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Please stop me before I spend $1000 on a Great River ME-1NV Single-Channel Preamps
Old 17th June 2010
  #1
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Please stop me before I spend $1000 on a Great River ME-1NV

Am I doing a stupid thing? It really is outragously expensive for a single channel considering I don't usually make any money with my home studio. My only stand-alone pre so far is the M-audio DMP-3, and my interface is the Focusrite Saffire 10 (I prefer its built-in pres to the DMP-3).

Problem is, I don't really hear anything lacking with the sound I'm getting already (using various condensers). So my concerns are:

- Will the GR open up a door for me and my humble ears?
- Is the Saffire's conversion so bad that I might not fully appreciate the sound of the GR?
- Will the lack of hardwired line-ins on the Saffire (that bypass the preamp circuitry completely) take anything away from the signal coming from the GR?
- Will my dynamic mics (SM57, 58 and SM7b) finally come to life?
- Is there ANY chance I might be dissappointed?
- Is my money better spent elsewhere?

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #2
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Jimsi's Avatar
 

go cheaper for now, there are a few really nice pres that cost much less and is far better than the ones in your m-auido and a good starting pre i think would be the GAP pre-73 for $300...it is far better than what you have...

The GR i hear is a nice well built tank of a preamp which should last you a lifetime, the a-d converters on the focurite can be answered by others since i never heard them or read any reviews...
Old 17th June 2010
  #3
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Tom Hakala's Avatar
 

Skip it.

There's so much more you can do with a grand. Your dynamics will come to life when you show them a good source.
Old 17th June 2010
  #4
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Jose's Avatar
 

Yes, you will notice a difference with those things passing trough your pre.Big?Well...

I think the question is where do you want to get, what are your skills etc...

Very important is the quality of your instruments it really makes a difference...also the performance of course.

What are you using for your drum tracks?I personally think that for a pro sound it all beggins with a real well recorded drum set, unless you are making tecnho.I have just finished my first song using these drum tracks,

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http://www.drumsondemand.com/

guitars suck a bit but to be sincer I have finished hating the song a little and I left it like that...LOL My mixing skills are limited also...In any case, with this drum tracks I am sure I am in the good way and I will get better results than with EZ,AD,etc...for some kinds of music.

One another underrated thing is hardware reverbs, I think they are necessary for a good recording I use Pod Xt for this at the moment LOL.I do not like VST reverbs&delays.

I just have a Motu Traveler MK1 and a Pod Xt.I had an Avedis MA5 which sounded nice but I sold it.I want to buy a GR also because of the Hi-z input to record the bass guitar trough it and for acoustic guitars and voice,it really makes a difference, you do not need the EQ that much with a good pre.My mics are also SM57-58 and NT1A...

My 0.02$

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenarne View Post
Am I doing a stupid thing? It really is outragously expensive for a single channel considering I don't usually make any money with my home studio. My only stand-alone pre so far is the M-audio DMP-3, and my interface is the Focusrite Saffire 10 (I prefer its built-in pres to the DMP-3).

Problem is, I don't really hear anything lacking with the sound I'm getting already (using various condensers). So my concerns are:

- Will the GR open up a door for me and my humble ears?
- Is the Saffire's conversion so bad that I might not fully appreciate the sound of the GR?
- Will the lack of hardwired line-ins (that bypass the preamp circuitry completely) take anything away from the signal coming from the GR?
- Will my dynamic mics (SM57, 58 and SM7b) finally come to life?
- Is there ANY chance I might be dissappointed?
- Is my money better spent elsewhere?

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #5
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for caring about my money guys!

What I find, though, is that the GR is the lowest common denominator when it comes to preamps. It's the only one that no one seems to have a bad word to say about (except for Robert Shaw, of course...). So I thought that by skipping the many mid-price models, and going straight to the high-end (relatively speaking), I would be out of the preamp upgrade bog forever and free to concentrate on the things that matter.

The GAP seems intriguing though...
So does the Focusrite ISA One, the UA Solo 610, the Daking, the Grace the RNP, the Dav, the Audient and so many others...

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #6
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Jose's Avatar
 

I discarded the UA 610 because I cannot put it in a rack, maybe I am dumb but I like to have things in order...I am convinced that GR it is not the best pre, but If I do not make good music it wont be the limiting factor...stike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenarne View Post
Thanks for caring about my money guys!

What I find, though, is that the GR is the lowest common denominator when it comes to preamps. It's the only one that no one seems to have a bad word to say about (except for Robert Shaw, of course...). So I thought that by skipping the many mid-price models, and going straight to the high-end (relatively speaking), I would be out of the preamp upgrade bog forever and free to concentrate on the things that matter.

The GAP seems intriguing though...
So does the Focusrite ISA One, the UA Solo 610, the Daking, the Grace the RNP, the Dav, the Audient and so many others...

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #7
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Eric Pederson's Avatar
 

Gonna play devil's advocate here and suggest..

1) Maybe you should spend that cash on a better converter?
2) Maybe you should buy a more modestly priced preamp AND a better converter (if possible)

If you are happy with the sounds youre getting but you want to take it to the next level youve got the right idea by a preamp upgrade OR converter upgrade.

The Great River will always be a great tool for your studio, the only other thing I would say is if you are in need of several mic preamps then maybe spread out the budget a little more?

As a side question; Does going through a "High-Z" input on a mic preamp sound better than using a DI?
Old 17th June 2010
  #8
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moon_unit's Avatar
 

A thousand bucks is way too much to spend for someone not making any money at it.

If you were getting regular paying clients, and thought some better gear would help attract even more business (i.e. you're looking to take things to the "next level") then yea, by all means. Get the nice pre, get the nice converters, whatever looks good, gives you more reliability and piece of mind.

But if this is just a hobby at the moment, then I'd skip it, unless of course you just have the luxury of extra money to spend; and in that case, anything goes.
Old 17th June 2010
  #9
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DAV BG1 is a great sounding preamp with 2 channels for less money.
I would look into one of those and you might feel your search is over.
Old 17th June 2010
  #10
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks. I would rather buy one great preamp now and a great converter later, than a so-and-so preamp and a cheaper converter now.

My home studio isn't high-end by any means, but I (and several other musicans I cooperate with) use it as and overdub og mixing studio after recording drums among other things at commercial studios. It is small but nicely treated so we're able to do decent stuff here.

95 percent of what I record is single tracks so I would like to work towards getting one "magic" channel for critical vocal and acoustic guitar work. Also from what I hear the GR is great as a DI for guitar, bass and keyboards.

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #11
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Jose's Avatar
 

Where are you buying it in Europe?I am looking for the best price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenarne View Post
Thanks. I would rather buy one great preamp now and a great converter later, than a so-and-so preamp and a cheaper converter now.

My home studio isn't high-end by any means, but I (and several other musicans I cooperate with) use it as and overdub og mixing studio after recording drums among other things at commercial studios. It is small but nicely treated so we're able to do decent stuff here.

95 percent of what I record is single tracks so I would like to work towards getting one "magic" channel for critical vocal and acoustic guitar work. Also from what I hear the GR is great as a DI for guitar, bass and keyboards.

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #12
For a grand you could get a used Lunchbox with an MA5, and I personally think the MA5 is better than the Great River.
Old 17th June 2010
  #13
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
Where are you buying it in Europe?I am looking for the best price.
Thomann.de has it for 1139,- Euros. Others might be cheaper but in my experience Thomann is unbeatable for customer service (They replaced my Quicklok monitor stands without wanting the faulty ones back [later turns out I was being stupid setting them up so the first ones were ok, so now I have two pairs, I got sort of a guilty concience about that...])

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #14
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
For a grand you could get a used Lunchbox with an MA5, and I personally think the MA5 is better than the Great River.
But then I'd have to buy other stuff to fill my Lunchbox...

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #15
We've got another one...

...and so it begins. MWAA MWAA MWAA !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenarne View Post
But then I'd have to buy other stuff to fill my Lunchbox...

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #16
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephent28 View Post
DAV BG1 is a great sounding preamp with 2 channels for less money.
I would look into one of those and you might feel your search is over.
It looks nice (well it really doesn't but I've heard lots of good things about it) but it says 59 dB max, which might be a problem with dynamics and ribbons...

Sven
Old 17th June 2010
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Motivation

My big question is... what exactly will you be recording with it? What is your specific dissatisfaction with your current pre? Whether or not you will be happy with the GR is tied to your expectations. I own one. It's a great box. It does make a difference with dynamic mics like a 57 or an SM7b. But.... it's a 1k box. Will you be recording 1K instruments with it? 1K vocal chords? If not, then it may not be the right time for this particular investment.

I'm not familiar with the Saffire but honestly I think having the right mic + the right pre for any given job is *way* more significant than having expensive converters. If you have expensive converters you need expensive monitors to even hear the difference. You *will* hear the difference in mics on varying sound sources. Call me a mic slut but if you record lots of different sources (especially singers) then having a good mic collection will serve you better.
Old 17th June 2010
  #18
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junior's Avatar
 

Gee, if the guy wants to spend his money on a nice tool that'll retain it's resale value, why try to talk him out of it??
Old 17th June 2010
  #19
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Rotaholic's Avatar
 

I would suggest looking at the Focusrite ISA Digital, the conversion on that is top class and the pre on it is amazing.

Or for less money the art mpa ii digital.
Old 17th June 2010
  #20
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Triton audio's fethead is great for those situations, my apogee one wouldn't be of much use with my md-441 without it...but it's a great trio.
fethead
don't waste 1000$ on something you don't really need to improve your music or your recordings...
Old 17th June 2010
  #21
Gear maniac
Focusrite ISA One, the preamp and DI is great on it and at £399 (probably about $550-$600) and you can now also get a digital option for about $200 more. It is definitely a good buy and is very versatile. To be honest though, if you are getting sound out of the pres you have already that you like then I would stick with those preamps for now. If you don't like your M-Audio preamp then sell it on to somebody else and you can get some money back to spend on something better.

It all depends on whether you need the preamp, as a lot of things will affect your sound... Consider the following before you buy any new really expensive stuff:

- Is monitoring good enough? If not then you won't notice a lot of difference between preamps. A good way to get your monitoring better is to upgrade your cables if you bought cheap ones and to make sure your monitors are separated from the stands or desktop by acoustic foam, which you can buy at lots of music tech shops. Make sure (and I am very sure that you don't, but still) that you don't use simple computer monitors for monitoring recordings and takes.
- Do you have a good amount of experience in mic placement and mic technique? If you feel that this is lacking, a preamp will still make things sound a bit better but what will really help out is your mic placement. You will get much more noticeable differences. Once you then get a preamp later, you will discover the true benefits of all your hard work.
- Is the source good enough to support a good pre? If you have a crappy acoustic guitar that sounds bad, the recording of said guitar will also sound bad no matter what mic and preamp you choose to use to capture the sound.
- Is your room acoustically treated in any way? If you record in an acoustically bad environment you won't get the best results even with a preamp. If you aren't able to get your room acoustically treated, then record your instruments in different parts of the room and you may find a sweet spot where it seems to sound nicest. You could also get some reflexion filters from sE electronics, which will help especially in vocal recording as it should get rid of a lot of room sound.
- Do you own good quality mics? The mic is more important than the preamp, so if your mic locker is lacking any good mics, then get these first.

There is no specific order of importance, but if you have decent pres I would suggest to work on your mic placement, acoustic treatment, instrument and monitoring first (so what you record is what you hear) then get a better mic and finally the better pre and AD/DA. Conversion makes a minimal amount of difference in the $1000 ballpark, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. The preamp is more so in the middle of the chain, so it is not as important as the source and the output and so it's probably best to keep your current preamps for now, and upgrade everything around it. Then when your studio has that front and back all nicely upgraded, then the preamp will be upgraded and you will notice a whole world of difference.
Old 18th June 2010
  #22
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Silent Sound's Avatar
I'd invest in a thermometer. Sounds like you might be coming down with a touch of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Yup, it's spread by coming in contact with threads on music recording forums.

It's kinda like watching a porno and then looking down at your own dingy and feeling insecure. But it's not the size the counts, it's how often you use it. Just remember, those guys with the big "preamps" are professionals, so of course they're gonna have the biggest ones around.

For the average home studio, just get preamps with enough gain to power your mics without making a lot of hiss. I find my old ART Studio MPs only sound like crap when I'm thinking about them. On the rare chance that I pull one out, I wonder why I thought they were so bad. There's a difference, mind you... but not THAT much. It's not as big as the difference between any two of my condenser mics.

Or better yet, take the money and spend it on some time in a real studio. Learn some new tricks and techniques. That knowledge will do more for your sound than any equipment out there.

But that's one man's opinion. As they say...YMMV.
Old 18th June 2010
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenarne View Post
It looks nice (well it really doesn't but I've heard lots of good things about it) but it says 59 dB max, which might be a problem with dynamics and ribbons...

Sven
Mick Hinton will customize the gain for you. He upped mine to 66dB and I have never had any problem with enough gain for ribbons.

I know on the 500 series it now comes standard at the higher dB so it might be that way on the BG1 also.

Plus if you are overseas, he would be local. Great guy to deal with.
Old 18th June 2010
  #24
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

The best thing you could do for your dynamic mics would be to buy a AEA TRP preamp (84db of clean gain.) It'll make a huge difference. The best thing you could do for your studio after you get the TRP would be to pick up a decent ribbon mic.
Old 19th June 2010
  #25
Gear nut
 

get a Phoenix DRS-1.

its just like the great river, only better and has more of an openness and top end to it.
Old 19th June 2010
  #26
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Denny C's Avatar
Obviously, even if the OP is not making money right now and wants a high quality pre and is willing to pay for it....what's wrong with that? Maybe Svenarne just wants his music to sound its best. Also Swenarne wants to start building a solid equipment foundation on which to build.

The GR or the Phoenix are great sounding units and will sound super on vocals as well as instruments. If he wants the GAP to try to compete with the latter two pres, a full mod would be in order....caps and the Carnhill trannies(about $350). Another positive thing is Svenarne has found a dealer with great customer service....a much overlooked piece of the equation. Best of luck!
Old 21st June 2010
  #27
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Svenarne's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks y'all for pulling me out from that moment of insanity (I really was but a mouse click away...)

I've decided to buy the Audient Mico for now, since it's got two channels, built in conversion and I haven't really read anything bad about it. That way I'm expanding my setup to ten channels for drumset recording and I get to try the HMX feature on DI bass and guitar!

Sven
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