• Which PREAMPs are you using?
  • Started by junemay
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Which PREAMPs are you using?
on: July 12, 2018, 21:35:35
Hi you all,

I have started to read quite some things about preamps and am curious which ones you are currently using and if you believe all this hype about "warmth", "vintage", ... (when you read the reviews it is almost like wine tasting...)

I personally currently have a GAP Pre73 mkIII (a Neve 1073 clone at a pricepoint of ~350 Euro) and the preamps in my Audient iD14 interface and since I was so curious I now could not resist to order two tube preamps, an Universal Audio Solo 610 and a SPL Gainstation which cost 999 and 1200 Euro new... will likely not keep them just wanted to see if I miss something fundamental.

So, which ones do you use?

Best,

Fabian


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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 22:59:00
Hey Fabian.......I use  Trident channel strip as a preamp. The preamp section in that strip is the classis Trident pre that was on so many records in the 70's and is definitely has a cool "British" kind of sound that has lots of character.

I use a tube microhpone so I prefer a solid state preamp to go with it. I think there are definite differences in how preamps handle the sound. Your Gap pre will have a softer Neve kind od sound which will be very different than a preamp that emulates an SSL type preamp which is very clean and kind of crisp.

I definitely think a good preamp can make a big difference with a good microphone.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 20:47:51
Hi Leonard,

ok, so you are at the expensive end of the chain ;-) But, one can hear a very high quality in your recordings so, you can master these tools!

I am really curious to see how the other preamps will deal with my new Neumann TLM 102 :-)

Best,

Fabian


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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 22:00:42
I'm familiar with that UA 610 unit so I took a few minutes to look into that SPL Gainstation unit.

I think you are going to be in big trouble when you plug your TM 102 into that SPL unit. You are NOT going to want to send it back. With all of those subtle control options for the tube you will have an amazing sounding vocal rig that also gives some very cool DI options for electric guitar and bass.

The combination of a quality solid state mic like the TLM 102 and a quality tube preamp is excellent. I have my rig the other way around with my Peluso 22-251 tube mic and my solid state Trident preamp/channel strip.


Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 22:07:11
Thanks, @Leonard Scaper,

Yes, I bought the SPL used via Ebay including the Digital option for 700 now. Only 2 years old and < 50h of run time so far (according to the seller). So, if I have to keep it, I have to but don't tell my wife ;-)

Fabian



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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #5 on: July 17, 2018, 22:02:56
LOL on Fabian being in "big trouble" @Leonard Scaper !

So the combo of solid state on one end, and tube on the other, as far as mic and preamp,
gives the best of both worlds in a way?

I've never heard of that concept, but I'm intrigued.

I don't have any high end gear at the moment, other than my Strat and Les Paul, and I guess
I would consider my $3k iMac with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD a high end piece of gear.

But one day, I do dream of having one room dedicated to my studio, fully acoustically treated
to eliminate echoes and artifacts, a big bad mixing console (just because I like physical mixing boards,"
and two full height racks of the best processing gear.

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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 08:37:46
ART tube Pac.
As far as I know, it has no number. It's rather small. It has two tubes. And it only serves to get a less transistorish sound from my guitar and bass.
I have it some 9 years.
Works subtle and good. Happy with it.

One preamps only.
Yes, I know.
Kind regards, Gus


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Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 12:06:48
I still use my relatively cheap UR-22 interface that came bundled with my old copy of Cubase.
Steinberg are part of Yamaha and so the engineering of the product is from their R&D.

Their blurb about their pre-amps is interesting.

Quote
All UR audio interfaces offer D-PRE Class-A discrete mic preamps from Yamaha. The D-PRE is carefully designed to capture all the subtleties and expressiveness of any audio source and is the culmination of years of development by the experienced engineers at the Yamaha Corporation.

The preamp is where sound creation begins in recording, and ultimately determines the quality of your mix. D-PRE Mic Preamps sound stunning, and the difference is in the design. Usually, preamps use one transistor each for the hot and cold signals at the input stage to amplify the signal. However, the D-PREs specified on Steinberg audio interfaces use an inverted Darlington circuit, where two transistors are used for each hot and cold ó a total of four per unit. With only one transistor on a preamp circuit, distortion tends to increase along with the signal level. By using a pair of two cascaded transistors, very low distortion can be maintained regardless of signal level.

Some users might look for a microphone preamp to dramatically color the sound while others search for a very neutral response. For example, some highly sought after vintage microphone preamps excel at amplifying certain components of a given source, imparting a generous amount of color to the signal. Such a preamp might be great for a vocal recording, however those preamps will not suit every use.

D-PRE has a very wide frequency range so that it can handle any music source and it does not overly amplify any specific components of the signal. Itís beautifully tuned to be able to capture the true expression of a given performance or audio source, while leaving flexibility for later editing. The end result is that D-PRE provides a sound that is a perfect amalgamation of understated signal enhancement combined with impeccable sonic integrity. The development team took a lot of time to adjust this subtle balance and the D-PRE sound quality speaks for itself.

Basically then, I think they have gone for a broadly neutral sounding setup. It's interesting they are obviously now trying to appeal to another market with the introduction of another interface with Rupert Neeve switchable transformers.

https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/audio_interfaces/ur_rt_series/start.html

They are looking at the high-quality, recording on the move market I think, as mobile recording travelling with the artist seems to be an emerging trend.

So I guess there are two camps, the analog warmth way, basically pleasant distortion colouring the signal and the uncoloured signal route.

As always, some will prefer it one way and others the other way. Since I've come back into this game late on  I haven't had the benefit of years of refining my equipment and thinking so it's all about getting it out there for me.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

"Love and Life is all about connections"


Re: Which PREAMPs are you using?
Reply #8 on: July 20, 2018, 21:46:05
Hi @MrBouzouki , @LePlongeur , @Leonard Scaper , @reidmoto ,

thanks for your comments and experiences. In the end it is about the music and the song (and then its the singer not the song - to cite Survivor - in case you know this one)...

But I have to admit that I now played a few days with the SPL Gainstation, a few hours with the Solo 610 and my "old" GAP Pre 73. Results are quite interesting. Not as different as you might think, but the SPL is really WAY better than my GAP and my interface (Audient) preamps. Its indeed hard to describe but the signal sounds more expensive. I am also intruiged by the variety of sounds one can create with mixing the solid state with the tube gain... The Solo 610 is a bit disappointing up to now... will have to play more with it before I decide.

Now you may say, that this is the listening bias of someone who wants to keep expensive gear ;-) IT IS NOT, simply because I found a really great plugin (free) that allows you to do blind testing. It is called Hofa 4U+ BlindTest. I can highly recommend this one also to decide on certain mixing and plugin settings...

Ok, I will test further and let you know what I decide.

Best,

Fabian