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API vs DAV BG vs Audient preamps?
Old 8th February 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

API vs DAV BG vs Audient preamps?

Hi,

I'm wanting to upgrade my mackie vlz desk for some better preamps for recording mainly drums, guitars & vocals.

I'd originally been looking at the audient asp008 with adat to go into my motu 828mk so that i could add more channels when needed (ie. recording a band 'live'), but am now considering just going for quality rather then quantity & adding more pre's as I go along, although I gather the audient pre's are also good for the money.

The budget is about 3000 us dollars (1500 pounds sterling - i'm in the UK). I can get the audient for 1100 pounds sterling with the adat option & the DAV bg 8 for 1500 pounds from UK dealers. I could also buy a 4 channel API from the US & have it shipped over for about 1300-1400 pounds, although I'd have no technical support over here if anything went wrong with it, which is holding me back a bit from doing this.

Some opinions about the pre-amps I've mentioned would be much appreciated (such as how much of a better investment would the 4 channel API be vs the 8 channel DAV or Audient), as would any experiences anyone's had with importing goods to the UK from the US.

Thanks!
Old 8th February 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
lampmeister's Avatar
Hey Joe945,
I'm a BG-1 (x2) user and love them. They do have a very clean and neutral sound which manages to have a polished and larger than life quality to it. Whether this will suit you for a general purpose studio pre is something you can only really decide for yourself.

I've heard very good things about the Audient, though not used one myself. One went on eBay.co.uk a few weeks back for £600 (without digi option). Very clean but without the polished / larger than life quality of the DAV from what I can gather. May suit you better as a general purpose studio pre, only you can decide that.

Can't comment on anything API.

As an investment it'd probably go API > DAV (not far behind) > Audient (not far behind again). All depends on the market at that moment and what the flavour of the month is.

I'd be tempted to look around for several different used pre's; say a BG-1 (or 2), an Earthworks for very transparent, a Sytek with the Burr Brown option (on all 4 channels if possible), etc. Variety is the spice of life...

Good luck,

Dave.
Old 8th February 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 

Thanks Dave,

Much appreciate your thoughts. What I meant by investment was more in terms of sonically rather than financially i suppose..is the API or DAV that much better than the Audient for the extra money / reduced number of inputs? I really need to try to audition each of these if I can.

Would you say from your experience that the DAV pre's would be good for drums?

thanks again!

Joe
Old 9th February 2007
  #4
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

For drums, guitars and vocals go API 3124+ YOU WANT BE SORRY !!!
Old 9th February 2007
  #5
I love the sound of API; I love my 2500 and 550A to death, and DAV is very nice.
My apologies if this is inappropriate; since you're asking for a purchase advice, I would like to point you towards my advertisment in the "classifieds" section: I'm selling a Prism Maselec MMA-4.
These kill the DAV sonically...

I need the money because of a new desk, and selling my BG-1 is not going to be enough. I'd like this preamp to be used by a gearslut, instead of going to ebay this weekend.
Support of Prism is excellent. Build quality is beyond excellent.

Thank you for looking.

Last edited by Reptil; 9th February 2007 at 06:03 AM.. Reason: wording
Old 9th February 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
ISedlacek's Avatar
I had both API and DAV here some time ago. API is a bit thinner and also a bit more "artificial" in sound comparing to DAV, which is more natural sounding
Old 9th February 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
lampmeister's Avatar
I think what everyone is saying is that the DAV, API and Audient are all great pre's but each with it's own flavour. Have you considered the Seventh Circle kits? That way you could have maximum variety, quality and flexibility with the minimum of financial outlay. You could choose what how many channels and what flavour you wanted and could start off small and expand as your needs grow. How handy are you with a soldering iron? The Seventh Circle route is something I'll certainly be looking at sometime in the mid-future to compliment my BG-1's.

Why don't you drop Mick at DAV an e-mail and see if it's possible to give one a trial? He's answered all my e-mails almost before I sent them, on a Sunday over Christmas too! Really great service. Might want to drop the UK distributors of Audient and API a mail too to see what they can arrange.

Personally I'm more than happy with the DAV's for general crystal clear things. You can pick up a BG-1 used for £350 or so. that'd be a great starting point and then you could either add more DAV's or go for more colour.

Any questions just ask, I may not be able to answer them of course....

Old 9th February 2007
  #8
Gear Head
 

Hey lampmeister,

Cheers for the advice..seems they're all good pre's then..this isn't an easy choice!! I'm gonna contact the suppliers & see if I can demo some of these.

However, I'm (at this exact moment in time..it will change!) thinking that in terms of my budget I could just about get the audient w/adat and a DAV BG-1 or BG-1u (for the DI), that way i'd be getting the extra ins that I need into my DAW, which would give me the flexibility of being able to set up a whole band & hit record if needed, plus two (presumably?) higher quality channels of DAV for more critical applications.

I'd absolutely love to buy the API unit from the states but am just not sure if I can risk anything going wrong as once this bit of money's gone I don't really have a lot spare, plus i'd still only have the 8 ins. I would consider it if i could get one s/h over here though.

Once I've got some decent pre's I'll definately look into the seventh circle stuff, but my soldering skills don't add up to that much past fixing guitars so again, I wouldn't want to risk going down this route at this point in time.

I'm gonna try & find out what experiences people have had with the audient for recording drums & try and get a demo also, then take it from there.

Really appreciate you all taking the time to respond!
Old 9th February 2007
  #9
Gear Nut
 
llarena's Avatar
 

Both are good.
Are Api really better for the money? I´d say yes
Why? because I´m really looking for that kind of sound. So If you´re looking for a powerful, analog sound go for the Api eyes closed. If you need something more transparent I´d choose that Audient (is really good for the money). I only work with rock and metal productions but I could say honestly that Api stuff is most in your face sound that I´ve never heard. When I need to introduce something like strings or acoustic piano and guits I usually choose something like RAINDIRK(really very good pres and eqs and you´ve got them in UK), Avalon,Focusrite....The 512-3124 is well known as very big in drums but so lovely in guitars and vocals too.

hope this helps

best regards
Old 9th February 2007
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks Llarena,

This is the thing..I do want to use whatever I get mainly for rock drums / guitars & I really like gritty in your face sounds. Based on what i've read & also on the experiences of someone I know who has API pre's i'd love to get the API 3124+ but can't afford to buy one from the UK (over 2k over here) & don't wanna have to get it from the US & end up with problems.

Also if I did get one it'd be a case of having 4 channels of API, 1 of TLA, and 3 mackie vlz & 2 built in MOTU pre's, I'm just not sure that's the way to go?!?!

Decisions decisions!!!
Old 9th February 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 
lampmeister's Avatar
It sounds like the Seventh Circle stuff would be perfect for you apart from the soldering. I'd at least drop 7th C. an e-mail and have a chat with them, I know they can help out if you have problems with a finished kit and they won't leave you stranded. It's tricky, I know, I'm in a similar situation but looking for more channels for location recording. Whatever, there's fantastic kit out there for prices which were unheard of a few years ago. It's a good time to be doing music.

Dave.

Old 9th February 2007
  #12
Bottom line:
You're going to read a lot of opinions. Because ppl. here have their favorites, and can comment only on the gear they've heard.

Decide how many channels you need, and get a quality piece of kit, IMO.
Either something natural, or more with a character. That is a descision related to the idea of tracking clean and adding color in the mix, or use already colored recordings. IMO best situation, is to have both options but your budget doesn't allow for that yet.
Don't waste your money on something "just good enough" is my adagium.
You have the luxury of buying a preamp that will put a smile on your face every time you use it.

Old 13th February 2007
  #13
Gear Head
 

Cheers Reptil,

Which way would you go with this? As you rightly pointed out, I don't really have the funds for enough channels of both clean and more coloured pre's.

I'm thinking if I got clean sounding pre's I could, as you said, add a bit of dirt to them in the mix & still have a transparent sound if I needed it..which would at least be more flexible for the time being & i could add more coloured pre's down the line.

Anyone any more thoughts on any of this?

Thanks.
Old 13th February 2007
  #14
Gear Addict
 
macleod's Avatar
 

hi i bought the audient that went on ebay a couple of weeks aog and did a session with it last week. Its really clean and sounds nice, def a set up from the vlz pres. An api unit will sound better but 8 pres for a grand is a bargin with the audient unit, you should try and borrow some stuff to try out, make up your own mind.

K
Old 13th February 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
If you want an API then get an API. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
Old 13th February 2007
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mltamisin View Post
If you want an API then get an API. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
yep, I agree.
however....
If you want an DAV then get an DAV. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an Audient then get an Audient. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an Prism then get an Prism. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an GML then get an GML. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an Neve then get an Neve. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an DBX then get an DBX. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an Telefunken then get an Telefunken. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
If you want an SSL then get an SSL. Nothing sounds like the real thing.
etc.
etc.

etc.
heh
Old 13th February 2007
  #17
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
I have tried them all... I found the DAV to be nothing exciting... it just seemed like another flavor of vanilla that can be found at any turn... the Audient I found to be even more flaccid, kinda thin, a bit too forward in the upper midrange for what I would consider serious use [but that could just be me and the way I work]. Of the 3 you've mentioned I would consider the API the only one I would consider... but as always, YMMV.
Old 13th February 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
I had both API and DAV here some time ago. API is a bit thinner and also a bit more "artificial" in sound comparing to DAV, which is more natural sounding
From your comment I would say there was either something wrong with your API or you just like the "color" of the DAV.

The API 3124 preamps in my rack do not sound "artificial" or any "thinner" than the sources I feed them.
Old 13th February 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dlmorley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe945 View Post
However, I'm (at this exact moment in time..it will change!) thinking that in terms of my budget I could just about get the audient w/adat and a DAV BG-1 or BG-1u (for the DI), that way i'd be getting the extra ins that I need into my DAW, which would give me the flexibility of being able to set up a whole band & hit record if needed, plus two (presumably?) higher quality channels of DAV for more critical applications.


do it! This makes practical "real world" sense to me.
Then I would grab an API 3124+ when you know someone coming here from the states....
Old 14th February 2007
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the words of encouragement!

I'm thinking I might just go for that option..my only concern is whether the dav pres are good for rock drums, guitars, bass ect. If so I might just get the 8 channel version, worry about more ins later, & be done with it!

Anyone any experience of using the dav pres for this kind of thing? Or the audient for that matter?

Also, is there anything in a similar price range (UK wise) that would be more coloured for this purpose?
Old 14th February 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 
dlmorley's Avatar
You could check out focusrite (the 428 maybe)
I found a 70's Audix desk with 12 channels for £500. Now that is a character desk... I also used to have a Chilton which was a nice discrete 70's desk. So you could look around for a nice old British desk....tons of character
Old 14th February 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
 
lampmeister's Avatar
I use my BG-1 for guitar (clean and gritty) and bass (mic'd and DI'd) and it's great for both. The DAV gives everything a nicely rounded, slightly polished sound. I haven't tried drums through it but I'll try some re-amping of sampled drums through the DAV soon and will let you know how it goes.

Dave.

Edit: P.S. Isn't someone on here selling a 4 channel DAV at the moment? I think there's also someone in Scotland selling a CLM Dynamics 2 channel pre too, well worth a good look. I have the CLM DB8000 (8 channel) and it's really great, the 2 channel is supposed to be better. For £395 I'd drop him a PM.

Last edited by lampmeister; 14th February 2007 at 11:51 AM.. Reason: Added info
Old 15th February 2007
  #23
Gear Head
 

Thanks Dave..that'd be great!!

Cheers for pointing me towards a couple of s/h options as well, I'll look into it, and I'll have a look to see if there's any old desks knocking around.
Old 15th February 2007
  #24
For drums and guitar I'd go Api all the way.
I have the 500 series modules, but I've been told by many friends the 3124 is stellar sounding.
By the way, I bought my 500 series modules from the US (I was in London at the time).
I find it odd that you are so focused on having a problem. How many Api products are shipped with problems?
Their build quality is good, besides their customer service is excellent, even if you're in a different country.
Old 15th February 2007
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
How many Api products are shipped with problems?
Their build quality is good, besides their customer service is excellent, even if you're in a different country.
Check out the thread about the 8200 mixer, you might change your mind about that.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 16th February 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar
 

Hi. Decided to step in because I was in a very similar position a couple of months ago. Also had a vlz1604, a tl audio and a spl channel one. Then I got the syteks ( really nice for the price, $800 for 4 channels). But 2 months ago I got the api 3124.

My opinion? First, the mics and where and what you place in front of them have much more to do with your final tone/and results than the preamp. For the money the mackies are great, so are the syteks.

However, the apis stand out from all the others. Why? They deliver a touch of a finished, fat balanced and pro sound. They are not thin at all. I dont eq much anymore. The di is so good on bass. I just dont love them on vocals. I prefer a slower preamp. The Spl usually wins here ( I still dont have a N pre!!!eheh soon)

By the way you dont need to buy Us. Goto www.goldenagemusic.se
They have great prices on a lot of nice gear. They are also very friendly and will make you a discount if you buy more than one thing. Ah, also, get the attys or you will never be able to turn that input knob!!!!

Good hunting



Old 16th February 2007
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
The DAV Electronics BG No. 1 and BG No. 2 are the best mic amps in the world.

The comments that people make that they are nothing special or are vanilla sounding are nonsense and absurd. They are a fantastic step up from the inbuilt Mackie mic amps and more natural sounding than API gear.

My recommendation is that if you record natural sounds (acoustic music) get the BG mic amp. If you record any other type of music, the BG will offer up what the source sounds like.

I heard far too many mic amps to not know when I've heard the best.

The BG No. 1 sounds just like our EAR 624 tube mic amp. The EAR is priced in the stratosphere. BG design is Decca heritage=Decca Sound.

Best from Chicago,
Plush-Sonic
Old 16th February 2007
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
The DAV Electronics BG No. 1 and BG No. 2 are the best mic amps in the world.
There is no 'best' - best is subjective.
Old 16th February 2007
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

I have both the DAV BG-8 and the SCA API clones (a12). I prefer the apis for drums only because the DAV are too honest. I like my drums to be more colored. The DAV BG-8 dont have a sound, the APIs do. Most of the time (horns, acgtr, piano, strings, cello, ...) I prefer the DAV. Sometimes (Drums, Bass Cabs, Percussion, tamborine, rhodes...) I prefer the API.

David Kakon
Old 10th June 2011
  #30
Lives for gear
What I have heard

At one time I had a tracking studio. I used Grace, Avilon, and an O2R mixer.

The Grace pre amps (origional 8 channel version) were very clear with sheen, but no color. The Avilon was not clear, but had some color.

I sold all of that about 10 years ago. building a system again.

I now have Audient 008, and an RNP.

I have not fully tested either, but the Audient was the first pre amp that let me hear the same thing from the recording that I would hear from the headphone outputs of a synth. I can say the Audient is close to transparant! The previus post opinion of a slight kick in the mid-high range may be true. The audient comparison was to the headphone outputs of an SSL alpha link.

Currently waiting for a Black lion preamp and wordlcok that will finish the initial stages of a system that is designed to only operate a TD-20 and SY99 synth. I hope the Black lion give me a bit of the wow, that sounds cool! factor that the RNP and Audient lack.

I would classify the RNP as useful, but gritty(noisy).
The Audient as Transparant, great volume knobs.
Now I need the Color and wow factor. Have to decide on Dav, API, or 7th circle to get that done if the Black lion does not.
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