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If you had $1100 to spend on a nice preamp or A/D Converter what would you choose?


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Hey MrJoshua: I'm brand new to this communication format, call me old school, so please forgive the multiple posts! Ya know, my rep at g..tar c..ter was both my MAudio rep and my Digidesign rep, so please forgive me, I didn't realize they were "NOT" diff' divisions of the same company!!! I'm not an expert, just a guy who works in the field. I wonder if the dude who originally posted this question is even reading these replies anymore? You are, of course, correct. The entire audio chain needs to be balanced in quality to produce listenable results, that's the point I was (ineptly) trying to make. The really cool thing for us "Sm/Studio-Ho/Studio" guys is that the costs for gear continue to drop, while the quality continues to improve. Room design/Acoustic treatment however, continues to be very expensive and unforgiving if you screw it up....that's the additional point I was trying to make. Thanks for not tearing my head off...Rob

P.S. Are you quite sure that Avid/Digidesign/M Audio/Pinnacle/ and Sibelius are not the same company? They might not be, but I always got my stuff from said companies at the same time, on the same trucks, kinda hard to tell what company is what these days!

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I know that Digidesign and M-Audio are involved somehow, as there is an M-Powered version of ProTools now that will run on M-Audio equipment. I don't think they're the same company, but these days, who can tell?

Welcome to the forum! :)

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I know that Digidesign and M-Audio are involved somehow, as there is an M-Powered version of ProTools now that will run on M-Audio equipment. I don't think they're the same company, but these days, who can tell?

 

Digidesign, M-Audio, and Sibelius are all owned by Avid.

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Ok, I've read this thread since I'm upgrading some of my home studio. I use Pro Tools LE 7.3 with the 003R. I don't have any high end mics, best stuff I have include AT4040 and a pair of AT4041's. I only have the stock 003R pre's and use the ones from a Mackie 1402 if I need more than 4 at a time.

So while I'm looking at better mics and monitors (I'll save that for another thread) I'm also looking at upgrading the pres and am curious about converters. Is it really worth upgrading the converters or getting a pre/converter such as the API A2D for a 003R? It seems that my converters would be good enough and I should focus on mics and a few good pres first. I have some room treatment and a vocal isolation booth which made a HUGE improvement in vocal takes. I'm just a hobbyist but I don't want to spend $500 for only a small improvement. I've been looking at the RNP and Brick but also the Great River ME-1NV. I wouldn't need stereo channels like the 2NV but would prefer two independent channels like the RNP.

Basically, for $1000 I could get 4 channels of RNP or for $1150 I could get one channel of ME-1NV. Most of what I record now is 1-2 tracks at a time unless I doing drums.

Guess what I really want to know is for my specific application, what is a significant enough improvement in a preamp? Main applications would be male vocals and perhaps keyboards, occasionally a guitar amp.

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Basically, for $1000 I could get 4 channels of RNP or for $1150 I could get one channel of ME-1NV.

 

RNPs are great, very usable. Used you can get a pair for $700-800 if you can find them.

 

I own a 500NV, use it everyday and *love it*! You can get a lunchbox with a 500NV for about $1,200 and have 4 open slots left for future additions.

 

I love my lunchbox and strongly recommend them to anyone seeking pro quality gear on a budget. Such a great little unit... :)

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Guess what I really want to know is for my specific application, what is a significant enough improvement in a preamp? Main applications would be male vocals and perhaps keyboards, occasionally a guitar amp.

 

 

For your application I'd go with four channels of RNP; yes the ME-1NV is better, but it's not that much better.

 

Frank

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You need a lunchbox or similar 500-series rack to use the 500NV. The rack provides the power and the input/output jacks.

The RNP works really well with drums. It's also a solid choice for recording guitars. That said, if you normally just do one or two things at a time, out of the preamps you mention, I'd probably think about getting one RNP and a Brick first. The Brick is a good preamp for use with guitar amps, and it can sound really good on vocals. It's a different flavor than the RNP, so you'll have some flexibility with mixing and matching mics and preamps then.

Don't get me wrong - the Great River is a wonderful preamp. I have two of the 500NV units in my Lunchbox and love the way they sound. But I started with two RNPs that I still have and use constantly, and I also have a Brick that is still one of the first things I reach for when tracking guitar. If you get an RNP and a Brick, you'll get three channels of solid preamplification that you won't outgrow anytime soon, and then you can save up for a Great River or similar unit over time if you want one.

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I'm not familiar with the lunchbox so I did some Googling. Is it possible to use the 500NV by itself, without the lunchbox? It appears that I can't.

 

Hi. No, the box contains the power supply. :)

 

Bottom line, you can't go wrong with either. In your case RNP might be a better starter, besides being 2 channel it has inserts -- that's a lot of firepower for the money. The 500NV has no inserts.

 

I'm not sure about direct comparison though, there's definitely lots of useful stuff a Great River can do which the RNP can't. They are both wonderful and you are going to have a ton of fun making awesome music no matter which you choose. :)

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I absolutely love the API 2D. Excellent stuff, I agree.

 

This is going to be controversial but I think in practice the RNP is the more flexible pre, the APIs definitely have a killer trademark sound (my fave pre for modern snare and kick) -- but it's not a pre I would use when I need to make something warmer or reproduce it transparently. I find the API pres are "hyped" but in a very good way. They work perfectly with some mics but sound brittle through others at times. One of my favorite pres though, awesome gear.

 

FWIW RNC I/O becomes balanced when connected to an RNP. Great combo.

 

That is all great gear, you aren't going to regret any of it.

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I have had my API A2D for over a month now. I used it on guitars, bass, acoustics, and vocals. It's the only pre I have other than the two that come with the MBOX 2. But now tracking with the API, my recording sounds so much better. Great pre's, great A/D conversion, and two channels of each. I paid $1750 for mine used. Well worth it I must say. I just bought an Audio Technica 4060 and it sounds great through this pre. Maybe cause my stuff is modern/hard rock. I can't say enough good things about the unit. I also love my RNLA. I got myself a pretty good signal chain for tracking. I'm hiring an outside mixer. Possibly someone who frequents these forums and is one hell of a gear genious, but a busy single mom. You know who you are:love:

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Really Nice Compressor (RNC) inserts. Each channel on the RNP8380 has an unbalanced send/receive jack that allow you to connect an RNC1773 using a single Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) cable (per channel). With proper cabling, you could also use this feature to balance any other unbalanced piece of gear. In addition, with the right external configuration, the RNP can provide a separate +22dBu unbalanced output and a +28dBu balanced output simultaneously to allow nifty things like separate M/S decoding while tracking the M/S signal without decoding.

 

 

http://www.fmraudio.com/RNP8380.htm

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I'm surprised that with all this conversation, no one's bought up the Apogee Mini-Me. It has two top quality pre-amps, with built in convertors, digital out, and a built in compressor/limiter to boot, all in a relatively small package. While it doesn't have the expandability of say an API lunchbox, it's definitely worth every penny in my experience. I've heard some fantastic recordings done off just a Mini-Me and Mbox; they totally blow the Apogee Duet out of the water. It should be around 600-800 at most.

 

Also another option for all the 002, 003 users out there, is to do the Black Lion Mod ( they might mod other pieces of equipment too, i'm not sure). For around 500-1k, you send in your hardware and they basically mod the crap out of it to make it a high level piece of equipment. With the 002, they replace the mic pres to get at least +20db more headroom, with way higher quality, they change the power supply components and i believe the convertors as well. I've heard some great sounds come out of those too. Basically makes a mid-level sounding piece of hardware like the 002 to something top-notch. I wouldn't say they would be Neve quality pres or anything, but they can definitely get close, esp with some creative EQing..

 

Just some thoughts to throw in the pot..

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