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Old 16-05-2017, 02:13 PM   #2
Artificer
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Re: Buying a mic, wondering best pre-amp combo

As a general rule I wouldn't look at a tube preamp until you're in the $700-1k range as the cheap ones just aren't very good. Starved plate preamps just always sound bad to me - something about the poor saturation qualities and increased voltage ripple response, I think. They always sound really brittle and harsh to me.

I much prefer well designed solid state pre - Great River makes wonderful preamps that are decently affordable on the used market. They're still expensive, but they're in the 'never buy another preamp again' category. If you're going to go cheaper I'd look at a good used ART preamp. While still technically starved plate they're right on the edge, and the older Pro series really shines with good NOS tubes.

Another cheaper option might be an ADA8000 or ADA8200. I just picked up a couple of 8ks on eBay for modding purposes for $75 shipped. They're really solid and well-respected inexpensive preamps with a ton of headroom and they're cheap as chips.

But ultimately it's going to come down to your ear and use case and what you're trying to achieve, and you're only going to know what works for you by listening. There's also the fact that preamps really have very minor effects on sound compared to things like room quality and mic placement and the mics themselves - you might grab the 7b and run it straight into your interface and see if you like it. It might be you can get by without spending any money at all.
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