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Topic: Preamp for vocals\guitar into computer? Mixer instead?

  1. #1

    Preamp for vocals\\guitar into computer? Mixer instead?

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    I\'m wanting to be able to record vocals and guitar directly into Cubase, over some piano tracks--basic overdubbing. My soundcard (MAudio AudioPhile 2496) doesn\'t have a preamp, so I\'ve been looking around for what to use. I\'m very surprised by the range of prices--they go for anywhere from $30 for a one-input box to over a thousand for rack unit-looking things with presets for various sounds.

    On the other hand, a friend tells me that I can get good results with any $100 mixer that has preamps.

    I\'m more than a little uncertain about which route to go. I don\'t want to spend money that doesn\'t need spending. I also don\'t want to spend $30-$100 and not be able to get an excellent sound.

    Suggestions? Any experiences to share?

  2. #2

    Re: Preamp for vocals\\guitar into computer? Mixer instead?

    Preamps do make a big difference, and there\'s a reason some preamps cost what they do. The preamps built into a little mixer, say a Mackie, are certainly serviceable, but how much you spend depends on what you\'re trying to do. You have to listen to them to hear the subtle differences.

    My only recommendation would be to stay away from cheap tube preamps for the most part. Expensive ones, yes, but cheap ones tend to run the tube at low voltage to use it as an effect. That\'s not a bad thing, but it\'s limited and not what you want on vox most of the time.

  3. #3

    Re: Preamp for vocals\\guitar into computer? Mixer instead?

    PreSonus makes an array of very inexpensive preamps, Digitube, Bluetube etc. that sound great for the money.

    Mackie\'s preamps, in some of their smaller, less expensive analog mixers, also sound good. I don\'t think you\'ll find an entire mixer for $100, but its alot of bang for the buck, as they say.


    John Z.

  4. #4

    Re: Preamp for vocals\\guitar into computer? Mixer instead?

    Problem resolved. After speaking with several people, I bought a small Berringer EurRack UB802 for $50 (Guitar Center sale) and it\'s working great. Only four lines in, and but I\'m just recording myself and a friend. The two preamps give plenty of sound to the mic. Haven\'t had the chance to plug an electric guitar in, yet, but these are nice little mixers. I had to buy a cord to run the Main Outs to the two RCA ins on my Audiophile 2496, but the setup is very simple, and the mixer is small enough to sit near my computer monitor: it\'s about the size of 2 cds. I know this situation seems too good to be true--a tiny mixer for $50 that sounds good, but this thing is great.

    Now my worry is noise floor. The mics pick up everything. I guess I have to move everything away from the CPU.

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