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Solid State 2-Channel Preamp, 1RU, Internal PS, <$300 ???

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by bouldersound, May 13, 2013.

  1. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    With the proliferation of cheap starved-plate tube gear I'm finding it hard to track down a decent affordable solid state 2-channel mic pre. As much as I regret letting go of my SX202 it wouldn't satisfy my current needs. Does anyone know of something decent under $300 with an internal power supply (no wall wart) in a 1RU chassis (no rack trays or accessory rack ears needed)? It should have the usual features: gain, metering, polarity inversion, perhaps HPF and output level. Quarter-inch instrument input would be nice but isn't crucial. I've already looked through Sweetwater, Full Compass and B&H with no luck. Ideas?
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    A nearly impossible task. At that price point you are on the tipping point. everything below that and most at that point are exactly as you described you don't want. @$500 you might stand a chance of finding something that fits. Maybe used DBX 386....again...starved plate design but a decent sounding unit. FMR RNC? 1/2 rack....See, almost impossible.

    Just for a question, why doesnt the SX202 work for you?
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Half rack, wall wart, sold it a decade ago.
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    A 1RU package with IEC power inlet isn't exactly rare and you'd think somebody would make at least one non-tube 2-channel preamp in that form. In that price range dollars going to good circuit design would be better spent that dollars going to just sticking a tube in it so it can be hyped in the ad copy.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Apparently it has become rare in not in a good way. For what its worth, I believe the afore-mentioned DBX 386 uses the tube as part of its "Drive" circuit and can be switched in and out. It has all the other characteristics you mentioned and can be found used for your price point. every other company I have looked at seems to have ONLY 2 channel full rack TUBE pres in this price point and most are wall-wart.

    As for your point about design dollars. There isnt much design money in anything @$300. Its mostly a design thats been around in one form or another for many years and the profit is the cheapness of the components used. It doesnt cost much to make something shiny.
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Having a tube I don't want and won't use still detracts from whatever resources went into the part of the product I will use. There are already decent enough (for this application) solid state pres well within that price range so it's just a matter of the packaging. Put a DMP3 in a proper chassis and I'd be happy. The hardware would add a little to the cost and listing the power supply with UL/CE (for it to be internal) would ad a little more. The problem is that the manufacturers have so hyped their cheap tube gear that they can't sell any solid state pres in the same price range, even though they would probably perform better.

    I'll probably end up with some messy rack tray and wall wart solution.
  7. blaumph2cool

    blaumph2cool Active Member

    A project i've been considering is gutting a couple Golden Age Project Pre-73's and put them in a proper chassis and a good power supply. as far as price point, good PS and chassis aren't cheap. But i am sure if the big brands mass produced a good design they could bring the cost down.
  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    If Behringer can make a $99 dual channel "tube" mic pre somebody ought to be able to make a $250 solid state mic pre in the same form factor that kicks the Behringer's ass.
  9. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Used Presonus MP20. Nice dual servo design with additional features beyond standard preamp features (e.g., DI, balanced inserts, stereo mix bus, headphone amp). Early units come with Jensen trannies and/or burr brown op amps and cost more, but the later units are just fine.

    Used Rane DMS22. Basically a pair of Rane MS-1 preamps with defeatable 3-band eq and a stereo mix bus. No DI.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I saw both of these on fleabay also. The MP20 is actually a fairly nice unit its an older model when they weren't so concerned with mass quantities. The op-amps are socketted so you can easily upgrade to a better set and the stock sound is better than any DMP or RNC. The Rane is bullet-proof although a bit on the bland side. Still its clean and has gain.
  11. Gette

    Gette Active Member

    Maybe able to come up with a A 8 channel Focusrite Platinum series, single rack unit... fully re capped and serviced, ready to go...
  12. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I wasn't looking at used, but this and the above suggestions could sway me.

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