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Tube Preamp / Preamp for Vocal and Instruments

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by mactreouser, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. mactreouser

    mactreouser Active Member

    Any recommendation of budget (slightly quality) Tube Preamp / Preamp for Vocal and Instruments?
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    This is a very large question.
    Details needed :
    - your voice or many ?
    - what mic will be paired with it ?
    - What music style ?
    - need converter ?
    - what is you audio interface ?
    - what is the sound your looking for ; (ex : warmer that your interface)

    I could say, a focusrite ISA one is a good all around mic pre. Nice dynamics, good levels even on ribbon mics and it has an optionnal digital converter + an instrument or line input. Clean not very colored...
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Along with all the very pertinent questions PC asked,

    Are you looking for a standalone analog pre with just audio ins and outs?

    Or are you looking for a unit that will also provide digital interface with your computer (USB, Firewire, etc.) and act as a complete audio I/O for your system?

    And, what is your budget?
  4. mactreouser

    mactreouser Active Member

    Thanks to both of the GURU above! Appreciate to your patients!
    1. Zoom R24 & Presonus Firepod interface with me recently.
    2. Music Style Pop & Ballad
    3. 2 inputs is good enough
    4. Mics, mostly Dynamic like SM57A to Condenser like M147
    5. Do you think Preamp with USB is a good choice for me? Btw, for vocal, probably will records via a little of compressor as well.
    6. Budget, I really have no idea about that. In fact, may you list out some of the options from different range, so that I c'ld go through the specs and price before grabbing it?

    Really thank you ver much for your suggestion and it definitely helps me to make a decision! Hear from you then...
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Technically, you already have a pre. If you have the Presonus you mentioned - then you actually have eight preamps.

    And, it is also an Audio I/O, which means you can interface it with your computer (through Firewire). Everything that you need to record, you already have.

    This would leave you either upgrading to a nicer pre/audio interface, or, buying a standalone preamp that you could "frontload" into your Presonus. Front-loading means that you plug into a standalone mic preamp before you connect to your current interface... the output from the standalone pre routes to an input on your Presonus. Many people do this, generally to improve input levels, but also to have a choice for tone. There are many options available; Tube, Class A, Solid State, etc.

    For example, a tube preamp generally delivers a "warmer " sound, (this is known as "coloration"). But... not all tube preamps sound the same. Just because you have a tube preamp doesn't automatically mean that it will sound good.

    The quality of the coloration is in direct relation to the quality of the preamp... there are some cheap preamps which really do nothing more than "muddy" the sound, or end up sounding very harsh in the upper mids and hi's. Then again, there are quality preamps which will deliver a very warm and smooth tone, with smooth, silky hi's. Which of the two choices you achieve is directly related to what you can afford.

    In short, there are so many models available....when you say you have "no idea of budget"...it's very hard for us to help you. Preamps are in price categories that range anywhere from $50 to $5000... and even higher.

    So for example... should we be suggesting something like this?

    Or something like this?

    Maybe you need to narrow your budget down to at least a figure that you can realistically afford.

    And... the microphone(s) you use will make a huge difference as well.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    as the OP requested recommendations for a "budget" tube pre here's what i came up with available now on EBay.


    what caught my eye at under $500 ..

    presonus studio channel tube pre amp $200 ok (ehhh!)

    ART MPa tube preamp several listed starting at $199 again decent but it doesn't ring my bell

    Summit Audio 2ba-221 "buy it now" $499 ( highly recommend).

    if you go over there and look to see what catches your eye and then come back here and ask us about what you have found we can give you an opinion.

    i recommed you keep away from anything that does not have an ac cable to power it. any kind of low volt wall wart is a dead give away that it's gonna be crap. a good mic pre requires high volt rails.
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Personally I would stay away from budget preamps. (I doubt they will sound a lot better than the firepod

    The summit is a good suggestion and also the Auteur :

    Thing is you want to upgrade your sound, you might as well tell us what you don't like about the actual preamps you have..
    Also there's something that makes me wonder, friends may have the answer, is the firepod line input go strait to the converter or will the OP loose some quality going though the firepod ??

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