to snuff. Otherwise you'll be endlessly spending money on gear to suplement your lack of know-how.

    IMHO you'd be better off making the best of what you have now. When you can fully describe what exactly is "thin" and "light" about your vox and have a good idea why they are that way, you should be ready to buy new gear. Just my opinion.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The real problem with trying understand what someone is describing in a recording sense is the language. Yeah, its English, and yeah it kinda makes sense, but since the only person whos actually AT the location and using the gear is the one describing the problem, its very difficult for folks that can REALLY help to get a handle on the problem.


    I know you have an Mbox and an AT4040. I dont HOW you're using it....whats the room like?...What plugs you use with the Mbox... What you're using to monitor your recordings through....

    Theres a lot of ways to 'warm up' a recording and not all of them involve the purchase of more gear.
  12. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Ditto Dave, and of course Hueseph...

    I've told you before, it's all about experience - learn the mics, learn placement, understand gain structure - you can't buy the theory behind the sound, nor is any one piece of gear gonna hand it to you.

    Try singing at different angles to the diaphragm, mics sound different depending on the angling. Try standing closer to it, and further away.

    Angle the mic in, angle it out, turn it left and right.
  13. NINO1

    NINO1 Guest

    okay i have a mbox and at4040 i use waves diamond bundle like the req and rcompressor and stuff like that i double the vocals my artists rap they dont sing... but i do got a gurl dat sings...and the vocals just come out to thin and when u double them there still thin and it sounds low i used to record at my buddys studio and he had i think a mxl900 and the vox sounded fatter more out ya know what im sayin but he had a tube pre also...and a mbox...so i have a better mic then him and a mbox2...but no pre thats why i think its the tube pre cuz doesnt bring levels higher and make em warmer
  14. hummel

    hummel Guest

    What type of room are you recording in? Is a treated studio? If not, that could also be a large part of the difference in sound quality. Plus, when you recorded at your buddy;s studio, did he help with setting up mic placements and other equipment?

    If you want to buy a new pre-amp, etc. go ahead, no-one is going to stop you. The real question being discussed here is whether the solution to your needs is technological or related to other factors such as experience and recording space.
  15. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    The 3630 is ok (not great) after you mod it, but it takes some soldering skills and time. The DBX 266 or even the DBX 166A is a far better sounding comp.

    But it won't 'warm' up your vocals.

    Just so I am clear what does 'warm' mean to you NINO1?
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW

    Okay. Theres only one or two pieces of information that really helps here.

    1. You double the vocals.

    2. You are recording rap ....mostly.

    3. The singing you do record is a female and it doesnt sound like you want it too...in short: " It sounds thin and low"...

    4.You think the MBox 2 doesnt have a preamp.

    Allrighty. The 4040 is a very good mic. It may have a little too much 'presence' for female vocals. I say maybe because it could be the way you're setting up the mic and the room its in that isnt emphasizing the low tones in her voice. Setting a mic isnt necssarily point and shoot. Bent covered that in his post about different mic angles and off-axis singing.

    Doubling doesnt always mean its gonna sound 'deeper'.

    If you're plugging your mic directly into the MBox2 and its recording the signal on the 'puter, you have a mic preamp. No, its not a 'tube' but at the budget you described neither is anything else no matter whether its got something glowing in there or not. The mic pre in that box cost about $1.75 to build, but most other pres in that range arent going to be a whole lot different.

    Try different techniques. Describe your room and how loud you record as well as how you monitor.

    Report back.

    If you must spend some cash, look into a used ART Pro Channel. NOT any other ART piece...ProChannel.

    Try to find one that says 'made in the usa' on the back. They're relatively cheap. It has tubes and FET's in the preamp, a compressor that actually works, and EQ that is hit or miss depending on your skill level.

  17. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Home Page:
    There is the Electro Harmonix 12AY7. This is the cheapest true tube preamp!


    This is the only one within your budget!

    The next most affordable true tube circuit preamp is the ART MPA Gold-


    The cheapest price on this I've found is $280.99

    Within the budget you have I would personally get a decent clean preamp and leave the compression and tube-ness to software. Some of the free plugins available these days sound superb!
  18. drstudio

    drstudio Active Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Home Page:
    In that price range, you aren't going to get anything that will help you better your sound. In fact, you'll probably degrade it.

    I would suggest recording direct at this point, just use the Bomfactory plug ins that come with the Protools LE software until you can afford something decent.

    By the way,
    I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but it would be helpful if you would use somewhat proper English when posting.
    Again, not trying to offend you, it just took me a few reads to understand what you were talking about.


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