Let’s talk mic pre amps

Neffco

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So I’m going to upgrade to a 8 channel focusrite interface so I can track more tracks at once. 18i20 model. What pre amp should I be looking at? Preferably under 500$ I’m going to get a Shure sm7 for vocals. Seems to be too many choices out there.
 
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redking

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So I’m going to upgrade to a 8 channel focusrite interface so I can track more tracks at once. 18i20 model. What pre amp should I be looking at? Preferably under 500$ I’m going to get a Shure sm7 for vocals. Seems to be too many choices out there.
Why not try the built in mic pre in the Focusrite first and see whether you like it? At least that will give you an idea of what you feel you are missing and then you can go from there. For $500 or less you aren't going to find anything better than what the 18i20 gives you more than likely. The built in mic pres in my Apogee duet were great paired with a good mic like the SM7.
 

riffwraith

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For $500 or less you aren't going to find anything better than what the 18i20 gives you more than likely.
Very true.

I'd spend the money on a mic; even tho it works well in a live setting, the SM57 isn't exactly a good studio mic. In that price range, I'd consider an AKG C214. That's not going to give a U47 or U67 a run for their money, but it'll be considerably better than an SM57

Cheers.
 

Gary

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So I’m going to upgrade to a 8 channel focusrite interface so I can track more tracks at once. 18i20 model. What pre amp should I be looking at? Preferably under 500$ I’m going to get a Shure sm7 for vocals. Seems to be too many choices out there.
For vocals, have you looked into a ribbon mic? After discovering ribbons, I try to use them on everything.
 

yeti

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For $500 or less you aren't going to find anything better than what the 18i20 gives you more than likely.
I disagree if you're willing to go used. If I had a $500 budget for micpres I'd get a used Aphex 1788A with the digital option. They are out there, usually in the $600 range. These are a very good design with jensen transformers, built in limiters that limit the signal BEFORE preampfification occurs and a host of other very useful features, such as "un-loading" the secondary of the input transformer via a jumper inside, a real plus when using older RCA ribbon mics that were designed for un-loaded inputs.
You can remote control these with a remote controller as well. Back in the day many major music remote trucks carried tons of these to get the mic-pres closer to the mic, avoiding long mic-level cable runs. A real standard when paired with 8-track modular recorder like the DA-88.
All in all a great 8 channel pre that sounds great but not in a colored way. But color can be had in the digital domain all day long.
 

Neffco

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For vocals, have you looked into a ribbon mic? After discovering ribbons, I try to use them on everything.
Heard lots of good things about aggressive vocals and the sm7. That’s why I’m looking that direction. Haven’t tried a ribbon mic..........yet. I have to buy to try in my neck of the woods. As of now, sm57 x2, beta 58, beta 52 kick, 906e Sennheiser and a trio of cheap Chinese condensers.

I want something that compliments my vocals. I hear the sm7 can work well in front of guitar cabs too. I’m more or less in the land of trial and error. I like all my mics so far. Even the Chinese condensers have made some ok recordings (for me) when placed in the right spot of the room.

I really want to get separation and isolation of instruments when doing live recording. I have an isolation cab outside my studio room for guitar. If I can capture the drums without too much vocal bleed on the drum tracks I’d be ahead. Bass can be run straight in via the interface and a line out of my bass rig.

The ideal situation is to be a able to play live with headphones and capture everything without too much bleed so I can track over live takes.
 

Neffco

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Very true.

I'd spend the money on a mic; even tho it works well in a live setting, the SM57 isn't exactly a good studio mic. In that price range, I'd consider an AKG C214. That's not going to give a U47 or U67 a run for their money, but it'll be considerably better than an SM57

Cheers.
Sm7. Not 57. I use 57’s for drums. 906e for guitar cab.
 

redking

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I disagree if you're willing to go used. If I had a $500 budget for micpres I'd get a used Aphex 1788A with the digital option. They are out there, usually in the $600 range. These are a very good design with jensen transformers, built in limiters that limit the signal BEFORE preampfification occurs and a host of other very useful features, such as "un-loading" the secondary of the input transformer via a jumper inside, a real plus when using older RCA ribbon mics that were designed for un-loaded inputs.
You can remote control these with a remote controller as well. Back in the day many major music remote trucks carried tons of these to get the mic-pres closer to the mic, avoiding long mic-level cable runs. A real standard when paired with 8-track modular recorder like the DA-88.
All in all a great 8 channel pre that sounds great but not in a colored way. But color can be had in the digital domain all day long.
Would love to learn more about this unit. I have an Aphex Exciter/Big Bottom that I have yet to try.
 

redking

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Heard lots of good things about aggressive vocals and the sm7. That’s why I’m looking that direction. Haven’t tried a ribbon mic..........yet. I have to buy to try in my neck of the woods. As of now, sm57 x2, beta 58, beta 52 kick, 906e Sennheiser and a trio of cheap Chinese condensers.

I want something that compliments my vocals. I hear the sm7 can work well in front of guitar cabs too. I’m more or less in the land of trial and error. I like all my mics so far. Even the Chinese condensers have made some ok recordings (for me) when placed in the right spot of the room.

I really want to get separation and isolation of instruments when doing live recording. I have an isolation cab outside my studio room for guitar. If I can capture the drums without too much vocal bleed on the drum tracks I’d be ahead. Bass can be run straight in via the interface and a line out of my bass rig.

The ideal situation is to be a able to play live with headphones and capture everything without too much bleed so I can track over live takes.
Can't go wrong with an SM7. Vocals, guitar cab, hi-hat, even snare.
 

Freddy G

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So I’m going to upgrade to a 8 channel focusrite interface so I can track more tracks at once. 18i20 model. What pre amp should I be looking at? Preferably under 500$ I’m going to get a Shure sm7 for vocals. Seems to be too many choices out there.
Daking
 

KP11520

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SM7b? Great vocal mic in many situations. Especially with the right Pres.

I'd consider the two newer Golden Age Project Pre 73 Premier and PREQ 73 Premiers. Neve 1073 clones with some additional refinements including Tantalum and also Polystyrene caps and Carnhill transformers. $500 and $600 respectively. And easily handle ribbon Mics.

I've only seen 5 star reviews at the online sellers. Killer value if they're even close to what I've been reading!

 
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yeti

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Oh, he's looking for a single channel pre? i thought he wanted 8 channels. That Daking looks great.
The press on Focusrite interfaces are usually not great so maybe 8 channels would be the way to go after all.
 

yeti

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Would love to learn more about this unit. I have an Aphex Exciter/Big Bottom that I have yet to try.
What's there to say? 8 channels of clean, digitally controlled micpres with 1 dB stops ( each divided into 1/4dB steps = smooth gaining up and down) with jensen transformer input, loaded and un-loaded transformer secondary ( I like the unloaded option for vintage ribbons) individual phantom power, 75 Hz switchable HPF, phase switch, 26 dB pad, headphone out for monitoring individual channels, 2 independent analog out, each with output gain control
( forget passive mic splitters once and for all and adjust the output of the pre to match your interface(s) instead of turning down the input) , two test-tones ( -20dBFS and 0 dBFS) to line up your audio path, 65 dB of useable clean gain for low output mics ( as opposed to those interface pres that sound anemic when under cranked and noisy when gained up) , word clock (including super clock)remote controllable (imagine yourself recording yourself on drums, doing a level check without getting up and walking over to your interface), Digital I/O (AES-3, TDIFand ADAT) , 96 KHz capable, etcetera, ecetera

It's a solid professional piece, I love the one we own. they do come up for sale every once in awhile, I'd recommend getting the digital option card and a remote but that's going to be closer to $ 800 to 1,000.
 

Neffco

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I don’t think I need 8 pre’s. Just a good one for the tool box. I often track single tracks on my own. Anything to make me sound better helps.

Cloudlifter? Pros cons?
 

Neffco

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Put an offer in on a Daking. Ordered the 18i20.

I’m going to work my way out to the mic.
 

Neffco

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My bass player is going to build me an 8 channel tube pre amp. Problem solved.
 

guidothepimmp

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Just picked up an Art MPA pro ii. 2 channels. Dont know if its good or bad.. but it seems to have a much nicer response and quality of recording than the ux2. Has a bit of hum though. The interwebs says to try reseat the tubes. First thoughts. Yeh.. happy
 




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