Okay! So I'm delighted with my Neumann TLM 103. Perfect for my vocal style. Now, I am interested in getting some feedback on preamps. While I'm happy with the preamp mixer that I have, I am very interested in upgrading that as well. I'd like to get one with a nice compressor in it. Right now, I don't have it and if I use compression at all, it's through the software which is good but not great. I'd also like to spend less than $1000 on one. Is that even possible? I welcome your thoughts and J.S. Gilbert, please limit your posting to less than two pages. Ha! I'm kidding! Thanks for your help, everyone!

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I believe that the Preamp is 50% of your sound...I have seen plenty of people spend big bucks on a mic and then hook it to a crappy pre! If you have a budget set then I would just as soon see you spend half of it on a decent pre than blowing it all on a mic and then finding it STILL doesn't deliver the sound you are after. To spend less than a grand I would look around for a good used Focusrite...maybe a RED 8.New they are around 1,800.00.That was my first real Pre and still is in my studio. I remember how the light went on the first time I spoke through that RED 8.."there is the sound I have been looking for!" There are several decent pres in that price range but remember there is a reason some are very expensive...sometimes they are worth every cent! And if you still tweak it all with software..you STILL need a good clean quality sound going in. Never sell yourself short on a Preamp.
Mr. James, this is soimething I've always known but wasn't sure of it that makes since. I have to agree that you are right 100 percent. I now use a Neuman TLM 49, got it about 6 months ago thinking I was going to be the "king" well I was compared to the RE20 I was using but there is still something missing and I know it's a nice pre.
Thanks for the words and I'll look forward to that same experience when I speak throug whatever I'm lead to.
Travis...What pre do you use with your TLM 49? How does it compare
My pre/compressor combo is a Grace 101 pre and FMR Audio RNC 1773 compressor. I love this signal chain. It is as transparent as you can get for the price range you specified. And it sounds great. :)

The link to the new Grace "m101" is here:

The link to FMR's RNC 1773 is here:

I have an extra Grace 101 if you're interested. Drop a line if you like.
Hi Brad, you are on the money. I have a Microtech Gefell M930 arte into a Grace M101 and finally through a Neve 2254r compressor. Dare I say flat and warm. The Grace M101 is huge bang for your buck, way under priced, as is the M930arte. The Neve, well expensive but shit it's good.
Joe, you get the work on voices.com because you're good! :) Seriously, great advice. Thanks! I get work on voices.com too. Probably not as much as you but I do earn a gig here and there. :)
Joe,

I would like to know what settings you use on the 286a...I am using one in our little vacation home/villa/box...lol....or WILL BE using one anyway.....and I can pair it with 103 or a 416...but if I have some voices.com prize winning settings from YOU...lol...I will use the 103....thanks Joe.
Mike - I see you have experience with the DBX 286A at your vacation home. Would you mind sharing your settings? I'm just trying to get this dialed-in and understanding the ranges for male/female voices would be great. Thanks in advance! - Al
You're right, Joe! Everything I've read about this DBX 286A, is that it's the steal of a lifetime. :)
I, too, would like those settings. Thanks for sharing!
I'm running a Focusrite Voicemaster Platinum with my Shure KSM-32. The Voicemaster Platinum isn't available anymore. It's been replaced by the Voicemaster Pro. The Focusrite ISA 220 Session Pack is a step up from there. Unfortunately, the Focusrite Penta has been discontinued. There's always used, but I'd probably buy used from a quality vintage audio dealer, not off eBay. A reputable dealer will check a unit and fix or refurbish it as needed, so you get as close to the original quality as possible of a new unit. Of course, all of the pres mentioned in this thread are excellent units. It comes down to auditioning them with your mic.

As Mark Driscoll mentioned, just as important as your audio chain is the acoustic quality of your room or booth, especially if your voice will be heard cold without any music or effects behind it. Too dead, too live, standing waves, etc. The cleaner your signal chain, the clearer the sound of the room comes through. Good sound always starts with the room it's recorded in.

Hope you find your perfect pre, Terry!
Has anyone else had experience with the DBX 286 A? Joe McMillan loves it and it's only $200!

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