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Tube pre amps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by deadsound, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    Pre amps are very "subjective" as we all know. Though I think it would be really helpful if people could perhaps post their top 5 choices for roughly about 1200 dollars. This is weed out some of the lower end units and focus on mid range units which I am sure many of us could use in our studios. I am looking to buy one myself, and this would be my first. I really could use some help.... as I am not sure which is best.

    Thanks for the knowledge everyone!

    My Rig:

    Mac Pro
    Logic 9

    I am looking for something with one channel or two if its worth it for vocals, guitars, and whatever else
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Why are you partial to tubes?
  3. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    To be honest I am not partial.... just heard they are "warmer" what would you recommend in sold state?
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    man, so many. I've got this Warm Audio here right now that I just have to try. Its crazy affordable. Could be just the ticket for you! For flavor, API and Great River for sure. They are both SS, not tube. Remember that we choose certain products to offset other things too. Source and mics come into play. Someone with really crappy converters that sound like razor blades will benefit from ribbons and a tube pre. Follow? Why? well, low end converters sound really tinny.

    If you are recording really exact music, like some acoustic nylon master, the Millennia or Grace might me the ticket. Its all so subjective.
  5. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    I am looking at the APR 512 c.... I did not think they would be so cheap. I am pretty excited. Thanks for the info, gonna check into those brands you listed
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    You absolutely positively cannot go wrong with the API product. They are just simply fabulous. Still highly coveted by the finest studios. Vacuum tubes come in all flavors. The advantage of the vacuum tube is that you can frequently swap out one manufacturers tube for another. So there is a reason why so many fine studios still acquire and restore old API console's of the 1960s & 70s. These same preamps are still made to this day. So that should tell you something. You get consistency, warmth and an aggressive quality depending upon how you use them. The input transformer makes a huge difference between those and the cheap stuff. Good microphone Transformers are not cheap. Inexpensive preamps are cheap and generally cheap sounding.

    Neve/API owner/user.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    Thanks for the advice Remy. I have been using my A/D and Mac Pro alone for so long I feel it is time to upgrade! Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Not sure why you would want to upgrade from Apogee? They are still one of the nicest for Macs. I know Chris who is in charge of the site here loves his Lavry.

    When it comes to the front end, I'm stuck in the land of old-school. I only utilize API & Neve (early 1970s Neve). And I don't does have a couple. 24 of the Neve & 20 of the API. The Neve is a 36 input console. I'm not all that hot on the state of the art sounding stuff. Too metallic for me. Too crispy. Neutral as in neutered. I like lots of flavor and things that sound really fat. All the saturated fat I can get my ears on.

    What do you hope to move up to and why? If you believe the equipment to let you make better recordings, that's usually not the case. It's technique that makes all the difference. The same as being a musician. Some are just musicians and others are freaking incredible. And it doesn't matter what instruments they are playing. It's all in your chops.

    New Zealand lamb chops please.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    REMY: I am not looking to upgrade from my Apogee. I love it, its great and sounds amazing. I guess I am just looking to add a preamp. I agree it is not in the gear it is in the technique. I do not like a lot of new stuff myself. I am 27 and missed the era of the gear you have. I would love to find some vintage neve's at a decent price. I guess I am just looking to expand my studio and company and figured the pre amp was a good place to start and would make the apogee sound even more warm. I am in no rush to buy anything. I am just starting to do some more research. Right now I do more midi based recording than audio but am constantly using my Apogee for acoustic guitars, vocals, and electric guitar/basses. These all sound amazing direct. So I was think about checking into an AVALON u5 for more quality direct sound. I guess that is why I was think about 512c as well. What do you think about the U5. Good preamp direct box? Or save the 500 and put towards something else?
  10. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I think a lot of times people think they want tubes but a lot of the old sound was a big trany.
    I do love number of tube pres a couple that come to mind as they see a lot of use would be A-Designs MP-2A and the LaChapell I have.
    I think many would not suspect the A-Designs MP-2A to be tube as it is a pretty clean pre.
    If I was look for a dark colored pre, something fat, I would like at the AML, Avedis, or Great River pres.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I think you'll find that the API 512 is rather magical sounding. So are those converted Neve 1272/3415 A's. Those particular Neve units were not originally intended to be microphone preamps. However all the circuitry is the same as their microphone preamps. It's a rewiring of the input transformer and the addition of a stepped gain trim with an additional output level control. They're all extremely sweet, robust sounding and when you overdrive them, magic happens. And that's why they include the output level control so you can over gain the preamp since a good chunk of it is class A and when you push the output circuitry, it will start to saturate the output transformer. They are so cool sounding, you'll find no real need for equalization. The equalization comes in the way you use it, both the API & Neve.

    While there are plenty of other lovely preamps out there such as what pan 60 mentioned, a lot of them are designed in a similar fashion to the API & Neve's. Simply because, people want that sound. It's a hit making sound. More hits have been created with those than anything else in this world. I think if you get one, you'll never look back. Many of the finest studios but the finest equipment that state of the art, you'll find these preamps in the rack. Though they usually only have a couple because lucky is the person who has an entire console of them.

    Lucky thrice over
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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