My first external preamp

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Spectrumband, Dec 29, 2004.

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  1. Spectrumband

    Spectrumband Guest

    I'm wanting to take the next step and see how different my recordings sound with an external preamp. Right about now you're thinking to yourself, "What a loser! Never even purchased a real preamp yet." I'm currently using a Mackie 24 channel 8-bus board paired with a MOTU 828MkII A/D converter. Been recording with this gear for about three years. Various low end basic mics in my cabinet (AKG C3000B, AKG C1000, Shure SM81, Sen 421, AKG D112, Shure SM57 & 58, E/V N/D308B, AMT A95) Last week I purchased my first high end microphone (for me anyway) which is a Lawson L47. I've never used anything but the pres in my Mackie and this mic seems like it deserves a better signal chain. As I plugged its matched power supply into my board I could swear I distinctly heard it make a sound like "oh geez".

    I know that there are several options such as a single channel, dual channel, or multiple channels up to eight. I would like to use a multiple channel unit so that I can have external pres on other mics when tracking but I realize there is a penalty for one of those units. The one I looked at is the PreSonus M80. I use the PreSonus ACP88 (8 channel compressor, limiter, gate) in my home studio and also for my band's live sound rig and it's been a decent tool. I would love to put pres on all the channels from my drum booth if the PreSonus is a step up from the pres in the Mackie.

    I'm prettys sure most of you experienced members are going to flame the idea of a multiple channel unit. "You get what you pay for" seems to be the norm with recording gear. Perhaps I should get a decent single or dual channel unit and after I hear the benefits I'll purchase more of these in the future as time/funds permit. Cost per channel is pretty cheap for the PreSonus but if the sound isn't any better than the Mackie, what's the point?

    I'm figuring on spending around $1500 for this purchase. Maybe a little more if there are strong opinions on the subject for a particular unit. My wife said to spend as much as I want. Sorry, I fell off my chair laughing as I typed that one. Any recommendations on this topic regarding what I should purchase would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.

    Tim ...

    Multi channel units are very common place. I reviewed the M80 and to be honest i don't recommend it for what you want. The M80 is a great tool for location recording because of the feature list, and in situations where the band wants a "board tape" or where you are going to run off CDs at the end of the show as merchandise it is very capable ...

    As a recording pre, I really didn't hear enough of a difference in quality in respect to my Mackie, to justify the cost ($2200+ list) ...

    For two multi channel mic pres that do make a difference (without a doubt) I recommend the transformer based, solid state JLM TMP8 or the Sebatron 4 channel transformer based, tube VMP-4000e

    There are reviews for both theJLM Audio and Sebatron pres in the reviews section here at RO including audio sound clips of them in action ... as well as a review of the PreSonus M80
  3. Spectrumband

    Spectrumband Guest

    Thanks Kurt! I've read many of your very helpful posts on this message board and was actually hoping that you would respond to this question. I also had already read your review of the M80 and that's what made me think it probably isn't my best option. I really appreciate the links and will review them right away and get an education on these units. I've been looking at a huge array of pres in the pile of catalogs that I constantly receive in the mail and it's extremely helpful to get input from a user instead of a marketing and sales staff. This message board is one of the best discoveries I've made relative to learning about the art and science of recording.

  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Both excellent pres.I also really liked the character in the JLM...very 'forward'...the Seb being a bit more versatile...I like being able to work a sound through transformers...anybody who's a tube guitar amp freak knows what I'm saying...for a very high-end clean dont forget the True Systems 8 channel....or the Focusrite Red....I think when I finally get all the pres I want... they'll all be red...Focusrite,True,Langevin,D.W.Fearn.......Okay! maybe one black one....ViPre.
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Joe ... JLMAudio ... has a couple of new things in the mic-pre catagory that might get out of the workshop very soon in the new year.

    Dave , keep you eyes open
    or send him an email and rattle his cage.

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