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Best 500 Series for Vocals & Acoustic Guitars
Old 24th March 2016
  #1
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Best 500 Series for Vocals & Acoustic Guitars

Looking for recommendations on the best 500 series mic preamp modules for recording male lead vocals (through a Manley reference cardiod) and an acoustic guitar through Earthworks QTC40s.

And, if there is rack gear that is better....please mention it.

To date, I am considering:
Chandler TG2
Shadow Hills mono GAMMA
API
Avedis MA5

Please also if you own one of the above, please comment on it's sonic characteristics. And, if you have link to hear how it sounds, please post the link.

Thanks!!
David
Old 25th March 2016
  #2
It's hard to say, because there is no best. You have to have an idea of what you are after because of all the things you listed, and many more that you didn't are all going to yield nice results, albeit different. Are you after lots of neutrality and clarity, or more grit and color. Or extreme flexibility?
Old 25th March 2016
  #3
Baz
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Unfortunately ,all you can honestly expect here are (biased) comments that will recommend what they have.I have my thoughts but they will most likely differ 180 ° from another (many others )

Take comfort in knowing there are 100's of sure fire combinations that will work equally well for your needs so it's basically very hard to go wrong with some research
Old 25th March 2016
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by DFauvre View Post
Looking for recommendations on the best 500 series mic preamp modules for recording male lead vocals (through a Manley reference cardiod) and an acoustic guitar through Earthworks QTC40s.

And, if there is rack gear that is better....please mention it.

To date, I am considering:
Chandler TG2
Shadow Hills mono GAMMA
API
Avedis MA5

Please also if you own one of the above, please comment on it's sonic characteristics. And, if you have link to hear how it sounds, please post the link.

Thanks!!
David
I would need some more information about exactly that!! What type of sonic characteristics are you looking for? I will deduce from the above mentioned gear, a colorful, thick and punchy sound? The Manley mic is very aggressive in the upper mid range and top end. Plus it has a pretty high output level. I would suggest it might be a bit more versatile with something like the Purple Audio BIZ as well. Which is a favorite of mine for both Vocals and Acoustics with a lot of different mics.
Old 25th March 2016
  #5
Here for the gear
 

These are good comments. I have come to realize much of the above, that it's like choosing different colors, not better or best. I am a songwriter, guitarist, singer first, and trying to get audio engineering chops up to basic pro level for tracking only. My favorite albums range from Van Halen to the Police to Yes's 90125 to Beck's latest. I tend to like bright, glassy, and clear high end. That said, I love Heijira by Joni Mitchel as an all time favorite...so go figure! Assuming it's the Chandler's I am hearing...and not the mic, room, or mastering plugins, I love the Chandlers on Pete Yorn's guitar demo of the 500 series Chandlers on YouTube. I bought the Chandler TG2 and Shadow Hills mono Gamma and will see what I prefer, they arrived this morning. As to emulation plugins, at least with my Miktek C4, I prepare the UA API mic pre.
Old 26th March 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFauvre View Post
I tend to like bright, glassy, and clear high end.
The Daking 500 would probably be suitable for you. The high end is where the action is on that preamp. It's just a hair smeared, which makes the high end really sweet sounding, especially on things like flattops and cymbals.
Old 26th March 2016
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DFauvre View Post
Looking for recommendations on the best 500 series mic preamp modules for recording male lead vocals (through a Manley reference cardiod) and an acoustic guitar through Earthworks QTC40s.

And, if there is rack gear that is better....please mention it.

To date, I am considering:
Chandler TG2
Shadow Hills mono GAMMA
API
Avedis MA5

Please also if you own one of the above, please comment on it's sonic characteristics. And, if you have link to hear how it sounds, please post the link.

Thanks!!
David
I own an API 512C. It's a very punchy type of pre. Really preserved the transients so things sound more present. I like it for guitars and rock vocals. I own the Neve 1073lb which is a bit softer sounding. I think the API would do fine on acoustic guitar and it's more affordable than some of the others you mentioned.
Old 26th March 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockinrob View Post
I own an API 512C. It's a very punchy type of pre. Really preserved the transients so things sound more present. I like it for guitars and rock vocals. I own the Neve 1073lb which is a bit softer sounding. I think the API would do fine on acoustic guitar and it's more affordable than some of the others you mentioned.
Yes, very punchy, although I find the punch really comes out at higher gain. I find that the punch isn't all that desirable on vocals, although you can dial back that quality just by turning the gain down. The 1073LB has a very clear high end, although it also does that low mid thing you'd expect from a Neve. Really, you can't go wrong with those or the Daking. You're never going to make a recording with any of them and think it was the wrong preamp.
Old 27th March 2016
  #9
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I use a couple LaChapell 583e's for both of these duties pretty regularly.
Old 27th March 2016
  #10
I was actually going to suggest the LaChapel 583's as well.
Old 27th March 2016
  #11
MA5s are great, if you can have one, you should
Old 27th March 2016
  #12
CAPI VP28 is super flexible for tracking acoustics. Crank the fader gain and you can get a clear, hi-fi sound. Bring down the fader and turn up the preamp gain you can mellow out a bright source. Have to get in close because of bleed? The hi-pass filters sound great. It's my favorite 500 series piece I've ever owned.
Old 27th March 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gt_jumper View Post
MA5s are great, if you can have one, you should
+1! This or the new Avedis MD7 will be really great.. If you're looking for a "cleaner" presentation that is not sterile and still sound BIG check out the Forssell smp500.

<<<<< Fwiw I wrote a review of the MA5, below my avatar there's the link..

Hard to get something better at any price, and for that price is such a great deal! You should try them with YOUR ears and then decide what is better for YOU and your sources..you'll get tons of different advices here.

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 27th March 2016
  #14
Noa
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Electrodyne 501 is great for acoustic cause it tames the harsh characteristics. I use it more than my VP28.

Buuuuut...the VP28 is awesome. Also, my ez1073 would do an outstanding job if it wasn't always on vocal duties.
Old 27th March 2016
  #15
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Everything made by Capi (Jeff Steiger) and Avedis Audio.
Old 27th March 2016
  #16
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I was blown away by the Electrodyne 501 on vocals and acoustic guitars ( songwriter style )

We used 2 mics : my beloved Neumann M 367 ORTF ( kinda M 269 ) and a Bock I Fet : with Electrodyne Pre and EQ and to add some fun the famous AML 2254 clone

In one word : EXCELLENCE
Old 27th March 2016
  #17
Noa
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I'm curious to try out the CAPI Heider preamp. I hear it subdues sharp transients quite nicely.
Old 27th March 2016
  #18
Gear Maniac
Can anyone say more about the Avedis MD7s for Vox/guitars or other sources compared to CAPI VP28 or other relevant pres please? And any thoughts on these paired with E27s as well would be great. Thank you!
Old 28th March 2016
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Any pre will do if you treat the material accordingly itb dont sweat it
Old 28th March 2016
  #20
Honestly a forsell smp500 is really hard to beat on guitars, the amount of openness and natural sound is just gorgeous. I just picked one up 2 months ago and every time I record guitar mouths drop
Also gorgeous on vocals but not all.
Old 28th March 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RecMyWorld View Post
Can anyone say more about the Avedis MD7s for Vox/guitars or other sources compared to CAPI VP28 or other relevant pres please? And any thoughts on these paired with E27s as well would be great. Thank you!
I use the MD7's with my e27's all the time. I use them to sum and they are excellent at every thing I throw at them. It has that mid forward sound however there is a Class A stage in it so its punchy and smooth. I love the FET DI in it as well. No pad needed so you can get that transformer saturation easily if you like.
Old 28th March 2016
  #22
Lives for gear
There all so different - each combo will give you something different and equally appealing.

If you're really into audio and recording then in reality over a long time period you're going to want to build a collection
so you can match different sounds to different tracks.

When I bought my Millennia STT-1 I thought I have my perfect acoustic guitar sound but now after buying a BAE 1073D (500 series) I realise each approach has it's own merits.

The BAE just sounds so warm and luxurious also amazing on vocals (being a 1073) and the 1073 EQ is fantastic if you want a big warm smooth sound.

Then the Millennia gives you a highly detailed present sound - so real and dynamic.

An API 512c will give you something different again - but equally appealing.

There is simply no best - just most appropriate for a given track and given production goal.

.... I just wish they weren't so darn expensive, for me at least, building a collection is a long term goal.
Old 7th April 2016
  #23
Baz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Honestly a forsell smp500 is really hard to beat on guitars, the amount of openness and natural sound is just gorgeous. I just picked one up 2 months ago and every time I record guitar mouths drop
Also gorgeous on vocals but not all.
Cheu78 and I seem to herald this mic amp the most around here and you're bang on. I mostly do single channel stuff here at home and haven't used my CAPI's in what seems like over a year. Not that they're bad by any stretch, they're fantastic! but the speed, depth, extreme clarity and headroom just makes this such a winner for me. I use my 7b more than any other mic for vocals. Lack out output!? forget about it. The SMP500 handles the 7b's low output without breaking a sweat. I know color is something most people look for but again,not an issue for me in least. Between running it into my Lil Devil comp and PEQ500, adding color on the way in is easy should I choose to and of course, plugins are getting better all the time for adding saturation.

But every time I bust out my KM84 > the SMP500 for acoustic guitar, it reaffirms the excellent choice I made.
Old 8th April 2016
  #24
It really depends on the mic. For my tube mics I prefer a transformer-less design, at least for the input stage. I have Buzz Elixirs that while you don't hear about them being great for vocals, they really are. They do have a tranny on the output. I have certain mics though that it doesn't work as nicely for, and also certain vocalists. When I want a slower preamp for that sound I use a Chandler Little Devil. You can adjust the feedback/bias control on it to really saturate the input tranny, and it can sound really warm.

Perhaps a versatile preamp like the Juggernaut would be something you should own. I love mine to death. Great preamp with great tranny options.

Last edited by Actualsizeaudio; 8th April 2016 at 02:29 PM..
Old 8th April 2016
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Neve 88rlb sounds great on acoustic and vox. Very underrated imo!
Old 9th April 2016
  #26
Actually the TX input version of the JLM BA500 is pretty boss at acoustic guitar and male vocals. Used it in the clip below on all 3 tracks with a beesneez James mic.

https://soundcloud.com/brootz/black-...l-tiny-bowkett
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