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needing a compressor and mic pre..

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pfactionbrett, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. What can you guys recommend for a person on my budget...I am in need of a compressor for vocals, will probably use on acoustic and electric guitars too though into my protools system. Also in need of a preamp at least on channel 2 would be good but not required...ive seen some decently priced dbx, and a behringer tube comp..and maybe a ART pre???my budget:

    about $200 max for the compressor 300 for the pre...
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The company is FMR and the two units are the RNP and the RNC.
  3. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I'm by no means a professional, but the BBE Maxcom works quite well for me as a compressor for a variety of applications: from light guitar compression to vocal squelching. It also has a built in sonic maximizer on each channel, which helps a lot with cheaper gear. Here's a link to an online store with it: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MaxCom/. Happy hunting and God bless.
  4. that BBE looks pretty cool, considering i've wanted a bbe sonic maximizer as well...

    Anyone have any opinion on the dbx compressors?
  5. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Take it from someone who's a relative newbie running a cheap project studio, but has shelled out a (relative) ton ($3000+) on preamps/interfaces:

    Listen to Dave.
    I made the mistake of not purchasing FMR stuff.
    I've got a Presonus Firestudio and Digimax for my basic 16 channels.
    Decent stuff, but nothing you want to use on your important tracks.
    I've also got some Presonus tube pres, a Sytek, a Focusrite ISA 428, and have an Octopre on the way.

    I'm wishing I had spent the $$ on some good, clean preamps like the RNPs.
    Don't get me wrong, the ISA is awesome!! - But the FMR stuff is wonderful for the price.
    Not flashy, just really nice. A lot of the other pres in the market have their own special characteristics - nice for a variety of options/flavors, but they don't match the FMR stuff for versatility, imo.

    Remember that pres are like mics - each is different, and each has its "best" applications, and even that differs depending on who you talk to.
    A versatile workhorse should preceed the other stuff.
    (Just ask any of the "old-timers" here about the Shure SMs!)

    I suggest you stay away from the ART pres. My Presonus TubePre is cheaper and better, imo. It actually does a very nice job if paired w/ the right mic ($150-$150).

    I don't have a lot of experience with outboard compressors, but certain dbx's (160, for example) have a great rep. It lists @ $400 or so, but you could probably find a used one much cheaper.

    So maybe I've given you more choices than answers.
    For those w/ (far) more experience than I - let me have it if I'm out of my element here. Just speaking from my experience and that of some close engineer friends.


    Am I far off on this, Dave?
  6. droc8705

    droc8705 Active Member

    there's 1 art pre that's worth getting...the Pro MPA. It's a great budget pre that stacks up to some high end gear pretty nicely if you swap the tubes out on it. check this thread out and see for yourself.

    (Dead Link Removed)
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that input. I haven't had the opportunity to use the MPA.

    I guess that's something I didn't think of in my post - you can improve a cheaper tube pre by changing the tubes.
    It's not going to give you a $2000 pre, but still worth it, esp. on a budget.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The ISA is a very nice unit as is the Sytek. The Octopre is decent as a standalone for getting more channels and if used within its parameters will give a very nice clean sound. I dont like them driven as they tend to get harsh easily and the image gets smeared, but they are very good when used as they should be.

    The ART MPA is a very underrated pre. I have owned one for many years and it sounds like a quality build pre should. No, it is not a Neve nor is it in the same catagory as most 1000/channel tube pres. It is ,however, a nice pre that stacks up well against anything in its price range. If you can find an American made one, it'll be used, snap it up and research the upgrades that have been time tested for this unit. Even though it is NOT a high plate voltage design, changing the tubes can yield good results. I have found with mine, that different makes of tubes dont necessarily make it sound better, just different enough to warrant the change. A set of Mullards for example will give it a browner sound while Phillips and RCA's will give it more output in a glassier way. YMMV.

    Not all "Tube" pres will benefit from this. Some simply use the tube as a selling point and a prop. The tube does nothing at all!!!

    Not all tube pres give that 'Tube' sound. Some are designed to be clean as possible....they simply use tube technology to accomplish this. Others drive the tube into a warm distortion while retaining clarity and depth of field.

    Its all about the circuit design. The famous Neve 1073 preamp has no tube at all. But it is warm and huge sounding and adds a dimension to things that simply cant be gotten by twisting knobs. Its just how it sounds.

    Of course all of this is moot without quality sources to capture . Crap sounds like crap no matter what. The better the gear, the clearer and more defined the crap can be.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I have the FMR RNP/RNC combo and like it a lot. I also have the octopre. It can't be pushed as hard as the FMR combo and I don't like the compressor/limiter nearly as much. I bought the octopre to get eight more channels for my Digi002 and I wish I had waited and bought something a bit better.

    If you want to wait a bit, the Langevin DVC has two channels of optical limiter, eq and preamp. Big red slice of heaven.

    I'd have to say that there is a bigger difference between the FMR and the DVC than between, say, the Digi002 preamps and the FMR. To me, the biggest difference in preamps is in the amount you have to baby them. You can find the sweet spot on even fairly crappy preamps and get a good recording out of them. The differences in sound of preamps that are being used to their optimum efficiency are pretty darned subtle.
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Dave: which ones have the "prop" tubes?
    I assume this would be easily determined by looking at electronics diagrams? (I forget the proper term, forgive me)

    My tube pres are:
    Presonus BlueTube and TubePre (supposedly? solid state/tube combo)
    Behringer Ultragain Pro Mic2200

    I hope those aren't among the guilty parties. They do a nice job for the $100-$200 range, imo. Especially the Presonus'.

    Also, I decided to decline on the Octopre. I already have 16 channels, and would rather spend the $$ on pres and mics than upgrading to 24 channels.

    Thanks, fellas!

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