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2nd December 2003
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which mic pre next

I'm trying to figure out which preamp to buy, as far as pre's go I have the True precision 8's, dbx 386, focusrite penta, and UA 6176 -- I don't quite get the vocal sound I want with the UA, but I wouldn't get rid of it (or any of my other pre's) for any reason. My sweetwater guy is a huge advocate of the Focusrite ISA428, and it looks like it has the best options and gives me 4 pre's, but I've never heard it and don't know if it sounds similar to any of the pre's I already have.

I'm torn between the Avalon VT-737, Langevin Dual Vocal Combo, and the Focusrite ISA428.

What about the Langevin Dual Vocal Combo, anyone here use it? I'm looking for a pre with air, and specifically one that's different from the pre's I have already. Any suggestions?
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2nd December 2003
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If I were you I'd get a Great River MP-1NV. I used one on female vocals a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing.
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3rd December 2003
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I would avoid the focusrite.. actually i would avoid all new focusrite.. looks like you have some clean pres, and a pretty colored pre in the UA piece, I would look into the Great River, or another solid "not super clean, but not super colored" option if I were you.
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3rd December 2003
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should i rule out the other pre's i mentioned, like the Langevin DVC or the Avalon VT737 ?
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3rd December 2003
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I know it is not very popular here, but I actually do like the pre of the new focusrites, I am using an ISA220, love the combination of the pre and the compressor with the blend feature enabled - mostly for rock vocals, anything that needs a strong midrange. It is not my first choice for "silky" vocals though. Prefer my V78 through an Avalon 747 EQ for that.
From my little experience with the Langevin I have to say that it has solid, goodsounding pres. Have not used the 737 lately, cannot remember it´s pre´s sound.

Rock on,
Pat
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3rd December 2003
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3rd December 2003
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I've been intrigued by some of the offerings by Chandler, Gordon Audio, Aurora, and Phoenix. And of course, the VIPRE, which I've been using now for about a month. And, needless to say, it's hard to go wrong with API.

This may not be what you want to hear, and perhaps it is a bit biased from my own experiences, but have you considered doing business with a "better" class of audio dealer? While all dealers may exhibit a slight bias towards the lines they carry, i find Sweetwater is pretty obnoxious about pumping up their own lines and dissing others. Then they pull an amazing 180 when suddenly they start carrying a line they used to badmouth, or visa versa.

I've dealt with a large number of audio dealers in my career, some slimier than others. But I can honestly say that Sweetwater is number one in giving me (as my friends from the Netherlands say) a dark brown feeling.

I just know I always have an overwhelming compulson to wash my hands after getting off the phone with one of their "sales engineers". I rely on relationships with honest dealers to get useful purchasing advice. The last thing I want is someone pushing some piece of gear on me because the boss installed a sales quota on a particular line. I have a dealer that on occasion has suggested that i check out a piece of gear that he doesn't even sell, because he knew it better fit my needs than anything he actually carried. When was the last time that happened at Sweetwater? (Hint: never.)

(And if it is of any importance, you will also find you'll save money.)
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3rd December 2003
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I like the new focusrite stuff quite a bit. I've got Manley, Neve, Great River and the Focusrite ISA-428 and ISA-110's. They hold up great against the rest of my collection. Actually the ISA-110 is my go to pre for vocals.

Rob
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3rd December 2003
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You might also want to give the Groove Tubes VIPre a listen. I love mine...it's a really nice instrument pre as well...

dB
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3rd December 2003
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Re: which mic pre next

Quote:
Originally posted by JBRecording
UA 6176
Have you tried this on something other than vox? If so, what? And how do you like it? My curiosity is how it sounds on bass and drums.

Thanks
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3rd December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by littledog
I've dealt with a large number of audio dealers in my career, some slimier than others. But I can honestly say that Sweetwater is number one in giving me (as my friends from the Netherlands say) a dark brown feeling.

I just know I always have an overwhelming compulson to wash my hands after getting off the phone with one of their "sales engineers". I rely on relationships with honest dealers to get useful purchasing advice. The last thing I want is someone pushing some piece of gear on me because the boss installed a sales quota on a particular line. I have a dealer that on occasion has suggested that i check out a piece of gear that he doesn't even sell, because he knew it better fit my needs than anything he actually carried. When was the last time that happened at Sweetwater? (Hint: never.)

(And if it is of any importance, you will also find you'll save money.)
I hear where you are coming from. My SW sales engineer is Paul Lea and he will work with me. He knows whenever I want something that I have done research and found the best price on the net. He always matches it for me. Plus he said if there is something I want to buy from a manufacture that they don't carry, he will get it for me. But it may take a few days to get. I agree that most of SW's prices are over the top, but they should price match for you or beat it.

I wouldn't compare SW to a place like Mercenary. But for a site that sells everything, they are the most knowledgeable sales engineers that I have ever talked to. I found out that they charge a bit more because of their knowledge, and their customer support is top notch (from what I hear) but I haven't had to deal with CS ... yet.

IMO they are a great all round music store. Just know what you want, and tell them you want them to match a price.
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3rd December 2003
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robmix,
since you have the 110 and the 428, how different are the old isa pres sounding from the new ones? a little, a lot or totally?

thanks & rock on,
Pat
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3rd December 2003
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thanks very much for all of your replies, I certainly appreciate the advice. I have given thought to expanding my gear purchasing horizons, but the personal service at SW makes me go back there. I admit, I am boycotting Guitar Center (unless I'm at a session at someone needs a new cable or a pick, I spend no more than $20 there if I absolutely have to go there...GC is the exact opposite of Sweetwater, horrible service with idiot employees (certain exceptions apply, but in NJ i haven't found any good GC employees)...) but I do have some other contacts that I could look to for my next pre purchase.

rjx, I like my UA 6176 on some vocals, It's really nice on acoustic guitar. I haven't tried it on drums yet, it would probably do a snare pretty well.

I know there are also great other pre's out there, API's, Neves, but I'm looking for a Channel Strip sort of thing, Compression/EQ inline after the pre, I'm open to suggestions for channel strips...also I figured I should mention my budget is no more than $2k...

~J
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3rd December 2003
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I am also an advocate of the ISA stuff from Focusrite. I would obviously take an API 3124 or Neve over it anyday, but the 428 and ISA 110 hold up very well against anything. I use it quite often and have well over 30 channels of high end outboard pres. It is also nice that you can link the two with a digital I/O. The ISA 430 has also sounded fantastic over the past few years for me. I just think that there are some people that are bias torward Focusrite because they broke out of the small company mold and jumped into bed with Digidesign. In this day and age where personal DAW platforms are plentiful, the manufacturers of high end outboard gear are doing a little horizontal marketing and pushing cut down versions of the classics. But the ISA deserves to be in the BLUE range. It sounds great, maybe not perfect, but GREAT!
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Focusrite preamps sound good but they're built like shit. My client's green line has gone to the shop about six times in as many years. I've never seen a unit break as often.

That said, it sounds killer and it's very versatile (his is a green "channel strip"). I've made some wonderful recordings with it that have made some mix engineers say "wow". Great for electric guitars.

I own a Focusrite Trackmaster that was cheap but sounds pretty cool. It's got something of a vibe, IMO. Ironically, this one has not needed repairs.

I've been interested in the new Blue line and have read lots of posts. Search "Focusrite" and you'll hear a lot of complaints about the build quality.

It's not that Digidesign owns them now (corporate asshole conglomorate notwithstanding), it's that the huger the company, the less they care that their stuff is built poorly. It becomes a risk/reward calculation and not a pride thing anymore.
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3rd December 2003
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I think the Platinum and Green lines are built cheap. But with the more you spend the better they get!
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3rd December 2003
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If you want "air," I'd check out Great River, John Hardy, Cranesong and even the RNP or a Rane.
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i am hopefully going to be trying the new Aurora from Geoff Tanner this week ... i will post soon ...

john
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3rd December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by jwh1192
i am hopefully going to be trying the new Aurora from Geoff Tanner this week ... i will post soon ...

john
i'm especially curious to know how the eq sounds vs other high end eq's
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3rd December 2003
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littledog,

I appreciate your advice, but I can't say I agree with your view of Sweetwater - I've always had great experiences with them and gotten fantastic results from their professionalism and expertise. I like having my own sales engineer, he knows my equipment and my setup, and can make good suggestions for how I can have my needs met. I don't know any other place that does this to the degree of Sweetwater. I've never felt Sweetwater's prices to be unreasonable, given their customer service I think the prices are a bargain. Not to mention they have good prices with FedEx so shipping isn't a huge addition either. Maybe you had a bad experience with sweetwater? Maybe try a different sales engineer? Sweetwater is much better than you're making it out to be.

~JBRecording
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3rd December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by dtobocman
Focusrite preamps sound good but they're built like shit. My client's green line has gone to the shop about six times in as many years. I've never seen a unit break as often.

That said, it sounds killer and it's very versatile (his is a green "channel strip"). I've made some wonderful recordings with it that have made some mix engineers say "wow". Great for electric guitars.

I own a Focusrite Trackmaster that was cheap but sounds pretty cool. It's got something of a vibe, IMO. Ironically, this one has not needed repairs.

I've been interested in the new Blue line and have read lots of posts. Search "Focusrite" and you'll hear a lot of complaints about the build quality.

It's not that Digidesign owns them now (corporate asshole conglomorate notwithstanding), it's that the huger the company, the less they care that their stuff is built poorly. It becomes a risk/reward calculation and not a pride thing anymore.
Digidesign does not own Focusrite! They only distribute Focusrite products in the North American market.

As for the green range, consider that it is an older product and it no longer available. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it was their first attempt at a "budget" range.

The Platinum range of products is their current "budget" range. The micpres in these products are not related to the transformer designs of classic Focusrite products or those found in their current Red and ISA range. It would be quite unfair to judge their complete product line based on their "budget" line. (Especially on the gearslutz "high end" forum.) Personally, I think the Class A micpres sound pretty decent based on the price. It seems as some here people agree in that at least... I have an OctoPre for additional inputs when doing live recording and a VoiceMaster Pro. The Voicemaster Pro has great channel strip features at this price range... I got the box just to use those EQ, compressors, etc. at certain times (bypassing the micpre.)

The ISA and Red series of products has a transformer micpre design. I picked-up the ISA428 because I liked the sound and what it added to my existing set-up. It rounded out my "high end" collection nicely. (e.g. Grace and Drawmer) However, I do feel kinda dirty about buying a great quality product that was assembled in China. I'm the type of person where this bothers me a bit! But more and more stuff is being assembled there, even costly stuff like the Vipre.

So contrary to what others have been posting so far... your sales guy did fine by recommending the ISA428 IMHO.
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Get the VinTech 1272 copy.
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4th December 2003
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I like the Averill 1272 clone, sweet
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How is the Focusrite 428 a channel strip? I thought it was four mic pres with an option on a digital out. David
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I got it....an I like it. Good bang for the buck pre. Not the same as the 430 preamp though....but DAMB CLOSE!!
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Why slam Focusrite as a product line when you're bringing up the "Green" series or a "Trakmaster-Blaster?

Talk about the real Focusrite products such as the original
ISA 110 from the Neve Era (1986-1989). These original ISA 110's are going for $1200.00 per channel used on Ebay. While you DO need a power supply for them, they are inexpensive for that performance. They are massive in sound and thick and plush.
Listen to the outrage as your mic up a gtr or piano. Check them on voice!

The new re-issue "Classic" 110 is not the same animal.
Those who slam Focusrite after auditioning one of their $499
units ought to have their ears boxed! Why compare cheap to one of the best ever designs. Listen UP!
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4th December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Plush
Why slam Focusrite as a product line when you're bringing up the "Green" series or a "Trakmaster-Blaster?........
Those who slam Focusrite after auditioning one of their $499
units ought to have their ears boxed! Why compare cheap to one of the best ever designs. Listen UP!
Read my original post, asshole. Follow your advice and "listen up!"

I said that my Trackmaster has never broken down.

I said the Green series sounded fantastic -- I love this preamp. It has broken down about 5-6 times. No ****ing lie.

I've heard that the original ISA 110 is one of the best units ever made (I've never heard one, but since I ADORE the sound of the green channel strip, I tend to believe it). The new line, BUILT IN CHINA, is not the same animal, and is, from what I've repeatedly read, built poorly. Do a search of "focusrite" on this board -- you'll see how people have repeatedly commented on the suckiness of the quality; meters breaking after a week and shit. It's build quality is not good. It's a fact, Jack.

You're quite the asshole, aren't you?
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OUCH! grudge
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Thank you! You've made your own point when you say that you have not heard the original ISA 110. Actually I'm not an asshole at all. I agree that technology made in China (whether of British design or otherwise) is usually pretty poor. My complaint was that you were speaking of the green range and the Blue range as if in one breath---lumping them together. You can't compare something real like the orignal ISA 110 built by Neve himself in 1988 to something made in China.

Not the asshole, just for real!
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Quote:
Originally posted by Plush
You can't compare something real like the orignal ISA 110 built by Neve himself in 1988 to something made in China.
I know this is tedious -- where did I make that comparison? I didn't. The original poster was asking about the ISA 428 (built in CHINA), not the original ISA 110, "built by Neve himself in 1988." The build quality remains the issue....

Any company that puts out $1000+ units that need to be repaired once or twice a year should be ashamed of themselves, and should be subjected to ridicule. Why are you defending them? They're a company that deserves a lot of scrutiny. And another thing -- did you know that, since Focusrite is now part of Digidesign, that getting tech support on the phone from them costs mondo bucks a minute? (I think it's $5 a minute!). What arrogance! I'll never buy another Focusrite product again in my life -- you all can do what you like.

The "ears boxed" line is what pissed me off. Maybe you should reconsider wishing that on fellow musicians and AEs.

OK, you're not an asshole -- I was only kidding anyway

fuuck
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