$2000 to put into 8 mic pre's - recommendations?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by jbexp, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. jbexp

    jbexp Guest

    Hello everybody, I have $2000 to lay down on to try to get some workhorse mic-pres for my studio. Right now I have a cheap mixer (alesis) and an Art Digital MPA Pro (which I really like on vocals and guitar), all going into a Digi 002. My main goal right now is to put together something that will sound good on drum tracks, so a combined 8 channels would be preferred. I have carefully searched through threads here and elsewhere, and here are some current options that I have gleaned:

    Mackie Onyx 1640- would seriously help with studio chores and routing, although probably not a huge improvement in sound to the mic pre's on the alesis.

    JLM Tmp-8 - This is stretching the budget just a bit, but it is one of the most serious contenders for me. From sound samples I can find on the internet, it sounds a bit dark but very crisp on drums. I really want that crisp bite in my drums, but I worry if it is darker sounding that 8 channels of it might be a bit much...?

    Studio Projects Sp828 - Interested, but skeptical if $599 for 8 channels will yield much sound improvement. Also how does it compare in sound to some of the more expensive pieces in this list?

    Possibly 2 Sytek MPX-4Aii - Looks intriguing. How would it do with drums? Does it sound similar to the studio projects model?

    Several RNP pre's - How would these do on drums and as a go-to pre in general?

    Sebatron VMP-4000 - Probably stretching the budget too far. Also, worried it would be far too colored to be the next investment for mic-pres.

    Any feedback, comparisons, or comments on the above units would be welcome. I realize there is already alot of information on this forum regarding these units and even throughout the internet, but I am having a hard time filtering through it to make a good decision. After all, this represents some serious cash that I am about to lay down and I need to make the most of it. Are there any other units or combinations of units to achieve 8 mic-pre's that I am missing?

  2. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Jim, I know its hard to hold off. But I would save a little more and go with maybe a API mic pre. The are really "crisp" and powerfull sounding. Check out their 3124 .. It is 4 channels.
    Plus you could use it on Guitar and bass as well. Even Vocals..
    Well worth the investment.

    Then go out and get a 4 channel Sytek for a total of 8 mic pre's

    Skip the Mackie stuff. Use your mixer for playback only..

    I own a Sytek as well as RNP. Rnp is pretty clean, not my first choice.

    The Sebatron and JLM, also get high marks on this forum as well.
  3. underworld

    underworld Guest

    save you $$

    i'd like to echo what the last poster said. you should seriously save a little more $$ and buy better mic pres. i recently upgraded all of my "pro-sumer" mic pres... huge difference. now, you'll of course need good mics probably before you get good pres.... but i would not spend another nickel on "quantity" over "quality" in my signal chain.

    if you want that tasty drum sound, you can't go wrong with API (i.e. the 3124). if you want that sound on the cheap, you might look at Seventh Circle Audio. You can get the API knockoff there for less than $400 per channel once you invest in chassis. For example, you can get a fully assembled 8 channel A12 for about $3600. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you can buy the parts and assemble it yourself for around $2500.

    as an aside, if you're getting 8 channels so you can record many drum tracks, you might like to look around at some techniques for recording drums with fewer mics. you would be better served, I believe, to record drums with fewer channels using good mics and pres that sparkle, than to have several tracks that are rather dull sounding.
  4. jbexp

    jbexp Guest

    Thanks for the advice! I think I might start out with the Sytek and eventually get the API. I'm still not entirely sure about this, the JLM TMP-8 seems like a good choice also. How would the TMP-8 would stack up against a Sytek and an API? And, if I did get a Sytek does anyone have any recommendations about how many channels I should have fitted with the Burr-Brown option?
  5. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Personel opinion.. The Api is a cut above the other two... hands down.

    I use the Sytek and i have it with 2 channels of Burr brown. They are darker sounding.
    I use the other 2 channels(normal) for overheads which work quite well.
  6. jbexp

    jbexp Guest

    Hmmm, the more I have been looking around the more appealing I find the stuff from Seventh Circle Audio. I have done electronics projects before but to actually build a world-class mic-pre would be really cool and fun!! I guess my only real question is how to fill up the 8-space unit. I do a lot of rock recording so I might start with four A12 kits from them to get a sound similar to the API while saving about $1000. Then should I add four N72's or two N72's and two J99's? I notice a lot of people get this with four N72's, two A12's and two J99's. What would be the advantages of that type of configuration? Any more feedback is welcome.
  7. omaru

    omaru Active Member

    Sep 8, 2004
    JLM audio audio also does a kit called JLM 99V that might be worth a look at.

    There's no case available but Joe is bringing out a faceplate soon

    Check this thread

    That looks like being my next choice.


  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    A lot of people like the APIs .... I do to and I can say that the JLMs are very close to them in that agressive tone ... The JLM and the APIs share much in the topology in that they are both transformer balanced op amp designs. The JLM is half the cost of the rack mount 4 channel APIs however.

    If you are speaking of the samples that I posted when you say they are dark sounding, remember these are mp3's at 128 so keep that in mind ... the mics were those little clip on jobs that AT makes, the Pro 35X's .... and the drums in that recording were not tuned the best ... pretty dead (not my drums) ...

    What I am saying is I think the JLMs can be even better than what I was able to post at the time. I plan to update those clips soon as soon as Joe sends another TMP8 for review. The new TMP8 has quarter inch jacks for DI/ instrument and line inputs too.
  9. THeBLueROom

    THeBLueROom Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    If you want the Sytek, let me know. I have one that I used only twice, it's in perfect condition and it has the BurrBrown option on the 3,4 channels. It'll save you some money that you can save for an API :)

    SPeaking of API, that's what I went to ...only I got one 512c ($600) and bought an API lunchbox to put it into. The luchbox was about $500 and it hold 6 channels of API. I plan on stocking it when I get the cash, maybe one channel at a time, but $600 is much easier to stomach than $2600. Go with the Sytek and the API lunchbox with one 512c and you are on track for some great results. The one channel of API can get you thru guitar tracks, snare, and maybe some vocals with EXCELLENT results. The Sytek will be great for the clean stuff. Let me know if you want my Sytek, I'll let it go for $750 and it's absolutely in perfect condition. There aren't even any rack or screw scratches because I use plastic washers.


  10. Recording Engineer

    Recording Engineer Active Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    I wouldn't hesitate with any of those options already mentioned. I'd also add DaviSound "Mic-All" preamps for consideraton.
  11. jbexp

    jbexp Guest

    Well this proved to be a difficult decision to make. I ended up second guessing myself alot, but ultimately I decided to go with Seventh Circle. Just ordered my kits from Tim today. That guy has great service- I got answers to two different email questions within 10 minutes!! Just thinking about building my own world-class preamps makes me feel all nice and fuzzy inside, so I think that (and cost to a degree) was the deciding factor. I was still thinking heavily about the TMP8, especially since it is a bit less expensive, but ultimately I am more excited about the flexibility I get with the Seventh Circle design. I will let you guys know how it goes building the thing and how it sounds when it's finished. Thanks for all the help!
  12. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    good luck with the build
    there is much help out there and all you have to do is ask
    Tim is great so give him every chance to help

    I think I can see the DIY bug about to bite.

Share This Page