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Help with Preamp purchase...
Old 5th October 2002
  #1
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Help with Preamp purchase...

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to recommend some preamps for "The small studio starter"(a new column for music mag).

PARAMETERS:

-$5000 or less total spent
-12 channels of preamps
-diversity, no more than 2 ch's. of the same pre..i.e. 6 different 2ch. pres. etc..

-some clean, some colored
-go by actual retail price, not list
-comp, eq not necessary, but welcome

Each post that completes the mission gets a mention in the article. The mic selection will be in part 2.

Old 5th October 2002
  #2
2 x Neve 1272's clones or real - (epic topic PLEASE do a search! )
4 x API 4231 M+ (with mixer option)
2 x RNMP ???
2 x I dunno
2 x I dunno
Old 5th October 2002
  #3
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Jules,

You have failed the mission, with only 66% completion.


Correction, you also listed too many API's.
Old 5th October 2002
  #4
2 x Neve 1272's from Brent Avril or clones (epic topic PLEASE do a search!)
2 x API from Brent Avril
2 x RNMP ???
2 x Daking pre / eq's
2 x I dunno
2 x I dunno
Old 5th October 2002
  #5
Gear Addict
 

I don't think I can do that without picking at least one 4 channel unit. Sytek used to be the champ for providing 4 channels of decent pre's for low bucks, but two of the RNP at $950 might have them beat. (I still want to hear from someone who has tried them head to head).

Well, if you want all three flavors of OSA offered by Nathan at Atlas Pro Audio, two of each and an eight channel frame will run you $3345 street. At about $560 a channel, you can do worse, but you need to save elsewhere to come in on budget. And without having heard the OSA stuff, I imagine the differences are not extreme between the units.

Vintec 1272 pair goes for $1250. Not the lowest price per channel, but the Neve-alike thing will appeal to most.

If you don't need phantom on all channels, you can shop very carefully for Tab/Siemens/Telefunken preamps and some 31 pin connectors, and some 24 volt supplies, ignore racking and just hook connectors to pig tailed wiring. Since these suckers generally excell on drums and guitars, loss of phantom isn't really a fatal flaw, and you can always rig that when you have more money.

The Peavey VMP-2 seems to be out of production, but when used units can be had, they seem to go for $700 or less for two channels.

I fear to tread into lower priced units, as there is little consensus as to what gear doesn't suck.

While I can give you these ideas, I just can't put out anything to your specs under budget without dealing with the vagaries of the used market. I'd suggest bending your rules in a case or two (two RNP's will do a lot for easing budget concerns).

So you don't get your article written for you, sorry.

Bear
Old 6th October 2002
  #6
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Thanks guys, keep em' coming!!
Old 6th October 2002
  #7
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
i am not making alist just a suggestion....i have a few Aphex 107's.....very cheap, around 200.00 us, changed the AT7 tubes out for some vintage models and they are like new pre's with cool characters...........try two channels of that for around 300.00 incl. pre's and a new/old tube...peace john
Old 6th October 2002
  #8
Lives for gear
 
hollywood_steve's Avatar
 

6 pair for under $5k results in less than $840/pr. The only way to hit that number and still get preamps that most people on this list would want to work with, would be to buy an API type rack and stuff it with identical units. Even then, you aren't gonna get your unit price down much under $500/ch which is still over your $420/ch target.

The bigger question is who the heck needs 12ch of outboard preamps to begin a new studio? I'd suggest 3 pair of varied, good quality units at around $1200 - $1400/pr. A pair of clone 1272s, a Brent Averill API pair and a pair of Hardy or Sytek units and you're ready to rock.

You still end up at your target $5k budget, but you get some really nice preamps. And if the goal was to record live bands, and you need more that 6ch of preamps, pick up a used small console (12x4 ?) with some decent quality preamps, for another $1,000 or so. (Soundcraft Delta?, or any other dozens of other used, mid quality boards)

But I can't meet the original goal without suggesting mostly used gear or less than desirable new units.


steve
Old 6th October 2002
  #9
I need 16 channels to get a rock bant into my DAW.
Old 7th October 2002
  #10
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Re: Help with Preamp purchase...

Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat

-$5000 or less total spent
-12 channels of preamps
That's tough as it knocks it down to $416 per channel. I'd go for 6-8 channels of good preamps and a small console for the rest. Sure you could go out and get 12 channels of assorted Presonus, ART, Aphex etc. for that price but I wouldn't want a whole studio full of that stuff. I'd rather have 6 channels of API, Neve, Hardy, Telefunken, DW Fern etc. and a Wackie or Soundcraft board for the rest then a whole bunch of mediocre to ok stuff. YMMV.
Old 7th October 2002
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Well...

definately go for

API 3124 = 4 Ch around $2500

RNP x 2 = 4ch? around $1000

sebatron VMP 4000 around $1500 (sebatron.com)

that would sort me out!

I mean i would love to see some neves... but not on that budget!!

PEACE
Wiggy...
Old 7th October 2002
  #12
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Thanks guys, all of the your points are correct and will be noted.

BTW, it is assumed that the person already has a cheap board form Mackie, Soundcraft, etc. Most new engineers are also musicians, so they probably have some stuff.

What's really needed are 8 good channels for drums, 2 for guitar and bass, and 1 good vocal channel. The rest can get overdubbed(since most small studios aren't big enough to record all the instruments w/ proper isolation) or recorded via the cheap mixer pres. So chose your pres accordingly.

---UPDATED GUIDELINES--

2 - 4ch pres / 1x 8ch pre for drums
2 -pres for gtr and bass
1 or 2 -pres for vocals / ac. gtr.


Your wisdom and expertise is greatly appreciated!!!
Old 7th October 2002
  #13
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
That doesn't look that much different then what you first posted. And I'm still not changing my answer. I'd want six good channels if I had $5K. I'd run kick, snare and overheads, guitar and bass through good pres and use the console for the rest. I have almost never had a session with keeper vocals cut during basics. I think maybe two or three times in five years. Vocals are almost always overdubbed unless we're going live to 2-track.

See the problem with spending $5K on 12 channels is that when you break it up your at $400 a channel. There aren't many (or any) preamps at that price that any serious engineer would still be using in a few years if they have the chance to upgrade to better.
Old 7th October 2002
  #14
What Jay said..

Cept with a DAW, you need to get the shit in somehow, if you aint got no desk, you need pre's - of SOME sort.

Old 8th October 2002
  #15
Lives for gear
 
5down1up's Avatar
 

what about those older neuman modules ??? you can get em real cheap sometimes , and what i´ve heard so far ... they sound cool . sure you need to rack em & powersupply etc. , sometimes you find em racked already .

what about the joemeek ? tla ? drawmer ?

sure matter of taste and maybe without the " high end " sticker . but you have to make a compromise .

i agree with the others , better 4-6 channels of " good " preamps and a whackie ( <-- i like that grggt )

compared to x channels of " do i really need that " units .


matterfact , i need some , too

what i´ve heard so far :

v72a - great tube sound / no controls , no 48 V
amek 9098 - no coloured sound / workhorse
tube tech - v72 sounds better imho but here you have the controls
tl audio c1 & drawmer 1960 ( both with pres ) / compared to my whackie ok / compared to the others " 0 " points
focusrite red - nice
spl channel 1 & mindprint ( not good at all - of course better than nothin )
api - very own & good sound
bss - kinda cool & payable
neve - sad but true " unbeatable & unpayable "

maybe that helps a little , peace yall


Old 8th October 2002
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

I have gota throw in the CLM dynamics DB8000s. this box has the lot and sounds great!. It has 8channels of mic preamps, DI's, soft limiting and 4 BALANCED outputs per channels..... YES 4! alkso it has the optional digital daughter board that can accomodate adat light pipe. sp/dif and AES... . i hav been using mine recently to great effect in studio and live work. Whilst it has no spceific 'flavour', it is extrmely clear, transparent and kinda punchy.
www.clmdynamics.comThis would be a worthy addition in any case!,

As would a sytek 4 channel MPX-4 preamp system. @ $1680 a pop they are fantastic value. read previous threads about sytek.. or ask E-QUE!!!

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 8th October 2002
  #17
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Rather then getting V72s you could also look for some of the solid-state Telefunken/Siemans modules. I got my pair of V672s (solid state V72) racked with phantom, phase and DI from a buddy for $750. Granted a pair of raw modules runs just about that. Then you need a power supply and all the other stuff plus the time and skill to put it together and not blow yourself up.
Old 8th October 2002
  #18
Here for the gear
 

DIY

I don't know if you guys take this stuff seriously, but for me, DIY would be an attrative option here.

You could build a couple of your pre's to help fit in under the price bar:
Tim Ryan's Neves. 2 Channels @ approx $950 total with everything
http://www.seventhcirclestudios.com/N72/N72.htm

The Tape Op/Scott Hampton dual tube pre for around $500 total for 2 channels:
http://www.hamptone.com/mic-pre_kit.htm

Use that soldering iron to save some cash and give your set-up some personality!

-MD
Old 8th October 2002
  #19
Lives for gear
 
subspace's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat

---UPDATED GUIDELINES--

2 - 4ch pres / 1x 8ch pre for drums
2 -pres for gtr and bass
1 or 2 -pres for vocals / ac. gtr.
As this is supposedly a starter kit, I'd invest in a couple rack systems that can be expanded in the future. OSA sells an 8 space API 500 series powered rack, the TrkPak, for $570 list. Their MP1-A "standard" and MP1-C "vintage" preamp modules list at $500, so adding a stereo pair of each would put us at $2570. This could be supplemented in the future with 4 more modules from OSA, Brent Averill, or API as funds allow.
Another expandable system is the John Hardy M-1 mainframe, which lists at $525. Adding a pair of his MPC-1 preamp cards for $350 each list, puts the pricetag at $1225. These can be supplemented with another two cards, as well as multiple metering and transformer options in the future.
The FMR RNP is a stero pre in a 1/3 RU package for $500 list. Two of these would make a nice 4 channel unit with room left in the rack space for your favorite compressor.
That's 10 channels for $4795. What gets plugged into channels 11 + 12? Tom mics? Hi-hat? I'd highly reccomend the Midiman AudioBuddy stereo pre at $120 list for all sources I leave muted at mix. $4915, finis.
Old 9th October 2002
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Subspace wrote...

I may be wrong but I reckon this what Fat Cat was hopin' for.

Gotta check out the Sytek and CLM too.

R.
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