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Advice on mic-preamp for max $2.000 Single-Channel Preamps
Old 21st December 2010
Gear Addict
nicogrubert's Avatar

Advice on mic-preamp for max $2.000

Hi folks

I have had my first vocal session with a professional female singer last weekend and I am very interested to work more with vocals.
However, I am a newbe in recording vocals but I don't want to buy a cheap pre-amp just to realize a couple of months later that I need a better one.

I am looking for a mic pre amp or channel strip for max. $ 2.000 (new or used).

I looked around and read some reviews and I came up with this list of interesting candidates:
- SPL Frontliner
- Avalon VT-737

Any good or bad user reviews about them and any recommendations for other pre amps / channel strips are much appreciated.

My current setup:
- Neumann KMS 105 microphone
- PC, i920 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Win XP SP 3
- Ableton Live 8
- RME HDSP 9632
- RME Fireface 400
- Focusrite Liquid Mix
- UAD-2 quad with almost every UAD plugin
- Other plugins: Lexicon native, SPL, Softube, Brainworx, Elysia, Sonnox

I have a Moog slim phatty and a DSI tetra and if the pre-amp is useful to record the synths - it would be a nice addon, but it's not that important.
My main focus is on recording female vocals and my male vocals and to record some thrown in sounds (HiHat like sounds which I make with my mouth for instance).

Would you suggest a channel strip or a pure mic-preamp? I have a lot of nice plugins to edit the recorded vocals later so I am wondering if I really need a tool that comes with EQ, de-esser, compressor, etc.

Thanks in advance
Old 21st December 2010
If you're looking for a single channel preamp, then I'd go with a 610mkII. One of my all-time favourite pres... It sounds nothing short of amazing on vocals, and is much better than any SPL pre you'll try. If you're looking for multi channel, the 4-710 is a great unit, not just for the price. It sounds great, has a built-in 8 channel converter, 4 710 preamps and 1176 type compression on each preamp channel, as well as a digital limiter to make sure you don't clip before you hit your DAW.
Old 21st December 2010
Lives for gear

I don't know anything good or bad about the preamps you have listed. I do think, however, that there are some staples that may be better choices. The Great River MP2NV is excellent on vocals and synths. You could pick up a used one for under $2,000. Another good option would be the John Hardy M1, but this does not have a DI for synths. There are a million great preamps. If you can try out a few, you should. Other pres that get high marks are the A Designs Pacifica, the Buzz Audio stuff, Aurora Audio pres, and about a million others. Good luck.
Old 21st December 2010
Gear Nut
Rob The Viking's Avatar
the BAE1073 DMP is around 1k, sounds really nice. i had the 6176 (610 and 1176) for 5 or so years, i liked it, but i like the DMP better
Old 21st December 2010
Gear Addict
nicogrubert's Avatar

just a short note about the music I record the vocals and sounds for, if this is important...
-> style: deep house, tech-house
Old 22nd December 2010
Here for the gear

Avalon 737 for sale!!

I have a basically brand new Avalon 737 anniversary edition for sale!! I bought this piece brand new in August of 2010 and have only used it a handful of times. I am asking $1500 for it.. I am looking to get a different preamp that I really need on my next project so I am not trying to make any extra off of it.. I payed list price of $2400 for it so its a good deal.. Let me know if you are interested.. Thanks!!

Old 22nd December 2010
Gear Addict
nicogrubert's Avatar

Do you like the Avalon 737, Matt?
Old 3rd February 2011
Gear Head
RealMusician's Avatar

you can not beat a Avalon VT-737 for vocals! it is so so warm and the eq is buttery smooooooth, the compressor will make your tracks smooth and fat with out killing your dynamics.
We use a Neumann tlm 103 paired with the Avalon 737

For Bass, Kick, Vocals & Di Guitar you cant beat it!
Old 1st March 2011
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by RealMusician View Post
you can not beat a Avalon VT-737 for vocals! it is so so warm and the eq is buttery smooooooth, the compressor will make your tracks smooth and fat with out killing your dynamics.
We use a Neumann tlm 103 paired with the Avalon 737

For Bass, Kick, Vocals & Di Guitar you cant beat it!
How is Avalon 737 with synths?any good?
Old 31st March 2012
Just to add some spice to the soup: mic is much more important, especially if you want more "mojo". My philosophy is to use as clean preamp as I can, so I made it myself and it's a "wire with a gain" . Combine it with a nice palette of mics... So out of these you mentioned I would actually go with SPL GainStation, and invest into a few different mics like Blue, Sure, AT, AKG. I tend to prefer dynamic mics on vocals. My favourite vocal mics are actually Sennheiser MD431 and Sure SM7B. I like aggressive vocals...

Well, in the end it all comes down to what sound you're looking for.

Old 1st April 2012
Lives for gear
dickiefunk's Avatar
Both the UA 610 and SPL 9844 are really great pres. Of the two I kept the UA 610.

I'm also a big fan of Focusrite stuff and have a Liquid Channel and ISA One digital. The Liquid channel is great and offers a lot of different tones in one convenient box and is extremely quiet! The ISA pre also sounds great on vocals so with your budget maybe an ISA 430 mkII?

The bottom line is all of the pres you listed and other people have recommended are capable of top notch recordings so it's down to what sound and feature set you prefer!
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