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My new preamp sounds like my cheaper one? HELP!

Discussion in 'Preamps & Processing' started by Hemmick Reef, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    I thought I would post my question here as am I am just running a home studio but my question is regarding a high end (so I have read) preamp.

    I have just bought a Groove Tubes 'The Brick' preamp to improve on the Edirol preamps and HiZ inputs on my sound card interface.
    So far I have tried The Brick as a DI with electric guitar & bass. I struggled to tell the difference in sound?
    I believe that The Brick is a great preamp, especially after reading the great user reviews on various forums and in magazines, which is why I bought it over the TLAudio & Focusrite budget range of preamps.
    I only have a small home studio but I was expecting to here a greater difference in sound?

    Can anyone give some advice on this

  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003

    For a good answer, you need to give us more info on what you already have. My best guess is that you are monitoring through a set of Edirol or MAudio or similar powered monitors in an untreated room. This combined with the fact I have never liked the A/D of any Edirol I have heard means you won't hear much of a difference in anything.

    The other reason is the appication. DI'd guitar is very limited indeed and it could be argued that after a certain level one DI'd guitar sounds much like another, and its a fairly useless sound.

    DI'd bass I would guess the Brick is making a big difference to the richness, smoothness and punch of the lower frequencies and your monitor chain is not revealing this. I wuold bet that you would notice it in the mix.

    Where you would really notice the Brick's performance is on mic'd sources and you don't mention those. An SM58 I am willing to bet would sound a very different mic on vocals through the Brick than through the Edirol. Ditto any condensor.

    Sorry if my presumptions are wrong, if they are, post the full signal chain,

  3. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    Edirol DA2496 8ins/8outs
    Carillon PC computer
    Cubase SX2
    Alesis M1 Active Mk2
    Groove Tubes GT67 mic
  4. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    hmmm.....I think the DA converters are better than the Edirols I have heard, don't know for sure.

    The Alesis' I don't know much about, I think they are ok speakers tho.....

    Maybe the bass response in your room is too messed up to notice it on DI'd bass. thats gonna be a subtle one; try it on a mic'd source and let us know how you fare.....

    And just to check you are running at line level between the Brick and the Edirol right? Not going through the Edirol pre? Dumb question but worth a check....
  5. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    Line level was actually one of my concerns.

    The Brick preamp puts out on balanced XLR. I have XLR inputs on the edirol which I obviously will not use. But I have been using an unbalanced lead into the balanced line level inputs on the back of the edirol box, and I have also tried the unbalanced lead with the balanced/unbalanced HiZ input on the front of the Edirol box!

    Am I doing the correct thing here. I was told that as long as I am not picking up any hiss with the unbalanced lead things should be fine?
  6. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    hmmm......i don't know the edirol well enough to comment. from the edirol units i have worked with, anything plugged into the front neutrik xlr/jack combo sockets will be subject to the preamp circuit, therefore, you *must* go to the back sockets. if these are able to accept a balanced or unbalanced source, you may be 'fine' - except your post suggests things are not fine......

    .....so.....first thing to do, get a balanced xlr to balanced jack cable wired and connect the brick to the back sockets of the edirol - the line in only sockets. then a/b a mic'd source. then drop us a line.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    You might think that you should hear a day and night difference but the fact is, so much of the newer equipment is so good that the differences are generally rather subtle. It takes a well-trained ear to begin to understand the differences in the subtleties between pieces of equipment. You seem to be another person that believes the equipment can turn a pig's ear into a piece of silk?? It doesn't work that way. The equipment doesn't change the sound of the signal source only its subtleties. As a beginner, you've probably wasted your money? Learn how to make good recordings first with what you have and after that if you decide you want a subtle difference in the tonality to change, then try another piece of equipment. I'm not saying that your current acquisition was not a good decision, it was. You just may not be able to realize its potential yet?

    cest' la vie
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I'm going to add a touch to Ms RAD's statements, and also extend a bit of knowledge about what makes higher ended products 'better' sounding.

    It is a crying shame that the equipment wars we're currently in dont allow for much as far as reviews, recommendations, or simply plunking down cash in a hope and see mindset. There are few companies who allow trial and return....the reasons being myriad.

    So we're left with some sampling....mp3's ...not much there....and really ,gear has to be experienced in person to justify its use.

    Its another shame that a LOT of people believe that there is a 'silver bullet' that will bring their mixes and recordings into immediate pro quality simply by adding a piece of equipment.

    The only way I've EVER been able to improve significantly was by increasing my knowledge of technique and experimenting with sound no matter how strange or radical the effect may be. It is knowledge and the application of this knowledge that separates the good and pro from the masses.

    Here's my other point. A good piece of equipment may not deliver an immediate upfront difference to a lot of ears...But later on, when you've recorded several tracks with it, you will apreciate its ability to retain a good sound without a buildup of unwanted anomilies and frequencies. It is here, that a good piece of gear will shine....ALWAYS.
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Examine your weak audio links. You very well could be getting much better quailty but are unable to hear it due to any or more of weak audio links such as poor recording skills, monitors, monitoring enviornment, source instrument quality, cheap mic or DI, inproper gain staging, poor A/D D/A converters, ect..

    Don't just judge what you hear in realtime or after recording and hearing just one source. Judge from recording and then listening to many sources as well as how the recording sounds to fit in the whole mix/arrangement. The Brick is a good and decent preamp but it ain't no ViPre, API or Neve 1073 which do have the WOW factor.

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