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Preamp or not for high end synth?
Old 9th July 2005
  #1
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Preamp or not for high end synth?

1. Should I use a preamp to record the analog Alesis Andromeda A6 synth into my computer, or is it better to just plug it into my RME HDSP 9632 soundcard?

2. *If* I should use a preamp, should I use DI or line in *on the preamp*?


So far, I´ve got different answers on different forums.

For old analog synths, I´ve heard it would be better to use the DIs on a stereo preamp, since old analogs can have problems with sufficient volume level.

But the A6 is a newish (2001) synth, so there shouldn´t be a problem to just use the line in on the soundcard.

But there doesn´t seem to be consensus on this. Anybody care to shed some light?
Old 9th July 2005
  #2
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I would suggest using a pre-amp if you're not getting sufficient level into your sound card and you need to amp the signal...or if its a high end pre-amp that will add a certain character to the sound.
Old 9th July 2005
  #3
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Thanks for the reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilliams
I would suggest using a pre-amp if you're not getting sufficient level into your sound card and you need to amp the signal...or if its a high end pre-amp that will add a certain character to the sound.
Line-in or DI on the preamp?
Old 9th July 2005
  #4
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SUPA FROST's Avatar
 

Depending on how much signal is coming out of the synth, but as for me I normally go, Line In.
Old 9th July 2005
  #5
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kwilliams's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by klagga
Thanks for the reply.



Line-in or DI on the preamp?
Typically a DI is used to convert a high impedance signal to a low impedance signal. In the case of you Alesis it would be a low impedance signal connected into a line input on your pre. The only advantage I would see to hooking it up through the DI is the fact it would balance the otherwise unbalanced output of your synth possibly keeping the signal cleaner if your cables are somewhat long.
Old 9th July 2005
  #6
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by klagga
Thanks for the reply.



Line-in or DI on the preamp?
DI in my case with AMEK DMCL worked nicer.

GYang
Old 10th July 2005
  #7
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Mastering101's Avatar
i use a xv-5080 line into a universal audio 2-610..i love the 2-610 for this. you can crank up the gain and get a really warm,brown sound..
Old 10th July 2005
  #8
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Two session keyboard players that I know hire my Chandler TG2 and 2 x Distressors for recording sessions....they just love the sound.


Nick
Old 10th July 2005
  #9
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I also prefer the DI inputs of my TG2 for recording the occasional Triton sounds.

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 10th July 2005
  #10
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I work with 50+ synths everyday and the major update in these years were the pres I bought. I love to record synths passing by Chandler LTD-1, API512c, GML, Amek and so on. Without them, I can't find that pro-sound you can hear in a very good production.
I worked also with Andromed6, I dont' like very much in respect of Matrix 12 or Omega 8, and the API were excellent to make the right sound for A6.
Please, try a very good pro preamp with your synth: the 100$ pres are useless for every synth
ciao
Luca
Old 11th July 2005
  #11
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This is one of those things that I haven't heard a good answer to. Rhodes pianos and other older keyboards all had a high impedance instrument out on them so they could be plugged into a guitar amp or somethign similar and work better with a DI than a 600 ohm line in. I guess I should just get in to the manual and see what the output impedance is on a triton, motif, etc. But in the end, trust your ears.
Old 11th July 2005
  #12
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I personnally always pass the signal through a good guitar amp and mic the amp, especially if the synth is used to recreate an existing instrument that is normally amplified (Rhodes, Organ, Wurlitzer, Clavinet, etc,etc)

I.E, If you try to record a organ synth through D.I., it's most likely going to sound like a toy, no matter how good the synth is.



Once the guitar amp is setup, I mic it as usual.
Old 11th July 2005
  #13
7om
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A great hi-end pre-amp with flexible DI is the Millennia TD-1. Definitely worth checking out. I have two for my Nord Modular G2 and I love 'em.

http://www.mil-media.com/docs/products/td1.shtml
Old 11th July 2005
  #14
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Thanks for your input, guys!

Would the Great River MP-2NV be a good idea as a stereo preamp for the Andromeda, would you think?

And in that case, should I use the Hi-Z or the (mike) line-ins?
Old 11th July 2005
  #15
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u b k's Avatar
 

the ubiquitous great river nv gets my vote. it's such a gorgeous DI, you'll want to pass everything thru it and crank it into light overdrive. it adds a depth to the sound that makes tracks play together better come mixtime.

i've personally run the andromeda thru it many times... very nice.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 11th July 2005
  #16
7om
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klagga
...should I use the Hi-Z or the (mike) line-ins?
It's a matter of taste. Sometimes impedence settings make an obvious difference, sometimes they don't. It depends on the instrument. Use your ears.
Old 12th July 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klagga
1. Should I use a preamp to record the analog Alesis Andromeda A6 synth into my computer, or is it better to just plug it into my RME HDSP 9632 soundcard?

2. *If* I should use a preamp, should I use DI or line in *on the preamp*?


So far, I´ve got different answers on different forums.

For old analog synths, I´ve heard it would be better to use the DIs on a stereo preamp, since old analogs can have problems with sufficient volume level.

But the A6 is a newish (2001) synth, so there shouldn´t be a problem to just use the line in on the soundcard.

But there doesn´t seem to be consensus on this. Anybody care to shed some light?
I like the sound of keyboards going into an Avalon M5 compared to Great river or Chandler LTD 1...
Old 12th July 2005
  #18
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

You don't need a mic pre... You need a DI! Something that will take that unbalanced keyboard signal and balance it, as well as lowering the impedance (keyboards contrary to what many people believe are high impedance, not as high as a guitar, but higher than line level ) It just so happens that most of the great DI's out there are part of great preamps... Look at the APi stuff, Avalon U5 is pretty cool, I love the Aurora Audio GTQ2mkIII on synths, plus it has a great EQ on it as well. There's a million more you could use. Something else you might want to look at if you need more than a few channels is the Desk Doctor DI 8... which would give you 8 channels of really good DI for you're synths. It's like $900, I think.... www.deskdoctor.com
Old 12th July 2005
  #19
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheasy
I work with 50+ synths everyday and the major update in these years were the pres I bought. I love to record synths passing by Chandler LTD-1, API512c, GML, Amek and so on. Without them, I can't find that pro-sound you can hear in a very good production.
I worked also with Andromed6, I dont' like very much in respect of Matrix 12 or Omega 8, and the API were excellent to make the right sound for A6.
Please, try a very good pro preamp with your synth: the 100$ pres are useless for every synth
ciao
Luca

Old 13th July 2005
  #20
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Does the DI of the GT Brick or the GT Ditto compete with any of the DIs mentioned here. Isnt it hiend enough or does it sound mediocre compared to the others?
Old 13th July 2005
  #21
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Switchcraft's Avatar
 

The manual for the Langevin dual mono miuc pre (no the vocal combo) has a good explanation for this. this box has synth inputs NOT DI inputs. DI is actually the wrong impeadence as well as line inputs..
Old 18th July 2005
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
the ubiquitous great river nv gets my vote. it's such a gorgeous DI, you'll want to pass everything thru it and crank it into light overdrive. it adds a depth to the sound that makes tracks play together better come mixtime.

i've personally run the andromeda thru it many times... very nice.

gregoire
del ubik
OK, let´s say there´s no need for a preamp to get sufficient level from the synth into the soundcard.

Would the "depth" etc that a high end preamp gives "that makes tracks play together better come mixtime" be possible to get from other (cheaper) sources, say from a good compressor or a quality software tube preamp simulator/tape simulator (for example the tape simulator in Analog flux by Voxengo)?

Sorry for possible heresy, but I´m looking for results, and I don´t care if the solution comes from hardware or software as long as it works.
Old 18th July 2005
  #23
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jjblair's Avatar
My synths always sound better using a preamp. I generally use an API 512b or my Vac Rac pre, which is REALLY amazing.
Old 18th July 2005
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baman
Does the DI of the GT Brick or the GT Ditto compete with any of the DIs mentioned here. Isnt it hiend enough or does it sound mediocre compared to the others?
I did a bunch of blind A/B listening tests with a friend of mine between the DITTO and a bunch of other well known DI's, and the DITTO was as good as any and better than most. Irregardless of price, it's a great sounding DI. Other DI's that stood out from the pack in my opinion were the TAB Funkenwerk V71 and the Millenia TD-1.

http://www.tab-funkenwerk.com/V71page.html
Old 18th July 2005
  #25
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by klagga
OK, let´s say there´s no need for a preamp to get sufficient level from the synth into the soundcard.

Would the "depth" etc that a high end preamp gives "that makes tracks play together better come mixtime" be possible to get from other (cheaper) sources, say from a good compressor or a quality software tube preamp simulator/tape simulator (for example the tape simulator in Analog flux by Voxengo)?

Sorry for possible heresy, but I´m looking for results, and I don´t care if the solution comes from hardware or software as long as it works.
The short answer is NO!
Old 19th July 2005
  #26
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I agree, nothing better than a Neve clone to make a deeper sound from any synth. The software, to me, is not so good until you pass the sound from high quality preamps
Luca
Old 19th July 2005
  #27
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I run all my synths and sound modules into a Mackie 24 x 8. This list includes:

JP-8000

JV-1080

JV-880

E-Mu Vintage Keys

Proteus 1

Proteus 2

Yamaha RY-30 Drum Machine

The pre-amps in the Mackie seem to give me plenty of power, and the ability to mix things as needed. I get a nice clean, powerful sound, sometimes a little overwhelming..........
From there I can go into a 1010LT sound card, my monitors, headphones or all three. It's even more fun when you start mixing into 5.1.
Old 19th July 2005
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
The pre-amps in the Mackie seem to give me plenty of power, and the ability to mix things as needed. I get a nice clean, powerful sound, sometimes a little overwhelming..........
I own a 32.8 me too, and I know well its preamps, but after you will try a neve clone, like LTD-1 of Chanlder, the preamps of Mackie start to sound thin, close and not so good as you think.
And the LTD-1 eq is far better than Mackie. You have to try with your ears to understand how a high-quality pre can boost your personal sound. This should be your first step in this world.
I love the transformer preamps to add that sound, perfect for R&B or hip-hop, but I love also the GML preamps for their transparence, and also in this way the quality of your synths can be improved a lot,
regards
Luca
Old 19th July 2005
  #29
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Well I don't have a Neve, or a Chandler to work with, so I use the Mackie for the synths...I do have a Tubessence 107 pre-amp I use for line-in on guitar and mic, which sounds much better than the Mackie pre's....I haven't tried running the synths thru the Tubessence yet, but maybe I will. But I'm happy with the sound I get running the synths thru the Mackie....they sound pretty damn good.
Old 7th September 2008
  #30
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I have a couple of mono synths that I have always input straight into my soundcard with a mono jack, and have recently been thinking about investing in some pres, but before I do..................

Would you acheive a similar effect to recording through a DI or pre if you ran your synth through a hardware Eq's transformers, for example the Portico 5033, or through the tubes on a 1968 compressor on the way into your computer?

Thanks
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