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Real Deal Tube Preamp...Is It Worth It?

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September 17, 2004 5:38:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hello. recently, i've been reading about real tube preamps vs
inexpensive tube simulators (like the art stuff). i know that the
peavey vmp-2 is considered a "real" tube preamp, and it's
affordable...but i can't find one. i'd really like to get that "real"
class-a tube preamp sound...but the stuff by avalon and manley is out
of my price range.

now i have a few questions that i'm hoping some experienced members
might be able to help me out with: is the peavey tmp-1 considered a
"real" tube preamp like the vmp-2? should i bail on the "real" tube
thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
the lack of tubes? how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
preamp? ahhhh!
Anonymous
September 18, 2004 1:50:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"jon" wrote:
> hello. recently, i've been reading about real tube preamps vs
> inexpensive tube simulators (like the art stuff). i know that the
> peavey vmp-2 is considered a "real" tube preamp, and it's
> affordable...but i can't find one. i'd really like to get that "real"
> class-a tube preamp sound...but the stuff by avalon and manley is out
> of my price range.
>
> now i have a few questions that i'm hoping some experienced members
> might be able to help me out with: is the peavey tmp-1 considered a
> "real" tube preamp like the vmp-2? should i bail on the "real" tube
> thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
> presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
> the lack of tubes? how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
> preamp? ahhhh!

http://groups.google.com/groups?as_epq=tube%20sound&saf...

-jw
Anonymous
September 18, 2004 3:42:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jonathandowns: << i'd really like to get that "real"
class-a tube preamp sound...but the stuff by avalon and manley is out
of my price range. >>

You're right: the real tube pre's are expensive and I think you would need to
spend that kind of money to make it worthwhile and actually hear the
difference. And that difference may not be significant to you. I'm not sure
of current prices, but you could look around for an old Altec 1566A. They used
to be quite cheap. They can sound very good as long as you don't drive them
into a true 600 ohm input. If you can pick one of these up at a good price,
you will get some idea of what tubes sound like.
Related resources
Anonymous
September 18, 2004 6:16:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jon wrote:

> should i bail on the "real" tube
> thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
> presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
> the lack of tubes?

How about just getting a real preamp, period? The RNP from FMR gives you
two channels of that for under five hundred dollars. Work with that
awhile and see how you do. It's good enough that if what you put infront
of it sounds like you want it to sound, the RNP won't damage that sound.

> how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
> preamp? ahhhh!

Yes, it is a real cheap real tube preamp, and works like a preamp with
very low output mics. With regular mics it distorts like mad right up
front at the input transformer. It can ge good for dirty sounds with
regular mics, but it doesn't do clean very well with those.

--
ha
Anonymous
September 18, 2004 11:25:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jon <jonathandowns@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>now i have a few questions that i'm hoping some experienced members
>might be able to help me out with: is the peavey tmp-1 considered a
>"real" tube preamp like the vmp-2? should i bail on the "real" tube
>thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
>presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
>the lack of tubes? how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
>preamp? ahhhh!

I haven't seen the TMP-1.

The Bellari is interesting... it has a real front end that really does
have a tube gain stage, but then it has solid state output stuff (and
some pretty awful input transformers). The Bellari sounds like a not
very good tube preamp, whereas stuff like the ART sounds more like a
cartoon of a tube preamp.

I think Groove Tubes is now making a reasonably priced tube preamp.

Mostly, though, you should avoid getting hung up on the whole tube
thing. Go and listen to some preamps and get one that sounds good,
rather than spending your time worrying about what is inside them.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
September 18, 2004 1:14:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

The IDSS on the MP20 is a lame tube simulation if that's really what it's
supposed to be, but for my money the MP 20 is an excellent stereo preamp for
under $400 especially if you can find one with Jensen transformers.

Neil R

"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:cih5ur$644$1@panix2.panix.com...
> jon <jonathandowns@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >now i have a few questions that i'm hoping some experienced members
> >might be able to help me out with: is the peavey tmp-1 considered a
> >"real" tube preamp like the vmp-2? should i bail on the "real" tube
> >thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
> >presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
> >the lack of tubes? how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
> >preamp? ahhhh!
>
> I haven't seen the TMP-1.
>
> The Bellari is interesting... it has a real front end that really does
> have a tube gain stage, but then it has solid state output stuff (and
> some pretty awful input transformers). The Bellari sounds like a not
> very good tube preamp, whereas stuff like the ART sounds more like a
> cartoon of a tube preamp.
>
> I think Groove Tubes is now making a reasonably priced tube preamp.
>
> Mostly, though, you should avoid getting hung up on the whole tube
> thing. Go and listen to some preamps and get one that sounds good,
> rather than spending your time worrying about what is inside them.
> --scott
>
> --
> "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
September 19, 2004 2:49:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jonathandowns@gmail.com (jon) wrote in message news:<9623b049.0409171238.5661c800@posting.google.com>...
> hello. recently, i've been reading about real tube preamps vs
> inexpensive tube simulators (like the art stuff). i know that the
> peavey vmp-2 is considered a "real" tube preamp, and it's
> affordable...but i can't find one. i'd really like to get that "real"
> class-a tube preamp sound...but the stuff by avalon and manley is out
> of my price range.
>
> now i have a few questions that i'm hoping some experienced members
> might be able to help me out with: is the peavey tmp-1 considered a
> "real" tube preamp like the vmp-2? should i bail on the "real" tube
> thing and get a presonus mp20 (with saturation simulation)? how is the
> presonus mp20 when it comes to getting that "real" tube sound, despite
> the lack of tubes? how about the bellari rp220...is that a "real" tube
> preamp? ahhhh!

Don't distrated by the tube myth. What people like for warmth is the
sound of transformers. I'm pretty sure that if people cone only have
one pre foar a wrm sound they'd probably choose a class A Neve pre
which is solid state. SOme of the warest geart is solid state.

That's not to say that there isn't plenty of great tube gear out
there, just don't limit your choices. IF you're looking for the best
advice, post your beduget and what you intend to use the pre for.
Anonymous
September 19, 2004 9:40:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

i had/have bottom line tube emulation amps and mics. the presonus
tubepre was outright horrible because it sounded fake, so i dumped it.
i also have the dbx 386 and it is less terrible than the presonus but
it never sounds warm. i'm keeping it for the time being for its fairly
decent a/d converters. i have two grace 101 preamps, which are
low-cost transformerless solid-state preamps that have a natural sound
with an "airy" top, which sounds quite warm/big with a neumann u87 ai,
rode k2 tube, and somewhat warm/big with an at4047 mic. i just sold an
at3060 tube mic because it never sounded very warm. it was a
horrendously dumb mic with a fake tube.

imho 1) to get a real good tube sound you need some serious gear and
not the emulation stuff, 2) it's possible to get a great sound with
serious non-tube gear, and 3) it's easy to mess up even with serious
gear if something isn't right in the chain. i've heard thin stuff come
out of an avalon 737 and a low-end neumann mic.

my recommendations are to lurk forums, read reviews, get catalogs,
visit online vendors, go test gear if you have time...but stay away
from emulations. yeah, peavey'll be a hard catch, but maybe look at
devices such as the drawmer ts2, universal audio, and other top name
gear. i think there's ample gear in the $700-1000 range that will
sound warm/big, tube or not.
Anonymous
September 21, 2004 3:51:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> i also have the dbx 386 and it is less terrible than the presonus but
> it never sounds warm. i'm keeping it for the time being for its fairly
> decent a/d converters

Interesting. I've been using a DBX 386 for a while, and I didn't buy it for
the tubes, I bought it for the decent preamps and ADC in one package for
live recording use, and the tubes were a bonus.

Something your post seems to focus on is the idea that tube circuitry is
intended to be "warm", something the IP wasn't asking for specifically. IME
it's really only class AB tube poweramps that tend to be substantially warm,
and the coloration of tube preamps tends to be more "smoky", "dark",
"elegant", etc, and it depends heavily on the caliber of tubes.

In the case of my DBX 386 it's got JAN Phillips 12AX7's (not relabelled
Sovteks) and I find the tube circuit helps smooth the crispiness out of
compression horns compared to a Grace Lunatec V3, though I prefer the V3 for
acoustic performances, and ironically find it cleaner in the studio.
!