Which 8 channel pre?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by 2myears, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. 2myears

    2myears Guest

    I'm looking to ad inputs to my digi 001 system. I'm looking at the Presonus Digimax, the Focusrite Octopre and the MOTU 8pre. Any opinions would be helpful. Specifically which preamps are the best.
  2. dcj

    dcj Guest

    Hey 2myears, the topic of preamps has been a rather juicy issue round these parts, and in a couple of other well known forums. Once you reach a certain level of pre, it becomes more of a choice of flavors than a choice of what is best. What you prefer over what someone else prefers. The audible art of color and taste. Considering this, the option of acquiring 8 channels of identical preamps is seldom preferred. It limits your color pallette, and therefore, your creative tools. However, it seems as if there is one exception to this approach. Small project studios that require an intermediate solution before launching into various 1 or 2 channel pres at $3,000.00 each. This seems to be where you're at right now, and we all have been there at sometime or another. The key is that though you may be limiting your creative toolbox, it should never limit your creativity. As for this intermediate solution based upon the choices that you have set forth, I would personally consider the Octopre (not LE) and the Digimax in that order. Digidesign has never been known for the quality of their on board pres, so basically anything in the price range you mentioned will most likely be superior to what you have. I mentioned the Octopre because I have had personal experience using one with a Digi 002 rack. The added clarity, detail, and hi freq response definitely beat out the stock 002 pre's. There also seems to be a good aftermarket demand for the pres in this range which will help when you're ready to move up. But, start doing your homework now for when that time comes. Become familiar with names such as Great River, Chandler, API, GT, Sebatron, Grace, Neve, Universal Audio, Avalon, GML, Langevin, Manley, Summit, D.W. Fearn, Pendulum, and Millennia just to name a few.
  3. davev

    davev Guest

    I have a Digimax FS and it's OK. I'd guess the Octopre is going to have better preamps, but it is also more expensive. I ultimately went with the FS because the input jacks are on the front, which makes for easy setup in my mobile recording rack. Sorry, I don't have any experience with MOTU's stuff.

    djc is right about the higher-end outboard pres, but my guess is that you are just looking to expand your number of simultaneous inputs and get the most bang for the buck.

    Also note that not all Digimaxes are the same. There is the FS, the LT, and the 96k (in ascending order by price).
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Cranesong Spider
  5. dcj

    dcj Guest

    I think that the Cranesong Spider at a suggested retail price of $8,000.00 is a little beyond the scope of this thread. Davev hit it on the head when he mentioned the objective of adding more simultaneous inputs. There is another way to go that you may consider. I believe that Black Lion Audio in Chicago offers a preamp mod for the 001. It may be the best and most economical way of improving the 001's over all sound. Black Lion does excellent work.

  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    dcj - Have you had the Black Lion Mod done? I'm intrigued by it, but I see some down sides that I'm worried about (warranty, service, resale value).
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Lets not forget the Mackie Onyx 800 and the Studio Projects 828.

    Both of these are very handy and sound as good as the Octo-pre and the PreSonus.

    As a lifelong Mackie-basher, I gotta say the pres on this sound as good as my Soundcraft Ghost. Not as 'warm' but a bit cleaner.
  8. dcj

    dcj Guest

    Hey Bob,

    Yeah, I did have the mod done on a Digi 002 rack that we use in one of our writers studios. I had it done almost a year ago when the mod took a slightly different approach. At that time, Black Lion replaced the AD converters with the same chips used in Digi's HD systems. They then upgraded components in the pre's and the rest of the analog circuitry. Most importantly, they developed and included a new clock that specs out way above and beyond the stock clock. When I got the 002 back, we compared it to a stock 002, and another interface using a Mytek front end. The modded 002 was far superior to the stock 002. It compared so closely to the Mytek that the difference was insignificant. Before the mod we used an Octopre instead of the stock pre's, the Octo was clearly a better choice. After the mod, the 002 pre's came to life and presented a nice alternative to the Octopre that were equal, if not superior to it.

    As for the ramifications of the mod regarding warranty, service, and resale value, I reasoned it out in a rather strange way. First, our 002 was almost out of the full warranty period anyway. Secondly, most of the people that I know that have had to deal with Digidesign's warranties regarding tech service have been so disappointed by Digi's lethargic response times and poor customer service that they chose to have repairs done at private facilities. Thirdly, even a year ago, Digi was hinting strongly about the impending release of the 003. We knew when the release came that Digi's immediate concerns would be to provide for the latest generation first instead of antiquated generations that came earlier. Fourth, when we got the mod done the buzz about it was so hot and heavy, and 002 owners with the mod were so satisfied, that Black Lion received many requests to develop a mod logo of some kind that could distinguish the modded units from the unmodded ones. Of course, this was all done for the sake of resale value. Last, but not least, the main reason we went forward with the mod is simply because we were unhappy with what was a very mediocre unit to say the least. Many times the quest for better sound supercedes all logic and explanation.

    A final note on resale value. First of all, you may not want to sell it because it will finally become a viable competetive tool. When you decide that it's time to sell, it will be much further down the road than it would have been without the mod due to prolonged usefulness. Other than those things, I have seen a few with the mod for sale on eBay over the past year. The mod is always an advertised feature, and the units do seem to sell for more when they have it.

    All in all, the best $400.00 I have ever spent...
  9. achille

    achille Active Member

    Jun 22, 2003
    8 chanel preamp

    The StudioProject SP828 don't have great attention here but I have one and it's sound good and the possibility to mix the 8 chanels in stereo out it's very useful.
  10. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    First off, engineers have used the same preamps(no vary in color pallette)for years and years. Tell the guys with classic huge analog boards(think Neve, Helios etc...)that they're doing it wrong, I personally wouldn't complain about having the same pre but I understand where you're coming from. I've also done many many shootouts between cheaper pre's and always included 002r pres and they never finished last, always pretty much middle of the road so I wouldn't put anything the guy is mentioning that far above the digi pre's. As far as pre recommendations go I'd probably say take a look at the new presonus 8 channel pre, I've heard lots of people compare them to API's although I can't imagine they really do sound like them. I personally use True Systems P8 now as my go to pre's and while there is a difference I'm still confident I do an equally acceptable job with the cheaper stuff.
  11. AUDIENT ASP008 :D
  12. Luismerodio

    Luismerodio Guest

    Edax MP-800

    at http://www.edaxaudio.com
  13. Imago

    Imago Guest

    the true systems precision 8 is a great set of pres. very transparent with lots of clean gain.
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