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Which comes first, compressor or preamp?

I have a PreSonus Bluemax compressor, and just got an M-audio DMP3 preamp. This is my front-end (such as it is) for a home DAW setup. I would only be using the Bluemax on vocal tracks. My question is I run the mic ( a Groove Tubes GT1) into the preamp first, then compression? This seems the logical method to me, but I'm not sure. Also, I've relied on the Kjaerhus Audio Classic Compressor thus far on vocals, and have been happy with the results mostly. Does anyone think I will get improved sound by compressing before the DAW? Will I gain anything by running through the Bluemax? Or does the software compression do a better job? I like that I can alter it after the track is recorded...Thanks!


David French Sat, 03/12/2005 - 10:52

Compressors are line leve devices, meaning they expect to see amplified signals at their inputs. The signal coming out of a mic is weak and must be amplified by a preamp before it can go to a compressor. A lot of people doing digital compress a little bit on the way in, sometimes just to catch stray peaks, and do the rest in the DAW.