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Another mic or a preamp? Condenser Microphones
Old 9th May 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Another mic or a preamp?

If you had 600 dollars to spend on something to upgrade your SM57+cheap interface setup, what would you buy? Another mic or a preamp? Or maybe something else?

I'm looking for "warm", fuller-sounding vocals and acoustic guitar... I've been listening to many preamp demos (ISA one, WA12, UA solo/610) and I'm liking what I hear, but I know how important great mics are... So... What do you guys think?

P.S.: In the case of a new mic, would a condenser be a good choice for a home studio, considering I don't really have any 100% noise-free rooms in my house?
Old 9th May 2018
  #2
Gear Maniac
Get a mic, get a mic, get a mic. Look at LDCs or Ribbon mics in the 500-700 range. Or get a 300-400 mic, and a decent interface.
Old 9th May 2018
  #3

You could get a PR-30 and an e100s for about $600....



-tINY

Old 10th May 2018
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Do you have treatment panels do wonders I got 9, 3.5in ocfrk boards for 170 still leaving you with a good amount of doe to get a different mic especially if it is second hand...
Old 11th May 2018
  #5
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thanks, guys!
Old 12th May 2018
  #6
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kafka's Avatar
Your SM57 will thank you for putting it through a good preamp. You can get a used Daking Mic Pre One for well under $600. Or a new one for $650.
Old 12th May 2018
  #7
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I would get a decent ribbon and decent condenser. Line Audio CM3 and a BIV ribbon are both cost effective. save the rest of the cash for later when you can upgrade the interface.

Having at least one moving coil, ribbon and condenser opens up your options to capture.
Old 12th May 2018
  #8
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
If you had 600 dollars to spend on something to upgrade your SM57+cheap interface setup, what would you buy? Another mic or a preamp? Or maybe something else?
Many great songs have been recorded with a $99 SM57 microhpne. also, all interfaces these days ($99 to $9999) can give you professional sounding tracks.

So if you are not happy with your sound, its your techniques and/or your room that is the problem.
Old 14th May 2018
  #9
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Also a buffer Amp like Fethead or Cathedral Pipes can work wonder on dynamical mich like SM57. Cathedral Pipes is less than 70$, Fethead 90$.
Old 14th May 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbm123 View Post
If you had 600 dollars to spend on something to upgrade your SM57+cheap interface setup, what would you buy? Another mic or a preamp? Or maybe something else?
I would go with a Tascam 4x4 Audio Interface. $199.00. Plenty of very clean gain as well as four inputs.

Quote:
P.S.: In the case of a new mic, would a condenser be a good choice for a home studio, considering I don't really have any 100% noise-free rooms in my house?
In your situation, stay away from condensers. I see this all the time with home recordings. People think their recording environment is not that bad, yet they use a mic designed to pick up a dog barking 3 blocks away. Since you already know what your room sounds like, go dynamic.
Old 14th May 2018
  #11
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Strick9's Avatar
I would get one decent LDC and spend the rest on room treatment. I've heard plenty of decent recordings with a good LDC and a cheap interface. There's lots of nice, affordable mics these days from 3U (CM-1s and Warblers), iSK (Starlight and 2B Beauty), and I even think the Behringer B-2 Pro sounds pretty good for being $150.

If you live in the US, Home Depot has Roxul Safe N Sound on sale for $15. You can easily diy some panels and bass traps. Build some frames out of 1x4's or 1x6's, and Home Depot can cut them for you in the store. ATS Acoustics has very affordable fabric that is their own ATS brand.

You can go a long way towards making good recordings with your budget.
Old 14th May 2018
  #12
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

In order of priority:
1. Microphone
1. Acoustic Treatment
3. Preamp

-Mike
Old 14th May 2018
  #13
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I'd definitely go for a better mic first. In this regard, I think it's worth perusing Michael Joly's useful little essay entitled "Why Microphones Are More Important Than Preamps" Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly

Joly (Oktavamod) offers a variety of upgraded (modded) LDCs, SDCs and ribbon mics within your price range that would give you the best bang for the buck imho. I've got a set of his modded Oktava-012 SDCs that I use all the time.
Old 15th May 2018
  #14
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rafferty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbm123 View Post
If you had 600 dollars to spend on something to upgrade your SM57+cheap interface setup, what would you buy? Another mic or a preamp? Or maybe something else?
What interface do you own? If you have a decent interface you could go with a preamp/mic combo at 600 bucks. You could get one of these:

-AKG c214
- Warm audio w47jr
- Audio technica 4040
-Lauten Audio LA220



Pair one of those with a golden age pre 73jr and you’ll get a great sounding mic and a nice and warm preamp. If you go with the Lauten and golden age pre at aprox 250 bucks a piece, you will still have $100 to start treating your room.
Old 15th May 2018
  #15
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
the microphone is the front end, and must be considered dominant.

pre amps, and compressors will effect the sound collected at the front end ,but are secondary considerations.

upgrade the microphone first.

Buddha
Attached Thumbnails
Another mic or a preamp?-control-room-1.jpg  
Old 15th May 2018
  #16
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Obvious Question : What Interface / preamps are you using at the moment ?
Old 16th May 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmorris View Post
Obvious Question : What Interface / preamps are you using at the moment ?
And what are you doing with it? Archiving your work, producing demos, trying to produce a CD? Or produce film music, or music for a YouTube movie?
Very different tasks requiring different levels of sophistication.
Old 16th May 2018
  #18
In my low-end world, $600 would buy one of each. Not necessarily brand new.
Old 16th May 2018
  #19
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Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
And what are you doing with it? Archiving your work, producing demos, trying to produce a CD? Or produce film music, or music for a YouTube movie?
Very different tasks requiring different levels of sophistication.
In his original post, he stated:

Quote:
I'm looking for "warm", fuller-sounding vocals and acoustic guitar...
He also stated:

Quote:
P.S.: In the case of a new mic, would a condenser be a good choice for a home studio, considering I don't really have any 100% noise-free rooms in my house?
That is why I advised not getting a high dollar condenser mic. Since he has not said what noises he has in the quietest room, it is impossible to even tell if a condenser mic would do the job or not. Many people in his situation would use a walk in closet for example and get great results using a LDC or a MDC.

He just needs a little more power for his sm57. They take around 59dbs and need to be close mic'ed. Since he stated he had a cheap pre-amp, it may not produce what is needed to power the sm57.
Old 16th May 2018
  #20
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rojaros's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana_T. View Post
In his original post, he stated:



He also stated:



That is why I advised not getting a high dollar condenser mic. Since he has not said what noises he has in the quietest room, it is impossible to even tell if a condenser mic would do the job or not. Many people in his situation would use a walk in closet for example and get great results using a LDC or a MDC.

He just needs a little more power for his sm57. They take around 59dbs and need to be close mic'ed. Since he stated he had a cheap pre-amp, it may not produce what is needed to power the sm57.
Well, maybe the OP can state his aims more clearly in terms of usage. If it's only about clean gain, I'd strongly advise to use Fethead, Cathedral Pipes or Cloudlifter, whatever is available. It avails the SM57 with unknown power and clarity.

Last edited by rojaros; 16th May 2018 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: Misspelling
Old 16th May 2018
  #21
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Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
Well, maybe the OP can state his aims more clearly in terms of usage. If it's only about clean gain, I'd strongly advise to use Fethead, Chur Pipes or Cloudlifter, whatever is available. It avails the SM57 with unknown power and clarity.
I agree with you 100%. I often use my sm57 for narration over my sm7b. I just love the way it sounds. I also have 75dbs of gain I can apply with very little added to my noise floor. I am familiar with fethead and CL. I googled chur pipes and found nothing. If it is a simple gain booster, it should do the trick as well.
Old 16th May 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana_T. View Post
I agree with you 100%. I often use my sm57 for narration over my sm7b. I just love the way it sounds. I also have 75dbs of gain I can apply with very little added to my noise floor. I am familiar with fethead and CL. I googled chur pipes and found nothing. If it is a simple gain booster, it should do the trick as well.
Sorry, I have sent you on a wrong track, it's Cathedral Pipes:

The Durham Ribbon/Dynamic Mic Buffer Amp - $65.00 : Cathedral Pipes Microphones

It costs less than a half of cloudlifter and is at least as good IMHO. For a comparison of these three look also here:

Ribbon Mic Buffer Preamps Comparison

(Bear in mind that the comparison is executed on Samar VL37, a relativly speaking very quiet ribbon mic in first place).
Old 16th May 2018
  #23
JAT
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The OP stated he wanted a "warmer" sound. That to me sez transformers, and you tend to get the most warmth from transformer pres, not mics. But it seems to me the OP is going to need upgrades in both areas. If he thinks he'll stick w/ recording and will buy more hardware later, a nice, transformered pre would be the quickest and slickest solution. The ISA One is great, as is the Warm. Both about $400. The Warm is thicker, the Focusrite a bit lighter. I haven't used the Golden Age, etc., so no comment. But both of those will, if I understand you correctly, give you a really nice sound just from a 57. Not detailed like a condenser, but great for R&R. Then get a mic next month, or year.

For mics and the sub $600 market, the Warm WA-14 is a good contender. Even their 47jr. is nice, tho the 14 would be much thicker - plenty of low end tho the top is sweet.

Another route would be an interface like the Audient or Tascam uh-7000. "premium" interfaces w/ really nice pres and conversion. The pres in the TASCAM are simple brilliant (haven't used the Audient). Quite capable of pro level recording, even w/ a 57.
Old 16th May 2018
  #24
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Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
Sorry, I have sent you on a wrong track, it's Cathedral Pipes:

The Durham Ribbon/Dynamic Mic Buffer Amp - $65.00 : Cathedral Pipes Microphones
Thank you for the link! It looks very IMPRESSIVE. I may just have to order one so I can see how it compares with the others I use. I am all about the money, not the name. Thanks again!!!!
Old 16th May 2018
  #25
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A lot of good suggestions above. I'd suggest going with a nice two channel preamp such as a Daking or DAV, depending on your preferences. The used market is probably pretty accessible even for quality units such as these. This would allow you to maximize the sound you have from the SM57 and to forget about the preamps as you inevitably experiment to find your preferred sounds from mics.

You could also try a Sound Devices MixPre, which woud give you a bunch of good micpres and a lot more.

(None of these are "low-end" but may fit the indicated budget)
Old 16th May 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana_T. View Post
Thank you for the link! It looks very IMPRESSIVE. I may just have to order one so I can see how it compares with the others I use. I am all about the money, not the name. Thanks again!!!!
Quite right; I think they outperform Cloudlifters at almost 1/3 of the price...
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