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It always comes down to good decision making.
Old 25th September 2008
It always comes down to good decision making.

I doubt that anyone in this forum has all they need or want, in terms of gear. Budgets always prevail, providing you avoid the debt trap.

I just discovered a way to budget $600-$800 for a pre. I am currently using an A&H console and Meek ThreeQ's (use them less). As compared to getting a strip with cheaper individual components, I am looking for just a pre for a step up.

It will be used with mt AT4047 on my vocals, which you can hear in a thread called "ThreeQ vs A&H". I will also use it with an SM81/58/57, Naiant mics, and as a DI for instruments. Being small potatoes, I am looking for one channel. I don't do stereo OH and on acoustic, I like dual mono's over a spaced pair. (I can always use the console if needed).

Summit 2BA
Chameleon 7602
FF ISA one
UA Twinfinity
Blue Robbie (Off Ebay)
Daking Mic Pre One - "What does this thing sound like?"

I really cannot go above $800... that IS stretching it.

I am leaning towards the daking as of now but that is on blind trust in word of mouth here.

I would appreciate some exprienced help in finding something that will be an improvement all around.
Old 25th September 2008
Jai guru deva om
warhead's Avatar

The Daking mic pre sound is one of nice presence and detail and punch, it has a way of keeping detail closer to the surface which gives better separation for things during the mix. It gives things an edge, not a bright or brittle edge, but an edge that gets things noticed nicely.

The Chameleon is an excellent pre to consider as well, not as detailed overall but can be pushed into thicker / more driven tones by turning down the output and cranking up the input more. The EQ section however kicks things up to the HNL (ho nuva leva) and is very useful as a tracking EQ! The pre itself is on the slightly smooth / bigger / round side but can be sharpened and brightened up with the EQ of course.

The Summit is clean and all purpose, and is capable of some more "sparkle" type of tube sound (not a heavy pushed sound like many tube units are known for).

I've never really messed with the Robbie enough to comment, and the Twinfinity we keep getting told is on the way's a no show so far so I cannot comment.

The Focusrite ISA series is essentially all purpose, slightly euphoric stuff. It has a Lundahl transformer on board so capable of some sheen / weight to the sound also. The internal mixing feature of that unit is attractive, if that would benefit you. If you have latency issues, it's something to consider for sure.

You didn't mention as a runner, but the UA SOLO 610 is a good contender for a more character driven tube pre. The 610 does the thickening thing nicely and always puts an old school vibe of varying degrees over your tracks.

These are big generalizations on these preamps, depending on what you're going for any of them could be a good fit.

Old 25th September 2008
Thanks a bunch for the insight. You are always extremely helpful and dealer or no, it is greatly appreciated.

Your description of the Daking makes me like it more.

I think my stuff has been characteristically a bit dark and smeared. It is amazing what you hear when you do a comparison. I previously commented to someone that I never heard meek as being muffled. Now I do and am enjoying the crow.

I like the idea of clarity and punch. The Daking sounds a bit API-ish in description. I realize it is not the same but maybe in the same tree.

I wonder - does daking do DI well? ie. bass, keys.

On the Chameleon front, is it smeared on top and less forward? It seems like that could not be fixed by EQ. I realize that at times, it may be preferred but after living in the cave, I would really dig some sunshine, open air and clarity.

Is there anything else that is a must to consider for fairly clean, upfront?

Thanks for the discussion.
Old 26th September 2008
Lives for gear

I'm kind of in the same boat. I'm torn between the Daking and the Blue Robbie. I owned a Robbie which I sold and regretted. I can tell you it has clarity and punch like how War described the Daking. It's mostly transparent with a big bottom end and a subtle tube sheen in the higher freq. It's very easy to get things to sit in the mix and I'll probably go with it if I can find a good deal and I know what to expect. Although the daking sounds like a safe bet too.
Old 26th September 2008
I just placed my order with Warren/Front End. It came down to reputation on the Daking.
  • The Robbie just doesn't get enough press to really know and being more expensive, my shot would be from Ebay which means no returns.
  • The Twin-Finity is getting bad press in the new product section. They are saying it is NEITHER a 110 or a 610 in sound and topology.
  • The Chameleon is coming across as close but not quite boutique. And there is not enough info on mixes and stacking. It also is not very well liked for vocals.
  • The Summit gets some decent press but is sadi to be noisy by some.
In contrast, people say about the Daking:
Punchy, upfront, stacks well, allows distinction between parts in a mix, is not harsh, puts a nice sheen and... they have consoles of this pre and people like it. It also is referenced with the Trident A range. Someone posted today that the only boutique pres available before were the Great River and the Grace. Now there is another choice and it is less than the GR.

That did it for me and I will enjoy exploring it's character when it arrives. I thought I would share my thoughts in decided to help anyone else considering it. Thanks, Front End and Warren for the info.

If you havent seen or read this...
Old 26th September 2008
Lives for gear
Rumi's Avatar
Originally Posted by Heartfelt View Post
I like the idea of clarity and punch. The Daking sounds a bit API-ish in description. I realize it is not the same but maybe in the same tree.

I wonder - does daking do DI well? ie. bass, keys.
Although you've already decided, I am moved to write about my experience with the Daking MicPre / EQ.

It is not as mid-rangey and forward-sounding as the API 512c, but is in the same "iron-y classic solid state pre" park. The API might have more "smack" (the attack of a Hohner Electra Piano - sort of a more direct sounding Fender Rhodes - was exceptionally thick and lush with the API), but I would say that with multiple tracks this could become too much. Maybe the Daking has a bit more dimension, and is more relaxed than the API. The Daking sound is less eye-catching than that of the API, but solid and right.

In an extensive mic pre shoot out I was very impressed how the overtones of an acoustic steel string guitar come across with the Daking. This is exceptional and very beautiful. Just right. (I am very picky with acoustic guitar sounds.)

The EQ of the Daking is very useful. I even use it for mastering from time to time. Quite aggressive and defined, especially in the bass. 500k just sounds nice, not boxy. Adding highs (especially around 8k) tends to be edgy and sharp. 20k can be good for "that sheen" (I used that very extensively on Tony Tesla, that song seemed to benefit from "a bit too much of everything").
The whole EQ has a broad Q, someone once wrote "like a HiFi EQ", so no surgical things here. But for sound shaping and defined bass it is great.
One unusual thing is that the center position is not neutral, so with all the EQ at zero the sound is already shaped. Instead you can switch every band off.
(But I realize that you probably meant the 4 channel mic pre, not the one with EQ.)

Enjoy your new tool/toy! And please let us know about your experiences.

(Edit: I just found your link to the new product alert with the one-channel Daking pre. Was too busy writing... So no EQ, but a HPF)
Old 26th September 2008
Great confirmation. Thanks.

I am actually referring to the new single.
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