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I’ve owned so many preamps....
Old 19th February 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
hebjam's Avatar
 

I’ve owned so many preamps....

From Bae to Great River to Sebatron to Sytek to Jlm...... why do I feel like I won’t be happy until I get one of those damn yellow and blue Focusrite ISA Ones??? Aaargggg
Old 19th February 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Personally, by the time I had acquired enough decently good preamps in a decent variety of styles (some tube, some Neve-type, some API-type, some clean and transformerless), I pretty much stopped lusting after preamps.
Old 19th February 2019
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hebjam View Post
From Bae to Great River to Sebatron to Sytek to Jlm...... why do I feel like I won’t be happy until I get one of those damn yellow and blue Focusrite ISA Ones??? Aaargggg
I have decided to not be happy until I own a Gordon
Old 19th February 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by hebjam View Post
From Bae to Great River to Sebatron to Sytek to Jlm...... why do I feel like I won’t be happy until I get one of those damn yellow and blue Focusrite ISA Ones??? Aaargggg
I don't know. All I have is a Grace m101, ART Mpa Gold 1 and a UA LA 610 mkii.

They're out there on the Sanctuary Moon, probably walking into a trap.
Old 19th February 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Preamp lust can be a very expensive obsession. It really does not make all that much difference in the quality of your recordings, except for minuscule changes (not necessarily improvements, just changes) in how things sound on a microscopic level. Driving transformers into saturation makes a difference, but preamps are, on the whole, are either hairy or they are not. Every single hit song ever recorded would have still been a hit, and it have sounded almost exactly the same, had it been captured with different high quality preamps than the one(s) that were used. Usually one; the one that came with the board.

We notice these things because we sit for hours and obsess over fractional nuances in "flavor" and "feel." But how much are those nuances worth out in the world? Thousands of dollars? How much do they impact to the final recording at the discriminating-consumer level? I'm not talking about a $24 Art MP vs a Great River (although does anyone recall the apples vs oranges thread from years ago?), but the good stuff... Neve vs. Grace vs API, vs. Chandler vs AEA vs. Daking vs. Manley vs. Shadow Hills.

Go ahead.. record the bass guitar with a Daking instead of that UA610. The song won't fail in the market because of your blunder; nor will it be popular because you used the 610.

I know, I know... Shuddup! This is Gearslutz.
Old 19th February 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
I have 4 Symetrix SX202’s and 2 have been modded by Jim Williams. The other two will get modded soon giving me 8 channels. They are super clean and transparent and with good mics, mic placement, great instruments, amps, and vocals nothing else is needed. They capture what’s in the room exactly as I hear it. I do have an Ashly SC-40 that I modded and I use it for bass. I can get a DI, a mic’d amp, and send another signal to the console for another DI flavor. Of course the amp mic goes through an SX202.

Brian
Old 19th February 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Preamp lust can be a very expensive obsession. It really does not make all that much difference in the quality of your recordings, except for minuscule changes (not necessarily improvements, just changes) in how things sound on a microscopic level. Driving transformers into saturation makes a difference, but preamps are, on the whole, are either hairy or they are not. Every single hit song ever recorded would have still been a hit, and it have sounded almost exactly the same, had it been captured with different high quality preamps than the one(s) that were used. Usually one; the one that came with the board.
This kid records everything with some Steinberg interface into Audacity...and his songs are stone cold brilliant. I listen to his stuff all the time. So, yeah, so much for 100's of thousands of dollars worth of outboard gear etc etc.

YouTube

A cheap two input Steinberg...into Audacity!

Old 19th February 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
This kid records everything with some Steinberg interface into Audacity...and his songs are stone cold brilliant. I listen to his stuff all the time. So, yeah, so much for 100's of thousands of dollars worth of outboard gear etc etc.

YouTube

A cheap two input Steinberg...into Audacity!

Song, arrangement, performance, attitude, vocal, mix...

Of course, many will say, "Imagine how much better it would sound if he had some Neves and Manleys!" Who knows? Maybe better, maybe not? Maybe paying off the loans every month would stress him out, and his songs would suck. We'll never really know.

But Audacity? That's is one DAW very appropriately named, IMHO. I took over teaching a radio course and inherited it as part of the studio system. Nearly lost my mind before changing over to Audition two weeks into the semester.

Not the sound; they all sound the same. But functions and user interface.
Old 19th February 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
hebjam's Avatar
 

I forgot to mention I only ever own one of these at a time! I can’t afford to keep them but always want to try something else. My other curiousity is the Trident vibe. Daking ,ocean audio...
Old 19th February 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I'm observing the "pre doesn't really matter" comments.

What I wanna know.....because I read it once and can't remember where......but what I wanna know is ..... if you use a dw fern vt2 on every pass of every overdub...ie... printed on the way in from every incoming signal for every track ....just as if you had a dw fern console.... is it indeed the case that your resulting mix may.......actually be too woolly?

Someone somewhere on the internet in the past twenty years actually typed that after using the Fern for himself for a while and it .....started me thinking of the possibilities.
Old 19th February 2019
  #11
Here for the gear
 

From my recording experiences since the early 70's with open reel tape machines and tube preamps, I have to admit that what I want to use the most is a natural, clean, balanced preamp. If I want to model an old Neve preamp, I can get that to happen with a very gentle compression, and some careful equalization of the frequency balance. Rather than look for a premade algorithm of a plug in, or having to source the original circuitry that colours the sound in a certain way, I would recommend to explore your use of tone control and compression to arrive upon many types of desirable outcomes.

A simple, clean preamp without any character of it's own is what I really like to start with. I can add any of the different characters, or flavours that may be desirable for the take after.
Old 19th February 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I was doing fine, until I listened to some Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet videos!
Chris
Old 19th February 2019
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
This kid records everything with some Steinberg interface into Audacity...and his songs are stone cold brilliant. I listen to his stuff all the time. So, yeah, so much for 100's of thousands of dollars worth of outboard gear etc etc.

YouTube

A cheap two input Steinberg...into Audacity!

His style incorporates the cheap sound and makes it work. But it's still cheap sound. It wouldn't work for a lot of people and their music.
Old 19th February 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
His style incorporates the cheap sound and makes it work. But it's still cheap sound. It wouldn't work for a lot of people and their music.
Yes.

Just because great, legendary photographs are made with black and white doesn’t mean color film is pointless and should not be used by anyone.

Yes, I know I’m identifying myself as old by using a film analogy.
Old 19th February 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 
bigbone's Avatar
 

Since i got my Daking pre's,the search for the pre's are over and i'm happy.!!!!
Old 19th February 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Song, arrangement, performance, attitude, vocal, mix...

Of course, many will say, "Imagine how much better it would sound if he had some Neves and Manleys!" Who knows? Maybe better, maybe not? Maybe paying off the loans every month would stress him out, and his songs would suck. We'll never really know.

But Audacity? That's is one DAW very appropriately named, IMHO. I took over teaching a radio course and inherited it as part of the studio system. Nearly lost my mind before changing over to Audition two weeks into the semester.

Not the sound; they all sound the same. But functions and user interface.
Ha! Yeah I'm no stranger to Audacity either...it's not the greatest thing going around. But yeah, the guy I linked to sure shows how to use the heck out of it and his 2 input pro-sumer device. Of course he's mixed his stuff pretty dang well. The songs sound fantastic to me. He must tracked sensibly and mixed well. But trumping all is the songs, which are as good as it gets, I reckon.
Old 19th February 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
His style incorporates the cheap sound and makes it work. But it's still cheap sound. It wouldn't work for a lot of people and their music.
Cheap or not, a great song is a great song. This guy proves it. There's a lot of music out there that had the kitchen sink thrown at it in terms of gear, that isn't great or even good. This is subjective though, when it comes to musical taste. One man's hip hop classic is another man's sheetsplat, for example.

By the way, I just had a listen to a couple of your songs. I like your sound very much.


Last edited by hello people; 19th February 2019 at 07:34 AM..
Old 19th February 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
RUSCO's Avatar
BAE 1073
Sebatron vmp-4000e
a designs pacifica
api 3124+

I have good desk preamps but they don't get anywhere near the outboard pres.

I'm still going to get more.
Don't stop me now !

Old 19th February 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Mic preamps dont interest me too much. i can work on almost anything if i have to.

but Microphones and EQs are another story. they interest me much more.

Buddha
Old 19th February 2019
  #20
Gear Head
 

I can undertand both sides of this storyline. Yes, preamps are way less important for a good sounding recording than mic choice or mic placement! BUT, they can add a very sepcial touch too. I figured out for myself, that I needed three kinds of preamps in my Studio.

BAE 1073, UA LA-610 MKII and ISA TWO

For me those pres are enough to have at least one preamp for most recordung scenarios I face.

Viktor
Old 19th February 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
His style incorporates the cheap sound and makes it work. But it's still cheap sound. It wouldn't work for a lot of people and their music.
True. I was more impressed with the writing/arrangement and performances than the production in that video.
Old 19th February 2019
  #22
Where I've noticed the biggest differences in mic amps is in the bottom end and low mids, clarity of punch and sustain. For instance try and track an 808 Kick or Sub Bass though an SSL E or G mic amp and what your tracking might sound more like a snake spitting venom than an actual instrument with sub or deep bass information.

To make what can be a long story short so to speak, having two mic preamps is a good place to be. One extremely neutral (for smart reasons said above) and the other capable of adding a bit of density and weight to the signal...and you're good to go.

At the moment I've divested down to my choice of 2. The Summit / Neve MPE-200 and a Great River. I will eventually get a Manley Voxbox for keeper if I see one for a good price. The reason being, it's the only mic pre that I have used where people said things like "this is the best bass and guitar sound I've ever played through. And wow this vocal sound is incredible" on a fairly consistent basis. With that said, I tracked an album that did incredibly well through MCI 600 series and Neve Prism preamps, both known to be notoriously shiit sounding.

As always Ymmv...
Old 19th February 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 

What I been using recently believe it or not is the preamp to my Teac reel to reel. I add a low to high impedance transformer on the input given it only has Hi Z inputs. I love the way it gives a plush sound to my ribbon mic.

I have a bunch of others ranging from low to medium quality preamps. I wouldn't mind having a high end model but I have no lust for one.
I know better. My voice isn't going to be improved by using a better preamp. That's purely a placebo effect and it doesn't last. You may get psyched up thinking this latest piece of gear will produce great sound quality, but as soon as your initial excitement wears off, so does any and all improvement.

At some point you need to learn how to add things up correctly and face the fact, it wasn't the gear that made the difference. It was the change of pace and a fresh outlook combined with some excitement, none of which comes from the gear itself. It comes from within. Once you learn how to tap into that energy without the need of buying something, the sooner you'll be in control of your emotions and on the path to making great recordings at will.

First step in doing that is to understand the role salesmen play in a capitalistic society and the games they play substituting material things as emotional objects.
Its a shell game they play with your emotions and even when you're told flat out by pros it takes a strong willed person to continually remind themselves not to be a sucker.

Quote:

I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no

When I'm drivin' in my car, and the man come on the radio
He's tellin' me more and more about some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination

I can't get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That's what I say
I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no

When I'm watchin' my TV and a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me

I can't get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That's what I say
I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no girl reaction
'Cause I…
Old 19th February 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
What I been using recently believe it or not is the preamp to my Teac reel to reel. I add a low to high impedance transformer on the input given it only has Hi Z inputs. I love the way it gives a plush sound to my ribbon mic.

I have a bunch of others ranging from low to medium quality preamps. I wouldn't mind having a high end model but I have no lust for one.
I know better. My voice isn't going to be improved by using a better preamp. That's purely a placebo effect and it doesn't last. You may get psyched up thinking this latest piece of gear will produce great sound quality, but as soon as your initial excitement wears off, so does any and all improvement.

At some point you need to learn how to add things up correctly and face the fact, it wasn't the gear that made the difference. It was the change of pace and a fresh outlook combined with some excitement, none of which comes from the gear itself. It comes from within. Once you learn how to tap into that energy without the need of buying something, the sooner you'll be in control of your emotions and on the path to making great recordings at will.

First step in doing that is to understand the role salesmen play in a capitalistic society and the games they play substituting material things as emotional objects.
Its a shell game they play with your emotions and even when you're told flat out by pros it takes a strong willed person to continually remind themselves not to be a sucker.
I certainly get where you're coming from, in my opinion it should be second nature that song writing, vibe, creativity etc...are the foundation of what makes a great record. With that said, this website is called "gear"slutz. So many of us tend to talk about and wax opinions of audio equipment, also a very important aspect of record production, whether lo-fi or hi-fi.

I can see how those who are green buy into the notion via sales pitches that one can become a piano player in 5 minutes if you own their video, or this plugin will make you sound like Bob Clearmountain mixed your record. For the most part, I think this phase doesn't last long and it rapidly becomes about workflow and end results.
Old 19th February 2019
  #25
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I was and still am a Millennia man. I've had 17 channels of them. Now I have kept 9. Clean, as close to colorless as possible. Neve, Daking, Chandler, UA610. I've used them. Not a huge fan of the UA, except under very special circumstances.

Now, in addition, I'm a Metric Halo man. Same thing. I like adding the color later, if need be, and leave the preamp outside of that box. That said, I think the preamp obsession is a little bit overblown. If you can afford that hobby, color. Men with toys kind of thing. But the net-net? I don't know. I mean, you don't want to have crappy pres. The worst. But obsession over all these various one? Not for me. That's all I'm saying. Not for me.
Old 19th February 2019
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Cheap or not, a great song is a great song. This guy proves it.
I don't disagree. But this is also a bit like an amazing street artist in New York who used to do paintings on the sidewalk. He did really incredible work for a guy with no arms. The difference is, the guy in the Youtube clip could have "arms" if he wanted to. One good preamp and a decent interface and a good mic or two don't cost all that much.

Quote:
By the way, I just had a listen to a couple of your songs. I like your sound very much.
Thank you, I really appreciate it.
Old 19th February 2019
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I was and still am a Millennia man. I've had 17 channels of them. Now I have kept 9. Clean, as close to colorless as possible. Neve, Daking, Chandler, UA610. I've used them. Not a huge fan of the UA, except under very special circumstances.

Now, in addition, I'm a Metric Halo man. Same thing.
There's something to be said for consistency. Helps everything fit together. Bob Olhsson posted at some point that he thought one of the upsides of the Motown MO was that they basically had one kind of preamp and two kinds of mic. There's definitely something to that.

Compare and contrast with this, when the lead vocal comes in. The difference is exaggerated by the mixing, with most everything but the vocal almost phone-filtered, but still. Try not to get distracted by the non-lying hips.

Old 19th February 2019
  #28
These days it's the talent (or lack of) in front of the mic that has most of my attention. Good artists are rare, good gear is not.
Old 19th February 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Once I got a DAV BG2 MkIV into my studio it's been game over as far as preamps are concerned.

Microphones on the other hand... well, that's an endless shuffle to last a lifetime.
Old 19th February 2019
  #30
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Once I got a DAV BG2 MkIV into my studio it's been game over as far as preamps are concerned.

Microphones on the other hand... well, that's an endless shuffle to last a lifetime.
Exactly. I've been buying mics lately. Damn. I thought I was over that. LOL.
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