Pre's with richness + high freq resolution
Old 19th November 2012
  #1
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Pre's with richness + high freq resolution

Greetings. I don't mean to start another preamp thread, but I am doing some shopping and really want some feedback.

Basically right now I have some good preamps (Black Lion, Warm Audio), but I have been working in studios that have your standards like API & Neve, and well yeah, you get what you pay for.

I want 1 channel of something I really like that I can take wherever I go. My question is really about finding a preamp that I consider to be balanced. A lot of people are big Neve fans but for me, this sound is a little too bloated in the bottom and simply does not resolve the high end. It does have gobs of richness which is great, but the spectrum, for me, is askew. The API stuff has the same richness but is more balanced, with more of a mid articulation emphasis. I am wondering, are there preamps that have the same API/Neve richness but really give me an open heavenly high end? Based on reading perhaps the Daking or A Designs EM Blue would fill this role nicely? Please not brittle or sibilant, just high definition, if that makes any sense...
Old 20th November 2012
  #2
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Have a look at the Focusrite ISA Range, the high end just doesn't seem to stop
Old 20th November 2012
  #3
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Mike O's Avatar
 

I doubt you'd be disappointed with the Daking (or other pres that other people will suggest). In any case make sure to give the Daking channel a try. Even if, or maybe especially if, you normally track w/o eq you will be glad you have it. Not because the pre needs it to sound good, but because it just sounds great when you need it.
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Old 20th November 2012
  #4
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Yeah I have heard plenty of good things about the Daking.. I wish I could try one. I have had the pleasure of trying a lot of great preamps like the Calrec, Shadow Hills, Tube Tech, etc and they are all awesome and do for sure have a "richness", but still are a little wonky for my tastes and just don't quite have the extension or definition that would be in my ideal pre.

One thing I have heard about the Daking that is sort of holding me back from pulling the trigger right now... they don't drive nicely. Whenever I use API or Neve I always push the pre a little farther than is actually needed and just compensate by trimming the output before the converter... good saturated sounds. But I've heard the Daking doesn't saturate quite so nicely?
Old 20th November 2012
  #5
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Diamond View Post
Greetings. I don't mean to start another preamp thread, but I am doing some shopping and really want some feedback.

Basically right now I have some good preamps (Black Lion, Warm Audio), but I have been working in studios that have your standards like API & Neve, and well yeah, you get what you pay for.

I want 1 channel of something I really like that I can take wherever I go. My question is really about finding a preamp that I consider to be balanced. A lot of people are big Neve fans but for me, this sound is a little too bloated in the bottom and simply does not resolve the high end. It does have gobs of richness which is great, but the spectrum, for me, is askew. The API stuff has the same richness but is more balanced, with more of a mid articulation emphasis. I am wondering, are there preamps that have the same API/Neve richness but really give me an open heavenly high end? Based on reading perhaps the Daking or A Designs EM Blue would fill this role nicely? Please not brittle or sibilant, just high definition, if that makes any sense...
I would recommend trying the MAAG Preq4, and the Purple Audio PANTS. The MAAG unit especially for a clean tone with open high end. Certainly the AIR eq is helpful here too, but even without that -- its still a very detailed, articulate sound, I would say. The PANTS has something really special going on up top. Very Colorful, but not in a shaped way, its more extended and aired out. Its very fast, and exciting. Certainly this one will do some saturation tricks.
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Old 20th November 2012
  #6
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Thanks. Haven't tried either of those.
Old 20th November 2012
  #7
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Delphino's Avatar
 

Electronaut M63 heaven. He also sells a funky suitcase to carry it around

Ok, its two channels..
Old 20th November 2012
  #8
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Most of the richness and fidelity you're looking for is more noticeably found in a mic, not the preamp. I've tried lots of different preamps, and yes, noticed some differences.....but we won't go there. There's a whole other post ranting about preamps that makes me yawn.....

These days I prefer squeaky clean preamps and colored mics. Seems like the several transformer based preamps I've tried add a touch of graininess and dullness to the signal that I gradually started to not care for (ISA ONE, GAP). You lose a little crispness and fidelity with transformer based preamps in exchange for "warmth", if that's what you're going for. To each his own, it's all personal preference.

My favorite preamp thus far is the JJ Audio modded DMP3 (and ironically,the most inexpensive preamp). Hands down, paired with my microphones, it's been an exceptional performer. Clean, crisp and very fully sounding. I compared it next to my friends Avalon, and it holds it's own.
Old 20th November 2012
  #9
Great River is a brand to look into for what you describe. The new Neve stuff is too (Portico).

That being said,...

If you're looking for "richness and high frequency resolution" it's soooooo not about the preamp (if more people knew that, and took the time to internalize that, there might be better sounding records everywhere).

It's the mic (assuming the performance and it's variables are dialed in well). Doesn't matter the fancy brands you might already have. It's the mic and where you point it. All else equal, 10 outta 10 times,...

It's the freakin' mic and where you point it.
Old 20th November 2012
  #10
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
You might want to look at some tube pre amps that lean on the clean side, such as the A Designs MP-2A or The LaChapell Audio 583s, both have very high fi high end, with rich lows and mids. The DW Fearn also fits the bill but comes with a fairly prohibitive price tag.
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Old 21st November 2012
  #11
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Thanks Ronan. I have checked out the pre's you mention... I wish they weren't so expensive... but such is life.
Old 21st November 2012
  #12
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The 583s is a superb tube pre! One of my absolute favorite pres. It's also much more versatile than the DW Fearn.
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Old 21st November 2012
  #13
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once a roadie's Avatar
 

Check the five fish N72 with the DOA option. Decent price / great sounding. Can be pushed and trimmed.
Old 21st November 2012
  #14
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Millennia Pre's
Old 21st November 2012
  #15
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IMO, the EM Blue is exactly what you are describing.

Similar punch as API, but a bit bigger and more lush all around.
Definitely a pronounced high end lift, but it's not harsh. Very smooth.
Breaks up brilliantly, you can just push it forever and it smoothly enters into a useable distortion.

Not as fat in the low mids as Neve, but sounds like that's a plus for you.
Plenty of deep low end.

I love my Blue's!

Only downer is, no attenuation built in, and they do run HOT.
So you would have to figure a way to attenuate it somehow, and figure that into your budget.

Many other suggestions in this thread are good ones too, however I will completely disagree with Millennia.
Richness is not a word I would ever use in the same sentence as Millennia.
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Old 21st November 2012
  #16
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Mertmo you and I are on the same page brother.
I have used my share of Millennia preamps, and yes they are high quality in a sense, but certainly can't hang in terms of richness and/or warmth.

And thanks for the info on the Blue. Indeed this one has been at the top of my list for a while. You're the man.
Old 21st November 2012
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
I would recommend trying the MAAG Preq4, and the Purple Audio PANTS. The MAAG unit especially for a clean tone with open high end. Certainly the AIR eq is helpful here too, but even without that -- its still a very detailed, articulate sound, I would say. The PANTS has something really special going on up top. Very Colorful, but not in a shaped way, its more extended and aired out. Its very fast, and exciting. Certainly this one will do some saturation tricks.
I was just going to suggest the Preq4
Old 21st November 2012
  #18
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Cool, thanks all for your input
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