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Who's Into DIY Mic Preamp Kits? Single-Channel Preamps
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Who's Into DIY Mic Preamp Kits?

I've been hearing for a while now that DIY preamp kits are becoming better and more predominant in the market. I've been getting into some soldering and electronics work anyway, so I really want to look into these things, but I don't know where to start.

Is it possible to obtain DIY kits of clones of name brand pres like Focusrite, Grace, Neve, etc? Or is this still strictly the domain of basement-shop companies? (Not to say that's a bad thing.)

Internet searches have returned companies like Five Fish and Seventh Circle...anyone care to comment on these or suggest others?

thanks
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
Here for the gear
 

I have Seventh Circle Audio N72's. They sound awesome. Way better than my FMR RNP or my Gap Pre-73. I've never used a real neve preamp. I am judging the sound based off of what I've used before. I have a rack of 8. They sound great with everything I put through them. Thick low end and smooth top end. Mids can be exaggerated by cranking the pre and backing off the output level.
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
DeadPoet's Avatar
Do a big search on those companies, they do deliver.

I've put together a SCA rack with 4xN72 and 4xA12 in jan 2010 and couldn't be more happy with it. Not hard to do because it is basically an IKEA kind of assembly.



Herwig
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pruner1 View Post
I have Seventh Circle Audio N72's. They sound awesome. Way better than my FMR RNP or my Gap Pre-73. I've never used a real neve preamp. I am judging the sound based off of what I've used before. I have a rack of 8. They sound great with everything I put through them. Thick low end and smooth top end. Mids can be exaggerated by cranking the pre and backing off the output level.
Funny you mention the RNP and GAP 73, b/c I'm a RNP user who has been considering the GAP. Thanks for your input. If you don't mind, could you elaborate on what you mean by "way better"?

Do you have 8 identical pres or do they offer different ones?

thanks again
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by numberforty1 View Post
Funny you mention the RNP and GAP 73, b/c I'm a RNP user who has been considering the GAP. Thanks for your input. If you don't mind, could you elaborate on what you mean by "way better"?

Do you have 8 identical pres or do they offer different ones?

thanks again
I guess "way better" doesn't really say much.. haha.
The RNP does the job and is full and clean. To me this is a step up from presonus.

The Gap pre-73, to me sounds better than the RNP. The sound is more upfront in the speakers and sounds larger. I can't drive this one as hard as my sca n72's. The Gap's distortion is not that great imo. Mine is stock.

The N72's are a step up from the Gap. The low end is tighter and the highs are smoother. I do think that the gap 73 has a more present high end than the n72's. I can also drive these at full gain with the output backed off to keep me from clipping my daw. Depending on what you're recording you can drive the preamp all the way and you'll yield a super "in your face", solid sound or on a louder source a nice fuzzy distortion.

I have 8 n72's. I hear the A12 are quite nice too. I'll be getting them next.

Happy New Year!
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I have A-12s and N-72's and they are both great.
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
ianbryn11's Avatar
 

you might want to try ClassicAPI's VP26.... i built one.. its great!

They also do 312 clones, and other cool stuff...
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 

On a philosophical note, the lunchbox format is all well and good IF you are prepared to spemd the necessary money on a rack/psu "on spec" before trying out your first home made pre or whatever.

For most people there is a significant investment to be made into something that could wind up just being a funny looking half empty box in your rack.

Agreed in the days of Kepexes and Gain Brains being ubiquitous this was less of an argument, but the whole equipment scene has widened
considerably since the days of those and the ISEP100 systems of yore.

I just don`t feel like spending more on the box to put it in than the first kit I build.

But I would like to try my hand at some DIY preamps.

Looking again at the SS stuff the power supply and 1U rack enclosure are a significant investment as well.

Maybe I need to go back to my old breadboarding ways and just have stuff hanging out of tobacco tins and powered by bench psu`s...
Old 1st January 2011
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
py75's Avatar
 

+1 for ClassicAPI's VP26, I get a VP26 and a VP25.
Sounds great and a real pleasure to build.

A good reason to go with the 500 Lunchbox is:
For a DIY preamp you don't have to manage the psu; 220v +48v.... tutt

PY
Old 1st January 2011
  #10
Gear Head
 

Built and SC A12 and N72, traded the N72 for another A12. They both sounded good, but I liked the A12 a little better (a little fuller to my ear, maybe mor bottom end?) and wanted a matched pair. Wondering if I was using the N72 right - might try it again someday. Also want to pick up one of their J99's one of these days. Wish they would add a compressor to their lineup.

A friend of mine really likes the Hamptone kits. Hamptone Home Page

All in all, you probably get good value for your money with kits, but they take some work. Buy for sound first, and if it happens to come in a kit, cool.

Mark
Old 1st January 2011
  #11
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Don't skip looking at the JLM kits. I had a set of four Baby Animals a few years ago, and they were great.
Old 1st January 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
On a philosophical note, the lunchbox format is all well and good IF you are prepared to spemd the necessary money on a rack/psu "on spec" before trying out your first home made pre or whatever.
Thanks, yea I didn't realize that most of these DIY pres were actually modules that needed to be installed in a rack. Are there options for stand-alone kits that come with a PSU and are self-contained?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
idylldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by py75 View Post
A good reason to go with the 500 Lunchbox is:
For a DIY preamp you don't have to manage the psu; 220v +48v.... tutt
PY
Power supplies are just about the simplest part of the build. There are NUMEROUS companies that make of off-the-shelf supplies or, if you want to go the DIY route, there are NUMEROUS suppliers of quality power supply kits and parts.

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I gotta say,,,, +3 for the VP26 and associated pre's from Jeff at CAPI. Top notch. I do not miss my 512C's at all.....
Old 2nd January 2011
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I gotta say,,,, +3 for the VP26 and associated pre's from Jeff at CAPI. Top notch. I do not miss my 512C's at all.....
+4! I sold my 3124+ after finishing my four VP26.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
ianbryn11's Avatar
 

yea, the lunchbox thing is a choice you'll have to figure out for yourself... I will say, that the lunchbox alone in my opinion has a great value in any recording studio.... and, It is kind of nice to not have to build a case, and wire everything up the way other DIY projects have to be done... the beauty of the API VP26 is that as soon as i was finished i just dropped it in and it worked... Also, Jeff was very helpfull with answering any newb questions i had... ANd his instruction manual for assembling the VP26... Top notch!thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup the first time i picked up a soldering iron was to build this preamp.... i really should build some more...

There is also a cool one i have been wanting to try from Dripelectronics.com

A redd 47 tube preamp.... I just build an LA2a from that company, and it sounds amazing!! i mean seriously amazing....
Old 2nd January 2011
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Randyman...'s Avatar
 

Rocking 16 Channels of SCA over 'yander (8x A12, 4x N72, 2x J99, 2x C84). Never a regret. Now I'm getting into DIY Compressors. No brainer if you have the will and some basic electrical knowledge. Saved me tons and taught me tons, too!

DIY - Index = The Bomb!!!

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