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Cheapest way to 8Ch. of Fantastic Mic Preamps?
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hduncan
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26th June 2008
Old 26th June 2008
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Cheapest way to 8Ch. of Fantastic Mic Preamps?

I am looking to acheive 8Ch. of excellent preamps as cheap as I can go. I don't mind DIY, Lunchboxes (500series?), whatever- I don't care how long it takes me.

I am strongly considering getting the Mackie 1200F, but before I get that all in one unit- I am finding out what other Options I have, if I saved up for a year or so. I also may be inhereting some money soon from a family member which may allow me to get something nicer than the Mackie.

If I go the route I'd like to go, I will get a Rosetta 800 hooked up to my MacBook Pro via the xSymphony expresscard system with my 8channels of whatever Mic Pres into the Rosetta.

I think I am going to go with one brand of Mic Pre to keep things simple and not to complicate the costs.

So, what are the suggestions for the cheapest path to 8 awesome mic pre channels? I haven't given a price because I am willing to be flexible in saving/waiting- so what DIY/Module routes (or even just cheaper but excellent gear) do you all suggest?

I tend to do rock oriented music, sometimes it is almost on the verge of industrial metal. but I also have a lot of synthesizers, pianos, strings and male vocals. So the Preamps need to be versatile!
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#2
26th June 2008
Old 26th June 2008
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Why not get two API 3124+

only 2 spaces, great value, great pres...


start workin.



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26th June 2008
Old 26th June 2008
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+1 on 3124. bang for buck!
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26th June 2008
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seventh circle audio of course
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26th June 2008
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gtp8 there is no cheap way to "8 fantastic" preamps. sca's are also a great way to go.
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26th June 2008
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Depending on the sound you want... 2 x API 3124+'s or an Aurora Audio GTP8 would be excellent choices ( as all the other posters have mentioned).

API - fast, punchy, mid-forward

Aurora - big, round, Neve-esque.

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hduncan
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26th June 2008
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Is there any equivalent 500series for the API 3124+ or some way I can DIY them?
hduncan
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26th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Depending on the sound you want... 2 x API 3124+'s or an Aurora Audio GTP8 would be excellent choices ( as all the other posters have mentioned).

API - fast, punchy, mid-forward

Aurora - big, round, Neve-esque.

Since I am not particularly familiar with either of these sounds, are there any albums you can point me to that are pretty obviously Neveish/APIish?

Actually, simple samples of either of these pre's on the same material would probably be a better idea, yeah? I'll start lookin
hduncan
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26th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Hombre View Post
gtp8 there is no cheap way to "8 fantastic" preamps. sca's are also a great way to go.
Thanks for the suggestion..

Cheap is a very subjective term, it could mean $4K for one person and $400 for someone else..

But I did specifically say "Cheapest", by which I mean, lowest costing route to my goal, and this is measurable in numbers of dollars!
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Go SCA. The A12 is the API DIY kit and the N72 is the Neve. You can also get cleans from the T15, the J99, and the C*forget the number*. its a lot cheaper this way.

This is probably the cheapest route.

The API is just a very forward sound. I would say it reminds me of 90's music. A neve sound is a large and somewhat dark sound. It's big round and fat. Alot of vocals use this preamp really. The T15 is a DAV sound, big clean and damn cheap. Sounds great.
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+1 gtp8
hduncan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rackdude View Post
Go SCA. The A12 is the API DIY kit and the N72 is the Neve. You can also get cleans from the T15, the J99, and the C*forget the number*. its a lot cheaper this way.

This is probably the cheapest route.

The API is just a very forward sound. I would say it reminds me of 90's music. A neve sound is a large and somewhat dark sound. It's big round and fat. Alot of vocals use this preamp really. The T15 is a DAV sound, big clean and damn cheap. Sounds great.

So would you say that NIN: The Fragile is a pretty API sounding album.. What would be a more "Nevey" album in comparison? by dark do you mean it attenuates the highs a bit more?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
Since I am not particularly familiar with either of these sounds, are there any albums you can point me to that are pretty obviously Neveish/APIish?

Actually, simple samples of either of these pre's on the same material would probably be a better idea, yeah? I'll start lookin
There was a thread a while back that had a run down of some of the hits done on API consoles..... Sunset Sound in LA, where Price recorded a lot of his early stuff (I Wanna Be Your Lover, etc) was on an API. Some of my personal favorites were the recordings done at Channel One Studios in Kingston, Jamaica where Sly and Robbie worked almost exclusively in the 70's. There were many others...

... but it's a dangerous game trying to match up a recording to a console and expect that kind of sound.... A preamp does not equal the sound of a desk. I would probably say the better majority of great major label recordings of the last 30 years or more had something, or most of it, that was tracked through an API or Neve preamp.
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27th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Hombre View Post
gtp8 there is no cheap way to "8 fantastic" preamps.
Just to give you an idea of the price of this neve-isch, 8 channel pre:

The GTP8 has an external power supply included in the price of $4,950.00

(this was a few months back)

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27th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miqer View Post
Just to give you an idea of the price of this neve-isch, 8 channel pre:

The GTP8 has an external power supply included in the price of $4,950.00

(this was a few months back)

The GTP is now $4999.
hduncan
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So the GTP8 is Neve-esque?
is Neve more popular with Pop whereas API is more common with Rock?
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27th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
So the GTP8 is Neve-esque?
Yes... in some ways better (slightly more open top end, although the word better is subjective). There were some comparisons posted of the GTQ preamp and a 1073... it might be worth doing a search. The GTP shares the same preamp circuit as the GTQ minus the EQ.

Quote:
is Neve more popular with Pop whereas API is more common with Rock?
I don't think that's necessarily true. We are talking about two of the most popular preamps over the last 40 years (1073 and 312). They've both seen their share of pop and rock records.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
So the GTP8 is Neve-esque?
is Neve more popular with Pop whereas API is more common with Rock?
you could say that but it's really not that big a deal. if i was tracking a hard hitting rock, metal band and given the choice of api /neve in a perfect world, i'd go api. if i was doing a funky, quirky alt band with more dynamic variety to their sound, i'd rather go neve. but if all i had for either, was either, i'd still be perfectly happy. however at this point for my personal tastes and aesthetics, id lean more towards mr. tanners stuff. $5.000 for 8 ch's of great preamps sure is fair.
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Mr. Neve is a spiritual man.

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2 x Sebatron VMP4000

While the API's are great, dropping $5-6k on pre's probably isn't what you're looking for if cheap is the goal. 8 channels of Sebatron would be $3.8k. Versatile, can be clean or dirty, and they stack great.
#22
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I can't believe nobody has mentioned JLM Baby Animals yet. They are about the same price as SCA, which is to say half the price of APIs channel for channel. And they sound gorgeous.
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27th June 2008
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True Systems Precision 8. Includes 2 DI and a Mid/Side decoder. Very clean, transparent, and low noise. Street price should be under $2500.
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Another vote for Seventh Circle Audio here. I think their designs, layout, and general quality are top notch.
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2 Daking Mic Pre IVs would likely be about as good as anything you'd pay twice as much for! You can get 2 in the neighborhood of $3600. Do a search on the Daking gear, it is very highly thought of...for a reason!
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The thing about SCA is that you can mix and match API and Neves and Cleans, so you will learn what you like and need more of. They each have different characteristics and they aren't necessarilly strong on a genre of music as they are a certain instrument and voice.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Cage View Post
I can't believe nobody has mentioned JLM Baby Animals yet. They are about the same price as SCA, which is to say half the price of APIs channel for channel. And they sound gorgeous.
+1

I love JLM Baby Animal Pre's. The PCB's just arrived to build my 13th-16th channel!

I have built 8x Neve Style and 8x API Style. They worked out quite a bit cheaper than SCA.

The 8x Neve style cost me £920 ($1840) compared to $2952 for 8x N72, chassis, PS and harness.

The 8x API style cost me £1130 ($2260) compared to $2952 for 8x A12, chassis, PS and harness. My API style Baby Animals use real API 2520 opamps and Cinemag transformers. The Neve style used all JLM parts, JLM14 input transformer and JLM99v opamp.

All 16 of my channels use the JLM 111DC output transformer which adds a little warmth and a little extra gain but is subtle. You could make them even cheaper without the output transformers. 8x output transformers are £270! ($540)

They are fantastic and the biggest bargain around at the moment IMO. I have a couple of A-Designs Pacificas and they match up to those in terms of quality. A friend and I tested my API Baby Animals against his API 3124 and the differnece was extremely minimal, mine were ever so slightly softer.

We thought that it was because I used an 8:1 input transformer like API used to use in the 70's where I think the 3124 uses a 10:1 input transformer which I've been told hits the opamp a little harder. I know a lot of DIY'ers use the 10:1 Cinemag in their API style builds. Of course I may well be wrong on that as I am not very electronically minded at all, in fact this was my first solo DIY build! I had helped my friend who is an excellent tech on a few different projects.
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I agree with the JLM preamp recommendation above,
Its cheapest way to get performance for not a lot of buck is to built it yourself.
A Kit will make DIYing a lot easier...
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For 8 channels of good preamps I would go for two of the 3124+, but if cost is really an issue I've been very happy with my Millennia HV3–8. On a per channel cost it's hard to beat.

Very clean, but you have to get all the character from your mics...
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Sebatron is great. Why not one of the 4 channel sebatrons, and the 4 channel api. This way you can have tube color (50ies/60ies), and solid state harmonics (api) (70ies).

Or get 2 Vintage Design DPA (2 times neve style pre) and the 4 channel Sebatron. That is perhaps a cheap way for getting 8 channels of really good pre's.
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