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Improving gear

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Van_Hunter, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. Van_Hunter

    Van_Hunter Guest

    In some of the audio mags I read I see projects where someone takes a cheap mic and tears it down and replaces a bunch of parts and makes it a better piece of gear, so they say. Is it possible to improve the sonic characteristic of an ART DI/O preamp? For example, would putting higher quality tubes in it be a worthwhile thing?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Often times you can swap in better parts and make any product become a slightly better product but it is just about always in every case wiser to just buy the better sounding and better designed product with the high quality components to begin with. If you screw it up or end up not happy with the changes, your stuck will something you didn't want or like and then you'll likely go out and spend money again trying to get right.

    As for the ART pre, I would not think or expect that changing the tube is going to make that much of a difference or a difference that would be considered a step up. Cheap crap like most of the ART stuff, is designed to be cheap and only do the very most basic job of a preamp without reguard to any other sonic issues and artifacts. Since these product are designed and optimized around using only cheap tubes and components from the ground up, just swapping in good components is not enough and can even make things sound worse. The tubes that is used in these units are more a marketing tool to sell units than it is a valued part of the design and and it's sound.

    The top and highly respected name brand gear does cost a little more than the other less known brands or those who make clone brand name stuff, and that is something to consider. There is fierce competition in the audio gear marketplace and that has pretty much made it so that you get what you pay for so spend your money with your expectations in proper context.
  3. Van_Hunter

    Van_Hunter Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I've been at this recording thing for about three years now. My music partner and I have completed one CD and are working on the second, and what you are saying seems to be true. I have struggled with some marginal stuff, and come up with OK results but would like to step up to two good channels. The first CD was recorded using a VS-1880. Halfway through the project I picked up the ART DI/O so I could bypass the pres and the A/D on the Roland. This was an improvement. Prior to that I was using a Mackie VLZ-1642 for the premics, That was better than just the Roland by itself. Now I am using a G-4 Powerbook and Protools and the Mbox. The Mbox has some kind of Focurite pres in it and they sound better than my other gear. But now I wish I had a really nice pre and perhaps one more really great mic. I mainly use a KM-184 and an AKG Solid Tube. I'd like to hear some really great gear, eg an M149 and an Avalon 737. I want to hear for myself if that stuff is as wonderful as folks say it is. Is there a way to hear the gear before you buy?
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The high-end shops will have a very good return policy for just such a trial.Ask about this whenever you go to purchase an expensive piece of gear.
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    If you take the time to establish a long term relationship with a pro audio dealer for business, you can usually get gear to try as long as your willing to put up the money to cover the items or get credit from them and then pay for the shipping charges. Service like that and much more is one of the key reasons to spend your money with them even if you pay more because they will ususally go out of their way to serve and make you happy with your purchase. Having a good repore with a dealer can lead to you getting first dibs on items, special deals, and even referring you to customers that may lead to gigs or being clients and that has real value. Whatever you do, don't misuse someone or someplace just to try out gear and then go buy from some other place just to save a few bucks. This kind of outright disrespect is what drives the smaller dealers out of business, encourages them to not provide top notch service and that only hurts all of us in the end.
  6. Van_Hunter

    Van_Hunter Guest

    Thanks for the great info. I have a very good relationship with the local pro shop but they don't often carry the really nice stuff. I guess I'll search on line .

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