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Old 14th August 2016
Gotta agree with 'BTByrd'.
I have a bunch of very nice pre-amps (mostly vintage). In the end, whether I use a Quad Eight or Telefunken, or the inputs on my UAD Apollo it's really had to hear any difference. I mean REALLY hard.
99% of a good synth sound is the sound design in the first place.
Maybe it's because I use non-preset analogue synths mostly and not modern pre-set synths? I dunno.... I get the sound right at the source and don't have to embellish it with an expensive pre-amp.

On drum machines it's actually the opposite. A good mic-pre can add punch, character and saturation. I use the EQ sections as well. I think a good mic/pre with EQ is very handy when recording drum sounds or drum machines.
There are some very good cheaper mic/pres though. I was in one of the most expensive, well equipped studios in the UK recently and they have racks of DAV modules.