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Discussion Starter #1
Can you run multiple pre-amps, and if so what are the pitfalls/advantages??

A friend and I were cruising craigslist looking for a pre-amp and we started wondering whether you can run them in series.

- J
 

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To what end?
 

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Why? That is like getting a stereo amp, and then running the speaker outputs to another stereo amp, and so forth. Rather stupid. There is no point.

You should probably just invest in ONE good preamp. That is what normal people do. Something like a Focusrite, or Mackie. There are lots of good gear makers out there now. A good preamp will make even a lowly Shure 57 sound good, and a BAD preamp will make even a U-87 sound bad.
 

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Can you run multiple pre-amps, and if so what are the pitfalls/advantages??

A friend and I were cruising craigslist looking for a pre-amp and we started wondering whether you can run them in series.

- J
Are you referring to recording or live. There is going to be a huge difference in my answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are you referring to recording or live. There is going to be a huge difference in my answer.
Care to explain the differences??

And we were just curious, so making reference to "what normal people do" is not really necessary. I've already invested in a good pre-amp, he is looking for one.

- J
 

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Care to explain the differences??

And we were just curious, so making reference to "what normal people do" is not really necessary. I've already invested in a good pre-amp, he is looking for one.

- J

There is a hige difference. I am not going to explain what normal people do, because most normal people do what is budget friendly. I just want to have an answer, live or recording. The pre-amps I use will be different.
 

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Whether for live or recording, a pre-amp's purpose is to provide a voltage gain from mic level to line level.

Putting preamps in series makes no sense.

Now, you COULD use them in parallel, that is, one on your mic, and one on your buddy's, and feed the two line level signals into separate channels on a mixer.

So, your question is dependent on what your end goal is.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Whether for live or recording, a pre-amp's purpose is to provide a voltage gain from mic level to line level.

Putting preamps in series makes no sense.

Now, you COULD use them in parallel, that is, one on your mic, and one on your buddy's, and feed the two line level signals into separate channels on a mixer.

So, your question is dependent on what your end goal is.
Thanks, Hak. This was purely out of curiosity (re: in series) as we weren't sure whether they would, well, to put it plainly: do anything to the other, i.e. stress it, mess with the sound. Just figured I'd ask the guys that know sooo much more than I!!

And what would you do for live settings, Trahansax??
 

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in a live situation, I have used a tube pre-amp before I have gone to the main pre-amp. I mainly started using this the provide individual phantom power to a large diaphragm condensor microphone. I found that the phantom power was a lot cleaner, but the pre-amp unit was tube driven and it really fattened up that mic. The tube pre-amps I use for live situations are really inexpensive, they are the ART pre-amps. Its just what I use. But if you just want it for individual line levels than I would not suggest it. Only if you don;t have a dedicated sound guy and you need to change your levels from where you stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
in a live situation, I have used a tube pre-amp before I have gone to the main pre-amp. I mainly started using this the provide individual phantom power to a large diaphragm condensor microphone. I found that the phantom power was a lot cleaner, but the pre-amp unit was tube driven and it really fattened up that mic. The tube pre-amps I use for live situations are really inexpensive, they are the ART pre-amps. Its just what I use. But if you just want it for individual line levels than I would not suggest it. Only if you don;t have a dedicated sound guy and you need to change your levels from where you stand.
Terrific!! Thanks for the info. What are the relative differences between a tube pre-amp and...err...the alternative??

Sorry I'm such a tech-noob :(

- J
 

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At the level you're working, you probably don't need a preamp. The mic inputs are pretty well designed these days--unless you're needing to record something difficult, like percussion--drums and pianos. The attack transient needs to be preserved, and it's a pretty big one with percussion. Saxes, by comparison are relatively easy to record.

You're better off recording-wise to worry more about the analog/digital converters, or decent microphones.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
At the level you're working, you probably don't need a preamp. The mic inputs are pretty well designed these days--unless you're needing to record something difficult, like percussion--drums and pianos. The attack transient needs to be preserved, and it's a pretty big one with percussion. Saxes, by comparison are relatively easy to record.

You're better off recording-wise to worry more about the analog/digital converters, or decent microphones.
I got the pre-amp off a friend of mine who purchased a new one. I'm playing around with my M-Audio sound interface, and I have a decent mic. At the moment, I'm looking into an apogee unit as I just inherited some money (father's uncle, passed the $$ on towards my music), and I am looking into picking up a Neumann U87.

The Neumann was only $900 because the casing has some scratches and marring. The internals looked to be okay, and it hooked up/sounded alright

-J
 

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I've been doing a lot of learning in terms of live sound and recording over the last couple of years. One thing to watch out for, especially if you have your own preamp and go into a desk is that you are careful with the amount of gain. You can always boost a quiet recording but you can't take distortion out of a clipped one.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've been doing a lot of learning in terms of live sound and recording over the last couple of years. One thing to watch out for, especially if you have your own preamp and go into a desk is that you are careful with the amount of gain. You can always boost a quiet recording but you can't take distortion out of a clipped one.
All too true. I've just spent a solid thirty or so minutes trying to tweak the gain for my classical recordings and it's tricky stuff.

- J
 

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If you've checked the box for 24 bit depth, there's no need to record at more than -15 dBFS peaks in your DAW. In fact lower is fine.
 
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