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Pre-Amp for TLM 102
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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Pre-Amp for TLM 102

I have a Blue bluebird mic as well as a TLM 102. I use them both mostly for rap vocals. So far what I've found is that the 102 is the better mic in most all aspects, but the bluebird gives a slightly better tone with my voice- a little bit brighter, higher. I actually don't have a pre amp for my home studio yet, I've been using the scarlett 2i2, but I'm ready to buy one. I know very little about pres and was hoping for suggestions for one to pair with my 102. Improving the tone a little bit would be nice but really i just need something that'll let me hear my voice louder in monitoring while I'm rapping without turning up the gain to where I'm clipping. 500-1000 price range. Suggestions?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
...but really i just need something that'll let me hear my voice louder in monitoring while I'm rapping without turning up the gain to where I'm clipping. 500-1000 price range. Suggestions?
What's wrong with pushing up the vocal fader in your DAW or Mixcontrol? Solves your problem, and doesn't cost a grand.

If you're clipping, then a preamp isn't going to change that - digital zero is digital zero.

If you've got no headroom left, then turn your backing track down, and your headphones up.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead View Post
What's wrong with pushing up the vocal fader in your DAW or Mixcontrol? Solves your problem, and doesn't cost a grand.

If you're clipping, then a preamp isn't going to change that - digital zero is digital zero.

If you've got no headroom left, then turn your backing track down, and your headphones up.
i use direct monitoring because latency is a problem when I don't, despite fixing my buffer settings as recommended. Looking for something I can buy that will help with that
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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You don't need to buy anything - as I said in my previous post: turn your backing track down and turn your headphones up.

If your current interface can't do low latency (and there's nothing wrong with Focusrite stuff, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to) then you need to look at whether there's an issue with your system or your DAW configuration.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
... I know very little about pres and was hoping for suggestions for one to pair with my 102. Improving the tone a little bit would be nice but really i just need something that'll let me hear my voice louder in monitoring while I'm rapping without turning up the gain to where I'm clipping.....
Oops. Wrong solution. That's to say what you have here is a monitoring level issue which needs to be -independent- of record level.
Go there first with looking into how your setup -and/or Scarlett works if that's going to be the case
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead View Post
You don't need to buy anything - as I said in my previous post: turn your backing track down and turn your headphones up.

If your current interface can't do low latency (and there's nothing wrong with Focusrite stuff, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to) then you need to look at whether there's an issue with your system or your DAW configuration.
I'm not looking to sacrifice gain on the instrumental. I'm looking for a pre amp. Its a problem with my Macbook, not the DAW, I've tried countless combinations of settings in the DAW (Reaper) with no luck. At this point I just want to know if theres any equipment that exists that will increase the level of my voice in my headphones without increasing the actual gain.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Let's treat the gain as a non-issue, because I actually think I can fix it. I'm looking for a pre-amp to give a little more character and quality to my 102. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
I'm not looking to sacrifice gain on the instrumental. I'm looking for a pre amp. Its a problem with my Macbook, not the DAW, I've tried countless combinations of settings in the DAW (Reaper) with no luck. At this point I just want to know if theres any equipment that exists that will increase the level of my voice in my headphones without increasing the actual gain.
... This reads like 1) don't want to pull down the backing tracks mix -at least long enough to go from the recording to the mixing phase,
and 2) perhaps some other option to do backing / live voc mix independent of the DAW or interface? (As in a little stand-alone mixer maybe?

Then there's 'want a nice preamp. Sort of a separate thing really -but if you go there, you could also split an external pre line level out, one to the DAW one to the mixer..

Sometimes it helps to break stuff like this out into bite sized chunks.. :>)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
I'm not looking to sacrifice gain on the instrumental. I'm looking for a pre amp. Its a problem with my Macbook, not the DAW, I've tried countless combinations of settings in the DAW (Reaper) with no luck. At this point I just want to know if theres any equipment that exists that will increase the level of my voice in my headphones without increasing the actual gain.
You're missing the concept of what is being suggested here mate:

You turn down the level of the instrumental in your DAW first (this means that your vocals are then louder, relative to the backing track).

You then turn up the level of your headphones on your Scarlett - meaning that you compensate for the drop in level of the instrumental introduced in the first step, but maintaining the higher relative volume of the vocals.

By doing this, you aren't sacrificing any of the volume of the instrumental, but your vocals will be louder in relation to it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
... This reads like 1) don't want to pull down the backing tracks mix -at least long enough to go from the recording to the mixing phase,
and 2) perhaps some other option to do backing / live voc mix independent of the DAW or interface? (As in a little stand-alone mixer maybe?

Then there's 'want a nice preamp. Sort of a separate thing really -but if you go there, you could also split an external pre line level out, one to the DAW one to the mixer..

Sometimes it helps to break stuff like this out into bite sized chunks.. :>)

Yes, as I've stated clearly, I don't want to sacrifice the gain on the instrumental. Not even for "just long enough to go from recording to mixing". I want to be able to actually hear and feel the instrumental. Vocalists understand.

I also did say if theres a piece of equipment that will allow me to hear my vocals louder without giving up direct monitoring, I'd like to be pointed in that direction, whether it's a a "little stand alone mixer" or something else. If I can't improve the tone and volume with one piece of equipment, sure we can separate it into bite sized chunks. Either way I'm just hoping someone will actually make a recommendation of equipment that will help me out
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead View Post
You're missing the concept of what is being suggested here mate:

You turn down the level of the instrumental in your DAW first (this means that your vocals are then louder, relative to the backing track).

You then turn up the level of your headphones on your Scarlett - meaning that you compensate for the drop in level of the instrumental introduced in the first step, but maintaining the higher relative volume of the vocals.

By doing this, you aren't sacrificing any of the volume of the instrumental, but your vocals will be louder in relation to it.
No, I'm not missing any concept. The headphones are already at maximum volume. Direct monitoring severely lowers the volume on the 2i2. Please stop making silly elementary suggestions in place of what I asked for.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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Cool man - go spend a grand on a pre, let us know how that works out.

Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead View Post
Cool man - go spend a grand on a pre, let us know how that works out.


Lol, the lack of a real response is telling. It'll work out great if it does what I said I need to do. Or if a mixer does the trick then that'll work out too without even having to spend close to that grand
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
Lol, the lack of a real response is telling. It'll work out great if it does what I said I need to do. Or if a mixer does the trick then that'll work out too without even having to spend close to that grand

Lol, the blinkered arrogance is telling.

If your interface can't drive your cans loud enough, buy a headphone amp - or some lower-impedence (and therefore easier-to-drive) headphones.

I do hope this response is real enough to meet the high standards you've come to expect from strangers on the internet.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Head
If you want to spend 500-1000$ get a better audio interface. e.g. RME Babyface Pro or UA Apollo.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Look for something that goes to twelve.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead View Post
Lol, the blinkered arrogance is telling.

If your interface can't drive your cans loud enough, buy a headphone amp - or some lower-impedence (and therefore easier-to-drive) headphones.

I do hope this response is real enough to meet the high standards you've come to expect from strangers on the internet.


Not arrogance, was just hoping someone actually answered the question I was asking. I don't think that standard is too high- Thank you for finally doing so I legitimately appreciate it
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munitone View Post
If you want to spend 500-1000$ get a better audio interface. e.g. RME Babyface Pro or UA Apollo.
Excellent, I will look into these, thank you. Do they have a certain sound tonally or are they mostly flat?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Head
I use my id22 preamps with my tlm 102. Id even say it has character.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
really i just need something that'll let me hear my voice louder in monitoring while I'm rapping without turning up the gain to where I'm clipping.
You also wrote that you don’t want to turn down the gain on the instruments “even for a moment” while recording the vocal.
There is no magical preamp, interface or separate, that will accomplish these goals.

So... what do you want this thread to be about? Is it about how to record a vocal, or is it still about adding a preamp, even though I hope you understand no preamp will accomplish your original goal?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
No, I'm not missing any concept. The headphones are already at maximum volume. Direct monitoring severely lowers the volume on the 2i2. Please stop making silly elementary suggestions in place of what I asked for.
Focusrite ISA sounds very nice with a 102 here. Avalon M5 sounds nicer yet.

Headphone volume problems went away when I followed an oldtimer's advice and picked up a Crown D-75 to drive the CR cans, for around $100.

Well, the low volume probs did. Be careful! You can liquify brains with amps like this.

Vox monitoring is a finiky art. Some days, I can hear me just fine. Other days, I need a 31 band EQ on me, and a stereo 31 on the program material too, both ONLY on my cans, not in the recording chain.

Whatever it takes.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
You also wrote that you don’t want to turn down the gain on the instruments “even for a moment” while recording the vocal.
There is no magical preamp, interface or separate, that will accomplish these goals.

So... what do you want this thread to be about? Is it about how to record a vocal, or is it still about adding a preamp, even though I hope you understand no preamp will accomplish your original goal?

Turning my gain down when direct monitoring already makes it sound too low doesn't work. I don't understand how you're unable to comprehend something so simple. I asked for "any equipment" that will accomplish my task, and now someone has provided me with an amp that will do so. Either you were more focused on showing me up (which now you've also failed to do) to be helpful or I guess your knowledge just didn't reach that far.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 View Post
Focusrite ISA sounds very nice with a 102 here. Avalon M5 sounds nicer yet.

Headphone volume problems went away when I followed an oldtimer's advice and picked up a Crown D-75 to drive the CR cans, for around $100.

Well, the low volume probs did. Be careful! You can liquify brains with amps like this.

Vox monitoring is a finiky art. Some days, I can hear me just fine. Other days, I need a 31 band EQ on me, and a stereo 31 on the program material too, both ONLY on my cans, not in the recording chain.

Whatever it takes.

A solution to the monitoring problem AND imput on what kind of pre-amp sounds good with my 102. THIS is the kind of answer I was looking for. Thank you, will look into both pre-amps as well as the Crown.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOmni View Post
Turning my gain down when direct monitoring already makes it sound too low doesn't work. I don't understand how you're unable to comprehend something so simple. I asked for "any equipment" that will accomplish my task, and now someone has provided me with an amp that will do so. Either you were more focused on showing me up (which now you've also failed to do) to be helpful or I guess your knowledge just didn't reach that far.
Comprehension is important. You don’t seem to comprehend that people are not telling you to turn everything down, they are telling you to leave the vocal at the maximum non-distorted level, turn the instruments down, and then turn the overall level of the monitor way up. The instrumental/track stuff would end up being as loud as it originally was in the cans and your vocal can be as loud as you care to make it.
I do comprehend that you are now buying a piece of equipment you did not ever need to solve your stated problems. Congratulations on your purchase.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
For simply increasing the level in your headphones try this: Behringer HA400 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier. $30 shipped on Reverb. I've used this when I want more headphone volume than my RME can provide. Balanced 1/4" cable from the interface headphone jack to the unit. More than enough volume.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Addict
I think the RME Babyface has a ToNNe of headphone amp gain, great monitoring features (reverb!) and very clean preamps. This is based on my experience of the UFX+ (big version!)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Comprehension is important. You don’t seem to comprehend that people are not telling you to turn everything down, they are telling you to leave the vocal at the maximum non-distorted level, turn the instruments down, and then turn the overall level of the monitor way up. The instrumental/track stuff would end up being as loud as it originally was in the cans and your vocal can be as loud as you care to make it.
I do comprehend that you are now buying a piece of equipment you did not ever need to solve your stated problems. Congratulations on your purchase.
He does understand what you and others are saying here.

He can't use that info because the can amp in the interface is clipping.

He probably shouldn't have used the term gain, which, tho technically correct, tends to steer Low End Theorists towards Input Trim, especially in threads about preamps and miked vox.

He needs a headphone amp. Probably to drown out direct vibrations thru skull and soft tissue. Different structures resonate at different frequencies, and vocal cords generate harmonically rich signals, not sine waves.

I have seen vocalists who could NOT pitch correctly, identify and cringe from a guitar string 1 cent out of tune.

I believe resonant cavities in the skull mislead these people into thinking they are on pitch, when the externally audible portion of their vocals is not.

I think these people can benefit greatly from higher SPL monitoring, careful equalization of program material and their vocal signal in cans, and vocal training,... open throat, resonance, mic technique.

I am one of these people.

I also recognized the ambiguities in the OP, and chose to resolve them before allowing my own self esteem into the communications difficulty equation.

Key element. There will always be comms difficulties. And once feathers get ruffled... comms improvement possibilities are done.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 View Post
He can't use that info because the can amp in the interface is clipping.
From his early posts, I thought he was saying that the mic preamp couldn’t be turned up enough to be heard against the track without the PREAMP clipping. Maybe there was some conflation of the terms “preamp” and “interface”.
Remember that he started by looking for a preamp that would get loud enough to hear without clipping.

Has he clearly stated that the interface headphone amp is clipping? If so, you are correct in saying that my advice is not useable. But that isn’t consistent with his early posts I responded to.
I have no quarrel with the OP buying a headphone amp or external mixer as a solution, IF the problem is insufficient clean headphone amp gain.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Comprehension is important. You don’t seem to comprehend that people are not telling you to turn everything down, they are telling you to leave the vocal at the maximum non-distorted level, turn the instruments down, and then turn the overall level of the monitor way up. The instrumental/track stuff would end up being as loud as it originally was in the cans and your vocal can be as loud as you care to make it.
I do comprehend that you are now buying a piece of equipment you did not ever need to solve your stated problems. Congratulations on your purchase.

Oh man you are dumb. Yes, I was well aware they were telling me to turn the instruments down. I needed to hear the instrumental as loud as it was. I have direct monitoring, which turns the instruments down already just by being on. Turning the monitoring up on my interface would NOT get the instrumental back up. Seriously, think before you type next time.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 View Post
He does understand what you and others are saying here.

He can't use that info because the can amp in the interface is clipping.

He probably shouldn't have used the term gain, which, tho technically correct, tends to steer Low End Theorists towards Input Trim, especially in threads about preamps and miked vox.

He needs a headphone amp. Probably to drown out direct vibrations thru skull and soft tissue. Different structures resonate at different frequencies, and vocal cords generate harmonically rich signals, not sine waves.

I have seen vocalists who could NOT pitch correctly, identify and cringe from a guitar string 1 cent out of tune.

I believe resonant cavities in the skull mislead these people into thinking they are on pitch, when the externally audible portion of their vocals is not.

I think these people can benefit greatly from higher SPL monitoring, careful equalization of program material and their vocal signal in cans, and vocal training,... open throat, resonance, mic technique.



I am one of these people.

I also recognized the ambiguities in the OP, and chose to resolve them before allowing my own self esteem into the communications difficulty equation.

Key element. There will always be comms difficulties. And once feathers get ruffled... comms improvement possibilities are done.

Well said.
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