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  #1  
Old 10-10-2003, 01:02 PM
davetron5000 davetron5000 is offline
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Default budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

OK, I've got some disposable cash, and I'm trying to decide if any budget tube mic pre is gonna be better than the 002R's pres, or if they are actually pretty good, and only a higher-end mic pre would be worth it. My "budget", I mean stuff like the Art Tub MP-1 and other < $200 mic pres.

I guess a corollary question would be, would it be better to blow a ton on a better ($700-1000) mic pre vs. 8 budget pres (and if so, what is the best? I know loaded question).

The mics I've got are sm57s, rod nt5 overheads, rode nt1a and a peavey bassdrum mic.

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  #2  
Old 10-10-2003, 01:44 PM
pk_hat pk_hat is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

Quote:

I guess a corollary question would be, would it be better to blow a ton on a better ($700-1000) mic pre vs. 8 budget pres (and if so, what is the best?

In my humble opinion, you're much better off saving your money and investing in a better pre. I've had a Focusrite Penta for over a year and while I think it's a great preamp/compressor for the money, I beginning to take a new approach to future gear purchases. Less gear, but of much better quality. As a result of this mindset, stuff like ART, Behringer and other swiss army budget modules turn me off.

It may be a 6 month wait between purchases, but I feel it's worth it. Things to consider are the Vintech Dual 72, Brent Averill 1272, Universal Audio 2108, 2-610 or 6176, items of that nature. In the meantime, I would recommend you keep using the 002 preamps and focus on good mic placement and technique, as you won't find "that much" better in terms of pres for around $300.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2003, 02:43 PM
Chris Coleman Chris Coleman is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

If it's preamps you're jonesing for - probably one of the best expandable ways to invest is going with something like an API lunchbox and one API-type preamp module either from API ($725), Brent Averill ($550), or Old School Audio (different API-compatible models from about $450).

That way, you start off with an initial purchase of around $1000, but you can add more preamps, compressors or EQ's to the lunchbox as more cash comes in.

As I type this, I don't know why I haven't done this yet.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2003, 10:58 PM
Stage Stage is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

what is that thing? looks cool but i didn't see a description of what was in it?

thanks,
petr
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2003, 06:57 AM
mindnoise mindnoise is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

For a good deal of tubes and Mic pre and compressor you may also look at http://www.fat-man.co.uk and a closer look at the Fat Man 2 from TL Audio. I personally have the Fat Man 1 (without Mic pre) and I am REALLY taken by the sound it produces. REAL TUBE FUN. And I HEARD only good feedback from the mic-pre of the Fat 2.
I think it gous for $400 around new.

Here´s a review of it:


Fat Man by TL Audio Fat Two

Review by George Shilling

The Fat Two unsurprisingly follows up on the fast-selling Fat One stereo compressor. This time the new Fatty on the block is a mono front-end featuring a similar compressor to the Fat One. At first glance you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, such is the similarity of construction and front panel layout. The well-built box includes a slanted mesh top which prevents you from resting your tea there, a 3U half-rack front panel, and similarly placed controls to the Fat One. It has the familiar deep red painted front panel, similar stylised white legending and the same little round illuminated VU meter. As this is a mono unit, the dual-triode's duties are split differently: this time one half is wired to the mic preamp stage, and the other is in the compressor gain circuit. The rear of this box is slightly more sparse: Alongside the single XLR microphone input are TRS balanced jacks for Line Input and Output. I would have liked an XLR output too, but then again, I would have liked free cream cakes and a tub of lard with it - at this price a TRS jack will do the job just fine. However, with all that spare room on the back panel, it's a shame that there is no sidechain link jack for stereo or externally triggered compression.

The front features the same rotary controls as its sibling: the centre détented Input Gain has a range of plus or minus 20dB in Line mode, which on this unit also allows +16 to +60dB for mic gain. Output Gain can be used in place of a fader, ranging from infinity (off) to zero at the top, to +15dB at full tilt. Perhaps a trifle extravagantly, there is a separate Gain Make-Up knob, which adds up to another 20dB post compression. The Program knob is a sixteen way rotary switch, with fifteen presets and a Manual setting. As this is an Input recording device, the presets have been assigned slightly different labels from those of the Fat One. Before describing them, I should explain that all these presets contain settings which can be achieved by selecting manual and placing the knobs and buttons in the positions described by a handy chart in the excellent and informative manual. In Manual mode one can set (i) Threshold, which has a good range from +10 to -20dB (and sensibly, more compression is clockwise), (ii) Ratio, which goes all the way from 1:1.5 to 1:30 (although the presets never go near either extreme), (iii) separate Attack and Release Fast/Slow pushbuttons, and (iv) Hard/Soft Knee button. Also on the front panel is a useful and great sounding Instrument input jack, which when used works in addition to the selected input. Line or Mic Inputs are selected with a pushbutton, which handily doubles as a Gain range switch in the case of Instrument Input. There is a switch for 48V phantom power for the Mic Input, and a 90Hz High Pass Filter is also featured for removal of those unwanted rumbly noises or to reduce proximity effect. A Compressor On button puts the compressor in circuit, its accompanying LED situated nowhere near the button (it's next to the meter). The meter Output/Gain Reduction button is nowhere near the meter, but this keeps the front panel tidy. A neat Power rocker switch enables the valve's life to be preserved when the unit is not in use.

My overall impression of the mic amp was that although it was perhaps slightly noisier than the very best, it acquitted itself very respectably, with an overall big, warm sound, not quite as detailed as a modern Rupert Neve design, but somehow more friendly, perhaps more like an API, if not quite so refined.

The compressor presets include four varying vocal settings plus settings for 'Rap Vox,' assorted electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, and Loop, Kick and Snare settings. These are all a matter of personal taste, but I thought they were wisely chosen, and in any case, you can always do your own thing. They seem a bit harder than I remember the Fat One settings, which is no bad thing - the compression is always enjoyable, and settings can be tweaked with the input gain, or by referencing the manual and setting up the knobs and switches yourself. Without a rapper 'in da house', I had a go at my own rant in order to test the Rap Vox setting, and it was inspiring enough through the headphones for me to shout freestyle nonsense for several minutes.

For any recordists, professional or amateur, this is a useful unit, and due to its ease of use will also be ideal for live and broadcast applications. For the novice, this would make an ideal first time purchase: excellent sound quality, and ease of use without denying the user knowledge of what goes on 'under the bonnet'. The manual is informative without being patronising, and a hand-written spec-test sheet is included, just like a proper top-end bit of gear. It's the bees' knees, or perhaps, to coin a phrase, the builder's bum.

Copyright ©2001 George Shilling
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  #6  
Old 10-11-2003, 07:14 AM
audioeric audioeric is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

Hmmm.. We use HHB and dbx pro tube pres/compressors for outboard gear and I like those.. Now, the fat man that you mentioned above, we have an HHB one that looks exactly like that, is HHB the maker of the american version?? I mean, the HHB one is called the Fat Man and has the same graphics and all..

http://www.hhbusa.com/FMPro?-db=HHB_...==FATMAN&-FIND

anyway, I like them, they might not be the extreme top of the line, but they definitely help a bit.. we also use HHB Radius 20's, 40's, and 50's.. Just a good all around package..

eric
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2003, 07:19 AM
mindnoise mindnoise is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

Yes, the Fatman is licened to HBB in the US. It´s the same with a different print on the front panel.

best
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  #8  
Old 10-11-2003, 08:21 AM
where02190 where02190 is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

We have several HHB/TL Audio preamps, they rock, and are excellent values for the $$$$. Tony Larkin (the TL in TL Audio) designs are quiet and clean, and we have had great success with the PA-2, C-2 and (HHB) Radius 10.
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  #9  
Old 10-11-2003, 04:37 PM
cleft cleft is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

i've tought about the fatman for a decent pre/DI solution (though my need is mostly for a DI).
is the fatman a decent step up from, let's say a presonus digitube/bluemax combo? would it be in the class of a focusrite trakmaster or presonus mp20 as far as quality? i realize neither of those are tube pre's, but i'm just wondering what the fatman is comparable to as far as quality.
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2003, 05:04 AM
mindnoise mindnoise is offline
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Default Re: budget tube pres vs. 002R\'s pres

with the fatman you definately get more utilities in one box, the others are just "only" mic reamps.
In the Fatman you get warm and phat sounding mic preamp, line audio DI, tube and compressor for the most fair price.
About the sound differneces I can´t say nothing, sorry. SO it´s up to your preferences and needs.
perhaps on http://www.sonicstate.com you find some answers.

If you can live without a tube the mackie VLZ pro will also do nicely as superb mic preamp.
(if Madonna uses one it´s good for you too ) )
best
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