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YAMPT (Yet Another Mic Pre Thread)
Old 22nd November 2004
  #1
YAMPT (Yet Another Mic Pre Thread)

So, here's the deal. I recently upgraded from my ST Audio DSP2000/C-Port to a Lynx TWO DAC/ADC. And, first of all, let me say the difference is unbelievable!

Anyway, in addition to the c-port I had been using a variety of "pro-sumer" preamps - mostly the usual suspects: Presonus MP20, ART Pro Channel, ART Pro MPA, Bellari RP220, and a Fatman 2. The original plan was that I would need a lot of pre's for recording ensembles, etc. It turns out I mostly use the studio just for myself, so all these pre's are just wasting space. And most importantly, they've been holding back my sound.

So, I've sold a bunch of gear as a fundraiser so I can buy a "real" preamp. I've narrowed the list to the following. I've done a lot of research and am aware of almost all the pro-level pres available so, I'm really not looking for more options, I'm looking for opinions to help narrow the field further.

Most of what I record is drum machine, bass direct, guitar mic'd, and vocals. I'm most concerned about the vocal sound.

Here's my list (in no particular order):

Pendulum MDP-1 $2250
Manley Dual Mono $2150
GML 8302 $2450
UA 2-610 $1900
API 500-6b + 2x512c $1900
Chandler TG2 $1850
Seventh Circle Chassis + 2xA12 $1288

I definitely want two channels so I have a stereo option for acoustic things or for when I need two mics on a single source (i.e. guitar close and far).

I've eliminate many others for a variety of reasons - most of them due to reviews on their preformance/sound relative to vocals.

Thanks for your help!
Old 22nd November 2004
  #2
Mics I use

Also, here's the mics I have:

AKG C414-TLII
B.L.U.E. Baby Bottle
AT 4033
R0de NT5 (2)
AKG D112
EV ND462
Shure Beta 58

I am also holding on to my Presonus MP20 in the meantime. I intend to end up with 4 channels of pro preamps, of which I would like to have two "uncolored" and two "colored" (that almost sounds like a racial slur...) anyway...
Old 22nd November 2004
  #3
Gear Head
 
mprooxis's Avatar
 

Have you considered AMEK 9098 dual mic pre?
It's under 2000 and is a great solid state pre from rupert neve that won't add color like the other tube units you mentioned....
The other tube units are great to add color to your pallet, but a clean uncolored pre would be my first choice,,,then add color to your pallet after you get a clean/uncolored pre first....
that's my two cents, and i do have the amek as well as tube pres and generaly use the amek first for the important tracks then use the tube stuff on other tracks so that things stand out in different ways when mixing...this combination has made mixing so much easier,
the GMl, Chandler and API would also fall into this category,,,not sure about the Manely, it's tube isn't it...
hope this helps,
Old 22nd November 2004
  #4
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

I'm a big fan of the Seventh Circle stuff. The main advantages are:
1. Sounds awesome
2. Adding more pres is cheap and easy (especially if you solder them yourself). You can add more channels when you have the $$$. $384 for a neve pre is insane!
3. You can have three different flavors in one box. I have 2 API and 2 Neve. As soon as I have the $$$ I'll be adding 2 more API and 2 Jensen (which I have heard are the best sounding out of the three)
Old 22nd November 2004
  #5
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
you can get manley for ~1200 used... and then get another flavour with the rest ;-)

manley is tube-hifi clean, smooth but open... insert any other buzzwords here.........

I like it ;-)
Old 22nd November 2004
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Another vote for Seventh Circle - great stuff, great price, especially if you load up all 8 slots.

Correction on the price quoted above: it's $424 per channel, for either the N72 (Neve-style) or the A12 (API-style) modules assembled. On the price list, it says $384 for the A12, but that's without an op amp - available for $40 when purchased with an A12.

I've got two J99, two A12, and one N72. They're all really, really nice.
Old 22nd November 2004
  #7
One word.

TNT.

No, wait. That's not one word. That's three letters.

Anyway, check it out. Coming soon to a Manley dealer near you.

More info here: http://www.manleylabs.com/containerpages/TNT.html

__________

Another word.

NV.

No wait. That's not a word either.

But check out the Great River anyway.
Old 22nd November 2004
  #8
hmmm

so, I looked at the AMEK - but ruled it out. some reviews claimed it was great on some instruments, but that it didn't particularly shine on vocals.... maybe you have a different opinion.

i am REALLY interested in the SCA stuff, it's sooo inexpensive that I have a hard time believing its so good. it's like, if was twice as much I'd have a better opinion of it. that's f**ked up, ain't it?

i'm really interested in the manley - have always heard good things about them, plus read that they used some manley's on Norah Jones - and that's a fine sounding vocal recording if ever there was one (although I am missing the Studer tape to really get that sound).

The TNT sounds interesting, but I can't find much about it anywhere, or a price. Is it even available? I've a feeling it's going to be out of my price range - but it does look/sound like a cool unit.

Also, I read a lot of things about the great river NV and was close to including them, but in my efforts to eliminate some options, I felt like the others on my list are better suited to my needs.

Some of these amps I've heard and know what they sound like (for example, the API, the UA, the Manley) - but the rest I don't. Is there anywhere I can find some samples of what the others sound like as vocal preamps? In other words, I know they used a Manley for Norah Jones, where can I find similar anecdotes about Pendulum, GML's 8302, Chandler TG2, and most importantly the SCA stuff? I'm a little concerned about dropping $2K on a preamp and keeping my fingers crossed that it sounds great - or at least sounds like what I want/need.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
Old 22nd November 2004
  #9
Re: hmmm

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld
The TNT sounds interesting, but I can't find much about it anywhere, or a price. Is it even available? I've a feeling it's going to be out of my price range - but it does look/sound like a cool unit.
It's not out yet, but soon. The link above is the best resource for information about it.

Price range wise, it's expected to be right in the range you're looking at. Hard to believe? That's the target range anyway. In my opinion, if you're about to drop that kind of change, I would wait to hear it, unless you have tax reasons to hurry and spend.
Old 22nd November 2004
  #10
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
one more thought about manley dual mono...

I don't like the fact that I need to use less negative feedback, when recordin low ouput mics like dynamic mics. I like 40 and 45dB gain the best and the 60dB sounds a bit closed and bit agresive to me. So when I tryied SM7 for voiceover I choosed to hit the converters less (while recording at 24bit it didn't so bad) over raising the gain.

On the other extreme, when guy was [a bit] louder speaking to the Gefell CMV563-M7 (that has high output), I expirienced for the first time something that people here describe as input transformer mush ( ;-) )... ok, CMV did it's job distorting the signal, but there was something wrong with the transients... fuzzy-agressive-smeared... consumer speakers will probably forgive, but not monitors.



Can someone describe a difference between Dual Mono and TNT (SLAM) pres? Do you think they complement each another in some ways? In what ways? My only hi-end pre is M Dual Mono and I'm starting to look around for second pre. I was almost sure about GR NV, but TNT looks promising while I really liked examples recorded with SLAM.
Old 22nd November 2004
  #11
Re: YAMPT (Yet Another Mic Pre Thread)

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld
I'm most concerned about the vocal sound.

Here's my list (in no particular order):

Pendulum MDP-1 $2250
Manley Dual Mono $2150
GML 8302 $2450
UA 2-610 $1900
API 500-6b + 2x512c $1900
Chandler TG2 $1850
Seventh Circle Chassis + 2xA12 $1288

I definitely want two channels so I have a stereo option for acoustic things or for when I need two mics on a single source (i.e. guitar close and far).
I like the Aurora GTQ2 over UA, API 512c, Manley or GML

from that list ... Changler TG2 is very cool, yet vibey/strong color

or the Seventh Circle Chassis/pres
Old 23rd November 2004
  #12
Quote:
Originally posted by matucha
Can someone describe a difference between Dual Mono and TNT (SLAM) pres? Do you think they complement each another in some ways? In what ways? My only hi-end pre is M Dual Mono and I'm starting to look around for second pre. I was almost sure about GR NV, but TNT looks promising while I really liked examples recorded with SLAM.
I think there is only one (maybe two) people in the world that might know the answer to that question since the TNT is not available yet. Not only not available but not finished. The one and only prototype was recently in a shootout in Florida. I don't know what it was up against. Another, more finished prototype should be showing up here soon. I'll let you know what I think. I think you couldn't go wrong with either it or the NV.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #13
I want that TNT... BAD!!!

I'll put my vote in for the MP2-NV. It's a modern classic. I wouldn't wait for the TNT though, at least not until you get a great stereo pre.

I am aware that I didn't follow the rules you set in your original post, but I noticed that you didn't have any particular sound you were going for (GML and TG2 on the same list) so my recommendation is a great all around pre that goes from clean to colored with skill and ease. Good luck
Old 23rd November 2004
  #14
Gear Addict
 
BenJah's Avatar
 

Well I have to vote for the Manley pre. Been using one today and got to try it back to back with some other pre's( including a buzz audio). It has so much detail on the top end of things.All listening was done in a tuned mastering sweet with top level dynaudio speakers. Nothing in the studio could touch it. Buy manley and you won't regret....
Old 23rd November 2004
  #15
I'm a pretty big fan of the SLAM preamp. You can read my thoughts here:

http://www.audiomedia.com/archive/re...002-manley.htm

I thought they should make a version of it in a box that was affordable to the common man, like me. Thankfully Manley responded. The bonus is the NT side, which no one's heard yet. But after talking with Hutch, it should be pretty interesting (special). Unlike anything you've heard before. Can you say "anti-iron?" Can you say "60s, 70s, Clean?"

From the looks of it, it may be the "Glory Pre."

Hallelujah.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #16
jho
Lives for gear
 
jho's Avatar
 

A rarely mentioned option is, if you can find a used one, the ATI Pro 6 is a great channel strip with a very nice pre that has won some vocal shootouts (see Remoteness shootout).

Nice pre, very usable EQ (great on snare) and a good compressor. They go used for 900-1100.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #17
Summary so far

What I'm hearing is this:

Some people really like Manley in general and specifically the dual mono, the SLAM, and the forthcoming TNT.

A few people like the Seventh Circle gear.

Several think the Great River needs to be in my top three as well.

No one is particularly crazy about the Pendulum (or isn't familiar with it), the GML, the UA, the Chandler, or the API relative to the three above.

I'll have to find the review that swayed me against the Great River and post it here to get some more opinions on it.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #18
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
as far as I know, Fletcher is big Pendulum "fan" ;-).
Old 23rd November 2004
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Re: YAMPT (Yet Another Mic Pre Thread)

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld


Here's my list (in no particular order):

Pendulum MDP-1 $2250
Manley Dual Mono $2150
GML 8302 $2450
UA 2-610 $1900
API 500-6b + 2x512c $1900
Chandler TG2 $1850
Seventh Circle Chassis + 2xA12 $1288

i would definitely go with the pendulum mdp-1a from your list. ymmv.
joshua
Old 23rd November 2004
  #20
Re: Summary so far

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld
What I'm hearing is this:

Some people really like Manley in general and specifically the dual mono, the SLAM, and the forthcoming TNT.

A few people like the Seventh Circle gear.

Several think the Great River needs to be in my top three as well.

No one is particularly crazy about the Pendulum (or isn't familiar with it), the GML, the UA, the Chandler, or the API relative to the three above.

I'll have to find the review that swayed me against the Great River and post it here to get some more opinions on it.
hold on! they are all excellent pres ... you need to use them and hear them .. reviews are not YOUR ANSWER!



personally i dont like the original Manley pre (non slam) ... it's too thin and fast ... i'd like to hear the TNT however.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #21
*ugh*

thanks a lot guys - now I feel like I need to add the Great River MP-2NV to my list. I can't find the review I thought made me remove it - maybe I got it confused with another pre (it's not like there are WAY too many high-end pre's out there).

So, for the Seventh Circle fans - if you had a real API, and a real Neve, would you still use the SCA pres? In other words, if you had a lunchbox with 2x 512c pres or if you had the Great River, would you still go to the Seventh Circle pres or use the others?
Old 23rd November 2004
  #22
Re: *ugh*

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld

So, for the Seventh Circle fans - if you had a real API, and a real Neve, would you still use the SCA pres? In other words, if you had a lunchbox with 2x 512c pres or if you had the Great River, would you still go to the Seventh Circle pres or use the others?
the Great River is not a Neve

the 512c is not the only 'real' API ... the older 512b a better API pre IMO, I dont care for the 512c at all
Old 23rd November 2004
  #23
jho
Lives for gear
 
jho's Avatar
 

Correctly named thread

...indeed.

There is no magic bullet. Try a few and go with the best all rounder for your purposes and then add to it as funds permit.


Hey! Just for fun let's start another thread about 2-buss compressors...
Old 23rd November 2004
  #24
Re: Summary so far

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld


No one is particularly crazy about the Pendulum (or isn't familiar with it), the GML, the UA, the Chandler, or the API relative to the three above.

You know what they say about opinions....

Anyway, all the above are incredible and very different. And yes the Pendulum is particularly excellent, especially for any acoustic source.
Old 23rd November 2004
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Screws's Avatar
 

Last year I had a couple grand saved and needed preamps to get tonal colors that worked for a lot of different sounds - female and male rock and ballad vocals, drums, acoustic and electric guitars, and so on. I researched for months because I needed quality, versatility and to stretch my $$$ as best as possible.

The result was a Seventh Circle rack with 2 J99's and 2 N72's. I will add A12's and eventually fill my rack up to 8 total preamps when money permits.

If funds were unlimited, I might have purchased (based on research) a Great River MP-2NV, a dual channel John Hardy Twin Servo, and an API 3124+ to get 8 channels of great sounding, colorful preamps. Total cost - over $7000.00.

But in the real world, I'll have saved thousands and I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting.

Now where the hell are those Seventh Circle compressors and eqs?
Old 23rd November 2004
  #26
ugh

so how do you go about making this decision? it's not like i can just go out and get one of each, try it out in my studio for a while, and then decide which one worked the best for me.... that's why i'm researching reviews and soliciting opinions....
Old 24th November 2004
  #27
Re: YAMPT (Yet Another Mic Pre Thread)

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld

Most of what I record is drum machine, bass direct, guitar mic'd, and vocals. I'm most concerned about the vocal sound.

Here's my list (in no particular order):

Pendulum MDP-1 $2250
Manley Dual Mono $2150
GML 8302 $2450
UA 2-610 $1900
API 500-6b + 2x512c $1900
Chandler TG2 $1850
Seventh Circle Chassis + 2xA12 $1288

If you really want to limit your choises to the above listed pre's I would definetly choose the Great River MP-2NV. Or a Fearn for vocals thumbsup
Old 24th November 2004
  #28
the fearns are really just out of my budget. i thought spending $1000 per channel was a lot - $2K per channel is more than i can handle...
Old 24th November 2004
  #29
Lives for gear
 
maskedman72's Avatar
 

Re: ugh

Quote:
Originally posted by underworld
so how do you go about making this decision? it's not like i can just go out and get one of each, try it out in my studio for a while, and then decide which one worked the best for me.... that's why i'm researching reviews and soliciting opinions....

dont let a review that you have read somewhere make you add or remove anything from your list. the way to go about this is to call up fletcher and have him send you some of the pres you are interested in so you can try them in your studio.

fwiw the great river kicks ass.
Old 24th November 2004
  #30
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

Don't forget to add Vintech X81 to your list. Can be had for under 2K and has a seriously nice EQ section.
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