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Preamp advice anyone?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Rag, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. Rag

    Rag Guest

    Now I am fairly new here, but since i found this forum, i've been reading quite a few of the past posts, and having done that, i realise that this topic has been beaten to the ground as it is, but if anyone has the time to hear it, here's my story...

    I just bought a Roland VS-2480. Its my first serious DAW, i chose it because it has a lot of features built in, and i can take the whole thing in a flight case to anywhere that i might be doing a live recording. Now i'm not saying theres anything wrong with the preamps built in to the machine, infact i do know that the older machine's preamps suffered from harmonic distortion, i've done tests on mine to ensure that mine dont. However, I am currently working on my first big project with the machine. Its a fairly heavy rock/prog band, and the built in preamps are sounding great (well as good as i can expect) for drums and guitars, but i do feel i would like to invest in a couple of outboard pre's. Mainly for bass and vocals, as i feel my pres dont sound quite as good as i'd like them to for these, but the more they can do the better.

    What i would like to know is, is it worth me buying something like a Studio Projects VTB-1, or M-Audio Tampa etc...considering for the moment i'm using microphones along the lines of a studio projects C1, shure 57s, and Behringer B1s (probably going to try and return the Behringers, or sell them i think). Or should i wait, do more recordings that i will always feel are lacking, until i have more cash, and buy more high end stuff? Its just too tempting to go out and buy a couple of VTB-1s, from what i hear people are sayig about them. The problem is, over here in the UK theres no way for me to listen to something before i buy it, shops tend not to stock this sort of stuff, and if i want it, i either have to get my local shop to order it, or order it online myself. Its going to be hit or miss, but thats the only way it can be.

    Well, thanks for taking the time to read this. From what i've been reading there are some very knowledgeable people here, and i would appreciate it if you would take the time to share some of that knowledge with me.

    Thanks again,
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Any external mic pre you use is going to have to be pluged into the Rolands pres unless you have an insert return on a channel and I don't think it does. But using a different pre can still add a sonic signature. I have patched a VTB 1 into a Korg D16 and noticed an improvement. It could be a placebo effect, I don't know for sure.

    I usually don't think these types of cheap pres can make that much difference though. You could be just wasting your money.
  3. Rag

    Rag Guest

    I have just ordered an edirol DA 2496 too, just for the PCI card that comes with it, so i can connect my 2480 to my pc via RBUS. But i could also connect the rackmount box of the DA2496 to my 2480 via RBUS, giving me 8 line-ins with no preamps on them. Not sure if this would be an improvement though.

    Thanks for the very fast reply btw. Much appreciated.

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    That would provide a "cleaner" path for you to use with outboard pres... At that point you could seriously consider using some.

    It seems almost ridiculous to advise a person to purchase a mic pre that cost more than the recorder they are using. I don't usually recommend less expensive mic pres. I have found with pres, you get what you pay for .... and my personal opinion is that until a certain threshold of price / quality is crossed, the pres found in most small mixers are just as good as what is offered as "affordable" solutions.

    The one exception is the pres found in these Roland, Korg and other small "Porta-studios" which are typically worse than what is normally found in small mixers.

    The Presonus M80 might be a solution.

    I have been running through its paces here at Cedar Flat and this type application is exactly the type I would recommend the M80 for. In addition to 8 channels of Presonus's s well known dual servo transformer balanced mic pres, it features phase reversal and pad switches, led metering, dedicated send / receive inserts, and an overdrive feature (they call it idss) all on every channel as well as a two channel summing bus with a headphone amp. The M80 is full featured to accommodate a wide variety of applications.

    The VTB 1 would also be an improvement in terms of performance. The added tube drive can be a lot of fun to futz with.

    The Octane (which Audio Gaff said is surprisingly good) would be a possibility. Two others, the Focusrite Octopre or perhaps a four channel Sytek MPX 4aii all would be applicable, and might deliver the goods for you.
  5. Rag

    Rag Guest

    Kurt thats awesome! Never looked at presonus gear before, as i've never seen them at any of the online retailers here in UK before.

    What do you think of the M20? Is it worth considering if i only need 2 preamps at the moment? I believe they are the same design as the M80 but with only 2 preamps instead of 8, and much easier on my wallet too!

    Thanks again for the great advice,


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