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Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Tascaman2488, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Tascaman2488

    Tascaman2488 Guest

    I have a Tascam2488 and im kinda new about preamps what are they used for and what ones could i buy if i record a band :D
     
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    A preamp's basic function is to amplify a low-level signal to a higher level. Mic's, guitars and bass guitars are examples of low level signals that could benefit from being pre-amplified into a recording input.

    Your Tascam seems to have four XLR and four 1/4" inputs, from just a quick glance at it.

    Are those 1/4" inputs TS or TRS, and are they -10dBV or +4 dBu, or switchable?

    If they are -10, those could probably use a preamp if connecting a mic. If they are +4, you might be able to get by with an XLR-TRS adapter. The XLR channels should probably work for a mic without an external preamp.

    Preamps are also useful for imparting certain characteristics to the signal. These could be good or bad, depending on the quality of the preamps. You can use a preamp on the XLR inputs if you want to add some flavor. Just remember to ALWAYS turn down the input trim levels when connecting gear...especially preamps.

    Preamps with "phantom power" are also useful for powering condensor mics, and are pretty much a necessity if your board or inputs don't provide phantom power. You can actually buy phantom power-only boxes, and some mics come with their own power supply.

    A regular dynamic (not powered) mic can be run through a preamp, just to add character or boost the signal. This can be helpful if you have a weak singer. A relatively modest boost from a clean-sounding preamp into a relatively lower input trim setting on a board may sound better than cranking an input trim by itself. If you are mic-ing a weak singer and have the input cranked, a LOT of inputs will generate sizzle when cranked to near full.

    So, to recap, you can try the XLR's by themselves to determine if they have the balls to run what you need, or the capacity to power a condensor mic, if you use any.

    If the 1/4" inputs are capable of +4, you may be able to get by with adapters. If not, you may need preamps or DI boxes to run into them to obtain a decent signal. If you are using newer keyboards, they usually put out a hot enough signal to run directly into either. That should all be in the manual.

    If you are boosting your inputs WAY high to get a useable signal, a preamp may be in order.

    If you want to impart a "smooth tube sound", a tube-preamp may be the ticket. Just be careful of "tube" hype. Some lesser units with tubes don't do much more than just make the tube glow...and some can't even seem to do that. (The ol' put a yellowish-red LED behind the tube to provide the "glow") :twisted:

    There's the basics. More to them that, but this may stimulate discussion.

    Also, is eight inputs going to be enough? Could be, depending on how you mic a drummer. Count your instrumentalists and vocals, and perhaps even consider that you may want your bassist both mic'ed and direct. Eight minus however many of those is how many tracks are left for the drummer.

    Hope this answered some of your questions, or at least gave you something to chew on.


    Kapt.Krunch
     
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