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I'm looking for my first really nice mic preamp and wondering if I should go with a channel strip with compressor and EQ, or just get the best stand-alone preamp I can afford. I don't have outboard EQ's or compressors to use, but generally don't record with much EQ or compression anyway. If I bought something like a 737, I might end up never using the EQ.

Also trying to decide between solid state and tubes. 90% of the recording will be rock/pop vocals and guitar with a dual rectifier.

Thanks for the guidance!

Los Angeles

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anonymous Fri, 08/27/2004 - 13:07

well i hope you re-think using compression when you lay down tracks.And since you don't have any good outboard gear i would go for a nice channel strip.And the one i have has an insert that you can plugs another preamps into to access the compressor and EQ without going thru the preamp stage.I'd look into the new Sebatron Thorax tube channel that has just come out.
Why dont you use compression while recording?

Blueberry Fri, 08/27/2004 - 13:55

It is nice to have a outboard compressor as I have yet to find a plug in that does the same thing. Check out the Langevin DVC as it gives two mic pre's two optic compressors, and shelf eq. It is one of the best things I bought for my studio. It was my first high end channel strip. I was going to buy the Focusrite ISA 220, but for a couple hunded bucks, the Langevin gives you two mic pre's. That is a nice option if you ever record someting in stereo.

anonymous Fri, 08/27/2004 - 15:05

Well on the Sebatron I would email Mr Sebatron and tell him of your plea,and I'm sure he will answer all your questions on the Thorax.
Yes i think if you have a nice compressor your gunna want to use it all the time almost.I think if you compress when you track you get more signal to tape.With the kind of stuff your doing some tube action in your sound wont hurt,Do you have any tube mics?

anonymous Fri, 08/27/2004 - 18:39

yeah I've got some tube mics. To what degree does your mic collection influence your preamp choices? If you have a favorite tube mic, do you generally put it thru the tube preamp? Or just mix and match till it sounds right?

I'm assuming if I put $1500 into a mic pre, i'll be getting good sounds from all kinds of mics, but not necessarily the other way around.

lorenzo gerace Sat, 08/28/2004 - 03:16

I can't belive this!!!!

That's your brother who's jumped fo the pole vault final? :shock:

Congratulations you're getting something really nice then, since he went the highest (and nice crash helmet BTW) 8-) :D

I'd get a nice channelstrip too, but if you need to do some double miking on GTR cabs for example you'll need to have something else.



AudioGaff Sat, 08/28/2004 - 10:11

mikE@THECAVE wrote: yes but can you name a few you like audio gaff

Ya, I like and/or have either used units such as the old time Neve 1073/1081/1066, Focusrite ISA110, ISA420 & ISA430 or even the older RED-6 & RED-7. The UA6176, The new SSL channel strip, API 7600, Manley VoxBox and SLAM, those made by Vintech, Chandler, Daking, AMEK/Neve 9098 & CIB and even the Joe Meek VC1Q/VC1Qcs. I'm sure there are a few others that I like or used that are slipping my mind right now.

anonymous Sat, 08/28/2004 - 15:39

hi there
check out the Millennia origin - just got mine after demoing for a couple of weeks - great pre - wonderful eq, (can be) transparent comp - you can choose whether tube or solid state at the pre, eq or comp - all are simultaneously changeable - also has the option of switching a transformer in or not - certainly my best vocal pre - have not even tried it on anything else yet, but i hear it's great on other than vocals too.

anonymous Mon, 08/30/2004 - 07:17

The origin can be as uncolored as you want - according to Millennia - there are over 130 combination settings on this pre with the punchin/outs for solid state, tube, transformer at all stages - with/without: eq, compression, deesing
a great "only going to have one" (we all say this) preamp
While I have lots of other great pres to use - I could realistically see getting by on this alone


KurtFoster Mon, 08/30/2004 - 08:03

Re; the Avalon ... I've used these things before and while I liked the mic pre, the compressor left a bit to be desired ... also the EQ, I love the low and mid bands but the hi freq band does something weird to the sound ... makes it sound plastic like ... ugggh!

Re: the Millennia STT-1 Origin. I own one of these and it is just about as uncolored as things get, in the solid state mode with the transformers out of the path.

When you kick in the tube and the transformer things get a bit more interesting but not much .. Even in tube / transformer modes, the pre section is relatively neutral. Where things get interesting is when you switch the compressor and EQ section into tube modes also. Then things start to thicken up rapidly. Speaking of the EQ it is wonderful. Four bands with all the bells and whistles.

The OPTO comp in the STT-1 is killer! (To die for ...) I have UREI LA4's, an 1178 and a Manley EL OP as well as having previously owned a LA 2a and LA3's ... all were / are great ... but the comp in the Millennia is better IMO .... the compressor in the Origin is worth the price of the box alone. You can use the pre on one thing while using the eq and comp on something else. Lots of balanced and unbalanced in and out options on this unit and built like a tank. This ain't no RNP. Last it is a great investment that seems to be holding value well in the market. Used ones on E Bay are selling for almost as much as new ones. Millennia made me promise to offer mine back to them if I ever decided to sell it.

This channel strip is like the perfect mate. If your looking for somthing that is very clean but that can get a little dirty when you want, look at the STT-1.

KurtFoster Mon, 08/30/2004 - 12:22

AudioGaff wrote: Not to get to far off topic, but UA will be announcing soon and showing at AES S.F. a new product that is a re-release of the LA3A. It may or may not include the 610 preamp as well.

KWEL! I loved mine, I don't know why I sold them now ... I shoulda hung on to them ... just goes to show, never sell anything

casey wrote: The idea of the STT-1 sounds awesome. A little over budget thought I'm afraid.

Set a goal and then work to achieve it .... Think positive! If you set yourself up thinking it's beyond you, you will never get it but if you decide you want it no matter what, you will be surprised at how soon you find the way to get one. The power of positive thinking is stronger than most realize. This is straight from an existentialist, so don't think I'm getting spiritual and oohla-boolah on you ...

anonymous Sun, 02/27/2005 - 13:44

The Millennia STT1 is indeed awesome. I only record acoustic guitar and vocals using mainly a Brauner Valvet (and sometimes a TLM 103). Listening to a recording of a good ballad performance recorded with that combination is heavenly. It is very very clean. I'm in the market now for a second channelstrip that would give me an alternative for a little rougher stuff (always vocals and acoustic guitar, but up-tempo, heavier strumming guitar and, well, a little more shouting :-)). I like the tubesheen of the Avalon 737, but I guess there are other preamps that also have that sheen but are better buys . Any suggestions most welcome.

Cheers, Bob.

anonymous Sun, 02/27/2005 - 19:38

I too recommend the Millennia STT-1 (Origin). It has plenty of gain, is very clean and transparent and is worth every pen and more some when you consider all that it has in it.
I also have a UA6176 which I love and two SPL Gain Stations that I just picked up on ebay. For a low budget, you might look at a SafeSound P1. I have one of those also and it is very clean with a great compressor and limiter in it as well.