For electric guitars, which have a very limited bandwidth, it is my contention that you don't need a fancy preamp, an ordinary one will do just fine.
I say this as a person who owns some very fancy preamps. Any difference in sound I get with one as opposed to my less fancy preamps on electric guitar cabs is truly microscopic, and I wouldn't pay extra for it.
For acoustic guitar and vocals, perhaps a different story, but even then, you have to have good mics to have the preamp make a difference.
The transducer is the most important thing, not the electronics.
into a fostex vf160..have sm57..used speak ems..they are mediocre..used mixer...better..but still cruddy..so mic pre..the music is strait up classic rock...cabs are 4x12 with gb's
amp is peacemaker..or preamp power amp..loud!!!!!
i am tired of fooling myself into thinking something sounds good..
many have said a solid mic pre will really enable truer sound recording..not just mike positioning..i think the limits of the vf160 recorder are a possibility..but it seem to put out what you put into it..so if my great amp sounds are not being delivered to it well..then its spits out cruddy recording...
my vf160 recorder does not record distorted guitar very well,which i feel is due to my inabiltity to send it a qulity sounding signal..i use a sm57 predominantly..into a mixer an then the vf160..i have tried running straight into the vf160 .but thats worse..
therefor ive been looking at good mic pre's..and the two that im down 2 are
trident s20..and universal audio 2108..will i get much better results?
note i have a separate compressor/and effects module(for reverb/delay)
It's the most important part of the signal chain, because a transducer either translates soundwaves into an electronic signal, or translates an electronic signal into soundwaves.
I have 15 years of professional experience recording guitar cabinets.
It has been my experience that when recording a guitar cabinet into a dynamic mic like a 57, a high end preamp makes very little difference, even with 24/96 professional gear. It's my gut feeling that unless your console's mic preamps are complete crap, which is possible, you're not going to gain much with fancy mic preamps for this application.
There is no question in my mind, however, that most high end preamps will be totally wrong for your situation, because your Fostex's inputs will not handle +4dbM pro level line signals. Here's Pro Audio Review's test result:
>>>The eight analog inputs can take anything from mic level to -10 dbv "consumer" line level, but even with their trim pots turned all the way down, overload when presented with +4dbM "pro" level sources.<<<
This means that you should look at mic preamps with "consumer" level -10 outputs, or you will have to buy a "+4 to -10" converter, such as the Aphex or Henry Matchbox, for around $200-300. Or, you could buy something like an external Mackie mixer, which has very nice mic preamps, and run it's outputs into your fostex, because the Mackie will do either -10 or +4.
By the way, the Fostex got a very good review from PAR for pop type recording, which would mean, guitar amps.
My guess is that if you're not getting a good sound with your rig, your microphone technique is the culprit. Remember that a Shure 57 will give you the classic sounds of rock guitar, it's the mic that's been used on thousands of classic and recent records, but those sounds are not exactly "hi fi". If you want to capture "hi fi" guitar sounds, you need a different mic.
You said it sounds good going in but not coming out.
That's a pretty inportant observation to make. My professional opinion would be to work on your monitoring system first. How are you monitoring? Headphones? If you have a good monitoring system, you can use technique and positioning to achieve the sound you want with nearly any decent mic/pre setup. The key is you have to REALLY hear what is going in and then it will match what comes ou tin the end.
>> This means that you should look at mic preamps with "consumer" level -10 outputs, or you will have to buy a "+4 to -10" converter, such as the Aphex or Henry Matchbox, for around $200-300. Or, you could buy something like an external Mackie mixer, which has very nice mic preamps, and run it's outputs into your fostex, because the Mackie will do either -10 or +4.
This is very good advice.
Suggest you look into a small Mackie mixer, either the latest models or the VLZ-Pro series. Their preamps are surprisingly good and you could output at the -10 level you need.