Digi 002 and Preamps

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by Taroth, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Taroth

    Taroth Guest

    I'm really considering investing heavily into preamps.
    Over the years I've had the good fortunes to record at some fantastic facilities and have worked with a ton of pres and consoles (stuff I could only dream of working on again). My personal preference is towards the 1073 sound or the API sound. I record primarily rock, metal, hip hop and gospil/R&B. Its a wide range of genres and I think both of those pres would be a great addition. The API's would be great for rock and the Neve's would be amazing for everything.

    I cut some tracks a few years back on an 002 using vintech 1073 rack units and I really enjoyed the sound. It didn't feel like I was loosing much "color," if any at all.
    I cut that session at 96k.
    At the same facility I recently cut a track on an HD2 system using the same preamp rig. This session was at 196k and the high end sounds much more full than on the previous cuts. This is due to the sample rates, but also in part due to the better A/D conversion.

    Since the sound of a studio relies on many factors here is some information.
    My mics are high end and are industry standards for most uses(D112, M421's, U87, Royers, SM57's ect) I have a good mic cab with plenty of options.

    My rooms are treated with acoustics, including 1 very dead room for cab's and vocals with a larger 30' x 18' room for drums and pianos.

    I don't feel like I need any more plug ins but I could possibly use a Distressor rack as well as some extra outboard gear, such as a harmonizer. My outboard options are rather limited at the moment.
    I'd be upgrading my pre's from an Allen and Heath mixwizard and Mackie 800R(which I am probably keeping for the extra 8 ADAT channels).
    Out of all my options I feel that the preamps is the best way to improve my sound.

    Should I invest in high end pres if I am not going to upgrade to an HD system anytime in the near future?

    One other thing I was considering was getting a rack of Seventh Circle pres (I have alot of electrical engineer friends so the assembly is not at all a concern). My industry friends claim that the newest neve clones are audibly different from the originals when compared on reel to reel. However, in the digital realm there is not much difference if any at all.
    The few people I know to have used the pres say great things about them.
    I don't expect them to sound like the Vintech's or API's but a close color for the investment savings in a studio like mine may not make a big sound quality difference. I know the purists will be displeased, but I can't help but be intrigued with the SCA products. The C84 is the only one I have heard and I thought it was a decent pre. Unfortunately I wouldn't use it as I would opt for the N72, A12, and J99 models.

    My preamp options:
    Vintech X73, or 1073 rack 2-4 chans
    API 500 or 200 series 2-4 chans
    Portico Neve 1/2 rack pres 2-4 chans
    Seventh Circle Audio 8 channels

    The only advantage to the SCA pre's is that I would be able to run a more
    variety of pre amps than if I went with brand name pres. The 1073 and API racks are massive investments and are more expensive to initially rack due to the extra purchase of the rack and power supplies. I cannot afford to get multiple channels of each. I've also considered combining the SCA's with the real deal, but there is something precious about having that unified set.

    Any thoughts or insight?
    Thanks for reading.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    By all means stock up on a variety of pre-amps. You can't go wrong with an API 4124+ for 4 channels. Pick up a Neve or two as well if you want, and I would look at something else (maybe the SCAs?) to give a different colour.

    BUT, are you really going to be feeding these lovely pre-amps into a Digi002? There's your weak point when it comes to a quality sound. The Mackie 800R will do better driving the ADAT input of the 002, but that limits you to 8 half-decent channels, plus another pair via S/PDIF if you were to get something like a Neve 1073 DPD.

    I think you should be considering whether you really want a "closed" system like PTLE or whether you should use more open software that allows you to choose quality A-D converters to complement your range of quality pre-amps.
  3. Taroth

    Taroth Guest

    Boswell, I know PTLE is limiting my A/D conversion to an 002 or 003, but I've got over 8 years experience with the program and its not like I wish to relearn software. Without the preamp selection I cannot justify an HD system. Without an HD system I won't get the best sound from my pre's. Its an evil game this never ending quest for better sound. I can't see dropping 15-20k for an HD system making any sense for me unless I start getting higher budget projects. Besides I can always bring my pres, hard drives and iloks to the big guys downtown to cut on HD. I've got plenty of access to HD studios when I need it. Of course most of the studios I use for HD already have a nice selection of pres and most of the projects I do don't budget for use of such systems. Thanks for your input.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    What Boswell is saying is that you can use something like the Mackie 800R to do the conversion and then connect it via ADAT to the 002. That's what I do. But I am using a Focurite Octopre for the conversion and have an API 3124+ and a Langevin DVC as my best pres.

    I'm planning to move from PT/Digi somewhere down the road, but I'm not in a huge rush. The new pres are far more noticeable than the difference in the conversion between the 002 and the octopre. If I were you I'd start with the preamps directly into channels 5-8 of your 002. Quality preamps will stay with you no matter what you do down the road.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    That's right. If you are envisaging a staged upgrade to PT HD (and I have to say I didn't read that into your original post), then getting a great 4-channel pre-amp now feeding channels 5 - 8 of the 002 is a good first step and investment. Sure, the 002 will then be the weaker link, but the combination will sound so much better than using the built-in pre-amps in channels 1 - 4. Beware of overdriving the 002 line inputs on transients, though.
  6. monetmelly

    monetmelly Guest

    the neve sound on the vintech is great but it only has that neve sound. Api is much more dynamic
  7. AllAboutTone

    AllAboutTone Active Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Thats what i have been doing and very happy with results, 002 with 500 series of API, Eisen, Elixir, Studer.
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