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What Are the Top 5 Mic Pres??

Roland

I have the following gear and am looking to expand my sonic pallette with some more very high quality mic pre's and possibly mics:
Manley Vox Box
dbx 160S Blue Series Compressor
Summit DCL 200A Compressor
Neumann U-87 and M149 mics
BLUE Mouse mic
Shure KSM-44 mic
What mic pres or additional mics would you recommend for vocals? Is there anything else that would give some really good vocal sounds?
I've been looking at getting the following three pre-amps, but I'd really like some more feedback from pros who know:
Universal 2610
Neve 1272
Dbx 768
Any help would be much appreciated as I plan to make the purchases in the next two weeks.
Thanks,
Roland
May 25, 2002 @10:13pm
michaelhoddy

What kinds of vocal sounds are you going for that you are right now not getting with the Manley? What deficiencies are you noticing in your current signal chain?
May 26, 2002 @12:51am
Roland

I'm actually very happy with the Manley, but I just have heard that the "secret weapons" of many of the pop and hip/hop producers for vocal recording are all these wonderful and different sonically colored mic pres. So, I wanted to add some of these different colors to my vocal tracks to achieve some different sounds and develop my own secret weapons. Thanks, Roland
May 26, 2002 @01:48am
David Klausner

I always look at different mics, pre's and compressors as the colors in my palette, and mix and match them to get the particular tones I am looking for. If I could only have one pre, the Vox Box would be pretty high on my list, but variety can often be quite useful.
As for the pre's you mentioned, I find the 2610 to be a very warm sounding pre, with a lot of harmonic content. It has a sort of 3 dimensional, "larger than life" quality to it - great when you want to add some girth to your tone. The 1272's (and the very well done modern re-issues, like the Vintech and Chandler) also have a lot of harmonic content, but in an "edgier" sort of way. I love them on distorted electric guitars, and they are also good on vocals (especially male), but the track you put them in has to be a little dense to keep them from sounding harsh (a dense track seems to soak up the edginess a bit). The 786 is a much more clear, open, transparent sounding pre. It is a great choice when you want more detail, and are not looking to color the sound too much.
As the saying goes, talking about music is like dancing about architecture, and trying to describe the sound of a pre in a sentence or two doesn't do it justice, but hopefully it will give you a little information about the general sound you can expect.
May 27, 2002 @03:30pm
michaelhoddy

From the sound of it, you are looking for more "color" from your signal chain. As David mentioned, both the UA 2610 and the 1272 (and it's knock-offs) will help you achieve that, albeit in different ways.
The Manley is a fairly clean, yet warm-sounding preamp. It does not color the sound too much.
What would I do in your situation? Given the fact that you already have a very good tube pre, I'd look at getting a contrasting solid-state preamp. You really can't go wrong with a 1272, Averill/Neve, Vintech, or otherwise. It won't be a color you use everywhere, but you'll find lots of use for it. Another preamp that I love and that engineers are consistently raving about now is the Great River MP2-NV. It is loosely based on the Neve 1073 circuit, but has the ability to vary the amount of "drive" in the circuit front-end, and hence, the amount of coloration. And it is quieter than the original Neve circuits. Definitely a home-run preamp.
Others? The single-channel Daking 52270 is a great sound for drums, guitars, and some vocals. It's based on the old Trident A-range. Besides a good pre, it has a great EQ circuit. You might also want to look at API, although I'd get something with the Neve "sound" first.
May 27, 2002 @03:41pm
Roland

Thanks guys, the Great River sounds pretty interesting. You're right, I'm looking more for new colors than just the clean transparency of a dbx 768. I've heard some good things about a Pendulum pre as well. I'm probably going to add two or three of these here in the next week or two, so Great River looks like a for sure. The 2610 is looking pretty good too, which would leave me deciding between a Pendulum and maybe the 1272. I appreciate your insights in helping me to make this decision.
Thanks again,
Roland
May 28, 2002 @04:19am
BrandonNothing

Check out API's as well. In fact check out Brent Averill API mic pres, he has some 2 channels that are well priced. They are very colorful pre's. Very punchy. They sound really great. API makes modules that you can get racks for, or you can get a 4 channel that make. Brent Averill makes 2 channel racks made from vintage API consoles. Either way you can't go wrong. Averill also has racks for vintage Neve pres.
May 28, 2002 @04:39pm
Roland

Okay, after much research and discussion I've decided on the following:
dbx Blue 786 Mic Pre w/digital
Groove Tubes Viper Mic Pre
Crane Song Flamingo Dual Mic Pre
Summit Audio TPA-200 Dual Mic Pre
Brauner VM1 KHE Microphone
Soundeluxe Elux 251 Microphone
Time to go shopping!!! :D
May 29, 2002 @02:43am
Ed Belknap

Originally posted by Roland
Is there anything else that would give some really good vocal sounds?

A really good singer
June 22, 2002 @09:53pm
Roland

Originally posted by Ed Belknap

A really good singer

:D
June 27, 2002 @12:10am
EjbsMusicRoom

I know I`m way late in this discussion but I`m surprised no one mentioned the AVALON 737s.
That is one serious tool. Anyway... I would love to hear what you have to say about the new GREAT RIVER PRE. I`m looking to get that unit. Please email me with your feedback @ ERNEST828@aol.com
Thanks,
Ernest
BTW- My list for TOP 5 pres:
MARTECH (The most open pre I ever heard)
AVALON M5
AVALON 737 (Super Tool)
GREAT RIVERS
APHEX 107 (Cheap and sounds great)
July 24, 2002 @11:26pm
Pete

Originally posted by Roland
Okay, after much research and discussion I've decided on the following:
dbx Blue 786 Mic Pre w/digital
Groove Tubes Viper Mic Pre
Crane Song Flamingo Dual Mic Pre
Summit Audio TPA-200 Dual Mic Pre
Brauner VM1 KHE Microphone
Soundeluxe Elux 251 Microphone
Time to go shopping!!! :D

What an Awsome list!!!! I wanna go shopping with you:D I would love to have the cheese to pull off a list like that!!!!!
August 6, 2002 @09:13pm
Milo

if i had the money for roland's list.. i'd be quite a happy man.
August 18, 2002 @09:22pm
jon_mc

Check out the Focusrite ISA 220..... has a transparent EQ/Comp/Limit/De-Ess and IMO from an A/B test, it makes the 737 sound weak.
Jon
December 9, 2002 @05:50am
michaelhoddy

And, since it's solid-state, it's also a completely different topology than the 737. It shouldn't sound similar. And there's apps in which the 220 would sound harsh or too up-front as a result. Still, an interesting alternative. What sources and mics did you A/B with?
There's only a few things I use my pair of 737's on. But those few things the Avalons do very well.
December 10, 2002 @01:30am