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Pre Amp Question?? Am I wasting money??
Old 9th December 2002
  #1
no ssl yet 
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Pre Amp Question?? Am I wasting money??

I know the importance of having different flavors of Mics/Pre's. But considering the music I do will be mostly sequenced and Bass and Guitar will mainly be tracked through DI's. Would I be better off with different flvors of DI's to track keyboards?

Or would that money be better spent on comps/EQ's???

I'm doing HIP HOP N RNB and I know the importance of having mics and pre's in getting signals in live music type sessions but would that money be better spent on someing else considering the type of work I"m doing

And if so What should I spend for
Old 9th December 2002
  #2
There is no 100% right answer to this question. If your preamps are already high quality, then I think the Distressor is an essential piece to recording Hip Hop and R&B. It solves two problems; It will give you the ability to add character and coloration to your tracks (particularly kick and snare), and it is also one of the best compressors (if not the best) for percussion usage. Some people find that it's not necessary to compress or limit samples, but I find that it can add a nice amount of sonic glue (especially if recording to digital) even if used in moderation. The EL-8 also sounds very good on vocals, and can bring new life to samples especially ones derived from CD instead of vinyl. Good Luck with your search.
Old 9th December 2002
  #3
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
BSS AR416 for the keyboards!..and a Vipre (might as well start at the top)
Old 13th December 2002
  #4
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digiman's Avatar
no ssl yet,
Take it from someone who's been down that road before, don't waste your time trying to get all of these high end outboard units to phatten up the sounds of your synths and samplers while tracking. Trust me, it is a total waste of time. I went through half a dozen high end micpres, Fatso's, and compressor units thinking that just like you that it would make all of the difference in the world and you know what, it really didn't make that much difference. Sure, I could send a kick through a tube mic pre, compress it and the lay it to protool. But what I ended up with was just what was advertised, a kick that had been "colored" by the distortion produced from a combination of the micpre, Fatso, or compressor. "Colored" so much so that the new sound in no way resembled my source sample or patch. Sure, it was a thick dirty kick, but that was not what I was looking for. What I was looking for was something that would make the original sound more pronounce, without changing the original character. Something that would make the sound brighter, crisper, and clearer so that it would stand out in the mix. After auditioning serveral preamps and realizing that was not the sound I wanted, I finally found the answer in a very inexpensive unit. My friend, what you want to get is a few Boss DI-1 boxes to get the sound you're after. This unit only costs about $90, but I promise this will be the answers to your prayers.

Just try one out.
Old 13th December 2002
  #5
Gear Nut
 
BlakeMcKibben's Avatar
 

FATSO - worth every penny

Digiman - speaks the truth
Old 13th December 2002
  #6
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Before I run out an get some cheap DI units couldn't I route everything to my Mackie 24x8 (that I have been avoiding) and send the Direct outs to ptools
Hell I could even buy some insert snakes with the money saved and have the inserts on my patch bay.

Is there a difference in using a cheaper DI to raise the signal level and using the board?? Am I missing something? Either way I'm simply raising the signal to line level right?
Old 13th December 2002
  #7
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digiman's Avatar
Mackie pre's still don't stack up to the Boss DI boxes, as far as a direct signal is . I A/B'd the two and was truly amazed at the punch and clarity I got out of my sampler going through the BOSS DI-1. If you dont believe me, just go down to your local GC and buy one and try it out for a day or two. If you dont like it, you can always return it. I'm willing to bet that not only will you not return it, but you'll probably go back and get 2 or 3 more.
Old 13th December 2002
  #8
Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
Before I run out an get some cheap DI units couldn't I route everything to my Mackie 24x8 (that I have been avoiding) and send the Direct outs to ptools
Hell I could even buy some insert snakes with the money saved and have the inserts on my patch bay.

Is there a difference in using a cheaper DI to raise the signal level and using the board?? Am I missing something? Either way I'm simply raising the signal to line level right?

Are you still planning to do vocals? Then a mic pre is necessary.

And yes there is big difference in DI's. A whirlwind sounds way different than an Avalon,Evil Twin,Demeter etc. For keys this makes a difference. Some stress certain frequencies, others don't. This is why alot of hiphop/rnb cats like tracking through the 9000J(it pushes the sound of keys forward, ask Jon if you want).

I would still do the pre thing, hopefully with a DI or line level option. The swing of the Mackies is not that great anyway(especially if you have a sound that has low signals).
Old 13th December 2002
  #9
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Thrill I know that I still need a mic pre (all I have now is a Bellari and the onboard Mackies)

My point is that I only need one channel for the mic. All the rest can be DI's

So if I get maybe 2 mic pre flavors and a bunch of DI's I"d be better off than having the overkill of several mic pre's when I'd mainly be using them for DI's

This brings up a whole new can of worms

Who here has compared DI's? LOL
I know for sure I personally like Drum sounds (MPC) cut through API's
Old 14th December 2002
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Just on the API thing....... I have some Brent Averill API pre's (from 312 cards). They do sound good but to me API pre's actually are a little thin. They sound great for a very transparent sound but up against our Neve 1073's (which are also not right for everything) they are certainly have less bottom end. If you are doing hip hop and R&B you may not want this.

I used to do loads of R&B music. I would agree that you are wasting your money on expensive pre-s for tracking. A bunch of DI's will be awesome. Try the Behringer out - apprantley they are pretty good. You can get a 1 unit rack with four DI's in it. The boss are very good too as described above. Don't get too hung up on your DI's. Gear can drive you totally made. Just try a few out and decide and make great music. For your vocal pre the options are endless and really down to budget.

Good luck........Everglass
Old 14th December 2002
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

i know this is the "high end" forum, but i purchased a behringer di on a recommendation from one of these forums, and i'm most happy with it

hope it helps,
cheers
max
newcastle, oz
(soon of paris, france)
Old 14th December 2002
  #12
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digiman's Avatar
As far as DI boxes go, here's what I've found that work for keys and samplers:

Boss DI-1
Radial DI
Countryman DI
Whirlwind HotBox
Demeter Evil Twin
Avalon M5/U5

There are many others out there but they are primarily geared towards guitars and such, not to flattering for synths.

When I started looking at different units, I looked at the Boss unit as a joke. I bought it after a producer friend of mine raved about how the Boss unit made his synths "bounce" to track. So what did I do. I went to GC and bought one and made sure I kept the reciept. I then commenced to taking this cheap little peice of crap out of the box and put in a 9 volt battery for power.(which made it seem even more cheaper). Then I connected it to my gear and I was like Black Rob like...WHOA!!!!! Then I said maybe I'm just trippin'. So I then repatched my gear to go throught the my high end preamp gear and I was totally blown away. Not only did this little box sound better than the highend chain of gear, it only cost me about $80.00. From there, I sold the rest of the rack of "Make UR Traks Hot" outboard gear and pocketed $7500 that I was able to use for other gear.
Old 14th December 2002
  #13
Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
Thrill I know that I still need a mic pre (all I have now is a Bellari and the onboard Mackies)

My point is that I only need one channel for the mic. All the rest can be DI's

So if I get maybe 2 mic pre flavors and a bunch of DI's I"d be better off than having the overkill of several mic pre's when I'd mainly be using them for DI's

This brings up a whole new can of worms

Who here has compared DI's? LOL
I know for sure I personally like Drum sounds (MPC) cut through API's
That's why a long time ago I suggested a Amek CIB. If you are going to get a pre, might as well get something with an EQ and Di as well.

There will be times where you want to drive the input and with out a little gain(a DI has no gain) you are stuck.

I've used tons of DI's in the past. For tracking keys I liked the Avalon,Demeter and Evil Twin. The best DI for bass and guitars was the one built in the Manley Voxbox. I've also liked the DI in the Vintech 1272 for synth bass and kick, Api for snares.

Back in the 80's we took pride in how we tracked keys(but back in those days we tracked to analog). I personally took pride in knowing what pre sounded great with what keyboard(i worked with a lot of the early rap/rnb/dance back then) . We also tracked through comps as well. I know why the hassle? It was a different time and givin the keys a sonic signature was important. Now adays because everything is sampled or effected that's kinda gone out the window.

If you want a whole bunch of good DI's(and nice line amps as well) check out the Speck Xtramix. Its built with keys in mind. It is very transparent and has tons of headroom. You can also use it as summing mixer for a DAW. Vince also makes a cool little EQ as well.
Old 14th December 2002
  #14
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Thanks thrill, I haven't made a purchase cause I'm still saving and also because I'd like to buy some farm cards first (I have to keep cash around incase a deal pops up)

I'm still tossing between CIB and 737 channels. It's definately gonna be a single channel and some dI's though. Since the only mic I have is a 103 I'm going to test it with both along with a millenia channel strip

Refering to what you said about comps I plan to buy some 160xt's and cut drums with compression (since this is what I like on them anyway plus they're not expensive)

My Bass tracks will have to live between the Fairchild plug/and dbx
Old 14th December 2002
  #15
Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
Thanks thrill, I haven't made a purchase cause I'm still saving and also because I'd like to buy some farm cards first (I have to keep cash around incase a deal pops up)

I'm still tossing between CIB and 737 channels. It's definately gonna be a single channel and some dI's though. Since the only mic I have is a 103 I'm going to test it with both along with a millenia channel strip

Refering to what you said about comps I plan to buy some 160xt's and cut drums with compression (since this is what I like on them anyway plus they're not expensive)

My Bass tracks will have to live between the Fairchild plug/and dbx

I have a friend who does hiphop who bought all eight of my 160X's(yes I had eight now I have one). He uses it with the inserts on his Mackie and sometimes listening to his tracks reminds me of an old E SSL.


The other comp that could go a long way in your setup is the CL1B. Its actually a comp that has been around a long time(I remember using a CL1A back in the early 90's) and even back then it was cool for "glowing"up synth bass, pads and of course what its known for...vocals. I've stopped using it over the last few years, but i have no problem reccomending it.
Old 14th December 2002
  #16
no ssl yet 
Guest
I'm already shooting for the Tube Tech comp. I thought about distressors (I sold my pair to buy my mac) For the sounds I'd be using distressors for I can do with the dbx units and save dough. Don't get me wrong I love the Distressors (especially on Bass) But I'm taking a different approach to buying gear. I'm listening to my mixes and saying "Now what pieces do I wish I could have reached for when mixing this?"

I know I wish for the dbx comps because I"ve liked them on guitar, kick, and snare. I will get a tubetech for lead vocals. and probably use compressor bank on my bg vocals.

I am going to track through the dbx units though. I've decided on the AD16 so I can hear several sounds as I process to tape. (I hate having to process 2 sounds and imagine how they will fit now)
Old 14th December 2002
  #17
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Is there a difference in using a cheaper DI to raise the signal level and using the board?? Am I missing something? Either way I'm simply raising the signal to line level right?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't DI's attenuate the signal? The signal is then brought up to line level by a preamp.

I'm quite intrigued by these comments on the Boss DI-1, as I'm also currently hunting around for DI's to track my synths. The direction I was leaning was toward a tube DI, like the ADL 300G or a pair of Aguilar DB900's or Groove Tubes DITTO boxes. There are others of course, like Demeter gear. I have a pair of Jensen DI's, and was thinking that a couple tube DI's would provide some variety of tone.

I am curious as to what preamp you are following up the Boss with, as it seems to me that would have to be important in getting the sound that you like so much.

Interesting thread!
Old 15th December 2002
  #18
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
I am curious as to what preamp you are following up the Boss with, as it seems to me that would have to be important in getting the sound that you like so much.
Nevermind about that question, I just found a picture of the Boss DI-1 and noticed that it has a three position attenuation switch.

For those of you who have tracked with a variety of pres and DI's: Which do you think affects the tone more, a DI or a preamp?
Old 15th December 2002
  #19
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Both!!!
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