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First 500 preamp, for vocals what would you get now 500 Series Preamps
Old 3rd August 2016
  #1
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First 500 preamp, for vocals what would you get now

I've made the leap into the 500 realm, but the options are daunting. With so much variety, and I'm praying on your personal experiences, what would you choose if you had $500-$600? Hairball Lola, gold, copper, or sonic farm silkworm, a designs p-1, capi vp28....see what I mean?

The mic is smooth but definitely airy or bright, it's a warbler VI. I want top end definition (my last set up was too dark) but for it to be smooth. Punchy, present, but I don't want to hear the air in someone's throat. What's a guy to do?

Last edited by Carabinerx; 3rd August 2016 at 05:47 PM..
Old 3rd August 2016
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
McWreckinBall's Avatar
If it were me, I’d probably go with a RND 511, VP28, Lola with the BA512, or maybe a Warm TB12 for flexibility. All good choices for under $600.
Old 3rd August 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
Take it for what it is worth, I have dumped all my pres for VP28s.
And we aren't talking a bunch of crap pres,.. see my classified history.

Admittedly, I am trying to establish a core sound, and get more intimate with my gear, so that was part of the driver for me.
Additionally, and am personally moving away from complexity in my studio, so standardizing on these was critical for my journey.

To me, the VP28s are just wonderful sounding to me. All the grit/bite of API I like, and the ability to dial in as much girth as needed.
Super handy filters, acceptable metering, usable on busses/summing for effect.

That is my $.02.

Good luck on your journey!
Old 3rd August 2016
  #4
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The vp28s seem to have such a good reputation, but I never hear people speak about using them for vocals, and I can't find any solid audio examples of vocals tracked with one. They are such good all rounders, but if I'm only using this pre for vocals I'd rather not sacrifice that for better functionality around the studio. Which is why I look to the others...
Old 4th August 2016
  #5
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Or the Lola 990, I would love to hear a voice through this if anyone has a sample! Also, anyone own a merits 440?
Old 4th August 2016
  #6
Check out the Avedis audio MD7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabinerx View Post
I've made the leap into the 500 realm, but the options are daunting. With so much variety, and I'm praying on your personal experiences, what would you choose if you had $500-$600? Hairball Lola, gold, copper, or sonic farm silkworm, a designs p-1, capi vp28....see what I mean?

The mic is smooth but definitely airy or bright, it's a warbler VI. I want top end definition (my last set up was too dark) but for it to be smooth. Punchy, present, but I don't want to hear the air in someone's throat. What's a guy to do?
Old 4th August 2016
  #7
JLM Audio Shop

These go together like a small lego kit, and the sound is legit!!
Old 4th August 2016
  #8
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Tubthumper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabinerx View Post
The vp28s seem to have such a good reputation, but I never hear people speak about using them for vocals, and I can't find any solid audio examples of vocals tracked with one. They are such good all rounders, but if I'm only using this pre for vocals I'd rather not sacrifice that for better functionality around the studio. Which is why I look to the others...
Pres in this class work on anything and everything. Plug in your choice of mic, even something humble like an SM58, turn up the gain, prepare to be amazed.
Old 4th August 2016
  #9
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Tubthumper's Avatar
 

JLM are top shelf products also.
Old 4th August 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubthumper View Post
Pres in this class work on anything and everything. Plug in your choice of mic, even something humble like an SM58, turn up the gain, prepare to be amazed.
Haha you know what, I'm thinking this could the truth. The BA500 is news to me, I know their opto compressor is supposed to be great, and is at the top of my opto list, so I could see how they might also make a great pre too. There's so little info out there about it though.

How does their prebuilt system work? One page has it for $699 AUD, but if you select the kit, pick all you're same components and add $200 for built and tested its only $589 AUD....
Old 4th August 2016
  #11
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Tubthumper's Avatar
 

JLM Audio are based just down the road from me here in Brisbane.

Joe's gear is of the highest standard. Maybe consider one of his Dual 99s.

Edit: and represent great value if yr in the States, youll benefit from the favourable exchange rate

Last edited by Tubthumper; 4th August 2016 at 02:19 AM.. Reason: Info
Old 4th August 2016
  #12
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Carabinerx - two of your earlier comments could inform this discussion. Your concern about the gritty high end of the MKI could be guiding you towards a Lola-ish option - clean high end but big sound. A pre with a lot of saturation could make high end grit more apparent. It's tricky, because sometimes, the grit sounds good. The thing is, the Warbler transformer is already giving you that grit. Doubling up on it could be problematic. In my shootouts, the two preamps that seemed to flatter my GZ12fet were the Phoenix Audio in clean mode, and the DAV, a clean pre in the "round sound" camp. I suspect a similar preamp in the 500 series would be the JLM dual 99.

Your concern about the 1300k peak in your voice could lead you away from a Capi 28, which, supposedly pushes the midrange the way API does.

I know it's hard to wait when you have an empty api 6b rack staring you in the face, but perhaps you should see what your MKVI sounds like through your clean pre before deciding which direction to go in. Plus, it would give you time to digest the many competing opinions on the many options available.
Old 4th August 2016
  #13
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Good advice, I'm not set to pick one yet, but better familiarizing myself with the new mic would be a smart move in helping narrow these down. I'm down to the silkworm, Phoenix Drs-1, ba500, and the Lola. I'm sure anyone of these will be a good option.
Old 4th August 2016
  #14
Gear Maniac
I have not gotten into the 500 stuff yet, but an engineer I like has raved about the AML EZ1073 . A little more than some of the other ones you are looking at, but could be worth checking out. Based off how much he liked them, I am surprised to not see them mentioned more on this board.

Last edited by eshepherd; 4th August 2016 at 07:49 AM..
Old 4th August 2016
  #15
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old ghost's Avatar
 

The chameleon labs 581 was my first 500 pre (my wife bought it for me not knowing I didn't have a lunchbox.)

It is awesome and you can't beat the price. I don't hesitate to recommend it as a first and have bought more expensive ones since.
Old 4th August 2016
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabinerx View Post
The vp28s seem to have such a good reputation, but I never hear people speak about using them for vocals, and I can't find any solid audio examples of vocals tracked with one. They are such good all rounders, but if I'm only using this pre for vocals I'd rather not sacrifice that for better functionality around the studio.
I don't personally have any examples because I don't own one, but I've heard a buddy's vp28 tracks, vocals included, and they sound very API to me (I have 512C's right now).

As for "functionality around the studio," the vp28 doesn't have a DI, which may or may not matter to you. But what it does have is a 20 dB output trim, which in combination with a reamp box turns it into a great color/saturation tool that you can use on anything.
Old 4th August 2016
  #17
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The DI would be nice, but its not a deal breaker. My audient has a pretty decent instrument DI so I can get by without one. Who owns a BA500? There is practically nothing out there about it, the jlm 99v seems to be a good option but its a bit too much money, and jlm say the ba500 is just the single gain stage version of the 99v but otherwise the same...sounds too good to be true. What does it sound like?
Old 4th August 2016
  #18
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s.d.finley's Avatar
Shadow Hills Mono Gama, this pre has three output paths. Discrete, steel and nickel. 20db pad and DI also.

Shadow Hills Industries Mono GAMA Mic Pre - Vintage King Audio
Old 4th August 2016
  #19
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the gamma definitely looks good, but I dont think they come up used in my budget. Im actually going to buy a jlm LA500 first. There is a killer deal on one and they dont come up often for this price, plus it will give me time to stew on the preamp front before blowing my proverbial wad on overly slutty gear

so keep em coming, still would love some first hand feedback on the silkworm and jlm ba500
Old 5th August 2016
  #20
Gear Addict
Theres a mod kit for the LA500 to get a slower attack. It would help to get a more aggressive vocal when its called for. been thinking of getting the mod for mine as sometimes the attack is to quick. has a nice distortion if you crank the knobs all the way up. I wouldn't sweat the preamp to much, all of the before mentioned are all quality products.
Old 5th August 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabinerx View Post
the gamma definitely looks good, but I dont think they come up used in my budget. Im actually going to buy a jlm LA500 first. There is a killer deal on one and they dont come up often for this price, plus it will give me time to stew on the preamp front before blowing my proverbial wad on overly slutty gear

so keep em coming, still would love some first hand feedback on the silkworm and jlm ba500
I used the JLM BA500>LA500 combo for a while, it was solid gear for the $$

This track was recorded with the 2 units.

https://soundcloud.com/brootz/black-...l-tiny-bowkett
Old 5th August 2016
  #22
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foldback's Avatar
If you're looking ahead to maybe getting rid of what you buy some day then considering resale value is a good idea. An API 512 is a great microphone and instrument preamplifier that will hold its value and reward you with great recordings along the way. You can find them for $500-$600 if you watch.

For shear tone the Warm Audio TB12 is an amazing performer and it's what I would buy if I was needing a preamp in my lunchbox.

Good luck and good music to all!
Old 5th August 2016
  #23
Hard to go wrong with any of the above mentioned. My two cents: I've got ma5, bae 312a, p1, vp26 and vp312 and I reach for the vp26 most for vocals, especially for rock stuff. There is nothing offensive about the capi sound, whereas the john mayer whisper frequencies start to bother me on the p1's after a while. Although the p1 is great with an sm7. The ma5 is pretty killer too, but it tends to push things a little further back in the mix because it is bigger on the top and bottom. if the song is more intimate, I might reach for the ma5. I rarely use the bae for vocals.
Old 5th August 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrieves View Post
Hard to go wrong with any of the above mentioned. My two cents: I've got ma5, bae 312a, p1, vp26 and vp312 and I reach for the vp26 most for vocals, especially for rock stuff. There is nothing offensive about the capi sound, whereas the john mayer whisper frequencies start to bother me on the p1's after a while. Although the p1 is great with an sm7. The ma5 is pretty killer too, but it tends to push things a little further back in the mix because it is bigger on the top and bottom. if the song is more intimate, I might reach for the ma5. I rarely use the bae for vocals.
Thanks Irieves, this is great feedback. I have definitely been tempted by the vp26. And I think i know what you mean about the ma5, great sound but in all of the clips ive heard it definitely shines one the singer/acoustic type but seems a little dense in a big mix.
Old 5th August 2016
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by old ghost View Post
The chameleon labs 581 was my first 500 pre (my wife bought it for me not knowing I didn't have a lunchbox.)

It is awesome and you can't beat the price. I don't hesitate to recommend it as a first and have bought more expensive ones since.
Good to know. It looks cool, I was concerned because it's not popular(not that popularity it self is of concern). Have you tried the GAP 573?

You have a good wife!
Old 5th August 2016
  #26
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old ghost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesewhiteman View Post
Good to know. It looks cool, I was concerned because it's not popular(not that popularity it self is of concern). Have you tried the GAP 573?

You have a good wife!
A wonderful wife! That plus the picture made for a very happy birthday.

I think it gets dismissed because of the low price but it's an excellent unit... the new faceplate looks mighty fine as well.

I bought the GAP shortly after.... It wasn't my cup of tea. When pushing it the breakup I heard wasn't pleasant compared to the 581, and though based on a 1081 it sounded much better and covered my bases for the Neve-ish sound so I sold the 573.
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Old 5th August 2016
  #27
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Having spent way too much of my life the past week+ meticulously pouring over reviews, audio files, spec sheets, and circuit layouts I THINK I have the ideal chain in mind.

warbler VI > phoenix audio drs-1/avedis ma5 > jlm la500(purchased) > maag eq2 > audient id22

Knowing my voice, what each are capable of and their functions + their 'type of coloration' I think this is a winning combination.

Last edited by Carabinerx; 5th August 2016 at 10:47 PM..
Old 6th August 2016
  #28
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabinerx View Post
Having spent way too much of my life the past week+ meticulously pouring over reviews, audio files, spec sheets, and circuit layouts I THINK I have the ideal chain in mind.

warbler VI > phoenix audio drs-1/avedis ma5 > jlm la500(purchased) > maag eq2 > audient id22

Knowing my voice, what each are capable of and their functions + their 'type of coloration' I think this is a winning combination.
MA5 doesn't have a DI but its built like a tank and has a good resale value. Also the Mic and room are going to have a greater effect on how your voice sounds than the preamp. Take a look at those SE Electronics filters if you're in a untreated space. A crappy room sounds even more detailed and crappy when being amplified by super nice gear.
Old 6th August 2016
  #29
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the room is treated to some degree, nothing professional, but there are traps in all of the corners and the adjacent walls. Plus a whole padded booth from floor, walls, and wrap over the ceiling in a corner where the vocals are cut. I could always pick up one of those radial engineering DI boxes for $99
Old 6th August 2016
  #30
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Anyone have those two preamps? Who has or still owns a Drs-1?
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