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Searching For a Budget Pre Amp Help!

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by dexters lab, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. dexters lab

    dexters lab Guest

    Im searching for a decent Pre Amp the only thing holding me back from something 'great".

    is Low budget!

    price range is $600 max.

    I seen a few cheap ones,but all of the stories of behringer scare me!

    I just need it for vocals i suppose...

    something thats better than the digi 001's
    inconjuction wth a AI3

    thanks for any tips......
  2. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    like said here a zillion times... for that money the difference won't be that much! maybe save a little more for something like the sebatron or so... just don't expect too much... if it's around budget gear and project studios take a look at tl ivory 5051, the focusrite voicemaster... and so on...
  3. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    have to agree with InLoco here, as only recently did it start to 'sink in', that you pretty much get what you pay for. I had a Digi001 for a few years, didn't know much about preamps, I then bought a Focusrite Penta (same crap circuitry that's in all their Platinum stuff) thinking this was the ticket, and there was not much of an improvement at all. I even got the extra AD card (another $200 wasted) and the 001's converters sounded no worse, it's the honest truth.

    I remember spending a good couple of hours doing all these tests, with guitars, synths, test tones, and by 1 am, I rolled up a fat one with my friend and said, "ok, now I know why good gear comes at a price", which, combined with good circuitry and design, also means experience of the person using that said gear. My ears know better now than they did 3 years ago, it's all the little subtleties you pick up over the years and don't even realize you're learning as it happens.

    I mean, I'm not saying you won't find a good preamp for $650, and I certainly don't want to discourage your hopes that it will sound better than an 001, but imo, you're better off saving a bit more and do it right. Sebatron (although I have yet to hear them) is probably the best bang-for-the buck at the moment.

    Myslef, I'm still waiting to buy my first good 'pre', as I'm still using my 002R pres (which are just 'ok', imo). I'm being patient and I've narrowed it down to a Universal Audio 2108. The reviews on it are highly positive, so I'm going for it, $1400 well-spent. If I don't like it, I may go with something else (it was a toss up between the UA and the Vintech Dual 72, I decided I'd try the UA first).
  4. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Keep saving.

    With another $300 you can get a Universal Audio M-610 and be a very happy guy.

  5. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    The new Safe & SOund is in our price range. I haven't tried it, but all reports for far are very good. Single channel with other features IIRC.
  6. feggymango

    feggymango Guest

    Maybe the RNP from FMR
    Like littledogaudio said, a feww hundred dollars more gives you a lot more choices
  7. dexters lab

    dexters lab Guest

    smart insights I love em,keep em coming....

    so nothing like the joemeeks or the dbx tube pre's, or even the studioprojects vtb1????

    maybe i should really just be saving my pennies for a avalon 737????

    or maybe the new focusrite liquid channel?
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Yeah Yeah Yeah...blah blah blah....sorry.

    Everybody knows that ya get what ya pay for..

    My inking in this matter is your ears are finally catching a drift of whats what...keep going there and when you do get a nice pre it'll be all that and more....

    Skills are everything.

    However...for the price you mention there are several ways to go.

    The PreSonus Eureka can yield some very satisfying results...It is NOT colored, so your source will have to be pristine and be the tone you desire...The compressor in it is very good..the eq marginal, the mic pre clean and a bit robust...not thin as a penta series tends to be...

    It is NOT a Vintech, but then very few are ...even at the same price range and above.This is a pre that you can stamp something with..

    I know some about the UA's...But none of the newer things...I assume they'll be tanklike in construction and do everything you want it to do..

    great choices....The ART Pro MPA is a surprising unit......a really good secondary pre...a flavor for sure and cheap ...different tubes can make a large difference.
  9. vahtryn

    vahtryn Guest

    People here might think I'm crazy, but for a home studio I'd recommend the Presonus Blue Tube. I've been using it with a 57 on my guitar and tiny gorilla amp and getting some pretty nice tones.

    I have yet to try it with vocals though as I don't do those. I picked it up on ebay used for 100 bucks and have been very happy with my purchase.

    To be honest I don't know much about mic pres (at the school I went to we had a neve console, and when I do live sound for the company I work for we have a midas board). I've been pretty spoiled on a lot of the gear I used and haven't touched too much else in this regard.

  10. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    wow, I've never had any luck with Art pres but if daw dawg is recommending it, it must be worth a second look! What tubes you use to improve these, dave?

    Anyway, there are a couple on ebay for just over 2 bucs...
    :D :D
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I will be selling my Sytek MPX-4a soon. If you're interested, let me know.
  12. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    hey David, when you get your seb please do a comparison between it and your sytek- sounds like you are writing it off already! :D
  13. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty confident that it will replace the Sytek. The Sytek is a great pre for the money, very clean and transparent, and the only budget pre that i've heard that I thought was actually good; however, it does not impart any character to the sound (aside from the gentle sheen of the Burr-Brown modded channels) and i've heard theat the Sebatron is very versatile in that way. I'd ideally like to keep the Sytek, but I need to keep as much cash in my wallet as I can, so it will almost definitely be going. When the Sebatron arrives in early December, I will be taking it to a great studio with all kinds of mics and great acoustics and I will be recording everything through it that I can get my hands on. Perhaps I will bring the Sytek as well.
  14. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I thnk that you will find that for the $600 there really is no decently good mic pre. What you end up seeing is cheaper and half-ass mic pre's that also include other features such a compressor and eq in the same box in the $600 price range. If you can wait, and it is often wise to wait a little longer to obtain the real good stuff and instead of jumping on the half-ass stuff now, you will have a lot more options to choose from in the very good to great catagory instead of the very few options you have in the half-ass catagory.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I pretty much agree with everyone here, that you will most definitely get what you paid for. But here are a few examples of "good" preamps for under $600:

    -Summit 2BA-221 (single channel, well built, good full sound)
    -Groove Tubes "Brick" (well built, no-nonsense, great DI too)
    -Grace Model 101 (very well built, extremely transparent, Wall Wart ;-( )
    -PreSonus MP20 (decent unit with clean gain, not the best out of this bunch but better than most 2 channel pres in this price range)
    -FMR RNP (pretty damn good unit for the money - I have a list of gripes against this unit, but truthfully, it can't be beat for the money. Get in touch with Mercenary and they'll get you a RNP and an RNC rack mounted in their Funk-logic enclosure for $685. For that money, it would be hard to beat!)


  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I agree with jeremy's assessment and also want to add that the sytek is a very decent 4ch pre that can be had for about $800

  17. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Mine can be had for $650.
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Have you tried your sytek with a Rode K2 tube mic?- I'm real happy with that combo. I've also like an U87 through it but heck, 87's make everything sound good! If that studio you are going to try the seb at has an RCA d77 or dx77 ribbon please try it through the seb and let me know. I've been wanting to get a pre that will do ultimate justice to my D77 - its such a silky mic and I think a tube pre will just fatten that sound forever :D
  19. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    You are selling already?
  20. David French

    David French Well-Known Member


    The studio doesn't have a D77, but it does have an AEA R44 :shock: and a couple royer 121s.

    I have a R0DE NTK and yes, the combo with a sytek is a good one, but I don't think the Sytek has much to do with it.. i'm sure that other clean pres would give similar results.

    I'm not technically selling right now, but since I will almost definitely be selling after I get the 2000e, I figured i'd let someone lay claim to it early if they wanted.

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