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preamp upgrade

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by afreeid, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. afreeid

    afreeid Guest

    I've been reading some of the numerous preamp discussions here and am hoping to get some more specific advice. My main mics and an AT4050 and a pair of studio project C4s. I run though a DBX 386 to an maudio omni I/O. I bought the 386 at someone's suggestion (not here) but I'm not getting the sound I'm looking for yet. To me, despite supposedly being "tube" it sounds cold and harsh. Also, it seems really easy to overdrive. The syle of music I generally work on is acoustic based pop. The words I can think of to describe the sound I want are "open" and having "depth". From what I've been reading, unless it's the omni I/O, I need a better preamp. So here's the question; for around a grand, can I get something that will be significantly better than my 386? And if so, let the recommendations begin! thanks! -BK
  2. MadGuitrst

    MadGuitrst Active Member

    The 386 seems dull and muddy to me. The best application I ever found for it was running from the preamp out into my direct guitar rig, back into the 386 and through it's converters.

    You can get a lot of things for $1000.

    How many channels do you need?
    For acoustic based pop I'd think you want something more clean and neutral.
    For one channel you can get a Hardy.
    Sytek will get you four channels for aboout $800. Not as great as a Hardy but pretty darned good and a steal for $800.
    RNP isn't exactly colorless but it's not exactly highly colored. 2 channels for $450 or so.
    I think you cna get 2 channels of Grace for about $1,000....that might be a good way to go.
  3. afreeid

    afreeid Guest

    At least two channels. Otherwise I'll be stuck with the 386 or maudio pres for stereo tracking. I've been considering the Sytek. The two channel Grace is a little out of my price range unless i'm totatly convinced it's the best option for me. Then I just have to convince my bank account!
  4. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I have both the sytek and the grace and I must say that they have kinda a similar clean sound, though the grace is much 'cleaner' almost antiseptic.
    I prefer the grace for some aplications, such as ribbon mics and a clean bass di- also for jazz vocals. the sytek, especially with a burr brown option -is a bit better for male rock vocals (if you have to choose between the 2) for $800 or so the sytek is a very good value IMO. You can buy them direct from Mike (the manufacturer) on ebay. i also hear that the 8 ch studio projects preamp is very similar to the sytek with burr brown pres as well- and its only $600 for 8 chanels. i haven't heard it though, while I do own the other 2
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I also hear that the mackie onyx is comparable toi the sytek and its $1000 for 8 ch
  6. afreeid

    afreeid Guest

    last chance to stop me before I get the Sytek....
  7. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    Dont throw away that DBX386, replace the Chinese tubes with Mullard or Telefunken tubes, and for under $75.00 you can get a nice sound out of it. But vocals is not it strong point. :lol:
  8. afreeid

    afreeid Guest

    Well I'm back. Got some new concerns. I'm going to be recording drums so I'll need the buy pads for the Sytek right?

    Also, wondering about the Sebetron VMP-4000e. I'm assuming it would NOT be considered a "transparent" pre but I see it gets a lot of favorable comments. I like that it has the DIs.

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