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Old 14th August 2016
Lives for gear
DomiBabi's Avatar
Originally Posted by Helmey View Post
I think high quality preamps are awesome for tracking almost anything. They add clarity and focus to the overall mix. Having said that, they are better for some things than others, and probably are close to the last investment for a synth gearslut. It's a totally different deal if you have analog keyboards.

I have an LA-610 that I use for my Clavinets (since they are mono), and a Focusrite Red 8 for recording my stereo Rhodes, Leslie speaker and acoustic piano. The 610 adds some nice drive to the Clavs and is very flexible to work with the different pickup settings. The Red 8 is very clean and totally captures the stereo imaging and growly tone of my Fender Rhodes. It also lets me run very long mic cables from my studio to my piano without issue. Given my sizable investment in instruments, it seemed logical to spend a few dollars to have the best possible signal path.

The trick for recording line inputs through a nice preamp is to bring the line input to a Mic level before going into the preamp. For example, before my Rhodes hits the Red 8, it goes through a J48 active stereo DI that is powered with 48V phantom power from my preamp. This makes all the difference in the sound quality since the preamp is getting the hottest and cleanest possible signal to work with. Without this DI setup, it's a totally different ballgame.
Agreed. I see lot of people running their synths and drum machines into a pre directly, and then complaining that it doesn't add anything to the sound.

Using a proper passive DI BEFORE THE PREAMP is the correct way to hook up a synth to a preamp... And it does make a difference.

I own a Acme audio Motown DI that goes between my synths and my pre (usually a 1073). highly recommend it.