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trashcanman
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#1
26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
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Preamp Help

Hello slutz, I'm looking to purchase a 2 channel preamp that I can run my drum mixes through before it hits the DAW. Im planning on recording a 4 channel Garage/Punk drum track through my mixer and into my adat, then out of my adat 2 channels at a time into my 2 channel pre and into my DAW. Then I'd probably track guitars one by one through the pre. So I'm needing a good all around budget mic pre ($400) for garage/punk sounding music. I'm wanting a sound similar to the snivelling shits or black flags first four years if that helps.

Is this a good way to do this seeings how im only going to have 2 quality mic pres (maybe one if I decide to get something like the GAP)? I'm Using a Mackie mixer and the pres on that seem to make everything thin and weak. As a test I borrowed my dad's old Allen and Heath 12x4x2 mixer that is built into the case, Its awesome and huge but has alot of problems when turning knobs and such (cuts out the audio). But what I got from the test was that the Allen and heath sounds waaay more sweet and punchy than my mackie. That is where the conlusion came that maybe getting quality pres is a good idea.

I currently have an MP20 but in my opinion it doesnt change the tone or quality at all. So i think what im looking for is color? Maybe.

For drums im gonna be using the equation audio 5 pice mic set. And a 57 for under or on top of the snare
trashcanman
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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Anyone?
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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2 channels with character for $400 is a tall order.
If your budget was between $500 and $600, I am sure you would have some responses.
trashcanman
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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I've read threads on here about people talking up the GAP and the Art Pro Vla for certain applications. The ART is $250 for 2 channels and the GAP is $345 for 1 channel. I'm willing to go up to 500 but Ive read lots of praise about a few budget preamps (<$500) on the gearslutz forum. I was curious as to which would be the most versatile for raw drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. And which preamps would be punchier and sweeter than my mackie CFX board.

And honestly I dont even know if going out of my ADAT one or two channels at a time is a good method for this operation. I know it will be time consuming but im working with what i got.
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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The Studio Projects VTB1 is a good option in that budget. They are about $150 for one channel. Very nice as a Bass DI and for guitars, I'm not sure it would be my first choice for vocals or drums but it would certainly give you some color.

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#6
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashcanman View Post
Hello slutz, I'm looking to purchase a 2 channel preamp that I can run my drum mixes through before it hits the DAW. Im planning on recording a 4 channel Garage/Punk drum track through my mixer and into my adat, then out of my adat 2 channels at a time into my 2 channel pre and into my DAW. Then I'd probably track guitars one by one through the pre. So I'm needing a good all around budget mic pre ($400) for garage/punk sounding music. I'm wanting a sound similar to the snivelling shits or black flags first four years if that helps.

Is this a good way to do this seeings how im only going to have 2 quality mic pres (maybe one if I decide to get something like the GAP)? I'm Using a Mackie mixer and the pres on that seem to make everything thin and weak. As a test I borrowed my dad's old Allen and Heath 12x4x2 mixer that is built into the case, Its awesome and huge but has alot of problems when turning knobs and such (cuts out the audio). But what I got from the test was that the Allen and heath sounds waaay more sweet and punchy than my mackie. That is where the conlusion came that maybe getting quality pres is a good idea.

I currently have an MP20 but in my opinion it doesnt change the tone or quality at all. So i think what im looking for is color? Maybe.

For drums im gonna be using the equation audio 5 pice mic set. And a 57 for under or on top of the snare
Once your mixer makes it sound shitty, I seriously doubt that a mic pre is going to improve upon the shittiness. Wait! Back up a bit...

It sounds like your dad's mixer has dirty pots, (short of "potentiometer," the shaft and electrical part beneath the knobs.) Dust and muck builds up inside there causing terrible crackling noises and drop outs. Easy to clean. Get yourself a can of CRC electrical contact cleaner and spray it directly onto the shaft under the knobs while turning them back and forth. Spray it in such a way so that it runs down the shaft into the pot. The cleaner evaporates quickly, so it won't hurt the mixer.

EDIT: Turn it off and unplug it before you begin.
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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I have 2 of the Neve style pre's for sale in Classifieds.
trashcanman
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RawDepth View Post
Once your mixer makes it sound shitty, I seriously doubt that a mic pre is going to improve upon the shittiness.
.
So what other method should I use if I only have one or two outboard pres and 4 channels of drums??? Do I really need to get 4 Channels of outboard pres? There is no working around this?
#9
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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Look at the ART Digital MPA for a two channel pre that can add some color. It is made to play real well with a Pro VLA II if you want to add that to it. I wouldn't recommend the Pro VLA II for drums though, as it is pretty slow for that, but it is a wonderful comp for many other things.

Gotta admit the OP confused me a bit. 5 pc mic set plus a 57 thru a 4 channel mixer?
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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I think it might help to know what audio interface are you going into(and any other outboard gear you might have)? If it was me I'd try to cut out the Mackie completely for recording. I think RawDepth's suggestion about cleaning the A&H and getting it up to speed would be a better alternative if possible. Then depending on your interface, you could spend the money upgrading that to get a few more channels to record the individual drum tracks. Having only two channels with no outboard to get the sound you want on the way is going to be difficult.
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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The Studio Projects VTB-1 is not a huge character pre, it is quite clean. Possibly not the difference you would be looking for, as opposed to your current pres.
The Pro MPA definately has a sound. Not sure if it is the sound you are looking for though.. It does however fall within the budget.
The GAP Pre 73 is 2 ch? Since this morning? To get two ch, would you not have to extend your budget as I suggested?

At the $500-$600 range you are in 2 used Gap Pre 73 / Yamaha PM1000 racked channel strips / whatever the dude above is selling, territory. Do a GS search on the words PM1000 and drums.

Some of this stuff may push your budget a bit, but you want to buy soemthing that helps you get where you want to be. Otherwise maybe consider a different path, that gives you more options in your budget, like a compressor. You might be able to squeeze soemthing useful for your needs, out of a PM180 mixer. That would be well under your budget if you can make it work for your needs. If you can try the VTB, give it a shot as well, I suppose.
trashcanman
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#12
28th December 2012
Old 28th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser View Post
Gotta admit the OP confused me a bit. 5 pc mic set plus a 57 thru a 4 channel mixer?
I was Sending the mics to 4 sub mixes, sorry my lingo was off.

My equipment is a mackie CFX 16, Adatxt20, And M-audio fast track ultra 8r. I was using the mackie to mix the drums.
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28th December 2012
Old 28th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashcanman View Post
So what other method should I use if I only have one or two outboard pres and 4 channels of drums??? Do I really need to get 4 Channels of outboard pres? There is no working around this?
My compliments...You are being creative by using the ADAT machine. However, you really don't need any mic pre just to copy the ADAT tracks over to DAW. The output of the ADAT should be at line level. Doesn't your DAW interface have a "line in" jack?

I have trouble believing that those two mixers sound so different, (as in one completely blows balls and the other sounds gorgeous.) Are you sure you are not exaggerating some? I've used dozens of mixers and they all sound similar in general. Granted, they do have slightly different nuances and character but, it is not day and night enough to completely ruin a recording like you suggest.

Maybe something on your mixer is not right. Is your gain structure correct throughout? Do you have a phase flipped somewhere? Are the EQ knobs all centered out?
#14
28th December 2012
Old 28th December 2012
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What have you tried as far as micing the drums? The easiest way to get the sound you're looking for might be good placement of a room mic for the drum kit, and then compress it to taste using something like an 1176 plugin (IK Media makes a decent one) or the UBK-1 plugin from Kush. I would also make sure you are checking phase on the way in(this could be the thin sound you were describing). That would be another reason to bypass the Mackie and go straight into your DAW so you can capture each channel and be able to check and adjust the phase in your DAW(especially kick/snare vs Overheads/Room if you're using them).
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28th December 2012
Old 28th December 2012
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Thanks Everyone, I think what im going to do is pass on the preamps and go clean all the pots and faders to the allen and heath. The different wasn't night and day, but the A&H definately had something more special about it than the mackie. The thought of using hardly any outboard gear really turns me off, but it might be best for what i'm going for. I'll just spend my money on a good mic.

JeramyMT how would I check the phase on my daw? That is something I have to look in to. I noticed something very strange when I went into my daw from ADAT. When I would mute say the left overhead track and then unmute it, the tone of the track would make everything sound like it was eq'd differently or it would give it a different frequency. I might have to start a new thread about this question but that's something that has always bothered me. I'm using mixcraft 5
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29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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I am not familiar with mixcraft 5. I did a search and it didn't seem like version 5 will allow phase reversal on audio but version 6 does support it (Sound Menu -> Properties -> Phase). It's also possible you have a phase button (zero with slash through it) included on a channel strip plugin so that might be something to check for. Check out the following youtube video. It does a decently quick job of checking phase on drums:

5 Minutes To A Better Mix II: Phase Check Drums - TheRecordingRevolution.com - YouTube

The idea though is if you have two mics capturing the same source (overheads and snare, overheads and BD, room mic and BD) then you will have the potential for them to be out of phase from each other. It's easiest to hear in the low end (usually low end will sound thin when soloing the two if out of phase). Using your ears is best in my experience. There are many other good videos and resources on phase and if you're not too familiar with it it might help to check out some of them to get a better understanding. Also, if you aren't using a room mic (or even two for stereo!) for drums look up info on that and try it out. You might just thank me later.
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29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashcanman View Post
JeramyMT how would I check the phase on my daw? That is something I have to look in to. I noticed something very strange when I went into my daw from ADAT. When I would mute say the left overhead track and then unmute it, the tone of the track would make everything sound like it was eq'd differently or it would give it a different frequency. I might have to start a new thread about this question but that's something that has always bothered me. I'm using mixcraft 5
This definitely sounds like you have a phase problem somewhere.
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