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Is a $200 Single Ch Pre Worth Upgrading To From An Mbox 3?
Old 19th October 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Is a $200 Single Ch Pre Worth Upgrading To From An Mbox 3?

I'm considering buying a single channel preamp (with DI capability) and my budget is $200-$250

However I cannot find any information on how the preamps in an Mbox 3 compare to most preamps in the $200-$250 price range. I'm concerned the preamps in the Mbox 3 are of the same quality and I won't hear a noticeable quality increase.

My hope is to spend roughly $200 and get a reasonably noticeable increase in quality. Mostly for DI bass and modest improved quality to my mics. But i can't even find what specific pres are in the Mbox 3 for me to compare to.

Thanks

edit: also if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Currently I'm looking at the ART Pro MPAII, but I've also been reading good things about the Rane MS1b, sadly no DI though. The VTB-1 also looks nice. But I really need some input on if I should just save another $200 and get a RNP or if there's a decent quality upgrade from the stock mbox 3 preamps to the VTB-1.


The short of it is: Is a VTB-1 (or similar value pre) going to noticeably improve the quality of recording from the stock mbox 3 preamps, or is it so minimal that it would be better to just go for something around the $450 range?
Old 19th October 2013
  #2
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The rane ms1s is my only recommendation for $200. I also don't know what pres are in the mbox, but the ms1s is a supremely excellent pre that I would expect to outperform almost any stock built-in pre in a fairly cheap input box. For DI, radial pro di plus rane ms1s is killer. 300 new for the combo but unbeatable for most purposes.
Old 19th October 2013
  #3
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guitarboy94's Avatar
 

The preamps in the M-Box 3 are very good. I doubt any other 200 dollar preamp will make much of a difference. What is it you don't like about your setup? The preamps on the m-box 3 are most likely not your issue.
Old 19th October 2013
  #4
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Use the mbox3 pres. You won't hear much of a difference with preamp change.

1. What mic are you using?

2. Where are you recording?

Mic choice and recording space acoustics will have a much bigger impact anyway. I'd bet a $250 mic would improve things, depending on what you have. And I bet a nicer place to record would help the most honestly.

Ihad a $100 akg perception mic, with stock maudio firewire410 preamps at one time. Building a nice double walled booth took my sound from zero to hero lol

Sent from my SGH-T999
Old 20th October 2013
  #5
Here for the gear
 

My problem isn't actually the quality of the microphone's recording. I use a sm57 to record guitar mostly, it's a personal work station for my rock music. But I figured if I get a preamp that might slightly improve the tone of the guitar, then hey that's good why not?

The real reason I wanted to get an external preamp was because the instrument DI on the mbox 3 was a little disappointing for tracking bass, I'm having a very hard time getting a good tone with my MIM Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass, which is a decent bass so I found it very strange the tone was so lifeless and oddly boomy. It just seems to lack definition.

I'm also looking at the GAP PRE-73, a little more expensive but looks promising.
Old 20th October 2013
  #6
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Glad you said that bc that's totally different.

I have a spare Project Studios VTB1. it's not phenomenal on voice but I LOVE it on bass guitar and beefing up external synthd. It has a tube blend that lets you dial in some tube harmonics.

Can probably find one for around $100 bucks. Just make sure it has the correct power supply. The wrong one makes it perform like crap lol

Sent from my SGH-T999
Old 20th October 2013
  #7
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And to further elaborate, (since I just realized you specifically asked about the VTB lmao)... yes, you notice sonic differences with the vtb if you have tube blend on. It gives it more "weight". But without the tube, I've preferred the stock interface preamps better. I don't like the clean vtb sound all that great. It's a little thin

Sent from my SGH-T999
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