Preamps - Next Step Up From Mixing Desk Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by novocane99, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. novocane99

    novocane99 Guest


    at the moment im using the preamps on my Allen and Heath Mixwizard 3 Mixing Desk for recording everything (drums,guitar, bass, vocals).

    Im looking to buy a dedicated 2-channel pre-amp to record overheads, and guitar, bass and vocal overdubs

    I have approximately £700/$1100 to spend, could anyone give me any suggestions on what preamps around that price range i should be looking to try?

  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Not much choice in a tube pre at that price range. You could try the Toft Audio ATC-2 or two Grace M101. I don't know that these will be a huge improvement over what you have now. The difference will likely be subtle and as it may have been pointed out before, results are usually noticed more over an entire mix rather than individual tracks. Maybe someone with more experience will chime in.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    IDK...for 700 should be able to do pretty well for a stereo preamp. Granted, it may be 2 mono preamps, but still.
    The Grace 101 is actually quite an improvement over the A&H pres. While A&H's stock pres aren't half bad, the Graces are better. Other choices:
    UA Solo
    True Designs P2
    A pair of 500 series (if you either own a 500 rack or can get stuff on ebay).
    Summit 2BA221
    Langevin Dual Pre

    Keep your eyes peeled - there are plenty of options out there. Just don't get sucked in by hype.

  4. novocane99

    novocane99 Guest

    thanks for your replies

    what about the DAV BG-1?
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I think the big question you need to answer for yourself is the "transparent" vs. "colored" issue. I have not tried all of these, so I'm going on reputation. But of the ones mentioned I'd put Grace, True, DAV in the former category and UA, Langevin, and most 500 series in the later.

    Now, all of the good preamps in this price range will give you one big thing - more clean headroom. That will make it easier to get a clean sound while pushing the preamps harder. That means a better s/n ratio which (as said above) is subtle on a single track, but makes a bigger difference with dozens.

    I go for color. I like my API and Langevin. The API 3124+ is a four channel in about the price per channel you are considering. If you like that style it is a very solid purchase.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I was lucky and paid £1200 a few years back for a new API 3124+, but you can't get them for that price in the UK these days. Mind you, that's 4 channels of classic sound.

    I have several DAV pre-amps, and I think the BG1 (or BG1U rack mount) would work well for you. I know it's less than £500 for two channels, but being UK-make, it holds its own against more expensive units, especially at the current exchange rates. The Grace m201 is £2K, for example.

    The DAVs are very clean and neutral pre-amps, with the big advantage (at least for my way of working) that they have switched gain positions rather than a variable potentiometer. This means you can accurately re-set a gain and also set both channels to the same gain very easily. If you are serious about the DAVs, send me a PM and we'll see if it's possible to set up a loan of one.

    A cautionary question before buying a new pre-amp: have you thought carefully about the route that the pre-amp outputs will take on their way into your computer? If your interface (what is it?) is not up to the job, it will suddenly become the limiting factor in quality, headroom and transient response. You should consider whether it would not be better to invest in a new interface such as the RME FireFace800 now that will give you top-quality conversion and 4 good mic pre-amps. It would have capacity for handling 6 line-level outputs from your MixWizard as well as its own mic inputs, and also give you a building-block for incrementally replacing the MixWizard channels with boutique pre-amps at a later stage. Just a thought.
  7. ondray

    ondray Active Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    Home Page:
    The way to go these days is jump on the 500 Series band wagon. I like that you have the choice to pick from a wide range of Pre's. Tube, solid state, whatever floods your boat.

    The Great River 500-np is kick ass. really nice on allot instruments and transperent on vocals.
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    Lots of choices out there.

    I've been thinking about the lunchbox too.

    Vintage king has them the cheapest that I have found.

    You could go the DIY route too, depends on what level your soldering skills and ability to learn are.

    There is plenty of really great 500 series kits out there too.

    Of course, you get what you pay for. Kits are time consuming too.

    Great river is made right here in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    I've thought about showing up and asking if there is any special deal I can get for one, who knows?

    I still like the look of the John Hardy twin servo 990, not a cheap pre! Man, I'm sure there dynamite!

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