The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
The preamp craze Audio Interfaces
Old 3rd September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 
thepilgrimsdream's Avatar
 

The preamp craze

I have generally been finding two boats of people.

Preamps make all of the difference in the world. You must have good preamps
and
Preamps are overrated, and people just go crazy about them.


I have been finding that preamps dont make much of a difference to me until i start multi tracking and all the layers add up, and the less favorable characteristics start piling up on top of each other.

I have used some UA, Avalon and own some Seventh Circle Audio. And they really are making a difference over my profire 2626 pres

What do you guys think?
Old 3rd September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
I think the "build up" thing is a farce perpetuated because people can hear NO difference between most pres in solo. You hear what you want to hear, and when you're spending thousands, you make yourself hear SOME difference just to rationalize the purchase.

If you have a decent, noiseless pre with good gain, you can make great music that people will love. Spend your money on microphones. They make a much bigger difference when "building" tracks.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I think every experienced engineer will agree that pre amps will make a big difference. The difference is some people feel its advantageous to use a wider range of different mic pres, and some feel you are better off (or just as good) using one single style of mic pre.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Yeah, right...'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I think every experienced engineer will agree that pre amps will make a big difference. The difference is some people feel its advantageous to use a wider range of different mic pres, and some feel you are better off (or just as good) using one single style of mic pre.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
In the transformation from analog to digital the need for outboard preamps has been one of the biggest benefits. The market and competition have given us the ability to own a single channel or two of some of the best pres ever created. Who could argue that there is no advantage to having the choice?
Old 3rd September 2011
  #6
Gear Addict
 

One client showed up just because I had a couple of 312´s , everybody loves these preamps, actually my clients choose between preamps, musicians know more about preamps now, than ever did.
why? maybe the forums......sweetwater...hehe
Old 3rd September 2011
  #7
Old 3rd September 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
mikeyrad's Avatar
 

If a certain pre sounds good for a session use it! If a certain mic sounds good for a session use it!

Experiment and listen! Not sure why this is still a discussion
Old 3rd September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Xperienced's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I think every experienced engineer will agree that pre amps will make a big difference.
No.

But please do keep drinking the Kool Aid. Anything to slow down my potential competitors.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #10
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xperienced View Post
No.

But please do keep drinking the Kool Aid. Anything to slow down my potential competitors.
I will be GLAD if my potential competitors think they can get away with cheap preamps. So keep it up.

If you can help convince them that microphones, converters and room treatments don't matter either, that would be a big help. TIA.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
There are a lot of Chefs out there who will tell you that you can't taste the difference in fresh seafood versus frozen, or farm fresh produce versus cold storage. It's up to you to decide realistically what level of production quality you need or want to be at.

If you can't hear the difference a good preamp will make upon its source then hopefully or most likely you don't do this for a profession. If you're just a guy in "your city" recording music for yourself or local clients then "pragmatically" it's not that big of a deal. If you are one of the few real pros in the record business who rarely surface here, then it will be very important.

I always tell people, get a reality check. You can book the finest studios in the world now for the price of a dinner in NYC. So you don't really need to create project studios with outstanding gear lists, whether you record "local" clients for a living or not.

At the same time I know a lot of "part time" musicians and singer songwriters who will invest in a high quality instrument and perhaps a vocal or recording chain and stop there. There's no question that "quality sound" from a lovely instrument can be creatively inspiring, the same can be said for the chain recording it. Anyone in the "creative arts" who can't bring themselves to acknowledge that reality is usually a bitter person who never really rose to the aspirations they had of critical acclaim from their peers. And there's nothing wrong with being bitter it's helped Kanye a lot
Old 3rd September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepilgrimsdream View Post
I have generally been finding two boats of people.

Preamps make all of the difference in the world. You must have good preamps
and
Preamps are overrated, and people just go crazy about them.


I have been finding that preamps dont make much of a difference to me until i start multi tracking and all the layers add up, and the less favorable characteristics start piling up on top of each other.

I have used some UA, Avalon and own some Seventh Circle Audio. And they really are making a difference over my profire 2626 pres

What do you guys think?
I think the "pre craze" is just a personality trait to being a gear slut which I`m not... I can get by with my 737s. And once you get a Lunchbox, its very hard to live with all those empty slots staring at you. Its a hoarding thing.
Old 4th September 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Microphones do arguably yield a wider difference, but it is laughable to believe that different preamps do not sound different. It would almost like saying all mixing consoles sound the same. : P
The topology of the pre will yield different harmonic distortion characteristics as well as many more artifacts. How can anyone possibly believe that this does not sound different. Of course you can make a record with one good pre, but you can also make that same record with one good microphone. Both should be considered as tools within the audio palette for use in creating the finished piece. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.


www.aisle6.com.au
[email protected]
Old 4th September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 

We should start at least 27 more threads like this.

It just hasnt been discussed enough thus far.

Old 4th September 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
Considering that 99.9% of peeps these days are tracking digital and then mixing ITB with plugins for all the processing, I would say that different coloured preamps are HUGELY important.

And that's just to arrive at something that, in the end, sounds modestly decent (IOW, not utterly wretched) and nowhere even close to great.

Old 4th September 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Michael T's Avatar
 

Well considering how ****ty, harsh, and 2 dimensional digital "mixing" sounds, it's highly understandable. In digital, massive cuts are needed to make instuments gel together. With analog, less cutting is needed as the instruments fall together much easier. Let's not even talk about the front to back. When working with digital, that "sound" must be captured before hitting the disc, otherwise, it's lost.
Old 4th September 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
suedesound's Avatar
 

for me, i can dork out in a studio with a ton of different pre's finding the right one for the right source. i have also done some great stuff using just the pre's on the ssl and heard no "stacking" problems at all. the only way i can possibly understand the whole "stacking theory" is if you're recording everything through one pre with a lot of "character". if i were building a studio setup i would go for mostly clean fast pre's and get a couple of vibe/tube whatever pre's to add to the palette and call it a day.
Old 4th September 2011
  #18
Gear Addict
 

As long as it's a good quality pre, I'm not usually too fussed on which particular one I am using. Yeah it makes a difference, but so does moving a mic 2cm. So does subtracting 1dB of eq at some frequency. So does turning a fader up by 1dB.

Get something good, plug your mic in and move on to capturing performances.
Old 4th September 2011
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by reflixtinian View Post
One client showed up just because I had a couple of 312´s , everybody loves these preamps, actually my clients choose between preamps, musicians know more about preamps now, than ever did.
why? maybe the forums......sweetwater...hehe
This is becoming a problem...I had a session two days ago with an artist I've worked with many times ...he knows what I can and can;t do

So we overdub a guitar with an 87 as a room mic...and he wants to do a vocal...he says

"OK...what mic should we use for vox."

Me "that 87"

Him "are you sure...should we try a couple and A/B some different pres?

Me "No"

Him "Why not"

Me "because we dont need to...if we get going and we dont like what we are hearing then we'll change the mic"

Him "what about the pre"

Me "the pre amps we are using are good"

Me "Go get the singer and let's get going here"

Him "OK"

This type of questioning can be OK I guess, but there comes a point when questioning every move an engineer makes becomes counter productive...and then you have to become an A-Hole and start ignoring that the bass player's buddy's uncle bought a pair of Neve's and swears the tracks mix themselves in his basement.

It's not the point that anyone is wrong...it's that we need to get work done and dont have time to do ridiculous A/B tests all the time...that's what experience is for...to help you make a choice and get on with making music

PS I dont love the 312 i Have left a 3124 sitting idle for my last eight sessions and used cheaper pres....why? because they don;t do that 312 thing
Old 4th September 2011
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael T View Post
In digital, massive cuts are needed to make instuments gel together..
Old 4th September 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
suedesound's Avatar
 

fully agreed, there comes a point where you have a good mic plugged into a good pre already and you just go for it. whatever vibe that was being felt at the time to record that part may be completely lost by a/bing everything imaginable in the chain. i.e if the performer is ready to go with an idea, will it make that much of a difference if it's going through a shadow hills, gml or ssl pre...most likely not. i've plugged straight into a digimax when the patchbay was all off at a studio and just went with it to get the moment, record still came out ok.
Old 4th September 2011
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Ijustmake-Beats's Avatar
 

i guess every engineer will inevitably develop their 'sound' based on their preferred gear incl preamps. I think that is a part of what the client pays for ideally. A bit of flexibility is probably a good thing most cases, or complete flexibility if the money is right and the client requires knows what they want and needs you to adapt to their preferences, or wants someone to explore with them. If they're paying for the journey then what the hey, long as they understand that.

Also, I find preamps make a huge difference to overall sound, especially as itb and even most consoles generally sway towards clean these days. When it comes to tones and textures they can open up so many different directions. But, when it comes to highend preamps I'd say it's more about personal likes and dislikes than right and wrong. That's why there's room for engineers to develop a sound of their own or learn how to achieve a number of different results at least.

Sent from my HTC Liberty using Gearslutz.com App
Old 4th September 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

for the record...I am getting the most vintage sounding drums (which I like) from using a non boutique. open fast reasonably priced pre that isn't a chandler, neve, API or DW fearn...it isn;t the pre that's doing it...it's because I'm using 16 of the same pre to record beds off the floor.

Just sayin
Old 4th September 2011
  #24
nkf
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael T View Post
Well considering how ****ty, harsh, and 2 dimensional digital "mixing" sounds, it's highly understandable. In digital, massive cuts are needed to make instuments gel together. With analog, less cutting is needed as the instruments fall together much easier. Let's not even talk about the front to back. When working with digital, that "sound" must be captured before hitting the disc, otherwise, it's lost.
What a funny posting. Found the evil in your live? I mix and produce now 20 years digital and my results were very well received. Classical music is mixed digital since around this time too. Guess what? To make the evil, dark side even stronger I now mostly use digital microphones, bypassing the need of any preamp ...
Old 4th September 2011
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I think every experienced engineer will agree that pre amps will make a big difference. .
I said "no" and now I'm editing my answer to "have no idea if I agree with that statement". The change is because I forgot that so many are only working with sound cards and computers. I use consoles and tape ... well and also computers.

Preamps probably are a bit more important (or at least a bit more of a variable you can actually control) if you only have a computer and sound card. I guess. Maybe. I dunno. It was never ever ever ever ever a topic that I saw in the 60s-70s.

By the way, I'll go off topic for a sec and say again that GS is a darn cool place. The bickering and repeated topics are okay too since the topics always give me new ideas of stuff to bring in to try for myself.

Last edited by thenoodle; 4th September 2011 at 11:37 PM.. Reason: changed my answer
Old 4th September 2011
  #26
I don't really find that i need a billion of them. I've sold off a few of them and cut down quite a bit. i found a few units i like alot and I'm sticking with those.

i did however pick those few units from a selection of pre's because i liked there sound. and to be honest, when playing with higher end pre's compared to these few units i found, i didn't really hear such a discernible difference that i was ready to chip em in for the high end.

but i don't have a dedicated clientele base or anything. I'm just a basement guy.
Old 4th September 2011
  #27
007
Lives for gear
 
007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael T View Post
Well considering how ****ty, harsh, and 2 dimensional digital "mixing" sounds, it's highly understandable. In digital, massive cuts are needed to make instuments gel together. With analog, less cutting is needed as the instruments fall together much easier. Let's not even talk about the front to back. When working with digital, that "sound" must be captured before hitting the disc, otherwise, it's lost.
Well then, I'd venture to guess that 'that sound' must also be captured before hitting the console/tape in the analog world. If your sound source is mediocre, mixing in analog will not restore what hasn't been properly captured to begin with. So, the notion that 'massive cuts needed for things to gel together in digital' seems a little off. You can get great mixes in digital if things were recorded properly at the source. It might impart a different flavor than running everything through a board, and one might simply prefer analog, which is all great and understandable, but if you're still getting ****ty, harsh and 2 dimensional digital mixes in 2011, then you're doing something wrong.
Old 4th September 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple View Post
As long as it's a good quality pre, I'm not usually too fussed on which particular one I am using. Yeah it makes a difference, but so does moving a mic 2cm. So does subtracting 1dB of eq at some frequency. So does turning a fader up by 1dB.

Get something good, plug your mic in and move on to capturing performances.
I get your overall point , but just for conversations sake, if someone told me you have 2 choices; Either you move the mic 2 cm and continue to use the Mackie 1202, or you leave the mic where it is and switch to your lunch box pres, I would gladly choose the latter. And I would bet the latter would sound better.

Why, mic position doesn't matter? No, of course it does. But because you can move a mic all day long through a **** ass pre and obtain only marginally different results, sometimes they might be subjectively better, but often they're just different. Plug in a great pre and ALL the mic positions sound better than through the crap ass pre.

A common mantra is the mic makes more difference. This is of course true, but consider this; you could have a huge mic collection, but on any given source most of those mics won't be used.....but the preamp will.

In other words, while the U47 sits on the sidelines while you use the 57 instead, the mic pre is always busy making every mic, and every track more effective and compelling. Making it a good return on investment, in my view.
Old 4th September 2011
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael T View Post
Well considering how ****ty, harsh, and 2 dimensional digital "mixing" sounds, it's highly understandable. In digital, massive cuts are needed to make instuments gel together. With analog, less cutting is needed as the instruments fall together much easier. Let's not even talk about the front to back. When working with digital, that "sound" must be captured before hitting the disc, otherwise, it's lost.
this also doesn't make any sense from a frequency stand point.
Old 4th September 2011
  #30
Lives for gear
 
thepilgrimsdream's Avatar
 

What I'm finding that with the preamps on the interfaces that I've used seem to get fatiguing to my ears from all the places ive been in.

I have tried several motu, the 003, i own the profire 2626.

When i put some decent pre's it just opens up a lot.

I don't give in the craze about a/b-ing all the different pre's for every source. But i find that everything i record sounds decent, but there are some distinct foggy spots depending on the interfaces pre's. This could also be looked at as a room treatment issue, but i've used them all over the place with different mics and talent. But I have found when i use nicer pre's i spend wayyy less time EQing to happiness
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump