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Author Topic: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?  (Read 918 times)

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Offline goodcooker

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External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« on: October 11, 2018, 09:42:39 AM »

With all in one recorders getting better and better preamp topology built in for the purchase price I wonder how many people are still using external preamps like we were all doing 10 years ago. I had a Busman modded R4 around 2008 -2009 and I didn't use my V3 at all so I ended up selling it after it sat on the shelf for over a year.

Now I seem to be going back to my old ways and have gotten hold of an Aerco MP2, a Grace Lunatec V2 and an NBox Platinum. Powering these is a lot simpler than it was when I had to haul the SLA lead sled and I can still pack light and run 4 channels of mics and a board feed if I want and the whole bag comes in at around 12 pounds - batteries and all.
Schoeps MK41 > nBob > PFA || MBHO KA300 > PFA
Aerco MP2 || Grace Lunatec V2 || RAD MS2 || nBox Platinum
Marantz PMD706 || PMD620

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Offline mrfender

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 10:05:59 AM »
I only have my little Tascam handhelds and when the stars line up, the sound comes out pretty good.  I had purchased some CA-14's and ran them in a DR-22wl and was not impressed by what I got from just running a basic battery box.  Picked up a CA9100 to run them through and, from my limited sample size, the recordings are vastly superior.  My knowledge is very limited on the how/why but it seems to work for me.  And granted I run on the small scale versus the big dogs around here.

Offline noahbickart

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 10:07:57 AM »
I love my Mixpre6. But channels 5/6 are line in only, hence the need for at least one pair of high quality preampfification. I'm using a Naiant Littlebox but have a schoeps vms on the way
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> McIntosh MC162> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-4XX / Beyerdynamic DT880

Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701 / Hifiman HE-400

Offline robeti

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 12:28:25 PM »
I like my ca-9200. The volume knob allows me to adjust on the spot if needed. I'd rather do that and leave the recorder locked om 'hold' then fiddle around with the recorder.
The size of the ca-9200 is so small, I don't mind bringing it in the venue together with a recorder and some mics.
mics: nakamichi cm-50 | nakamichi cm-300 (JB mod/cp1/cp2/cp3) | primo em4052pmi4 | sp-cmc-4u/at-u853a 4.7k mod (h/c/sc) | ca-11 (c)
power: ca-ubb | ca-9200
recorder: roland r-05
video: panasonic hdc-sd600 | panasonic hdc-700 | sony hx9v | sony hx50v

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 12:59:28 PM »
I use the V3 these days primarily as a way to increase the recording channel count of the DR-680 to 8 channels via its digital input.  Sort of like the SD machine users who need a preamp in order to record another pair of mics.

So for me its a practical thing, however it does seem weird using such a nice preamp for my least important "extra" channels, which is my usual intent of doing this, rather than using that path for recording an essentially separate stereo pair with high-quality.

If I was only recording only two or four channels where there is less complications, I might use it as a "high-quality path" more often.
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Offline perks

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 01:30:14 PM »
IN - There's been many tempting 'deals' on HQ preamps/converters in the YS since the new MixPre's came out that its been a great time to inexpensively check out different equipment that may have been cost prohibitive in the past.
Mics: Schoeps MK5, Schoeps MK41, AT853u (C,SC,H,O)
Preamps/converters: Schoeps VMS52UB (x2), Nbox (x2), E.A.A. PSP-2 (x2) Grace Lunatec V2 (for sale), Sound Devices MP-2 (for sale), DPA MMA6000, Naiant Tinybox v1.5, Naiant PiPsqueak, Church Ugly, Apogee Mini-Me, Benchmark AD2k+
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Edirol R-05, Sony PCM-M10 (x2), Tascam DR-07, Marantz PMD-661

Offline pohaku

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 01:48:17 PM »
Depends.  If I am using my SD recorder, I will just go straight in.  With anything else, I may run the main two channels through a good preamp.  Not always, but pretty frequently.  Sometimes I run the Zoom by itself, and sometimes is use a preamp in front of a couple channels.  I still do the tinybox > M10 thing if I am traveling light.  Modern batteries make powering so much easier, even with multiple boxes.
Mics: akg c460 (ck61, ck63), c414buls, c568eb; at4049a, 4051a, 4053a, at853; josephson c42; neumann U87, km84i; beyer m130, m160, m500; aea r84; gefell m71, mt711s, m200, m201; sony c38; schoeps cmc6, CMBI (mk4, mk21, mk41, mk4v); sennheiser mkh30, mkh40, md421, md431, md541
Pres: API, a-designs, pendulum, purple, millennia, gt, littlebox, tinybox, usbpre2, CA 9200, pipsqueak, grace V2, pueblo pending
Cables: KCY, CMR, Naiant AKG actives, PFAs, asst.  GAKables and Darktrain
Recorders/converters: dr680, m10, dr-2d, d50, zoom f8, 788T SSD CL-8, lynx aurora 8


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Online jbell

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 05:04:07 PM »
I've used a bunch of different pres and had a weakness for preamps.  I've ran V2, V3, PSP3, PSP2, Aerco MP-2, VMS02ib, VMS 5U, Naiant Littlebox (3), Tinybox (2), Sonosax SX M2, Beyerdynamic MV100 (2), Fishfive TS-2, SD MP-2 (2), SD Mixpre-D, and an edirol UA-5.  I think that covers most preamps I've run, but after buying more preamps than I ever needed I ended up sizing down to an all in one recorder.  With the high quality pres in the Mixpre-6 I've really liked the size of my rig running mics right into the mixpre-6.  The preamps are awesome, less gear to power, you can run 6 channels, multiple power options, and it is smaller than a lot of pres I have run in the past.  I don't even own any stand alone pres anymore and have been extremely happy with my decision.  Not that I don't miss some of my old preamps, but I don't get out enough to justify having a bunch of preamps collecting dust. 
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 08:24:37 PM by jbell »
Microtech Gefell M20's> Nbob KCY> Naiant PFA(60V)> Sound Devices Mixpre-6

Offline DSatz

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 06:08:16 PM »
I've used an external preamp less and less in recent years. When I have used one, it's been a Grace V3; its main advantage is more precise control over gain than my Edirol R-44's analog inputs offer, plus low-cut filters at frequencies low enough that they're sometimes actually useful.

The disadvantage of course is the added complexity and weight of the setup, and the need to keep track of the state of charge of two sets of batteries instead of just one. OTOH when the V3 is powering the microphones, that's less drain on the R-44's batteries to begin with.

I have to admit being personally fond of good preamps just for their own sake. I see that I'm not the only person here who has bought a few more of them than were really needed.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 06:18:03 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline goodcooker

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 07:34:44 PM »
OTOH when the V3 is powering the microphones, that's less drain on the R-44's batteries to begin with.

Agreed on this point. When I use a preamp to provide P48 to my mics I rarely ever have to worry about the recorder running out of juice running line in - no matter how many channels I'm using - I can run my PMD706 on 6 channels line in off a 5V USB battery that fits in my shirt pocket for a whole day. The preamps I'm using now are pretty efficient and two of them have internal batteries that don't require any extra power cables or external batteries.

When I got my first Grace V3 I had a SLA battery that ran it for maybe 5 hours and that thing was torture. It weighed as much as the rest of my entire rig.
Schoeps MK41 > nBob > PFA || MBHO KA300 > PFA
Aerco MP2 || Grace Lunatec V2 || RAD MS2 || nBox Platinum
Marantz PMD706 || PMD620

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/goodcooker

"Are you the Zman?" - fan at Panic 10-08-10 Kansas City

"I don't know who left this perfectly good inflatable wook doll here, but if I'm blowing her up, I'm keeping her." -  hoppedup

Offline kindms

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 07:55:33 PM »
Funny was kind of having this discussion with BrianG last Friday night

I went to an all in one pretty quick HDP2 Oade T-Mod. In fact it is still my main bucket all these years later. So went from that with a V3 for a while and then ditched it to slim down and it ate batteries (AKG414 + V3 seemed to be a monster on juice). So went back to just the deck as I was happy with the results, or atleast I thought I was. So fast forward a few years. I like to throw foobar2000 on random a lot. So im sitting there listening to shows and I would be like this is sweet, is it mine ? and then check the notes and damn if it wasn't my rig with the V3 in the chain. So I picked another one up and its in the bag again.

But i think my philosophy now is Mics#1 then #2 high end Pres.  My reasoning is the next great all in one is always out there. But the classic well made stuff is forever. But I totally dig a small rig as well. We keep trying to get smaller and smaller and still do most of the same stuff. Plus nowadays people are practically giving them away. I think I paid like 400+ for my latest V3
AKG414 XLS/ST, AKG ck61, ck22, >nBob colettes >PFA > V3, SD MixPre >  TCM-Mod Tascam HDP2, Sony M10
Little Bear tube Pre >Outlaw Audio 2200 Monoblocks > VR-2's

Offline morst

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2018, 09:12:28 PM »
I have not used my Beyer MV100 since I figured out how to make the Trashcan DR-70D operate properly. Now I have a MixPre6 but only two sets of mics that are any good for recording. I guess I could use the Beyer some time, if I needed to take balanced SBD inputs over long XLR cables but still run both pairs of mics on the same deck?


Hmm. Have not done it, but that's an interesting thought. There could be a case where the SBD feed comes from a stage box, but I want to run 4 mics where it's actually fun to hang out during the show!? Rather not pump an unbalanced feed more than 10-15' if I can help it, so run the XLR's line in, and then go mini for the Beyer which is unbalanced anyhow!?
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Offline noahbickart

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2018, 07:46:40 AM »
I have not used my Beyer MV100 since I figured out how to make the Trashcan DR-70D operate properly. Now I have a MixPre6 but only two sets of mics that are any good for recording. I guess I could use the Beyer some time, if I needed to take balanced SBD inputs over long XLR cables but still run both pairs of mics on the same deck?


Hmm. Have not done it, but that's an interesting thought. There could be a case where the SBD feed comes from a stage box, but I want to run 4 mics where it's actually fun to hang out during the show!? Rather not pump an unbalanced feed more than 10-15' if I can help it, so run the XLR's line in, and then go mini for the Beyer which is unbalanced anyhow!?

One thing to think about is that the Beyer is a fixed level pre. The 5/6 line in inputs on the Mixpre6 don't have knobs and thus you must use either the touch screen, or the headphone knob to adjust levels. It's doable, and once you get a handle on it it isn't much of a big deal, but you should definitely practice first.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> McIntosh MC162> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-4XX / Beyerdynamic DT880

Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701 / Hifiman HE-400

Offline heathen

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2018, 12:50:54 PM »
Other than the CA9200, I've never used an external preamp.  When I started out I was either running an AT822 directly into a Sony D6, or patching out of someone else's rig or the sbd.  I was out of taping during the time when it seems like external preamps were all the rage (out of necessity it seems, if nothing else).  Having gotten back into it in the past year or two, I've been able to just use an all-in-one recorder (again, with the exception of the CA9200 for running mini mics).  A lot of times I'm glad I didn't have to deal with the necessity of an external preamp if for no other reason than avoiding the added complication of another thing to power, and another link in the chain that could potentially go wrong.

That said, there are also times that I see quality preamps in the YS for bargain prices that are very tempting.  I occasionally think about the (relative) simplicity of having only a stealth-able deck, so that it can be used with a BB or CA9200 in stealth situations or used with a "real" preamp in open situations.  There is a certain appeal to that, but at the end of the day I don't think I'll ever go that route because of the convenience and quality of the all-in-one recorders for open situations.

For anyone who likes using an external preamp, this seems like a great time as they seem to not hold their price as well in the age of the MixPre-3/6.
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031s | AT AE5100s | AT853s (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3s | DPA 4061s | CA-14 omnis | Studio Projects CS5
Pre: CA9200
Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05 | Tascam DR-2d

Offline goodcooker

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Re: External Preamps - you in or out nowadays?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2018, 04:08:06 PM »
the (relative) simplicity of having only a stealth-able deck used with a "real" preamp in open situations.

This is where taping was at for me when I first started putting together my first "real" rig. I stuck with the same idea for many years - small recording deck line in from a decent preamp and it served me well.

I would see guys running a SD 744t and still using a Grace V2 in front of it since they just liked the flavor. I always just used a DR2d or a PMD620 except when I had a V3 and used a Microcrapper.

I did get an R4 so I could run 4 channels off the same clock - after getting it modded by Busman I was into that thing for around $1200.
Schoeps MK41 > nBob > PFA || MBHO KA300 > PFA
Aerco MP2 || Grace Lunatec V2 || RAD MS2 || nBox Platinum
Marantz PMD706 || PMD620

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/goodcooker

"Are you the Zman?" - fan at Panic 10-08-10 Kansas City

"I don't know who left this perfectly good inflatable wook doll here, but if I'm blowing her up, I'm keeping her." -  hoppedup

 

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