Most expensive mic preamp
Old 29th September 2008
  #1
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Thread Starter
Most expensive mic preamp

Just out of curiousity, which do you guys think is the most expensive mic preamp available per channel?

This is the most expensive one I've seen (doing a quick search) at about $5,500 per channel.

Would you buy it?
Old 29th September 2008
  #2
For that price, it better also rub my back, among other things.
Old 29th September 2008
  #3
Will use anything...
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbeat77 View Post
Would you buy it?
No chance!

but I'd LOVE to hear them (or anybody, in fact) try to justify the price.
Old 29th September 2008
  #4
Gear Head
 

For that price someone who's not that slutty could buy all the outboard gear they'll ever need... not me though!
Old 29th September 2008
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
For that price, it better also rub my back, among other things.
Old 21st November 2009
  #6
Gear maniac
 

why so much do-re-me?

Why are pres so expensive. Really, there is a huge range from cheap to expensive. The expensive ones sound better, agreed. By why do they cost so much?
Old 21st November 2009
  #7
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Some pres actually cost alot to make, especially the transformers.

That being said these companies get it cheaper by buying bulk.


But for all absolutely top quality components your looking at a grand a channel and thats going all out, like seriously going all out unless there are transformers that cost alot more than i'm aware of., and then you have to factor in R&D, labour, shipping to distributors, the distributors cut, the resellers cut.

So you can see why super high quality ones get expensive but some are just overpriced.

Actually surprisingly, good gain rotary switches can cost up to $150 each.
Old 21st November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
Some pres actually cost alot to make, especially the transformers.

That being said these companies get it cheaper by buying bulk.


But for all absolutely top quality components your looking at a grand a channel and thats going all out, and then you have to factor in R&D, labour, shipping to distributors, the distributors cut, the resellers cut.

So you can see why super high quality ones get expensive but some are just overpriced.
I own a GR MP-2nv. It's terrific. Most on here would agree. What gets its price to nearly $2800? It's a pretty penny for a pretty sound.
Old 21st November 2009
  #9
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Well i know i can build a 1073 type preamp (just the pre) for around 800 for one channel maybe cheaper but if it is then labour comes into play.

If that helps at all.
Old 21st November 2009
  #10
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emrr's Avatar
If you wanna talk vintage/collectable, we can come up with some that cost a whole lot more. I think there's also at least one other stereo tube preamp that comes in around $25K, with most of that cost being the power supply. Can't recall the name.
Old 21st November 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post
Why are pres so expensive. Really, there is a huge range from cheap to expensive. The expensive ones sound better, agreed. By why do they cost so much?
It's a marketing trick, adapted from the (intellectually challenged) high-end consumer market to the (increasingly intellectually challenged) pro bedroom studio market. These super expensive products are there to define a ceiling only.
Now you can place a product for 50% of that and call it affordable, even though it is still ridiculously overpriced. That's all to it.
A great mic-preamp does not have to cost more than $500 per channel.
Preamps are important but not THAT important. I imagine cooking magazines, spending great parts of their editorials about knives and forks.
Old 21st November 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
For that price, it better also rub my back, among other things.
LOL
Old 21st November 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
Well i know i can build a 1073 type preamp (just the pre) for around 800
1290s can be made for around 375 a channel.
Old 21st November 2009
  #14
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum View Post
It's a marketing trick, adapted from the (intellectually challenged) high-end consumer market to the (increasingly intellectually challenged) pro bedroom studio market. These super expensive products are there to define a ceiling only.
Now you can place a product for 50% of that and call it affordable, even though it is still ridiculously overpriced. That's all to it.
A great mic-preamp does not have to cost more than $500 per channel.
Preamps are important but not THAT important. I imagine cooking magazines, spending great parts of their editorials about knives and forks.
I disagree with the intellectually challenged aspect of your comment regarding the home enthusiast. I find just the opposite. Most home enthusiasts have limited funds for their personal project studios. I find they actually over-research products. These boards are a testament to that. It seems that before a purchase is made every single aspect of the converter, pre, plug-in, whatever, has been exhaustively discussed and researched. Usually, the differences between the products are extremely minute.

With this type of customer and an endless amount of product, companies need to put out first rate stuff and price it appropriately. Otherwise, it is immediately railed in forums and reviews and sinks as a product. For example, Mercenary is about to release some type of mixing summing box that has static pan pots. Everybody on the boards basically said, "Great product but I ain't getting it until the pots are continuous." I'm just sure that product is going to have continuous pan pots when it hits the market.

I know nothing about how to put a pre together. I don't know its innards. I'm a button pusher. I just wonder what it is inside these things that costs so much. From what I read it seems to be the power supply. I guess that is why the 500 series is so popular.
Old 21st November 2009
  #15
Gear addict
 

I heard a rumour, or some chatter rather, that this preamp is so highly spec'd that it exhibits very little tube like artifacts and has such low distortion that it actually performs like a solid state device.. Which kind of defeats the object of using tubes.. Maybe.
Apparently Ultra clean and open.. But again.. I just heard that, and haven't heard the unit myself, or looked at the specs.. Who knows!?

All I know is that the EAR 660 is one of the finest pieces of equipment I've ever had the pleasure of working with.. So if that's anything to go by.. The pre will be wonderful.
Old 21st November 2009
  #16
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MikeMitchell's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbeat77 View Post
Just out of curiousity, which do you guys think is the most expensive mic preamp available per channel?

This is the most expensive one I've seen (doing a quick search) at about $5,500 per channel.

Would you buy it?
VK shows retail at- Retail: $8,843.00. It's two channels I believe. Street price will be lower. More than likely will hover in the upper 3k per channel. Still hella expensive.
Old 21st November 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum View Post
It's a marketing trick...
A great mic-preamp does not have to cost more than $500 per channel.
Preamps are important but not THAT important. I imagine cooking magazines, spending great parts of their editorials about knives and forks.
I'm not going to argue that statement with concepts that I can't back with facts.

...but...

If manufacturers began listening to comments like yours, then we'd have all of the manufacturers moving shop to China for cheaper labour.

It' s not just the parts, but the workers doing assembly.

Behrringer probably pays Chinese workers a minimum wage, and the workers may not know or care what it is that they're building.

A low-cost American manufacturer may pay just above the min. wage. Those people don't care much either.

A good quality manufacturer pays workers well, so the quality is great.

An 'overpriced' piece of gear may have the licensed engineers, who designed the units, be involved in the manufacturing and QC. This would push the price up ridiculously high, but quality would be pristine.

Your income decides the price range that you look at.

Personally $2k is my max for a single channel. But for 8 channels in a rack, I wouldn't pay over $4k.

...but to clarify this topic, I'd love to see someone who actually builds and sells to weigh in. Beez Neez guy? Nathan Eldred?
Old 21st November 2009
  #18
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Owned it / sold it..

Bought it new when it was a fraction of the price years ago.
Old 21st November 2009
  #19
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Plush's Avatar
I use to use an EAR as my main mic amp. I sold it last year because I needed more tube sound and I wanted more remote controlled mic amps.

Originally I bought the EAR mic amp used from Funky Junk in London.

The Tim de Paravicini EAR 824 mic amp is fantastic and has huge headroom. It sounds very good, but I think that my dav electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 sounds very similar.

Other expensive mic amps I use are:
Thermionic Culture Earlybird 1.2
Schoeps VSR-5
Gordon Model 5

De Paravicini is not selling too many of these mic amps at that price. In fact I would say he might sell 2 or 3 a year in the USA.

Maybe some years he and his dealers will sell no EAR mic amps.

The world's most expensive mic amp I've run across is the discontinued FM Acoustics
"ClassAmp M1." It sold for over $7000.00 per channel.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
For that price, it better also rub my back, among other things.
You can say "reach around" on GS...right??

It better give me a reach around.



I would imagine that certain one-of-a-kind units might go for even more. Remember those EMI TG cassettes that were for sale for like $10K+


Fs emi tg12345 mkii cassettes
Old 22nd November 2009
  #21
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tapehiss's Avatar
im selling a focusrite octopre for $18,000.00

but at $2,200 a channel, i guess there more expensive pres out there.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #22
member no 666
 
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The 824 is one of the most amazing pre-amps I've ever experienced. All I can think of that would make it as expensive as it is would be "economy of scale" [in that I doubt Tim builds 20 of them a year].

There are other pres that I've found to be on par [Fearn, Martek, etc.] that cost a good measure less... but then again they are able to build more per year which drops the price tag significantly.

As always, YMMV... but at the same time, if you could afford one, I can't see any other impediment to owning one. For that matter if you could afford several, again I can't see any other impediment to owning several.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumzealot View Post
It better give me a reach around.
lol. It better give me a rich around.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #24
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Fletcher's Avatar
 

FWIW I have used pre-amps that have should have a price tag of $25-30,000 as they are the first "proto-type" unit produced. If you calculate the design time, the time it takes to build and tweeze an "alpha unit 1", go through the process of getting it to "alpha unit 2 (3-4-5 as necessary) to "beta unit" to "production proto-type" these things are madly expensive.

Back in the Mercenary days we built a unit that was 2x Neve 31083 modules built into a 1RU enclosure complete with an internal power supply. With parts, calculations, custom metal fabrication, power supply design time, the cost of the original modules that needed to be cut and modified to fit into the package [yada, yada, yada] the cost of the unit was indeed $25,000. From there it was decided that to bring the product to market was going to be way too expensive and the project was scrapped [there are indeed two units in existence... the first was $25k, the second around $8k].

This leads back to the "economy of scale" thing I posted earlier. If Tim outsourced the building of these units and was able to "mass market" them I have a feeling that the price of these units would fall dramatically. It is far less expensive to order transformers by the 100 than by the unit... and less expensive still to order them in 1000 unit lots... but you have to have a market for that many units as the cost of having 1000 transformers on your shelf when you're only going to use like 10 a year is astronomical [not to mention the debt service on the loan which will probably be necessary to make that initial 1000 unit purchase... make no mistake, money costs money!!].

Peace.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #25
Performer * Producer
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
The 824 is one of the most amazing pre-amps I've ever experienced. All I can think of that would make it as expensive as it is would be "economy of scale" [in that I doubt Tim builds 20 of them a year].

There are other pres that I've found to be on par [Fearn, Martek, etc.] that cost a good measure less... but then again they are able to build more per year which drops the price tag significantly.

As always, YMMV... but at the same time, if you could afford one, I can't see any other impediment to owning one. For that matter if you could afford several, again I can't see any other impediment to owning several.
Remember those Tonebarge mixes where he used a console everybody knows is incapable of giving great mix? He used a couple of these EAR pres on the way into the 20 bit ADAT's. And he wiped the court with his rig.

Yeah, I know, it ain't the gear, it's him. Still, the pres didn't hurt his game and when he left pro audio after thirty years, (for pro photography that's paying 20x/hr. the going audio engineer rate) he got his money back at resale.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbeat77 View Post
Would you buy it?
Not even if I had money to waste, could you really hear a 8K difference in a 30 track count mix ?
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