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mlopresti
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#1
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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quality preamps

Is anyone aware of any audio samples i can find on gearslutz or other sites that let you hear the differences of recording analog synthesizers or drum machines with a good quality preamp vs. recording directly into converter?

I'd like to hear the difference before forking out a good chunk of money on expensive preamps.
#2
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlopresti View Post
Is anyone aware of any audio samples i can find on gearslutz or other sites that let you hear the differences of recording analog synthesizers or drum machines with a good quality preamp vs. recording directly into converter?

I'd like to hear the difference before forking out a good chunk of money on expensive preamps.
Ive seen a number of shoot outs but not for the specific reason you want.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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I've gotten a lot of information from the standard "preamp shoot-outs" in other forums on this site.

It wasn't until I actually experienced it myself first-hand that I became a convert to using high quality preamps with my synths. I bought a UA Solo 610 awhile back for vocals and the odd single mic acoustic recording and then one day tried it out as a DI box on one of my analog synths. Wow. What a sound!

I wouldn't use that preamp on every track for sure, but it has a lot more character and color than the neutral (but adequate) preamps on either my Mackie VLZ3 mixer or MOTU 8pre.

I then invested in a UA 4-710d which has both solid-state and tube preamps or a blend of the two. Synths sound fantastic through this as well. What's nice about the 4-710d is that it has a good quality A/D converter onboard which can be light-piped elsewhere via ADAT.

I'm not necessarily recommending these model preamps, but rather only that IMO there is something to be gained from using higher-end preamps than what one normally finds on your average audio interface. The landscape is changing, however, as audio interfaces continue to improve. The need for expensive outboard preamps for synths is slowly diminishing it would seem.
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#4
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I've gotten a lot of information from the standard "preamp shoot-outs" in other forums on this site.

It wasn't until I actually experienced it myself first-hand that I became a convert to using high quality preamps with my synths. I bought a UAD Solo 610 awhile back for vocals and the odd single mic acoustic recording and then one day tried it out as a DI box on one of my analog synths. Wow. What a sound!

I wouldn't use that preamp on every track for sure, but it has a lot more character and color than the neutral (but adequate) preamps on either my Mackie VLZ3 mixer or MOTU 8pre.

I then invested in a UA 4-710d which has both solid-state and tube preamps or a blend of the two. Synths sound fantastic through this as well. What's nice about the 4-710d is that it has a good quality A/D converter onboard which can be light-piped elsewhere via ADAT.

I'm not necessarily recommending these model preamps, but rather only that IMO there is something to be gained from using higher-end preamps than what one normally finds on the average audio interface. The landscape is constantly changing, however, as audio interfaces continue to improve. The need for expensive outboard preamps for synths is slowly diminishing it would seem.

100% agreed on the sentiment here, a preamp will open up the sound of your synths, doesn't even have to be expensive.

I'm always amazed at how much we'll all spend on synths and then have no preamp, crap converters, and headphones for monitoring

Even a decent FX unit can bring more new sound out of ALL your synths over buying just one more synth,

Recommends: UA make good but affordable, buy used and try to find a Pacifica, a racked pair of API 512c, or visit the low-end section and there will be plenty of great options there too (all equally valid)

A
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post

Recommends: UA make good but affordable, buy used and try to find a Pacifica, a racked pair of API 512c, or visit the low-end section and there will be plenty of great options there too (all equally valid)

A
A-Designs Pacifica or P-1 and 512 are my favorite synth pres. Seriously cannot find something the P-1 DI isnt perfect for. I sold my Reddi pair...
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
100% agreed on the sentiment here, a preamp will open up the sound of your synths, doesn't even have to be expensive.

I'm always amazed at how much we'll all spend on synths and then have no preamp, crap converters, and headphones for monitoring

Even a decent FX unit can bring more new sound out of ALL your synths over buying just one more synth,

Recommends: UA make good but affordable, buy used and try to find a Pacifica, a racked pair of API 512c, or visit the low-end section and there will be plenty of great options there too (all equally valid)

A
I learned right here @ GS about which pre's to buy and though I have used a good variety of pre's,I'm happy with what I have for now and checked out the ones you have mentioned.
I ended up with 3 flavors.
Avalon 737,summit mpc 100,and Great River MP2NV.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by jeremycox View Post
A-Designs Pacifica or P-1 and 512 are my favorite synth pres. Seriously cannot find something the P-1 DI isnt perfect for. I sold my Reddi pair...

Good taste, my man

And for those whoe don't know, the P1 is the 500 series single channel rack version of the Pacific.

Agree withJeremy's AND Dan P ... The Pacifica seems to compliment synths VERY well and in terms of pre flavor, it seems to be the perfect blend between Neve and API... I'd describe it as smooth and punchy.

Andrews
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan p View Post
I learned right here @ GS about which pre's to buy and though I have used a good variety of pre's,I'm happy with what I have for now and checked out the ones you have mentioned.
I ended up with 3 flavors.
Avalon 737,summit mpc 100,and Great River MP2NV.
I second your other choices here too
mlopresti
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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I appreciate all the brand suggestions but i want to hear the difference between one of these preamps and without. Would anyone mind recording an A/B sample for me? With and without?
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
Good taste, my man

And for those whoe don't know, the P1 is the 500 series single channel rack version of the Pacific.

Agree withJeremy's AND Dan P ... The Pacifica seems to compliment synths VERY well and in terms of pre flavor, it seems to be the perfect blend between Neve and API... I'd describe it as smooth and punchy.

Andrews
It can get kinda crunch/harmonic too in an amazing way. Plus its killer on electric guitar and some vocals. The Pacifica actually sounds better, its got a fatter bottom end because of that larger tranny.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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If you can swing it, order some things on a card from somewhere that takes returns without a restocking fee. Preamp vibes are as personal as taste in significant others. We can all agree that some aesthetics are good, but to find the ones you vibe best with its really worth trying each one a few times.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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i dont send synth thru pres that are younger than 35 years..50 years old is better because theese use germanium transitors or valves... andi dont spend much money for them..

trick is to dont waste expensive mic pres for synths.. line drivers and summing amps are totally allright and sound way better as the modern rebuilds just by the quality of the transformers alone...

But i also like the vintage mic pres more than their modern versions..

either the modern ones are too transparent and clean.. what is not a bad thing but not my taste..

Or they try to make colour but just sound like the white trash version against the art deco original.. Colouir with real patina is better.. but has its price.. you wont get vintage mic pres cheap anymore.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by mlopresti View Post
I appreciate all the brand suggestions but i want to hear the difference between one of these preamps and without. Would anyone mind recording an A/B sample for me? With and without?
+1!!
#14
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlopresti View Post
I appreciate all the brand suggestions but i want to hear the difference between one of these preamps and without. Would anyone mind recording an A/B sample for me? With and without?
Try the "search" function here (not being mean, I just know there's a TON of A/B threads, especially in the "High-End" section, although the pres aren't all high- end)

Loads of tests floating around, I'll have a look too
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
I'm always amazed at how much we'll all spend on synths and then have no preamp, crap converters, and headphones for monitoring
This is so true and I'm as guilty as anyone. Over the years I've spent HUGE amounts of money on great instruments, but I've been recording them with very mediocre gear. But that's slowly changing. I'm totally rockin' on this UA 4-710d right now. It's got these 1176 style compressors built-in which you can't control much more than simply turn on/off and select slow/fast but man, do they sound sweet (especially with the right GAIN and DRIVE settings for the material). I can see where these preamps might not appeal to everyone, but they suit me perfectly.

And I also agree about trying out some new outboard FX before grabbing another synth. I was so pleased with that Vermona VSR3 spring reverb I got in December that I ordered their Retroverb Lancet analog FX unit. That baby is one of the coolest pieces of kit to ever enter my studio. If you don't know it, you should check it out.
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