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What mic preamp for vocals, guitars, flutes & saxophones (not so much drums)?
Old 30th July 2002
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years
What mic preamp for vocals, guitars, flutes & saxophones (not so much drums)?

Hi. I need a big advice with some of your comments. To be short - my audio recording gear so far:
- pair of Studio Projects C1
- Shure SM57 and SM58
- computer based DAW with RME Hammerfall 9652
- RME ADI-8 DS for AD/DA conversion.
- Mackie 1202 (old one - not VLZ) for monitoring and mic preamps
- Mackie HR 824 monitors (probably I'll upgrade to ADAM 2S-A or similar some day)
I am not a gear collector (not that much $$$) but I like to have nice gear for what I do. I also mostly don't do much recording with more than 3 or 4 mics at once so for now as my next upgrade I was thinking of getting a VERY nice mic preamp. I am looking for maybe 2 channel stereo mic preamp (with option to buy 2 more (different purpose =? different manufacturer) channels later). I am looking and reading carefully arround the web and I'm dependent mostly of what other think as I don't have a chance to listen to all this equipment here.

As you know they sound different but also better acording to stuff you choose to record I must say I am looking for a preamp for doing mainly vocals and clean electric and acoustic guitar and also some wind instruments (flute, sax) (although I know there will be rare occasions for also some heavy guitars and drums or percusions tracking).

Most of the vocal takes (for now) will be made with C1 so please consider this when posting your favourites. And price range: I think I can go up to about 3,500 for a stereo mic preamp ( or 500-1700$ per channel). I have no intention of selling and buying another in 2 years when I "fall in love" with next one. This is not so much of an option where I live (not so much used gear interest).

As you see I also don't own a decent outboard gear so a mic preamp with some nice EQ and compressor would be in order.

Through my first browse theough internet forums a lot of names came up from more cheap "bang for the buck" models (read: buy this one for now and then wait until you have more $ -> not so interested in such) and also some hi end ones. This is are the names that came along so far and also some others which I forgot.
Peavey VMP-2, Sonorus MP-20, Amek 9098, Neve 1272 (Vintech, Dan Alexander), API 512c or 3124 (4 ch.), Daking 52270, Manley Voxbox, Langevin (Manley) Vocal Combo, Pendullum MDP-1, John Hardy's M1 & Jensen Twin Servo 990, Tube Tech MEC1A , Tube Tech MP 1A.

Please post your favourite regarding my upgrading positions and also exact model number. I am based in Europe so please provide if you also have the information about the dealers in Europe. Thanks again for replies.
Old 4th August 2002
Gear Guru
NathanEldred's Avatar
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
My first reach for (sans experimentation) would be a Phoenix Audio DRS-2 made in the UK (with a small dealer network here in the US). It's a very "quick" preamp with a bit a character (just enough to not overpower the original sound with coloration), that has excellent '3 dimensional' depth. It has a tranny on the output with a Class A transformerless input. Other preamps may or may not work, but so far from quite a bit of trial and error that has been my choice more than not, maybe next to something straight wire like a Millennia HV3b, M2b (for some added airyness from the tube path as compared to the entirely solid state HV3b) or STT-1 if you want both. I have also been hearing great things about the Pendulum, and of course there is GML & Sequerra Labs .
Old 4th August 2002
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
🎧 15 years
For a two channel unit, I'd proabaly recommend the DRS-2 [available in Europe directly from the MFG., Phoenix Audio], for an "all in one channel", I have been exceptionally enamoured with the Pendulum Audio "QUARTET"... I have found it to be the most versatile, and overall best sounding of damn near every "all in one box" I've ever tried [with the possible exception of the GML 2020.

Of course, your mileage may certainly vary.
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