Pre & Compressor...

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by Mandachuva, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    I need your help on this : I only have 250 (max. 300) EUR for a mic pre with phantom AND a compressor (dual channel would be good, but not a neccesity), and what I came up until now is :

    DBX 286 A - DBX 286 A microphone preamp / processor, single-channel, preamp, 48V phantom power, de-esser, enhancer, compressor, expander-gate -> 239 EUR


    Prosonus TubePre - 1 channel tube preamp (maybe with a upgraded tube?) -> 109 EUR
    DBX 266 XL - Stereo Compressor/Limiter/Gate (2 channels, a good thing) -> 166 EUR
    Total : 275 EUR

    Which would be best out of the two setups? I know this is NOT the choice to make, but I REALLY can't get more $$$ for a better preamp and a compressor. So, PLEASE, no "Get a GT The Brick!" suggestions. It's way out of my price range. If it makes you feel better, which is the not-as-bad choice? :p

    P.S. Has any of you tried the DBX 286A? Any opinions on it?
  2. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    Personally, Mandachuva, I've never liked any of the dbx gear. Even the higher end compression units don't seem worth the money to me. But that's just my opinion.

    But I feel like the Studio Projects VTB-1 is a little "better" than the Presonus tubepre for just 20 Euro more. The signal is a little more interesting, has a little more character and is a little more useful as a DI box when you need it.

    Something you might want to consider would be a Soundcraft Compact 4 (2 mic pre's + 2 Line Inputs) [100 Euro?] and a FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor (RNC) which goes for about 180 Euro.

    What you've listed will get you started and you'll have fun. Either way, that's a tough budget to work with. A mixer board might give you more options than a single channel mic pre in that price range.
  3. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Thanks for the answers, CoyoteTrax. I'll look into those.

    Oh, I forgot to mention : I intend to use these for my project studio, recording one instrument at a time on a PC with Cubase and such, through a M-Audio Audioophile 192.
  4. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    Do you have the intention of ever tracking with a stereo pair of mics?

    If not and you intend to always record in mono then it would make more sense to focus your budget on the very best one channel mic pre that you can afford. And I agree with you that it's nice to have compression going in when you want it or need it.

    Budget limitations are a bummer, huh? The important thing is that you'll have fun with whatever you decide to go with.
  5. felipefre

    felipefre Guest


    Hi, sorry for kind of changing the original subject of the post,
    What other preamp would you recommend in the price range of the brick (U$400) and why, given I'll be using it for recording vocals, guitars and direct bass. I always see people talking about the brick but I wonder if there's any other good alternatives.

    Thanks a lot
  6. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Hmm, looks like if I sell one of my kidneys and kill my bro' for the insurance money, I'll be able to fork out for an M-Audio DMP3 AND a RNC - 350 Euro total...

    Is it worth it going to jail, and living a short and miserable alchohol-deprived life because of insufficient kidney-filtering action for this? :twisted:

    Joke aside, and only sound quality considering, is it worth it? Though the fact that the both the DMP and the RNC have dual channel is very nice considering I plan on expanding my setup over time...

  7. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:

    The Brick is a quality pre/DI box and there are also alternatives in my opinion.

    Personally, I really like the ART Pro Channel as an alternative for quite a few reasons. The pre is the same pre as ART's MPA Gold which is great for the price and makes a decent DI also. It includes ART's electro-optical compressor which I like alot. It's super-quiet, has a wonderful bit of color, is extremely effective as a compressor and sounds wonderful on acoustic and electric guitars, bass and vocals. And the compression is transparent enough that you really don't hear the knee. The EQ is sort of a bonus. I typically don't use EQ going into my DAW and rely on mic placement for EQ but sometimes it's handy for tracking celtic harp or drums if I find a great spot for placement but there's a nagging freq response that I can't balance out. Nice for drums and balancing out some hard to mic amps.

    Overall, it's a great little channel strip that's got a nice analog sound, and has a thickness and color that is of useable quality.

    The Electro Harmonix 12AY7 mic pre is a new pre that's come out for around $189 and I got to hear one this weekend. It's absolutley comparable in sound to the brick as a mic pre, in my opinion, and sounded great with my Oktava MK012's and a CAD M37 I tried with it. It's actually pretty dimensional and has a strong output. It's not designed to be used as a DI so you'd have to compliment it with a DI box if you need to but that's nothing a Countryman wouldn't handle for you with excellent quality for around $180.

    To be honest, my absolute favorite DI box for bass and guitar is a 1958 Revere open reel tape machine. Old tube driven tape machine's are great for DI work. But that's just me.

    The ART MPA Gold is a great 2 channel tube pre for the money, is popular and very useable. Plus it's 2 channels instead of 1. The variable impedence feature allows you to change the sound of your mic's also. It's not quite as dimensional as a brick but, again, is 2 channels of great mic pre and as a DI box it has really decent output. The sound is very analog, relatively thick and warm. Not nearly as sterile or transparent as a lot of others in this price range.

    I have a friend who swears by his Presonus MP20 and I've heard some nice recordings he's done with it but I haven't used one.

    I also have a good friend that did a whole album mostly using the Focusrite octopre and the album sounds incredible in my opinion. But his skills far surpass mine. It's something you might consider looking at too.

    There are plenty of alternatives and if you're willing to risk using antique gear those alternatives can quadruple, but some people won't go there. Antique RTR tape machines have excellent tube pre's and can be used as mic pre's, DI boxes, and line amplifiers.

    Or, just buy a brick. Choices are great to have.
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Buy a what? :shock: A brick? :shock:
  9. felipefre

    felipefre Guest

    I'll consider your suggestions before upgrading my preamp!
    Thanks for your help!

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