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Studiologos Level 1 (10 points)
I just bought an Apogee Duet and a MacBook laptop w/logic Pro 8. I was wondering what would be a great good Mic Preamp to use with, I heard that the Duet has good preamps, so I don't want to buy a preamp that is less worth of the stock pre's in the Duet (overkill). Thanks !

MacBook 2.2, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Marcio Tucunduva Level 1 (40 points)
    That's what I call a real G.A.S.! Have you tried the Duet preamps in the first place, to see if you like them and if they fit your real needs?
  • de palm Level 1 (65 points)
    I have the exact same system you have. The duet preamps are pretty much neutral so I wouldn't buy a clean preamp to use with it.

    If you'd like to add some color to your sound I'd suggest something like Brent Averill or Universal Audio Preamps.
  • goosled Level 1 (0 points)
    Can anyone compare the Duet preamps to other popular project studio preamps such as: FMR RNP, Grace 101, MAudio DMP-3, Great River ME1NV, True Systems P Solo ?
  • LogicalAnalysis Level 2 (325 points)
    For one thing, the Great River ME1NV is not a project studio preamp. I'm sure some project studios have it, but those are serious preamps that you'd most likely not see in a novice's rack of gear. Great Rivers are Neve clones. The duet preamps are basically clean, clear pristine, colorless preamps. What you record is what you get. They're GREAT clean preamps, but you can't really compare them to a great river because great rivers are made to color your sound and be used in a specific way. M-Audio preamps are pretty much garbage, the apogee's blow them away.

    The FMR and Grace are still not project studio preamps, but I've never heard them so I can't comment. Unlike the Apogee however, those are SINGLE preamp boxes for the same price as apogee's DUAL preamp with firewire, clocking, etc. They're dedicated preamps that most likely have some kind of sound coloration and a lot of analogue circuitry that gives them the sound characteristic that they have.

    And once again, True Systems are more along the lines of boutique preamps that aren't even comparable to the Apogee pres, they're not meant for the same thing. They color your sound and are usually better for some applications than others.

    The Duet is a great project and portable interface because it gives you amazingly clear and full sound for the price. All of the other ones you mentioned aren't built for the same purpose and are in a totally different class. . . except for the M-Audio.
  • Studiologos Level 1 (10 points)
    Hmmmm, how about the "Universal Audio Duet /110 ??? Will I see a difference in quality sound on vocals if i run it thru the "Duet"?
  • zzmook Level 1 (0 points)
    If you just got Logic and the Duet, congrats. This is a great combo and you can get killer sound from it. Start there and ask yourself whether you are happy with what the Duet is doing for you - if you are your money is best spent on advancing your mic collection, monitors or headphones, maybe a nice compressor (RNC is cheap AND good...) - good cables if you don't have them yet - Mogami, Monster, etc. You've got a good 2 channel pre and AD/DA device there, make sure the rest of your recording chain is up to snuff.

    But let's say you DO want that something extra in the mic pre category. Do you like the clean pre sound you get from the Duet? Go for a "colorful" pre like a Chandler germanium (surf for more info on what's what - once you get into "colorful" there's a lot of different colors). Don't like the Duet's pre sound, want an all-rounder? The Great River MP 1NV is a great choice (and at 1K for one channel it should be). Does pretty clean to pretty colored, very versatile - but remember that it's only one channel of pre for ~1000 bucks, and depending on what you're recording you may want to do stereo. Still, if you want that for the meaty RAWK guitars and in your face vocals, you can do the stereo acoustics with your clean pre (the Duet).

    Just remember that you're only as good as your weakest link in the chain, and do your homework (start by surfing gearslutz) if you're really plunging into recording. It's an expensive hobby, invest wisely.
  • zzmook Level 1 (0 points)
    One more thing - I have an RNP, which IS a dual channel pre, but it's in the "decent, awesome for money but not super-amazing clean sound" category, which is pretty much where the Duet is supposed to be. It'll handle mics that need a lot of power (Royer 121, my 414 likes some juice), I don't know if the Duet has that (especially as it's powered by your Mac) but this may or may not be a concern for you. Also, the RNP outputs 1/4" so there'd be a cable conversion dance there to get it into your Duet (as I understand it only accepts +4 from XLR), plan on another $20-35 per channel to get decent cords that'll do this for you if you go that way.
  • goosled Level 1 (0 points)
    LogicalAnalysis, thanks for the info. Actually I think the DMP3 is a pretty good, clean, clear preamp and it's well regarded at its price point. The M Audio interface pres are garbage, I agree with you on that. I think the Grace 101 is in the category of ultra clean, pristine and hyper-detailed. I haven't heard the Duet but wondering since it's been categorized as clean/clear if it's closer to something like the Grace 101, DMP3, or maybe somewhere in between.
    The color/character pres (Neve, Chandler Germ., API) are definitely in a different league sonically and price-wise. I think the $1000 and under price range, which the single channel Great River could probably squeeze in, is typical for home/project studios. If project studio pres means whatever is included in an interface, I'm sure the Duet will better most if not all of those. It's the $400-$1000 pres in the generally clean/clear category that many of us are questioning whether it's worth an upgrade from the Duet pres.
  • noeqplease Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Studiologos wrote:
    I just bought an Apogee Duet and a MacBook laptop w/logic Pro 8. I was wondering what would be a great good Mic Preamp to use with, I heard that the Duet has good preamps, so I don't want to buy a preamp that is less worth of the stock pre's in the Duet (overkill). Thanks !


    There just was a "shootout" blind test of three mic preamps here:

    The funny thing is, the 5 dollar mic WON THE TEST.

    In other words, "stop worrying about the bomb"

    Stop worrying about your mic preamps, and worry more about what you're putting through the mic preamps. In terms of the source, not the microphone. A good source of sound will work no matter what you use to record it.

    Unless you're a brand wanker and would like to spend some big bucks on some name-brand stuff to feel like you're getting the best sound possible.

  • de palm Level 1 (65 points)
    Hahaha!!! That's amazing! LOL!
  • konception Level 1 (0 points)
    I am having the same problem as you, I love the functionality of the DUET, but I really dont love the sound of the pres for VOCALS , mainly rap, a little to clear and clean. I am leaning towards the true P solo I sure found that It is very forgiving and you can get on it more than the duet.
  • LogicalAnalysis Level 2 (325 points)
    the sound of commercial rap comes more from the compression. . . not as much from the preamp. No preamp is going to get you the "rap sound" you're looking for if you don't compress it right with the right gear/plugins.

  • konception Level 1 (0 points)
    can you recommend how to compress correctly every time I use the compressor in logic it takes away the sound.
  • Barry Johns Level 1 (30 points)
    Ok, so Great River is not for the Project Studio. I guess I have to sell mine, and my Pacifica, and my API Pres, and my Purple Audio Pre's, my Universal Audio Pre's since I should not have these in a personal Project Studio.

    To the poster, define your budget and then it will be easier to recommend the best Mic Pre for your budget. A great Mic Pre will make a HUGE difference in your recordings.

    Now for the Rap sound and compression. The key to a good Rap Recording is to compress on the way in. A plug in will not get you what you what you are looking for. For Rap on a budget, a SMB7, through an API or Purple Bizz Pre, to a Distressor will yield very good results.

    This site is not where you are likely to get more "Advanced" recommendations, try
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