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Pre-Amp Recommendation

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by mark, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. mark

    mark Guest

    Fletcher,
    This question is especially for you, but I welcome anyone's input.
    What's the best pre-amp I can buy for under $1000, including used?
    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  2. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Mark,

    Are you talking about a single channel preamp, or 2 ch or more? Also, What will you application be?
     
  3. I know you put a $1000 limit. I did the same, but found out about John Hardy preamp, and got it.
    If you take the one without output transf. and complete metering, it's gonan cost you about $1300. You will never regret it, at least I didn't. It's very transparent, and has a clean gain path. I used it with Royer R121, and the results was really good, especially on screming electric guitars. I used it on vocals too, with an MD421, and it done a really good job.
    And John is a very kind person to speak with.

    ciao
    ronnie
     
  4. KBP

    KBP Guest

    I agree with AR about price limitation, You're just slightly cornering you're self into the semi professional sound when for a few hundred bucks more, quality takes a huge leap forward.

    KBP
     
  5. mark

    mark Guest

    Thanks for the input so far. I will consider what you're saying about cost. However, I am a semi-professional musician/producer at this point. I will be using the Pre-Amp primarily as a "cheater" in my home DAW-based studio, in that when I'm "done" with a tune, I'll run it out of my computer, thru the pre-amp, and back into the computer to then burn to CD.
    Mind you I'm already doing pretty well, but I wouldn't call myself professional at this point, since I still have a day job I can't quit!
    I would want stereo.
    Mark
     
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Originally posted by mark:
    Thanks for the input so far. I will consider what you're saying about cost. However, I am a semi-professional musician/producer at this point.

    That isn't quite what they meant by calling the equipment "semi-professional". That you are currently doing this on a 'semi-professional' basis is great, however, the tools you employ should last you a lifetime/career...not just a couple of years.

    You will find that a lot (hell...most) of the 'semi-pro' crap is more expensive than the really good stuff as you'll outgrow the equipment in a couple of years, whereas you'll have the really good stuff for a decade or two (the cost of ownership per year drops to a fraction of the price).


    I will be using the Pre-Amp primarily as a "cheater" in my home DAW-based studio, in that when I'm "done" with a tune, I'll run it out of my computer, thru the pre-amp, and back into the computer to then burn to CD.

    That's not "cheating", but it is a bit foolish. I'm from the school that preaches "once you're in the digital domain-stay there". You are going to lose more by converting to analog, using a mic pre amplifier to add depth and dimension to the tone that the rest of your equipment was incapable of capturing in the first place, then back into the digital domain (more than likely running through the same mediocre sound card as an A/D-D/A that made you want to use a pre-amp to warm things up).

    Bro, you're trying to put a band-aid on a headwound. There are a couple of things that I could suggest, first...start with your A/D-D/A / Soundcard. Do they suck? Can you spend that same $1,000 and get a really good set of converters/soundcard? In my experience that will make more of a difference than running your stuff through an analog "good" box, especially when using less than stellar converters.

    As far as actual pre-amps go...there really isn't anything on the market that I'm aware of that is a great 2 channel unit for >$1k. When the RNMP comes out, that may change things, but at the moment, I don't know of anything that fits that bill.

    May I humbly suggest that you look at your entire signal path, from sound generation (instruments) to capture (how you're getting the sound out of the air/or out of a box and into your storage medium). A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, and not all A/D converters [nor D/A converters] are created equal. I've found the converters to be the weak link in the chain more than any other item...

    As always...YMMV
     
  7. synergy

    synergy Guest

    i don't know if this gear is just semi-pro or how good it really is (at least it got rave reviews-exceptional bang for the buck!), but i guess its worth a closer look:
    http://

    regards!
     
  8. mark

    mark Guest

    Good grief, Fletcher! How did you come to the assumption that my converters were no good!?! Granted, I'm not using Pro Tools, but rather an RME Hammerfall (with the RME AEB cards' converters) into Nuendo. Of all the sound cards/converters I've used, including the MOTU 1224, 2408, the Midiman Delta 1010, and the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96, this sounds the best so far, and I think it's far from "mediocre" or a "head wound!" I also use a Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro, and balanced Monster Studio cables. My signal path is pretty good for a closet studio.

    Thanks for your input, though.

    Mark
     
  9. Tom Cram

    Tom Cram Active Member

    Actually Fletcher came to the conclusion that your converters were bad because most sound card converters are bad. Simple...eh? I constantly see this same thing. I have a lot of people ask if they need to upgrade their pre while they are still using some grungy 16 bit internal sound card. I haven't heard the Hammerfall converters so they may be great. But Fletcher's (and others) advice is still good. It may not be a new pre that you need.
     
  10. j.hall

    j.hall Guest

    i think fletcher was using that as an example of a potential problem spot
    i can't say for sure....and i'm not going to speak for him

    the A/D --> D/A chain is typically weak
    unless you can spring for a rack of apogees

    i would agree that running through the mic pre after you are done recording is a bad idea

    first:
    unless the pre has a line level input you are going to clip the sh*t out of it with digital full scale signal

    second:
    what fletcher said about the whole converting process

    third:
    use the good mic pre to get great sounds in to the DAW in the first place.....maybe I/O through a really nice stereo comp even if you are only compressing a few dB it might help (ya know....transformers, tubes, all that good stuff)

    to me the hard part is deciding where and what to spend the cash on
    mics, comp, mic-pre, EQ, A/D --> D/A, etc....
    the list gets long and almost depressing


    good luck,
    j.hall
     
  11. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by mark:
    I will be using the Pre-Amp primarily as a "cheater" in my home DAW-based studio, in that when I'm "done" with a tune, I'll run it out of my computer, thru the pre-amp, and back into the computer to then burn to CD.

    Mark, do you need the pre to fix a level discrepancy between nah and nah? If so, fine. But if you think the pre is going to "add" anything to your mix, you may want to consider a different type of box instead. Like maybe a stereo compressor.
     
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Originally posted by mark:
    Good grief, Fletcher! How did you come to the assumption that my converters were no good!?!

    If you go back and read what I wrote, I asked you if they suck, I didn't say they sucked. Big difference. My point was that you really need to look at all the elements of the chain, no one particular link will be the end, all the links need to be equally strong.


    Granted, I'm not using Pro Tools, but rather an RME Hammerfall (with the RME AEB cards' converters) into Nuendo.

    For all I know, that could be better than Pro-sTools. The fact of the matter is that the P-T 888 converters are ^#$%ing terrible, and the Apologee AD-8000 not a whole lot better than that...so, without having heard your 'soundcard' I really have no place to comment upon it other than from what I've heard from most of the 'soundcard A/D-D/A's...they've not been as good as many of the outboard converters that can send a signal to a computer in the digital domain.

    Of all the sound cards/converters I've used, including the MOTU 1224, 2408, the Midiman Delta 1010, and the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96, this sounds the best so far, and I think it's far from "mediocre" or a "head wound!"

    OK, look, I really wasn't trying to insult you, I was just pointing out a potential weak link. Sorry if you took offense, none was intended.

    I also use a Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro, and balanced Monster Studio cables.

    Now that's funny!! It's kinda like saying you drive a Hyundai with Porsche seat covers...

    --------------

    Back in the real world, I don't think that leaving the digital domain to go through a mic amp is going to achieve the effect/tone you desire. Somehow, I have a feeling that if you put that $1,000 to use elsewhere in your signal path...most likely prior to the Analog to Digital conversion, you'll be doing yourself a great favor.

    I also haven't seen/met a really good 2 channel mic amp under $1,000...so you may want to put that $1,000 into a 6 month certificate of deposit with your local bank, save up a few more dollars and do some additional homework before you spend your money in an unwise manner.

    Best of luck, sorry if my previous comments offended you, it was certainly not my intention.
     
  13. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    "The fact of the matter is that the P-T 888 converters are ^#$%ing terrible, and the Apologee AD-8000 not a whole lot better than that"

    How can you say that??!! Everyone uses the 888's. Don't you think that if they were terrible, big-time producers and engineers would use something else?

    Next thing, you'll be saying that CD's are barely acceptable.

    Sheesh.

    Mixerman
     
  14. On topic:

    I suggest the Studio Technologies "Mic Preeminence"(stereo). Lists for about 1k. Excellent bang for the buck. Very clean, loads of gain, 48v, Phaserev. +4 and -10 out.

    It will not take a fullscale dig signal without OL, tho. No pad, and at it's lowest setting, it gives maybe 15db gain. But I agree that this pipe-the-mix-thru-a-mic-pre is a dumb idea, so no matter.

    But if you want a real pre for less than many cost, I recommend this one.

    WOE
     
  15. Curve Dominant

    Curve Dominant Active Member

    Yo, Fletcha, wahzzup, craze? Ya havin' fun yet? I'm gonna drop by your shop soon to check it out. We miss ya over at the "other" place, but it's all good.

    BTW, wahzzup w/ the joemeek line? I gotta bud who has a joemeek pre sittin in his mic closet gathering dust, and I think it's the single-channel chumpy. Would be fine for my cheapo VS. Whattya think I should pay him for that? $200?

    curvedominant
     
  16. hollywood_steve

    hollywood_steve Active Member

    This seems like a good thread to try another question that went nowhere the last time I asked. We're talking about moderate priced preamps here right? Well, how about the German solid state modules that followed the famous V-series tube gear? Everbody knows about the V76 and the V72 & V78 alternatives. But then Telefunken, TAB, Siemens and the rest of the German manufacturers came out with solid state lines like the V276, V376, V676 and literally dozens of other preamps and EQ's. Now that the supply of V76 modules has been bought out, and even the V-series line amps and distribution amps have been "converted" into V-series preamps, many German and US dealers are pushing the later solid state German stuff. Can anyone relate any personal knowledge of these products? They are still surprisingly cheap, so if they sound good we should really spend some time talking about these things. Can they be put to good use?

    steve
    sjp@soca.com
     
  17. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Yo Curve--I still hang at the other place, mostly in george's domain. Good to see you here, outta add a bit of spark to the proceedings!!

    Just call before you swing by the shop...it's an 'appointment only' kinda joint. Catch ya soon!!
     
  18. MPlancke

    MPlancke Guest

    Originally posted by Mixerman:

    Next thing, you'll be saying that CD's are barely acceptable.

    Sheesh.

    Mixerman


    Hey..... LOL.

    Mark Plancke
     
  19. Gregg

    Gregg Guest

    Hey Mark. Check this one out if you catch this post in time:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1228621885

    I bought one a couple of months ago and it's a spiffy setup. It put another color in my kit (blue <g> ) and I find myself using it quite a bit. It also gives you a line in (DI) as well as mic inputs.

    Cheers,

    TB :cool:
     
  20. mark

    mark Guest

    Hmmmm, well, thanks to everyone for posting in this thread. I'm sure all of you meant to be helpful.

    The thing I should've told you perhaps is that I'm making electronic music anyway, and I guess we electronic music producers sort of have different production rules than you "regular" music guys. So the preamp idea is just to "warm up" recordings without introducing any shite, not to make them sound like they were mixed on a SSL or a Trident.

    I did get a couple of good recommendations, however, so thanks.

    Mark
     

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