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Massive studio upgrade - looking for 2ch preamp suggestions

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Fragle, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    Hello everyone,

    long time user here, albeit very inactive for the last couple of years...

    After using pretty much the same equipment for the last 5-10yrs (except for guitars/basses/amps, the addiction is strong here :D ), I'm in the middle of a massive studio upgrade.
    I am mainly using my project studio for songwriting and preproduction purposes, with the occasional full album production - mainly my own bands, but also a few local customers/bands. Until now, I've recorded guitars, bass, and vocals at my place, outsourcing the drum recordings to other studios. However, I want to expand my possibilities and be able to record drums, too. The main reason is that recording drums in a rented space (especially my own bands) always has that "the clock is ticking" vibe going on. I want to be able to spend more time on getting things right and not shooting for a "good enough" solution, both regarding sound and performances. At the same time, I want to upgrade my signal chain for vocals, too, as well as getting some outboard stuff for mixing purposes.

    Budget for the whole thing is around 10k€.
    I've already upgraded my studio PC (coming from an intel core2duo 4gb ram setup, now using an i7 7700k with 32gb) and I'm in the middle of rebuilding and treating my room, so there's around 5-6k left for gear, both hard- and software.

    My main interface is an RME fireface 400, which I'd like to keep, as it's been rock solid and sounds good.
    In terms of mics, I'm using sm57, md421, and re-20 for guitars; vocals are mainly done through a brauner phantom, sm7b, nt1a (still quite good imho, esp. for the price tag) or again the re-20.

    Long story short, here's what I'm planning to do - any input highly appreciated, especially regarding the 2ch preamp part! :)

    focusrite clarett octopre via adat for the bulk of drum stuff
    behringer ada8200 for trigger signals and the additional AD/DA capabilities, again via adat
    fireface 400 for 2 more mic in and the additional line IO
    all hooked up via adat, either through a RME digiface usb or the hdspe raydat (still haven't quite decided on either one, liking the portability of the digiface though)
    fmr rnc and rnla as my first outboard compressors (both for vocals on the way in as well as outboard 2bus compression)
    elysia xfilter stereo eq (possibly a later purchase, i don't quite see the need for outboard eq (yet) )


    Additionally I was thinking about getting a 1-2ch preamp (preferably 2ch), too.I've narrowed it down to the following choices:
    - fmr rnp
    - art pro mpa II
    - spl goldmike 9844
    - BLA auteur
    - warm audio wa12or BLA b12a would be 1ch options

    Main usage: vocals, snare top&bottom, overheads (in that order of preference). I am quite content with the rme pres for guitars, but wouldn't mind some options there, too.
    The thing is, both the RME and the focusrite pres are rather neutral. I'd like to add some color to the mix (no pun intended), too. This does not mean that I'm looking for the most colorful preamps possible; much rather, I'd like to have a different flavor of preamp coloration, which should still be usable for a rather wide range of sources (see above), but I'm very open to suggestions here.

    So, to finally get to the point: What would you guys recommend?
    Oh, style-wise I'm mostly recording (melodic) death and black metal, sometimes more powermetal-ish stuff, too.

    Thanks in advance for the input!
    Best regards
     
  2. tedtan

    tedtan Member

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    I don't think those, except the Warm or BLA API clone, will give you much beyond what you already have in the RME and Clarett preamps, so I'd probably skip them entirely.

    For vocals, I like Neve-ish pres (AMS Neve, BAE, Heritage, AML, Great River). For snare or overhead, Neve can be good, but so can API. If looking at API style pres, I'd either go for API or for CAPI (I'd skip Warm and BLA) - given what you are spending on everything else, you might as well get the better components and build quality of the higher end brands to match the rest of your chain.
     
  3. newamerikangospel

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    The art MPA is an amazing unit. it thickens and growls, especially with fairly bright condenser mics. For already dark mics (pr20 especially) it can be a little much dialed in extremely. I imagine this wouldn't be a go to in a full spec rack but will be consistently usable, and maybe a staple for a room pair. For what it's worth, I generally prefer neve style tones, FYI.
     
  4. newamerikangospel

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    You may also look at golden age pre73 series (1 channel)
     
  5. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    After a brief visit to Thomann (that's the luxury of living only 15min away from their HQ ^^), I've narrowed it down to the following options:
    - Fredenstein F200 - sounded really good in their demo room & comes with 2x 1176-style compressors
    - GAP73
    - WA12a

    I think I'm going to buy all 3 and return either the GAP/WA12 pre's or the fredenstein, depending on how they perform. Feature-wise the F200 looks great, but I'm rather curious what some API/NEVE style "color" pre's will add to my recording chain.

    Will post some clippage once everything is set up ;-)
     

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