Mic Pre's

Roland MMP2, VTB-1

I’ve been looking at mic pre’s because it’s nearly Christmas (yeah, ok), and that means a chance to get a new toy.

I ditched my Behringer MIC200 on ebay a while back as it didn’t really do anything useful, so now I’m looking again. I’d pretty much settled on the VTB-1 as it’s about the right price, and generally is well accepted, however I’ve also been looking at the Roland MMP2 which is only a shade more expensive.

Does anyone have experience of the MMP2, or general comments to add about the VTB-1?

I’m actually more than happy with the pre’s on my Soundcraft Spirit Folio SX mixer, but it would be useful to have a few different sounds in the pallet…



Hi Mark A:
Unless you’re Backed-Up with money, I have a feeling that the pre-amps in your Soundcraft Mixer is as good as what you’re looking at now… In my opinion, Pre-amps shouldn’t have a SOUND… pre-sa…

The specs. that’s gonna make a difference for what you already have is something that has “Noise Floor” and “Dynamic Range” figures that’ll put your pocket-book to shame… Well…

I’d like to get into a Project that will give me reason to spend some time to get into those Northern Electric Pre-amps that I have that are outta the '60’s… Mabey, I’ll get the energy to get into a project and try them out…

However, I have bought that http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/gac-1.php utility a while ago… I haven’t used it yet, but I gonna try it out on some tracks that I have, as soon as I get the TEAC 38 1/2" tape projects transfered onto a hard drive… I’m looking forward to starting that project…

Could that GAC-1 pre-amp utility be just what you’re looking for?


Hi Bill,

You’re probably right aobut my mixer’s preamps, although I keep reading reviews etc suggesting that Mic A & preamp B sounds different to Mic A with preamp C. I guess I’m looking to experience that.

My Behringer MIC200 could be fairly transparent or add colour depending on settings.

I guess it amounts to using the preamp as an “effect”.


in my opinion preamps do have a sound… although the differences can be very subtle. took me alot of careful listening to really notice… and it’s hard when the source audio isn’t always consistent. i think i’ve come to notice it by working with the same equipment (mics and instruments) for a long time then changing the preamp. i have an ART Tube MP preamp, (which i’ve changed the tube in a few times as an experiment), also a VTB-1 (which i haven’t been using all that long), and a mackie ONYX mixer. there are noticable differences when recording similar source material between the 3 different preamps.

that being said… you might not be able to notice the differences and so it might not really matter at this point. get used to the sounds that your gear gives you and you will find it’s strengths and what it sounds good on.

for me, i’m starting to learn that by just jumping in a trying something. if i like it, i’ve made an investment in good equipment. if i don’t like it, i’ve made an investment in my education :wink:

personally i like the VTB-1 because it gives you the neato tube blend thing. kinda fun to play with. i find the ONYX preamps to be the more “transparent”… whatever that means. :O

Hi dimmer77 and Mark A:
Yea, I’m agreeing to the idea that, combinations of Pre-amps and mics do make a “Sound” that is distinctive… Perhaps what I really mean is… If the Pre-amp didn’t influence the signature of the combination of Pre-amp and Mic. then, the mic would have more of a purpose in the selection process of producing the track… Well? lots of question there… In my opinion, a good pre-amp should have very little influnce on the signature foot-print of the mic…

Mabey, that’s more what I am trying to say… Thanks, dimmer 77

A Case-in-Point… A local CBC TV Program that was produced locally… The fiddle player wouldn’t play his fiddle unless a particular E/V 666 mic was available for him when it came time to do the tracks… Here’s how it worked… The CBC had code numbers scribed on the body of their mics to identify their mic stock… If that E/V 666 mic was not on the stand, in front of him, he would Balk at the Audio Production Crew…

As far as I know, the Mic Chain was MIC > Northern Electric Pre-Amp to line-in on the Ampex Multi-Track Deck… Mabey some other Hardware but the signal chain never really varied… This was a National Broadcast Show. Originally, it was a film tele-cini chain… In later years that went to 2" Ampex Video Tape… That Show went weekly for some 20 years-or-more… I remember Shows that I was on that went to film, for later playback… Then Pre-audio that got sync’d to video later in the production process. and even… Live to AIR… There was no recording equipment for later play-back… Hey… I liked that process, the best… You could never hear your mistakes… I loved it… hehe…

Has time changed?? Who knows what they use now… :O ???


Bill, I would agree that the ideal mike preamp (for most purposes, not all) does nothing but amplify the signal from the mike. But I believe that this ideal is unattainable, and we get to pick between different compromises. (Note: sometimes we DO want tube saturation or color from a mike pre, but let’s ignore that and consider that a special purpose.)

Rip Rowan contends that inexpensive mike preams like those in mixers tend to make mikes sound a lot more alike. He also says that a high quality mike preamp makes a huge difference in the clarity and detail obtainable from inexpensive but good dynamic mikes like the SM57. Lots of other reviewers concur. I find a lot of audiophiles and reviewers to have a high BS index, but Rowan is usually pretty credible IMHO.

Since I haven’t A/B tested mike preamps myself, all I can do is repeat the rumors. But I have a VTB1 or two on my xmas list, as the cheapest of the mike preamps reputed to actually bring out the qualities in an SM57 as well as highlight the differences between mikes.

Most folks who have a VTB-1 or AudioBuddy preamp say that their mikes sound much better through them than through mixer preamps.

So I’m hoping someone comes forward with some info on the Roland preamp.