Best buy in a mid range Mic Preamp for home use?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by odourboy, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. odourboy

    odourboy Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    As the title states, I'm looking for suggestions for a decent quality mic preamp for home recording. I don't think I need a Universal Audio quality, but a step up form the entry level stuff would be appropriate.

    The two channel units with integrated compression and EQ like the Joemeek TwinQ or the Focusrite Twintrack pro are appealing - this is sort of ballpark I think I want to be in. Since I'm always happy to save a buck, older discontinued models I could pick up used are still fair game.

    Suggestions, recommendations or warnings would appreciated.

    Cheers!
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Messages:
    27,418
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    FMR's RNP and GT's Brick are the only two that would be considered a step up from any of the entry level stuff.

    If you need more channels, the Sytek MP4-XAII would be your best buy.

    After that, you're into the $500+/channel stuff like API, Great River, etc.

    Loudboy
     
  3. mdog114

    mdog114 Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    +1

    :)
     
  4. isfahani

    isfahani Member

    Messages:
    487
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Bellari Tube Compressor/Limiter... or just the straight pre - usually found used on ebay for $200 to $300
     
  5. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,475
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MD
    The ART Pro Channel is decent. I wouldn't bother with any of their cheaper stuff though.

    A used Presonus Eureka (the early ones had Jensen transformers).
     
  6. odourboy

    odourboy Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    Thanks fellows! I'm reading up on all the suggestions you've made so far.
     
  7. opdev

    opdev Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Boston Area
    I am going to post this as a separate topic but. I just bought an RNP because I assumed the pres on my presonus firepod were not great. I run the RNP into the line in of my firepod. When using line in, the gain knob is a trip -10dB - +10db. I set it straight up so no gain comes from the firepod


    I guess my confusion is

    1) I recorded a vocal with the SM57. I went XLR into presonus pre channel 3 and got a nice level. I had "almost" maxed out the gain for this but I still had a few clicks for headroom.

    2) Then I ran the 57 into the rnp. Ran TS out of rnp output into line in channel 3 and set the trim at 12 o'clock.

    To get a similar signal as 1) , I was at ~60db on the RNP and the results sounded pretty similar to me. I am confused since I read in the manual the max of the firepod is +55db. SO why similar levels?

    I was expecting a big difference with the RNP and I am not hearing it. I repeated the experiment with my MXL 603S and my Martin and got similar results. If I really stretch it I might say the RNP has a VERY slight clarity improvement but I bet I could not tell which was which if you mixed up my recordings.

    The RNP was more money than I paid for the firepod and I was hoping to hear a significant difference.

    Maybe doing something wrong?

    Sorry to hijack but I blindly ran out and bought RNP after hearing all the great things folks say and I am worried I bought into hype and the presonus pres are just as good.
     
  8. odourboy

    odourboy Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    No no! This is great stuff! I want a raging debate on the sonic merits of a Great River versus a Presonus versus my cheap Eurodesk console preamps.

    BTW, I came across a good post that I'll cut and past here as a PSA. Notice how nicely it aligns with the loudboy's recommendation:

    The best quality "affordable" offerings were:

    The Groove Tubes Brick $399
    http://www.groovetubes.com/
    http://www.musictoolz.pl/_d/sprzet/grooveTubes/studyjny/theBrick_1.jpg

    FMR Audio RNP (really nice preamp) $475.00 (at mercenary.com)
    http://www.fmraudio.com/productspage.htm
    http://www.fmraudio.com/images/RNP_front_panel.gif

    The DAV electronics BG-1 $690.00 (direct sale only)
    http://www.davelectronics.com/index.htm

    The Universal Audio 610 and 110/Solo $799.00
    http://www.uaudio.com/products/analog/index.html
    http://www.uaudio.com/NewFiles/solos_pair.gif


    The AMI TAB Funkenwerk V78 $975.00
    http://www.mercenary.com/amitav.html
    http://www.tab-funkenwerk.com/v78 SING.jpg

    and the Brent Averill 1272 Single Channel pre $1089
    http://www.brentaverill.com/1272/
    http://www.brentaverill.com/1272/images/h1184_1272_1.jpg

    You'll note that some are single channel pres and some are 2 channel.

    Beyond this, it really makes more sense to get into the API 500 series compatible racks and lunchboxes.

    http://www.apiaudio.com/ph3_5006b_l.jpg
     
  9. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,475
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MD
    Wow, you went from wanting a sub $500 channel strip in a box to a +$1k single channel preamp. I can see you're already in trouble. :D

    I hear a substantial difference between a Great River pre and a budget mixer pre and it's due to both the quality and more so, the topology. The difference between a Great River and Pacifica pre, for example, are much less obvious. This also goes back to what opdev was saying. Similar topologies should sound similar, assuming they're designed to amplify the signal with minimum amounts of noise or distortion. I would be looking at something with transformers in & out if you want to hear a big difference over the ones found in your interface.
     
  10. odourboy

    odourboy Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    WRONG!! :) This is for home use and I'm no pro.... if I can get 98% for $200, I think I'd be quite satisfied.

    It might be useful to indicate my mic complement:
    two dynamics: Shure SM57, Sennheiser E609,
    two condensers: Rode NT3, Samson C03

    My primary interest is (but not limited to) micing electric guitar cabs.

    Hope that helps to show where I'm comig from. Probably should have put this in the first post.
     
  11. puls

    puls Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    I would suggest looking at an ART MPA. They're quite good for the $$ if you can find used, and they work pretty well for a lot of different sources.

    As for the differences in a budget pre versus an top of the line pre, when you're only listening to one channel versus another, no the difference won't blow the top of your head off. However, when you listen to 12 or 24 or 96 channels mixed, the differences start to pile up w/ each channel, and the $2,000 pre vs. the $200 pre WILL blow the top of your head off.

    jwp
     
  12. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

    Messages:
    1,294
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Just pick up a Mackie mixer....it'll sound good enough for what you're likely to use it for. Bypass the EQs and faders by recording directly out of the inserts. You should be able to get them used for fairly cheap (look for a 1202 VLZpro).

    Skip the starved plate 'tube' designs...they tend to be muddy and tubby. The 'real' sound of tubes comes from Iron...the input and output transformers, which typically cost a fair amount.

    Put any money you save into picking up some more mics (like a Beyer M88...very nice on Gtr).

    Thats my 2 cents....

    Kris


    PS: FWIW I've got 14 channels of outboard preamp (Great Rivers, Neves, Millenia, etc), so I do know a little bit about what a high end pre can do....
     
  13. Creamy

    Creamy Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    California
    A couple questions for you.
    Do you have to use the Presonus preamp inputs?
    If you do, your signal will still be colored by its artifacts.
    Can you set your Presonus to unity to minimize the use of its pres?

    With the RNP, you are paying 4X more per preamp. The RNP's design is only to be a preamp. While the Presonus has more features, its cost is spread across its design.
     
  14. Hiwatt Bob

    Hiwatt Bob Member

    Messages:
    931
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    i've got a groove tubes brick and a joemeek vc6q. i love them both but for different applications. the brick is a very good, clean pre. i've compared it against a great river and actually prefered the brick for some applications...which is saying alot given how good great rivers are. the joemeek is a different animal--very colored, very warm, vintage sounding. when all is said and done, i use them about 50/50%. sometimes i want a clean sound, other times i want the kind of warmth (and compression) that the joemeek has.
     
  15. opdev

    opdev Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Boston Area
    1/4" inputs 3 through 8 on the Firepod are line ins so they bypass the pres.

    The gain knob becomes a -10 to +10 trim knob.

    I realize you are paying for a "good pre" with the RNC but the Firepod has 8 pres and to me they sound almost identical to the RNP so I am either not using it right or I have yet again bought into the hype of spending more $$$ to get a better sound.

    I did that to death with amps (but it was fun).
     
  16. DerekEstrada

    DerekEstrada Member

    Messages:
    574
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    spent the extra cake and got a Universal Audio 2610, and find that I use both channels ALL THE TIME...best of luck in the search...there's so much out there for a decent price...
     
  17. JZG

    JZG Member

    Messages:
    1,045
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    I think a Mackie mixer will give the best bang for the buck, and it's a piece of gear that you might keep around as you upgrade. I also like the now-discontinued dbx Silver Series tube preamps. The 586 is a dual channel pre with a lot of nice features included a limiter and 3-band eq. The 576 is the same basic design, but with a tube pre and compressor. Both can be found on ebay between $400-$500 each.
     
  18. djbrough

    djbrough Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Location:
    The ATL
    @ $1k, great reiver is an excellent choice. I would also seriously consider the lunchbox route.
     
  19. Dutchman

    Dutchman Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Location:
    One Prairie Outpost
    You have to use the line in on channel 1 or 2 to bypass the Firepods preamps.
    This only works on channels 1 and 2.

    Actually the Firepods preamps are not that bad, not big gain monsters but still decent sounding pre's. Not API good but for a budget home studio they're OK.
    Presonus stuff gets slammed because of malfunctions, machine and owner orientated, more so than sounding bad.

    So to clarify, if you using the output of the RNP into the back side line input of channel 1 or 2 you are hearing the RNP pre.
     
  20. opdev

    opdev Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Boston Area
    correct.... the back side of 1,2. Or the front side of 3-8 using the 1/4" input
     

Share This Page