For discussion about setting up your studio and advice on the gear and equipment within it.
By 6/8 Stanley Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:42 pm
Been looking for a tuner and preamp to listen to FM radio, my CD player and get some decent sound out of my TV. Would also use preamp with mic'd instruments and vocals. Don't know my 2500 very well yet, just use it as a glorified metronome to play guitar to. In spite on my user name I tend to lose the beat, but it's easy to pound out some solid real-time polyrhythm beats on the 2500 to keep time. Haven't saved, sampled, or used midi on anything yet so don't know about inputs.

There's a lot of vintage stuff on ebay etc., audiophile stuff for cheap that gets good reviews from people who know. I found some tuners and preamps from the 70's and 80's that look and are said to sound great. It's analog though. I guess there wasn't much digital until the mid-eighties. On the other had I see some brand new stuff for the same price, but I suspect it's junk from amazon reviewers that say it arrived DOA, vs vintage stuff that still plays after 40 years. So I'd go vintage except I see digital in for CD on my MPC. Wondering if not having digital outs on the preamp will make it less useful with the MPC.
By terry towelling Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:33 pm
i'm a little you are after a hi-fi amplifier so you can listent to your tv, cd player and radio? in that case, go onto ebay/graigslist/gumtree and buy a 70 or 80s solid state amplifier -- look for high end consumer brands from that time -- maraantz, rotel, nad, grundig, nagamichi (sp?). don't pay too much more than $150. there is a chance that there will be something wrong or that something will go wrong. most problems are with the power supply and that can be cheaply rebuilt by your local repair person (or you). pair it with the largest pair of speakers you can fit in the room and rock out!

on the other hand, if you're after a studio mixer that you hook up your tv, radio, cd palyer and MPC to, then the best value for money is one of the roland VS hard disk recorders. these units sell for a round $100 or so (vs1680) and have a fully-featured digital mixer plus a hard disk recorder. if you want, you can just ignore the hard disk recorder and just use the brilliant digital mixer. this will allow you to listen to tv etc. it will also allow you to quickly sample any of these sound sources to your MPC and apply effects. as a guitar player you might like to use the VS as a recorder and to record your playing and MPC.
By 6/8 Stanley Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:18 am
tapedeck wrote:yea - put the blunt down, and what now?

Damn, Tape I guess you saw right through me. My answer to that that would be "a beer". Once I have that smoke and some beer to wash it down, anything more complicated than hooking up the guitar to a stompbox is out of the question. On the other hand, my guitar playing and beats sound better, even if they aren't. Probably my idea about mixing the X-files theme from TV with some heavier beats is just reefer madness too....

TT, I found some NAD preamp / tuners from the late 80's or 90's for about $100 that would be a good compromise. Hook up the old Bose powered speakers and it's ready to play. They have digital outs I think. Heard somewhere that going back and forth between digital and audio isn't the best way to get a clean mix. Not as pretty as a 70's blue-light Marantz of course, so I dunno. BTW the 70's Sony I was looking an on ebay weighs 24 lbs. and doesn't even have a power amp, while the new Sony on amazon weighs 3 lbs. and does. So I could probably kick the new ones a lot farther.

MPC should sound OK through either one.
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By tapedeck Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:34 pm
i am still not entirely sure what you are asking...

i wouldn't worry so much about digital -> analog, as you are fully aware, it used to be all analog, so people have done more with less and been fine.

my only other advice is to not spend money on something on ebay just cause you read about it. if you really want some nice analog ****, i bet yer local craigslist / semi-close uncle has some old but nice gear for you to try out. you just dont want to get into the trap of, 'i read this was good so its gonna make me sound good'. i say, find what you can, for your budget, learn it, and make it make you sound good. also if you go this route you can kind of constantly try new stuff, resell if you dont like it, etc...but even than i'd say be wary - commit to something.

honestly, mixing digital and analog is a really good way to go. for example, some folks keep it digital as much as possible, then for a final mastering stage, hit something analog and bounce that back into will have a sound that you couldn't just get using digital only. another option is to sample through the analog stuff then keep it digital in the mpc - you'll still get a nice colour on the source which is nice (especially when you start layering and all those little imperfections add up).
By terry towelling Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:42 pm
put the beer bottle down! alcohol is the poison of bablyon. you're concerned about possible degradation of sound quality when your signal passes back and forward repeatedly through digital to analogue and analogue to digital converters. as TD said. don't worry about it. it'll sound fine.

also, why the concern? the way you are using your mpc at the moment doesn't involve lots of digital to analogue/analogue to digital routing.
but why don't do give it a go? try this, sample your guitar into the mpc. then run the output of the mpc into a stomp box, and the out of the stomp box back into the mpc. now resample your guitar sample on the mpc back into the mpc. keep resampling over and over with stomp boxes and external units and see what happens to the sound. find out how what sounds good and what doesn't.

buy a roland VS series mixer/recorder. then connect your MPC's digital ins/out and your analogue ins/outs to the VS and you'll have good control over both digital and analogue signal routing.
By 6/8 Stanley Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:07 am
[quote="tapedeck"]i am still not entirely sure what you are asking.

That analog/digital question was what I was asking, so good answer.

I started just looking for a radio last week. After looking decided on a tuner and preamp since I've got a CD/DVD/MP3 player that I can't use until I get a preamp. It occurred to me I could also use it with the MPC out which currently goes to the guitar amp with so-so results.
The vintage stuff isn't all cheap though. I saw one Marantz for $200 but most are 500 to 800 so maybe it's shot. The nice McIntosh are in the thousands. One restored Sansui was for 12500. Anyway they all have plenty of connections. I can get a 70's Marantz tuner/preamp for $550 or an 80's/90's NAD that probably sounds about as good for $150.

TT, that may be true, but it's important to hydrate.
That 1680 looks like it was made to sit next to an MPC. I've already got a mixer but maybe someday. I don't really have tons of room here. Whatever I get, the TV will have to sit on top of it. Those 70's boxes are almost too big to sit on a table.
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By tapedeck Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:25 pm
gonna throw this out there that if yer talking about $500, you don't have to go vintage. for that money, you can get something modern just to colour the sound.
By 6/8 Stanley Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:09 am
I'm going vintage or at least used. I don't doubt that there are new tuners, preamps and receivers in the $500 range that are guaranteed to work, sound flawless and do just about anything but that blue-light Marantz and the golden-light Sony are just waaay more attractive to me. Wish I'd never seen them plugged in and lighted up on ebay. Maybe I'll come to my senses.

Hope to find a tuner preamp combo to save space and maybe money, but separates would be OK too. The 70's items have a lot of charm and great reviews on audiophile sites. The stuff is big though, it's made to sit in a big cabinet. And unless they've been restored they have those skinny old cords that look like they've been repeatedly stomped on, and may need repair as well. Looks like 500 is about minimum for audiophile preamp tuners that are restored. I want one but don't need one since there are lots of well-rated mid-fi stuff from the 80's and 90's in the $100 range that would do all I need as a preamp, and probably sound better than what passes for a radio in 2018. It's just that the older ones look and sound (remembering my dad's sound system) like fine radios, with a real tuning knob and a level of craftsmanship that's a thing of the past, with a few exceptions.

In the 90's I got a used tascam portastudio. 4 tracks but I'd bounce them down til I had a wall of sound. Except more like a wall of mud. That's why I was concerned. It's not a problem with digital, MPC for example I can layer tons of stuff on my track. The track might be junked up with too much stuff but it's still clear. But now I get it that an analog preamp is perfect for sending analog signals from my instruments and mics to MPC, and for sending MPC analog outs to speakers.
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By tapedeck Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:21 pm
i do think yer mixing up the term preamp and amp - most of what you are talking about sounds like an amp...the thing that the speakers plug into and then it makes it loud for the speakers. a preamp would be something that stays in the line-level domain...for example from a turntable to an amp, or from a mic to a mpc.

and the quality loss you are referring to w/ the 4-track tape wasnt necessarily just 'analog' causing the quality loss, it was the bouncing and the medium of the tape itself - cassettes have a lot of generation loss.
By 6/8 Stanley Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:07 am
That's right, but I have an old set of Bose "roommate" powered speakers so I don't need a power amp. Most power amps and preamp/power amps have way more juice than I need anyway. I guess it's not an audiophile system but it sounds good to me.

By the way those Bose's are still around, I saw a bunch of sets on ebay for $50 to $80. Might not be the best system for everyone but it eliminates another piece of gear.

If I ever need one for a hifi system I might try to run down a vintage tube power amp. Don't really know but I think it would sound great with good speakers. Big and expensive though.

Glad the day of the cassette is over.
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By Lampdog Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:10 pm
6/8 Stanley wrote:Glad the day of the cassette is over.

It's not.

Many still use cassette's. I have many, a damn good tape deck (DN-T620) and a few smaller ones.
I have used it to sample my sound module drums to tape, playback with slower speed and sample into
2kxl and/or asr10. Audio interface (rme ufx) also has nice channel strips so I can manipulate the audio passing into my gear for sampling, sounds amazing to me.
By 6/8 Stanley Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:16 am
Different if you have good gear and know how to use it. My last cassette player 20 years ago would frequently turn my favorite tapes into tangled messes. The portastudio wasn't too bad though. Did a lot of songwriting on it. It sounded better than the cheap digital multitrack recorders of the same era, in my opinion.
By 6/8 Stanley Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:17 pm
The $150 NAD tuner/preamp I more or less decided on is sold so I need to keep shopping.
1. Don't need power amp, have powered speakers. So a receiver is out unless it has pre-amp outs.
2. For playing guitar while listening to MPC headphones are no good and running it through the guitar amp doesn't sound very good. I could hook the powered speakers to MPC but don't want to switch cables around anytime I want to listen to music on TV or radio. So preamp.
3. They say FM radio is dead but not for me. A couple music shows on today I like. Gotta go drive my truck right now so I can listen. Bunch of good stations in this area. My radio is junk, I want a good tuner.
4. Got a new DVD/CD/MP3 player I can't use because it doesn't a preamp. Also there's music on TV like Japanese rock I can't hear anywhere else. TV sound isn't load enough. Want to run TV to preamp and powered speakers so don't have to keep switching cables.
5. Got an electric Mbira with piezo pickups inside that needs preamp before it goes to speakers for best sound.
6. Would rather have preamp/tuner combo to save space. Harder to find than separates. Like stuff from 70's best but don't have room for big units and lack audio repair skills.
7. Tapedeck and Terry Towelling already answered my main questions but all replies are appreciated.
8. Prefer stuff from USA, Japan or Germany. So new stuff out I guess.
9. Gotta go. Rhapsody in Black is on.