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PreSonus XMAX vs Art ProChannel vs. EHX 12AY7 pre-amps.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by JohnTodd, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I'm contemplating my next buy. It will be a preamp. I'm looking for "that tube sound". I need richness and clarity, etc. This preamp is primarily for vocals. If it does vocals well, then I'm happy. I can always try it out on other things.

    That being said, I'm torn between these two:

    ART Pro Channel Tube Mic Preamp: Shop Pro Audio & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

    Electro-Harmonix 12AY7 Tube Microphone Preamp: Shop Pro Audio & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

    My current rig uses the PreSonus FP10 (formerly Firepod). I am happy with the transparent XMAX preamps it has, but I want something better for my vocals. My voice is getting strong enough (or "pro" enough) to warrant a dedicated preamp for it.

    Any advice?
    Thanks!
    -Johntodd
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    John, I'd wait and save your dollars for something significantly superior. Your vocals and artistic talent deserve better. Whatever you are stepping up from can't be much better. If I was you, I'd even shop second hand for something around that price instead of either of these on a retail price comparison.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Thanks, BT! You made my day with those compliments.

    I never thought about second hand. So many choices, though. What are some 2nd hand tube preamps in that price range that are better?

    Thanks!
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Well deserved.

    Note; your overall mix will improve with good pre-amps compared to the lower end mushy mids etc from those starters valve pre's. Keep that in mind when you are struggling to get everything to sit right during mixdown.
    To be frank, I don't know if I would go for a tube pre at this stage of your game and budget either. The tube design is adding substantial cost to the build, maybe 1/2 to double the cost so, you better be paying a lot more to get any value from and tube pre . Always look at the big picture when buying something. Look at design cost to your door: , shipping and handling, marketing, manufacturer and dealers profit and what you have left in actual value after all that?

    I'd go for a very good FET design. You will get more mileage out of it. Also, IMHO, tube gear has to be stellar to reap the benefits. High end tube gear has balls and silk but low end is mush and mud.
    And this as well: If your converters aren't clean, everything you put through them is worse.

    You need to take one step at a time and improve things where they count. Don't waste your money on something marginally better.

    I'll think of something for you, others should be chiming in with recommendations I'm sure.

    Maybe a used FMR RNP , not sure, never owned one but there is something much better for you I'm sure....
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Maybe a used MP-1NV . I have the 2NV and its wonderful and really versatile. But its not cheap. Remember, we are in hard times so there are dea;s floating around. Here are others:
    Grace Design model 101 | Sweetwater.com But I would stay clear of Focusrite . They are just to pretty for me.
     
  6. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I love what the Waves API2500 compressor plugin does to my voice. Is there a comparable preamp?
     
  7. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    On the subject of plugins, is there a "preamp modeler" plugin that actually works?
     
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Well, you can't really "model" what a good transformer and tube circuit will do for the right mic and voice. I aquired a used Presonus ADL600 earlier this year, mainly due to Davedog's accolades ( and a great deal on Craigslist). Wonderful with my U87a and an SM7b, also with the AT4047. Clean and warm, no fizziness there. Maybe a bit pricey for you right now, but hang in there and keep an eye on e-Bay and maybe the local musician listings in the Nashville area.

    I agree with BT, in your probable price range, I'd stay away from tubes. A good FET, maybe with a good input transformer will be the way to go.
    BTW, I have a Grace M101. It is great when you want total transparency (I like it on acoustic guitars, bluegrass instruments), but for what you're seeming to want, in that same price range, I'd look at a Daking Mic-Pre One. It's a nice transformer-coupled FET, very warm. I have a friend who has one and uses it for everything in his Logic project studio and swears by it. Check it out.
     
  9. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    The Daking is looking nice.
     
  10. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    Best of both worlds, a UA710 or a Blue Robbie. I have both and they drastically improved my vocals and bass.. I also borrowed an ART prochannel and have a firepod, improvements were marginal if not a step back
     
  11. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    That UA710 - wow! Is it really a good tube at this price? The reviews are reading great. And I can dial in tube or SS. That's a feature I love.

    Any thoughts on the UA710?
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Looks pretty cool John. I've never had the opportunity but always heard UA is excellent. This would be a much better choice.
     
  13. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    I have the 710, UA is excellent! You can get one used for around $500.
     
  14. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have a Solo/610 tube preamp. I bought it over the 710 simply because I had issues with the build quality of the 710.
    They are the same price, and there are more bells and whistles on the 710, I just didn't think that it was as solidly built.
    I like the 610 in the right context; it works well with an SM7b on leather-lunged rockers, and as a nicely-colored DI for bass and some synths. But on most vocals and an LDC, it is just too colored. Maybe the 710 would be better on that ( I just wouldn't peg that whimpy meter!).
    Also keep this in mind....the UA boxes in this price range are apparently transformerless mic inputs. I say "apparently" because they sure don't say otherwise in their product info. Personally, I like what a good quality trannie does when a good mic and singer hit it, witness the GR, the new Empirical Mic-E, the Daking, and Rupert's new batch. I would rather pay for that design feature than a PCB-mounted tube. Just another view :)
     
  15. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Hey, what do you guys think of seventh circle audio? I'm into DIY stuff. Can solder without needing life insurance. :biggrin:
     
  16. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    They are transformerless and the build quality is probably not as high as others as far as switches, it being transformerless, jacks etc. That being said I've had it almost 2 years with no issues. You do get some colour with it, but its a very nice colour. I often use the Robbie with vocals on a condenser, but for a rock singer with a SM7, the 710 sounds killer
     
  17. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    "They are transformerless and the build quality is probably not as high as others as far as switches, it being transformerless, jacks etc. That being said I've had it almost 2 years with no issues. You do get some colour with it, but its a very nice colour. I often use the Robbie with vocals on a condenser, but for a rock singer with a SM7, the 710 sounds killer "

    You ARE referring to the UA, not the 7th Circle, correct? Just don't want to confuse Mr. Todd with that. BTW, 7th Circle has been spoken of quite highly around here, I believe that the Davedog has some experience with that line..?
     
  18. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    Yes, the UA 710, that being said it's not junk either, it's still good quality
     
  19. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Nobody said that the 710 was junk, UA makes very good gear. I simply looked at the 710 vs the 610 and decided to go with the 610. In my experience, simpler gear at the same price point from the same manufacturer usually indicates better reliability. Maybe so, maybe not, just my take. That, and the fact that I like a good transformer in the signal path. These days that costs an arm and a leg. This is why I suggested looking at the Daking in the first place.
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    John,

    http://www.gearslutz.com/board/gearslutz-secondhand-gear-classifieds/654306-ua-710s-lucid-88192-shure-ksm-313-a.html
    Not suggesting you buy it but there are two here: The economy is poor in the USA so anyone with money has the edge.
     

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