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Wanting new Preamp to improve sound
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thecharlie
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#1
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Wanting new Preamp to improve sound

I currently own a Blue Bluebird that goes directly into an Mbox mini 3.
I wanted to purchase a better Pre to improve the sound of the microphone.
I'm somewhat content in how acoustics sound but I wanted some improvement (maybe some kind of different coloration? more warmth?) I honestly dont know how to explain it.

My voice is very soft and "intimate" i guess haha
I've read that it is good to find a pre that matches the impedance of the bluebird

If you could take a listen to a track i recorded, maybe you could suggest me a preamp. I've so far looked into the GAP Pre73 and ART MPA II

The First Noel | Charlie Schafer
#2
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecharlie View Post
I currently own a Blue Bluebird that goes directly into an Mbox mini 3.
I wanted to purchase a better Pre to improve the sound of the microphone.
I'm somewhat content in how acoustics sound but I wanted some improvement (maybe some kind of different coloration? more warmth?) I honestly dont know how to explain it.

My voice is very soft and "intimate" i guess haha
I've read that it is good to find a pre that matches the impedance of the bluebird

If you could take a listen to a track i recorded, maybe you could suggest me a preamp. I've so far looked into the GAP Pre73 and ART MPA II

The First Noel | Charlie Schafer
i'd extend my budget to any 500 series preamp, perhaps a-design p-1, the Art mpa II has good reviews on this forum though.
#3
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Rather than getting a new pre, I would suggest a new mic. Condensers are not too fussy about impedance, dynamics and ribbons are affected more. the pre will make a slight difference, but a different mic will have a greater impact on the sound. If you hard set on a new pre, try some tube pres like the ART MPA II where you can drive the tube for a little more harmonic content.
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#4
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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The P-1 is a great preamp. Love that preamp as an all around pre. The Avedis MA-5 is also a very sweet choice.
#5
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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For a soft intimate voice, you'll actually see a greater improvement sound wise by upgrading your mic. You didn't state your budget however, so this is just a shot in the dark. Something like the AT 4047 is a great choice. I love my Miktek CV4 but that might be out of your budget.
thecharlie
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#6
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundHouse View Post
For a soft intimate voice, you'll actually see a greater improvement sound wise by upgrading your mic. You didn't state your budget however, so this is just a shot in the dark. Something like the AT 4047 is a great choice. I love my Miktek CV4 but that might be out of your budget.
a new mic huh? Thats the idea at first but I saw a good amount people suggest to get a pre because a better mic going into the same stock pre is not gonna sound great. Any thoughts on that?
#7
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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What's wrong with the way it sounds now? Sounds fine to me.

You want more coloration and a bit of a sonic boost?

Try a tape saturation plug like PSP Vintage Warmer or something free like the Nasty series Bootsy's freeware VST effect plug-ins for Windows: Rescue, TesslaSE, Density, BootEQ, NastyLF at rekkerd.org

And tighten up your vocal doubling technique. Too much play between L/R channels.

Also sounds like you might be pulling a broad Q 1k down a little too much on your EQ. Try to keep more mids in the mix. Just a guess there.
thecharlie
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
What's wrong with the way it sounds now? Sounds fine to me.

You want more coloration and a bit of a sonic boost?

Try a tape saturation plug like PSP Vintage Warmer or something free like the Nasty series Bootsy's freeware VST effect plug-ins for Windows: Rescue, TesslaSE, Density, BootEQ, NastyLF at rekkerd.org

And tighten up your vocal doubling technique. Too much play between L/R channels.

Also sounds like you might be pulling a broad Q 1k down a little too much on your EQ. Try to keep more mids in the mix. Just a guess there.
what do you mean by too much play?
#9
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecharlie View Post
a new mic huh? Thats the idea at first but I saw a good amount people suggest to get a pre because a better mic going into the same stock pre is not gonna sound great. Any thoughts on that?
Check out I think it was the October and December issues of sound on sound. They do a preamp shoot out and the results showed that a cheap pre used properly could yield just as good results as a much much more expensive preamp. Go for the mic for sure
#10
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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I agree. You should consider another mic instead of a pre. A pre will give a slight difference in sound but a different mic will yield a more dramatic difference. Just make sure you get one that has a different frequency curve than the Blue Bird. Eventually you should get a good pre, like the one you mentioned.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G
thecharlie
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Chris View Post
I agree. You should consider another mic instead of a pre. A pre will give a slight difference in sound but a different mic will yield a more dramatic difference. Just make sure you get one that has a different frequency curve than the Blue Bird. Eventually you should get a good pre, like the one you mentioned.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G
I've heard good things about the AT 4047 and Neumann tlm 102

any other considerations?
#12
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Both are good mics, but every mic brings it's own quality to your voice. Also different mics work better on different people. Find a music store that will let you return mics and try a couple out. The two you mentioned are a great place to start.
#13
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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Very true. Best thing to do would be to see if you could audition a few mics at the store before buying. It really depends on your voice too. Great albums were cut with a U87 ($3,000), MJ Thriller was done with a SM7 ($380), Taylor Swift with a CV-12 ($500) and Smashing Pumpkins cut theirs on a SM58 ($100) even though they had access to all the top mics in the market. So again, just depends on your voice. There's no such thing as a "one size fits all" mic.

Best approach would be if u could take the blue bird with you to the store (unless they have one) so u can try out the mics back to back with the blue bird. Maybe even tell the sales guy what is it you don't like about your voice with the blue bird. He/she may have some good suggestions.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G
#14
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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emitsweet is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecharlie View Post
I currently own a Blue Bluebird that goes directly into an Mbox mini 3.
I wanted to purchase a better Pre to improve the sound of the microphone.
I'm somewhat content in how acoustics sound but I wanted some improvement (maybe some kind of different coloration? more warmth?) I honestly dont know how to explain it.

My voice is very soft and "intimate" i guess haha
I've read that it is good to find a pre that matches the impedance of the bluebird

If you could take a listen to a track i recorded, maybe you could suggest me a preamp. I've so far looked into the GAP Pre73 and ART MPA II

The First Noel | Charlie Schafer
bluebird is a great mic, maybe get a new interface if you want to improve your sound. The mic is not the problem.
#15
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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Swapping mics will make a dramatic change to the sound of your voice whereas swapping the preamp will be less so. Think of the microphone as the cut of meat, and the preamp as that meat's preparation. Not everyone like T-bone over Fillet Mignon over Porterhouse. Personally I prefer my steaks medium well, but I'll accept anything +20/-30 from that. And it better not be cold!! Capecie?
Best is to try them out (both mics AND pres) at a store before you decide, preferably on/against like outboard pres/gear. Otherwise start collecting them like the rest of us!
#16
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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It's all about how the mic interacts with your voice. I recently had a ~$150 Chinese-made condenser mic beat a U87 in a shootout on a singer's voice. It all depends on the source and there are no rules. The preamp in the Mbox is not the greatest, but it's not going to make a HUGE difference in sound if you change it, but changing out the mic to one more suited to your sound will. Also, you might try some more aggressive EQ and compression than you're used to. Sometimes that's all it needs, even with a softer-style voice.
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#17
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #17
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ART

Been reading this forum for 3 years now and never posted. Not sure why lol. So I figured this would be a good place to start as I am pumped on the ART compressor and mic pre. Both these units are less than 300 and sound really good. Should cost more really....

MPA is Awesome! Sound in plate mode is sweet! The other night for testing it I ran it through my Carvin Tube Head and it made my Fender come alive! Usually the amp is dark, but this pre sounds great. I obviously will be using it to track too, but if anyone out there is look for a DI, live guitar amp pre, and good pre unit check it out!

VLA is also great. I used it a few months back in a studio with other top end compressors and found myself never avoiding the VLA. It sounds great mixed with others! Get it, learn it, and expand onto it
#18
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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Wink

Very nice vocal/recording!

Speaking as a fellow "mellow toned" singer, however, the punch of a dynamic microphone would suit your voice very well. IMHO one of the best tries for it would be the Shure Beta 57a (58a if you don't have a sibilance issue).

They each go for less than $160 new, and around $120 or less used.

That way you'd have greater detail/4 db hotter signal vs. an original 57/58, for example...

Chris

P.S. The Audix OM5 around the same price range, is well worth a try too.
#19
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #19
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To the "preamps don't make much difference" faction here - In made quite the opposite experience. There may be only subtle differences between quality preamps, but from the stock pres of a prosumer audio interface an external dedicated preamp can be a big improvement. My whole mic locker benifited dramatically from external pres, even my first external unit, the Art MPA II made a huge difference. Maybe you can get similar results by stacking up and tweaking several coloration plugins but I like to have a great sound out of the box without hours of tweaking and looking for the right plugs. So I would suggest, get a qualty preamp first and then start extending your mic locker. I had some mics in my locker where i never knew how great they could sound before I got a decent preamp.
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