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Modern IC PRE!
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Modern IC PRE!

Hey guys, I'm using a Shure SM7B with an MKIII Gap PRE-73 and a Focusrite Scarlett 3rd gen (USB -> computer) to record myself talking and I like it a lot so far.

According to the insert included with my Gap73 Pre-Amp:

"There are some great IC's available today that achieves very low levels of static and dynamic distortion. The simple circuits that the PRE-73 uses, and even more so the transformers, cannot match the low distortion specifications of modern IC's."

I was hoping someone could throw out a name of a modern Pre-amp I could buy with low distortion, preferably one with a lot of gain. Someone mentioned the grace design m101.

Budget $300-$1000
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear
I'm working in pounds sterling, so assuming £300-£1,000. All of the following are *just* under the £1K mark.

Millennia HV-35P
Left field (as it's a USB interface as well):
Sound Devices USB Pre2.
Grace Design M101

All of the above can be used with your mic, with room to spare.
I've used the Millennia and Sound Devices units.
Not used the Grace.

There are others, that I haven't used that may be worth considering:

Cranbourne EC-1
(Ribbon pre, very high impedance, may change the tone to a greater degree than other preamps).

In terms of "sound" they're all clean, high gain preamps. You should be able to push all of them to 100% without any noticeable hiss, or at least that's my experience with Millennia and Sound Devices. Haven't used Grace, Cranbourne or AEA so can't comment but I'd be very surprised if you couldn't.

In terms of harmonic distortion, I've yet to meet a preamp (even the transparent ones) that don't have *some* colour to the sound but you're talking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin differences, in reality.

In truth, even if you could hear a difference, if your typical podcast audience is listening on a smartphone they'd never notice. What they would may notice is a difference in clarity and articulation.

Your limit will me the SM7B, which can lack articulation on lower impedance preamps. That's my opinion though, not a tested fact.

A lot of folks recommend the DAV BG preamp series. I tried them and didn't like their sound. Nothing wrong with the DAV preamp, just not for me.
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