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looking for a decent vocal pre

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by drumist69, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    I'm looking for a vocal mic pre for male rock vocals mainly, and maybe some VO stuff. The main vocal mics I have are MXL 2001, Sennheiser MD421, and an AT4040 (my bass player's actually, but at my disposal). My current sad little pre's are a Mackie VLZ board, an M-Audio DMP3, and an ART TubePac.

    What I'm looking for is a decent pre that will give me a noticeable improvement in vocal recordings using the mics I currently have. I'm thinking price range would have to be anything below $800. I have no knowledge of electronics really, and no experience soldering, so I don't think a kit would be good right now. I have an ART Pro VLA compressor for outboard compression, and do eq in the box, so I'm really looking for a pre only, not a channel strip.

    I've been looking at the GT the Brick, and a few others, like the UA Solo 110 and 610 (at the top of my price range). Any other ideas here? Thanks! Andy
  2. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    FYI, some others I'm looking into are Summit Audio 2BA-221, True Systems P-solo, and Grace 101. Andy
  3. As an owner of a Brick, I would advise that you try one out on vocals before committing. It's possible that it's just the mics I use (I don't own anything that's super choice), but the tube gain can can make a vocal sound too spitty for my tastes, and it certainly wasn't *THE* improvement that my vocal tracks needed (as I considered it might be).

    People who really know gear seem to like it for vocal applications, so do keep that in mind as well--it was on the advise of people I respected that I bought one for myself. And I do use mine regularly for guitar amps and instruments (and yes, occasionally vocals), so it's not like you won't get use out of it even if it's not your go-to for vocals.

    Other people will know better, but I've read good stuff about all the pres you mentioned, save for the True.
  4. blaumph2cool

    blaumph2cool Active Member

    I wouldn't call the VLZ series pre's sad at all, th're quite usable and professional.

    There are alot of things out there that will give you a noticeable improvement. It's kinda like asking "which road will take me to the coast?"
    There are alot of roads that will take you to alot of different coastal destinations.

    What "type" of improvement are you looking for, prestine clearty, warm, a touch of color?

    For prestine clearity the True Systems P-solo and the Grace 101 might be a good fit for your budget.

    For some color the GT brick is the the best thing out there in that price range (IMO). although, i have never tried the UA solo's so I can't comment on those. (twice the price of a brick).

    TRY out the pre before you buy if possible, if not then be sure the store has a good return policy.
  5. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Sure the VLZ's are just fine, I'm mainly wondering if a pre in this price range would give me something "special" on vocals. If I had to put it into words, I'm looking for an increase in detail and clarity most. I'm thinking I'll need to A/B the Brick (for a colored pre), and the Grace 101 (non-colored) and see which one floats my boat more.
  6. Here's a test just for you, Andy: My Alesis io/26 pres vs. my Brick

    Rapidshare download instructions:
    1.) Click the "free" button in the lower-right corner of the screen
    2.) Enter the 4-character code (when it's given to you) into the box in the middle of the screen. Sometimes downloads will say you have to wait a certain amount of time; if this is the case, be patient and the code will be given to you.
    3.) Click the "download" button and select a location.

    11 megs, 44.1 Khz/16-bit stereo .wav file; no compression, eq, or anything (so man those volume controls).

    This is me singing through an AT 2020 into my Alesis io/26 interface: the first run is just the Alesis pres, and the second is running through my Brick (gain knob at around 1:30) into the interface via an XLR bal.-to-TRS cable. NOTE: I am NOT a singer, and as such I don't have good tone nor mic' technique. This is just a test to show the properties of a vocal through the 2 preamps.
  7. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Thanks patrick! Downloading that now. Andy
  8. Seedlings

    Seedlings Active Member

    Well, Patrick, that's a cool little ditty (although that line about "and he likes the girls and he likes the guys" isn't my thing). I think you're a fine singer.

    But I really replied to thank you for helping me save $360.oo because now I have very little desire to buy a Brick. While I could hear an improvement, I'm just not sure it was $360 worth. I'd like to hear the full song sometime.

    Drumist69, PLEASE be sure to reply back with whatever option you go with, and after you've played with your new pre for a while, give us a taste, and also your thoughts. There's nothing worse than a post that could be really helpful, then our collective knees get knocked out from under us because we never hear the moral of the story.

  9. You're welcome. It's actually a Better Than Ezra tune. It was the first thing that popped into my mind at the time.

    My thoughts--based on my results with my gear--were likewise, Chad: this is the sound that everyone raves about?. It kills for guitars and things, but for vocals it more just...noshes.

    Yes, Andy, please do post some results when you find something you like.
  10. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    At this point, having listened to the dif between the Alesis pre's and the Brick...mmmmm, thinking the Brick might kill on some things, but not vocals. I think I lean towards the Grace 101 or the Summit 2BA-221. I've spent the day chewing on this idea, listening to stuff, and I think I really want something like the DMP3 but BETTER! Its a killer cheap pre, very clean. I'm looking for one that does something similar, but more so. Does that make sense? I'll post something when I make a buy! Andy
  11. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Well, life gets in the way of a new pre. My car is crapping out on me, so it looks like I'll be spending money on something practical for now! I don't like spending money on practical things...I like new toys! Don't ya'll hold your breath on hearing any test takes on a Grace 101 from me! Andy
  12. Seedlings

    Seedlings Active Member


    Foiled again. Dang, Drumist69, I was truly looking forward to your feedback.


    P.S. I don't recommend a Plymouth Voyager.
  13. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    I'll see what I can do. Maybe the car loan situation won't be so bad. Of course I also need other practical things, like more mic stands, cables, and such. We shall see! Andy

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