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Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby Sam Inglis » Sun May 27, 2018 9:11 am

Dave, is the Presonus preamp mentioned above not suitable for your needs?
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby ef37a » Sun May 27, 2018 9:15 am

Sam Inglis wrote:Dave, is the Presonus preamp mentioned above not suitable for your needs?

Sorry Sam if I have given that impression but it is not 'I' who is looking for pre amps.

I am just chucking out (expensive!) suggestions.

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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby CS70 » Sun May 27, 2018 5:09 pm

ef37a wrote:
The point about keeping legacy OS and PCs going is a good one, people are doing that more and more I think? Maybe if everyone keeps shouting at Msoft and killing updates to W10, maybe things will improve?

This is has really much to do with Microsoft - which churns out updated OS specs as it bloody should (you're not running your car on carburetors any longer, I guess :) ), but the interface producers. Most of them buy off the shelf chips which come with pre-written drivers, so they depend on the manufacturer for any driver change to match OS upgrade. Most chip manufacturers barely know what an OS is and that's where the bucket stops.

RME boxes last longer because they design their chips in house and of course they (must) write the matching drivers themselves, so on the face of OS changes they simply update the codebase to match them, and do so at no particular cost, as part of the regular development&maintenance cycle.

It is actually not incredibly hard to write a driver, it is ultimately a simple and well specified piece of code with a well defined (and small) functional scope. The challenge is that you have to have the specs form the chip manufacturer to do so (or reverse engineer, but that's tedious and time-consuming and thus is done only on a hobby basis).
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun May 27, 2018 9:01 pm

If you can't get a great vocal sound using the built in pre from a modern low-budget interface from one of the more established manufacturers, like Audient, RME or Focusrite, something else is wrong.

Do yourself a favour - Don't build a vocal booth. There is no quicker way to get a frankly weird sounding vocal, than to put the singer in a small space, with too much mid and hf absorption (or the professional build version - a marginally less small space but with a huge pane of glass across one or more walls). Create a 'controlled' space within a larger room. Try to minimise any strong early reflections.

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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby jaminem » Sun May 27, 2018 10:08 pm

100% with Jack here. You are reducing the chances of getting a decent vocal sound by shutting yourself, or anyone else in a cupboard!

Duvets in a corner behind you, reflection screen behind the mic, clean pre, and most importantly feeling comfortable and relaxed are going to do it way better than a vocal booth.

Re the kit, the ISA is lovely and you get a brilliant DI to boot, but tbh the standard pres in my RME fireface 802, do the trick just as well, and being an RME the support goes on and on as previously discussed. This is why a lot of us eventually end up there, or in my case come back to them...
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby delite1 » Mon May 28, 2018 12:58 am

Thank you all again. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of constructive opinion and commentary. You have all been truly generousness in giving up your time and taking the time to post. I hope others who are reading this thread in a similar position to mine are also able to benefit from the experience and wisdom shown here.
Thanks again
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby ef37a » Mon May 28, 2018 8:26 am

CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:
The point about keeping legacy OS and PCs going is a good one, people are doing that more and more I think? Maybe if everyone keeps shouting at Msoft and killing updates to W10, maybe things will improve?

This is has really much to do with Microsoft - which churns out updated OS specs as it bloody should (you're not running your car on carburetors any longer, I guess :) ), but the interface producers. Most of them buy off the shelf chips which come with pre-written drivers, so they depend on the manufacturer for any driver change to match OS upgrade. Most chip manufacturers barely know what an OS is and that's where the bucket stops.

RME boxes last longer because they design their chips in house and of course they (must) write the matching drivers themselves, so on the face of OS changes they simply update the codebase to match them, and do so at no particular cost, as part of the regular development&maintenance cycle.

It is actually not incredibly hard to write a driver, it is ultimately a simple and well specified piece of code with a well defined (and small) functional scope. The challenge is that you have to have the specs form the chip manufacturer to do so (or reverse engineer, but that's tedious and time-consuming and thus is done only on a hobby basis).

Thank you CS70, I have read much of that before but "we" cannot lobby each and every AI manufacturer and Msoft are the common denominator here, if people are not moving on to their latest OS because of legacy gear, THEY lose out. The AI makers want their business to prosper and so try to force us to buy their latest 'shiny'.

The situation is however very difficult to grasp. You say "not Microsoft's fault" but I am constantly reading of people having drivers wiped out by updates?

The "carburettor" analogy is not a good one! Shoots you in the foot a bit in fact. My old Sierra ran fine with a carb and NO expensive converter* . Then, for engines that still need them you can still buy replacements and upgrades, refurb kits.

*I have read that the industry was steamrollered into converters and it would have been much better science to develop more efficient, cleaner engines. I would guess the 10 minute trip to work in my PI 1800 16valve Proton was just as dirty as the run in my carb'ed Ford and that was/is true for millions of short trips.

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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby Chet Leeway » Mon May 28, 2018 8:40 am

dickiefunk wrote:The Focusrite ISA One + digital card is a nice option. I had one for a while and really liked it. I now use an Audient Mico and love it.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/audient-mico

The Mico also has built in A/D converters so I can bypass going through my interfaces preamps. Regarding tone, the Mico is a very clean uncoloured preamp but it has a very useful HMX feature that can be turned on and adjusted to add a subtle tube like effect which noticeably thickens up the tone.

The Mico is discontinued but I picked mine up for a bargain £180!!

I also have a cheap second hand MICO. I suspect one of the reasons it can be found cheap is the strange behaviour of the gain knob, which rises slowly then makes a sudden massive increase in the last 5% or so. I think it only affects the first batch - I seem to remember SOS's review commented it and that the design was altered.

Anyway, it's still very useful, not least the HMX feature as mentioned above. I think that's a nice thing to have if you have a very limited number of mics and preamps to choose from, since it gives you a quick and easy way to subtly alter the signal at an early stage. Last time I used it, I dialed in some HMX on one of two separate channels recorded with different kinds of mics to achieve a good tonal balance close to the source, saving me trouble at the mix stage.

Having said that, I always use the clean preamps in my Audient iD22 if I record to PC, but have kept my MICO for recording into a standalone recorder with medicocre preamps.
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby bumble » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:58 am

Lots of great advice already.

Regarding RME, the pres sound good - good enough to skip any cheap external pre IMO. Sadly the support is not there any more - check the RME forums and you will find a lot of us can’t use our RME USB interfaces on Mac any more, and RME just blame apple and argue with the users.

The good news is even if the audio interface stops working, as long as it has adat out you can buy a new interface with adat in and link them up. Maybe one of your old interfaces with good pres is reusable?
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Re: Your advice required on new Pre-Amp Purchase

Postby Ariosto » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:02 pm

I've been using the DAV BG1 for about 5-6 years and it's an excellent pre - and not too expensive. A very clean and pure sound.
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