The Hidden Gem Of Affordable Studio Gear

2010 Aug 16, 2010

If you caught one of my posts last week then you know I was out of town doing a remote recording project. When taking your studio far away and trying to think through the simplest setup you can bring, it’s good to have great sounding, compact, and reliable gear. One piece of gear that I could NOT have done this project without is the ADA8000 from Behringer, an 8 channel preamp and AD/DA converter that fits in a 1U rack space.

The Behringer ADA8000

I’ve written before about how easy it is to expand your audio interfaces inputs with an ADAT connection and how many choices you’ll find on the market for products that do just that. But I have to say from the countless recording projects I’ve used it on, the Behringer ADA8000 is the hidden gem of affordable home studio gear.

For a mere $199 brand new, you get 8 pristine mic pres with phantom power (or 8 line inputs), 8 channels of A/D conversion (via the optical cable), and 8 channels of D/A conversion to balanced connections on the back. So you’re basically getting a great mic pre and converter for just $20 a channel! It’s just insane to think that other “budget” 8 channel mic pres run for at least twice what Behringer is charging for the same thing.

Home Studio Needs At Home Studio Prices

One of the simplest (but best) things about the ADA8000 is having the pres and line ins on the front panel. This makes recording in the home/portable studio much easier. This past week I was recording 8 channels of drums, then switching to keyboard line ins, then miking vocals and saxophone in another room. All the while I was constanly plugging and unplugging cables and not once did I have to reach around to the back of the rack and somehow reach the correct inputs. Simple, but super helpful for home studio folks who can’t leave mics plugged int all the time.

Combine the great sound and usability of this unit with a typical Behringer price and you have a real practical piece of equipment for real home studio musicians and producers. At $199, expanding your inputs for another 8 channels is now affordable for everyone. I like gear that works for real people with real budgets, and the ADA8000 delivers.

These Can Be Your Main Pres

I want to make one thing clear. Some people reading this might get the impression that the ADA8000 will suffice for some “extra channels”. That it might sound decent enough and be priced well enough to simply expand your inputs…but you’d never use them as your go-to pres. To that I would say, think outside the box of your preconceived notions and brand snobbery. The pres in this unit are quiet, clear, punchy, and perfectly suited for any kind of source. I personally have used them on projects for drums, guitars, and lead vocals with stellar results. These pres are just as good as any other pre or channel strip you would laugh at comparing them to.

So if you’re in the market for one of the many 8 channel ADAT ready mic pres, don’t forget about this hidden gem. Save yourself some major cash and be glad you’re getting just as good of as sound for less with the Behringer ADA8000. I know I am.

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