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Preamps for Motu 828es Project Studio
Old 10th March 2019
  #1
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Preamps for Motu 828es Project Studio

Hey all,

I have a Motu 828es and I'm planning how I'd like to eventually use all of it's inputs. I have a small project studio and will mostly be tracking vocals and instruments one at a time, but will also be tracking drums and live bands from time to time. I will only need to get a few pres at this time, but I like to plan out all of the inputs ahead of time so that each purchase is moving towards the eventual goal and isn't going to be redundant or replaced.

The Motu 828es has 2 built in preamps, 8 analog inputs, 16 channels of ADAT, and two channels of SPDIF for a total of 28.

I currently have:

Motu828es pres - 2 channels
Art Tube MP - 2 channels
M-Audio DMP3 - 2 channels
Golden Age Pre73 - 1 channel
Daking Mic Pre IV (on order) - 4 channels


I'd like to replace the Arts and DMP3s at some point. I only have 8 channels of analog inputs so I'd like those to be premium channels. Then the ADAT and SPDIF inputs can be utility or character pres, depending.

So, here is the plan I'm currently kicking around. I'd love your input, as I'm looking for a well rounded array of pres that can handle full bands as well as have some nice flavor options for individual sources.


Analog inputs:
Daking Mic Pre IV - 4 channels (for drums, acoustic, modern sound)
Great River MP-2NV - 2 channels (for Neve sound)

Not sure what to do with the other 2 channels, I have the Golden Age Pre73, which I really like, but might be made redundant by the Great River. Also, for the price, I may do the Neve Portico 4 channel preamp instead of the Great River, so I'd have 4 dakings and 4 neves and call it a day.

Motu828es - 2 channels (utility)

SPDIF:
Art Tube MP Pro Digital - 2 channels (for tube sound)

ADAT:
Audient ASP880 - 8 channels (for clean channels and inserts for additional outboard pres as needed)
Audient ASP800 - 8 channels (for clean channels and 2 channels of color)

So, any thoughts greatly appreciated. I'll probably try to fill the 8 analog inputs first with premium channels so I have a couple flavors of quality pres, and then add an 8 channel ADAT the next time I get hired to track a full band.

Let me know what you think, what has worked well for your project studio, or what you would choose in my situation. I really appreciate it!
Old 10th March 2019
  #2
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Look into the Sebatron vmp 4000e.
Or another 4 channel daking. Keep it simple and don't go crazy.

If you then will have the budget for more buy a top channelstrip or a 500 series combo (like the Avedis MA5 or BAE or Aurora GTQC)..
Or a telefunken V72 or 76 or 78 with an ntp compressor.. Check on vintagetools.de, you can build your own channelstrip.. The old german stuff kills!

For a clean and more than decent 8 channel adat out the audient is a very inexpensive and good option.



Cheu
Old 11th March 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Thanks, Cheu. I've heard good things about the Sebatron. Some people on here seem to think the Art MPA pre can sound close with NOS tubes, and it would allow me to utilize the SPDIF inputs, so that was my thinking on that, but I should consider the Sebatron more closely if you'd pick them as your only other flavor alongside the Dakings.

Also, 8 channels of Daking actually sounds really appealing to me, but I figured the good ADAT 8 channel pres are mostly clean and at least 2 channels of Neve or Tube might be desirable for tracking vocals or just having an alternative to the Daking and clean pres.

I'm sort of reluctant to go with outboard EQ/Compression yet but I'll check out your suggestions. How do you usually use your outboard processors? On the way in or after you've tracked for some additional processing during the mixing stage?

Thanks again!
Old 11th March 2019 | Show parent
  #4
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Thanks, Cheu. I've heard good things about the Sebatron. Some people on here seem to think the Art MPA pre can sound close with NOS tubes, and it would allow me to utilize the SPDIF inputs, so that was my thinking on that, but I should consider the Sebatron more closely if you'd pick them as your only other flavor alongside the Dakings.

Also, 8 channels of Daking actually sounds really appealing to me, but I figured the good ADAT 8 channel pres are mostly clean and at least 2 channels of Neve or Tube might be desirable for tracking vocals or just having an alternative to the Daking and clean pres.

I'm sort of reluctant to go with outboard EQ/Compression yet but I'll check out your suggestions. How do you usually use your outboard processors? On the way in or after you've tracked for some additional processing during the mixing stage?

Thanks again!
I'm all for having great sounding, quality pieces. Less is more.

If you fall in love with the daking, why not getting another one?
If you feel you want a tube unit with the ability to drive your tone or keep it clean the Sebatron is the way to go.
Both are very nice on drums. (and just on anything else).

regarding the channelstrip you could get what you like.. like a V72 and a nice compressor or an MA5 and your compressor of choice.. i loved it with the trakker and a BAE 10DC after that just kissing the meter.. very finished sound.

I do like to track with an hpf or a very simple eq (if needed) and a nice compressor.
But you could get something that you could use on the 2bus, it might be worthed to use for both tracking AND mixing..





Cheu
Old 11th March 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
hi nice post! what do u think when comparing the Motu preamps vs daking? I'm considering the 8 pre es so I would appreciate ur comments regarding the difference.

I actually like the motu preamps. thanks!
Old 12th March 2019 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I'm all for having great sounding, quality pieces. Less is more.

If you fall in love with the daking, why not getting another one?
If you feel you want a tube unit with the ability to drive your tone or keep it clean the Sebatron is the way to go.
Both are very nice on drums. (and just on anything else).

regarding the channelstrip you could get what you like.. like a V72 and a nice compressor or an MA5 and your compressor of choice.. i loved it with the trakker and a BAE 10DC after that just kissing the meter.. very finished sound.

I do like to track with an hpf or a very simple eq (if needed) and a nice compressor.
But you could get something that you could use on the 2bus, it might be worthed to use for both tracking AND mixing..





Cheu
You're dangerous... now I'm researching outboard EQs and compressors...

Also, I've been checking out the Sebatron and it really sounds nice in shootouts. Very large sounding without being overly bright (on youtube). I don't love that it takes 2u of rack space though as any full band recordings will be done remote, but for sonics and price it really does seem like a nice unit.

Thanks again!
Old 12th March 2019 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
hi nice post! what do u think when comparing the Motu preamps vs daking? I'm considering the 8 pre es so I would appreciate ur comments regarding the difference.

I actually like the motu preamps. thanks!
Thanks!

Believe it or not, I just received my MOTU the other day and haven't tracked with it yet, and the Daking is stuck at customs currently since I ordered it from Canada.. It's been in the mail for 2 weeks now and I'm really itching to try it out!

I'll definitely report back once I get it and have a chance to play around a bit. I'm very interested in comparing it to the MOTU pres as well as the GAP Pre 73 I have which has been my go-to pre so far.
Old 12th March 2019 | Show parent
  #8
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
You're dangerous... now I'm researching outboard EQs and compressors...

Also, I've been checking out the Sebatron and it really sounds nice in shootouts. Very large sounding without being overly bright (on youtube). I don't love that it takes 2u of rack space though as any full band recordings will be done remote, but for sonics and price it really does seem like a nice unit.

Thanks again!
I do think the sebatron is a nice unit and worthed..since you might like going in with synths or instruments directly and drive it since it's a tube unit (or keep it clean).

Although try the daking you've in the mail first, then decide if getting the sebatron or another daking.

That said I do have a couple of suggestions for you regarding eq's and comps for tracking and mixing.

EQ's:

- CAG HDE-250 (custom audio germany, look on facebook), fantastic eq, versatile and you could use it on the mix or for tracking (low and highs on shelf mode!)
For what is it it's incredibly inexpensive and incredibly well built (and I don't say this lightly).

- Gyraf G23-S, tube and/or solid state eq, very soft.. adds a "tape-like" quality (if that's what you want.. For tracking you could simply use the tilt, very smooth, balanced and effective. Only cons is that is stereo only (but you could use it on 1x mono stuff without problem).

If on the 500 series check out the new Avedis E12G.

COMPS:

- since you might like the daking, you might want to scout a pair of FET II (now unfortunately discontinued) or a FET 3..
Perfectly at ease with both tracking or 2bus material.

- on a less expensive level, you might want to consider the JDK R22, does its job well, also on the clean side. Imho is a nice piece.

Of course there are several other choices/pieces, these are imho rather affordable and great sounding (versatile and will last a lifetime).

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 13th March 2019
  #9
Jtt
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🎧 15 years
Why spend so much money on preamps that will barely or never get used if you record one thing at a time? You’ve got more than enough to cover a drum set; should the need ever arise.

The Dakings are as good as anything btw.

It seems like it would be more beneficial to get a couple of really good and complete signal chains instead.
Old 13th March 2019 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtt View Post
Why spend so much money on preamps that will barely or never get used if you record one thing at a time? You’ve got more than enough to cover a drum set; should the need ever arise.

The Dakings are as good as anything btw.

It seems like it would be more beneficial to get a couple of really good and complete signal chains instead.
Good thoughts here, and another vote for outboard signal processing. I'll have to look into these eq/compressor suggestions Cheu sent me.

As far as why the preamps, well, I think I want flavors for single tracking, and the ability to track a full band with mostly premium channels. I can currently support 10 channels with what I have, which is enough for a kit but not enough for a kit + band unless I do a more minimalist drum miking technique. I'm not going to get these all at once (and, in fact, I can't), but I like to plan for the future, so that each piece I add is contributing to the eventual "ideal setup" and I am not left with redundant channels that will end up just being replaced (like the cheapie Art Tube MPs, and the awkwardly sized un-rackable M-Audio DMP3). This outlay will probably take me a couple years to build, with the ADAT channels being added the very first time I get to track a full band.
In the meantime, my normal day-to-day work will be single channel and stereo tracking, but I want to be able to throw my gator 6U rack in the car and track a full band, anywhere, with nice channels at some point. There is also a small part of me that likes the idea of being able to advertise "Neve, API, Daking, Audient Pres", although deep down I know my clients will really care about the final product more than the gear, but it can't hurt if I ever need to advertise to strangers (so far my recording work has all been word of mouth from my live sound clients).

Anyways, that's my thought process, and why I sprang for the Daking Mic Pre IV instead of the single channel unit (I also got a great deal, so that doesn't hurt). I appreciate your input, and would love to hear some of your favorite signal chain recs also!

Thanks!
Old 17th March 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Well, the Daking came in today. I didn't have much time but I decided to record a quick sample of me talking through the Daking IV, GAP Pre73, DMP3, and Motu 828es pres. All different takes, so nothing scientific, but here are my initial impressions for those who may be curious.

Motu - sounded better than I was expecting. Neutral but fuller than I remember my Presonus FireStudio Mobile pres sounding (there were clean and clear but a little thin to my ear). I wouldn't hesitate to use these based on this first test.

DMP3 - Time to retire this piece. The Motu sounded better to me. These were less dynamic, smaller sounding, and had the brittle high end that wreaks of "cheaper gear". Honestly, it's subtle, and these pres are probably totally usable, but I think their bang for buck value has diminished as interface pres have gotten better. I liked my Presonus pres more than these also, but it was closer. Also, the "high gain" switch introduces hiss which makes it pretty unusable, but the low gain setting can push an sm7b and stay pretty quiet, which is cool to know. But once I have 8 channels of Audient and 2 channels of Motu I probably won't need these anymore.

GAP pre73 - A little bigger sounding than the Motu pres. Much more natural than the DMP3s. I'm really used to this pre, so it sounded "right" to me. Bigger bottom end maybe and something smooth going on in the highs. Comfy on my voice through the mic.

Daking - It was hard for me to figure out how to characterize these, but based on initial impressions, it sounded more neutral than the GAP, but it still had some vibe compared to the MOTU pres. I think I detected a bit of low mid scoop and I imagine these would cut through the mix a little better, and maybe stack a little better, than the GAP. I also imagined if I recorded an entire project with just these pres, that the record would have a "vibe" to it. It's a slippery sound I can't quite put my finger on, but I'd describe it as "cool" without being sterile, whereas the GAP is "warm" to me. The DMP3 is sterile, and the MOTU is pretty neutral and clinical, but not sterile.

Anyways, I'll be bringing the Daking over to buddy's studio this week to record some drums so I'll really get a chance to get to know it better. I'll report back for those that are curious about the Daking.
Old 17th March 2019 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
hi nice post! what do u think when comparing the Motu preamps vs daking? I'm considering the 8 pre es so I would appreciate ur comments regarding the difference.

I actually like the motu preamps. thanks!
Oh, and Michael, to specifically address your query, the MOTU pres were surprisingly good compared to the Daking. The Daking has this hi-fi/lo-fi vibe to it that is hard for me to describe, but is very subtle. The MOTU pres just sounded clean and clear. The both felt perfectly usable alongside the GAP, whereas the DMP3 stood out as noticeably inferior.

Again, this was just a really quick test with me speaking into a mic, so I imagine the differences will become more obvious as I spend time with them on different sources, but these are just my rough and dirty first impressions.

Hope this helps.
Old 17th March 2019 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Oh, and Michael, to specifically address your query, the MOTU pres were surprisingly good compared to the Daking. The Daking has this hi-fi/lo-fi vibe to it that is hard for me to describe, but is very subtle. The MOTU pres just sounded clean and clear. The both felt perfectly usable alongside the GAP, whereas the DMP3 stood out as noticeably inferior.

Again, this was just a really quick test with me speaking into a mic, so I imagine the differences will become more obvious as I spend time with them on different sources, but these are just my rough and dirty first impressions.

Hope this helps.
thank u for ur detailed report. I actually think pretty similar to you.

the Motu pres are very clean but they don't sound cheap and too aggressive on highs (I think presonus pres for instance sound good on solo, but aggressive on highs when u put it together in a mix, just a very personal experience).

while it doesn't have the density and doesn't sound as good as $$ preamps, they sound very good to me. one thing that made me change my mind about motu preamps is the inbuilt compression (it's in the mixer). it sounds great to me. so great that I could buy the plugin haha

thank u for ur report. (kind of reassuring my opinion, and I know it's silly, but I still feel good about it haha)
Old 26th March 2019
  #14
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Okay, so I've been playing around with the Daking and continuously doing research (GASing as usual) and my thoughts have evolved a bit.

The Daking sounds awesome on drums. We used it for kick, snare, and overheads and it really shined. Kick was D112, snare was Beta57a, OH were RCA BK5s (holy cow did those sounds great to me. 3D, tons of detail but not at all brash or harsh. Smooth and dark but still present. I need to get some ribbons!)

I didn't love the Daking as a DI, and much preferred my GAP Pre73 for that application. Haven't done much vocal tracking yet so jury is still out on that.

After looking into the Sebatron, that unit seems like the most bang-for-buck for my other 4 inputs on the MOTU, but since I am looking to build a mobile rig that can track full bands in my 6RU gator case, I'm thinking it's a bit bulky for that application.

I'm still really attracted to the Great River, and also have seen good things about the Slate Fox unit, which piqued my interest. I've also realized that my GAP is still working really well for me, especially as a contrast to my Daking and Motu pres. I've read all of the threads, but it seems that some people feel the GAP becomes obsolete once they get something in a higher price range (great river, BAE 1073, etc.) and some people think it hangs just fine.

In the name of cost-effectiveness, part of me feels I should get another GAP pre73 to match my current one, for vocals, electric guitars, and maybe toms or something. I could probably get one for $200 which is so much cheaper than something like the Great River. Dumb idea?

For the ADAT unit, the Sebatron got me wondering if the Art Tube Opto 8 would be a better choice than the Audient, since I could add some grit to sources as needed, or run them clean. People who have them seem to really love them. Also, I see one used in my area for $200... seems kind of like a no brainer.

So now my pre lineup would look like this:
Motu 828es x 2
Daking Mic Pre IV x 4
Golden Age Pre73 x 2
Art Tube Opto 8 x 8

That's 16 channels for about $400 more of investment, it all fits in my rack case, and I'll be able to go start tracking bands right away.

But suddenly, I've talked myself down from the High End to Low End Theory. Am I headed in the wrong direction? Will I regret not going for the more expensive stuff at this stage?

Any and all thoughts appreciated.
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
thank u for ur detailed report. I actually think pretty similar to you.

the Motu pres are very clean but they don't sound cheap and too aggressive on highs (I think presonus pres for instance sound good on solo, but aggressive on highs when u put it together in a mix, just a very personal experience).

while it doesn't have the density and doesn't sound as good as $$ preamps, they sound very good to me. one thing that made me change my mind about motu preamps is the inbuilt compression (it's in the mixer). it sounds great to me. so great that I could buy the plugin haha

thank u for ur report. (kind of reassuring my opinion, and I know it's silly, but I still feel good about it haha)
Can you print the compression to your DAW? Or is it just for monitoring? I haven't even touched the built in effects of the MOTU, but now you've got me curious...
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #16
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Okay, so I've been playing around with the Daking and continuously doing research (GASing as usual) and my thoughts have evolved a bit.

The Daking sounds awesome on drums. We used it for kick, snare, and overheads and it really shined. Kick was D112, snare was Beta57a, OH were RCA BK5s (holy cow did those sounds great to me. 3D, tons of detail but not at all brash or harsh. Smooth and dark but still present. I need to get some ribbons!)

I didn't love the Daking as a DI, and much preferred my GAP Pre73 for that application. Haven't done much vocal tracking yet so jury is still out on that.

After looking into the Sebatron, that unit seems like the most bang-for-buck for my other 4 inputs on the MOTU, but since I am looking to build a mobile rig that can track full bands in my 6RU gator case, I'm thinking it's a bit bulky for that application.

I'm still really attracted to the Great River, and also have seen good things about the Slate Fox unit, which piqued my interest. I've also realized that my GAP is still working really well for me, especially as a contrast to my Daking and Motu pres. I've read all of the threads, but it seems that some people feel the GAP becomes obsolete once they get something in a higher price range (great river, BAE 1073, etc.) and some people think it hangs just fine.

In the name of cost-effectiveness, part of me feels I should get another GAP pre73 to match my current one, for vocals, electric guitars, and maybe toms or something. I could probably get one for $200 which is so much cheaper than something like the Great River. Dumb idea?

For the ADAT unit, the Sebatron got me wondering if the Art Tube Opto 8 would be a better choice than the Audient, since I could add some grit to sources as needed, or run them clean. People who have them seem to really love them. Also, I see one used in my area for $200... seems kind of like a no brainer.

So now my pre lineup would look like this:
Motu 828es x 2
Daking Mic Pre IV x 4
Golden Age Pre73 x 2
Art Tube Opto 8 x 8

That's 16 channels for about $400 more of investment, it all fits in my rack case, and I'll be able to go start tracking bands right away.

But suddenly, I've talked myself down from the High End to Low End Theory. Am I headed in the wrong direction? Will I regret not going for the more expensive stuff at this stage?

Any and all thoughts appreciated.
What I'll say is to TEST the stuff out for yourself, before buying IF possible.

The Daking is a nice and capable piece, a certain quality has a price imho and when you compare the GAP with other neve-ish preamp (like BAE or the Avedis MA5), there's no contest imho.. Plus quality pieces holds their value much better than the el cheapo stuff.

It's a shame regarding the sebatron, but you're in charge..

good luck!



Cheu
Old 26th March 2019
  #17
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Thanks, Cheu. Wise advice, as always. Yes, if I wasn't set on mobile band recording the Sebatron would surely be a top contender... I do think I want another color to contrast with the Daking, and the Neve-ish direction seems like a good one based on what I'm hearing with my lowly GAP.

Have you used the GAP?
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Can you print the compression to your DAW? Or is it just for monitoring? I haven't even touched the built in effects of the MOTU, but now you've got me curious...
IΒ΄d have to check, but I think you get the option for both in "Motu WebMix" (or whatever the replacement for CueMix on the newer interfaces is called).

If I remember correctly, by default the mixer FX are for monitoring but the signal gets recorded "dry" - but you can route it so the processed "wet" signal gets passed through to your DAW to record.
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Thanks, Cheu. Wise advice, as always. Yes, if I wasn't set on mobile band recording the Sebatron would surely be a top contender... I do think I want another color to contrast with the Daking, and the Neve-ish direction seems like a good one based on what I'm hearing with my lowly GAP.

Have you used the GAP?
Yes, I've compard it to the Avedis MA5. (which when you add all the mods possible for the gap, you'll end up very close to a used price for an MA5, which from a quality point of view is not even comparable...so not worth the hassle imho).

How many times are you going to be mobile? Put this into account as well, if it's less than 30% it might not be worthed.

and if you want 4 channel of neve-ish you'll need a 2RU anyway..
I see that tracking some sources (like vocals) with a N preamp might yeld to "beneficial" results.. (not that tracking with the daking is not goo, just a different flavour)..

my point is to not clogging your rack with many different el cheapo stuff, than in 3 years from now will be worth next to nothing while not achieving the same performace as the quality stuff.. buy once, but good.. it's much cheaper in the mid-long run as well (and more enjoyable and you'll get better results in the meanwhile).

good luck



Cheu
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Can you print the compression to your DAW? Or is it just for monitoring? I haven't even touched the built in effects of the MOTU, but now you've got me curious...

yes, u can print the compression, eq, reverb, etc.

I saw ur posts about recording live, I think u already have a very capable rig. here are some thoughts for u:

-how big is ur rack? have u checked temperature? Motu gets hot if there not enough space, so u should consider that I think.

-try the motu mixer. it's really good. then u can pinpoint more accurately what u really need.

-seeing ur rig, I would look for a multi effect unit and some pedals. I'm not sure how well u understand the motu mixer, but u can route the preamps through the outs and u can make use for some effects, which definitely affects how u play.

my suggestion is to watch puremix videos, the Al Schmitt one, and the Vance one.

Al Schmitt Tracking Cyrille Aimee | pureMix.net
Tracking and Producing A Rock Song with Vance Powell | pureMix.net

if u think it's too expensive, DontCrack store used to give a 3 days free access if u buy something from them, even the cheap items. it's really mind-blowing to see them setting up the monitors.

the motu mixer is a big patchbay (it's easier to think this way). if u intend to record live, focus on the pieces that may affect positively the performance is the way to go imo.

I intend to build a rehearsal recording studio, so I'm going through a similar road. please check the motu mixer, it's really amazing, and makes the monitoring Really really easy. it also diminishes the weight and risk u have in carrying all that around. also buying another one is easy if things go wrong. all that said, motu still wasn't able to make a video that can really simply explain the router.

cheers

Michael
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #21
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
But suddenly, I've talked myself down from the High End to Low End Theory. Am I headed in the wrong direction? Will I regret not going for the more expensive stuff at this stage?

Any and all thoughts appreciated.
Read through the thread, and sounds to me like you are digging in deep, and figuring out what you want as best you can. I wouldn't worry about "high end" vs. "low end." Buy what sounds most usable to you.

I have a Neve 5024 Quad and considered getting two more. Then I checked out the Audient 880, and went with that. It offered things the 5024 didn't, added variety, sounds amazing, and saved me thousands of dollars that can go toward something that will impact my recording far more.

After using massive numbers of preamps over 40 years, I've found that +cash does not equal +sound. It can equal +reliability for you, and +prestige in the eyes of clients; two things which can add up to advantage in the long run. But cheap gear is very reliable today, far more than in times gone by, and few clients recognize preamps.

Clients put more weight on the presence of mics like a U87 or G800; the stuff they read about everywhere and see in photos. Or, a really nice tuned up B3 & Leslie, Wurly, or selection of sweet vintage amps will impress more clients than an expensive preamp. And, having those things readily available will have far greater impact on the quality of your recordings than any preamp possibly could.
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Yes, I've compard it to the Avedis MA5. (which when you add all the mods possible for the gap, you'll end up very close to a used price for an MA5, which from a quality point of view is not even comparable...so not worth the hassle imho).

How many times are you going to be mobile? Put this into account as well, if it's less than 30% it might not be worthed.

and if you want 4 channel of neve-ish you'll need a 2RU anyway..
I see that tracking some sources (like vocals) with a N preamp might yeld to "beneficial" results.. (not that tracking with the daking is not goo, just a different flavour)..

my point is to not clogging your rack with many different el cheapo stuff, than in 3 years from now will be worth next to nothing while not achieving the same performace as the quality stuff.. buy once, but good.. it's much cheaper in the mid-long run as well (and more enjoyable and you'll get better results in the meanwhile).

good luck



Cheu
Thanks, Cheu. I guess that is what I was looking for - I don't plan on modding the GAP, and it sounds like the Avedis MA5 level are indeed on a different level...

As far as the 2ru, you have a point, which is why the Portico 5024 was on my list. But I realized my 6RU can only realistically fit 5 units anyways, and 16 channels seems like enough to do the job for the most part.

As far as how often will I be recording bands? Well, I'm a live sound engineer in a big city and I rent a small apartment, so I meet a lot of bands and don't have the ability to do much tracking at home, so while I don't have a book of business right now, per se, investing in the mobile rig seems like a wise choice if I want to do more recording, which I do.

Thanks again! I will save my pennies and pass on the Art Tube Opto and another GAP, at least until I can try a higher end Neve unit myself and see how much of a difference it makes to me.
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Read through the thread, and sounds to me like you are digging in deep, and figuring out what you want as best you can. I wouldn't worry about "high end" vs. "low end." Buy what sounds most usable to you.

I have a Neve 5024 Quad and considered getting two more. Then I checked out the Audient 880, and went with that. It offered things the 5024 didn't, added variety, sounds amazing, and saved me thousands of dollars that can go toward something that will impact my recording far more.

After using massive numbers of preamps over 40 years, I've found that +cash does not equal +sound. It can equal +reliability for you, and +prestige in the eyes of clients; two things which can add up to advantage in the long run. But cheap gear is very reliable today, far more than in times gone by, and few clients recognize preamps.

Clients put more weight on the presence of mics like a U87 or G800; the stuff they read about everywhere and see in photos. Or, a really nice tuned up B3 & Leslie, Wurly, or selection of sweet vintage amps will impress more clients than an expensive preamp. And, having those things readily available will have far greater impact on the quality of your recordings than any preamp possibly could.
Thanks, Kenny. You make some great points here, and confirm what I've started to suspect as this thread evolves - that 1) how it sounds to me is way more important than money spent or brand and 2) my clients probably won't care about the pres as much as long as they are getting sounds they are excited about. Obviously this is all complicated by the fact that I just haven't heard many of these pres, so it's hard to know where the price/quality threshhold lies, but I guess that means I just have to get some stuff and start recording and see what happens.

Interesting that you have the Neve 5024 and the Audient 880, both of which are on my original shortlist. If you could only have one or the other, which would you prefer?
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
yes, u can print the compression, eq, reverb, etc.

I saw ur posts about recording live, I think u already have a very capable rig. here are some thoughts for u:

-how big is ur rack? have u checked temperature? Motu gets hot if there not enough space, so u should consider that I think.

-try the motu mixer. it's really good. then u can pinpoint more accurately what u really need.

-seeing ur rig, I would look for a multi effect unit and some pedals. I'm not sure how well u understand the motu mixer, but u can route the preamps through the outs and u can make use for some effects, which definitely affects how u play.

my suggestion is to watch puremix videos, the Al Schmitt one, and the Vance one.

Al Schmitt Tracking Cyrille Aimee | pureMix.net
Tracking and Producing A Rock Song with Vance Powell | pureMix.net

if u think it's too expensive, DontCrack store used to give a 3 days free access if u buy something from them, even the cheap items. it's really mind-blowing to see them setting up the monitors.

the motu mixer is a big patchbay (it's easier to think this way). if u intend to record live, focus on the pieces that may affect positively the performance is the way to go imo.

I intend to build a rehearsal recording studio, so I'm going through a similar road. please check the motu mixer, it's really amazing, and makes the monitoring Really really easy. it also diminishes the weight and risk u have in carrying all that around. also buying another one is easy if things go wrong. all that said, motu still wasn't able to make a video that can really simply explain the router.

cheers

Michael
Those videos look awesome! Thanks for sharing.

And yes, I think I understand the MOTU mixer well enough in theory, but have yet to do much with it other than some basic headphone routing, tuning my A and B sets of speakers to eachother, etc. I haven't played with effects at all, which is definitely something I should spend some time on. And, of course, once I'm recording bands, I will want to use the app so everyone can control their monitor mixes..

Thanks again! This is all very encouraging.

Oh, and as far as the rack, it's a 6RU gator case. I realized AFTER I got the MOTU that since it does indeed run pretty hot, I can probably only utilize 5RU total, as you were right to point out. So that leaves me with something like this:

Motu 828es
Daking IV
Furman Power Conditioner

and two open slots. One of which currently has a rack shelf for my GAP and M-Audio DMP3, the latter which for sure is getting replaced, the former which I'm holding on to until something obviously superior comes along and knocks it off.

So for the two open slots, it makes the most sense to get one 8-channel ADAT unit, and one other premium 2-4 channel unit, which gets me to 16-18 channels total, a respectable amount of inputs for live tracking. If I decided to get an 8RU or a supplementary 4RU case, I could add another 8 channels via ADAT, as well as a stereo pair of SPIDF inputs and fill whatever analog inputs I have left. The ceiling, without another MOTU unit, is 28 channels, which I think would be more than enough for anything I could throw at it at that point.

Anyways, per usual, I'm thinking aloud here and much appreciative of your input. You guys rock!
Old 26th March 2019 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Interesting that you have the Neve 5024 and the Audient 880, both of which are on my original shortlist. If you could only have one or the other, which would you prefer?
In my current situation, I'd take the Neve if it was only one or the other. Four preamps is enough for most of what I'm currently doing, and I'd get an interface like a MOTU with a few pres built in. Also, should I decide to liquidate, the Neve will sell quickly for more than the Audient. I nearly always at least think about resale value when buying, a habit from 40 years of guitar trading.

That said, I could easily use the 880 as my sole pre rack. It sounds superb, plenty of gain, and it's quiet. Also it has the other connectivity options built in. So if I was mainly renting out time, it would be the 880, because I'd need eight clean pres. The 5024 wouldn't bring in business. Nobody really knows what it is, so no value there. But the money saved from getting the 880 could go toward something higher profile, probably a U87.
Old 27th March 2019 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Those videos look awesome! Thanks for sharing.

And yes, I think I understand the MOTU mixer well enough in theory, but have yet to do much with it other than some basic headphone routing, tuning my A and B sets of speakers to eachother, etc. I haven't played with effects at all, which is definitely something I should spend some time on. And, of course, once I'm recording bands, I will want to use the app so everyone can control their monitor mixes..

Thanks again! This is all very encouraging.

Oh, and as far as the rack, it's a 6RU gator case. I realized AFTER I got the MOTU that since it does indeed run pretty hot, I can probably only utilize 5RU total, as you were right to point out. So that leaves me with something like this:

Motu 828es
Daking IV
Furman Power Conditioner

and two open slots. One of which currently has a rack shelf for my GAP and M-Audio DMP3, the latter which for sure is getting replaced, the former which I'm holding on to until something obviously superior comes along and knocks it off.

So for the two open slots, it makes the most sense to get one 8-channel ADAT unit, and one other premium 2-4 channel unit, which gets me to 16-18 channels total, a respectable amount of inputs for live tracking. If I decided to get an 8RU or a supplementary 4RU case, I could add another 8 channels via ADAT, as well as a stereo pair of SPIDF inputs and fill whatever analog inputs I have left. The ceiling, without another MOTU unit, is 28 channels, which I think would be more than enough for anything I could throw at it at that point.

Anyways, per usual, I'm thinking aloud here and much appreciative of your input. You guys rock!
I will share u what I'm planning for my rehearsal studio.

I want to have a room with over 25m2, with a Motu 8 Prees. and then have a control room with a 1248. just to be able to connect them without cables, it can easily save me the price of another interface (connection through AVB).

for over 3 years, I thought I understood Motu's mixer, but I didn't. it's really that powerful. if u are tracking live, u definitely should dig deeper. I would basically use the 8 preamps as preamps, and the ins and out of the 1248 for effects (with lexicon Pcm 80 / Yamaha spx 2000 / eventide / tc electronics m 5000). that way I can track with ambience / effects / delay, and then adjust them in the DAW after recording, but being able to print all at the same time, it can really save time, and affect performance at the same time.

for instance, u can get a Motu 624, and be able to monitor it far away. and u can even add effects / pedals through the headphone jacks, to send it back to the performers. the big question is how do u feel about Daking X MOTU preamps. if u think the difference is huge, and it will impact the performance, by all means go with Daking. if u think it doesn't effect enough to justify it, I would look for a motu 8 pre es. my impression (not scientific), is that motu preamps are very spiky. so the Motu's inbuilt compression solved that, and while there is a difference to my favored preamp, it's not as huge as being able to buy 2 motu 8 pre es instead of the preamp.

check the videos. I think, after many tests by myself who is very strict with latency, a good way to monitor urself is better than a better preamp. just my opinion. cheers.

edit: btw, if u are building an outside recording setup, u should definitely also consider the time u take setting it up. that's also a reason to look deep in Motu's mixers.
Old 27th March 2019 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
In my current situation, I'd take the Neve if it was only one or the other. Four preamps is enough for most of what I'm currently doing, and I'd get an interface like a MOTU with a few pres built in. Also, should I decide to liquidate, the Neve will sell quickly for more than the Audient. I nearly always at least think about resale value when buying, a habit from 40 years of guitar trading.

That said, I could easily use the 880 as my sole pre rack. It sounds superb, plenty of gain, and it's quiet. Also it has the other connectivity options built in. So if I was mainly renting out time, it would be the 880, because I'd need eight clean pres. The 5024 wouldn't bring in business. Nobody really knows what it is, so no value there. But the money saved from getting the 880 could go toward something higher profile, probably a U87.
Thanks, Kenny. I guess I'm thinking people will hear "Neve" and they won't care whether its a 1073, a high end clone, or a Portico, but you're probably right that something like a Neumman is going to have more name recognition.

How would you describe the Audient's pres? Everyone says they sound great, and that they are more of the "clean" variety, but they mention a "softness" or slight coloration that is pleasing. I'm curious if they will sound just like modern interface pres (which are getting pretty good), sound more like a high end Grace unit, or are something in between or completely different.
Old 27th March 2019 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
I will share u what I'm planning for my rehearsal studio.

I want to have a room with over 25m2, with a Motu 8 Prees. and then have a control room with a 1248. just to be able to connect them without cables, it can easily save me the price of another interface (connection through AVB).

for over 3 years, I thought I understood Motu's mixer, but I didn't. it's really that powerful. if u are tracking live, u definitely should dig deeper. I would basically use the 8 preamps as preamps, and the ins and out of the 1248 for effects (with lexicon Pcm 80 / Yamaha spx 2000 / eventide / tc electronics m 5000). that way I can track with ambience / effects / delay, and then adjust them in the DAW after recording, but being able to print all at the same time, it can really save time, and affect performance at the same time.

for instance, u can get a Motu 624, and be able to monitor it far away. and u can even add effects / pedals through the headphone jacks, to send it back to the performers. the big question is how do u feel about Daking X MOTU preamps. if u think the difference is huge, and it will impact the performance, by all means go with Daking. if u think it doesn't effect enough to justify it, I would look for a motu 8 pre es. my impression (not scientific), is that motu preamps are very spiky. so the Motu's inbuilt compression solved that, and while there is a difference to my favored preamp, it's not as huge as being able to buy 2 motu 8 pre es instead of the preamp.

check the videos. I think, after many tests by myself who is very strict with latency, a good way to monitor urself is better than a better preamp. just my opinion. cheers.

edit: btw, if u are building an outside recording setup, u should definitely also consider the time u take setting it up. that's also a reason to look deep in Motu's mixers.
Thanks, Michael. I am starting to see what you mean as far as the possibilities of the MOTU mixer. Is it stable enough to run live sound?

As far as MOTU vs Daking pres, I think for me what I'm trying to do is kill two birds with one stone - developing a rack of pres that I can take on the road, but also has premium channels of a few different flavors for when I'm tracking at home, or just doing a couple of channels at a time. Thus, while I would probably be happy with all MOTU pres, I've noticed enough difference in preamps that I like the idea of having some colors to play with. With the MOTU, I get the best of both worlds (MOTU pres, Analog Line Inputs, expandable via ADAT and SPDIF, all while being able to run all of the channels through the mixer DSP and routing). This isn't the cheapest build, but I think it will be the most versatile, and will let me experiment with several high quality preamps, which I am looking forward to.

I'd be really curious to see how your rehearsal space build goes, and would love to hear some tracks out of those MOTU units. I hope you keep us posted!
Old 27th March 2019 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjuxtable View Post
Thanks, Michael. I am starting to see what you mean as far as the possibilities of the MOTU mixer. Is it stable enough to run live sound?

As far as MOTU vs Daking pres, I think for me what I'm trying to do is kill two birds with one stone - developing a rack of pres that I can take on the road, but also has premium channels of a few different flavors for when I'm tracking at home, or just doing a couple of channels at a time. Thus, while I would probably be happy with all MOTU pres, I've noticed enough difference in preamps that I like the idea of having some colors to play with. With the MOTU, I get the best of both worlds (MOTU pres, Analog Line Inputs, expandable via ADAT and SPDIF, all while being able to run all of the channels through the mixer DSP and routing). This isn't the cheapest build, but I think it will be the most versatile, and will let me experiment with several high quality preamps, which I am looking forward to.

I'd be really curious to see how your rehearsal space build goes, and would love to hear some tracks out of those MOTU units. I hope you keep us posted!
I would love to show myself off, but I su*k. haha. that's one of the reasons I'm planning to build a rehearsal recording studio first, and then, if things work out, try to expand from there. been only doing this for 5 years, and most of the time in trial and error.

that's why instead of showing off, I pointed the videos instead haha. they talk a lot about monitoring. it's really mind blowing and it made a huge impact on me, and made me rethink a lot, preamps and monitoring included. if my plan succeeds, I will be very happy to show off many audios haha :]

but, u can see on Motu's website, that their interfaces are used by big names, in live shows etc. I think this kind of info is located on news. so as far as ur question goes, in my experience they are very stable. I will be making some avb tests, as my 828 pre es just arrived. will probably post the results on 1248 thread on music computers on Saturday or Sunday!
Old 29th March 2019 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I do think the sebatron is a nice unit and worthed..since you might like going in with synths or instruments directly and drive it since it's a tube unit (or keep it clean).

Although try the daking you've in the mail first, then decide if getting the sebatron or another daking.

That said I do have a couple of suggestions for you regarding eq's and comps for tracking and mixing.

EQ's:

- CAG HDE-250 (custom audio germany, look on facebook), fantastic eq, versatile and you could use it on the mix or for tracking (low and highs on shelf mode!)
For what is it it's incredibly inexpensive and incredibly well built (and I don't say this lightly).

- Gyraf G23-S, tube and/or solid state eq, very soft.. adds a "tape-like" quality (if that's what you want.. For tracking you could simply use the tilt, very smooth, balanced and effective. Only cons is that is stereo only (but you could use it on 1x mono stuff without problem).

If on the 500 series check out the new Avedis E12G.

COMPS:

- since you might like the daking, you might want to scout a pair of FET II (now unfortunately discontinued) or a FET 3..
Perfectly at ease with both tracking or 2bus material.

- on a less expensive level, you might want to consider the JDK R22, does its job well, also on the clean side. Imho is a nice piece.

Of course there are several other choices/pieces, these are imho rather affordable and great sounding (versatile and will last a lifetime).

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Cheu, I've been digging through all of your suggestions. Thank you so much! Lots of good options it appears. The Gyraf tilt EQ looks amazing! Won't be easy to get here in the US it appears.

I like your suggestion of getting a stereo compressor that could be used for both mix bus and tracking. Seems like a great way to dip my toes into outboard compression.

Between the Daking Fet II and FET III, the transformers and stepped pots of the II are really appealing, and the variable stereo link and HPF of the II, along with the price, make me lean towards it instead. Choices!

The JDK is even more attractive for the price. I'm a little concerned it doesn't have attack and release controls. I'll have to do some more research here. No rush, as plugs are getting me what I need for now, but I am curious about the accounts of "je ne sais quoi" that outboard gear seems to have.

Cheu, you rock!

Last edited by sirjuxtable; 29th March 2019 at 03:28 AM.. Reason: typo
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