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Mic pre in the live room vs in the control room
Old 7th June 2007
  #1
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Mic pre in the live room vs in the control room

Hi there,

I read Kevin Killen´s comment on placing his Neve pres/EQs in the live room instead of the control room because of sonic benefits due to short cable distance.


"...I started experimenting after watching my friend Randy Ezratty of Effanel Music ( arguably one of the best remote recording companies in the world !) employ that technique when doing live remotes. The theory being that you will get a better signal with greater rejection of noise and interference if you apply the gain at 20 feet instead of 500 to a thousand. And it really does. I find the drums are punchy and need less eq..."



I know that most big studios have kind of remote preamp solutions cause of signal loss with long cable distance but are the differences also apparent in a smaller studio with decent cabling ?

Kevin Killen has an assistant who changes gains in the live room for him.
For most of us, who don´t have an assistant this working method is a huge PITA - but what I´m interested in - who else is working like this and what are the sonic benefits ?

Any engineers out there who have their neves, apis, chandler pre´s in the control room cause it SOUNDS so much better ?
Most commercial studios seem to have their pre´s in the control room.
Old 7th June 2007
  #2
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andychamp's Avatar
I might try this sometime soon, as there's probably less degradation in a line signal than with a mic signal over long cable runs.
OTOH, I probably wouldn't put a tube preamp anywhere near a loud amp or drumkittutt
Old 7th June 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 

With Ribbon and Dynamic mics it usually a drastic difference.

jmp
Old 10th June 2007
  #4
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Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
Hi there,


I know that most big studios have kind of remote preamp solutions cause of signal loss with long cable distance but are the differences also apparent in a smaller studio with decent cabling ?
I haven't worked in any big studios that have remote pre's in the live room except Bill Schnee's who's studio has racks of Mastering Lab mic pres in the live room.

That being said, I've also heard it's a good idea and just based on the rumour, if I'm recording some critical acoustic material I'll roll my rack of pre's into the live room. It's a pain because you can't quickly grab the level if a player suddenly becomes explosive and it's pretty unrealistic to expect and assistant to sit in the live room for the entire day! However, if you have a good console you can route the signal just through the faders and control level that way (I go to tape so level is important).

If anyone's actually done an AB test please chime in. I just haven't gotten around to it. It's pretty easy to test. Just sit next to your pre's in the control room with about 6 feet of mic line, play, then patch in an additional 100 feet or so and play again. That'll be the answer.
Old 10th June 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
It's a pain because you can't quickly grab the level if a player suddenly becomes explosive and it's pretty unrealistic to expect and assistant to sit in the live room for the entire day! .
Exactly what I think - a huge PITA to work with so the results better should be 10% better to compensate the trouble...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
It's pretty easy to test. Just sit next to your pre's in the control room with about 6 feet of mic line, play, then patch in an additional 100 feet or so and play again. That'll be the answer.
That´s what I´ll do next week and report what happens.
I didn´t expect this to be such unexplored teritorry...
Old 11th June 2007
  #6
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That is the whole idea behind the 2-piece Gordon preamp system. Main unit goes close to the mic, the remote control module goes anywhere. I've done a lot of testing on mic cables, and have found that some certainly provide clearer signals and better noise suppression than others.

I have not done extreme testing with different lengths, but can tell the difference from using something like a ribbon mic with a 10-15' cable vs adding another 30' or more. Better S/N with shorter cables, no doubt. And if there are RF/EMI issues it's a no brainer, the shortest path for the tiny mic-level signal is the best choice.

Steve
Old 11th June 2007
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
I haven't worked in any big studios that have remote pre's in the live room except Bill Schnee's who's studio has racks of Mastering Lab mic pres in the live room.
The large studio at Skywalker has lots of them.
Remote racks that can be spread around the studio for each section.
They can be remote controlled from the Control Room ( Neves)
Pretty slick!

jmp
Old 11th June 2007
  #8
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmarkpainter View Post
The large studio at Skywalker has lots of them.
Remote racks that can be spread around the studio for each section.
They can be remote controlled from the Control Room ( Neves)
Pretty slick!

jmp
That was the design behind the Neve Air consoles for Sir George Martin. The mic pre's sit out in the recording space but the levels are controlled from knobs at the console. Pretty cool idea. Ken just got done rebuilding one for Allaire studios and I can't wait to hear it once it's installed.

The reason for doing this is where you have long cable runs (like most large facilities have). If you're only dealing with a 25' run or something (like most home studios) you are probably not going to hear that much of a difference if any at all.

Oh and I've done this trick with the pre-amps out in the studio, believe it or not the musicians can actually turn the knobs for you too! You don't even have to get up from the control room chair. But you really should get up and go out into the studio and really listen to the source anyway. I can't stand engineers who never bother to do this (which I've seen too many times over the years).

btw, 10% more SOUND is a lot and adds up over 24 tracks...
Old 11th June 2007
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Amadeuz's Avatar
 

It makes a noticeable difference.

I make sure that if Im going to let the Talent mess with the gain knobs, that these are dented. That will mantain subjectivity of things like: "just a little more", in control.
Old 11th June 2007
  #10
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My mic signals usually go into:

-----> Stock Klotz standard mic cables 7 meters
----> Live room wallbox with stock neutrik XLRs
---> Belden multicore XLR cabling to the control room
-->REAN TT phone patchbay with mogami patchcords in the control room
-> Pre amp in the control room ( Cranesong Spider, wunder pafour, Neve DPD)


Distance from control room to mic mostly < 15 meters.
What do you think - do wallbox + patchbay degrade the signal ?(Just looking for some pre test / lazyness input...)
Old 26th December 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 
Bob Amirian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
My mic signals usually go into:

-----> Stock Klotz standard mic cables 7 meters
----> Live room wallbox with stock neutrik XLRs
---> Belden multicore XLR cabling to the control room
-->REAN TT phone patchbay with mogami patchcords in the control room
-> Pre amp in the control room ( Cranesong Spider, wunder pafour, Neve DPD)


Distance from control room to mic mostly < 15 meters.
What do you think - do wallbox + patchbay degrade the signal ?(Just looking for some pre test / lazyness input...)
OK, three years have passed.

Anybody can answer this above quoted question?
Old 26th December 2010
  #12
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Keep the cable from the mic to the preamp as short as possible, it carries a signal of about -70 to -40dB. The cable from the preamp into the DAW is not as sensitive carrying a +4dB signal.
Old 26th December 2010
  #13
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msquared's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Amirian View Post
OK, three years have passed.

Anybody can answer this above quoted question?
Maybe because this is such a tough one to answer accurately. Back in the early days when "engineers" were really people with electrical knowledge, the answer to that question was as "simple" as hooking a loopback plug up at one end and a multimeter up at the other and doing some math. To do this with 80 different feeds would yield 80 different answers, hopefully with not much deviation but in real life I'm sure enough to be audibly different.

There is a lot that this depends on and it can be unpredictable and there is no sense in giving an answer, even if you know all of the elements. Nobody can honestly say "a silver plated Neutrik female XLR jack from 1997 is going to involve 3db of loss when soldered with acid core solder and connected to 15m of two lead Mogami cable with the other end punchdown wired to an ADC TT patchbay" - even if a master catalog detailing this information existed and they had access to it - because even from port to port it will vary slightly based on how well it was all put together and how much of a beating the jacks have taken over the years.

So if you have this setup and you're curious, just go measure it.
Old 26th December 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Amirian View Post
OK, three years have passed.

Anybody can answer this above quoted question?
Funnily over the years I answered my own question.
I did several tests with the preamps in the live room
and in the control room and at least with the short distances
I have I did not find any differences.

Non the less I have changed the Klotz cables
to Belden in the meantime and found them
a little improvement.

The main improvement was replacing all my old
preamps with gml 8304s and my old converters
with Prism ADA 8 XR but that´s a whole different story...
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