"PRE-AMP'S" What is what? Help.



?t-?´d: Hey everyone. I've never really invested much time in learning about PRE AMPS. So I figured I'd start here at my favorite online community "OnlineDJ" ...uh I mean "FUTUREPRODUCERS"

What does everyone here use with their keyboards, drummachines, & samplers?

I'm trying to re-build my new studio, so I'm gathering as many facts as I can about PRE AMPS. Here's what I hope to build:

:DRS7000 Sequencer, [waiting] ,
:DVirus Indigo, [waiting]
Kaoss Pad
DX100 mixer.

So, now I'm looking to get a PRE AMP -- what should I know, and what should I get? Thanks in advance everyone.
What are you planning on running through the pre? Vocals?

You will not need a pre if you are just running those line level signals. You can hook up all those instruments straight to the mixer.

What are you planning on monitoring on?
Not sure exactly...

See, here's what happened... I got into a discussion with some guys at my local music shop. We got into the whole thing about recording. One guy mentioned that he likes to send his keyboard and drum machine through a PREAMP before it goes to the mixer?

Now, I'm not sure exactly why... but this fellow went on to say that that's how all the "professionals" get their mixdowns so warm along with other things too. But PREAMP was something he kept emphasizing?

I don't know anything about the PREAMP world, which is why I'm asking FUTUREPRODUCERS.

As for MONITORS, I'm planning on getting EVENT 8's.

So PreAmps are just for VOCALS, huh? Thanks. :D
in general preamps are used for microphones and low-gain instruments... Guitars in general are recorded by putting a microphone in front of the guitar's amp (because part of the charm of a guitar's sound comes from the amp itself) and then this mic is preamp-ed before its recorded.

But I'm not really sure to what extend people would use preamps.. you never know I can understand some people wanting to preamp a synthesizer.. keeping its volume very low (low noise too) and preamplifying it with a dedicated rack would get a cleaner much lower-noise gain I guess.
I found this article from a writer at KEYBOARD MAGAZINE. The following is an excerpt from "Synthesizer Recording Tips"

----------------------start of excerpt-----------------------

Synths can often plug right into a console input, but consider adding a tube preamp with DI capabilities to subtly warm up the sound. Inserting tubes and/or transformers into the synth’s signal path can smooth out excessively "digital-sounding" synths, as well as give more bite when overdriven. Light distortion is particularly useful with bass and percussive sounds.


----------------------end of excerpt----------------------

:rolleyes: Which brings me back once again to ask if anyone here uses a [tube] PREAMP on their SYNTH for mixdown?

Lastly, if I was to use the PREAMP, you're suggesting that it's because I would be sending the signal out through an amp, and recording the subtleties of the amp and the rooms' characterstics to the mix. That would be my only reason for getting a PreAmp?

Sorry for all the confusion but I'm not a professional, just a hobbyist. Thanks again...
Hardcore analog freaks will tell you that analog equipment gives you a warmth that discrete paths don't add. So a setup consisting of all digital signal paths can leave the finished product sounding a bit "sterile". So often a tube preamp or a tube compressor is used to add warmth to the sound. This is done at the mixdown stage also.

the ART tube MP is one of the cheapest tube preamps available I think.

Hope this helps:cool:
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So I'm not crazy...

Well, I guess I'm in the group with those who would like to get that extra "warmth" in their mixes. I usually get a good [for an amateur] mixdown but feel like it's missing a little extra dimension.

You happened to mention the ART Tube MP ...I was looking at that recently at Harmony Central. It seems ideal for my situation. However, do you know anything about the POD?

Lastly, as I continue reading more and more about the PREAMPS, would I be able to use it in place of compressors, limiters and sustainers even though, technically, it is none of these? I keep reading that it does this in it's own way -- but that's really not it's intention, is it?

Thanks again, it is VERY much appreciated. ;)
If you are a hobby user I would suggest not worrying too much yet about preamps. Focus on functionality first (ie: sound sources, sequencers, etc). Later you can always add preamps to the signal chain. Keep in mind that you can also get software to add that "tube warmth" to your recordings. T-racks is the most popular one I know of. And no, a good preamp will not replace compressors, limiters, etc.
Ahhh... thanks, good advise.

You know, I think you're right... After all, I am only doing this for fun, not a career venture. I just want to get the most out of my hobby.

I do use CuBase for recording. I'm sure there must be a PREAMP emulator and an aural exciter plugin. Does anyone use "WAVES"? I understand that it's the "best" plugin's package for CUBASE mixdowns? Would this package have a PREAMP, AUREL EXCITER, COMPRESSOR/LIMITER?

Also, any suggestions are appreciated -- links too, as I've got to read up on this stuff to do my research.

Thanks again for the advise. :p
The Waves Gold Bundle contains the following

NEW! C4 Multiband Parametric Processor

NEW! Renaissance Reverberator

Renaissance Compressor

Renaissance Equalizer

L1 Ultramaximizer


Q10 Paragraphic

S1 Stereo Imager

C1 Parametric Compander







TrueVerb Room Emulator



PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer (Mac Gold Native only)

All truly awesome plugins. Some would argue the best value plugin bundle on the market. I love the Ultramaximizer.

Good Luck!


Thanks Fitz,

I appreciate the info. Sounds like it would be the ideal plugin package for mixdown.

Do you use it?
Sure do! Along with a few others but the Waves bundle provides me the most fun and use.
Okay, so now I have a naive question:

[this one's a little long; I hope you have a little time] :confused:

I always hear people talking about this illusive "WARM" feeling and sound that "analog" gives. But I also hear people say that it's all about the MIX.

Okay, I'm sure that this idealized "warm sound" that adds SOOO much dimension to a mix is the combination of lots of factors. Mix down and pre mixdown.

Here's what I'm planning on using:

The VIRUS INDIGO [Digital Analog]
The RS7000 [Sequencer/Sampler/Synths/Drums]
The ER-1 [Drums 909/808ish]
The MICROCON2 [Real Analog Synth w/midi]
The DX100 [Mixer]

Now with all those creatures, I know that I can make something sound cool, but that's only half the process. The other being, the way I mix everything down -- I always seem to fail on that final step.

So, when you [FITZ] use WAVES while mixing down your audio, what are some of the general thories you use behind your mixes.

For example:

1. A drum kit.

2. Extra percussion/Fills

3. Leads.

4. Bass

5. etc.

What's the first thing, then the second thing and last thing you might do [with WAVES or anything else for that matter,] that will help you complete a mix that you feel is satisfactory.

Reason being, I've heard some songs online that sound REALLY professional. Even when I find out that "they" used just a few things and a PC or a MAC to mix down their tunes.

So, believing that the DIGITAL ANALOGUE lacks the TUBE warmth of a REAL analog, I thought that maybe a TUBE PREAMP would help in that department. Considering that the "ART TUBE PREAMP" is relatively inexpensive, I thought it would help with that "illusive" warmth that my mixes seem to lack.

Also, does waves have a plug-in that will emulate the theory of MICing an AMP, for that... uh... "ACOUSTIC DEPTH" :confused: ...?

Lastly, what is an "IMPEDANCE-MATCHING TRANSFORMER" or "DIRECT BOX TRANSFORMER" I've read that these guys will add "WARMTH" to a synth during mixdown?

Okay, guys I real appreciate all the information you're all giving me. I'm addicted to gear, audio, techno, and learning more about the intricacies. Thanks again... :)