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What cheap mixer has the most decent preamps?
Old 25th January 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Guy Gabriel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What cheap mixer has the most decent preamps?

I'm looking for a cheap mixer for a temporary use, don't ask why, and the most important thing in it for me is the mic preamps, i'm planning to record vocals with it, i just need it to be clean.
The price range is at about the price of the Soundcraft Compact 4 which i was thinking of buying, i don't plan to exceed this price range because it's only temporary until i buy a decent preamp and then i'm planning to use the mixer only as a mixer (so the work flow with it is imporant as well but not as the preamps right now).
So are there any better solutions for me?

thanks guys
Old 25th January 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I would look into the Mackie VLZ´s or the Onyx if you can pull it. The Onyx has very nice clean pre´s IMHO. Make sure you can get direct out´s on any desk for future use.

Best
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Guy Gabriel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2deep2112 ➡️
I would look into the Mackie VLZ´s or the Onyx if you can pull it. The Onyx has very nice clean pre´s IMHO. Make sure you can get direct out´s on any desk for future use.

Best
The onyx is out of my price range but the 402-VLZ3 is. How are the preamps in that one? Is there any chance somebody compared the 2?
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
A and H Mixwiz.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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GZsound's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
The Soundcraft small format mixers have far and away the best preamps in any small format mixer.

Mackie Onyx get good reviews, but they are expensive and in my opinion, not better than the Soundcraft.

I also have a couple of Yamaha MG series mixers that are clean, quiet and very reliable.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Obitheincredible's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just bought a Soundcraft Spirit M4. Great Mixer with A/D Conversion through sdif and 4 awesome preamps! I'm running 4 to my layla 24/96. I wanted the M8 but someone posted a m4 on craigslist locally for 250! I flipped and was like MINE!
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Mackie VLZ 3 mixers, high performance, low noise, great pre's, even though I have some high end pre's, these are very useful and deliver. The Perkins EQ is also very good, and musical. In their price range I think these boards are excellent.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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GZsound's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 ➡️
Mackie VLZ 3 mixers, high performance, low noise, great pre's, even though I have some high end pre's, these are very useful and deliver. The Perkins EQ is also very good, and musical. In their price range I think these boards are excellent.

I had a VLZ and after getting a Soundcraft I sold it. Really not much comparison between the Mackie and the Soundcraft. The Mackie has simply O.K. preamps in it. Soundcraft puts their high end consloe preamps in their small format units and they are really nice.

The Mackie Onyx mixers are much better than the VLZ series.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Guy Gabriel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GZsound ➡️
Soundcraft puts their high end consloe preamps in their small format units and they are really nice.
I find it hard to believe soundcraft puts the same preamps in the compact series mixers as in their high end consoles. Are u sure?
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Obitheincredible's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Gabriel ➡️
I find it hard to believe soundcraft puts the same preamps in the compact series mixers as in their high end consoles. Are u sure?
ep they have said (and by they I mean sound craft) that they use the ghost preamps in their m series mixers.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
In my experience.....

Mackie VLZ Pro pre's are pretty good, don't expect GML's but they are quiet, neutral and have decent headroom when PFL'd properly. (and if you think otherwise get another job)

Soundcraft to my ear have a rather middy crunch to them (like they cannot take high output LDC's) even on a speech recording !

The Mackies VLZ Pro will essentially put out what you give them, nothing extra, their neutral sound actually works well with the tendancy to use rather bright sounding budget LDC's, it offsets it quite nicely.

The EQ on the VLZ series is virtually unusable IMO, simply horrid, you buy a VLZ desk for it's preamps.

There is a big load of S**t spoken about preamps and I am having none of it.

Until you spend 25 x more per pre the improvements are marginal and you have to decide whether it's worth it (and for the "yes all those small improvements add up crew") yes, so does the price and in these current times I would never advise blowing a shed load on preamps.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Guy Gabriel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLR2XLR ➡️
In my experience.....

Mackie VLZ Pro pre's are pretty good, don't expect GML's but they are quiet, neutral and have decent headroom when PFL'd properly. (and if you think otherwise get another job)

Soundcraft to my ear have a rather middy crunch to them (like they cannot take high output LDC's) even on a speech recording !

The Mackies VLZ Pro will essentially put out what you give them, nothing extra, their neutral sound actually works well with the tendancy to use rather bright sounding budget LDC's, it offsets it quite nicely.

The EQ on the VLZ series is virtually unusable IMO, simply horrid, you buy a VLZ desk for it's preamps.

There is a big load of S**t spoken about preamps and I am having none of it.

Until you spend 25 x more per pre the improvements are marginal and you have to decide whether it's worth it (and for the "yes all those small improvements add up crew") yes, so does the price and in these current times I would never advise blowing a shed load on preamps.
Everyone says a different thing, one says the preamps in the soundcraft sound better and the other says the mackie's.
unfortunately i can't check them both out by myself so who considers himself a preamp expert and i'll go with your choice? LOL
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Well it works for me and frankly thats what counts, just thought I would share
my experiences after having used both items above.

Take it or leave it. : )
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Could do alot worse than checking out Yamaha's MG series...
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obitheincredible ➡️
ep they have said (and by they I mean sound craft) that they use the ghost preamps in their m series mixers.
I noticed they claimed to have the Ghost preamp architecture in the Spirit M series when the series was first released, but they've withdrawn that claim for some reason. I can no longer find that claim in their marketing material, and wonder why it was removed. The rumor I've heard is that it wasn't actually true so they had to change their ads.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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sdelsolray's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Soundcraft M-Series. It has very good eq too.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
That would explain why they sound like poop.
Old 26th January 2009
  #18
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homestudioguy's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Gabriel ➡️
I'm looking for a cheap mixer for a temporary use, don't ask why, and the most important thing in it for me is the mic preamps, i'm planning to record vocals with it, i just need it to be clean.
The price range is at about the price of the Soundcraft Compact 4 which i was thinking of buying, i don't plan to exceed this price range because it's only temporary until i buy a decent preamp and then i'm planning to use the mixer only as a mixer (so the work flow with it is imporant as well but not as the preamps right now).
So are there any better solutions for me?

thanks guys
Why not a single channel strip like a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro?
One on ebay now for $179-"buy it now".
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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GZsound's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Gabriel ➡️
I find it hard to believe soundcraft puts the same preamps in the compact series mixers as in their high end consoles. Are u sure?
That's what they say.. I had an ES12 and according to Soundcraft it had the GB30preamps from their LX and Ghost series consoles in it.

It certainly was clean and quiet and just sounded much better than my Behringer, Yamaha, Samson and Mackie CR and VLZ mixers.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I had a VLZ Pro board and thought it was crap.

The pots got scratchy very quickly, the EQ was horrendous, and the pre's were thin sounding.

That being said, I used it for years and years to make some decent sounding demos.

I had a Soundcraft board that sounded better, pretty decent actually, but the phantom power hummed through the mains. So, I couldn't use phantom powered mics at all.

My Great River preamp is in another league completely.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Obitheincredible's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Soundcraft

According the Soundcrafts brochure it says they are the same design as their ghost studio recording consoles.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Dav Iridium's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You could do worse than check out the A+H ZED series of mixers. Nice clean pres, very useable eq, plenty of direct outs, very affordable!
Old 3rd February 2009
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
You can check out the Mackie VLZ PRO on 3dAudio's pre-amp shootout page.

3D Audio shootout

Last edited by dannywild; 3rd February 2009 at 05:50 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 3rd February 2009
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Behringer or Tapco.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSMo ➡️
Could do alot worse than checking out Yamaha's MG series...
Agreed. My 16/4 is a nice little workhorse, and I've used it as a fall back for its pres and nobody noticed that something was sorely lacking in terms of quality.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dav Iridium ➡️
You could do worse than check out the A+H ZED series of mixers. Nice clean pres, very useable eq, plenty of direct outs, very affordable!
I have a ZED14 I've been using for almost 4 weeks now and am really diggin' the pre's. Clean but not sterile, just a hint of sweetness to them. The detail is awesome and there's actual dimensional quality in the capture. I like them so far for AC guitar, voiceover, and amps. Vocals sound good so far too. Sweepable mids - my fave. And inserts. It's a sweet board and at $350 is kind of a no brainer IMO.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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GZsound's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by toxostoma rufum ➡️
Agreed. My 16/4 is a nice little workhorse, and I've used it as a fall back for its pres and nobody noticed that something was sorely lacking in terms of quality.
I have an MG206C in my small live rack and it is very impressive. It was four hundred dollars cheaper than the 16 channel A & H Mizwiz and the Soundcraft FX16..and sounds great.. PLUS it has eight channels of built in compression.

And Yamaha is certainly reliable..something Mackie has not been.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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Eloheim's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sorry if I'm hijacking, but are all these mixers okay for routing? or if thats what I want should I just go with a patch bay?

(Edit: Most of the ones mentioned here are more expensive than I thought, so I was really thinking of a cheaper one, just so I dont have to keep plugging and unplugging cables. I'm routing mic/instrument through my dedicated preamp, and into by EMU-0404 USB through 1/4"'s right now, but I guess with a digi mixer could do SPDIF into my 0404 or firewire/usb into the comp..)
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
for super cheapies...

A&H, soundcraft, yamaha, mackie. In that order.
Old 4th February 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Yoda117's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Gabriel ➡️
I'm looking for a cheap mixer for a temporary use, don't ask why,

Sorry Guy, but we kind of have to ask why.

If you're going to be recording something from a live show, then the Mackie will do you just fine.

If you're using this in the studio, then A&H MixWiz series are more what you're looking for.

(both are obviously dependant on what your budgetary constraints will allow).

Much as I love, and use the Mackie mixers, they just don't seem well purposed for use in a studio setting, whereas the A&H do. On the flip side, the Mackie (particularly Onyx) stuff works great for live shows, and recording those live shows as well.

Overall, I'd give the A&H a nod. For preamps alone, it'd be Mackie first, then A&H (sorry guys), and Yamaha (my experience with quality has been exactly the opposite of what some of the other posters have stated... that said, I've only had two problems with Yamaha mixers out of all the ones I've used or been recorded on, and one was definitely due to user stupidity).

If you're using this for summing, I'd go with A&H and Yamaha. Mackie has never impressed me in this regard.

The only Soundcraft I've got experience with was being recorded on an Ghost. Sounded good to me , but to otherwise speak with authority or experience regarding them would be dishonest.
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