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Mic preamp or Mic (The chicken or the egg)
Old 18th May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 
skopje's Avatar
 

Mic preamp or Mic (The chicken or the egg)

I am currently looking for a good mic, and mic preamp to record acoustic guitar with. I have decided on the mic. I'm going for an AKG 414 UBLS, and i'll be trying out some preamps next week.

I currently own a neumann TLM 103 which i love on my vocals. I am planning to get all these preamps sent to me on trial to audition with with the 103. I have other mics so it would be practical to use a good pre with my old mics until i get the cash for the AKG. I can’t afford to go out and buy a new mic, and new preamp at the same time.

However this leaves me in somewhat of a dilemma. Do I get the mic first? Or go for the preamp? Does one mic sound good with one preamp and not another and vice versa? Could I audition a preamp with my TLM 103 and later get the 414, and it not gel together properly.

Which comes first the preamp or the mic?
Old 18th May 2006
  #2
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Preamp, mics are important, but imho, a great mic can sound like crap trhough any number of sub par preamps, a good preamp will always come through if its being used right,

but dont get me wrong, mics are eqauly important, but a 414 through a presonus is no match for a 414 thruogh an API, or even an octava through the same API... all different sounds, but the pre is usualy stronger element in the whole sceme of things,

my 2 cents.
Old 18th May 2006
  #3
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True North's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoiseflower
Preamp, mics are important, but imho, a great mic can sound like crap trhough any number of sub par preamps, a good preamp will always come through if its being used right,

but dont get me wrong, mics are eqauly important, but a 414 through a presonus is no match for a 414 thruogh an API, or even an octava through the same API... all different sounds, but the pre is usualy stronger element in the whole sceme of things,

my 2 cents.
I feel the exact opposite to this. In terms of recognizable tonal differences between a Mic and a preamp - I beleive that a mics influence on the sound is easier to recognize than a preamp.

The average listener would have a hard time discerning the difference between a good mic going through a Presonus VS an API. The odd's of noticing different mics being used on the same preamp are higher IMO.

I personally would be looking to get a good mic and a reasonable mic pre to start.

Good Luck
Old 18th May 2006
  #4
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Crash's Avatar
Quote:
I feel the exact opposite to this. In terms of recognizable tonal differences between a Mic and a preamp - I beleive that a mics influence on the sound is easier to recognize than a preamp.
I agree.
Old 18th May 2006
  #5
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If you already have a TLM103 but don't have any good pres yet, I'd go for the pre now. You can use it with the TLM or something else until you can afford to get the 414. You will also find that if you read threads on here, or ask opinions, you will find that a LOT of people do not like the 414BULS. Now, I'm not saying whether your decision is right or not, because any mic can be the right mic for your acoustic. I like it for acoustic and drum overheads, percussion, sometimes electric guitars, and the occasional vocalist (usually a female). I'm sure there will be lots of opinions on OTHER mics to use.

Are you going to be doing vocals and acousic at the same time?
Old 18th May 2006
  #6
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True North's Avatar
 

I think you will find that a lot of people on this site don't like the 103 maybe even MORE than the 414. heh But if it works for you, than go for it!

I personally think that the 414 is a 'better' (eewww, theres that word) more versatile mic. I am actually going to be selling my 103's (I have two) as they don't get used very much.

For $hits and giggles I completed fairly extensive blind mic test on over 20 mics (ranging in price from $300 to $7000). I posted the tests on this site for public consumption. Both the 414uls and the 103 were on the test.

Do a search under 'Mega Mic Shootout' and you should find it with ease. I am not saying to buy your mic based on this test but it might be a decent reference point for you.

The combination of mics, preamps and compressors for various applications is something that takes most people years to develop and there is no standard answer.

You mentioned the mics that you currently own but you didn't mention any mics pres that you might have - what are you currently using?
Old 18th May 2006
  #7
Gear Nut
 
skopje's Avatar
 

VC1

Yes I am going to be doing vocals at the same time.

I have a Joe meek VC1 and my neumann TLM 103 which works fantastically on vocals. I need a good preamp and mic to go on the acoustic guitar. I want to do live studio takes of vocals and guitar, to get a good vibe. Kind of in the vein of Nick drake and leonard cohen.

My other mics are an SM58, AKG C3000, and a groove tube GT 57

Stephen

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearHunter
If you already have a TLM103 but don't have any good pres yet, I'd go for the pre now. You can use it with the TLM or something else until you can afford to get the 414. You will also find that if you read threads on here, or ask opinions, you will find that a LOT of people do not like the 414BULS. Now, I'm not saying whether your decision is right or not, because any mic can be the right mic for your acoustic. I like it for acoustic and drum overheads, percussion, sometimes electric guitars, and the occasional vocalist (usually a female). I'm sure there will be lots of opinions on OTHER mics to use.

Are you going to be doing vocals and acousic at the same time?
Old 18th May 2006
  #8
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wimme's Avatar
 

If you already have a TLM103 but don't have any good pres yet, I'd go for the pre now. ..

defenitly
Old 18th May 2006
  #9
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skopje
Yes I am going to be doing vocals at the same time.

I have a Joe meek VC1 and my neumann TLM 103 which works fantastically on vocals. I need a good preamp and mic to go on the acoustic guitar. I want to do live studio takes of vocals and guitar, to get a good vibe. Kind of in the vein of Nick drake and leonard cohen.

My other mics are an SM58, AKG C3000, and a groove tube GT 57

Stephen
Who knows? Maybe at some point you'll end up using the 414 for vox and the TLM for the guitar. I am not a huge fan of the 103, mainly because I prefer mics which are not transformerless, but again if it works for your voice, great. As a matter of fact, there are a few mics that work great on my voice and they are not the everyday mic. I DO have a great 87, but some days it's not right. Sometimes I end up with my SM7 or my Sony C48 (a great mic if you can find one for $700 or less). And the best mic I've found, and I wish I had one, is an original AKG C414EB -- one of the nickel-body ones. So you never know.

In the meantime, use the C3000 for the acoustic and get a Great River ME-1NV or a Germanium.
Old 18th May 2006
  #10
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Drew. unrelated, sort of
the sm7, i love that mic for my voice as well, how is that paired with the Great river?

havent used ME-1NV myself.

maybee this should go on a different post.
Old 18th May 2006
  #11
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Knastratt's Avatar
 

Going from CAD E-100 to a Brauner Valvet on my Mindprint EnVoice was a step up. Going from EnVoice to the AMEK CIB was a giant leap.

Get a great pre.

/Pär
Old 18th May 2006
  #12
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoiseflower
Drew. unrelated, sort of
the sm7, i love that mic for my voice as well, how is that paired with the Great river?

havent used ME-1NV myself.

maybee this should go on a different post.
I haven't found a mic yet that doesn't like the ME-1NV. I have a vocal chain set up at my home studio right this minute: SM7, ME-1NV, Distressor, RME converter in to Nuendo.

The SM7 and Great River are a good match, because, being a low output mic, the SM7 needs lots of gain. The ME-1NV has no shortage of that!
Old 19th May 2006
  #13
Gear Nut
 
skopje's Avatar
 

VC1

I'm actually still heavily in love with the Joe meek VC1.(We've just had our seventh anniversary!)

Going back to the start of the thread, and what i was originally fishing for. Has anyone ever got a decent preamp that they really rated, only to go to use a mic they loved and knew well, to then find the mic sounding aweful in conjunction with the new preamp. That is what concerns me about getting the preamp first

By the sounds of peoples comments. If you get a decent preamp and are happy with it's tone, it is like building the foundation of a house. If you add different mics the change in how the mic performes will be subtle, but the original character of the mic will still shine through, merely augmented by the tone of the preamp.

I have been looking at getting a good mic for acoustic guitar for some time( I love the sound of early Joni Mitchel) and when i heard the akg 414 UBLS on the listeneing sessions, i was blown away. It was in that kind of ball park

http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/session5.htm

I will try before i buy, as i will with the preamps. But i know some of the mics in this shootout, and think it is fairly acurate

Cheers for all your replies, you're a cool bunch

stephen






Is a mic going to
Quote:
Originally Posted by wimme
If you already have a TLM103 but don't have any good pres yet, I'd go for the pre now. ..

defenitly
Old 19th May 2006
  #14
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espasonico's Avatar
 

I´m a big fan of acoustic guitars and my advice is to get a real good sounding guitar first. I´ve found that a good pre with bad converters doesn´t make a big difference. Also the mic to use depends a lot on the guitar you are using and the type of song you are doing. Even the pick wich is something that cost 0.50€ can make a big difference. But a nice instrument it´s easy to make it sound good with any good mic.
Old 19th May 2006
  #15
Gear Nut
 
skopje's Avatar
 

Tanglewood TW15

I have got two acosutic guitars that i'm happy with. I sold my Martin DM and now have a tanglewood TW15. It has slightly less bass than the martin, but is gorgeous. I also have an old 6 string eko, and a 12 string eko.

Strangely enough, i just got into the whole pick experiment a few months ago. I used to play a lot more rythm, so used a softer pick. I now do more arpeds, and accidently ended up using a freinds really hard pick. I was shocked how the tone changed

stephen

Quote:
Originally Posted by espasonico
I´m a big fan of acoustic guitars and my advice is to get a real good sounding guitar first. I´ve found that a good pre with bad converters doesn´t make a big difference. Also the mic to use depends a lot on the guitar you are using and the type of song you are doing. Even the pick wich is something that cost 0.50€ can make a big difference. But a nice instrument it´s easy to make it sound good with any good mic.
I have got two acosutic guitars that i'm happy with. I sold my Martin DM and now have a tanglewood TW15. It has slightly less bass than the martin, but is gorgeous. I also have an old 6 string eko, and a 12 string eko.

Strangely enough, i just got into the whole pick experiment a few months ago. I used to play a lot more rythm, so used a softer pick. I now do more arpeds, and accidently ended up using a freinds really hard pick. I was shocked how the tone changed

stephen
Old 19th May 2006
  #16
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espasonico's Avatar
 

I would give a try to the 103 on the guitar. If the tracks are gonna be just acoustic guitar I would go for a estereo recording. It makes a big difference. I´ve got a Millennia TD-1 and a Great River ME-1NV wich I recently bought. For acoustic guitars I love the TD-1 and the GR sounds great for vocals. It´s surprising how good it sounds with a Beta58 with the impedance switch turned on.
For LDC I like the KSM44 quite a lot.
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