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Best 2 Channel Preamp for Drum Overheads Condenser Microphones
Old 18th April 2019
  #31
Lives for gear
Although I agree somewhat with gravyface, I respect that you want an answer or two on preamps. The ART TransX is a real hardware twin preamp box. Variable impedance, input and output transformers, you know, bells and whistles, but not tubes. About $400.
The twin channel version of what I have and what I recommend is the ISA Two. A lovely pair of preamps in one box, but around $800.
Old 18th April 2019
  #32
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
If all what your saying is true, then how are these companies selling these budget preamps if they don’t do anything better than your average interface preamp.
perception

the general perception is that the interface preamps are "meh". They are not "exciting" enough even if they actually spec out pretty well.

The general perception is that outboard preamps are 'better', and since any preamp that is mounted in its own box is technically speaking an "outboard" preamp, people will pay more for it. Also, interface preamps are almost always built to be clean. The budget preamps you mention - the 'in-between' market - are almost never clean. They are appealing to those who are looking for "color" in their preamps, but balk at the prices that the actual high-end stuff goes for.

This concept of telling people to "skip" the middle ground, often gets derided as 'elitist'. We are raining on the parades of those people who hope their slight expenditure will gain them a slight advantage. I agree with those who say it's just a few percent. But eventually you will arrive at a place where you got the rest going on, you will be ready to notice that few percent.

If I had to start over and my budget was very limited, I would get my mic situation sorted out first and then I would 'save up' for a great preamp. I think I would "skip" that middle ground of good preamps, because there are lots of ways to get your color.
Old 18th April 2019
  #33
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
Okay, here is the thing, if all of you guys who are in this chat had the chance to use an API 312 or a Neve 1073 over a Focusrite Scarlett for Overhead duties, which one would ye pick and why??????....... no more deviations from the question.
***EDIT: joeq replied before I finished typing and covered much of what I was thinking, but I'll go ahead and post my thoughts anyway. ***

In answer to your question, I haven't yet worked with the API or Neve, but I own a Scarlett 18i20. Given the chance, I'd certainly audition the others and pick based on what I heard. But honestly, if I had to choose blindly in advance, I'd stick with what I've got, because I know and trust it - and I'm always wary of character pieces. Sometimes the character they add is what you want, but other times it's a step in the wrong direction. Can't say without listening.

You mentioned Chris Lorde Alge and Butch Vig earlier. I imagine you're right about which pre they'd choose if that was the only choice in question, but now I've got a more interesting question for you. If they had a limited budget (unlikely in reality, but this is hypothetical) and could choose to upgrade from Scarlett preamps to outboard preamps, or they could choose to upgrade from M5s to pro-grade overhead mics, which do you think they would upgrade first?

I don't know them and can't speak for them, but I can't imagine they'd go preamp first. I definitely wouldn't.

If you're willing to save $1000 or more for preamps, I think you'd be better off investing that in better mics. Get a pair of KM184, C414, or whatever other flavor of high end mic you prefer on drum overheads, and I'd bet just about anything you hear a much bigger improvement from that than anything you can do with preamp upgrades (unless extreme color is your goal, in which case you can crunch any mic you want through a "character" preamp in heavy saturation.)

It sounds from your descriptions like you've got a room that you're confident in. If that's the case, there's even more benefit to be had from mics with especially nice off-axis response. All that room sound that bleeds into the overheads can be an asset or a curse. With the right mics in the right room, it's glorious! With the wrong mics, it's fuzzy, smeary, gritty, plastic-y, boomy, etc.
Old 18th April 2019
  #34
Gear Head
Thanks for the reply guys, I decided to save up for a decent pre, maybe the Isa 2, and then I’m going to upgrade the mic locker,
Thanks everyone, I do love these conversations ?
Old 18th April 2019
  #35
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Although I agree somewhat with gravyface, I respect that you want an answer or two on preamps. The ART TransX is a real hardware twin preamp box. Variable impedance, input and output transformers, you know, bells and whistles, but not tubes. About $400.
The twin channel version of what I have and what I recommend is the ISA Two. A lovely pair of preamps in one box, but around $800.
Do you have the TransX?
Old 18th April 2019
  #36
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Do you have the TransX?
The Waves plugin?
Old 18th April 2019
  #37
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
The Waves plugin?
Sorry, scrap that last comment, i just read above and know what you mean. No i don't have the ART TransX, why??
Old 18th April 2019
  #38
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Do you have the TransX?
No. As I said in post 16, I haven’t heard it or the black lion, but I would audition them if I was looking in that price range.
Old 18th April 2019
  #39
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
No. As I said in post 16, I haven’t heard it or the black lion, but I would audition them if I was looking in that price range.
Ah. Scant information out there on Art's latest.
Old 18th April 2019
  #40
Gear Head
Anybody out there had any experience with the ART TransX preamp?
Old 18th April 2019
  #41
Gear Maniac
my 2 cents:

save some more money and get a daking 2ch or 4ch preamp.

you will thank me later. maybe even 20 years later because you'll likely still have them and use them.

i bought my first daking pre/eq back in the 90's. was on overheads and most other things for 25 plus years.

they sounds amazing on drums. guitars. vocals. everything. just a great overall, cover all bases kind of preamp.

and maintenance, in my experience, has been...zero.
Old 18th April 2019
  #42
Gear Addict
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 

Yes Daking are very good on everything including drums. I would say they are less colored than API or Neve but still great on drums. Having said that I do prefer api on bass and snare. More colored than daking especially when pushed hard. FWIW I currently use an api clone Capi vp 26's and VP312's.
Old 19th April 2019
  #43
Lives for gear
 
MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Black Lion Audio Auteur
Old 19th April 2019
  #44
Here for the gear
Already Modded Used Budget Preamps

You should check out Revive Audio and Alchemy Audio modified ART products on shmeeBay or Reverbb!

I don’t wanna have these gems purchased before I have the chance to snag them, but because I was once in your position, I cannot keep this knowledge to myself (I know it’s almost common knowledge amongst us slutz but you all know what I mean).

Currently, you can grab a secondhand 2-channel Presonus TUBE preamp, modified by Revive Audio, pristinely and professionally. (I believe you can buy this for $300 USD). Upped tube, op-amps, circuitry, etc... Basically, you cannot be wrong if you purchase this with the reason being that you want a great, solid, and budget friendly, two channel preamp to record my drum overheads with.

The same could be said about the Alchemy Audio modified ART MP single channel tube preamp, in which there are two currently available for purchase ($100 USD per preamp).

This is just my lonesome opinion, but I will say that if you are truly hunting for a preamp unit solely for a stereo pair of mics as OH mics, and want that unique vibe, then a secondhand pro-modified preamp unit is the first thing that pops in my head as the ideal option.
Old 19th April 2019
  #45
Gear Nut
As others have said the BLA Auteur is a solid preamp. I own one, and while it is a great preamp I have it more for utility than color. I agree that microphones have a much more significant impact over the final sound than preamps. You'd be better off getting something better than the Rode M5's at this point as opposed to high end preamps.
Old 19th April 2019
  #46
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
As others have said the BLA Auteur is a solid preamp. I own one, and while it is a great preamp I have it more for utility than color. I agree that microphones have a much more significant impact over the final sound than preamps. You'd be better off getting something better than the Rode M5's at this point as opposed to high end preamps.
Cool, what microphones do ye guys recommend for drum overheads.
Old 19th April 2019
  #47
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
Cool, what microphones do ye guys recommend for drum overheads.
Personally I like Oktava MC-012's and CAD M179's I've also heard really good things about the Rosewell Mini K47s. If you have a bit more dough Neumann KM184's or AKG 414's are tried and true.
Old 19th April 2019
  #48
Lives for gear
Ribbons. Less obnoxious and easier to mix than the condensers large and small that I’ve tried. But really, there are many good threads already on OH mics.
Old 19th April 2019
  #49
Lives for gear
 
subspace's Avatar
I recently switched to pair of MXL Revelations on overheads, very smooth, easy to mix image of the kit.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #50
Lives for gear
 
noah330's Avatar
I use a Presonus ADL-600. It's stereo and was about $700 USD new when I bought it on closeout. They fly under the radar because of the Presonus name but sound great.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #51
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
Cool, what microphones do ye guys recommend for drum overheads.
Another vote here for KM184s. I also like SM81s. I'm pretty confident that KSM137/141s would be great, but haven't had a chance to try them myself. Finally, they don't seem very popular on this forum, but I'm really loving the AKG Blue Line mics - you could do two C391s for XY or ORTF, or get a CK94 figure 8 capsule for MS stereo overheads. That's my current setup. The cardioid capsule has better bass response than any of the others mentioned, except maybe the SM81, so toms and kick sound full and real in the overheads.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #52
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Another vote here for KM184s. I also like SM81s. I'm pretty confident that KSM137/141s would be great, but haven't had a chance to try them myself. Finally, they don't seem very popular on this forum, but I'm really loving the AKG Blue Line mics - you could do two C391s for XY or ORTF, or get a CK94 figure 8 capsule for MS stereo overheads. That's my current setup. The cardioid capsule has better bass response than any of the others mentioned, except maybe the SM81, so toms and kick sound full and real in the overheads.
I can vouch for the KSM141's on overheads. I had a set on loan and was really impressed.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #53
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keating View Post
Cool, what microphones do ye guys recommend for drum overheads.
my 25 year long chain on overheads has been coles 4038 into daking preamps.

for more affordable option: cascade x15 stereo ribbon or 2 cascade fathead 2 ribbons into daking.

so many cool mics out there these days. just find something you can afford and work with them.

the older oktava mc102 can be stellar overhead mics. one of my favorite SDC pairs was the old audio technica AT4031's. they are harder to find these days but sound great as overheads.

i just have always had a preference for slightly darker sounding mics with a smoother midrange. that's why i love the coles. they have a thickness that i like, and they take high end eq very well.

if you like brighter cymbals...stick with condensers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #54
That ADL 600 suggestion above is a good one for drums. I use them for oh’s and room mics on drums and they slay on bass di. I got two of them for around $800 usd apiece from Guitar center used department plus $50 shipping. Had to get a second one after hearing the 1st one.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #55
Gear Head
Thanks for the info guys, I’m liking the idea of the coles. I’ve been looking around i I’m digging the whole Daking pres, I was also looking at the warm audio wa273 eq.
What would ye guys think of the warm audio wa273 on kick and snare and the daking mic pre ii on overheads??
I know they are more expensive than what I originally posted but my thinking is, if I’m going to upgrade, then I’d like to do it right and never look back
Old 4 weeks ago
  #56
Lives for gear
I have never used either a Warm pre or a Daking. They both get good reviews and comments, but the Daking pres, which have been around longer, seem to always satisfy their buyers. I can’t recall a negative comment, much less a negative review. If I ever wander from my happiness with ISA pres, Daking would get an audition, and possibly the Warm Neve and API clones.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #57
Gear Head
So with that in mind, for drum recordings do ye guys prefer a neve type pre on kick and snare and an api type preamp on overheads OR the other way round??
Old 4 weeks ago
  #58
Gear Addict
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 

Both neve and api when pushed hard are the sound of rock kick and snare. You can also use less gain on either for a cleaner sound on overheads if that's what you are after.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #59
Gear Head
My golden Age Project pre 73s sound great on my kick and snare so I could only imagine what a pre more closer to a neve would sound like
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