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Samson C-Valve versus PreSonus TUBEPre

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mmzeineh, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. mmzeineh

    mmzeineh Guest

    Looking for a good but inexpensive microphone preamp for both acoustic steel and nylon guitar as well as vocals, just for home recording. It seems that everyone gives presonus good reviews, though there tube needs frequent replacement. Just wondering what people think about the Samson C-valve. Technically, it seems to do everything the presonus does, but it also sports S/PDIF outputs.
     
  2. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Don't even waste your time with crap like that buy a GT Brick instead.

    Just kidding, just kidding.

    While you're in the neighborhood of $99, I'd actually recommend the Studio Projects VTB-1 over both of the pre's you mentioned.

    The Sampsons sound like the Behringers to me and if you're going to go with a Sampson you may as well save $30 and buy the comparable Behringer unit instead.

    The first thing you're going to want to do with a pre in that price range anyway is roll that tube out of there and replace it with a better tube. You'll notice a 100% improvement right away on tone, dimension, focus, and microphonics. Most units under $400 just simply ship with crappy stock chinese or russian tubes.

    Just my opinion.
     
  3. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    The M-Audio DMP3 is an outstanding budget dual preamp for recording acoustic guitars--both steel and nylon, and it costs about $159 for two channels. Th Rane MS1-bs are supposed to be excellent as well but are single channel and a little more expensive.

    I have compared the DMP3 to a Behringer mixer, a Meek VC1Q and a Sebatron for solo acou guit. I soon got rid of the Beh, stopped using the VC1Q for acou guit, and use the DMP3 over the Seb for most solo acou guit stuff--although I love a mono guit track of the Seb in a mix.

    I also liked the DMP3 over both the SP VTB1 (by a mile) and the $475 RNP in a blind test of solo acou guit.

    The DMP 3 also has lots of clean gain for dynamics.
     
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Considering the nature of the topic, I would say this belongs in the Budget Gear Forum, not the Pro Audio Gear Forum - sorry.

    But, to answer your question - Most of the preamps in this range have a very similar sound - one that many will consider to be less than good. As for the tube in the presonus - you shouldn't have to change it frequently, but an initial change (to a GT or a Mullard for example) may help to benefit it. (Though not much as there really isn't that much voltage being passed to the tube in these designs. It really stays out of the way.)

    I wouldn't really be lured in by SPDIF outputs on a unit in this range either. Think about it - a $100 pre with a tube stage and digital out - where's the compromise? At that price - all over...

    The M-Audio is a decent pre, as is the Brick. One that has gone unmentioned is Aphex. Their 207D is supposed to be a nice pre (though I geniunely have not heard it. I have the 107 which I used a GT Gold tube in and I really like it. You can find the 107s on E-bay for next to nothing.)

    Just some thoughts.

    Jeremy :cool:
     
  5. Shinyville

    Shinyville Guest

    You'll have to change tubes frequently in the Presonus Tubepre. Evidently they're applying too much voltage to the tube in the design, which sounds nice, but results in tubes that generally last a year or two crashing in the 3-6 month range. :!: But if you don't mind changing tubes frequently, you can get some incredible sounds out of that box.
     
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sorry - this just doesn't add up.

    First, they don't put that much voltage through the tubes.

    Second, I have gear which DOES put a lot of voltage through the tubes (such as my Summits) and they'll last me at least another 10 years!

    If you have to replace tubes on anything more than once every several years, you have to question the device, the tube or your ability to carry the device without accidentally slamming it into moving cars or brick walls.

    J.
     
  7. MilesAway

    MilesAway Guest

    I'm not sure i buy into the "Change tubes every 6-months" saying. Even in guitar amps, where the tubes are *intentionally* driven so far beyond anything the pro-audio world would throw at them, preamp tubes have a life-span of years, if not decades before needing to be replaced. I can't imagine a mic-preamp goes through tubes *that* quickly while keeping the signal clean...
     
  8. Shinyville

    Shinyville Guest

    All I know is they start sounding sketchy every six months or so, and after replacing the tube, they sound good again.

    A lot of the online customer reviews seem to reflect this phenomenon, too. If you read the customer product reviews at musician's friend--there seems to be the most there for this box--people are either complaining that it starts sounding like crap after six months, or talking about how great it sounds after swapping out the tube again. There are similar, though fewer, comments at harmony, 123, etc. So apparently I'm not the only one to notice this. I'm not moving it around, and I've tried a handful of tubes (NOS, EH, and some Israeli tube whose brand name escapes me), so I guess I'd have to question the device.

    I know very little about how tubes work, but I do own this box, and I have found that swapping out the tube frequently brings it back to life. I'm not sure what that means for the design, but for 100 bucks and the occasional tube, I guess I'm not that concerned about it.
     
  9. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Shinyville, it sounds like cause for concern to me because good preamp tubes get to be expensive man and some can be hard to come by, expecially if your equipment is burning up a nice NOS 12AY7 or a nice old GE '62 12AU7. I'd be a little tweaked about that if it were my unit.

    From a physics perspective it doesn't make any sense but I'm picking up a tube tester I just purchased this afternoon and I'll consult with the dealer and pick his brains about it to see if he's ever come across anything like that. This guy knows alot more about tubes than I do and may know what's shortening the life on your tubes.
     
  10. Shinyville

    Shinyville Guest

    Sounds good. I'd hate to be responsible for single-handedly depleting NOS stock! I'm generally not much of a tube guy, so I never really thought much about it. Many times I go for sort of a harsh, brittle digital sound, around the junction between clinical and painful :D So my warm-sounding tube experience is pretty much just limited to preamps, and the occasional guitar amp. But even my favorite guitar amps are clinical transistor amps like the Roland series!

    Anyway, I digress--thanks for checking it out!
     
  11. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    My friend had no clue why this would be happening for you either. It just doesn't make any sense. And I agree with the others that there certainly shouldn't be anough voltage at that plate to burn out so many tubes...unless of course they're the wrong type of tube...therefore getting too much Heat...which can burn the filaments up. But any 12AX7 type tube should not experience that in your Presonus. Sorry for the lack of any real answer.

    But hey, as long as you're happy with the sound, that's the most important thing, right? Just don't go putting any $100 Telefunken's in that bad-boy. LOL :cry:
     
  12. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Just and odd suggestion, based on very old and very scetchy remembrances of tube technology. Just maybe the problem is instead too low voltage (or current). Maybe they are far enough outside of tube spec to make things foul up some way. Regardless, it does not sound like any really good buy.

    Gunnar
     

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