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Warmest sounding mic preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jock, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Who makes the warmest and fattest sounding mic preamp or voice channel that you dont have to sell a kidney to afford?
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, that's a pretty open ended question. What's your application? Vocals? Bass? Close-mic'ing guitar amps? Do you want a tube preamp, or do you care? And define what you mean by "a kidney", do you have a budget limitation?

    Subject to your answers to those questions, my personal preference are the vintage Neve and API pre's. Those can be had for around 400 bucks each, if you're willing to do a little wiring, and possibly provide a power supply or something like that. That's the only thing even close to the high end "modern" units like the Avalon's and Focusrite Red's of the world, which generally cost around 2 grand (but they're pretty much plug 'n' play, no wiring or power supplies required).

    In my studio, I keep an arsenal of various preamps, so I can select the one that works best for whatever application is at hand. Certain mics sound "better" with certain preamps. I have a few Neve 1290's and 1272's, and a few API 312's, and a couple that I built myself using the Jensen 990c chips (which are currently manufactured by John Hardy). These type preamps are pretty popular in the pro audio world, you'll see engineers carrying around "lunchboxes" full of them, just in case they happen to wander into a studio that doesn't have any.
  3. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I want it to work with bass, I prefer the sound of tubes but want it to be transparent and warm. Budget is $500
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep, those are good ones. The V72/V76's are (still) studio standards. Don't get the reissues though, they're nowhere close to the original (and the ones I heard were very noisy too). I'd suggest a Neve 1290 if you can find one (try danalexanderaudio.com, he sometimes has a few for sale). They're really good for bass, they're fat fat fat. They need 24 volts to operate, and they have a little edge connector that you have to wire up with whatever cables you need. It'll also double as quite the excellent vocal preamp (any voice you feed into it comes out sounding twice as good). :)
  6. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Avalon U5
  8. learning_towalk

    learning_towalk Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2004
    Chattanooga, TN
    Avalons are INCREDIBLE but you'll be out lots o' cash(unless you get a U5 which is incredible too)...just I've been using some of their big 2 rack space ones....and it's FAT AS ALL GET OUT!

    also Presonus Bluetubes aren't bad at all for the price! I'm gonna get one for my upright mic
  9. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I like and use a Joemeek VCS-1 - it works for a variety of applications. Hi quality mic pre, EQ, & optical compression - you can find 'em for $400-$500 on Ebay...
  10. lsimy

    lsimy Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    Check out Grace Designs and also the API Lunchbox which has dropped in price considerably. I think a 6 space API case is about $450.00 and mic/line preamp module is about $700. API is ultra high-end stuff in my opinion.
  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Other end of the dollar ramp. ART Tube Channel. Works fab for bass. You get gain / optical compressor and a two band parametric with hi and lo shelving tone controls(4 bands total). Inserts between the pre & comp, comp and eq. Very cool. These run from $175 to $200 in the used market. Nothing I have heard will touch them for 2 to three times the dinero.

    I do want to add an Alembic Fx1 to my rig, not as a replacement but as an addition sometime soon. As I understand it, the FX1's tone circuitry is based on the Fender Dual Showman / Twin / Pro preamp. My coffee house rig is based on a Showman Amp and I love that tone. It is just so right!

    Other than that the ART is covering all my bases (pun intended) very well ...
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    if you got the kawn,

    check out terry's B's review in BP on using mic pre's as bass pre's. pretty sure there's a link to it on their website.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Ooops. The U5 ain't no mic pre, it's for instruments. My bad. What you want is the Avalon M5, unless you want tubes, then the Avalon Vt737sp. But then again, there goes your left nut, so I've blown the criteria yet once more.

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