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Author Topic: Portable Pre-amp recommendation  (Read 1279 times)

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Offline Leined

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Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« on: June 24, 2021, 12:47:36 PM »
Hi, everyone. I’m looking for a battery powered, stereo line-in preamp solution, and based on my reading, I feel that taperssection is the best place to look for help.

I’m currently running a Rode NT4 directly into a Sony PCM-A10 but have been having noise-issues at higher gain settings. I’ve temporarily remedied this using a Behringer UMC204HD as a standalone preamp (powered via a power bank) with its line-out into the Sony. As you can imagine, this is difficult to handle.

I would like to go for a more streamlined, portable solution. I’m looking at the CA 9200 but would like to know if there were any other options you’d recommend. I’m planning on moving to the SD Mix-pre3/6 ii, but that would be in the distant future.

Thanks so much!

Offline voltronic

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2021, 08:09:36 AM »
Hello and welcome!

I'll cut right to the chase: Sell your A10 and buy a Tascam DR-100 mkIII. This will give you much better preamps, a better ADC, a set of safety tracks to use instead of limiters, and put everything you need into one small package without needing external power.

After making that switch, your recorder will likely not need an upgrade unless you want to record more than 2 channels. Until then, the next upgrade that you will likely make is to your mics.

The DR-100 mkIII is discontinued, so if you can't get it at the Amazon link above, you could buy a Tascam DR40X or Zoom H5 instead. The DR-1000 mkIII is definitely my first recommendation though, for the higher-level preamps and ADC.

The CA 9200 is not a solution for you, as it only gives your mics 9V power, and the type you are using will only perform their best with 48V. It also has you still using 2 boxes.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2021, 02:06:01 PM »
Also welcome from e,
voltronic has a good solid suggestion. I am completely unfamiliar with the A-10, so am not aware if it has digi in.

Just to go with the OP question, the most basic, lower priced options many folks on this site have used are a Shure FP24 or a SD MixPre/MixPreD. (the D if you have digi in)

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Offline Leined

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2021, 04:04:27 PM »
Hello and welcome!

I'll cut right to the chase: Sell your A10 and buy a Tascam DR-100 mkIII. This will give you much better preamps, a better ADC, a set of safety tracks to use instead of limiters, and put everything you need into one small package without needing external power.

After making that switch, your recorder will likely not need an upgrade unless you want to record more than 2 channels. Until then, the next upgrade that you will likely make is to your mics.

The DR-100 mkIII is discontinued, so if you can't get it at the Amazon link above, you could buy a Tascam DR40X or Zoom H5 instead. The DR-1000 mkIII is definitely my first recommendation though, for the higher-level preamps and ADC.

The CA 9200 is not a solution for you, as it only gives your mics 9V power, and the type you are using will only perform their best with 48V. It also has you still using 2 boxes.

Thanks for the warm welcome and succinct answer. I feel you're right. The DR100 mkIII might be my best option as a stop gap before eventually jumping to a Mixpre.

Offline Leined

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2021, 04:06:44 PM »
Also welcome from e,
voltronic has a good solid suggestion. I am completely unfamiliar with the A-10, so am not aware if it has digi in.

Just to go with the OP question, the most basic, lower priced options many folks on this site have used are a Shure FP24 or a SD MixPre/MixPreD. (the D if you have digi in)

Thank you as well for the welcome! The A-10, unfortunately, doesn't have a digi in -- just the 1/8" unbalanced input. I'll look into those options you mentioned!

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2021, 04:11:33 PM »
Also welcome from e,
voltronic has a good solid suggestion. I am completely unfamiliar with the A-10, so am not aware if it has digi in.

Just to go with the OP question, the most basic, lower priced options many folks on this site have used are a Shure FP24 or a SD MixPre/MixPreD. (the D if you have digi in)

Thank you as well for the welcome! The A-10, unfortunately, doesn't have a digi in -- just the 1/8" unbalanced input. I'll look into those options you mentioned!
OK. then you would be looking for a SD MixPre OR a Shure FP-24 which will have an 1/8" input. They are the same form and function with small variations (mainly in powering options) built by SD and branded by Shure in the case of the FP-24
We own a MixPre and I LOVE it for taking small XLR p48 mics into the M-10
edit to add: but voltronic's method IS simplest.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 08:32:52 PM by rocksuitcase »
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline voltronic

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2021, 05:26:59 PM »
If you really want to keep your A10 and want a separate battery-powered preamp, I enthusiastically the SD MixPre (the old preamp; NOT the MixPre-II recorders). It also was branded Shure FP-24 for a time. These are long discontinued, but they come up for sale here in the YS from time to time. They are amazing units: built like a tank, tons of noiseless gain, analog limiters, and only need 2 rechargeable AAs. For the money you are going to spend on that though (likely around $300) you could have the DR-100 mkIII and have a one-box solution.
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Offline MakersMarc

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2021, 01:15:26 PM »
does the MP-2 have both 1/8 in and out? Not sure if the tape return in works as a mic or line in.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2021, 06:52:22 AM »
Yes, it has a 1/8" "TAPE OUT" on the left panel and a 1/8" "TAPE RTN" on the right, with screwdriver settings for adjusting the tape return sensitivity. The manual doesn't say, but presumably it's consumer aux level (nominally around 300 mV).

But I don't think the "tape return" functions as an ordinary program input. Signals fed in to it can be monitored at the headphone jack, but I don't think they go through to the outputs. So the "TAPE OUT" is a legitimate, unbalanced output at consumer aux level, but if you have unbalanced microphone signals, you'd need an adapter to feed the XLR sockets.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 11:42:05 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline voltronic

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Re: Portable Pre-amp recommendation
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2021, 09:42:17 AM »
So the "TAPE OUT" is a legitimate, unbalanced output at consumer aux level, but if you have unbalanced microphone signals, you'd need an adapter to feed the XLR sockets.

Just to add that the XLR Line Out on these preamps put out a very hot level, so you should only connect them to XLR or TRS line inputs on pro gear that can handle it. For everything else, use the 1/8" Tape Out.
DPA 4061 ~ Line Audio CM3 ~ Naiant X-Q ~ AT 853  |  Naiant PFAs ~ Shure FP24  |  Zoom F6 ~ Sony PCM-M10
MOTU M2 ~ KRK Rokit RP5 ~ Sennheiser HD 650 ~ Etymotic ER4XR

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