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preamp for electronic music
Old 3rd July 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 

preamp for electronic music

hi a'gain!

this is a very easy subject...

after huge researches (again and again) I really didn't find one that looks like would stay proudly on my main mix(inserts) .

should be clean or colored ? probably clean .
do u know one clean and punchy in the same time ?
is there one clean with plenty of harmonics ? I don't think so .
can be used one colored with a high gain ? not in a main mix at all...

therefore :

this preamp should be colored but not so much , roundly and dimensional , clean high gain , tube or transistor? , input and output transformer , a little bit of natural compression and u feel that u don't need an EQ at all , very musical and keeps the drums punchy , not very bright but the middles in front naturally .

what's that ? would be pacifica ?
Old 3rd July 2009
  #2
Why do you want to feed synths/drums through preamp? (topic says electronic music)
If it's for coloring the sound, there are much better tools for this.

Are you sure a nice compressor or maybe even saturation/distortion unit wouldn't serve you better?

Try Thermionic Culture Vulture or Empirical Labs Distressor or Fatso.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #3
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Johnny Wrong's Avatar
 

+1 for a compressor
Old 3rd July 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Wrong View Post
+1 for a compressor
I have a pair of 1176LN in the final chain (maybe glue?). I think a preamp is 100% better before .
I already tested 2 preamps on the main mix and the difference is fabulous .
Just need one designed for the whole mix .

I have a chain starting with the main mix inserts and finishing with the master recording .
Old 3rd July 2009
  #5
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cosmos's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post
I have a pair of 1176LN in the final chain (maybe glue?). I think a preamp is 100% better before . .
I dont think so, i would take the 1176 off the buss as they are way to agressive for 2buss, i would use them for mixing on single instruments or even drum groop and use a stereo compressor for that task ..


Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post

I already tested 2 preamps on the main mix and the difference is fabulous .
Just need one designed for the whole mix .

I have a chain starting with the main mix inserts and finishing with the master recording .
Theres no such thing a mic pre designed for the whole mix, maybe look at Neve 8816 Summing mixer or Tube Tech.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #6
a collegue of mine is using AMS Neve 1073 DPA, that has balanced line inputs (As well as mic inputs), and is sometimes driving the whole mix thru it. he is a successful mastering and mixing engineer.

however, rarely without help of other tools in the chain, like crane song stc8, ibis or dbx160sl.. running all thru a pre is like an icing on the cake.. a final touch to glue all and have a more musical mix.




i've heard his Neve a/b, and indeed its a subtle but very, very nice difference. it's got all you want: i/o transformers, that saturate depending on i/o gain settings, and discrete solid state circuitry. but it ain't cheap. on the plus side, beside using it for 2-bus, youre also getting a 2-ch highend pre for vocals, instruments, hw synths.. you dont have too look further.


somewhat cheaper, that i can also recommend is a 2ch Great River.. the MP-2NV. im using the single channel version. it really can be clear (yet with character) and saturated if needs be (perhaps less than neve).. a focused, widebandwith sound. haven't tried pacifica, but GR works on quite a large number of sources n mixes. most users are unanimous in this, and my experience ain't different. fwiw. u use its hi-z inputs.

Old 3rd July 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post
hi a'gain!

this is a very easy subject...

after huge researches (again and again) I really didn't find one that looks like would stay proudly on my main mix(inserts) .

should be clean or colored ? probably clean .
do u know one clean and punchy in the same time ?
is there one clean with plenty of harmonics ? I don't think so .
can be used one colored with a high gain ? not in a main mix at all...

therefore :

this preamp should be colored but not so much , roundly and dimensional , clean high gain , tube or transistor? , input and output transformer , a little bit of natural compression and u feel that u don't need an EQ at all , very musical and keeps the drums punchy , not very bright but the middles in front naturally .

what's that ? would be pacifica ?
search gear shoot outs..

i like the sound of john hardy m-1 and millenia media hv / TD1
synths --->imp2--->mic.pre--->AD

i was verry dissapointed in the transformer sound of the STT-1 Origin
i hate avalon sound.
but i like MCI mic-pres 400 500 and specially 600.
the new amek cib sounds nice.
i like verry much the helios console mic-pre, emulation in the Focusrite liquid channel
but...
the analog circuit design in some ADDA converters are soo good, they add a magic when doing just DA--DA loop.

UA2192 DA is sweet, Burl B2 AD is sweet, jcf/8va also nice AD, manley slam! digital AD is 3d transparent, cranesong hedd192 is verry nice, lynx aurora is dynamic nice.
Old 4th July 2009
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmos View Post
I dont think so, i would take the 1176 off the buss as they are way to agressive for 2buss, i would use them for mixing on single instruments or even drum groop and use a stereo compressor for that task ..

Theres no such thing a mic pre designed for the whole mix, maybe look at Neve 8816 Summing mixer or Tube Tech.

I don't use the black version , so my 2-1176 (6176) is everything I need as limiter. This version is not so agressive . Or simply used for its color and sound (ratio 1:1) .

My chain starts with the recording stuff and finished with the mastering zone . It's like I'm double recording the tracks , which is double sonic and much more harmonics and feedback effect in the same direction , step by step . I'm always in the mix , 1176 is the perfect limiter and then a nice piece in my chain .
Old 9th July 2009
  #9
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2Loud's Avatar
Cheap and great solution - - if you dont need the mic pre -

Phoenix Audio Stereo Nice Di - "sweetener".

stereo Class A active DI - using their famous output DSOP2 stage /same stage as in Phoenix Nicerizer sum and incredible DRS pres if am not wrong/

Phoenix Di delivers sweet, open, smooth, simply beautiful sonics..
You can run it from cleaner to coloured sound..

And you get 2channels for a 2/3 of a price of a hi end single pre..

Your DAW will definitely thank you
Old 10th July 2009
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
Cheap and great solution - - if you dont need the mic pre -

Phoenix Audio Stereo Nice Di - "sweetener".

stereo Class A active DI - using their famous output DSOP2 stage /same stage as in Phoenix Nicerizer sum and incredible DRS pres if am not wrong/

Phoenix Di delivers sweet, open, smooth, simply beautiful sonics..
You can run it from cleaner to coloured sound..

And you get 2channels for a 2/3 of a price of a hi end single pre..

Your DAW will definitely thank you
THX!
Old 10th July 2009
  #11
Gear Addict
 

What about Vintech X73i ? Does somebody know ?

Here is a good info : The Vintech Audio X73i Lowdown Review - Nathan Eldred. Enjoy. - Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.




Old 10th July 2009
  #12
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OurDarkness's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post
this preamp should be colored but not so much , roundly and dimensional , clean high gain , tube or transistor? , input and output transformer , a little bit of natural compression and u feel that u don't need an EQ at all , very musical and keeps the drums punchy , not very bright but the middles in front naturally .
Sounds like you need an API or Crane Song.
Old 10th July 2009
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Hey Sonicfunk

Sorry for the basic question, but can you explain how the gain staging would work to get a good result out of using a preamp on the main mix? Would you send out a very low main mix and add gain with the pre? Or would you send a hot signal, reduce the gain with input trim then boost back up again?

Thanks,
Kkonkkrete
Old 10th July 2009
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkonkkrete View Post
Hey Sonicfunk

Sorry for the basic question, but can you explain how the gain staging would work to get a good result out of using a preamp on the main mix? Would you send out a very low main mix and add gain with the pre? Or would you send a hot signal, reduce the gain with input trim then boost back up again?

Thanks,
Kkonkkrete
Try using the gain with a low signal . Clean , colored ...This is the question
Old 11th July 2009
  #15
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2Loud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post
Hi! Do u have one ? How should u compare it with FMR RNP ? I need a preamp capable for the entire mix .
Yes! I already have a good mic preamp .


http://www.phoenixaudio.net/products_nicedi.html


Old 11th July 2009
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
Can u use it for the whole mix ? Is this good ? I saw that many guitarists and keyboard players are very happy with this preamp . What about drums ?

thx
Old 11th July 2009
  #17
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

A-Designs Pacifica

I think this is EXACTLY what you want, based on the classic Quad 8, this pre has all the attitude of a Neve, but with the clarity and punch of an API.

I own a fair amount of pres from Neves to V72, etc and I can safely say that if I could only have one, it would by FAR be the Pacifica.

Seriously give it a listen, you owe it to yourself.

Hope this helps, if you check it out, I think it will.

-andrews
Old 11th July 2009
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
I think this is EXACTLY what you want, based on the classic Quad 8, this pre has all the attitude of a Neve, but with the clarity and punch of an API.

I own a fair amount of pres from Neves to V72, etc and I can safely say that if I could only have one, it would by FAR be the Pacifica.

Seriously give it a listen, you owe it to yourself.

Hope this helps, if you check it out, I think it will.

-andrews
I would like to check both of course . Of course I would prefer a punch as a front end for the Nice Di
Old 11th July 2009
  #19
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicfunk View Post
I would like to check both of course . Of course I would prefer a punch as a front end for the Nice Di
Oh, I forgot to mention that the DI on the Pacifica is fantastic, with a slight different sound to the Mic inputs, then you also have the "Pad," which gives you two very different flavors in versus out, one is very punch, clear and fast, the other gives you a more retro vibe.

Just thought of that.

-andrews
Old 11th July 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 
ionraygun's Avatar
 

consider a Chandler TG2?

I just got a new Pacifca that I will be using mostly as a front end for synths and occasionally microphones and DI'ing other instruments. I spent all day running various things through it and comparing to my other preamps (Chandler TG-2, Chandler germanium pre, ADL 600) and here are a few reasons why I would recommend a Chandler TG2 instead as a synth front-end.

1. The TG2 has locking 1/4" jacks for the DI inputs.

2. I love that I can keep a synth plugged intro the TG's DI inputs at all times and switch to and from the mic inputs with a button. Since I jump around between different sources a lot I'm not too excited about having to physically unplug the DI cables from the Pacifica to use it's mic inputs!

3. The Pacifica has a loud click/pop when plugging and unplugging the DI. This might be a minor annoyance if you switch sources a lot.

4. You can crank the TG's input and attenuate the output for a few different colors; while you can press pad in and boost gain on Pacifica it is nowhere near the same effect.

5. The summing feature on the TG2 could be useful with layering synths or drum machines... plus you might find a use for the 300ohm mic impedance switch at some point.

A few good points about the Pacifica for synth DI use is the DI goes into the input transformers, a Pacifica costs a little less then a TG2 and does not require an external power supply.

They both sound amazing and more then enough has been said about both units and their respective characters.
Old 12th July 2009
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Martin Dubka's Avatar
 

+1 for the Neve 1073, as clusterchord pointed out.

Never done it myself but I've seen a number of good mix engineers pass the mix through a 1073 on the way to 1/4".

The only thing I would warn is often these "nice" analogue chains are a little too soft for electronic music.

A good example is a track I produced a while ago which the label sent to be mixed in a commercial studio by a well known mix engineer (who shall remain nameless).

SSL 4000 desk, all outboard effects, 1176, distressor, pultec eq, lexicon reverb, valve compressor over the mix buss, etc, etc... Great right? No...
They rejected the mix because they preferred the loud, harsh processing of the ProTools monitor mix - which is actually what they ended up releasing.
In their words, the analogue mix was "too soft" and "too nice".

So bear in mind that however expensive and well-loved a bit of gear might be, it might not be what YOU are looking for.
Old 12th July 2009
  #22
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degas's Avatar
 

I often use JDI Duplex -> Neve 1073 DPA (mic input) for synths,
and DAW-> DW Fearn LP1 ->1073 mic inputs for bouncing VI's and such.

The mic input has a tranformer, hence the use of the Radial/Fearn.
Sounds stellar!
Old 12th July 2009
  #23
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Phaidon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
Phoenix Di delivers sweet, open, smooth, simply beautiful sonics..
You can run it from cleaner to coloured sound..
Your DAW will definitely thank you
+1000
Old 13th July 2009
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Dubka View Post
+1 for the Neve 1073, as clusterchord pointed out.

Never done it myself but I've seen a number of good mix engineers pass the mix through a 1073 on the way to 1/4".

The only thing I would warn is often these "nice" analogue chains are a little too soft for electronic music.

A good example is a track I produced a while ago which the label sent to be mixed in a commercial studio by a well known mix engineer (who shall remain nameless).

SSL 4000 desk, all outboard effects, 1176, distressor, pultec eq, lexicon reverb, valve compressor over the mix buss, etc, etc... Great right? No...
They rejected the mix because they preferred the loud, harsh processing of the ProTools monitor mix - which is actually what they ended up releasing.
In their words, the analogue mix was "too soft" and "too nice".

So bear in mind that however expensive and well-loved a bit of gear might be, it might not be what YOU are looking for.
Sorry , but I don't have this kind of problem . If analog is too soft , then because they are anemics .
Old 14th July 2009
  #25
my experience in electronic music, feel free to correct me, any neve or neve based electronics, although imparting that epic wide all the headroom in the world sound, shave off some of the transients. smooth and harmonic yes but not the most energetic. Api's are fairly versatile and will make the music jump out of the speakers and punch your girl in the tits. In a good way. especialy on drums. lunchbox?
Old 14th July 2009
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cazdell View Post
my experience in electronic music, feel free to correct me, any neve or neve based electronics, although imparting that epic wide all the headroom in the world sound, shave off some of the transients. smooth and harmonic yes but not the most energetic. Api's are fairly versatile and will make the music jump out of the speakers and punch your girl in the tits. In a good way. especialy on drums. lunchbox?

would the API A2D work?
Old 14th July 2009
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Hello

Since Dubka told me about running synth into a preamp before recording, iam looking into that...

I have to buy a preamp for my Mic when recording singer so i would like something that i could use for both, voice and Synth... tube preamp...is it possible ?
I cant use so much money for it so i saw things like that one :
Applied Research & Technology: Tube Mic Preamps

But the input i dont know if it can take Line level... ? there is "INSTRUMENTS" input on the front but i dont know if it mine line level or GUITAR...
Old 14th July 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiophile View Post
would the API A2D work?
it would, nicely

edit - i was talking about individual sources, which is what i use mine for

personally i think sending a whole mix through it sounds awful, way too coloured and messy for my purposes
Old 14th July 2009
  #29
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Entrainer's Avatar
 

I'm a subtle saturation junkie. I've got the Thermionic Culture Vulture, it's better for individual instruments, IMHO. I've got about 10 other things as well, ranging from subtle to dry butt extreme.

Here are 2 things that I personally recommend for 2 bus. One of them is rather cheap and is a secret weapon for getting a loud, dynamic mix.

CDSoundMaster Source +

CDSoundMaster.com

Get the matched Mullard upgrade for $110. Total cost is $610 + Shipping.
There's a natural limiting, compression that occurs with the tubes that adds a nice thick punch. The signal path is designed for mastering and lacks the noise found on the Culture Vulture.

The other is the Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin. I just got mine Friday, but early results are right up my alley.

APA - Juggernaut Twin NOW SHIPPING!, Juggernaut 500 series, Revolver, Blank Panels - Call Us US Toll Free @ 1.866.235.0953, Ph. 813.746.4058

Nickle, Iron Transformers. Switchable on the Input and Output.

Hope this helps.
Old 14th July 2009
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Martin Dubka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cazdell View Post
my experience in electronic music, feel free to correct me, any neve or neve based electronics, although imparting that epic wide all the headroom in the world sound, shave off some of the transients. smooth and harmonic yes but not the most energetic. Api's are fairly versatile and will make the music jump out of the speakers and punch your girl in the tits. In a good way. especialy on drums. lunchbox?
In my experience, no preamp in the world has THAT great an effect on it's source....

Neve and API are great bits of gear but neither has the "gameboy in, cs-80 out" effect you speak of...
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