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I'm going to be doing some recording and was wondering what a good mic preamp for a SP C1 would be

I have about $1.59 to spend


Actually I would like to keep it around $100

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sproll Mon, 03/07/2005 - 06:36

Not sure you're going to find much for that. Crap probably, but nothing good.

The Groove Tubes Brick preamp has been getting a fair bit of praise for the amount of money it costs compared to the professional level ones. If you don't have that much money, well... I had a Presonus TubePre that wasn't bad after I changed the tube out. It did make an audible difference over my Mackie VLZ Pro pres, but not anything close to a professional product. Still, we were cash strapped and it was an improvement.

Stay away from Behringer, and good luck!

anonymous Mon, 03/07/2005 - 10:49

ALright I'll admit I was nieve when posting what I'd like to spend, and after having researched it a bit let me restate my request


I am looking for an affordable mic pre for my SP C1, I would like to keep it under $1000

I want the best for the money so if there's one for say $900, that kicks all kinds of ass, thats what I want to know, sorry about the price thing

BTW, I already we have a Behringer mic pre, and I know it will be replaced, so I am looking for something that I wont need to replace


Davedog Mon, 03/07/2005 - 16:54

Okay...keeping it under a grand...never going to replace it....the best for that particular mic......okay.

These are pretty much regular pricing and YMMV....

API 512c $725...might street for less...
6-space luchbox rack w/power supply for this is around 450.

You will never need another preamp for that mic. Or any other mic.

John Hardy M1 personal channel is about a grand.This is intense audiofile quality.

Phoenix Audio makes a single channel as does Great River...Both at a buck or so over a grand.

You will love and cherish all of these your entire recording career.

I own an ART Pro MPA.It works very well for its price range.It does benefit from better tubes.There are other upgrades that can be done to one and from all accounts will bring it up to the level of most Class A high-grade pres.It will also bring the price up to that level,but you will get a two channel box...with tubes.

My experience with the C1 has led me to believe that the pre can be a HUGE difference in its sound quality.That being said, SP has a very good quality control and as a whole their products tend to all be of very good quality. As with a lot of the Chinese capsuled mics so prevalent on the market now, there seems to be a tendency towards an upper mid boost above the 1.5k range to around 5k or sometimes higher.I dont know if its presence they're trying to achieve and therefore clarity,but it can be absolutely wrong on some voices.And where its a 'good' mic in quality and all, its something you need to try out on whatever voice will be singing through it mostly.I would recommend this procedure to anyone on any mic that is going to be a main vocal mic.And I would research and try out any pres I could with the signal chain you have in mind.While this is not always possible,its a good idea not to skip this step if you can possibly do it.A reputable highend pro sound dealer will also have a return policy in place for just such trials.

I would also recommend a trial on the ADK line of mics. I personally had some electronic troubles with a particular model I bought a couple of years ago.This was due to a bad run of mic-amp chips at the factory that manufactures some of their parts.However,ADK went way out of their way to supply me with new parts at no cost,and I was out of warranty! Not only that, but the new parts were from a higher grade of mic and were of newer design than the old, and were made in a better facility with better quality control.I tend to trust them because of this, and I can say that sonically, their mics are a bit above everything else in its price range. ie: they have more of a SOUND and less of that artificial 'hyped' sound I hear with so many others.The Hamberg and the Vienna are particularly good sounding.

Of course with the right amount of money, you could buy yourself a nice,well-cared for purple badged Neumann U87,an API 2 channel and be done with any guesswork.

anonymous Mon, 03/07/2005 - 17:19

As with a lot of the Chinese capsuled mics so prevalent on the market now, there seems to be a tendency towards an upper mid boost above the 1.5k range to around 5k or sometimes higher.I dont know if its presence they're trying to achieve and therefore clarity,but it can be absolutely wrong on some voices.And where its a 'good' mic in quality and all, its something you need to try out on whatever voice will be singing through it mostly

I agree with you totally, but as a former owner of a Nady SCM900, this mic has a much higher quality sound to it, and I did buy it without testing it, but so far the results are pretty good, I'm more of a Tenor range male singer, and I like the air it adds to my voice

Thank you for a quality response, I guess I did not know what I was getting into originally, I was expecting someone to bust out a say hey get a Presonus Blue Tube, but that didn't happen, and probably for good reason

I will save up my money and buy a much higher qaulity pre, and if anyone has more suggestions, I would be happy to hear them.

One more question, Studio Projects is coming out (3-15-05) with an eight channel mic pre here is a quote from the site

The new Studio Projects 828 is an 8 Channel mic preamp incorporating the latest rev of Burr Brown IC's. The SP828 is also an 8X2 mixer that allows a real time mix of all 8 inputs two a stereo out bus. Housed in a 1U 19" rack, each channel on the SP828 offers:


• 48V phantom power with LED
• Phase Reverse with LED
• Mic/Line Switch with LED - Defaults to 20dB Pad
• Peak and Signal Present Indicators
• Gain Control
• Level & Pan
• Solo Switch with LED

What is Bur Brown?, are they good?

sproll Tue, 03/08/2005 - 07:11

Burr Brown IC's are Integrated Circuits, and I'd say designed by a guy named Burr Brown. :)

I have no idea if this guy is big in the industry, but I think it's safe to assume that if you are buying an 8 channel pre-amp its going to be pretty expensive if it's good at all. However, time will tell... maybe they will make something really good. Hard to say until someone reputable tests it.

Keep an eye out!

Reggie Tue, 03/08/2005 - 13:47

I can vouche for the Brick smoothing out the "chinese harshness" of the C1. If this is just vanity projects you are doing, this would get you by fine I'm sure. For voice, the SafeSound P1 is a very handy channel strip mic pre with its expander, compressor, monitor section, etc. I like the sound of the Brick's pre a little bit better, but it is very stripped down as far as features (that's why I chain the two!)
If you don't mind spending the dough to get the best, then pay close attention to Davedog's suggestions.

therecordingart Tue, 03/15/2005 - 22:32

I really like my Brick. It doesn't sound too "special" but it does sound really nice. That statement is only based on the fact that I have cheap mics and haven't used a really nice vocal mic with it yet. I will say that there is a huge noticeable difference (for the better) over my onboard preamps, and the price is right.

It is a "real" preamp IMO for a nice cost.

Any of Davedog's reccomendations are also very good ones.

sdelsolray Thu, 03/17/2005 - 21:36

crispytheone88 wrote: I'm going to be doing some recording and was wondering what a good mic pre for a SP C1 would be

You might just lose the C1 and spend your $1,000 (plus what you get for the C1 - $150??), on a new mic and pre. Safe and Sound, GT Brick, Grace 101, OSA, etc. for a pre. Perhaps a SP T3, ADK TC or TT, for a mic.

Just a thought.

KurtFoster Fri, 03/18/2005 - 11:07

The SP line of LD mics as a whole, seems to have a pretty bright upper mid / top end. That's fine, it actually reminds me a lot of what the older AKG C12 and C24's sounded like ... I have a C3 that I like a lot. The build quality is excellent.

As mentioned, the Brick might be a good solution, but I cannot speak from direct experience as I have yet to hear it. A pair of them is supposed to be on the way for evaluation prior to (I hope) a review.

Another single channel pre for under $1000 is a Sebatron vmp-1000e. Transformer balanced, and tube based to warm up the C1 a bit but still clean enough to be compared to some pres that might be used in traditional acoustic and classical recordings. Built like a tank, point to point wiring where hi voltages exist and large traces on the PCB. Not as thick or cloudy as the UA tube pres, perhaps a little clearer sounding than a GR/NV type also. Think of an old Fender tube amp ... that's what the Sebatron vmp pres sound like to me.

The SP 828 is supposedly SPs version of the Sytek ... same chips Sytek offers as an upgrade that is supposed to be "warmer" than the standard Sytek chip. The good news on the SP 828 is it's twice as many channels (and it has a stereo summing bus) as the Sytek, at approximately half the price. I haven't heard it.

SP VTB1 ... I have heard it and used it, better than the pres found in many self contained porta studios like the KORG and BOSS units ... but not any better (perhaps different, IMO) as a basic Mackie pre.

I've used the ART Pro pre before and actually it held its ground pretty well in a rack of Neve and APIs ... but still I didn't like the feel or the construction of the unit. Nowhere as dimensional as the Neves and API's IMo but very good tone. A couple of producer/ engineers I know who are very respected in the SF area like the Art as an aux pre, bringing it out when they have run out of channels of the good stuff. That they have it in their racks at all in the fist place, impresses me.

Of course the Sytek is an option, especially if you can find a deal on a used one. I personally don't care for the design approach and I think it's overpriced for what it is but a lot of people seem to be very happy with it. So you might want to take a listen to it just for your own peace of mind.

As was mentioned, it's impossible to go wrong with an API pre.. not too sure about the knock offs like the Seventh Circle stuff. It seems to me that they are almost the same price as a real lunchbox and API modules (on the used market) so I don't really get the concept. But if they are true to the original API design without any modifications, they should rock.

There's a lot of controversy and muddy water surrounding the topic of mic pres. My take is the best pres have very robust power supplies, are usually but not always, class A and transformer balanced (the transformers are a preference, not a requirement) are constructed in a way that lends itself to service in the field instead of needing to be returned to the factory for sub assembly replacement.

My feelings are that their are a lot of budget pres out that are more the same than different. There may be some tone differences but for the most part inadequate power supplies and surface mount technology with small board traces doom these units to less than stellar (and in some opinions) flat, cold, lifeless performance. Of course ymmv and if at all possible, don't take my or any one else's word on it. You should either listen yourself before buying or make sure to deal with someone who will allow you to return a unit should you be disappointed with it.

MY bottom line opinion is if you go with an inexpensive choice, look to features and price as your criteria for choice. Don't worry which choice will sound better because again IMO, they all perform to about the same level. If you want to go the extra mile for the best sound possible, look to Sebatron, The Brick or the JLM TMP8 pres as the best bang for the buck on quality mic pres. These are the best values on "real" pres I have found so far (I will keep looking though).

anonymous Wed, 03/23/2005 - 08:37

You might just lose the C1 and spend your $1,000 (plus what you get for the C1 - $150??), on a new mic and pre. Safe and Sound, GT Brick, Grace 101, OSA, etc. for a pre. Perhaps a SP T3, ADK TC or TT, for a mic.

Just a thought.

No Thanks, we just finished recording, and I am quite happy with the C1, certianly worth the money

Kurt, thank you For you great reply I really appreciate it

Davedog, you as well

We did not have the money this time to get ANY pre-amp, but I will be picking one up based on the recommendations from this board

I will not tell you what we used, but it seems to have worked out alright(cough Behringer board pre's cough)

I am working on mixing and I may post them if they turn out alright, It's pretty hard metal anyway, so I'm sure there's not a whole lot of fans of that genre here


anonymous Sun, 07/10/2005 - 04:26

Well, I am horrible dissapionted with how the guitar tone turned out, we tried something diffrent AND IT FAILED, we used a Peavey Transtube head, and while its sounds alright, when we put our 57 up to it and recorded like we always do, we got his hollowed out muddy guitar tone

There was nothing we could do, mic placement did not make a huge diffrence, oh well, we should have used the marshall, less distortion, but way higher quality sound, there is a reason Tube guitar amps are still #1

Anyway the C-1 was awesome, we used for alot of diffrent things, and we were shocked at how well it took the screaming abuse

anyway, here's a link

the first song was recorded with the C-1 and to my has some pretty bad guitar tone, the other two songs, we did not have the C-1 and we used, if you can believe it, an ADA MP-1 and a peavey Classic 30 for the guitar, and it was better than the new guitar tone I think

Reggie Sun, 07/10/2005 - 11:40

Oh dude, those solid state Peavey amps are terrible to record. Had to record an XXL a while back and it was butt ugly: Lotsa rice crispy fizz; no note definition. I think even the Marshall Valvestates (1st generation anyway) record better than this.

That was a Classic30 on the other songs? Man, I used to play around on one of those and I don't remember it having that much gain. However, it did sound cool running it in stereo with the aforementioned 1st generation Valvestate. Or did you put a stompbox in there? That amp hates the Boss MetalZone.

Reggie Mon, 07/11/2005 - 20:23

5150 will probably suit you better. I recorded a JCM900 fairly recently and it is more of a crunchy upper midrangey kinda sound. Sounded pretty good for the style of music, but might not fit you. Or maybe it will play OK with your ADA. But you should try the channel distortion on the 5150.
Don't go too overboard with the gain; it will rob you of heaviness and chunk.

anonymous Tue, 07/12/2005 - 12:25

The JCM900 is just a special amp, it really records very easily, again threre is a reason to have great gear, it makes everything easier.

We already have the JCM 900, but would have to buy the new peavey head

The ADA MP-1 can be a monster distortion box, but it is very very noisy, but it has some good tone, we may use that if we havn't gottem the peavey 5150 yet

CoyoteTrax Fri, 07/15/2005 - 21:22

Crispy, sorry I didn't see this earlier. It's been a busy week for me. Yup, I'm in Albuquerque. Sure has been a beautiful night tonite. Nice cool winds a little earlier.

What are you tracking to Crispy? DAW, ADAT, Tape, etc.?

'Branded as Traitors' is a fun track. I'm not so sure I'd be worried about noise from the amp as much as the guitars could use more mids to bring them out front a little. Most metal guitars are scooped these days but I feel you could acheive more depth of field with the track (as a whole) if the guitars were brought out front a little more.

What kind of drum kit are you playing?