Originally Posted by NathanEldred
Only you will be able to determine which is the right thing, and just because a preamp is 'great' in general doesn't make it great on the source you are recording. You also need more information than just a list of quality items, and that's going to take experience which is a slow and difficult road.
I intuitively know this... and agree with you. Challenge is, time and budget do not lend themselves right now to gaining the experience! If the items mentioned above (and many thanks to all the posters btw) give me a useful short list, then it can help me to get a good result quicker. My challenge is LACK of experience, and some starting points do help. Your comments about specifically what sonic differences I want to hear are all really relevant - thing is I can't even tell yet until I hear some of the more obvious differences! I know I want my voice to sound very "intimate", "organic" "big" and "present" when close micing - some weight with some air (but not in Brauner hyped hifi territory), and powerful, organic and yet present when singing louder, and since i don't have any other pro pre at the moment, some versatility with guitars and bass would also be great. I suspect I should arrange for simultaneous audition in my studio of a short list of pre's which others have found work well with this mic, and which fit in the same territory price-wise (compared to the range of other pre's, not compared to the actual price of the mic), then see which one floats my boat - and do the testing with an experienced engineer present.
any other suggestions, please feel free - if a couple of items keep coming up as recommended with the TM1, it'll give more weight to the advisability of auditioning them. Equally, if folks have found that certain combinations (eg Germanium) are probably not going to be among the better choices - primarily for a voice which is deep and resonant but not hugely characterful, but which can hopefully cover the guitar/bass as well - that'll help too. I'm relying on the testing experience of you guys to get me started! Even if the in the final analysis, I'll be making the decision based on what I hear...
thanks for your help - I appreciate it.