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Thread: Preamps

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    Baluchitherium
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    Default Preamps

    What kinds of preamps do you use for recording various instruments and vocals? What about for live work?

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    Baluchitherium
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    This is what I use:
    -Focusrite ISA One -- I use this pre for...well, for recording just about anything. Vocals and bass sound fantastic through this amp. It even livens up keyboards. I've only used this live once and ll these bass players came oh of the woodwork and we're asking me about my "amazing sound". My favorite pre, and it really slays when I use it with my Shure SM7B.
    -ART MPA Gold -- it's a cheapie ($300) two-channel tube amp. It's definitely decent. I replaced the two stock 12AX7 tubes with a matched pair of Sylvania NOS tubes (it made a positive difference). A great low-end tube pre.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    This is what I use:
    -Focusrite ISA One -- I use this pre for...well, for recording just about anything. Vocals and bass sound fantastic through this amp. It even livens up keyboards. I've only used this live once and ll these bass players came oh of the woodwork and we're asking me about my "amazing sound". My favorite pre, and it really slays when I use it with my Shure SM7B.
    -ART MPA Gold -- it's a cheapie ($300) two-channel tube amp. It's definitely decent. I replaced the two stock 12AX7 tubes with a matched pair of Sylvania NOS tubes (it made a positive difference). A great low-end tube pre.
    Yeah. The better quality ART stuff like the MPA and in my case the Pro Channel respond real well to tube upgrades. I'm currently running Nos Phillips 12ax7's in mine. Sounds great. I use the ART for guitar tones, and it does real well.
    For pro quality pre's, I've had some SS ones made over the years which I have in my Richmond console. They've got great headroom. Perfect for keys and piano because they are so transparent. I've used few other brands over the years.
    Focusrite Simple to use, excellent quality!
    Bush Small British vintage unit. Excellent for vocals and spoken word.
    Universal Hands down, the best sounding preamps going.
    The venerable Avalon 737 Actually the biggest disappointment I'd experienced in a preamp, but one I had been looking forward to using given past reviews. Meter glass fell out (actually in) and had just been hotglued in the first place, the gain pot got scratchy and quit working altogether when the unit got hot, and the jacks were poorly soldered and cut out intermittently. approx $2500.00 for a sexy turd. At least it wasn't my money, but it was terrible build quality. I hope it was a one time issue, maybe a 5:00 pm special, but it was just an overpriced piece of junk.

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    Just want to stress that the 737 we used was our first exposure to the product. I don't mean to offend Avalon users in general. I know many people love and swear by them, but the one we had was just a real mess of a product.

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    Baluchitherium
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    I love Universal's preamps. I need to get a SOLO 610 so I can have that super-sweet tube-iness.

    I'd love to have an Avalon 737...wanna send me yours free of charge?

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    In all my experience with mics and preamps, I am of the opinion that the cheapest mic/preamp combination in order to get a professional sound is:
    The Mic -- Shure SM7B - I have used this mic for just about everything in rock and roll. It excels on vocals, toms, snares, kicks, guitar cabs, and bass cabs. You should definitely have more than one. People who don't like SM7Bs are called al Qaeda. $380


    The Preamp -- Focusrite ISA One - this is the most inexpensive professional preamp. Like the Shure SM7B mic, this pre is worth every friggin' penny you'll spend, I guarantee it. $500

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    I love Universal's preamps. I need to get a SOLO 610 so I can have that super-sweet tube-iness.

    I'd love to have an Avalon 737...wanna send me yours free of charge?
    Yeah. I want to get a Solo in the next couple of years. as far as the Avalon, I wouldn't put you through that kind of duress!
    no, I think it was just a bad unit, but it was seriously one thing after another with it. it was like they focused so much on the cosmetics, everything else took a back seat. I didn't buy it. I only put it to use. It belonged to a buddy's studio. When it worked, it was absolutely incredible for vocals. Just adds so much presence, and depth. Too bad the build quality was so poor.
    I love Focusrite stuff for simplicity. It's kinda ugly stuff cosmetically, but it works very well. They are so solidly built. Very easy to dial in tones. Universal are my favorites for sure. It's built like military spec gear, no fancy bells and whistles. Just no nonsense stuff weather it's tube gear or not. Putnam's designs are legendary, and still hold up today.
    Last edited by we die young; 01.21.14 at 08:22 AM.

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    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    no, I think it was just a bad unit, but it was seriously one thing after another with it. it was like they focused so much on the cosmetics, everything else took a back seat. I didn't buy it. I only put it to use. It belonged to a buddy's studio. When it worked, it was absolutely incredible for vocals. Just adds so much presence, and depth. Too bad the build quality was so poor.
    I've actually heard two others with similar complaints about the 737. Gotta be something to that, then.

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    I love Focusrite stuff for simplicity. It's kinda ugly stuff cosmetically, but it works very well. They are so solidly built. Very easy to dial in tones. Universal are my favorites for sure. It's built like military spec gear, no fancy bells and whistles. Just no nonsense stuff weather it's tube gear or not. Putnam's designs are legendary, and still hold up today.
    You're right: it is goofy looking stuff. I love my ISA One. So many variations to choose from with the variable impedance. It's very true-to-life, so folks who use one need to be prepared to be "exposed".

    You're right about UA: it's badass. Bill Putnam was a genius. I want a UA 2-610, which would go well with my upcoming piece of gear...

    So, I'm "retiring" from the military in about three months. As a gift to me, my wife is buying me a Chandler Limited TG2 Abbey Road Special Edition preamp. It's amazing, and she's amazing for getting it for me. Actually, she's letting me buy it. I love her.

    I CAN'T WAIT!!!
    Last edited by Metal Marc; 05.10.15 at 11:54 AM.

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    Hey! Well, first of all..Congratulations on your "retirement"!
    Secondly, you will love the Chandler. I've not used this model myself, but over the years, I've used a lot of Chandler preamps of different styles, and you simply can't go wrong. It's great sounding gear, and built like a tank. Even the pots Chandler use are bulletproof, and feel very precise. I love the ease of use, and you can dial in the perfect sound in very short order. You'll never have a problem with it I'm sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Hey! Well, first of all..Congratulations on your "retirement"!
    Thank you! Last day of work is June 19th. After that, I take a couple month's leave, and then right back to work doing...something.

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Secondly, you will love the Chandler.I've not used this model myself, but over the years, I've used a lot of Chandler preamps of different styles, and you simply can't go wrong. It's great sounding gear, and built like a tank. Even the pots Chandler use are bulletproof, and feel very precise. I love the ease of use, and you can dial in the perfect sound in very short order. You'll never have a problem with it I'm sure.
    I already love it, and I don't own it yet! Cyrus, a dude who works at a music store I go to, brought his in to work not too long ago. He set it up and allowed me to play with it with several different mics and guitars. The sound is fantastic.

    You're right about the construction: it's solid! It feels solid. Even the four white buttons - despite not sitting 100% correctly - still feel solid.

    The TG2's gain knob is weird because it clicks in increments of 5. I didn't like that right away, but I warmed up to it. One just needs to use the output for fine tuning. I like the selectable impedance feature button, which allows some impedance matching with different mics.

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    Congrats MM.I'm semi retired now with a pt job and I love not working 40-50 hours a week anymore.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    Thank you! Last day of work is June 19th. After that, I take a couple month's leave, and then right back to work doing...something.



    I already love it, and I don't own it yet! Cyrus, a dude who works at a music store I go to, brought his in to work not too long ago. He set it up and allowed me to play with it with several different mics and guitars. The sound is fantastic.

    You're right about the construction: it's solid! It feels solid. Even the four white buttons - despite not sitting 100% correctly - still feel solid.

    The TG2's gain knob is weird because it clicks in increments of 5. I didn't like that right away, but I warmed up to it. One just needs to use the output for fine tuning. I like the selectable impedance feature button, which allows some impedance matching with different mics.
    Yes...That is a Chandler/B.K. Butler thing. They always use very solid long lasting components, and most of their stuff has always had detents in their pots.
    Some like it, some don't. but the nice thing is with recording, especially going back and correcting something after time has passed, and settings changed since, when you go back to your notes, at least all your preamp settings will be bang on with no compounding of inaccurate in-between settings.

    It's a little thing, but it does make a difference because as you move knobs up or down, especially in preamps, the gain structure, can also change significantly from one value to the next.
    It may sound close from memory, but reverting back to to your recording, you will notice a difference.

    I always equated it to people trying to color match paint from memory at a paint store...You might find a swatch that looks real close, but if you look at it against the existing paint on the surface, it will look entirely different. (And yes, according to my buddy at a finishing products store, It happens all the time!)

    It's all the little nuances, pigments of course, but also, sheen, texture, light, shade, that make a BIG difference.
    It's the same with sound. That's something Chandler has always been sticklers for.
    It's great from an engineering standpoint. I used to not like it when I first used by Butler Preamp (By Chandler), but after I had to go back ad re do some parts, it was nice that it came out so seamlessly.
    Sure, I had to do a little level correction at my board, and the EQ needed tweaking, but it didn't sound like it was recorded at different times, or on different equipment, which it can sometimes.
    Nice feature.

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    Guitar-wise I use my trusty Behringer V-Amp 2. Awesome little unit. Gets me some monster tones. It's a Pod knock-off but it sounds way more organic than the digital, overtly processed Pods.

    I've recently bought a THR10X and I am blown away by it. Absolutely blown away. Superd unit and the Brown II is phenomenal.

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    I forgot to add, the THR also comes with effects. The phaser and flanger lack control but the delay and reverb are stunning and you can edit them (and the amps) further by connecting up to the computer software.

    You can also DI into your computer without having to go through an interface.

    Check it out:



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