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Old 4th January 2012
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Ain't Nobody's Avatar

Help me pick pair of preamps or other ITB antidote

Duet 2 interface
AT4060 tube mic
Gyraf Gyratec X (G10) vari-mu compressor

I do a lot of programming, and music tends to be very syncopated with lots of percussion, cowbells, bottles, etc. I like the blend, but in all ITB, it can end up sounding a bit "pointy", "brittle", "sterile", etc. G10 is great, but if I use the tube makeup, it's adding harmonics, so I can end up with build up in high mids and highs.

I want to thicken up individual tracks, mellow out some transients, and get a more blended sound in general.

Some gear I'm considering:

portico 5042 tape emulation
1073 style preamps with line in

What I know I want:

Take the bite out of very fast transients... slow and smooth things a bit
Thicken texture of individual tracks
Full and relatively even frequency response
A touch of natural compression
Very low noise
Can be used as preamp, line level, etc.
Inline plug and play real-time solution

What I know I DON'T want:

Limited frequency response with am radio sound, no low end, etc.
Too cumbersome with routing issues for mic level, line level, etc.
Antique bits that go wrong and can't be easily fixed or replaced.
Offline solutions like bouncing to tape

My guess is that I want something with enormous transformers. I'd like to hear a bit more discussion on this... what aspect of a pre or line driver am I really after? My understanding is generally that the higher the voltage, the lower the noise, more headroom, right?

Is it also true that the bigger the transformer, the more it will tend to go lower in frequency response and also tend to round out transients?

A bit concerned that something like an MA5 will be bested for my purposes by something with bigger trannies and higher voltage.

Not necessarily looking for somthing with vintage tone here. I'm interested in the dual portico ii pre as well, but I've never heard it.

Looking to use for mic pre, and also line level... and possibly to run mix through whether at pre or line level, so those sort of options should be doable without too much fuss. Need two matched or stereo.

Total budget: $1300ish.
Sample of music now attached. It's pretty indicative of my style, although some of the tracks have harder hitting drums with more of a house or hip-hop style whereas these are a bit on the "squishy" side. Otherwise, it's all relatively similar with funk/jazz mixed in with drum machines, smooth vocal style.

Hopefully, this helps steer the conversation toward what will work in my particular case. Sample is all ITB except for use of the G10 on vocals, bass, and light use on 2 buss.
Attached Files

Last edited by Ain't Nobody; 5th January 2012 at 12:56 AM.. Reason: add audio