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What I'm looking for is a nice clean preamp and have been going nuts over the possibilities for my scenario. I have some assorted mics but my primary vocal tracking mic is a RODE K2 that I want to strictly "capture". I've been using the onboard preamps on my aging Yamaha 01V (no inserts, have ADAT & S/PDIF in/out) that seem quite limited in regards to headroom, resolution and punch. My interface gear is a Wavecenter card (ADAT in/out - spdif)

What I have been researching are:

Tascam FW-1804 - pretty much a whole interface upgrade, has ADAT 500.00
Grace 101 - 1 channel, no inserts 565.00
Summit 2BA-221 - 1 channel, line out, inserts 590.00
Aphex 207D - dig out - spdif, inserts 400.00
ART DMPA Pro - dig out -ADAT, spdif, inserts 400.00

You can tell what my price range is. One of the things that I think about is the straight preamp digital output as opposed to the preamp line out to mixer line-in option & can't help but think that the digital to digital has to be better than going line out to the board and adding another gain stage the chain? Or is the difference insignificant? (keep in mind that I don't have a wad of cash to buy stand-alone AD converters) Right now I'm leaning towards the FW-1804 or the Aphex 207D but last week it was something different :eek: Anyway, has anyone here been in a similar situation or has one of the preamps above with some insight? What does the little guy do?

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JWL Wed, 03/22/2006 - 21:12

I'd go for a higher-quality analog preamp, and run it into your 01V. I don't think any of the above converters you mention will sound better than the Yamaha. The Grace is intriguing at that price range. I've also heard good things about the [=""]Really Nice Preamp[/]="http://www.fmraudio…"]Really Nice Preamp[/]. I'd also consider a [[url=http://="http://www.sweetwat…"]Eureka[/]="http://www.sweetwat…"]Eureka[/] which would give more tonal shaping possibilties once you have the mic in the right spot.

Unless you spend some serious bank and upgrade your converters (ie, Apogee etc), you are imho better off with higher quality analog circuitry.

Cucco Wed, 03/22/2006 - 21:33

I can speak to all of the models you have listed here.

If you are looking for a "Better" preamp than the Yamaha, the Tascam is NOT the ticket.

On the cheap end, the Aphex is fine. However, it can't touch either the Grace or the Summit.

I use both units in my studio on a regular basis, with a K2 nonetheless. Both are excellent tools for the price (screw that, they're both excellent tools regardless of price!)

The ART is okay, but not anywhere near the realm of the Grace or the Summit.

I would say, beef up the pre considerably and you'll find out that the upgraded ADs aren't so important.


RemyRAD Wed, 03/22/2006 - 23:51

If you want a nice classic sound for that microphone, look for a used API 312 card with a Jensen transformer but make sure that transformer is in it (the API original transformers were not very good but plenty of hits made nonetheless). Put it in a project box, wire an external 15 volt bipolar power supply and feed that into a line input (not the power supply!). The analog-to-digital converters are adequate in your mixer.

Love my APIs
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Thu, 03/23/2006 - 09:25

Thanks all for the advice of your collective experiences. Since I am not around tons of converters I really don't know about the quality of my 01V converters compared to others, thanks. So the benefits of the quality analog preamp will outweigh the gains from mid-quality digital out preamp (into 01V). Live long & prosper. Remy, thanks for that creative suggestion. Time to go execute myself financially.


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