ONE rackspace 8 channel mic pre?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Exsultavit, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member


    I am giving myself a Christmas gift rather than sending the $$ to Uncle Sam in April. I can really use a good/ great 8 channel mic pre to augment what I bring onsite currently. I only have room for one rackspace, though.

    Current contenders are the True Systems Precision 8 or (really!!) the Mackie Onyx-800R*. There is a German maunfacturer who makes an 8 ch 1 space unit, but I have forgotten the name. Can anyone help with this? Does anyone else have a suggestion for any other 8 ch unit that fits my space needs?


    * While inexpensive, the Mackie ($1000 USD) is used by at least one major symphony orchestra that I know of for both mic pre and conversion duties. I am willing to spend more (the True is $2,500 USD), but I am also willing to spend less...
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    The DAV is a very high quality amp and represents very good value for money.
  3. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member


    Have you a rough idea of the prices? I expect the DAV to be pricy...

  4. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    I was about to recomend the BG8 when I saw that David had beat me to it! (Got 12 channels worth of BG pres, no #8 tho..)

    in my small corner of the world it's got a recomended importers price of $3300 - what you pay on the street may be something quite diffrent!

    Dunno what the price struture may be in the US!

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Are you thinking the Audient as the other one you couldn't remember?

    The Trues (while not my personal favorite) are probably the best out of the lot for a universal sounding preamp.

    The DAVs are wonderful as well, but if I had to choose just one out of the bunch, the True is a bit more transparent whereas the DAV is perhaps a tad euphoric and smoothing on many sources.

    The Mackie is a great inexpensive choice. It's transparent but not near as open sounding as the Trues or the DAVs. They work well for hot/bright condensers (KM184s and CMC6 MK2h and MK2s). I wouldn't use the Mackies for ribbons as their last 10 dB of gain gets a tad noisey.


  6. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    Thanks for all the info!

    The Audient is not the brand I had forgotten- the one I am trying to remember is from Germany and is a bit pricey..

    The Mackie interests me in part because it will allow me to try higher sample rates on smaller 8 channel projects. Also- if the clock interacts well with my system, it will also allow me expand my highest track count projects from my current limit of 24 trks to 32.

    I am assuming that the more expensive units likely have better components and may sound better (they had better!!).

    Also on my xmas list: Benchmark DAC1, and possibly a pair of 4011 DPA mics-- but only if I buy the less expensive preamps.... decisions, decisions...

  7. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member ?
  8. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Is 600 Ohm input impedance OK? Seems a bit low, especially for ribbons.
  9. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Want to dispense of some $$$? Buy a plane ticket to a remote place, enjoy it while it still exists, get some real 'air' and broaden your personal bandwidth.

    But if you must spend your money on yet another inanimate lump of metal, plastic and silicone that allows you to do more of the same thing you already do, then perhaps wait a couple of months for the forthcoming Musik Messe and NAMM shows. New products are often released at those times.

    Yours unhelpfully,

    - Simmosonic
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hmm, I'm not convinced about the specs on this unit. Not many pieces of gear currently available are designed solely for the 600 Ohm market. It could be that the 600 Ohm input impedance is either switchable or pertains to the line ins only, but not having used a TMP-8, I stand open to correction. As an additional comment, 60dB max gain is not really enough for ribbon mics.
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I haven't really found this to be the case.

    On full symphony or full chorus, I've gotten away (in most cases) with around 50dB of gain (even with chamber orchestra maybe 55dB)

    On drums, anywhere between 25 and 40 dB

    On chamber chorus (just did a 12 person a capella) 60 dB was just adequate.

    On string quartet, 60dB worked fine

    Jazz ensembles...45-50 depending upon the type of jazz and the use of the mic.

    I suppose if the sourse were mighty quiet, I could see needing more gain, but I haven't encountered that yet. However, if recording at 24 bit, there's enough headroom to get you another 10 dB of gain if absolutely needed.
  12. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    I myself am not pleased with any 'soft limit' function that is always in place. I saw no way to defeat it.

    The tax opportunity is over for '07, but I am still shopping. At this point, I am looking hard at the Mackie Onyx 800, and not only because it is less money. Several engineers have done a shoot-out between this and other, more expensive pres and found that the Onyx pres are sufficiently high quality to use alongside the more expensive units. I also like the chance to use the a/d and clock in it, which could lighten my load onsite if they are up to snuff. If all these are up to standard when I get the box, I'll use it and take that trip to a distant place for vacation with the $$$ I saved!

    Or, return the Mackie and get something better.

    I'll let you know when I've had a chance to put the Mack through it's paces.

  13. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Soft limit functions are only useful if a) they don't offer significant degradation; b) you know where the threshold is so you can keep your peaks just below it, making the limiter save your skin when it really needs saving; c) you can bypass them!

    Shoot out, schmoot out! Do your own, or you'll never know. I've seen too many shootouts where the cheaper alternative gets cut a lot more slack than the expensive alternative. That's human nature, of course. And I don't care who the engineers are, we are all subject to that kind of behaviour.

    Having said that, I'd only have reservations about using the Onyx if it was going to be my main preamp/AD system for stereo miking. In that situation, the tonal character of the preamps and ADs becomes significant. But in augmenting a multimiking situation (as you seem to be suggesting), where you're using different brands of preamps and ADs, the contribution of each individual preamp and/or AD converter becomes less significant. The sound of the microphones themselves will be dominant...

    I'd hate to spend a bucket load of $$$ on some additional high end preamps and/or converters, and then find that I only use them once in a blue moon. Get the Mackie and buy a plane ticket somewhere with the change...
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I agree with Simmo-
    I've used the Mackie 800R as auxilliary preamps on numerous rigs and never questioned the decision.

    As for mains- only on "lesser" projects.

    If it's in that back-seat role, I don't think you'll ever regret your decision.

  15. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Just to be different, I wouldn't want to make a decision like this based on the first critea that you suggested, that it has to be a 1 rackspace unit. I would get the unit I wanted, and then if it turned out to be a 2 rack unit, figure out how jury rig the logistics.
  16. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    While I appreciate your suggestion, Taxman, I am on a quest to make my 'standard' live rig smaller, or at least keep from ballooning it further. At the same time, I will not easily give up the functionality I have gotten used to having on site.

    The preamp setup I am questing for will not be for mains. I usually dedicate Millennias to the first main pair and the first 'other' pair- typically choir. And: if the power supply to my DPA 4003 pair is set to +20, their output level is about the same as my Klaused Neumann M269s at +32 db or so, so I often avoid using a preamp at all for the 4003 pair. That takes care of the first 6 tracks.

    After that, I go to more preamps-- in this case, maybe the Onyx's.

    I await delivery!

  17. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    Finally got and tested the Mackie Onyx 800R. I will probably be returning the unit only because the pots are so touchy!

    The actual gain markings on the unit are as much as 10db off (when compared to my Millennia Media pres), and I find them to be just about impossible to re-set to the same place twice. Almost all of their useful gain area (say, +30db to +50db) is concentrated between 3:00 and 4:30 or so. You can try to move the pot the smallest amount within that area and it will jump quite a ways. Arrrrgh!

    While I am happy with the converters and clocking features, this pot thing is a deal-killer for me. Never even got to check out the sound, as my predeliction for setting up stereo pairs will be constantly frustrated by the resolution of the pots....

    Now, I'll have to check out the other fine products mentioned in this thread....
  18. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you want resettability of gain controls in a pre-amp, the DAV BG8 is the one for you!
  19. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    What's the cost? I emailed them for this, but no response yet.

  20. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    That was always my problem with the Onyx 800R as well. Though with some test tones feeding it, I never had a problem getting a good stereo level.

    The gain past the 50-55dB point got too noisy as well. However, as you state, the conversion is really quite nice.

    I wonder if they went to (or one were to substitute) a linear taper instead of a log taper pot inside of the unit if it would make a noticable difference. Even using some relatively inexpensive ones should probably make the gain more usable.

Share This Page