Where should the $$$ go? Mic pre,Compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters' started by studio rat, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    I just sold my ART VLA & MPA and I want to improve my set up.I only have about a $1050 to spend and wondering what would be the best way for my money to go..this is for my small commercial studio,so I'll be recording everything though it mostly vocals..I'm looking the SPL GoldMIKE AND GAINSTATION,the Summit Audio halfracks,TOFT Audio,AvALON 737,747 nEVE 9098,tHE lANGEVIN dvc, ADL-1000,ECT...I do already have some other pre's hhb,meek, and a VTB-1 that I love I also have the UAD-1 card but I can't track though it.So what would you guys buy ? Or what would be the best overall bang for the buck,a great mic pre or decent Mic pre and a Leveling amplifier like the ADL-1000 that I can get for $850 used ? Thanks :c:
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The Avalon 737 is a popular and decent box but doesn't thrill me. I've never seen them cheaper than $1400 thou. Now that you've sold the junk, take you time and get the good stuff. Considering what you already have, and might consider dumping as well, I'd be looking hard at the Great River NV single channel at the $1000 range or ante up and get an API 512C and 6-slot rack to fill as you go for a little more than the $1000 range. The Vintech x73i is another winner in the same range. Lot's of choices. I'n not a fan at all of the ADL comps except mabe their Fairchild clone.
  3. volki

    volki Guest

    about the spl stuff: they're releasing a golmike 2 with improved / added features. i have an "old" one, it's not bad, but not really top notch, either. hybrd design, most of the gain op-amp based and then sent though a valve. also, no di-in. gainstation i haven't worked with, but should be cool - all discrete design with tube path switcheable in/out, fet limiter, impedance matcher, di-in... plus optional lundahl in/out xformers. so if you don't have the money for them now, you can get some later.

    definitely get a real good mic pre - provided you have a real good mic, these are the two most important parts of your front end. a great compressor can't always do wonders with just an average signal. the uad-stuff is pretty cool for dynamics (i use mine all the time), so is waves rnc. imo you should save for some hardware dynamics and get a decent piece later on.
  4. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    ya, thanks i really liked the great river pre at the Listening Sessions web site especially on live bass,but its only mono.And I think it might be better suited for rock and punk vocals and most my clients are hip hop and R&B
    As of today I was aboout to buy the Gold Mke
    and the Summit Audio TLA-50 half rack,since I got offer the SPL for $500 ....i can't think of anything better for that price. Yae or Nae?
    also, anyone heard the Dan Alexander 1073 copy? He's local and may be willing to cut a deal too.
  5. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    Also to Volker, You don't think the spl is top notch? I have heard nothing but good about it on
    other posts and reviews.I thought I could get the optional transformers for the Goldmike,no? Isnt $500 Us shipped a good deal though or I'm waisting my time with this one? sorry about all the questions but i have no way of actually testing one with my own ears. :D
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Dan hasn't had the best reputation for quality or honest business in the past from some people I have known in the Bay Area, but this was also several years ago. Seeing as you are fairly close to his shop if any problems arise, you should have better luck. I don't know what he makes now, but I would want to know if what he makes and sells now is a a Neve clone, a Neve re-furb or some sort of hodge-podge hybrid. If you can't geta single channel somewhere in the $1K range, I would just as likely pay more and buy a clone from somewhere else.
  7. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    I ust went through choosing a pre for my mobile rig. I wanted studio-quality pre's that I could take on the road. Here's the criteria I laid out:

    $2000 budget cap

    Avoid tubes! They're gimmicky, and I wanted 8 channels of pre. A good tube 8 channel unit is pretty expensive. Tubes are of dubious value most of the time, anyway, IMHO. I like what they do sometimes, but a very good solid-state circuit will sound great as well. A good tube pre with 1 or 2 channels can be had in your price range, though, if you really want it. If you want a pre with tubes, get one that actually uses the tube for part of the circuit, rather than the hybrid starved-plate designs that are very plentiful and often horrid.

    Avoid overly-colored units. All the Neve clones offer you choices of what "color" you'd like in your audio. In a studio setting, that's fine, you want to have a few different choices for different sources. For a bread & butter pre, though, go with something that's pretty true-to-source. Something that adds "warmth" or "fullness" may not be good on all the sources you're planning to use it for. You can always run something through a different circuit in the mix stage to get what you want.

    Be wary of transformers - I love what they do sometimes, but they also sometimes suck. Some mics also absolutely hate trannies.

    My choices came down to the Presonus M80, ATI 8MX2 and the Audient ASP008.
  8. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    He is selling what he says is an excact 1073 copy ,stereo mic pre for $1100...ever heard it?
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    No, I have not. What he says is one thing, but what you get may be another. Does the $1100 include a power supply? Brand new or used or refurbished? It is likely to be ok and sound like he says. He stuff used to sell in Guitar Center in S.F. Berkley, and San Jose. I don't know if what he makes now is the same or not. Your not likely going to find a better deal for a dual channel Neve clone. Make sure your deal includes your money back if your not happy and all should be fine.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The Alexander clone is only a 2 stage amp ... only good for 60dB of gain, the real Neves used a 3 stage design. The Alexander also uses an external wall wart power supply. I have never been able to get one to compare from them, in spite of asking Dan several times.

    For a Neve clone, the best by far I have come across are the GR MP/NV's ..
  11. chessparov

    chessparov Active Member

    I tried the Toft's pre out a bit at NAMM, and it sounded very similar to the Grace they had at the booth for comparison purposes IMHO. Nice and clean.

    The EQ and compression section on the Toft's are reputed to be excellent, per Fletcher and others.
    I don't have enough experience, however, to give a
    meaningful evaluation of those aspects though.

  12. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    So, It seems like I'de be better offer buying a Neve clone than a new Neve like a 9098? Weird. Also, since I can only afford one unit, wouldn't somthing like an Avalon 737sp, or Langevin DVC benefit my studio more than say the Great River single channel?
    Oh, BTW Fletcher from Mercenary says the Pre sucks in the TOFT ,even though he sells it. go figure..I'm about ready to buy somthing on Monday so any more suggestions would be great.Especially if you actually have some hit records under your belt :D thanks :c:
  13. chessparov

    chessparov Active Member

    Upon closer questioning on another thread, by yours truly, Fletcher "admitted" the Toft pre's
    were comparable to the Grace's.

    Kidding aside, substitute "clarified" for "admitted" and you have the proper translation of "pre sucks".

    Much like when he called the VTB-1 "not too rancid". Whereas another strong pro AE, Harvey Gerst, rates it as a good pre like you and I.

  14. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    thanks for the update on the Toft,
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    No one can really know or be sure what is best for you except you. To know what is best for you, you have to clearly know and define what specific sound and/or tone it is you need, you want, along with any specific features and functions. All-in-one units can be of great value for the home studio and guy that only does one thing at a time. Often the sound or tone of the mic pre that you are after only comes in one style that may or may not have other features and functions that you like or use. One of the decisions of buying gear is to know and plan on how it will interface to other gear that you own or plan to own.

    If you need some very personal, exact and detailed advice on buying gear for your studio based on your requirements, then I would suggest you seek professional consultation instead of general hap-hazard advice that may not serve your needs and lead to regret. Plenty of people that can provide this service including me.

    A Neve clone from modules used in Neve consoles from as early as the 1970's is very different in sound and tone from the much newer and more modern AMS/Neve 9098 that was designed to be different sounding.
  16. TheChronic

    TheChronic Guest

    I've got a Dan Alexander "Dual Class A" 1073-knock off... the same one he sells now for 1150.

    Its only got 50db of gain.

    It sounds spectacular. I haven't been able to pinpoint why it sounds so good... I think its definetly worth the money.

    Dan's reputation was $*^t years ago when he was selling wack 3145's (or whatever), the units sounded good to start with but I guess they had a tendency to break (according to 1 guy who owned 2 of them). Dan does no technical work, he might have completly different people make the new pre. Its built like a tank... weighs probably 10 pounds, the finish is nice, the switches have a nice feel, and the direct mult of the DI on the front panel is very handy.

    I opened it up when I got it and the insides looked just as clean as the pictures at http://www.danalexander.com/

    One of the transformers (per channel) is a new looking Carnhill (same as Vintech uses I believe), and the other one is an origional Neve. I don't know which transformer is input and which one is output...

    The review I read (linked at his site) says it comes with both vintage input and output trannys... I bought mine used, you might want to ask Dan what he's using now.

    Seriously nice stuff for half the price of a GR NV2 (which I've never had the pleasure of trying).

    If you can get by with 50db's of gain (I don't have any ribbons mics, but haven't ran out of gain yet) and you want 2 channels of a solid class A pre (neve or not) for a good price, I think the DAA is a serious option.

    You could probably atleast stop by Dan's shop and ask to hear it... $*^t, I'd do that if I were you, even if I had no plans on buying one ;)
  17. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    AG- I actcually do know what I want but it would be to expensive A rack of API,Millinia,neve, and urei gear but this is in the long run but for
    no matter what i get it will kick ass on that ART
    stuff thats why i'm looking for the best of the price range? I think now I'm going to to try and get some Telefunkens and a urei...then get a neve or clone later, either the GR pre or the Alexander
    thanks for your help though

    cHRONIC, Have you compared it to a real 1073 by any chance?
  18. TheChronic

    TheChronic Guest

    Nope, not even to another Neve clone. I read a post dan made saying that if Fletcher could hear a difference between a his pre and the GR and origional he'd buy him a new harly (t-shirt)...

    I thought that was a silly statement because Fletcher has already said many times that the GR sounds nothing like a 1073... But I'm sure Dan Alexander has atleast put it up against an origional... its quoted on his page that the only difference in frequency responce is a small inaudible half decible drop at 40khz... I don't think any of us will be hearing that ;)
  19. studio rat

    studio rat Guest

    UPDATE:Since I record, mostly,hip hop, R&B and acoustic guitar/ singer songwriters.I went with the Avalon 737SP since I had some clients request one ,and I got offered a deal on one so I went for it..It may not be a excatly what I was hoping for but it will definatly impove my signal path above the ART stuff i had,and i can sell it for more than i paid for it,after the projects are over,so....Next on my list for sure is the an 1176LN and the great river.Thanks to everyone that helped.This is a great forum !
  20. everett

    everett Guest

    "no matter what i get it will kick ass on that ART


    You know the resultant tonal quality of your finished audio does not depend on any one item in the signal chain, but on a variety of equipment. Talking about the proVLA as though it was the perpetuator of all ills is frankly laughable if not derisable.
    I know many studios (other than my own), that have made some great sounding tracks with the proVLA regardless of price or technical specification. I have used it in a signal chain of $6000 mics and Neve pre-amps and get great results. There again you can change the equipment chain and the Neve stuff sounds like $*^t and so on.
    Without looking at the bigger picture and the realization that equipment is horses for courses you may be in danger of chasing the holy grail.
    I mean come on, you can get some great guitar tracks from a $20 RAT pedal with the right anciliary equipment. Personally I would have kept the ART stuff and added to it with a view to building up a portfolio of equipment for various recording scenarios. And no matter what you get there will be occasions when it won't meet a particular requirement and the coloration and distortion of the proVLA will do a better job (with the right blend of other gear in the signal chain.

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