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Best 8 channel mic pre (with color) under $3500
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
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Phrygian's Avatar
 

Best 8 channel mic pre (with color) under $3500

Hey guys

I'm planning on purchasing some pre's this weekend and was thinking of getting back into the 500 series, but before I do that I'm considering just going with a nice 8 channel preamp instead. Any suggestions? I want something that can get colorful. Mostly recording rock and blues.

I was checking out some demo's of the Phoenix Audio DRS-8 and was quite impressed. Is there anything else I should be looking at? I hear the DAV is nice as well. Should I avoid the Focusrite ISA 828? Is the True Systems Precision 8 too clean for what I'm looking for?

I'm not looking for any DIY kits. Just wanna buy and plug in!

Any suggestions are appreciated! Thanks.

Matt
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
True Systems sounds good but is very clean and detailed. For $437.50/channel I don't think you can do better than the Phoenix DRS-8. The Phoenix preamp isn't extremely colored (it's quite a bit more colored than the True Systems though), but its got a very nice big open lush sound and does very well on many different kinds of instruments.
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

The Phoenix Audio DRS8 takes the cake...is this mainly for drum tracking or...? The reason I ask is the DRS8 has a -30dB pad which is really meant to feed line level sources to the unit, and that's a lot more than the standard 10 to 15dB or so pad.

War
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
True Systems sounds good but is very clean and detailed. For $437.50/channel I don't think you can do better than the Phoenix DRS-8. The Phoenix preamp isn't extremely colored (it's quite a bit more colored than the True Systems though), but its got a very nice big open lush sound and does very well on many different kinds of instruments.
Thanks for the input Nathan! Would you say the Phoenix is worth the extra scratch over the TS?
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
The Phoenix Audio DRS8 takes the cake...is this mainly for drum tracking or...? The reason I ask is the DRS8 has a -30dB pad which is really meant to feed line level sources to the unit, and that's a lot more than the standard 10 to 15dB or so pad.

War
Hey War!

It would be mostly for drums and acoustic, yes. I would probably use my Pacifica for vocals, bass, guitar and synth. I didn't know about the -30dB on the Phoenix...that is quite a difference. I'm sure I wouldn't run into too many snags though. What ya think?

Thanks for the input!

Matt
Old 1st September 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrygian View Post
Thanks for the input Nathan! Would you say the Phoenix is worth the extra scratch over the TS?
If you are looking for coloration then definitely. The Phoenix isn't as colored and slow as something like a 1073, but it records blues and rock nicely (I think its great on the guitars). If you took a cleaner preamp (Buzz, Hardy, Forsell, etc) and a 1073ish type preamp (that's not run into heavy saturation) and split the difference that's the approx vibe of the Phoenix. If you were using it for drums with condensers (probably won't have to worry with dynamic mics), you can always use inline pads from Shure or Audio Technica between the output of the mic and input of the preamp, both of which have variable settings and come in handy anyhow (sometimes for vocals and amps too). I generally like running preamps open (no onboard input pad) with the pads setup inline, it just sounds better to my ears in most cases.
Old 1st September 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
If you are looking for coloration then definitely. The Phoenix isn't as colored and slow as something like a 1073, but it records blues and rock nicely (I think its great on the guitars). If you took a cleaner preamp (Buzz, Hardy, Forsell, etc) and a 1073ish type preamp (that's not run into heavy saturation) and split the difference that's the approx vibe of the Phoenix. If you were using it for drums with condensers (probably won't have to worry with dynamic mics), you can always use inline pads from Shure or Audio Technica between the output of the mic and input of the preamp, both of which have variable settings and come in handy anyhow (sometimes for vocals and amps too). I generally like running preamps open (no onboard input pad) with the pads setup inline, it just sounds better to my ears in most cases.
Right on, thanks your input! Sounds like what I'm looking for...not completely clean but not overly dirty. Just looking for something with a bit of vibe and color. I had a lunchbox before with some API 512c's and Great River MP500NV which I loved. Looking to get somewhere in that ballpark again. I know the API's are more on the colored side of things, great punch, and most would tell me to buy them again because I love them so much, but I'm just trying to figure out an all-in-one solution.

I am still considering a 3124 and maybe a Focusrite 428 though. That would be nice as well.

Oh decisions, decisions!

What's everyone's thoughts on the ATI 8MX2? Any color to those?

Thanks!

Matt
Old 1st September 2011
  #8
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Can you get 4 ch of Golden Age 73's plus a used api 3124 in your budget? That might be a good way to go.

I love the api 3124 and highly recommend it, especially if you can get it used under $2k.
Old 1st September 2011
  #9
love my Focusrite 428 Mk 1. use it on drums all the time and it's sweet.
Old 1st September 2011
  #10
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There is no way you could go wrong with the seventh circle a12 (API) or n72 (neve). I've owned the true precisions. They are nice pre's but no color at all. The n72 on the other hand is a thing of beauty. I think sca will build them for you for a little over $400 a channel as well. I love the sound and I own pre's by Chandler, Manley, UA, grace, etc...
Old 1st September 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrygian View Post
I am still considering a 3124 and maybe a Focusrite 428 though. That would be nice as well.
I've used those in conjunction on large sessions, and they work pretty well together recording a kit: API for the skins, Focusrite for the metal. The 428 has just a little color from the input transformer, but I still consider it very clean compared to my Aurora, API, and Pacifica Pres. If your focus will be on drums and acoustic, as you say, the API (and BAE 312a) are usually my first choice for both (especially if it's an aggressive rock acoustic). If you look around a bit you might be able to find a pair of used 3124's within your price range.
Old 1st September 2011
  #12
Company Rep
 
xavi's Avatar
 

The Phoenix DRS8 was designed to offer our very popular DRS mic pre amps in a 2U chassis whilst incorporating a few extra features like mute's on every channel, a D-sub output and individual channel monitoring. Sonically it offers a degree of flexibility due to its two gain staging, it offers a sound that is fairly clean (using lots of input gain)to something quite coloured (using the Class A outputs & custom wound transformers), this means its very flexible and good for a variety of music from acoustic to heavy rock and pop etc in between.

We have some more video's coming very soon for drums, vocals & some more unusual instruments like sax etc

Let me know if you have any questions, always happy to help

Matt if your in Canada speak to Francois & the boys at Studio Economik in Montreal, they have these in stock and often available for demo


[email protected]
Old 1st September 2011
  #13
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrygian View Post

What's everyone's thoughts on the ATI 8MX2? Any color to those?

Thanks!

Matt
The ATI 8mx2 is on the clean side, I think it's a bit more colored than the TS unit..but probably it's just different, btw the 8mx2 is slightly colored.. it's a great preamp, in the 8 channel 1RU would be my pick (under 3k).. it sounds great with every mic I tried on.. I really enjoyed when I rented one few years ago..It has something that is hard to describe, in few word it's just right.. LOL..
If you go for it, buy the "newer" version with the 48v button on the front and the quieter fan.
You should ask Remoteness, the moderator (deus ex machina) of the "Remote possibilities.." section on GS.. he own a bunch of those as well as the TS if I'm not mistaken..
Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording - Gearslutz.com

Another option could be the JLM 8 channel preamp (not DIY) TMP8..

If you could strecth the budget there's the Aurora GTP8 which is stellar, of course at another price point (5k). Or the Bill Sanke 8 channel preamps (don't know the price, for sure not cheap, for a good reason):
Sanke Audio 8CH Pre/Mxr

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Old 1st September 2011
  #14
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post

Another option could be the JLM 8 channel preamp (not DIY) TMP8..

If you could strecth the budget there's the Aurora GTP8 which is stellar, of course at another price point (5k). Or the Bill Sanke 8 channel preamps (don't know the price, for sure not cheap, for a good reason):
Sanke Audio 8CH Pre/Mxr

Cheu
Wow! that looks nice. Does anybody here know what the price of such a unit might be?

EDIT : I just took a look carefully, the website says the unit is not officially available commercially... that's too bad. It's probably really expensive to make.
Old 1st September 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Can you get 4 ch of Golden Age 73's plus a used api 3124 in your budget? That might be a good way to go.

I love the api 3124 and highly recommend it, especially if you can get it used under $2k.
Thanks for the input. I'm going to be buying new, mostly because I'm going to put half down or more than likely finance the rest. I'd still be cool with that setup, or at least grabbing a 3124. I'm willing to stretch to my budget, to up $4500 actually.

The 3124 and ATI 8mx2 are the same price, so I'm wondering if getting 8 channels would be better. I know they're a different flavor but it's still pretty tempting.
Old 1st September 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
love my Focusrite 428 Mk 1. use it on drums all the time and it's sweet.
Nice! Thanks for the input.
Old 1st September 2011
  #17
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Phrygian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digidan View Post
There is no way you could go wrong with the seventh circle a12 (API) or n72 (neve). I've owned the true precisions. They are nice pre's but no color at all. The n72 on the other hand is a thing of beauty. I think sca will build them for you for a little over $400 a channel as well. I love the sound and I own pre's by Chandler, Manley, UA, grace, etc...
Those pre's have always been tempting, but I'll be buying from a store and they don't carry those. Should have mentioned that earlier, I know. Thanks for the input though! It definitely gets me interested in hearing those pres; the n72 especially.
Old 1st September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
I've used those in conjunction on large sessions, and they work pretty well together recording a kit: API for the skins, Focusrite for the metal. The 428 has just a little color from the input transformer, but I still consider it very clean compared to my Aurora, API, and Pacifica Pres. If your focus will be on drums and acoustic, as you say, the API (and BAE 312a) are usually my first choice for both (especially if it's an aggressive rock acoustic). If you look around a bit you might be able to find a pair of used 3124's within your price range.
Right on. Thanks for the input Sean!
Old 1st September 2011
  #19
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Phrygian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xavi View Post
The Phoenix DRS8 was designed to offer our very popular DRS mic pre amps in a 2U chassis whilst incorporating a few extra features like mute's on every channel, a D-sub output and individual channel monitoring. Sonically it offers a degree of flexibility due to its two gain staging, it offers a sound that is fairly clean (using lots of input gain)to something quite coloured (using the Class A outputs & custom wound transformers), this means its very flexible and good for a variety of music from acoustic to heavy rock and pop etc in between.

We have some more video's coming very soon for drums, vocals & some more unusual instruments like sax etc

Let me know if you have any questions, always happy to help

Matt if your in Canada speak to Francois & the boys at Studio Economik in Montreal, they have these in stock and often available for demo


[email protected]
Nice! Makes me even more interested in the unit. I may very well be ordering one through Long & McQuade. I usually deal with them or Economik, and both treat me extremely well, but I have the option of financing for a year through L&M, plus I'll be in Toronto this weekend to figure it all out. So far your pre is the frontrunner. Cheers!
Old 1st September 2011
  #20
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I don't know what the 'best' is, but I like the ATI 8MX2, which is a very flexible piece with limiters, a mixer, monitoring... basically it can do double duty as an 8x2 mixer, it has 8 limiters, Paragon mic pres, and only uses 1U.
Old 1st September 2011
  #21
Gear Head
 

I hate when people do this...
But
Save up another $1500 and get the aurora gtp8...

You will not regret it.
Old 1st September 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
The ATI 8mx2 is on the clean side, I think it's a bit more colored than the TS unit..but probably it's just different, btw the 8mx2 is slightly colored.. it's a great preamp, in the 8 channel 1RU would be my pick (under 3k).. it sounds great with every mic I tried on.. I really enjoyed when I rented one few years ago..It has something that is hard to describe, in few word it's just right.. LOL..
If you go for it, buy the "newer" version with the 48v button on the front and the quieter fan.
You should ask Remoteness, the moderator (deus ex machina) of the "Remote possibilities.." section on GS.. he own a bunch of those as well as the TS if I'm not mistaken..
Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording - Gearslutz.com

Another option could be the JLM 8 channel preamp (not DIY) TMP8..

If you could strecth the budget there's the Aurora GTP8 which is stellar, of course at another price point (5k). Or the Bill Sanke 8 channel preamps (don't know the price, for sure not cheap, for a good reason):
Sanke Audio 8CH Pre/Mxr

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Thanks for your input Cheu! I'm definitely curious about the 8mx2. It would save me $1000 over the Phoenix, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it. What would you compare the 8mx2 sound to?

The JLM's are nice, but I don't think my store carries them. And the Aurora would be a dream, but that's out of budget. Oh man, do I wish!

Cheers!

Matt
Old 1st September 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I don't know what the 'best' is, but I like the ATI 8MX2, which is a very flexible piece with limiters, a mixer, monitoring... basically it can do double duty as an 8x2 mixer, it has 8 limiters, Paragon mic pres, and only uses 1U.
I'm definitely considering one. Thanks for the input!
Old 1st September 2011
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charliewonder7 View Post
I hate when people do this...
But
Save up another $1500 and get the aurora gtp8...

You will not regret it.
Hey, I'm not fond of these types of threads either, yet here I am doing it. lol. At least I gave some specifics; colored, rock and blues recordings, etc. And most of the 8 channel pre threads I found were low end.

The GTP8 is definitely a beast, but I've already stretched my budget $1500, so if I did the GTP8 I'd be stretching $3000 total extra, which I just can't do at the moment as I need to save for other things. Thanks for the input though.

I don't think I'd regret the Phoenix or ATI. Or a 3124 and another 4 chan pre.
Old 1st September 2011
  #25
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cheu78's Avatar
If you need preamps I'd:

buy the ATI8mx2 and with the money you saved you could buy a used Lunchbox and a pair of used Avedis MA5..or if you already have a lunchbox a pair of new MA5 (you could also run mixes through them, with some line pads) or a BAE MPF preamp..

or just buy something you need more..

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu

P.S.: we've built these because I couldn't find a 1RU with enough color : http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index...pic=15245.1000
Of course it's not for sale, it took a looooong time though.. sounds AMAZING!
Old 1st September 2011
  #26
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 

I'm thinking, if you're not in a hurry to have all the pre's at once, building a lunchbox might not be cheaper in the end but certainly easier on the wallet if built slowly. Depending on how you see things...

I wonder, is Vintech going to make an 8 channel unit without the shelving EQ sections, similar to the phoenix and the GTP8, now that they've released the 573? Something like a Vintech 873 haha! That I would seriously consider as well!
Old 1st September 2011
  #27
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
i still own 3 of the ATi8MX2's - i use one of them everyday. have done 24 track remotes with these. and have had them go out for a couple records. you cannot go wrong. the pre's are based on the Paragon Console's. cannot say enough good things about them.

willing to sell one or two if you are interested. i really only need one at this time.

cheers

john
Old 1st September 2011
  #28
Harrison Lineage is $2795 for a bunch of cool preamps

It's four vintages of mic pre's.

Old 1st September 2011
  #29
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

We are waiting on new stock now to figure out the exact value needed for the change, but in roughly two weeks or so we will be offering a ZenPro version of this unit with a pad value better suited to drum and other tracking needs. The 30dB is quite a large value and was originally intended for line level use of Phoenix DRS series units. The 8 channel unit however would see a lot of drum use and almost no line level use, therefore we are excited to be tweaking the units to offer stock and mod versions.

War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrygian View Post
Hey War!

It would be mostly for drums and acoustic, yes. I would probably use my Pacifica for vocals, bass, guitar and synth. I didn't know about the -30dB on the Phoenix...that is quite a difference. I'm sure I wouldn't run into too many snags though. What ya think?

Thanks for the input!

Matt
Old 1st September 2011
  #30
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Phrygian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
If you need preamps I'd:

buy the ATI8mx2 and with the money you saved you could buy a used Lunchbox and a pair of used Avedis MA5..or if you already have a lunchbox a pair of new MA5 (you could also run mixes through them, with some line pads) or a BAE MPF preamp..

or just buy something you need more..

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu

P.S.: we've built these because I couldn't find a 1RU with enough color : JLM Baby Animal
Of course it's not for sale, it took a looooong time though.. sounds AMAZING!
That's not a bad idea at all. I did really enjoy the 500 series when I had my last lunchbox. To fully load one right away ain't cheap, that's why I was considering a good 8 chan pre right off the bat. between that and my Pacifica I should have something nice to start with.

Good stuff on the DIY btw! I couldn't see any pics but your description makes it sound very interesting!
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