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My High End Pre Plunge: Please Weigh In Single-Channel Preamps
Old 13th March 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
boyinthebox's Avatar
 

My High End Pre Plunge: Please Weigh In

Hello fellow Gearslutz!

First and Foremost: Thank you for this community and for all the help and support you provide fellow gearslutz. There are so many people on this forum who really take interest in helping others and lending advice and it has personally aided me in so many ways. Thank you a thousand times over!

The reason for this post is fairly simple. I have spent hundreds of hours researching, reading, and evaluating discussions and opinions on many high end mic pre's. It has led me in circles in someways, and I would absolutely love some advice, possibly from people whom have been in the same situation, or from anyone who may have some advice to aid in this decision. I know this topic has been covered hundreds if not thousands of times, believe me, I am pretty sure I have read all of these threads, but I thought maybe some helpful and friendly high end 'slutz could provide some helpful insight with a little background knowledge about my situation, uses, and expectations. Engineers, artists, sales professionals alike, any advice is appreciated.

I work with a partner of mine as recording musicians. We play and complete all of the arrangements, and instruments ourselves. We have a focused style in some ways, with many different types of instrumentation in nearly every production. Generally speaking, main focus is going to be Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (think Jack Johnson sound), Electric Guitar (think G Love sound), Piano (various software sampled, I do not have an acoustic yet), various soft synths (MTron, Lounge Lizard, Ultra Analog) few hardware synths (Nord Lead, Octave Cat) (think Air), and drums. We also do various voiceover productions, and song (jingle'esque) productions for local companies, and media productions as well.

The desire to have a vast array of pre choices is obvious, especially for any long time lurker/poster of gearslutz, however, I am lost in where to begin this collection. I have read about so many different styles, formats, companies. This is where help would be largely appreciated from anyone with $.02 to offer. Main focus for the pre as of now would most likely be recording vocals, acoustic, and electric. We have a very great start on a mic locker and more to come soon. Below is a list of our current microphones if this helps anyone weigh in.

The Usual Suspects: Here are some of the pre's I have been considering..
Non 500 Series
BAE 1272
BAE 312A
TAB V78M
UA LA-610 SE
AD Pacifica
PRE ADL600
GR MP-2NV

500 Series
PA Biz
PA Pants
SH Mono Gamma
AV MA5

500 Series is a viable option in comparison, but the initial purchase would run similar in cost to a normal rack mounted unit, as I would grab a 10 slot rack w/PS when I do take the plunge. I am sure I will take the 500 series plunge soon, just not sure if its the best place to begin as we really need the pre to best suit our needs musically. I would be happy to post some audio samples of things we are working on currently if that would help anyone weigh in. DI Inputs on the pre is not necessary, just a bonus.

I am aware many people have very different opinions and tastes in terms of sound/'color'/use, but as I have said, any advice is appreciated.

Mics
TLM103-1
C414-1
Dragonfly-1
Blueberry-1
Baby Bottle-1
Bluebird-1
SM81-2
Amethyst Standard-1
Amethyst Vintage-1
Black Finger w/rings-2
ST77-1
KSM27-1
SE1A-1
520DX-1
SM57-4
MD421-2
Fin-1
Beta52-1

Long Winded Post: I apologize. Thank you for any time you have dedicated.

Cheers & All the best.
Old 14th March 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
blim's Avatar
 

Hey, how about somebody taking the time to help this guy out?

Unfortunately, I'm afraid that I can't be of much assistance to you, since I haven't owned any of the pieces in your list. I'm also looking for a new preamp, and several of the ones you mentioned, I am considering, especially the LA-610, Pacifica, MP-2NV, and some stuff in the 500 format. At this point, it looks like I'll either be getting the Pacifica or MP-2NV. They get great reviews everywhere I look.
Old 14th March 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
peeder's Avatar
 

I'm not a fan of the 500 series but it has rabid fanboys. I think it's more or less toys.

The high-end pres I own and like are the Chandler LTD-1, the TAB V78M, and the API A2D. To those I plan to add a stereo clean pre (perhaps Forssell, Gordon, or GML).

A BAE or AMS 1073 would be a capable substitute for the LTD-1 for a bit more vintage vibe but fewer EQ points. A 3124 or two would be a fine substitute for the A2D if I was recording drums. There are plenty of other flavors to play with but those work out well for me at the moment. I have some mid-level pres as well (VMP-2, TRP, DTC, SX202) as needed or fancied.

I think you need some upgrades in the mic locker too. And don't forget compressors, as much for tone as compression.
Old 14th March 2008
  #4
AB3
Lives for gear
 

Go that route if you want color. If you want a "clean" pre with a hit of euphonic and richness, the Forssell Solid State is a pre you will always want to keep.
Old 14th March 2008
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boyinthebox View Post
Hello fellow Gearslutz!

First and Foremost: Thank you for this community and for all the help and support you provide fellow gearslutz. There are so many people on this forum who really take interest in helping others and lending advice and it has personally aided me in so many ways. Thank you a thousand times over!

The reason for this post is fairly simple. I have spent hundreds of hours researching, reading, and evaluating discussions and opinions on many high end mic pre's. It has led me in circles in someways, and I would absolutely love some advice, possibly from people whom have been in the same situation, or from anyone who may have some advice to aid in this decision. I know this topic has been covered hundreds if not thousands of times, believe me, I am pretty sure I have read all of these threads, but I thought maybe some helpful and friendly high end 'slutz could provide some helpful insight with a little background knowledge about my situation, uses, and expectations. Engineers, artists, sales professionals alike, any advice is appreciated.

I work with a partner of mine as recording musicians. We play and complete all of the arrangements, and instruments ourselves. We have a focused style in some ways, with many different types of instrumentation in nearly every production. Generally speaking, main focus is going to be Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (think Jack Johnson sound), Electric Guitar (think G Love sound), Piano (various software sampled, I do not have an acoustic yet), various soft synths (MTron, Lounge Lizard, Ultra Analog) few hardware synths (Nord Lead, Octave Cat) (think Air), and drums. We also do various voiceover productions, and song (jingle'esque) productions for local companies, and media productions as well.

The desire to have a vast array of pre choices is obvious, especially for any long time lurker/poster of gearslutz, however, I am lost in where to begin this collection. I have read about so many different styles, formats, companies. This is where help would be largely appreciated from anyone with $.02 to offer. Main focus for the pre as of now would most likely be recording vocals, acoustic, and electric. We have a very great start on a mic locker and more to come soon. Below is a list of our current microphones if this helps anyone weigh in.

The Usual Suspects: Here are some of the pre's I have been considering..
Non 500 Series
BAE 1272
BAE 312A
TAB V78M
UA LA-610 SE
AD Pacifica
PRE ADL600
GR MP-2NV

500 Series
PA Biz
PA Pants
SH Mono Gamma
AV MA5

500 Series is a viable option in comparison, but the initial purchase would run similar in cost to a normal rack mounted unit, as I would grab a 10 slot rack w/PS when I do take the plunge. I am sure I will take the 500 series plunge soon, just not sure if its the best place to begin as we really need the pre to best suit our needs musically. I would be happy to post some audio samples of things we are working on currently if that would help anyone weigh in. DI Inputs on the pre is not necessary, just a bonus.

I am aware many people have very different opinions and tastes in terms of sound/'color'/use, but as I have said, any advice is appreciated.

Mics
TLM103-1
C414-1
Dragonfly-1
Blueberry-1
Baby Bottle-1
Bluebird-1
SM81-2
Amethyst Standard-1
Amethyst Vintage-1
Black Finger w/rings-2
ST77-1
KSM27-1
SE1A-1
520DX-1
SM57-4
MD421-2
Fin-1
Beta52-1

Long Winded Post: I apologize. Thank you for any time you have dedicated.

Cheers & All the best.
of the choices you listed...................................................................................
i'd get the V78M and an API rack filled with A Designs P1 mic pres. the 500 series format Pacifica. maybe a four channel API. i don't know. good luck.
Old 14th March 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 
ImJohn's Avatar
hi,

So, what is the minimum number of channels you need right away an what is your maximum initial budget?

Edit: when I say "minimum number of channels" I mean what is the smallest number of channels you can get by with at any one time? Do you just record one vocalist, guitarist at a time or several? Drums you say? 3 mic setup or multi mic'd large drumset? etc If you don't need many at once you may be able to get a larger variety of single or dual channel pres. If you need 8 to 16 (or more?) channels at once, you'll probably want to stick with 4 or 8 channel pres.

Last edited by ImJohn; 14th March 2008 at 06:05 AM.. Reason: clarification
Old 14th March 2008
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
boyinthebox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImJohn View Post
hi,

So, what is the minimum number of channels you need right away an what is your maximum initial budget?

Edit: when I say "minimum number of channels" I mean what is the smallest number of channels you can get by with at any one time? Do you just record one vocalist, guitarist at a time or several? Drums you say? 3 mic setup or multi mic'd large drumset? etc If you don't need many at once you may be able to get a larger variety of single or dual channel pres. If you need 8 to 16 (or more?) channels at once, you'll probably want to stick with 4 or 8 channel pres.
Thank you for your consideration and replies. I appreciate it. Primarily 2-4 channels for this unit would be optimum, we can get by with 2 channels for most things at a time. My max initial budget would be $2500. I would agree we could get by with a larger variety of single or dual channel pre's. We have access to some great multichannel units for recording large drum setups which we use, we just do not personally own them. Having some additional flavors to incorporate though would never be a bad thing for the multi-mic'd drum sessions. We also have access to many higher end mics as which we use frequently, we just do not own, (MA200s, u87s, M149s, Flamingos, Stereo Flamingo etc). Primarily this pre would be for tracking vocals/acoustic guitar, a nice start to a high end collection. Thank you again for your input and suggestions. Also, Forssell looks very interesting, I have been reading about them this morning. Good suggestion.

Thank you again.
Cheers.

Old 14th March 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
ImJohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by boyinthebox View Post
Primarily 2-4 channels for this unit would be optimum, we can get by with 2 channels for most things at a time. My max initial budget would be $2500. Primarily this pre would be for tracking vocals/acoustic guitar, a nice start to a high end collection.
Thanks, that narrows it down . . .and makes it hard too! Decsions decsions!

While I think a Martin Sound Martech MSS-10 would be really awesome for your vocals and guitar, just 1 single channel would take most of your budget since street price is around $2000. If you are patient you might find a used one for around $1500 so then for around $1000 you could pick up a single channel John Hardy M-1 ( or maybe a Great River ME-1NV)

That said, I think you may want at least two identical channels since you are going a lot of acoustic guitar. IMHO a 2 channel John Hardy M-1 (about $1700) is the perfect long term foundation for any high end mic pre collection! thumbsup It WILL sound, at the very least, good with any mic and source material and usually sounds great to fantastic! Then, with your remaining $800, find another few hundred heh and get something a little different sounding like the Great River ME-1NV or maybe a single channel Brent Averill
1272
etc )

Another choice for a 2 channel pre that I think would be excellent for voice and acoustic guitar would be the A-Designs MP-2A.

And then there's the 500 series route . . . ..
Old 14th March 2008
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
I'm not a fan of the 500 series but it has rabid fanboys. I think it's more or less toys.
the API A2D. . A 3124 or two would be a fine substitute for the A2D if I was recording drums.

Don't the A2D and the 3124 run on the same 16v system that the 500 series works on? If so why aren't those "toys", but the rest of the 500 series is? Haven't there been entire API consoles that use the 500 series method for it's EQ's and compressor section?
Old 14th March 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
soupking's Avatar
 

Sounds like you need to know what you want before shopping. You need to know what your tastes are, and even then, your tastes might change.

So...I'd try an array of stuff before buying anything.

If you're going after a specific sound, then you'll have an easier time shopping. All the brands you mentioned are solid preamps.

Everybody has an opinion on GS. It's been very helpful and I've learned a lot. But when it comes to shopping groceries, you know what you like to eat more than anybody else will, and pro audio equipment costs a lot more money than vegetables.

Try before you buy, if you can't, then think solidly about what kind of sound when want before investing.
Old 14th March 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Don't the A2D and the 3124 run on the same 16v system that the 500 series works on? If so why aren't those "toys", but the rest of the 500 series is? Haven't there been entire API consoles that use the 500 series method for it's EQ's and compressor section?
OK, it is API's standard...

However all 16 volt power supplies are not made alike.

And 3x 3124's = 12 channels in 3U, which means they take less rack space.

Furthermore, in a dedicated rack unit circuit topologies can be whatever the designer feels is ideal. In the little modules they are constrained. The same circuit with different layouts doesn't necessarily perform the same.

Most importantly, the 500 series thing is a destructive addiction!
Old 14th March 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 
ImJohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
OK, it is API's standard...

However all 16 volt power supplies are not made alike.

And 3x 3124's = 12 channels in 3U, which means they take less rack space.

Furthermore, in a dedicated rack unit circuit topologies can be whatever the designer feels is ideal. In the little modules they are constrained. The same circuit with different layouts doesn't necessarily perform the same.
All very true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Most importantly, the 500 series thing is a destructive addiction!
True also but, much like the lottery commision says:

1) 'Know your limits' . . . meaning . . .buy an 11 space 500 series rack and when it's full, don't buy another one!
2) 'You can't win if you don't play!'
Old 14th March 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Kronos147's Avatar
The only thing I would advise is to buy mics in pairs.

There is this new concept out there called "stereo" that I think is gonna catch on.

Old 14th March 2008
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
boyinthebox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImJohn View Post
Thanks, that narrows it down . . .and makes it hard too! Decsions decsions!

While I think a Martin Sound Martech MSS-10 would be really awesome for your vocals and guitar, just 1 single channel would take most of your budget since street price is around $2000. If you are patient you might find a used one for around $1500 so then for around $1000 you could pick up a single channel John Hardy M-1 ( or maybe a Great River ME-1NV)

That said, I think you may want at least two identical channels since you are going a lot of acoustic guitar. IMHO a 2 channel John Hardy M-1 (about $1700) is the perfect long term foundation for any high end mic pre collection! thumbsup It WILL sound, at the very least, good with any mic and source material and usually sounds great to fantastic! Then, with your remaining $800, find another few hundred heh and get something a little different sounding like the Great River ME-1NV or maybe a single channel Brent Averill
1272
etc )

Another choice for a 2 channel pre that I think would be excellent for voice and acoustic guitar would be the A-Designs MP-2A.

And then there's the 500 series route . . . ..
Thank you for your advice! I appreciate the time you took. This gives me some great options to think about. It is very true, it certainly does make it harder! It is a tough choice as there are obviously many tremendous viable options, and in many ways, what Soupking said is exactly right on. This is very true. There are many different options, and as always, all the talk in the world can not match actually being able to use it, however this is not really an option with many of the considered pre's. So any opinions and advice really do help out in the end. I will let you all know what I decide. Thank you to all whom posted regarding this issue, and for the help you have provided (for the most part, all very solid advice), and thank you Kronos for your tip, lol. We have availability to many many microphones in pairs to use, and we do, but we should *own* some more pairs, very true! Any more opinions or advice is appreciated.

Cheers.

Old 15th March 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Any mic amp will work for your application.
You might as well choose the DAV electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 mic amp.
Old 15th March 2008
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Most importantly, the 500 series thing is a destructive addiction!

Yeah, if gear was food, 500 series gear would be beans (because it gives people GAS).

Thanks I'll be here all night!
Old 15th March 2008
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
boyinthebox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Yeah, if gear was food, 500 series gear would be beans (because it gives people GAS).

Thanks I'll be here all night!
HAHA! Awesome.
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