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tube preamp into interface?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Dwrek, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    I have the mbox 2, and i wanted to get a better mic sound, so i've been researching preamps.
    How would i hook up a tube preamp to my mbox? would i just use the mic DI into the preamp, and use the output on the preamp into the input on the mbox?

    and i also was wondering if anyone has experimented with recording tube guitar amps in stereo...with either 2 cabs, or 2 mics on the single cab?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    You would hook any external preamp to the "Line (TRS) in" connection. Depending on the outputs of the preamp you bought you would need a TRS/TRS cable or an XLRF/TRS cable.

    I would not get any of the very lowest price "tube" preamps. In the ones I am familiar with, the tube is not even in the main amplification circuit - it more of a "stompbox" distortion loop. The lowest price pre that I know of where the tube does any real work is the GT Brick. In fact, I would not look at tube pres at all. Tubes are an obsession of guitarists - not the recording world. The Fender and Marshall of recording preamps would be API and Neve - all solid state.

    I'll even go further. I would just learn to use the Mbox preamps until get up the steeper part of the learning curve. You won't get a huge improvement unless you invest in a really good preamp. and it is just one more variable to deal with.

    For recording guitar in stereo - the techniques that you mention are not common (which is not a reason to try them out). Usually an amp in recorded with a single mic - either very close to the speaker (e.g. 1-2 inches away) or back in the room. My guess is that stereo close micing would cause more harm than good. A stereo pair in the room might be good if the room was good enough, but I don't know of many people who do it. As I say, give it a try.

    The more common stereo guitar technique is to double track - record two takes of the guitarist playing exactly the same riff and pan them to either side. There are ways of simulating this effect from a single track. Search for threads on this topic.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    So does this mean that the Brick is not a desirable preamp if most pro preamps are sold state?

    EDIT: Actually let me rephrase. Does that mean that the Brick is not a good starter preamp? I was planning on it being my first actual preamp, because I don't really think of the Firebox as a dedicated preamp...probably because it isn't.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    No. If you are going to get a preamp in that price range, the Brick is one of the top candidates. I just wouldn't focus on it because it's a tube preamp.

    I also think that most people new to the game would be better off using the preamps in their interface and putting off the purchase of "dedicated preamps" until after they have a bit of experience. Most cheap preamps (cheaper than the Brick) are no better than those in a typical interface, so all you add is the task of getting the gain structure right.

    If you get something in the price range of a Brick you will notice some improvement in your sound, but don't get your hopes too high. I can name a half dozen things that I learned to do in my first year of recording that made far more difference my sound than my purchase of the Brick or the RNP. I don't regret the purchases. I still have and use them. But they were small improvements.
  5. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    Thanks, that helps a lot, I'm just trying to get different guitar sounds, and i have a couple options for some nice focusrite or API preamps that a friend of mine is getting rid of, thats the only reason i asked.
    I'm using a peavey 5150 for recording guitars, so i was just considering using a tube preamp so i could use the amp on clean, and get a reallllll hot sound of it, with more tube in the signal path. But I'm considering setting up some analog equipment, thats why i would go tube. I'm playing a lot of metal, but also a lot of blues and slide stuff, so I'm starting to get pushed more towards analog recording for the quality of it all. But then again I know digital recording like the back of my hand, i've been recording with logic and protools full time for 3 or 4 years, and have messed around with a couple other programs. But my only delimna with the mbox is that the preamps are great for entry level recording, but for professional recording i'm starting to expand some.

    Off topic, but are there any reverb units you would recommend?

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