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Best Preamp? Single-Channel Preamps
Old 12th April 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Best Preamp?

Hi, this may be more of a question of personal taste in some areas, but what do you think are the best preamps around? And what do you think is <i>the best</i> preamp?
Old 12th April 2006
  #2
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What's the best musical instrument? If we can decide that, then maybe we can decide the best preamp for it ...
Old 12th April 2006
  #3
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cramseur's Avatar
What's the best forum?
Old 12th April 2006
  #4
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
That's easy. Mine is the best pre amp. All others are just wanna bes.
Old 12th April 2006
  #5
AB3
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What is the best response?

Whatever it is, I hereby incorporate it by reference.
Old 12th April 2006
  #6
Gear Nut
 
AtlantaPowerPop's Avatar
 

Tube MP...all the way!!!

The best preamp is the ART Tube MP. Why? Because it is the only preamp you can buy brand new for under $40 that isn't made by Behringer. Does it sound good? No. Not particularly...but who cares? It's the best!
Old 12th April 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 

The question is simply too vague. Choice of preamp is determined by the sound source, the microphone chosen, and the features and creative options you want from the preamp.

Solid State VS Tube? You can't say one is better than the other - just different

Mono? Stereo? With EQ? How much gain do you need?

Transparent or colored?

Transformer or no transformers - there are benefits either way.

For me, noisefloor is an important issue. The desirable preamps have a significantly lower noise floor than the cheap stuff. But that's not the only factor. Tube stuff is generally noiser than solid state, but you might just need a tubey sound.
Old 12th April 2006
  #8
Gear Nut
 
AtlantaPowerPop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
For me, noisefloor is an important issue.
Noise floor, smoise floor. Tube MP!!!
Old 12th April 2006
  #9
AB3
Lives for gear
 

I bet it sounds good on something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlantaPowerPop
The best preamp is the ART Tube MP. Why? Because it is the only preamp you can buy brand new for under $40 that isn't made by Behringer. Does it sound good? No. Not particularly...but who cares? It's the best!
Old 12th April 2006
  #10
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s.d.finley's Avatar
It is true, your question is too vague. Are you looking for a jack of all trades pre, character, or clean and accurate? This might be a good start...

sdf
Old 12th April 2006
  #11
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chrispick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlantaPowerPop
Noise floor, smoise floor. Tube MP!!!
Tube MP, Shmube MP...

Best preamp? Paper towel tube MP.

I'd run any mic through one.
Old 12th April 2006
  #12
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allenm541
Hi, this may be more of a question of personal taste in some areas, but what do you think are the best preamps around?
Neve and API preamps were the main tools used to record a great number of incredible sounding records for the last few decades.. So, they get my vote....

Quote:
Originally Posted by allenm541
And what do you think is <i>the best</i> preamp?
Asking what is the BEST preamp is like asking what is the best color... there is no BEST preamp, but there are many choices. However, I would look towards API & vintage Class A Neve as something that could be considered the best for a singer or instrument with the right mic on a given day.
Old 12th April 2006
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allenm541
And what do you think is <i>the best</i> preamp?
Man, that changes every 5 minutes around here.
Old 12th April 2006
  #14
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PeterG's Avatar
 

Give him a break!

Damn!

I know you guys see that his question is simplistic, but at least point him in the right way, for example, does he want tubes or SS etc. Anyway, figure out your price point and then have a listen. Pendulum, Manley, Mecury, Brent Avril, GML, John Hardy, Millenia Media are all known as good preamps for different things with different characteristics. Transformers, tubes versus solid-state, circuit design etc. will all effect the sound.

Maybe explain what you want it for and your budget and these guys will climb off their high-horses to give you some recs. For example, is this your first, use for everything pre. or is for your vocal chain?

As for me, I know people go on and on about vintage Neves, but I'm not a huge fan. And I also think that tubes have an unmeasurable magic in them. Just watch out if you're planning on buying ribbon mics, because then impedance, gain and noise become a bigger issue. It seems that different enginners find a combination of gear that works for their particular style.

For smaller $$, you could get a TOFT that has a pre plus extras and do some good work.

Remember, too, that these guys'll ramble on for days on this topic, fighting and blah blah... Good luck.

Peace,

P
Old 12th April 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Allen, that's a pretty common question on this forum so I suggest you do a search through out the forum and I bet you will get all the answers.

PeteG already gave you good ideas!
Old 12th April 2006
  #16
AB3
Lives for gear
 

On the 3daudioinc board, there is an interesting thread on homerun pres. Pres that sound good on almost anything thrown at them.

The original Great River is one of them.

I do not see how anyone can go wrong with a GML either.

Also, Forssell Fetcode sounds great on everything.

Sounds like a lot of people on this board like the A designs Pacifica on just about everything.

There is not one answer. There is not even a single answer as to whether the same pre should be used for the entire project or not. Some say yes and some say no.

Personally, if I could afford it, I would get a great analogue board with great pres and use only that for the entire project, except for outboard compressors.
Old 12th April 2006
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
The best preamp is the mic amp that you're using when you get
"the sound."

All else is gaslight. . .
Old 12th April 2006
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterG
Damn!

I know you guys see that his question is simplistic, but at least point him in the right way, for example, does he want tubes or SS etc. Anyway, figure out your price point and then have a listen. Pendulum, Manley, Mecury, Brent Avril, GML, John Hardy, Millenia Media are all known as good preamps for different things with different characteristics. Transformers, tubes versus solid-state, circuit design etc. will all effect the sound.

Maybe explain what you want it for and your budget and these guys will climb off their high-horses to give you some recs. For example, is this your first, use for everything pre. or is for your vocal chain?

As for me, I know people go on and on about vintage Neves, but I'm not a huge fan. And I also think that tubes have an unmeasurable magic in them. Just watch out if you're planning on buying ribbon mics, because then impedance, gain and noise become a bigger issue. It seems that different enginners find a combination of gear that works for their particular style.

For smaller $$, you could get a TOFT that has a pre plus extras and do some good work.

Remember, too, that these guys'll ramble on for days on this topic, fighting and blah blah... Good luck.

Peace,

P

I'll admit, I was way too vague. Lol... funny to see all of the squabbling I got though...

Okay, so this is what I have in mind eventually:

--A Digidesign Control 24 board which has Focrusite preamps built into it
They are said to be really good, but I've heard there are better

--For the vocals, I'd want a 1 or 2 channel preamp in the range of about $2,000. I like the tube sound on vocals and would probably use a high-end tube mic for vocals as well, such as a U87 or other tube condenser mic. When it comes to vocals, I want to get the best product possible, as I feel the vocal quality can greatly make or break a song. I would be recording in an acoustically treated area as well.

--When I decide to expand and upgrade, I would like to get an 8 channel pre with different characteristics than the Control 24 Focrusites preamps. Would run dynamic mics and condenser mics (tubes and non-tubes) through these.

--Any preamps I'd get I'd want to be very straightforward. I don't want a bunch of knobs and buttons, such as EQ, de-ess, gating, compression, etc... just the preamp. The rest can be done through software or through other rack gear that may I may get in the future. Its going to be a very digital set-up, but sometimes I do like the tube sound, especially on vocals.

Also, if any of you could steer me in the right direction for a/d converters. For converters, I'd want about the same quality as the preamps. One that would work in conjunction with the Control 24, and without adding any coloring to the sound. I don't know as much about converters. If any of you could give me a few tips there, I'd really appretiate it as well.
Old 12th April 2006
  #19
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allenm541
Hi, this may be more of a question of personal taste in some areas, but what do you think are the best preamps around? And what do you think is <i>the best</i> preamp?
If this could be decided, the forum would spontaneously cease to exist.

I know you probably weren't expecting the kinds of responses you're getting, but perhaps you couldn't have known that with recording people, "What's the best preamp?" is like asking "What's the real meaning of life?"
Old 12th April 2006
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
If this could be decided, the forum would spontaneously cease to exist.

I know you probably weren't expecting the kinds of responses you're getting, but perhaps you couldn't have known that with recording people, "What's the best preamp?" is like asking "What's the real meaning of life?"

Lol... yeah, I just wanted to know people's opinions. I know there is no "best" preamp. I phrased the initial question horribly, sorry.
Old 12th April 2006
  #21
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
what do you think is the best preamp?
Certain ones with tubes.
Old 12th April 2006
  #22
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Spontaneously COMBUST!

I get this hilarious image in my head that somehow one of us actually answers THE best mic pre/compressor/converter/whatever and the Gearslutz universe just implodes...

I'll be walking down the street wearing my Gearslutz t-shirt (yep, I bought one) and "poof," it's GONE! And then there's me with my loooove handles and no Gearslutz t-shirt.



Dunno, weird mood.

My vote, THE best best BESTEST EVER pre-amp is... poof!

-andrews

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com
Old 12th April 2006
  #23
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severe's Avatar
 

This here is the last thread of the forum. Someone let Jules know we're finished. Its been cool, thanks for all the help guys.


The End.



*someone roll "My Way".
Old 12th April 2006
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
echo unit's Avatar
 

The Rupert Neve Designs Portico is the best preamp if you are only going to buy one.

It records everything wonderfully!

API's are great on some things like toms and Bass guitar in punchy rock music but a bit to hard in the mids for most vocals and many other acoustic instruments. API make better EQ's than Mic Preamps and most people that use API stuff use the EQ's...550 and the 560 graphic. They are wonderful!

The Portico has the Neve sound but it's more versatile than a 1073. It's exactly what the Great River wanted to be. Neve sound without the mushy bottom and lo-fi top end. More open, less choked sound but still classic smooth, velvety silky Neve transformer tone designed by the man himself. Not some clone conpany using an off the shelf transformer in place of a custom designed and military-like level tested one.

AMS-Neve has reissued the original Neve desings and slapped a ridiculous price tag on them. This company is completely unlike the company that Neve started and these re-issues are not worth even looking at for the money they cost. A lower quality version of something that should never have been re-issued by anyone other than Rupert Neve himself. Why repeat history? He has given us something better than the 1073, Portico.

Weigh your options. You will end up with a Portico or the Chandler 1073 Knockoff because it wins a lot of popularity contests because many gearslutz are into the latest greatest candy which Chandler does a great job of delivering everytime. FYI The Chandler LTD-1 uses the wrong output transformer to sound like a Neve 1073. Just thought you should know. It may sound great but not like a 1073.
Old 12th April 2006
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Wes Kuhnley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by echo unit
The Rupert Neve Designs Portico is the best preamp if you are only going to buy one.

It records everything wonderfully!

API's are great on some things like toms and Bass guitar in punchy rock music but a bit to hard in the mids for most vocals and many other acoustic instruments. API make better EQ's than Mic Preamps and most people that use API stuff use the EQ's...550 and the 560 graphic. They are wonderful!

The Portico has the Neve sound but it's more versatile than a 1073. It's exactly what the Great River wanted to be. Neve sound without the mushy bottom and lo-fi top end. More open, less choked sound but still classic smooth, velvety silky Neve transformer tone designed by the man himself. Not some clone conpany using an off the shelf transformer in place of a custom designed and military-like level tested one.

AMS-Neve has reissued the original Neve desings and slapped a ridiculous price tag on them. This company is completely unlike the company that Neve started and these re-issues are not worth even looking at for the money they cost. A lower quality version of something that should never have been re-issued by anyone other than Rupert Neve himself. Why repeat history? He has given us something better than the 1073, Portico.

Weigh your options. You will end up with a Portico or the Chandler 1073 Knockoff because it wins a lot of popularity contests because many gearslutz are into the latest greatest candy which Chandler does a great job of delivering everytime. FYI The Chandler LTD-1 uses the wrong output transformer to sound like a Neve 1073. Just thought you should know. It may sound great but not like a 1073.
Where-o-where did you aquire such great and expansive knowledge?
Old 12th April 2006
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by echo unit
API's are great on some things like toms and Bass guitar in punchy rock music but a bit to hard in the mids for most vocals and many other acoustic instruments. API make better EQ's than Mic Preamps and most people that use API stuff use the EQ's...550 and the 560 graphic.
I'll bet API sells about 10x more pre's than eq's. Guess everyone is buying them for the toms
Old 12th April 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenm541
I'll admit, I was way too vague. Lol... funny to see all of the squabbling I got though...

Okay, so this is what I have in mind eventually:

--A Digidesign Control 24 board which has Focrusite preamps built into it
They are said to be really good, but I've heard there are better

--For the vocals, I'd want a 1 or 2 channel preamp in the range of about $2,000. I like the tube sound on vocals and would probably use a high-end tube mic for vocals as well, such as a U87 or other tube condenser mic. When it comes to vocals, I want to get the best product possible, as I feel the vocal quality can greatly make or break a song. I would be recording in an acoustically treated area as well.

--When I decide to expand and upgrade, I would like to get an 8 channel pre with different characteristics than the Control 24 Focrusites preamps. Would run dynamic mics and condenser mics (tubes and non-tubes) through these.

--Any preamps I'd get I'd want to be very straightforward. I don't want a bunch of knobs and buttons, such as EQ, de-ess, gating, compression, etc... just the preamp. The rest can be done through software or through other rack gear that may I may get in the future. Its going to be a very digital set-up, but sometimes I do like the tube sound, especially on vocals.

Also, if any of you could steer me in the right direction for a/d converters. For converters, I'd want about the same quality as the preamps. One that would work in conjunction with the Control 24, and without adding any coloring to the sound. I don't know as much about converters. If any of you could give me a few tips there, I'd really appretiate it as well.

ok.

lets get started.

control 24? dont bother. its badly designed and digidesign dont exactly support it. ie everything is black/dark gray, pain in the ass to read. several features have never been implemented properly and never will be. the focusrite preamps in it are pretty crap. useable, but ultimately good demo quality is the top of their game. just get a much cheaper, smaller and more ergonomic control surface of some other kind.

2 channel preamp for vocals? well, you may as well get something you can use on other things as well, like stereo drum overheads, or WHATEVER! since you're NOT going to waste your money on the control24 you can afford a small variety of very high quality preamps that will give you a range of great sounds to choose from. but remember, the preamp has a relatively small impact on the overall sound, its more of a character thing, a tone thing, a vibe thing that they impart. the source, the acoustics of the recording environment and the mic will do more. look at manufacturers like daking, api, any kind of neve 1073 clone, a-designs pacifica, dav electronics, chandler, etc. get a few channels of a few of these and you'll have a choice of great, reliable preamps.

the u87 is not a tube mic. unless you have it modified.

regarding converters, i asuume you're going for a protools system since you want(ed) a control24. well, are you getting an HD or LE system? if HD just get a DIGI 192 with as many ins and outs as you need. check out digidesigns homepage for the options and (big) prices. if you're going LE (which i personally do not recommend) then the only decent option is the 002RACK and another box of converters patched into it via the ADAT port. whether you need 2, 4 or 8 channels of good conversion depends on what kind of stuff you will be recording. the options here range from behringer up to lavry. i recommend RME as bang for the buck whereas apogee is the most name-dropped name-brand (which many regard over-priced compared to some competitors). is there a difference in quality between these two? maybe. it depends who is listening. will you hear it? will you like it? will you care? do you not care and just want to spend the bucks so you can wave your hard-on around the place because you have apogee? i don't care. sort that one out for yourself.

my few sense.

ymmv.

regards,

richie.
Old 12th April 2006
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Swiss Army pre, how about this...

Ok, given what you said, a great Swiss Army mic pre would be the stereo GML because it is going to be a VERY solid sweet sounding pre on almost all recordings. someone described it as making the music sound more musical and letting you really hear what was intended to come through.

If you want to get one mic pre that does a lot and give you big bang for yoru buck AND works for multi-purposes, GML, that's my two cents.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely.

Andrews

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com

P.S. Please excuse our sense of humor, we're mostly all good people sometimes just getting kooky at the end of long days doing our thang.
Old 12th April 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Oh, and this may be helpful...

I just read this and thought of you, you ay find it helpful...

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/66727-gml-8304-api-3124-a.html

-andrews

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com
Old 12th April 2006
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dubrichie
ok.

lets get started.

control 24? dont bother. its badly designed and digidesign dont exactly support it. ie everything is black/dark gray, pain in the ass to read. several features have never been implemented properly and never will be. the focusrite preamps in it are pretty crap. useable, but ultimately good demo quality is the top of their game. just get a much cheaper, smaller and more ergonomic control surface of some other kind.

2 channel preamp for vocals? well, you may as well get something you can use on other things as well, like stereo drum overheads, or WHATEVER! since you're NOT going to waste your money on the control24 you can afford a small variety of very high quality preamps that will give you a range of great sounds to choose from. but remember, the preamp has a relatively small impact on the overall sound, its more of a character thing, a tone thing, a vibe thing that they impart. the source, the acoustics of the recording environment and the mic will do more. look at manufacturers like daking, api, any kind of neve 1073 clone, a-designs pacifica, dav electronics, chandler, etc. get a few channels of a few of these and you'll have a choice of great, reliable preamps.

the u87 is not a tube mic. unless you have it modified.

regarding converters, i asuume you're going for a protools system since you want(ed) a control24. well, are you getting an HD or LE system? if HD just get a DIGI 192 with as many ins and outs as you need. check out digidesigns homepage for the options and (big) prices. if you're going LE (which i personally do not recommend) then the only decent option is the 002RACK and another box of converters patched into it via the ADAT port. whether you need 2, 4 or 8 channels of good conversion depends on what kind of stuff you will be recording. the options here range from behringer up to lavry. i recommend RME as bang for the buck whereas apogee is the most name-dropped name-brand (which many regard over-priced compared to some competitors). is there a difference in quality between these two? maybe. it depends who is listening. will you hear it? will you like it? will you care? do you not care and just want to spend the bucks so you can wave your hard-on around the place because you have apogee? i don't care. sort that one out for yourself.

my few sense.

ymmv.

regards,

richie.

Yeah, I'm thinking about getting the Pro Tools HD system. What do you think of the Digidesigns ICON D-Command? OR the Makie TT24, for it's price range? ($7,500)

Are there any control surfaces that you would recommend?

Anyway, as far as preamps, I like what I've read so far in response to my question, about the GML preamps. What do you think of the GML 8302?

Anyhow, I've been given some good brand names and models to go reserach some more now.
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