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I need a preamp to record mainly vocals, nylon string guitar, trumpet and flute and to a lesser extent didgeridoo amd percussion. From what I have been able to find through research and my money constraints these preamps, dbx 786, ISA 428, AMEK Pure path, are to my liking.

Eventually I wanna record drums so I will be definitely be getting teh ISA 428 with digital option at some stage. Right now I just want a decent preamp, two would be better, with a nice clean sound but some little nuances so that I can pull out some nice tones. The dbx looks to be my favoured choice. But if the ISA is as good as the dbx or AMEK I may as well get that now.

Any form of advice with regards to this and any other preamp would be much appreciated. I don't really want a tube preamp so I would preferably like responses regarding transformer based preamps.


anonymous Sun, 05/08/2005 - 18:47

Thanks for the replies peoples.

AudioGaff, I have had trouble finding reviews on the DBX and from what I can see it seems to be a slept on piece of gear.

Have you had experience using it and how does it go with vocals?

I would l;ove to hear from anyone who has experience on using any of these with vocals.

Another piece that has come to mind is the Grace Lunatec V3 as I have some jobs coming up doing location recording. Howdoes the preamps in it stand up.

If you read this Kurt could you give me some feedback.


jslevin Mon, 05/09/2005 - 18:59

For what it's worth, we're pretty happy with our ISA 428. We have it racked up with API, Chandler, Grace and Avalon pres, and while it isn't anybody's favorite, it definitely isn't out of place among those.

Used to have an Amek 9098 and one of the lower-cost dbx units, was never wowed by either one. The Amek was perhaps comparable to the Focusrite, but the cost per channel was a lot more. (Both fall into the general category of less popular Neve designs, still very nice quality.)

The best value I've found for truly top-notch pres is the API 3124+ ... the ISA 428 can be thought of as a poor man's version of that, but it does have 80 db of gain control and four switchable impedance settings.

anonymous Mon, 05/09/2005 - 23:29

Thankyou for all the replies.

AudioGaff, How does the DBX 786 hold up against the red series stuff?

The thing that attracted to me with the 428 was the addition of the 4 inputs via the ADAT card. However I have heard several people suggest getting an AD converter via ADAT into my multiface. This would mean I wouldn't have to keep the ISA in the future should I grow tired of or not like the Pre, or, simply want to update.

I think I prefer the idea of having the converters in a seperate unit. The ISA AD converters eems a bit gimmicky now I think of it.

Also has anyone heard the Grace Lunatec. I do field recordings and have developed an interest in it.