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DIGI003 rack preamps - any good?
Old 23rd September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DIGI003 rack preamps - any good?

Hi!
I'm slowly building my home studio and now here's the dilemma:
I have digi003 rack with 4 preamps. All the mics I've had were borrowed and now I have to buy my own (finally). Always I've used the digi003's preamps and it sounded ok. I know (do I?) the sound might be better if I used external preamp. So the thing is I have to buy both - mic & pre.
What do you guys think is better - to invest in better mic and use internal preamps ... or to buy decent preamp and mic which will eventually have to be replaced/upgraded?
The budget is around 1500€.

thanx!
bancho
Old 23rd September 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
IdiotManchild's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Invest in better mics.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #3
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
For that budget.... i'd get a above average mic and a great pre.

Maybe AKG c214 + Great River pre?

I hear the 003r preamps are low end.... very low end.
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
RiF
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Whatever you buy, buy keeper stuff and don't compromise. Even if you end up just buying a pre OR a mic. But I'd start with the mic as it will make the most difference. You should be able to get a used U87ai for that money...

I cannot promise that you might want to upgrade your preamps after that ;-).
Old 25th September 2012
  #5
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fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The pres on the Digis are really not that great at all. As for your question, if it's down to really bad mics then I would invest in microphones. But if you have decent mics I would invest in preamps.
Old 25th September 2012
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
The thing is I always have to borrow mics... I've actually borrowed three different mics so far: Rode NT1000, Neumann U87 and Electrovoice RE20. They are not always available so I have to buy my own... I've really liked U87 the most - on the 003 rack preamps...
for the preamp I'm afraid what RiF said :}

So the mic it is! U87 or Violet design - vintage
The preamp later (probably much later)... I was thinking of LA610 or Channel One (SPL) ... is this ok? I can't check them live so I'm asking you guys
Old 25th September 2012
  #7
RiF
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🎧 10 years
My U87 purchase followed a BAE 1073MP...
Old 25th September 2012
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I wouldn't buy a U87Ai as my only mic. It's not versatile enough for that in my opinion. If you're set on a high-end Neumann, go for a U89. It's got the same capsule but it's got a flatter, smoother response without the U87Ai's high mid bite. If you're buying an expensive mic for all round use but want a nice pre too I'd go for an AKG 414 XLS and a Grace M101. It's a very flat and clean audio path so it will respond well to any processing later on.
Old 25th September 2012
  #9
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NothingTheory's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner ➑️
The pres on the Digis are really not that great at all.
+1

The pres on ch 1-4 are not great. The line in on ch 6-8 are ok though if you have decent pre to plug in.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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IdiotManchild's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bancho ➑️
So the mic it is! U87 or Violet design - vintage
The preamp later (probably much later)... I was thinking of LA610 or Channel One (SPL) ... is this ok? I can't check them live so I'm asking you guys
Awesome. A U87 is a really good all-around microphone.

I really like the LA610, but I haven't tried the SPL pre.
Old 26th September 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
I think a mid range mic and high end per is way more important. I freaking hate the digi pres. I use our API 512c, vintek tube per or even just sound craft board pres before the crappy digi ones.
Old 26th September 2012
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I've had a digi 003 rack for 2 years and have used it moderately. What are your intentions with this piece of gear? Are you planning on tracking AND mixing? I have evidence that you can get pretty nice results with a digi 003 just tracking but getting a professional to mix and master:

Elliot | Rocketships | CD Baby Music Store

EVERYTHING besides drums was tracked on a digi 003 rack (vocals were done on a U87) but everything else was either an sm57, DI (bass) and maybe a cheap ribbon thrown on a guitar cab. Good results are possible. The track was professionally mixed, though. That is the big difference.

If you are looking for something LIKE the Digi 003 for not so much more, I would go for the Apogee Ensemble. I just sold my Digi 003 for $400 on ebay and bought an Ensemble for $1050 - shipped! I would put the money you are looking to invest in a U87 into an AT 4050 or even an SM7b if you are tight on cash.

The Apogee Ensemble KILLS the 003 and if you are tight on money and looking to mix in the box and even master a bit - check out all the demo plugins available (Massey, sonnox, etc.). Here is what I did with my Apogee Ensemble completely in the box (pro tools 10). Im definitely novice but for what I spent on gear... not too bad.

Old 26th September 2012
  #13
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Piedpiper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
You could also get the Black Lion Audio Signature Mod which includes upgraded mic pres, line level ins and outs, converters, clock, monitoring, and power supply. You will notice a significant difference.
Old 26th September 2012
  #14
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avidmusician ➑️
I wouldn't buy a U87Ai as my only mic. It's not versatile enough for that in my opinion. If you're set on a high-end Neumann, go for a U89. It's got the same capsule but it's got a flatter, smoother response without the U87Ai's high mid bite. If you're buying an expensive mic for all round use but want a nice pre too I'd go for an AKG 414 XLS and a Grace M101. It's a very flat and clean audio path so it will respond well to any processing later on.
IME an 87 is way more versatile than a 414s. The 414 can sound way too bright on the wrong source. The 87, even a modern one, rarely sounds awful; often there will be a better choice, but not necessarily an affordable one.
Old 26th September 2012
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I worked with PT on local radio and got used to it. Also they had digidesign interfaces. Then I got opportunity to buy the 003 rack really cheap and I did it. Now I don't have any intensions to sell it actually.
I hooked the alesis mixer (borrowed) to ins and outs and also some external effects to aux and I played a little bit. I used it for mixing and tracking. It was awesome but then I had to put it apart because I'm moving and now I only use the 003 with my Pioneer DJ mixer to record some mixes and vocals when necessary - for radioshow. When I move finally (probably very soon) I'll dedicate one room for the home studio.
In the past I was looking to 414 also, I also tried it on the radio but they really seemed a little too bright - before I used U87 and got in love with neumann on first sight ... now I really can't find anything similar so I'm thinking to save a little bit more and buy good ol' neumann
Old 26th September 2012
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
So just to be clear, using a higher quality separate preamp would simply mean connecting the output of your preamp to the 003s line inputs to bypass its own mic preamp right? What if you also wanted to also use a better A/D converter (Say for example you rented one for the day from a local music rental)? Would you just connect that to the 003s optical or S/PDIF?
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF ➑️
Whatever you buy, buy keeper stuff and don't compromise. Even if you end up just buying a pre OR a mic. But I'd start with the mic as it will make the most difference. You should be able to get a used U87ai for that money...

I cannot promise that you might want to upgrade your preamps after that ;-).
I think that mics make the most difference is a myth or at least not so generally true as it is stated in those kinds of threads. The thing is: Only if you halready have a decent, at least mid-level, preamp the step upwards in sound quality is bigger with better mics. In my experience, even the stock pre-amps on better audio interfaces suck in comparrison to a decent mid level preamp. So I don't know the quality of the preamps of the digi003 but if they are comparable to those in a 500$ audio interface, I would go for a decent preamp and a mid range mic first.
Old 26th September 2012
  #18
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
You can use spdif into the 002 from a reverb unit or other pre with a spdif out to bypass the pre's in the 002. Or you can use a separate preamp and go xlr out of the preamp into the line in on 5-8 on the 002. I use ad from an effects unit to bypass, allowing me to use the 002 as a dongle.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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Piedpiper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by picker7845 ➑️
So just to be clear, using a higher quality separate preamp would simply mean connecting the output of your preamp to the 003s line inputs to bypass its own mic preamp right? What if you also wanted to also use a better A/D converter (Say for example you rented one for the day from a local music rental)? Would you just connect that to the 003s optical or S/PDIF?
yes... and yes, SPDIF...
Old 7th December 2012
  #20
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IamJohnGalt's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Ok..so this thread is a bit old but addresses a question I just posed in a new thread. I have the 002 and was thinking about the same issues. New sweet pre or upgrade converters. I think the ensemble solution will be a good one because you get 4 really nice pres and converters in front of the digi....is this the way to go?

Thanks.
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