Drum Mic Pre's/Monitoring



Hi Folks.

I’ve posted a question very similar to this one in the past but I'm looking for current opinions. We are looking at the Platinum Focusrite Octopre as a pre-amp for our Digital Performer 3.x setup. We are looking to use this mainly for recording drums into our MOTU 24i.

First part of the question is:
Can we take a small step up and get anything better? I realize there are $4-10K solutions that are best but those are not the budget we have. What we are trying to do is to not miss an opportunity to get a LOT more quality for just a little more money spent. The Presonus DigiMAX 96 seems to be the main competitor and at first glance seems a bit more feature rich.

However, I don’t know what the quality level difference is between the two (if any). I have a friend currently using an Octopre with a similar Digital Performer setup and is happy with it. Also Digidesign seems to like the Focusrite’s better (they are listed as a distributor on Focusrite’s site). But I know people who have used the Presonus APC88's as compressors (different animal but...) and been happy with them.

These are the below $2K options we are looking at but are open to any suggestions in this price range.

The second part of the question is how to monitor either one of these mic pre’s, or any other mic pre of this configuration (multiple inputs, used for drums), for that matter. We’ve had the drum mics going through an Allen and Heath board and have routed them out the aux’s to a Furman headphone amp. So how would we monitor the drums with the mic pre in place? The mic pre analog outs will go into the back of the MOTU 24i (which only has stereo outs) - but then how to monitor while recording? I am assuming that you can get some kind of SPDIF out connector that could be used in the signal but….?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Jim Martin

Kurt Foster

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2002
77 Sunset Lane.
You should be able to patch the mic pre outs to the Allen Heath channel insert returns and then route everything as you have in the past. That is the simplest solution. Another option is to set up a patch bay to do mults and then patch one mult off the mic pres to the mixer for monitoring and one mult to the MOTU.

Both the Presonus and the Focusrite Platinum Series pres are a more budget conscious type pre amp and as such don't perform as well as the big gun pres.. they are a compromise between the best sound and the best price. In your price range, I recommend the [="http://www.jlmaudio.com/8packoftrans.htm"]JLM TMP8 [/] 8 channel mic pre from Joe Malone in Australia. These are a little more expensive than what you said you want to pay, the last I heard they run about $2250 by the time you pay shipping and customs but they are well worth it. These pres are a very flexible, transformer balanced, class A, OP AMP design. They sound very much like the API pres when not driven hard ... as you increase the gain (don't worry, they employ a built in factory pre set "soft" limiter) the sound becomes thicker and more Neve like. I had a TMP8 here for a few months and I hated to send it back. I ended up ordering one for myself and I am currently anxiously awaiting its arrival.


Wooohhh! Hold the phone on those mults. In most cases use of a mult really alters the sound of the mic pre. give it a listen and make sure it is not degrading your signal. :p: