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Best upgrade to signal path for around £200
Old 18th September 2012
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Best upgrade to signal path for around £200


I've been recording on my Digi 002 for years, and recently bought a modded Apex205 (which is great!) and am about to start a new recording project but want to see what would be the best purchase for around £200 / $350, first or secondhand, that would improve my signal-path.

A good 'bang for buck' preamp? A compressor? a new interface!

I've done a lot of research on fora such as this on Preamps (Golden Age Pre / GT brick / RNP seem to be the most consistent recommendations) or compressors (RNC, Twinfinity (a bit more expensive) or interfaces (saffire pro 40)...but initially, where will the money be best spent?

Many thanks in advance for your two cents! Phil
Old 19th September 2012
Lives for gear
RiF's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Given that the 002's preamps are not the greatest, I'd look out for a decent preamp first. If A/D conversion comes "free" with it, it could be an extra benefit. I am thinking of a used Focusrite ISA One (incl. A/D converter) or Audient Mico.
Old 19th September 2012
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
thank you, RiF - i've always got the sense that the 002 preamps weren't up to much! (strangely, i recall those on the 001 being better!)

Thank you for the suggestion - now that Pro Tools is an open playground, are there any budget options for getting, say, a dedicated mic pre (GAP or warm audio) and getting a separate, yet still inexpensive, A/D converter. I could always sell the 002 on the secondhand market to raise a few more funds. Any suggestions?

otherwise, the ISA one does seem sensible. A quick question tho - if i used a good budget pre with the 002, would it not still be using the pre's of the002, only not driven as hard?

(sorry, always been more of a musician than a technician - so my naivety is probably rather evident!)
Old 19th September 2012
Lives for gear
RiF's Avatar
🎧 10 years
If you don't find a reasonably priced preamp with A/D converter built-in, I'd go with the line-inputs (and conversion) from the 002. This will most likely improve your recordings the most (besides a good microphone, which is even more important). I have used the 002's converters for a long time and heard recordings done with them and they aren't the thing to blame if something sounds bad in the end. There are 1000 more reasons to be found elsewhere.

But what do I know? I am not a converter-corksniffer, I am running my Neumann U87/1073 preamps/Distressor/etc through Behringer ADA8000 converters and call it a day.

And yes, you can plug the preamp into the 002's line inputs and this will bypass the preamps. I heard somewhere that the line inputs 5-8 (the ones that are not switchable between mic and line level inputs) sound better, but I did not care.

That said, I'd stick to the 002 and buy stuff that:
1) get you around the biggest shortcomings of the 002 (preamps would be first on my list)
2) can still be used even if you change the 002 for something else later
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