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I'm getting the hang on pro gear.
I use a ISA Two with a Mitek converter, a Focusrite Liquid saffire 56 and octopre at the moment.
Mics : 2 sm57, 4 c1000s, d112, 4x c418, C2000b, Studio Project C1 and a KSM32 and a few D880 and a few Sennheiser e 845

So I get pretty clean recordings with the Saffire 56 and the ISA, I'd like to complement it with the possibility of a warmer sound, for vocals or guitars. (more as an option than a necessity)

The question :
If I would buy only one unit, what will give me the so researched warm and/or bigger sound we all want ?
( a Tube mic, a Tube Preamp, a tube Compressor? )

What's the next logic purchase ?

Edit : BTW I want to be ready for any sorts of musics for band or single artists

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pcrecord Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:14

I tought about the UA solo/610 or 2/610 or a AKG Solidtube (or other tube mic) or The Dramwer 1968 mk2
or the Universal Audio 4-710 Twin-Finity which might be more versatile (having line ins for other preamps, onboard converters and lightpipe to go to the Saffire 56)

keep in mind I have a limited budget.

audiokid Mon, 12/02/2013 - 19:43

I'd pass on budget tube comps, they are more mud than warm, and that goes for a lot of budget tube gear including most mics (RODE K2 is a great deal though).
imho, you need to spend a fair chunk of money on tube products to get something you will hold onto for years.

I'm with Kurt's recommendations.
Although, look at the PreSonus ADL 600. Its a killer pre and they sell second hand cheap. If you can find a good one, I'd look into that too.

I had a Warm Audio here that are supposed to be Neve flavour. I got it as a promo but sold it (never even turned it on) because it had a wall wart psu. I'm telling you this because it is my experience big sounding pre-amps usually have a good size power supply, better than a wall wart.

To give you an example, I have a Millennia M-2b . Its nothing short of stellar. It has tubes , the sound is huge and warm. But cleaner warm than gritty warm. When you open it up and look at the build, the power supply, you go , okay! I get it. These are expensive to build.
If you are on a budget, stay with FET.

Great River 2NV are choice and versatile although, not my favourite for vocals. Not cheap either.
I have lots to learn about pre-amps too so I can only go on what I've owned
I'd love to have an AMS Neve 1073. [[url=http://[/URL]="…"]AMS Neve | 1073[/]="…"]AMS Neve | 1073[/] is on my list.
I've heard Drawmer being warm but never used one.

Hope this helps some too. Good luck.
Nice having you as a member here btw. You fit in really well :)

pcrecord Tue, 12/03/2013 - 09:53

Thanks, the [=""]PreSonus[/]="http://www.presonus…"]PreSonus[/] [[url=http://="http://www.presonus…"]ADL 600[/]="http://www.presonus…"]ADL 600[/] seems like a good unit but the samples I found online were not so warm (I meen compared to the ISA I already have).. I might search again.. Of course I know the mic, placement, room makes a huge difference.. That's why I included the idea of a tube mic in my initial question. I tend to think I should start there, since my mic closet is not so vast..

Also, the more I search, the more I hear, tube units are not necessary warmer. Am I wrong ?
What about a pair of WA12 from Warm audio ?

audiokid Tue, 12/03/2013 - 16:50

Cheap tube products are more apt to introduce mud, wooly sound and slow action ( bad, exaggerated or inaccurate transient response). If you have a budget pre, budget mic, budget ADDA... budget tube gear helps mask the spiky ( irritating, harsh) sound budget gear introduces. Its a circle of friends.

When you step up into higher end electronic design, if you are like me, you start appreciating more accurate equipment. Its a circle once again.

Tracking levels very low help make budget gear sound much better.

pcrecord Wed, 12/04/2013 - 07:38

Thanks audiokid! Where wound you start knowing the tools I have and don't have??

My Ksm32 is nice with not a too harsh top end, but I wonder if I should not start there and have an alternative. (better or different)
Up to now I've got only preamp suggestions.

Any comments on a [[url=http://[/URL]=""]AKG[/]=""]AKG[/] Solidtube, Rode K2 or CharterOak SA538(on promotion right now) which are tube mics?

audiokid Wed, 12/04/2013 - 08:44

Kurt, moon, John, davedog bob, Bos to only name a few... etc, all have so much more experience on micing than me. I'm not much help when it comes to tracking and nice fits.
However, I'm of the mind set where you get one good thing at a time. Starting with a quality pre is a good place because the sonic benefits will stream into everything. Sorry, I don't know your gear list, sonic direction but I understand you want colour now. Maybe talk more about budget and what you think is missing in your sound more. What music are your recording/producing most?

No disrespect to anyone with CharterOak gear but my experience with that company is stay far away.

audiokid Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:02

pcrecord, there are a lot of used deals right now. Especially where you are and just south of the border. I see Warm Audio WA12 being sold. My guess is, they are a disappointment to some but maybe they are a good deal at that price. GS has three used available right now.

My next pre is going to be either an AMS 1073 or Ruperneve 1073.
Kurt, what are Hardy like, big and cleanish I'm guessing? I bet a nice middle (all round) for pcrecord .

Used is the way to go, if, you know/ trust your source. But, I bought a comp from someone high up in this industry and he dumped crap on me thinking I was some stupid Canadian. You need to be careful. Lots of BS out there.

kmetal Fri, 12/06/2013 - 01:55

Any comments on a [=""]AKG[/]=""]AKG[/] Solidtube, Rode K2 or [[url=http://="http://www.chartero…"]CharterOak[/]="http://www.chartero…"]CharterOak[/] SA538(on promotion right now) which are tube mics?

if you listen to adele's 'rolling in the deep' thats a k-12, on the album cut. not necessarily because of the sonics, but because they couldn't match the performance, which was recorded spur-of-the-moment as they were writing the song. according to the sound on sound article

Brent avril makes a 1073 clone, which apparently uses some NOS parts or something like that, there's one at the studio but it isn't hooked up yet, ditto (not hooked up yet) for the John Hardy M-1, so i obviously can't describe the sound.

the Calrec PQ-15, if you can get your hands on one that works, and can afford, is actually the same as a neve, back when the BBC was using Neve for all it's stuff, i guess, there was some law that didn't allow 'exclusive' deals a single manufacturer, so they basically just built the same pre's under a different name, identically (if i'm not mistaken). i've used one on my voice, and it's the nicest sounding pre i've ever heard on my pathetic voice, warm/full, but not muffly, and well defined in the highs. It's a nice pre w/ a nice EQ, it's going to see alot of use on the recordings i do down at the studio. (not recordings of myself, recordings in general)

you might wanna look into the Neuman TLM 102, they guys around the studio love it for vocals, and it got good reviews in the mags for acoustic gtr and just general purpose stuff.

the AKG 'perception' line i've tried and it sounds as cheap as any Chinese condenser, so i would expect the solid tube to have similar characteristics.

they used the avantone c-12 knockoff on a taylor swift album cut, again, not cuz of it's superior sonics, but because they couldn't match the performance.

i'm not taking the stance that performance is everything yada yadda, cuz were talking gear, and i firmly sonic quality matters as well, i'm just mentioning those because they (in particular) made the cut on mutli-platinum albums, so they may be good places too look, or at a starting point for comparison, in the $500 tube mic range.

CoyoteTrax Sat, 12/07/2013 - 11:04

FWIW, warming up a track or mix doesn't necessarily have to come from gear. Personally I find a lot of tube mics to sound a little sterile and irritating. But a nice final mix plug like Stillwell's Vibe-EQ can warm/thicken things up quick in a really pleasant way for only $50 USD and Stillwell plugs have some respect. Just an idea. I find most of my "warming" comes in the mix phase.

pcrecord Mon, 12/09/2013 - 03:03

Finally I bought 2 ksm44 on ebay. (400-435USD) I will wait for next year to buy other preamps.. I might change my mind since then, but two Vintech x73 seems like a good choice. I need to test the UA 4-710 as well (4 preamps with double path solid state and Tube + 4 input for more preamps and lightpipe output... MMmm) if it sound good it might be the best replacement for my octopre.


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