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What preamp would you get if you were me?
Old 11th May 2006
Gear Nut
What preamp would you get if you were me?

Okay, I know that some people get really annoyed when somebody asks "what's the best preamp...blah blah blah" so I'm going to try to be as detailed as possible. I'd appreciate any thoughtful recommendations.

Firstly, I'm trying to find the best deal on a decent sounding preamp... by decent I mean something that will take advantage of my "semi-pro" AD/DA RME Multiface II converters. I'm also not looking for something that's worth more than the Multiface II itself (about $800, actually preferably less than that).

I will be using the preamp with two different microphones, which aren't expensive at all but are some of the best within thier price range:
MXL 990
Audix OM7

What kind of sound am I looking for? Well, I'm going to record male hip-hop lyrics, so I need as much clarity as possible but I also want to have some flavor/color added to the sound. The voice I'll record is slightly lower pitched than the "average" male (but not too low).

Gear I've heard is good:

M-audio Tampa
Presonous Eureka

remember, I'd like some color but mostly nicely defined frequencies

One more thing to consider:
I've heard that the Behringer ADA8000 is actually not bad at all... but I'm wondering how the preamps I've mentioned or the ones you have to suggest compare with these preamps.

Also, I'm going to be running out of inputs on the RME Multiface II, so I was thinking the ADA8000's digital optical output into the RME would kick ass... but I think I'm just trying to kill too many birds with one stone.

Give me some thoughtful suggestions if you got time. Also remember, I'm not a pro, just a pro-wanna be, so I can't spend more than say.... about $500... something like that

Old 11th May 2006
Lives for gear

Investment in digital hardware like converters is money down the drain, in the relatively short term.

Investment in a quality preamp will retain resale value for years. A preamp makes a bigger difference to your sound than converters. A good preamp will also make cheap mics sound their best.

Do you need to record more than two channels at once? If not, an M-Audio Audiophile 192 would get you into some respectable low noise converters with balanced outputs, and is Protools compatible if that's worth anything to you.

With the money saved, you could look at a Rupert Neve Portico 5012

For a small investment you could be running a 'Tools studio with Neve preamps, and hold your head high with all the other pro-wannabe's.

I think investment in the other stuff would have very little resale value, and nothing to impress future clients.
Old 11th May 2006
Gear Nut
So you're recommending the audiophile because it has better converters than the ada8000?.... a lot of people seem to like the ada8000 and I haven't really heard much about the audiophile, but I'll check it out...

Also, but I was talking about spending about $500 and you came up with a $1500 suggestion, which hold its validity in that investing is good and all, but we ARE in the Low End Theory section of the forums
Old 11th May 2006
Gear Maniac
commaKaze's Avatar
Hey man,
I have 2 suggestions...especially if you're doing male hip-hop tracks:

1. Would definitely, definitely grab the Groove Tubes "The Brick." $300-$400 and you get a nasty in-your-face all tube 1 channel mic pre. Later on grab one more if needed, and you'll have a pair for $700-$800. I use it and love it, and especially for rap and/or shouty/punk male vocals.

2. Though I don't own it myself, I would recommend the FMR RNP ($450 or so) and the FMR RNC (about $175). Go for the combo...2 great channels of pres and comp.

I say these cos' if vox is your main thing, a compressor is pretty much a must, and these 2 units complement each other very much, and the RNC brings a lot more out of the's kind of like RNP is just so much more with the RNC. Total on those 2 channels = $600-$700, and yeah, they hold they're value, and almost never show up on eBay(a good thing, means people like and keep them). Most all agree that for the money, the RNP is the best "bang for the buck" in the preamp realm.

BTW, the RNP is just enough color to have some, and in a way transparent, well, more like "clean," or "straight-ahead."

Or get a GT "The Brick" and a RNC...

All great sounding stuff, all within your price range.
Old 11th May 2006
Gear Nut
groove tube eh... sounds like a good option. I actually don't even need two right now, so I can save myself some money. Anybody wanna second that? Any more anectdotes with the grove tube bricks?

The RNP with the RNC is also quite tempting though..... but RNC and Brick could be the way to go!

Has anybody compared teh RNP to the BRICK?
Old 11th May 2006
Gear Addict

3 Good choices

In order of $ from low to higher"

GT The Brick

All great. Own the RNP and DAV. Love 'em.

The Brick has had great reviews--and, owning the fabulous GT33 mics, wouldn't hesitate to get one. Quality stuff at VERY reasonable prices.
Old 12th May 2006
Jai guru deva om
warhead's Avatar

$500 range vocal recording = Safe Sound Audio P1.

Nice pre, nice DI, outstanding compressor / limiter / expander literally made for what you're doing (vocal work, but it happens to do lots of other good stuff). Just an excellent vocal recording box, period.

Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear
flail19's Avatar

Originally Posted by narf
groove tube eh... sounds like a good option. I actually don't even need two right now, so I can save myself some money. Anybody wanna second that? Any more anectdotes with the grove tube bricks?

The RNP with the RNC is also quite tempting though..... but RNC and Brick could be the way to go!

Has anybody compared the RNP to the BRICK?

I have the RNP/RNC...I love it. no personal experience with the brick. If you go with the brick let us know how it works out. I want to get one.
Old 12th May 2006
Gear Nut
I've been digging through the reviews on the DAV BG-1.... sounds pretty damn good. Especially the review from SOS... they all seem to say almost the same thing about it.

However, I tried finding out how it was and could only find a website where it mentioned it was about $600+. I also went to their website and they didn't have the price (or I just couldn't find it). Anybody know how to get these at a good price?

Some of you may laugh, but I wanna give something a try before I spend "big bucks" (I'm just a student). I have a Rane TTM56 that has a mic input and obviously serves as some type of mic preamp. This is a $700+ mixer and arguably the best one out there. I haven't tried it because I don't have a XLR-TRS (only have xlr-xlr), but I'm wondering if it will actually sounds decent...

As for the warmth, I also have an MS-20, which also happens to have an input with its own "amp"... I've ran other stuff through it but never my MIC (cause I don't have the right cable). But I'm wondering if it would give me any good results... I'm thinking maybe it'll be a little too "warm" or tubbed out... i don't know..

I know some of you may be thinking "this guy's gotta be kidding" but HEY, i gotta try to work with what I got before I spend over half a grand. What you guys think? Any RANE-savy people experiences with RANE preamp stuff?

Last edited by narf; 12th May 2006 at 04:40 AM..
Old 12th May 2006
Gear Nut
I like the idea of the Safe Sound Audio P1 where you get the preamp and compressor in one... anybody know how this compares to the rnc rnp combo? or just any other preamp in general?
Old 12th May 2006
Gear Maniac
Phunkeman's Avatar
Chameleon Labs 7602............$799.00 Retail
Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear
Pohaku's Avatar

DAV products can only be purchased from the manufacturer. There are no retailers. E-mail Mick and ask about prices. If I can find the last e-mail I got from him, I'll post it. I believe the prices haven't changed. Used RNPs typically run about $425 and used RNCs about $125. There's an RNP listed right now in the GS classified for $400. They do make a great combo.
Old 12th May 2006
Gear Maniac
commaKaze's Avatar
By the "The Brick" at guitar center and you can try it out for 30 days risk-free, and bring it back if you don't like it for full refund no questions asked. That's the one great thing about Wal-Martesque music/audio chains.

Do it can't lose.
Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear
KrisNY's Avatar

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet...

From personal experience, I can tell you that the Grace 101 is a fantastic pre. It's incredibly clear and warm for its price range (it's a little under $600), and I find it sounds best on both male and female vocals, acoustic instruments, and any direct tracks (bass). I have a pair - couldn't work without 'em.

PS: I'm a first time poster after reading these forums a bunch - so hello all!
Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear

DAV is an EXCELLENT preamp, regardless of price. I'd take it any day of the week over the RNP(well, maybe the RNP on tuesday afternoons around 3pm ). I've used mine for so many things and it has never failed to produce killer resuts. The Brick is a very good unit as well(much more colored than the DAV) and would probably be a good match for your as sugested and buy one from GC (I got mine for $325 new there) and try it out.

The Safe Sound is another good suggestion, but I have no personal experience with it...

The good news is any of these products will provide excellent sound and value.

Good luck!

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