The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
1 'higher' quality preamp to replace UA610 and Focusrite ISA One? Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 9th August 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
1 'higher' quality preamp to replace UA610 and Focusrite ISA One?

Hi,

I'm thinking about replacing my UA Solo610 and Focusrite ISA One digital with one 'higher quality' preamp. I know this can be pretty subjective as to what really is a 'higher' quality preamp.

To be honest, I've been pretty happy with the 610 and ISA for general tracking duties and the main reason I would like to sell these for one pre is because I am trying to streamline my setup. I would like something rackmountable and preferably 1u with a DI input as I will be mainly using the pre for bass, guitars and occasional vocals. The 610 and ISA both have the mains switch on the back and this can be a little awkward due to poor positioning due to minimal space.

If I were to replace these pres (which I'm not entirely sure if I will) I would like something that's at least as good but preferably better such as lower noise for ribbons etc.

I also own a Focusrite Liquid Channel which I use as my main vocal channel strip and use the 610 and ISA for their di's on bass and guitars and occasional vocals.

What would you recommend as a possible replacement/upgrade for the 610 and ISA One? I would only need one channel but two would be fine.
Old 10th August 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 

BAE 1073MP mono channel.
Old 10th August 2012
  #3
Gear Addict
 
greyskull's Avatar
Great River.
Old 10th August 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
soypancho's Avatar
 

Try the A Designs Pacifica in your room. Very nice hi-fi sound. It can be relatively clean but if you pad it and push the gain, you'll get some very nice coloration somewhere between a Neve and an API.
Old 10th August 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
You might want to check out: Avedis MA5, BAE preamps, John Hardy preamps, Forssell SMP-2 (or smp500).. Depending if you need clean or "colored"..
Can't go wrong with these.. really great pieces, all of them..

Try to find a dealer and check 'em out in your place.. Your ears will tell you what do you need (and if it's the case of replacing your stuff or not).

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 10th August 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I've spoken to a few people who own both the Great River and UA610 and the majority generally preferred the 610.

The A-Designs Pacifica is one I'm very interested in.

The BAE stuff needs additional psu's which means it wouldn't fit into my rack.

A couple of others that I'm interested in are :-

Dave Hills Europa
Emperical Labs Mic-E
Grace M101 / M103

I can't find a dealer for the Hardy or Forsell in the UK and the MA5 is 500 series.

I forgot to mention in my original post that I would like the pre to have a DI aswell as I will be mainly using it for bass and guitars (+ occasional vocal).
Old 10th August 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Andrew Kinsey's Avatar
 

For Guaranteed satisfaction id also check out the Vintech Preamps...X73i or 273.

Old 10th August 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
I've spoken to a few people who own both the Great River and UA610 and the majority generally preferred the 610.

The BAE stuff needs additional psu's which means it wouldn't fit into my rack.

I can't find a dealer for the Hardy or Forsell in the UK and the MA5 is 500 series.

I forgot to mention in my original post that I would like the pre to have a DI aswell as I will be mainly using it for bass and guitars (+ occasional vocal).
Regarding the 500 series, you could get a A design 500hr rack (2 slot in 1 RU, both the Forssell or the MA5 will fit heh )

I guess that at this level is a matter of taste.. the MA5 is one of the best preamps out there IMO, I wouldn't rule it out so quick (unless you want something very clean)..(<<< fwiw you could read my review in the GS review section, below my avatar there's the link)

If you need a DI, get a DI like a Countryman or a Jensen (or a Radial JDI) and use the preamp after that.. I wouldn't choose my preamps because of the DI.. (even if there are some, like the Juggernaut or the BAE, that has a killer sounding DI)..

Try to find some studios or slutz near you that will let you test them.. I'm sure that there are slutz in UK with the Forssell and the Hardy..and maybe some MA5.. heh

You should try to test them in some ways.. I really liked these a lot..can't recommend them enough.. you should be able to compare them in your context if it's possible..this is the only way to know which one rule out.. and again, it's a matter of taste/genre/goals at this level IMO.

Good luck with your search,



Cheu
Old 10th August 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I've spoken to a few people who own both the Great River and UA610 and the majority generally preferred the 610.


The BAE stuff needs additional psu's which means it wouldn't fit into my rack.
I've never seen a thread where someone preferred a 610 to a GR.

As for the BAE, what does the PSU have to do with the rack? It fits fine.
Old 10th August 2012
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Renaud Charlier's Avatar
 

You should also try the Neve 1073 dpa..(2 channels / 1 unit /but no DI input..)
Old 10th August 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 

If you can swing buying a real vintage Neve 1073/66/81 etc, it will be well worth the money. I am very familiar with some clones and I must say they do not compare to the real thing. There is something so fat about the bottom on those neve's you will need new underwear upon arrival.
Old 10th August 2012
  #12
Preamps are really overrated. You can get great quality recording with the gear you got. Upgrade microphones etc first. As long as you have a mid-price preamp you'll be fine even though people here at GS always wants to point out that preamps makes ALL the difference in the world, when it don't.

Get good gear, make music / C
Old 10th August 2012
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
timmetje's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I've spoken to a few people who own both the Great River and UA610 and the majority generally preferred the 610.

The A-Designs Pacifica is one I'm very interested in.

The BAE stuff needs additional psu's which means it wouldn't fit into my rack.

A couple of others that I'm interested in are :-

Dave Hills Europa
Emperical Labs Mic-E
Grace M101 / M103

I can't find a dealer for the Hardy or Forsell in the UK and the MA5 is 500 series.

I forgot to mention in my original post that I would like the pre to have a DI aswell as I will be mainly using it for bass and guitars (+ occasional vocal).
Never forget to ask why they preferred it.
Old 10th August 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
Preamps are really overrated/ C
Seriously, you have probably never heard an sm7 through a neve..... it is pretty fricken nice. Obviously the mic is the most important. However, don't kid yourself that that the 500 dollar pre is as good as the 3k one..... Same goes for mics. There are a lot of decent $500 mics, until you hear them next to a 4k mic.
Old 10th August 2012
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
Seriously, you have probably never heard an sm7 through a neve..... it is pretty fricken nice. Obviously the mic is the most important. However, don't kid yourself that that the 500 dollar pre is as good as the 3k one..... Same goes for mics. There are a lot of decent $500 mics, until you hear them next to a 4k mic.
Well i have both a Crane Song spider and some mid price preamps. And the mid price preamps sounds nice, not a deal breaer. the Spider sounds better but you would get great results with the mid price preamps if you're good at what you do. I would rather have a 2-3k mic with a 500-1000$ preamp then vice versa which some ppl here at GS seems to think it should be the other way around.
Old 10th August 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Agreed, your most important tool is the mic. Everything after that is relative.
Old 10th August 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
Preamps are really overrated. You can get great quality recording with the gear you got. Upgrade microphones etc first. As long as you have a mid-price preamp you'll be fine even though people here at GS always wants to point out that preamps makes ALL the difference in the world, when it don't.

Get good gear, make music / C
Yes I agree that I can get great quality recordings with what I already own. The main reason why I am tempted to replace the 610 and ISA One is because I don't like the fact that they are table top pres. I bought these because they came up at an extremely low price.
I would prefer something rackmounted because I would like a cleaner work area with less leads etc and with the power switch on the front.

I was partly tempted to replace them with an ISA TWO but don't really want to lose what the 610 brings to the table. The 610's DI is excellent for bass and some guitars and the ISA sounds great on other guitars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Regarding the 500 series, you could get a A design 500hr rack (2 slot in 1 RU, both the Forssell or the MA5 will fit heh )Cheu
I like this idea of getting the A Designs 500HR rack and putting a really good clean transparent pre and something meaty with lots of mojo?
Old 10th August 2012
  #18
Yup. cheu is a smart guy with good advice.

If you want something that will work on anything, and you will keep forever, get the Hardy he suggested. M1 or Twin Servo. No DI, but a jensen isomax or radial in front, and you will be gold.

These are the kind of preamps that you buy, and you first notice the clarity and the fact that it's smooth and big. It doesn't jump out at you like an API, and it isn't warm and fuzzy like a Neve. It does what it's supposed to, and does it well.

That said, it's the kind of preamp that two weeks later when you are not doing a/b comparisons, and not focusing on the the minute details of preamp character, it will just hit you. You'll play back something recorded through it, and you'll think: "Damn that sounds nice. Glad I bought this thing."

Further, the build is rock solid, and it will last forever, and you will never sell it. You will feel like you need it as a sure thing on every session, and if you don't have it, it will feel like you left home without your driver's license, or house keys.

At least for me anyway. Plus, in the grand scheme, they are absolutely a deal compared to other options out there.

My two cents.

Good luck, always liked your music man,
john
Old 10th August 2012
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
Yes I agree that I can get great quality recordings with what I already own. The main reason why I am tempted to replace the 610 and ISA One is because I don't like the fact that they are table top pres. I bought these because they came up at an extremely low price.
I would prefer something rackmounted because I would like a cleaner work area with less leads etc and with the power switch on the front.

I was partly tempted to replace them with an ISA TWO but don't really want to lose what the 610 brings to the table. The 610's DI is excellent for bass and some guitars and the ISA sounds great on other guitars.
?

Well then i suggest you get a 500 series pre. Get a neve or API and be done with it. Then you never have to think about pres again You didn't say what kind of music you usually do but if you go the 500 route you can add up with a comp and eq and you have yourself an superb channelstrip. Lindell audio released a very cheap compressor,eq and pre for a crazy cheap price in the 500 series.
Old 10th August 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Yup. cheu is a smart guy with good advice.

If you want something that will work on anything, and you will keep forever, get the Hardy he suggested. M1 or Twin Servo. No DI, but a jensen isomax or radial in front, and you will be gold.

These are the kind of preamps that you buy, and you first notice the clarity and the fact that it's smooth and big. It doesn't jump out at you like an API, and it isn't warm and fuzzy like a Neve. It does what it's supposed to, and does it well.

That said, it's the kind of preamp that two weeks later when you are not doing a/b comparisons, and not focusing on the the minute details of preamp character, it will just hit you. You'll play back something recorded through it, and you'll think: "Damn that sounds nice. Glad I bought this thing."

Further, the build is rock solid, and it will last forever, and you will never sell it. You will feel like you need it as a sure thing on every session, and if you don't have it, it will feel like you left home without your driver's license, or house keys.

At least for me anyway. Plus, in the grand scheme, they are absolutely a deal compared to other options out there.

My two cents.

Good luck, always liked your music man,
john
Unfortunately there isn't a dealer for the Hardy stuff in the UK so I'd have to pay VAT, shipping and import tax on this making it not particularly good value (unless one appears secondhand). Would prefer to go for something that I can buy in the UK.

I'm liking the idea of something like the A-Designs 500HR with a decent mojo type pre and a really clean uncolored pre.

I also quite like the idea of the BAE/Vintech/Pacifica pres.

I mainly record jazz, gospel, funk and pop so a fair range of styles.

There seems to be SO many options for the 500 series pres and am a little overwhelmed with the choice!!

What would you recommend as a top notch clean/transparent type pre and a colored pre with lots of mojo for the 500 series. I would like both to have a DI input and be able to buy them in the UK.

Thanks
Old 11th August 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post

There seems to be SO many options for the 500 series pres and am a little overwhelmed with the choice!!

What would you recommend as a top notch clean/transparent type pre and a colored pre with lots of mojo for the 500 series. I would like both to have a DI input and be able to buy them in the UK.

Thanks
In this case I'd definitely get an MA5 and a Forssell, plus a good DI (Jensen or Countryman or Radial).. end of the search of the holy preamp..you can call it a day! heh Seriously two of the best in the 500 series IMO.

(eventually you could try a Juggernaut, in nickel-nickel mode, instead of the Forssell.. It's rather clean and the DI is indeed very good)..

The only problem I see is that you'll want to have two of each pre's after owning one.. You might like having a stereo pair.. heh
So I'd go: 1RU Forssell SMP-2 + Adesigns hr500 with 2 x Avedis MA5 (plus the DI..maybe consider the Avalon too, I was surprised, it sounded pretty good to me..but I've use it live)



Cheu
Old 12th August 2012
  #22
Gear Addict
 
garyboy2024's Avatar
 

I agree that you'll want a stereo pair. The Pacifica gives you a pair of pres in a 1u rack with a great DI on each channel. Sounds fantastic with ribbons too with plenty of gain. Not super colored but not squeaky clean either, just the right amount of mojo imo. But then there's always the P-1 if you go the 500 series route.

Also, I think you'll miss the 610 as a bass di... I've yet to find anything better for that purpose. It's that good.
Old 12th August 2012
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by E.rOk.stA View Post
I've never seen a thread where someone preferred a 610 to a GR.
I do But not because it's a "better preamp". Just because it's got some very key uses that I find it to be irreplaceable on. Bass and guitar DI it's very hard to beat. And there aren't a lot of other preamps that can get quite as dirty as the 610 can. Something you don't need all the time of course, but it's great at that type of thing.

Honestly I'd just keep both of those pres and save up for a new one. They're excellent preamps and between the two you have a REALLY wide range of uses. 610 for color and ISA for cleaner with lots of gain. Money comes eventually and you won't find a single preamp that can do what these two can do together. So just save up and don't worry about getting a higher end piece to replace them. The difference between these and the Great River, or API, or whatever else isn't a life changing one.
Old 12th August 2012
  #24
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

We have an A Designs Ventura and it's now my go to pre for bass di and vocals. Spectacular eq and di. Can be fast and clean or get dirty with the pad.
Old 1st February 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
soulguitar's Avatar
I know this thread is old, but I just was looking for John Hardy and the similar designed Seventh Circle Audio preamps and wanted to ask, if somebody knows if the SCA preamps come close to the hardy preamp. Heard so many good things about them for acoustic guitar.
Old 1st February 2015
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulguitar View Post
I know this thread is old, but I just was looking for John Hardy and the similar designed Seventh Circle Audio preamps and wanted to ask, if somebody knows if the SCA preamps come close to the hardy preamp. Heard so many good things about them for acoustic guitar.
I think the SCA C84 is the Hardy lookalike you're referring to. Can't help you with that, but I have a couple N72s and T15 and the N72 is seriously awesome.

If you want to hear some acoustic guitar/voice with the N72 let me know.
Old 2nd February 2015
  #27
Lives for gear
 
soulguitar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa View Post
I think the SCA C84 is the Hardy lookalike you're referring to. Can't help you with that, but I have a couple N72s and T15 and the N72 is seriously awesome.

If you want to hear some acoustic guitar/voice with the N72 let me know.
Thank you ! I would be interested, do you have some songs somewhere to listen ?
The J99 is the hardy analogy as I know
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
wilkinswp / So Much Gear, So Little Time
28
tamasdragon / High End
7
beush / Low End Theory
7
mrbowes / Geekslutz Forum
3

Forum Jump
Forum Jump