2. API 212/3/12/512 - In my mind, API is the sound of rock. It can be gritty and aggressive sounding in a good way. A big favorite on drums and guitars.
3. GML 8302/04 - When I want clean, deep and round, this is the one I'd reach for. I was lucky enough to do several albums on a GML console. The sounds were almost instantly great without working too hard.
4. Shadow Hills GAMA - A very versatile amp with lots of different sounds, it can almost be a combination of the above 3.
5. Great River MP-2NV - To me the MP-2NV is like a better sounding Neve 1073. When you want that sound, this is a good way to go.
|AMEK Angela 2|
|Universal Audio 8110|
9. Trident A-Range - The "Trident" sound to me is sort of like a British version of the API. Very rock and roll and aggressive. Other Trident consoles like the TSM and Series 80 had good sounding preamps with the same general sound, but the A-Range is the best of the bunch. I've had the pleasure of working on several of them over the years.
10. Golden Age Project Pre-73 - Talk about bang for the buck, the Pre-73 gives you a reasonable facsimile of a Neve 1073 for a lot less money (about $350). I bought one as a gift for an assistant and was so impressed that I bought one for myself.
There are plenty of others that I've tried and liked, and lots more that I haven't tried yet. I'm still of the mind that there are other factors that are more important when getting sounds (like the player, the instrument and mic placement), but having a great preamp can certainly make your job easier.
What are your favorite mic preamps?
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