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I'm chasing some equipment, but what I'm having a problem with is finding a good mic pre. Lets be honest:

 

I don't need anything real fancy. It needs to:

-have a sensible amount of gain

-not make a lot of noise

-be relatively "flexible"

-48v phantom power

-not set me back a whole lot of cash

 

The first four are requirements. The last is simply an indication that whatever meets the first four requirements and has the lowest price tag is what I'm most likely to go after. I would like to see a list of things that are decent, as well as stuff I should stay away from, because in all likelihood, the last requirement is going to drive me to buy something off craigslist. Fire away.

 

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Replies to This Discussion

In the bedroom, I use a Fireface 800. It has 4 lower end, class A mic pres, that are fine for demos and "generic" recording. They are not "knock out" sounding, but they are pretty quite and they do the job just fine... for the home studio. They are kind of a "utility" preamp. Cost is about $1k to $1400.00 . If you can afford something MUCH nicer... then get some DaKing mic pres. They are totally upper end and you can get them for a VERY fair price compared to anything else on this level out there. They are like the "Swiss Army Knife" of mic pres. You can use them on everything and you will love them. The fixed EQ is totally there! They are AWESOME and I don't know anyone who doesn't like them. I have 2 of the original pairs of the 52270's and abolutely LOVE them. You can find 1 single chanel for around $1200.00 . Good luck!

Hey Drew,

 

Probably about 80%+ of what's out there would meet your first four requirements.  What's the application?  Mainly vocals?  Acoustic instruments?  EGT? Do you need 2 channels or just 1?  Will you be using ribbon mics with it?

 

Most pro quality pres will average right around $1000 per channel, as a rule of thumb, with some as low as $500-600 and some exceeding $2000 (especially once you start looking at "channel strips" with EQ and/or compression). 

 

Let me know if I can be of any help.

 

 

Best,

 

Ted

The application is, specifically to be able to put a compressor in front of my A/D convertor when recording drums. I'd prefer 2 or more channels per 1u rack space used. Ribbon mics? One of these days I'll have some - I'm a huge fan of the AEA big ribbons, but that said, I'm not in a situation right now to realistically consider that when making this purchase.

Ted Pennington said:

Hey Drew,

 

Probably about 80%+ of what's out there would meet your first four requirements.  What's the application?  Mainly vocals?  Acoustic instruments?  EGT? Do you need 2 channels or just 1?  Will you be using ribbon mics with it?

 

Most pro quality pres will average right around $1000 per channel, as a rule of thumb, with some as low as $500-600 and some exceeding $2000 (especially once you start looking at "channel strips" with EQ and/or compression). 

 

Let me know if I can be of any help.

 

 

Best,

 

Ted

I'm a little confused...  So, this is part of a multiple mic/pre setup for recording drums?  Are you looking for a single pre, or a single model recommendation that you can buy a few channels of?

 

I'm not sure where compressors entered the topic, but are you also looking for some?

 

Perhaps you could describe in a bigger picture type of way what you are trying to accomplish, and I'll try to steer you in the right direction.  :)

Drew Sanford said:

The application is, specifically to be able to put a compressor in front of my A/D convertor when recording drums. I'd prefer 2 or more channels per 1u rack space used. Ribbon mics? One of these days I'll have some - I'm a huge fan of the AEA big ribbons, but that said, I'm not in a situation right now to realistically consider that when making this purchase.

Ted Pennington said:

Hey Drew,

 

Probably about 80%+ of what's out there would meet your first four requirements.  What's the application?  Mainly vocals?  Acoustic instruments?  EGT? Do you need 2 channels or just 1?  Will you be using ribbon mics with it?

 

Most pro quality pres will average right around $1000 per channel, as a rule of thumb, with some as low as $500-600 and some exceeding $2000 (especially once you start looking at "channel strips" with EQ and/or compression). 

 

Let me know if I can be of any help.

 

 

Best,

 

Ted

Ok - I've got a firewire audio interface. It has 2 mic pres built in that work well, but as far as in's and out's I can't run 4 mics (kick, snare, 2 overheads) into it, out to compressors, and back in to record. I need pres to run the mic's from, 4 channels of compression, then to the audio interface.

 

I have compressors. They aren't subtle, I wouldn't use them for vocals, but they don't make any noise, and I can deal with them on drums. So ultimately, I'm looking for quiet, fairly transparent mic pres, 4 channels worth in all, whether it's a single channel unit I use 4 of, or a multichannel unit I get 1 or 2 of depending on how many channels it actually has. Pretty much the only time these pres would be used is for drums, the pres on my audio interface are great for vocals, and drums are the only place I have to use more mics than I can route out and back in if I need any processing.

 

Am I making any sense yet? If not, for simplicity sake:

I have a 4 channel interface, act like it has no pres

I need to track drums, I'll use 4 mics, at least 3 of which will require phantom power

 

everything else can be ignored. I need 4 pres that don't make noise, provide 48v on a per channel basis from which I can route the output to my 4 channel interface.

 


Ted Pennington said:

I'm a little confused...  So, this is part of a multiple mic/pre setup for recording drums?  Are you looking for a single pre, or a single model recommendation that you can buy a few channels of?

 

I'm not sure where compressors entered the topic, but are you also looking for some?

 

Perhaps you could describe in a bigger picture type of way what you are trying to accomplish, and I'll try to steer you in the right direction.  :)

Drew Sanford said:

The application is, specifically to be able to put a compressor in front of my A/D convertor when recording drums. I'd prefer 2 or more channels per 1u rack space used. Ribbon mics? One of these days I'll have some - I'm a huge fan of the AEA big ribbons, but that said, I'm not in a situation right now to realistically consider that when making this purchase.

Ted Pennington said:

Hey Drew,

 

Probably about 80%+ of what's out there would meet your first four requirements.  What's the application?  Mainly vocals?  Acoustic instruments?  EGT? Do you need 2 channels or just 1?  Will you be using ribbon mics with it?

 

Most pro quality pres will average right around $1000 per channel, as a rule of thumb, with some as low as $500-600 and some exceeding $2000 (especially once you start looking at "channel strips" with EQ and/or compression). 

 

Let me know if I can be of any help.

 

 

Best,

 

Ted

Ahh, ok now I've got ya!  :)  In that case, my first choice would be an API Lunchbox with 4 512's in it (you'd have two slots left over).  I'm not sure if that's in your budget (about $3500, new), but they're fantastic on drums and you'd have room to add two other 500 series components (pres, compressors, EQs) down the road.  

The cool thing about the 500 series stuff is that once you buy the chassis/power supply (Lunchbox, etc.), each component is cheaper than its full sized version.  For example, the Great River pres are about $1100 per channel if you buy the full sized version, but only about $800/ channel for the 500 series format.  So, you end up saving money after around pre #2.  

I'm not sure what your room/setup is like, but if this is a home setup, you might consider leaving a bit of room in your budget for some room treatments (you can build them yourself, or buy them).

Drew Sanford said:

Ok - I've got a firewire audio interface. It has 2 mic pres built in that work well, but as far as in's and out's I can't run 4 mics (kick, snare, 2 overheads) into it, out to compressors, and back in to record. I need pres to run the mic's from, 4 channels of compression, then to the audio interface.

 

I have compressors. They aren't subtle, I wouldn't use them for vocals, but they don't make any noise, and I can deal with them on drums. So ultimately, I'm looking for quiet, fairly transparent mic pres, 4 channels worth in all, whether it's a single channel unit I use 4 of, or a multichannel unit I get 1 or 2 of depending on how many channels it actually has. Pretty much the only time these pres would be used is for drums, the pres on my audio interface are great for vocals, and drums are the only place I have to use more mics than I can route out and back in if I need any processing.

 

Am I making any sense yet? If not, for simplicity sake:

I have a 4 channel interface, act like it has no pres

I need to track drums, I'll use 4 mics, at least 3 of which will require phantom power

 

everything else can be ignored. I need 4 pres that don't make noise, provide 48v on a per channel basis from which I can route the output to my 4 channel interface.

 

 

Ted,

Thanks, I will admit you are the second person I've had recommend the API Lunchbox. It's a little out of my budget range at the moment, but I supposed I could dig and scape a little, and I might turn something up used.

 

As far as room treatments, yes, it is a home setup. I've got some conservative home made treatment going on that's worked well so far. Thanks for your patience and help.

Ted Pennington said:

Ahh, ok now I've got ya!  :)  In that case, my first choice would be an API Lunchbox with 4 512's in it (you'd have two slots left over).  I'm not sure if that's in your budget (about $3500, new), but they're fantastic on drums and you'd have room to add two other 500 series components (pres, compressors, EQs) down the road.  

The cool thing about the 500 series stuff is that once you buy the chassis/power supply (Lunchbox, etc.), each component is cheaper than its full sized version.  For example, the Great River pres are about $1100 per channel if you buy the full sized version, but only about $800/ channel for the 500 series format.  So, you end up saving money after around pre #2.  

I'm not sure what your room/setup is like, but if this is a home setup, you might consider leaving a bit of room in your budget for some room treatments (you can build them yourself, or buy them).

Drew Sanford said:

Ok - I've got a firewire audio interface. It has 2 mic pres built in that work well, but as far as in's and out's I can't run 4 mics (kick, snare, 2 overheads) into it, out to compressors, and back in to record. I need pres to run the mic's from, 4 channels of compression, then to the audio interface.

 

I have compressors. They aren't subtle, I wouldn't use them for vocals, but they don't make any noise, and I can deal with them on drums. So ultimately, I'm looking for quiet, fairly transparent mic pres, 4 channels worth in all, whether it's a single channel unit I use 4 of, or a multichannel unit I get 1 or 2 of depending on how many channels it actually has. Pretty much the only time these pres would be used is for drums, the pres on my audio interface are great for vocals, and drums are the only place I have to use more mics than I can route out and back in if I need any processing.

 

Am I making any sense yet? If not, for simplicity sake:

I have a 4 channel interface, act like it has no pres

I need to track drums, I'll use 4 mics, at least 3 of which will require phantom power

 

everything else can be ignored. I need 4 pres that don't make noise, provide 48v on a per channel basis from which I can route the output to my 4 channel interface.

 

 

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