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Buy nice vs buy twice preamps and mics
Old 7th September 2019
  #31
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Here are the important distinctions and sounds.

Op-amp type. Clean and clear for cheap if done right. Can sound like crap.

Tube type. The high end. $1K++ per channel. Furn, Locomotive, Coil, Tubetech, Chandler.

Good transformer. Few and far between for good one. 1073, 110, I have some hand wired Jesen 110E transformer preamps.

Ribbon preamps. AEA TRP is great bang/buck for use on ribbons and moving coil mic's, or even tube mic's. no Phantom power. Grace good when gain is needed but don't want color.

The 1073. The Neve preamps are not really anything special, but the EQ's on them are. really good inductor EQ's. This is what makes them so famous and desirable. Analog EQ, compression, then attenuation before digital for one track is where the quality level of the results jump. Vintech, haritage, BAE make decent clones.

If you have the common collection of bright mic's, you want dark preamps with color. better yet, get dark mic's.
An Avalon 747 is a great entry piece in a decent chain. EQ. compression and preamp in one tube unit. But this is on the bright side of things. Manley and Varible MU compression is dark as a referance.

The gold standard to me is GML. This falls into the good transformer type. GML EQ and compression are also the gold standard. Not cheap stuff.

An alternative to the Inductor EQ is the pultic. Both give you some EQ color before conversion. Compressor color is another can of worms.

Get one kick ass recording chain, and a bunch of cheap stuff for the drums. That one great chain will be the mono overhead for the drums. Most of the important tracks are one at a time. Leverage your one good chain. The second good chain should be very different from the first. Not a stereo pair. Palet before stereo.

Use all 3 kinds of mic's. Have Moving coils, Ribbons, and Condencers. Tube's are typically best (LDC mainly)

For 1 to 2 input units is the lower cost range: Black lion, Warm, Gap, Revive-RED Solo.
For 4+ inputs: M12, P8, Mackie ONYX (cheap decent drum preamps), Audient

Check out Revive Audio, Advanced Audio, KT, Warm, Black lion, RME, Radial, Recording hacks. You have to know what's the common stuff these days.

Get a radial dual JDI. You just have to have one. solves to many issues. need that base line.
If you want a great DI, Reddi or ZOD

The AEA preamps now all feature phantom power - I have been looking for a new preamp and just noticed it.
Old 9th September 2019
  #32
modern sound cards have amazing clean pre-amps. even the cheap ones.
Old 9th September 2019
  #33
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by fried fingers View Post
The AEA preamps now all feature phantom power - I have been looking for a new preamp and just noticed it.
I know they added it to the high end units that also ahve some EQ an other features. The TRP was the simple one for a reasonable price. Didnt know new TRP's come with phantom.
Old 9th September 2019
  #34
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
Thanks for all the great input everyone.

Right now, I just need one pretty nice channel. I would like it for vocal duty and guitar amps. I’m not recording a lot of drums at the moment, but would be handy if it could be useful for overhead, kick, or snare.

I like the idea of the 500 series. I see great river, API 500 stuff used for decent prices. Might also be fun to build a hairball or capi at some point. The camden is interesting too - I’ll look into those a bit more. It also seems like the 500 series stuff is only going to keep getting more popular maki g the used market viable in the future.

Now... off to see what sort of lunchbox I should acquire.
Heritage OST 4, 6, and 10 racks have done me right. Good value, and better than some others Ive had.

Could get an OST-4 or OST-6 with an MA5 or Great River 500 for <$1,000 USD used. MA5 and Great River are in the $600-$700 range used often. Or a new Louder Than Liftoff Chroma for ~$600 new, has switchable Neve/API flavor, could be great for vox and gtr like you said. Really impressive unit, and affordable since you're buying direct.

Currently I think the Chroma is my fav on my #1 tube LDC mic, previously it was the Great River. My friend came over with his fancy new tube LDC mic and after shooting out every pre we had he just really loved the MA5, cranked a little with some harmonics. It was basically 51% MA5, 49% Great River in his mind, and he could have easily gone for either. The GR has a few more tweaky options, and a good DI, but takes up 2 slots.

Those are my three fav's at the moment, can't imagine getting rid of them, and could take or use any of them on basically any situation, they're very flexible. Good luck.
Old 9th September 2019
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

I'll third the SCA (Seventh Circle Audio) recommendations. Downside is resale value, but upside is there is no reason to ever sell unless you stop recording altogether. You can buy premade or put 'em together yourself, and I kind of like their versions (of API, Neve, Jensen Twin Servo) better than the originals they're based off of. I think the TapeOp reviewer felt the same way.
If you go the 500-series route, consider the Rupert Neve Designs R10 rack. It's pricey but has some definite improvements over most other 500-series racks.
Old 10th September 2019
  #36
Lives for gear
 
David C.'s Avatar
 

I grew up on mixer pres, Tapco, Hill Audio and then Mackie came out. Made some great recordings using those. In around 2002 I bought my first real pre, an Avalon 737 but I was deciding between it and a Langevin DVC as they cost about the same at the time. About eight years ago I bought a used DVC for under 1K and it turned out to be way more useful than the Avalon. I use it's solid state LA2A style limiters way more than I ever used the Avalon's magical EQ. I still see DVCs selling used for under 1k and consider you get two fantastic pres (I've compared them to the Avalon, WA73, Vintech, RNP, etc.), two basic inductor based eqs and two incredible limiters. You can also use the pre/eq sections separately from the limiter sections. I've tried bunches of pres and honestly this may be my last workhorse pre from here on out. The DVC is discontinued but they were made by Manley Labs and I don't know anyone who stands behind their products better than Manley so I'm not worried about if I ever have a problem (it's been rock solid for the eight or so years I've had it). I'd set up an ebay and reverb search for a Langevin DVC and be done with it.
Old 10th September 2019
  #37
Vanguard Audio V13 and RND Portico 5017 have yet to fail me
Old 11th September 2019
  #38
Gear Nut
I'm in the buy "nice" gear camp. Even if, you do not like the gear, you can always resell it quickly. Spend the money on great gear, you will not regret it.

Having used GA's 1073, allow me to suggest that you save your money. If, you want a 1073, and you do not want to buy a real Neve 1073, I'd suggest that you research BAE. Do consider going for the channel strip, rather than, simply a mic preamp, the 1073 EQ is a magical, color box, a must-have tool! If, you can't justify the expense of BAE, GA's new pro line looks promising, nicely priced, I haven't used or, heard one but, the right stuff is inside. Chameleons Labs 7603 channel is available with Carnhill transformers, I've used that strip, no complaints. Avedis makes some wonderful gear, their pre's are beautiful. Someone mentioned the Daking pre's, you can't go wrong with those.

My suggestion is, buy quality gear, it's an investment into your art. I could never put a price on art, money makes no sense to me when, it comes to art. Get the best tools, you can get.
Old 12th September 2019
  #39
Lives for gear
 

Here's a GS/under the radar pre/sleeper... Aphex 107. They come up every now and then. Seriously underrated (generally).
Chris
Old 12th September 2019
  #40
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Here's a GS/under the radar pre/sleeper... Aphex 107. They come up every now and then. Seriously underrated (generally).
Chris
Ouch. Afraid I must offer a divergent opinion on that one.
One of the least inspiring preamps I've ever owned.
Unforgivingly low headroom, and a "two dimensional" sound.
So long ago I had forgotten about it.
But I do remember not liking it, haha.
Subjective I guess. YMMV.
Old 13th September 2019
  #41
Lives for gear
 

Any negatives though?

I super respect your opinions, so I'll keep an open mind on this. Some other strong AE's do like it, as you may know.
Chris
Old 13th September 2019
  #42
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Any negatives though?

I super respect your opinions, so I'll keep an open mind on this. Some other strong AE's do like it, as you may know.
Chris
Thanks.
I guess that shows once again just how subjective sound can be
To each their own, no worries. "Variety is the spice of life" as the old saying goes.
It just didn't float my boat.
I did think the higher end model, the 1100, had merit. Couldn't bring myself to buy one after my experience with the 107 though.
And their 108 "Easy Rider" compressor was pretty cool. I did own one of those. Ended up selling it to a solo performer for his live shows, where it worked very well for him.
Old 13th September 2019
  #43
Lives for gear
 

Sure thing!

OK there's is another "cheap n cheerful" mic pre that's handy as a....
Secondary pre or DI. It's the Studio Projects VTB-1.

If you keep it totally dialed at Solid State, it's several notches better, than the Mackie Onyx's
(which are OK).Very cheap used. Two outputs BTW. Which is cool if you want to print effects, on one channel, and keep the other dry.
Chris
Old 13th September 2019
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
OK there's is another "cheap n cheerful" mic pre that's handy as a....
Secondary pre or DI. It's the Studio Projects VTB-1.
I kept my VTB-1 around for a long time after I moved up into the $1K+ preamp league. I used it as a second pre for double micing acoustic guitars and it definitely held its own.

When I settled into single micing acoustics I gave it up on the Free Stuff thread.

Old 13th September 2019
  #45
Did Seventh Circle Audio decide to not close down? That’s great news.
Old 13th September 2019
  #46
Lives for gear
Sebatron not mentioned? I think it should be near the top of the list of first good preamps, due to the fact that it is so versatile. If you don't drive it too hard it's pretty clean and fast, yet still full. Drive it hard for tubey compression and artifacts. Don't need a rack full of other preamps for a long while. Can be had for very reasonable $.
Old 15th September 2019
  #47
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
I'll second this. I also love Louder Than Liftoff and Teegarden.
Old 15th September 2019
  #48
Gear Head
 

For anyone who is interested, I’m leaning towards picking up the Radial Workhorse 6 pack. I have a couple radial products and the build quality is top notch. The 6 pack also has some cool routing options that others don’t. If somebody has some terrible story about these, by all means, please share.

Gonna probably start with an LTL Chroma and Camden 500. See which I prefer and go from there.
Old 6th August 2020
  #49
Gear Head
 
rsda1980's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
For anyone who is interested, I’m leaning towards picking up the Radial Workhorse 6 pack. I have a couple radial products and the build quality is top notch. The 6 pack also has some cool routing options that others don’t. If somebody has some terrible story about these, by all means, please share.

Gonna probably start with an LTL Chroma and Camden 500. See which I prefer and go from there.
hi how did you end up? and what did you like...
iam about to let me out a camden... and would love to hear your opinion!

thank you
Old 6th August 2020
  #50
JAT
Lives for gear
A lot of the low end stuff is good and you won’t have to replace it, just use it for a second instrument. The isa one is great for base. I’ve gotten superb bass from warm api pre and it makes a nice rock n roll box. I’ve got RND stuff I use first, but sometimes you want guitar and bass at once and having a Second nice Tranformer channel is a god send in a home studio. If you are moving up in pres and hardware generally from 500$ to +1000$ the 300+ from selling isn’t that hard to make up. Wait another few months.
Old 6th August 2020
  #51
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

I can't speak for the rest of Warm gear, but I can say that the Warm Audio TB-12 is anything but a cheap-sounding preamp. It's very good indeed.
Old 6th August 2020
  #52
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I can't speak for the rest of Warm gear, but I can say that the Warm Audio TB-12 is anything but a cheap-sounding preamp. It's very good indeed.
Yep totally agree. I have a pair of TB12's with the Hardy 990c+ opamp upgrade and they work great
Old 17th August 2020
  #53
Gear Nut
CAPI also sells pre-built 500 series pres, as I'm sure most of you know. I heard about them here but didn't discover that fact until I visited their website. I think it's also a newer thing for them.

I think their VP-26 is probably the cheapest mic pre that you would never really need to replace. But maybe I'm wrong and it's the VP-28. Warm Audio I saw myself outgrowing when I imagined buying it. It's been 8 years since I got my Duet 2, so I guess it took me that long to outgrow those mic pres. But I still haven't outgrown the AD/DA. Good value there.

After much deliberation on mic pres including Neve clones like BAE, I went for a pre-built VP-28 platinum. Since I like running it clean, I now wonder about the cheaper VP-26, lol. I'm 1000% sure that had I bought the VP-26, I'd now be wondering about the running the VP-28 dirty, plus I would suspect it was better on account of the price difference. Once you've bought nice, it's the curiosity that gets you!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #54
Lives for gear
 
elamberth's Avatar
+1 on Seventh Circle, UA 610 and ISA pres - I'm using the ISA 220. Not sure if there are differences between it and the ISA one. All sit well alongside my Neve 1073s and DW Fearn.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #55
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Ouch. Afraid I must offer a divergent opinion on that one.
One of the least inspiring preamps I've ever owned.
Unforgivingly low headroom, and a "two dimensional" sound.
So long ago I had forgotten about it.
But I do remember not liking it, haha.
Subjective I guess. YMMV.
I have an Aphex 107 sitting right next to my Langevin DVC.

From what I understand, a bunch of the Aphex 107s shipped with THE WRONG TUBE (12AX7) when they were originally spec'd with a 12AT7. Mine has the 12AT7 and it's honestly a very clean pre with low noise and just a little bit of tube vibe - not a ton, mind you. It compares favorably with both my DVC and an API A2D I had for quite a while. I'm never mad at it, and it only cost $100.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #56
Lives for gear
 

I bet they made sure they gave the right tube to Craig Anderton, when he bought his.
Chris
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