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  #1  
Old 03-27-2016, 12:06 PM
chrismeraz chrismeraz is offline
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Default 003 mic preamp quality?

Hey guys, how do you rate the quality of the 003 preamps vs. other available outboard preamps?

I figure, if there are four of them in the 003, each preamp couldn't be worth much more than $100 - and that doesn't buy you much of a preamp at all. Basically only to be used as a last resort. Is that about right?
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Last edited by chrismeraz; 03-27-2016 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:42 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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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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Old 03-28-2016, 10:22 AM
chrismeraz chrismeraz is offline
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Default Re: 003 mic preamp quality?

Thanks Dave.

I have an ADL 600 and an LA-610. That's three channels of good preamps.

I only record myself and my friends at home, quiet acoustic rock (what the young kids call "unplugged").

That Midas XL48 looks about perfect for my studio! I didn't know such a thing existed! Genius!

I know how to tune an instrument for the studio, and how to find great placement for the microphones. I can get some really great sounds down on tape. The thing I haven't bothered with yet is doing an A/B test of the preamps, because I'm lazy. But maybe it's time...
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Last edited by chrismeraz; 03-28-2016 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:29 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: 003 mic preamp quality?

A/B testing is a great idea. I spent an entire day trying every mic I owned on every drum, then tried several preamps on various drums. The Midas beat my Vintechs, and I was able to sell some mics that were disappointing(and a bit surprising at the time). The day allowed me to take my drum tracking to a whole 'nother level
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:13 AM
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basslik basslik is offline
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Default Re: 003 mic preamp quality?

That's very interesting Dave. I looking for an Aurora 16 with a AESe, but now you got me thinking hard about the Midas.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:57 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: 003 mic preamp quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by basslik View Post
That's very interesting Dave. I looking for an Aurora 16 with a AESe, but now you got me thinking hard about the Midas.
Well, so far, I got 3 people to go for the Midas and all 3 are quite happy I connected mine via lightpipe for a year and then moved it to analog inputs on a 192. Can't say I heard any audible change(but that allowed me to have the outputs on a patchbay for inserts before A>D). It also has AES out for higher sample rates(among its other unique routing features) Keep in mind that I only ever used it for drums(once it beat my boutique preamps, I just never had a reason to experiment further).

For studio folks that never were interested in live sound, the Midas XL4 was(and may still be) considered the finest sounding live console ever made(apologies to the competition) XL-48 is based on that preamp
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