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yet another christmas what shuld I uppgrade thread Single-Channel Preamps
Old 20th December 2010
Here for the gear

yet another christmas what shuld I uppgrade thread

Based on my forum browsing, you already know the story:
Christmas time is here = more time and money to spend on my hobby, and of course I want to buy myself a new toy. Ill try to stay as short as possible:

Budget ~500€ (about 550 USD)

Current gear:
interface: Tascam us-144
Computer: Enough performance
mics: Thomann brand decent condenser mic
Shure sm58
Other: Enough control surfaces and a TG77 rack synth

What kind of music:
I currently have two projects running:

Alternative electronic with a secret desire to sound like powermetal:
Trocadero Strike Force on Myspace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos

Alternative wannabe acoustic stuff that tries to sound a bit steampunk
Woland on Myspace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos

I make all my music in the box (using reaper as main daw and reason as instrument bank). My main recording need is the vocals for Trocadero Strike Force. But I am also planing on adding some real instruments to the Woland project.

This means that I will never need more then 2 pre-amped channels (for stereo instrument recording), I have however also a new found love for hardware synthesizers since I picked up a used tg77, wich makes me long for more then the two channels offered by my us-144. I therefore wants to buy something that will extend my number of inputs, and I am considering to buy something from one of these categories:

A new 8 channel interface:
8 channels will be adequate for my input needs for beyond the foreseeable future. If I am to buy an interface I would probably go for the focusrite saffire pro 40

A preamp with digital output:
I am currently looking at ART MPA II digital, this will enable me to make us of my soundcards digital input, thus giving me 4 input channels. I also have the hope that this box will be able to enhance and colour the song a bit.

A channel strip with digital output
In this cathegory I am looking at either the Focusrite Voicemaster Pro with digital out card, the ART Voice channel or MINDPRINT ENVOICE MKII DIGITAL EDITION.

I know that I will get a new interface sooner or later, but at the same time I dont really need all those 8 channels right now, so I might be better of spending money on something that has more direct inpact on the recording.

The preamp option gives me 4 channels, with is about what I need right now and can also be extended by adding a compressor via the send ins and outs.

The channel strip option gives me a lot of options to "colour" my vocal recording, but I am not sure of the benefits of using hardware effects instead of adding non-destructive pluggins afterwards. Or I can surely understand that low pass filtering and some light compressing can be very useful to add before the A/D conversion, But things like eq and de-esser is stuff I prefer to use pluggins for. The only time I think I would find it handy to have hardware EQ and de-esser would be for live usage, something that has never happened yet, but hopefully happens in a not so distant future.

So guys, please help me out here, I have spent way to many valuable hours reserching this instead of improving my playing/mixing/recording skills. Please give your opinions of what type of equipment and what model I should shell out money on and feel free to tell my If I have made any mistakes in my reasoning and analysis around the situation. Maybe I should spend it all on high fidelity cabeling instead or something .
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