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Old 03-28-2016, 07:42 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 35,615
Default Re: 003 mic preamp quality?

Keeping in mind that every response to this question will be opinion
Having owned both the 002 and 003, I rate the 003 as better than the 002, but still "plain vanilla". Clean enough but characterless. Can you record good tracks with them? Absolutely, but it takes a great mic, positioned right, in a good room with a good source(IOW, give a great engineer an SM57 and an Mbox and they can make a good recording).

Having said that, once you get "better" preamps, you will find yourself using the onboard stuff for "non-critical" stuff(I used them for keyboards and talkback mics). What do you need to record and how much money do you have to spend? If you want to track a full drumkit, I think the Midas XL48 is amazing(around $900). I have also owned Presonus Firestudio and D8 and Focusrite OctoPre Mk II Dynamic. Those are much cheaper, and sound it. I also own the Focusrite ISA428 with digital card(all of these connect to the 003 via lightpipe) and the ISA preamps are very good, BUT(big "but") they are known for being clean and quiet, but don't have the character of the Midas or a Neve/API clone(I use the ISA for overheads, hat and ride).

full disclosure: I now run an HD/Native system with 2x HD IO boxes. I still use the ISA428 as described. Also using the OctoPre to cover keyboards and talkback mics(x3). I use the Midas for drums(shell mics) and several outboard preamps for vocals, acoustic stuff, bass and electric guitars(point being that what you buy now can still be useful as your rig grows)
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