Preamp for mic/instrument recording

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by El Tedesco, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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    I've been laying tracks with my new Tascam DP 008. It's a lot of fun.

    As it has been mentioned, it records pretty clean. I've been going into the unit directly from my guitar/bass outputs, maybe an OD in between.

    It seems that I am in need of a good, affordable preamp that can do instruments and mics.

    I have been looking at Presonus TubePre ($129) and RNP ($479), just the usual online research.

    Anybody any suggestions? How about a channel strip (Pre/Compressor/EQ)?
     
  2. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    I did a lot of research before buying a preamp, including getting a lot of advice on this board, and decided on a Groove Tubes "The Brick". It's a real tube preamp — none of that starved-plate circuitry ... really warms up the sound and you can drive it into tube compression if you like (I put some sweet NOS tubes in it and it really honks). The only caveat: it's not a super high-gain unit (55 dB), so it helps to have other gain stage elements (interface, mixing board or whatever). But I've never had a second of buyer's remorse.
     
  3. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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    It seems to me that +55db is a little more than the common range of gain being offered with most units. I imagine, one can only use so much gain without compression.

    Personally, I would prefer a tube design in a preamp myself, so I am giving this aspect considerable priority.

    There's a whole array of units on the market, product research is a must here.
     
  4. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    The RNP is a damned good preamp.

    I have the least expensive real tube preamp on the market, the Electro Harmonix 12YA7 Tube Microphone Preamp. I'd give you a review, but truth be told, I've been too busy doing other things to try it out yet!

    Tim
     
  5. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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  6. StuH

    StuH Friend of Leo's

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    This is the unit that was rated very highly in Sound on Sound magazine. Basically saying it was among the best of the affordable tube pre-amps on the market.

    I've been using an Aphex 207D dual channel pre-amp. It is starved plate but I really like the sound of it. Think the 207D goes for about $700 new. I got it for $400 from fleabay.

    For affordable channel strips, heard very good things about the Presonus Eureka. Been thinking about picking up one of these for awhile but my brother has told me that a really good set of plugins would give better results than buying a cheaper channel strip. Told me to save money and focus on a good pre-amp instead of a cheap channel strip. I trust his advice.
     
  7. Wailin' Tele

    Wailin' Tele Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 Yep this one has a solid reputation.
     
  8. octatonic

    octatonic Poster Extraordinaire

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    The RNP is great value for money and yields professional results.
    The Presonus, imho, doesn't.

    The Brick, as Woody mentioned, it brilliant.
    I'd be careful buying Groove Tubes rack products though.
    They have closed that side of their business down and parts are devilishly difficult to lay your hands on.

    I've been trying to get the metal handles for my ViPre for nearly a year and getting the run around from Fender (who essentially own the brand now... sort of).
     
  9. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

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    On the GS site you can find the rnp for good prices. It's a great value as it's a good preamp and it's 2 channels. Wood loves that brick. It's a real good one. Those can be had at good prices used.

    Tim, you still haven't tried that thing?

    55db gain is not alot. Mine are 70.
     
  10. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    I know, I know...

    I'm going to fire it up this week, finally. Really!!!

    Tim
     
  11. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    All that truckin' has been a bad influence on you! :D
     
  12. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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    I got side tracked.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/bass-place/203570-new-warwi-corvette-basic.html#post2373509

    I wanted to go and see what GC has in store regarding preamps, but apparently my fingers had a different desire.

    There wasn't really much. Only the low price PreSonus TubePre and a high end Avalon.

    Both are not what I am looking for.

    "The Brick" keeps echoeing in my mind, even though I haven't heard it. I like the concept of a full voltage tube platform.

    I will keep browsing, maybe Tim will have a report on the EH.
     
  13. mudbean

    mudbean Friend of Leo's

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    What's your budget? Typical instruments being recorded? What mic(s) do you have, or are planning?

    Stu - I agree with your brother. Skip the bells & whistles, put your cash into a smokin' preamp. What have you got now?

    mud
     
  14. QuickDilation

    QuickDilation TDPRI Member

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    Go with the RNP, it has two channels for the price of a one channel Grace 101, and many (including me) find them basically indistinguishable... love me RNP...
     
  15. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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    I prefer not to exceed $500. Primarily, Bass & Guitar. Acoustic guitar & percussion.

    I am thinking a Shure SM57 might be good, but there could be something I don't know yet. Haven't gotten into mics yet too much.

    A drum machine and/or keyboard, in the more distant future.

    No vocals, at least not mine.
     
  16. El Tedesco

    El Tedesco Tele-Holic

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    The 2 channel option with the RNP is a big plus.
     
  17. mudbean

    mudbean Friend of Leo's

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    Huh, funny how you can so completely agree and disagree with a single sentence ... I agree, the RNP is an excellent pre, extra channel is a bonus ... but, I disagree, because the RNP only sounds like a Grace 101 if you're listening on a bad monitoring system. Now, I'm not recommending the Grace 101 over the RNP, just saying they don't sound alike, is all.

    mud
     
  18. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

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    You know, I always forget about that new UA model and is tube and SS. I think those are about $800 new though.

    Personally I would not be looking at a $500 preamp to use with a $75 mic. The whole chain is important but a great mic in an adequate preamp would be better than a great preamp with an ok mic. What people are paying thousands (or lots of hundreds anyway) of dollars for in a preamp is to get one with it's own character (or absolutely no character like a Millenia). Until you know exactly what you want I'd put my money in mics.
     
  19. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Agreed.

    Most of the budget preamps are ok-ish.

    Maybe a bit 2-d. But IMHO, you have to spend a lot of $$ to get into playing with the big boys. I'd stay away from the starved plate "tube" models. Folks tend to equate tubes with "warmth". But the classic Neve and API consoles from the 70s that recorded all those "warm - sounding" records before digital appeared? No tubes.

    If you want a warm-sounding pre, get a warm sounding pre. Tubes or no tubes is irrelevant. Use your ears. ignore the marketer-speak.

    Budget eqs and compressors are mostly rubbish. (IMHO. YMMV.) Which is why I'd stay away from a channel strip.

    That being said, I do have a RNC, and find it useful for some things. And a cheapo dbx eq that doesn't completely suck. I do have one of their budget compressors that does - completely suck that is. Not even heavy enough to be a doorstopper.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  20. StuH

    StuH Friend of Leo's

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