Good preamp, compressor before converters??

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by swanmusic, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    I'm getting a good preamp finally (either Avalon, Sebatron or Manley) and also considering getting a good compressor (Avalon or ??). I do still have cheap sound cards like Audiophile 192, Emu 1820m etc. Should I be worried about it? Should I be looking at a good/expensive interface too?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    While the E-MU 1820M can be considered cheap for what you pay, the features, quality of the audio and the converters are very good. More than good enough for anything that you are likely to need for many years.
  3. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    Well, I don't know AudioGaff, for me the quality of recording of Audiophile 192 sounds better than the Emu 1820m. I compared the vocals and Audiophile vocals sound more fuller and clearer. Moreover M-audio stuff is very easy and less problematic to work with. Just my experience.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    I believe ya. It is all subjective. Some could argue that the fuller sound is coloing the audio and changing the quality. In any case, I woiuldn't worry about your current converters and worry more about all the other weak links you may have like monitors, mics and great analog outboard.
  5. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    stay with the audiophile and get an avalon and a manley comp...

    then when you can afford an rme (adi8) buy one
  6. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    Should I get the Manley Vari-Mu Compressor? What about the preamps? Avalon or Manley? There I go again..... :?
  7. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    IMHO Avalon and Manley are overpriced for what you get. You really are paying for a name.

    If this is to be your only quality preamp, I'd be looking first at Great River.
  8. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    mate have you serously got the money to be buying serious gear like that?! I always thought people with the badboy gear gave anwers not asked questions on sites like this. If you can afford it and you desire it i wont stop you, i know what i'd d in you situation, but are you sure you need / are ready to start laying out that knida cash? jealous
  9. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    There are tons of great preamps out there, it's interesting that you have decided to go with Avalon or Manley specifically with out hearing them, or any preamp for that matter (unless I'm interpreting this wrong). Those two in particular would be at the bottom of my list personally as a multipurpose choice, I've owned Manley Vox Boxes, and I've heard many Avalons in clients studios FWIW. I own or have owned the majority of preamps on the market, and if I didn't have it, I generally have access to it through a friend or business associate.

    I thought the Manleys were pretty decent, overpriced a bit yes. They were a little dark and mushy for my tastes. Female vocals were the best usage, but something else tended to win over it 90% of the time. The Avalon is relatively bright and a bit too present in the high-mids for my taste. It's just ok IMO. They are both pro pieces of course, but there are so many things out there that may be better for you. A little research may provide you with a much better option, otherwise you'll never know (and for all I know the Manley or Avalon may be the best thing for you).

    Some preamps are great in general, but don't work so well in certain applications. I couldn't see myself using one pre for all things. If you are looking for a pre and compressor, you should probably consider a line channel: do some research on the Millennia Origin, Buzz ARC1.1, and Pendulum Quartet I for starters. Remember, everything in recording is application specific, for general purposes my recommendation is go with a neutral piece, not something highly clean or highly colored.
  10. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    atlasproaudio, Thanks for taking time to let me know about your suggestions. Here's the thing, what I'm trying to do is get the most expensive/high end stuff first. I have a job right now and some cash for gear. I'm planning to save some money for living after I get the gear and then do music fulltime. (I'm a producer). I should always be able to buy cheaper gear whenever I want.....hopefully!! :) It's the big stuff I'm not sure of. So....looking at it from that angle I thought it was logical to spend on Avalons and Manleys and such right now.

    jahtao, just to get you more jealous, I also am getting a G5, most probably a Quad 2.5! ;-) (It's all my hard earned money though, worked day and night to get to where I am today and hopefully be able to make music fulltime soon....can't wait to see that day!! :D ).
  11. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    I was just kidding jahtao! Didnt mean to sound evil.
  12. if you are serously considering a Vari Mu you should check ou thsi guys stuff, i heard it at a local studio and it sound great, a little pricy but if you want that type of compressor (vari mu) check it out. it is called the tubelink
  13. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I like to start at the beginning.

    Appropriate software for my purposes.

    Apropriate computer to run the software.

    Apropriate soundcard//interface, defined primarily by what you need to plug into and out of. For instance, your E-mu, as suggested, may be good for the money, with the best converters, etc., I don't know? But, if it doesn't have the i/o you need(It has 1/4", you want XLR's, it has 2 channels, you need 8), it would be a "wrong choice". For me, I wanted it all - and mostly in mono(!), so, my decision was, after months of looking, easy, I went with a Lynx sound card(For instance, RME had "almost" all, but not "all" - so, goodbye RME - At the time, anyway...). All balanced, all XLR analog, XLR AES/EBU, plus, SP/Dif, clock i/o, etc., etc(My LynxOne is 2 channel+, with just the MIDI i/o I need.). Converters? Hard to get any better without spending 1000's(And even then I wonder..?). The single best thing about my Lynx card(And most of the other gear I've actually purchased), is the TECH SUPPORT! Having someone "right there with me"(By virtue of my panicky phone call or at least via a quickly answered email), that KNOWS what to do to help me make the thing work, is f-a-r more important than anything else I can think of. I would truly rather have an "iffy" piece of gear with KNOWLEDGE behind it, than the world's best, with no help. Fortunately, really good TS, almost guarantees a great piece of gear.

    Preamps. Mic/DI, whatever. Alot of speculation involved, here. Hard to find very many folk who have much experience with many high-grade pre's and mic's(Or anything else), though lots who buy ONE and think it is beyond compare. Figure out what you need/want in a pre/mic(Get as specific as possible), read the reviews(Mix, EM, SOS, this forum, other forums), listen to people who have demonstrated knowledge, narrow it down and pick one - do careful enough research and only one, two or three will "jump out" - final selection will be fairly easy and any of your final choices will probably be more than fine. I'd like to say "try them first!", but, most of us just can't. Most of us must chose, best we can, then take the plunge.

    Me? I just can't even stop and look at the "cheap" tool section at the hardware store, for my DIY home repairs, let alone even consider buying "cheap" components to use to make my dollars with. I consider the stroking of my ego to be an important part of my performance(Which needs all the help it can get!). To each his own, but, for my tools, I "give 'til it hurts" - I never regret it. Not having to bother with the cheap stuff, wondering if it could possibly be "as good as", certainly saves me some time...

    Mics. I can personally recommend very few. I've used many, many over the years, from the world's worst to the world's best, but never have I had time to truly evaluate a selection of mics with a selection of pre's, etc. I could say that THIS works well with THAT, but not whether THIS would work with THAT..? Again, the reviews and experience of the truly experienced should be your guide. As usual, one often gets what one pays for and, if proper study is done, your eventual choices will be greatly limited(By you!) and all of what's left will be fine.

    A suggestion or two? Do not buy "features", buy ONLY what you need. I'd(Sometimes) rather have a $3000 mic pre, than a $3000 "box", with a mic pre included in it. Stay "back" a generation or two. I recommend purchase of very few "latest greatest" things(Those just out and untested by anyone over time). While what you end up with may be somewhat dated, I'll bet no one listening(Or using) will ever know... Quality never goes out of fashion. Though, stay completely away from "vintage" gear!!! At least until you really have knowledge to burn and money to waste.

    BTW: Buying a "big name" piece may cost more(To alot more), but, again, you won't likely regret it. Even if you are paying "too much" and that someone else has something just as good for less, I'll bet most Rolls Royce owners do not spend alot of time worrying about it... If you have the coin, do it, forget it, be happy - you'll save time better spent working than "choosing".... Most "big names" have them for a very good reason - they're worth it...

    Finally, with a good piece of software, including a good selection of plug-in's(Even those included with most quality audio software today), "outboard" gear - EQ/compressors, etc., can, safely, be your very last purchase(s). There is little sense having great stuff at the end of the chain, without a solid base to work from and the exprience to know which piece is actually better than the virtual versions. Frankly, much(Most?) outboard gear, today, is simply "computer software plug-ins" in a box, anyway... Doesn't make it bad! Just something to remember...

    And we haven't even touched on speakers! Really, can't "touch on" any of this stuff without a fine space to do the work - the recording, mixing, listening. Sadly, the recording space is almost always last to be worried about... Amazing how little gear one needs in a really fine space(There's so little to "fix"!)... So much to think about, so little thought to devote to the cause...

    Say - La - Vie,


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