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Author Topic: 2-channel mic pres below $2k  (Read 9624 times)

MisterBlue

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2-channel mic pres below $2k
« on: April 21, 2005, 01:40:09 am »

Sorry if this is a repost, but my (very first) post in the hardware review section did get only one response (thanks, Barry!).  I concluded I tried the wrong place, so here is another attempt:

I have a budget of up to $2000 to add two quality mic pre channels to my current setup (mainly the Sytek MPX-4aii with the common 2 modified channels). I have heard good things about the Sebatron VMP-2000e. Is this a recommendation that members here would back up? What other options should I consider?  Barry Hufker mentioned the new Neve Portico and this looks indeed tempting.  I appears, though that not many folks here have actually laid hands on such a unit (although it might for well known reasons be a fairly safe bet).

My apologies if this happens to be a well-covered topic. I did some research first and did not get a real good feeling of what my best options are.

Thanks in advance for your kind responses,

MrBlue.
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Jan Folkson

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2005, 08:50:35 am »

Haven't checked out the sebatron, but the 2 best deals on mic pres (IMHO) is the John Hardy M1 or M2, about $1,600 for a 2 channel unit and the UA 2108 about $1,400.  Both are different, of course, but sound great.

The new Neve stuff looks interesting, but it's too soon to tell.

HTH.
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James Duncan

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2005, 09:03:27 am »

What's the word on the Hardy's. (I just read the info on Mercenary, and it sounds promising.) It sounds like they are a clean, tranparent pre, is this correct? I am leaning towards a Great River MP2NV right now, and hadn't really considered the Hardy pres in my decision-making process.
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jimmyjazz

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2005, 09:44:55 am »

What type of music do you record?  Given that you're using the Sytek right now, I'd have a hard time recommending anything but the most transparent preamp you can find.  Dan Kennedy's original Great River model (MP-2 or MP-2H) and the Millenia Media preamps come to mind.  I think both can still be had for less than $2K.
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mumbles

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2005, 10:11:00 am »

John Hardy
Great River
Chandler TG2
Daking mic pre IV (if you want a couple of extra)
TAB Funkenwerk v78

Seamus
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Seamus
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McAllister

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2005, 10:22:56 am »

RNP

It's really, really good.
And you'll have enough $ left over for, say, a Neve Portico - and you can tell us how it sounds.

M
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gtoledo3

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2005, 10:28:40 am »

I actually find the sytek to be a clean pre- I would say that there is some overlap between it and, say, API, Hardy, and Grace-as weird as that may sound. A eensy dash of smoothness, but it still very quick.

If I was using just two different pre's ..... I would lean towards adding a couple v78's to your collection. That would be a very yin/yang combination between it and the sytek....if it is anything like v72's I have used. The jury is still out I guess.

I feel odd reccomending AGAINST Hardy or API (or Millenia too I guess- but I'm not really fond of the Millenia), but from my experience I think you will get more mileage out of pairing the Sytek with a smooth, flattering pre-amp like the old telefunken's. If the tab-funkenwerk v78 is what it is hyped to be, I think that it would be a perfect compliment.
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bluecouchstudios

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2005, 12:51:14 pm »

Doublehelix wrote on Thu, 21 April 2005 08:03

What's the word on the Hardy's. (I just read the info on Mercenary, and it sounds promising.) It sounds like they are a clean, tranparent pre, is this correct? I am leaning towards a Great River MP2NV right now, and hadn't really considered the Hardy pres in my decision-making process.


i demoed a JH from Mercenary a few months ago.  i don't think "clean" would exactly be the right word.  it has a more appealing color than most "clean" preamps that i think of (with the transformer output that is... Mercenary stocks them this way).  but they are less colored that an old Neve preamp or an API.  i liked it and plan to pick up one in the future.  great top-end.  but get both (JH and GR) in from Mercenary and return the one you don't want.

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lance
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JackJohnston

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2005, 04:18:47 pm »



My first thought when hearing the UA 2108 was this is really cool, but I could only use it when I wanted to add a lot of distortion. It's a mic pre fuzz box. It would be really cool to have as a supplemental mic pre if you did industrial music. If I had to track with one mic pre, I'd rather use a Mackie.

Jack

mumbles

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2005, 08:14:50 pm »

Hi there,
I'd have to agree with.. um.. gtoledo3.
The Sytek is a great unit, for what it is.  Inexpensive, solid pres.  I have a friend that uses them on classical guitar over the Amek 9098's he has in the rack.
If it were me, I'd go with something that had a little more character for my second unit.  If you know a good tech, and you know what to look for, and you look real hard, you could get a couple raw V72's (Siemens/TAB/Telefunken) for about $1,100.
They are something special.
That being said, you may just want to save yourself the headach and get racked ones.. or the TAB Funkenwerk.  Oliver Archut is basically the man with this stuff.  Damn nice guy to boot.

Seamus
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MisterBlue

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2005, 09:21:31 pm »

Thanks a lot for all of your responses !

I am mostly producing pop/rock artists (in the style of Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, ...) and my usual #1 priority is to get the vocals to sound great.  

I have had fairly good success with Rode Mics and find myself going back to either the NTV or the NTK regularly (... dealing mostly with male singers).  I will also admit that I have found myself using an Event EMP-1 preamp on occasion that was bundled with the Rode NTV which probably puts it into the "less than $200" category. Well, it sometimes just works.  I'd be surprised if many here have used it but if you have, please share with me your experience.

One detail that intrigued me about the Sebatron (besides it's supposed basic quality) is the range of "switch EQ" settings (air, low cut, etc.) that are available to slightly manipulate the tone. It just seems to make it a very versatile tool.  Some folks that recommended the Sebatron have also had good success chaining the two channels for more color and "grit".

Hope this helps to clarify my request a little bit.
Please keep the recommendations coming.
Thanks !

MrBlue.
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vernier

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2005, 02:43:13 am »

Someone mentioned V72 (good choice!) I'd take one of them over two of anything made of transistors.
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bluecouchstudios

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2005, 09:41:39 am »

MisterBlue wrote on Thu, 21 April 2005 20:21

Thanks a lot for all of your responses !

I am mostly producing pop/rock artists (in the style of Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, ...) and my usual #1 priority is to get the vocals to sound great.  




hmmm... vocals.  try an API 3124.  just over $2k, but 4-channels.  i love it!  you can get one from Mercenary too.

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lance
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joelgtrnut

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2005, 09:48:54 am »

Brent Averill 312 - ~1400 for 2 channels racked.
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Roland Storch

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2005, 10:11:07 am »

recommended 2 channel preamps under 2000 $ I tried myself:

Grace Design Model 201, same as 801 but 2 channel
Millennia Media HV-3C, same as  HV-3D but 2 channel
Lake People F355, very neutral, 2 outputs per channel
SPL Gainstation1, single channel for 890
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NelsonL

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2005, 11:30:05 am »

MisterBlue wrote on Thu, 21 April 2005 18:21

Thanks a lot for all of your responses !

I will also admit that I have found myself using an Event EMP-1 preamp on occasion that was bundled with the Rode NTV which probably puts it into the "less than $200" category. Well, it sometimes just works.  I'd be surprised if many here have used it but if you have, please share with me your experience.

MrBlue.



I'll "own up" to owning an EMP-1--

I last used in November because I needed a pre with 1/4" outputs due to cabling constraints. Anyway it proved a usefull addition on some songs more than others.

That session was all API and the EMP-1, which is kind of funny really.

Anyway, I'd say the weakness of the EMP-1 is it's anemic lows and somewhat harsh top. Kinda sterile in a Mackie type way.

But usable, you can do a lot with mic selection/placement. The EMP-1 served me best tracking to an Otari MKIII, but I'm not tracking to tape these days.

Mine is currently on loan to a friend who's just getting started. He'll probably wind up keeping it, and that's fine by me.

I own Quad Eight, Auditronics, and Ampex pres that are superior to the EMP-1 and I don't expect to have any further use for it.

I highly recomend Brent Averill API pres-- That's what I've used API wise.

I hear the new ones with the Avedis opamp are cool but I haven't tried them.






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sezwho

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2005, 09:11:46 am »

i would recommend the focusrite isa 428 it is 4 channel but i think sounds better than alot of two channel units at the same price plus it has vu meters and a/d option
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Roland Storch

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2005, 04:46:30 pm »

What do you need VU meters for on a preamp?
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mumbles

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2005, 05:01:27 pm »

so you can find it in the dark
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Seamus
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compasspnt

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2005, 10:12:55 pm »

joelgtrnut wrote on Fri, 22 April 2005 09:48

Brent Averill 312 - ~1400 for 2 channels racked.


BA:  absolutely excellent choice.  Much better than many of the new "names" mentioned.  Or the API's from Fletcher...the 3124 was a good suggestion.  These can both be used for ANYTHING.
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Gary Flanigan

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2005, 05:23:30 pm »

There is a two channel Great River on eBay now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=73178 81011&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

This is the original model (not the NV) and has a buy it now price of $1175. I almost wish I needed some pres....
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gwailoh

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2005, 12:33:43 pm »

Here are some interesting listening test mp3s of various pre-amp and mic combinations on different sources: http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/home.htm.

Hope this helps.

Bubblepuppy

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Re: 2channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2005, 06:15:38 pm »

I have a pair of V77's racked by Marquette Audio Labs.
Actually I have 2 Pair, do the research on the V77 as they are very hard to find anymore and they sound better than the 76 or 72 in my experience. I don't trust any set of pres under $2500, my reason is this.... You can't bake a 3 minute cake in 1 minute.
I have a set of Westlake BBSM-6's(15yrs old at least)and a bryston4B. The V77's offer a beautiful natural character to every thing they touch.
Save your money and buy quality..........
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luckybastard

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2005, 09:37:25 am »

ummm... i have a hamptone tube pre. i have heard it against most expensive preamps and it holds its own against all of the pres in that class(transformer balanced, discrete class a) if you're handy with a soldering iron, u can build it for $700. or buy it outright for 1000. either way it's a great deal..
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floodstage

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Re: 2channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2005, 05:50:32 pm »

Bubblepuppy wrote on Tue, 15 November 2005 18:15

...... I don't trust any set of pres under $2500.......


You want a Presonus Tube Pre?  Only 2501.00!!  
A price you can trust!









he he he!  (joking!)
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Bubblepuppy

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Re: 2channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2005, 06:01:03 pm »

Sure, now lets see thats $25.01
Uh...You did mean pennies didnt you?

Very Happy
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yhomas

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2005, 07:13:45 pm »

I know this is hearsay because I don't have any pres in that price range, but based on my "extensive research", and given the parameters you mentioned, for me, the choice would be pretty easy:

1 Channel of Tab V78 - http://www.tab-funkenwerk.com/V78.html
1 Channel of Great River ME-1NV - http://www.greatriverelectronics.com/mp1.html

I suggest these because their topologies (and reportedly, their sound) contrast with your current pres (the V78 and GR are both transformer based pres vs. the transformerless Sytek's) and with each other (the V78 is a tube pre while the GR is solid state).

- Tommy
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rankus

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2005, 02:24:36 pm »



Have a look at the "brick"  by Groove Tubes as well....
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Ryan Leigh Patterson

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2005, 01:55:00 am »

1 more vote for the 3214+ or BAE... They sound great on almost anything, and personally, I really like API's on vocals.

I've got 428 as well, and it is a great value, especially if you get the AD option, but it's a little cleaner than the 3124+ or BAE...



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Ryan Patterson
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jyurek

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2005, 10:06:02 am »

I would reccomend you pick up a BAE (Brent Averill) 6 module rack ($500) and two channels ($1,100). This makes for a very cost effective and expandable purchase because you can add modules for around $500 a piece as need arises. You can also mix and match by adding other types of modules ie. EQ's etc.

My .02

compasspnt

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2005, 10:33:46 am »

Yes Jeff,

Good choice the BAE.

You also have approx. the same choice with the API lunchbox.

The reason many recommend the 3124 is because it is cost effective per module, if you are buying 4.  But you do lose the flexibility of adding diffent EQ or dynamics modules into that one.

By the way, I have both the BAE and the API mic pre's and they are both excellent.  The only things I liked less about BAE was that there is no LED metering, and the knob hardware is a bit "wank."  Haven't tried the BAE EQ, but I hear from third parties that it is very good.
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Vertigo

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2005, 01:22:00 pm »

Quote:

the knob hardware is a bit "wank."


Is that a technical term?

Laughing

-Lance
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Bubblepuppy

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2005, 11:44:23 pm »

AT 305 McCurdy Line Tube preamp on Ebay $50
Anyone ever heard of these units?
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Ryan Leigh Patterson

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2005, 04:59:11 am »

How 'bout the OSA stuff?  I've been eyeing them for a while... that and the SCA kits...
Hell, I want every thing, well almost everything, I don't want any Wackie Bear Ringer crap.., or any Peavey stuff for that matter I think I've got a thing for mic pres... almost as bad as I used to have it for guitar amps...
but at least I'm "Peavey Free" shit, I've been Peavey free for almost 8 years now.  Not one single piece of Peavey stuff left, oh except that ole amp sitting in my Dads garage back home, oh, and that other one in a murky dank basement in Montreal.... oopps, guess I'm not Peavey free... sort of like Rat Shack eh..

I digress
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Ryan Patterson
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John Ivan

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2005, 03:00:12 am »

I own a bunch of Peavey stuff. Tube amp wise, I'm waiting for Marshal to build ONE guitar amp as well as some of the pv amps I have. On a local level, I am also waiting for someone to get a guitar tone that begins to sorta come almost even a little bit maybe close to my tones,, ;-}

When I picked up my PV AMR Production console, I listened very very closely to the Mackie 8 buss mixers along side mine. Not even close. I mean, The Mackie sounded,,, BAD sitting next to my PV console.. The peavey reminds me very much of the soundcraft stuff I spent a lot of hours on.

Just my 2 cents,,  ;-}

Ivan........

P,S, I heard and used the AMR tube pre and thought it sounded real good.
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nobby

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Re: 2-channel mic pres below $2k
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2005, 07:49:31 pm »

Ryan Leigh Patterson wrote on Sat, 26 November 2005 04:59


but at least I'm "Peavey Free" shit, I've been Peavey free for almost 8 years now.  Not one single piece of Peavey stuff left, oh except that ole amp sitting in my Dads garage back home, oh, and that other one in a murky dank basement in Montreal.... oopps, guess I'm not Peavey free... sort of like Rat Shack eh..



You will have to pry my VMP-2 from my cold, dead hands.

Of course, they only made it for a relatively short period of time -- I think it violated the company philosophy Very Happy

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