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Digidesign PRE Audio Interfaces
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
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Vytis's Avatar
Digidesign PRE

I'm after a clean (transparent) preamp for voice over, ADR and foley recording. Been looking at the Digidesign PRE Since these go used for $800 or so and I need at least 3 channels. I can also recall channel settings from within Pro Tools - sounds pretty good! Any experience? How does it compare to Grace or Sytek? There doesn't seem to be much info or reviews on these units so I thought I'd ask here.
Cheers.
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
The quality of Digi's pres are dubious at best. I have a C|24 console/control surface installed and when I first made the decision to have this unit, I planned on using the 16 built in pre's as back-ups and support... but they are unusable.

They are truly awful, at least for me from my findings. Those are the ones I can speak to. The pres in the 003 are likewise low-end. I have one of those also. I previously owned a Digi002 which did have 1/2-decent pres for some applications such as speech. I don't know why they decided to downgrade, but they have made unusable (to me and my peers) units since.

Which specific model(s) did you have in mind?

Kind regards,

Ward
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
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I don't believe the Pres...in the Pre, are even remotely the same.

You might ring up Coleman Rogers about this. I think he was doing some mods to the PRE at one point. He spoke fairly well of them. Eight channels for 800...controllable, not a bad deal.

If in fact they are the same as in an 003...I'd have to agree with Vytis.
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
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Ward,

He's talking about the model called PRE :-) It's nothing like the C24 or 003, the PRE is actually a very nice box!!
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
I stand corrected, and appreciate your subsequent replies.

So, we are referring to this:



Humblest regards,

Ward

Edit 1: Added an image

Edit 2: Have read several reviews of the Digi Pre and think it might be a usable solution as asked for by the OP. Now, an someone weigh in with a Slutz review and compare it to pre's we all know and love/hate? Thanks!

Last edited by Ward Pike; 1st January 2011 at 07:42 PM.. Reason: something to add, beats the heck out of another post
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
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I've used the Digi PRE on multiple occasions alongside Hardy M1s on large, concert band recordings. The digi pres were used on the spot mics and IMO sounded fine as a utility box. Not great, but not worse than anything else in their price range.

Now my very serious complaints...

1. The stepped gain controls make an audible noise when adjusting and YES...this noise is present in the signal. Unbelievable design oversight.

2. The convoluted selector switch / horizontal, vertical matrix is incredibly annoying to use on the fly in a high pressure situation. You have to select a channel before you can adjust anything. REALLY annoying IMO and prone to mistakes...be sure you grab the right channel!

Z
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
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EV676's Avatar
It's in the rack at work with the rest of my HD-2 system. It's for voice over recording since I do audio post work. For those purposes it's fine as for me it's 'set and forget' It sees a variety of microphones from AT2035s to 414s and Heil PR40's. It has just enough gain to work with an RCA 77DX.

I do have Summit Audio TLA-50's patched into the inserts of the 3 channels I normally use. I like the color they provide.

I agree that it might be a challenge to use it in a live situation and the zipper noise of the gain controls reminds me of early Euphonics consoles!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #8
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really rather good

I couldn't find anything about this box when I was considering it to go with my ICON.
They actually sound pretty good.... solid , focused and present. Full of features, but I suspect they lack the look of boutique gear, so nobody likes to offer an opinion.
I use them in conjunction with more 'character ' pres, but recording through these, and using 'HEAT' , sounds way better than I could have hoped when I purchased the ICON system. The stepped click is a pain, and the auto recall can be dangerous with ribbon mics, but the advantages of total recall of a multi mic setup outweigh these niggles . I really recommend the PRE.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
PDC
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The fact that they make noise is normal. It is common for that design/topology. This has been addressed.

I have had 24 channels of the PREs, now have 16. They are very clean, very quiet and sound great. There are many Digi haters opening their mouths about these, when they have no experience. I have used them, since the week they were released, in mobile recording rigs. They have been reliable and not one time complained about.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
The fact that they make noise is normal. It is common for that design/topology. This has been addressed..

when you say "this has been addressed", do you mean 'this has been talked about before' or do you mean 'this has now been fixed'?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

To the original poster, I have a Pre and intended to use it for the VO and broadcast sessions we do. Get the Grace instead. In use, it is much quieter - a big deal when using an SM7 or 421 on a spoken voice. The Grace is also a versatile pre, we use them on tracking sessions all the time (drums, dobro, steel, BGVs), can't say the same for the Digi Pre. The only feature it brings to the game (instant recall / dig. control) is more than negated by it's mediocrity in the sound department.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
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You mean the Grace 802 at 4600.00, or the Grace 801 at 4200.00

Or maybe the 201....2 channels for 1550.00

He's talking 8 channels for 800.00 Lol...you must REALLY dislike it.
Old 6th January 2011
  #13
PDC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
when you say "this has been addressed", do you mean 'this has been talked about before' or do you mean 'this has now been fixed'?
The noise has been addressed. Other amps of the same design/topology also make noise when the stepped gain controls are adjusted.
Old 14th January 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
The noise has been addressed. Other amps of the same design/topology also make noise when the stepped gain controls are adjusted.
Most modern preamps with stepped gain (that I have used), also offer a fully variable output trim to address the problem of small to moderate gain changes during tracking. Considering the "hi-tech" nature of the digi pre (remote, recalls etc) I find it disappointing that there is no way around the noise. Sometimes you just need to grab a gain pot during a performance...

Z
Old 26th January 2011
  #15
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Vytis's Avatar
Thanks for your opinions, very much appreciated!
I'm now being offered one for a very good price and am thinking whether to pull the trigger. Will it be a step up from my Focusrite Liquid pres?...
Old 27th January 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vytis View Post
Thanks for your opinions, very much appreciated!
I'm now being offered one for a very good price and am thinking whether to pull the trigger. Will it be a step up from my Focusrite Liquid pres?...
I can't say it's a step up---it's different. Do you have the Liquid Channel or the Liquid 4Pre? Either way it's the same pre, but the pre and circuitry itself on those boxes are of very high quality. Likewise on the Digi pre it is of very high quality, but it's a more neutral clean sound. Is it a step up? No, but it's not a step down either----it's an equally good pre that offers 8-channels of pre for a great price, especially if you're getting a good deal on a used one it sounds like.
Old 29th January 2011
  #17
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Vytis's Avatar
Digidesign PRE

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons
I can't say it's a step up---it's different. Do you have the Liquid Channel or the Liquid 4Pre? Either way it's the same pre, but the pre and circuitry itself on those boxes are of very high quality.
I have the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 - it's got two Liquid pres built in and I connect it via ADAT to my PTHD setup. I'm not sure how different they are from the 4Pre, but I don't need all the emulations, just 2-3 channels of clean uncoloured sound and lots of headroom. Is there anything better in the 1k range? I think I'll go for the Digi PRE.
Old 29th January 2011
  #18
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The DIGI PRE is highly under-rated---but how good is a very good price? The thing is, the pres on the unit you own are actually quite good---but is replacing those pres with this a better solution? I don't know, that's what we're waiting to find out as it depends on the price.
Old 29th January 2011
  #19
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Vytis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
is replacing those pres with this a better solution? I don't know, that's what we're waiting to find out as it depends on the price.
I've been offered a mint Digidesign PRE for $800. I need a maximum of 4 channels, so let's say it's $200/channel second hand, but I don't want any of the low end stuff... This thread is in the high end forum because I'm after high end quality. Price, while important, is a secondary factor. I just thought the Digi PRE was a high end piece at a low end price (well, the new Avid PRE is around $2400 brand new).
Is $800 a good deal?
Old 29th January 2011
  #20
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vytis View Post
I've been offered a mint Digidesign PRE for $800. I need a maximum of 4 channels, so let's say it's $200/channel second hand, but I don't want any of the low end stuff... This thread is in the high end forum because I'm after high end quality. Price, while important, is a secondary factor. I just thought the Digi PRE was a high end piece at a low end price (well, the new Avid PRE is around $2400 brand new).
Is $800 a good deal?
Oh for $800 jump on that!! :-)
Old 29th January 2011
  #21
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T_R_S's Avatar
Yes I agrees DID pre's are under rated this recording was done on Digi Pre's
Old 4th May 2013
  #22
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barryjohns's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
Yes I agrees DID pre's are under rated this recording was done on Digi Pre's
I can live with that!
Old 5th May 2013
  #23
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I actually just bought one on eBay for 700 bucks. Looked mint in the pics.

I have never seen one for that little. Usually go for around 900-1000 used.
Old 5th May 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
Yes I agrees DID pre's are under rated this recording was done on Digi Pre's
One thing I do have to ask though, was that mic straight to digi pre straight to converter? That would be the real test.

I plan to use the digi pre for drums in a remote location I record at regularity (a Church). We are not talking about a Grammy here!
Old 5th May 2013
  #25
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T_R_S's Avatar
Mic straight into the DIGI pre's - Mogami Dsub straight to A/D - no patch bay either.
Old 6th May 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
Yes I agrees DID pre's are under rated this recording was done on Digi Pre's
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
Mic straight into the DIGI pre's - Mogami Dsub straight to A/D - no patch bay either.
I knew I could count on you to chime in on such an old thread. I am feeling very good about my decision! Having to take so many other Pre's out of my rack was something I really wanted to minimize. My lunchbox is easy, but to un-rack other pre's is really a pain.

I have some great pre's already, but the thought of having to lug so much around has really been a pain.
Old 9th May 2013
  #27
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It's really nice having the pre's in the tracking room out of the control room shorter mic cable run too.
I had 4 Digi pre's and recently replaced 2 of the with Millenia Remote versions.
The Melinnia's sound nice but not 3K nicer IMO. but I can afford it so matters not.

Old 9th May 2013
  #28
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barryjohns's Avatar
 

Well, hum, if you have some more cash, I can give you my paypal to donate to my gear fund!
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