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Mic Preamps, Are They Really Needed?
Old 2 days ago
  #31
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumblepig View Post
I say this as someone who, despite decades of experience making records, only bought his first mic preamp months ago. I picked up a CL 7602 and can't live without it now.
Same. I've had an RNP for a long time, other than that the MOTU pres on my interface. Used them happily for a few years when I got into home recording.

Built some pres based on an API312 a while back, just for a project. I like to build stuff when I get bored. Now I can't imagine recording guitars without them. I just seem to like the sound better than the current pres in my interface, and even if it's all in my head I don't care. I try them first. They're uncolored unless you drive the piss out of them, too, and work really well with a well modified tube mic I use for vocals.

Read good things about the 7602s. Hope to hear them in person some day.
Old 2 days ago
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose22 View Post
Same. I've had an RNP for a long time, other than that the MOTU pres on my interface. Used them happily for a few years when I got into home recording.

Built some pres based on an API312 a while back, just for a project. I like to build stuff when I get bored. Now I can't imagine recording guitars without them. I just seem to like the sound better than the current pres in my interface, and even if it's all in my head I don't care. I try them first. They're uncolored unless you drive the piss out of them, too, and work really well with a well modified tube mic I use for vocals.

Read good things about the 7602s. Hope to hear them in person some day.
I've been recording at home since I was a teen, but anytime I'm in a studio, I'm always happy to let engineers get on with it. I care about which mic to use, but I've only barely/rarely asked about signal chain beyond that. Picking up the 7602 for home use has opened up the head inside my ears, certainly. Subsequently, I grabbed the CL 7802 compressor, but haven't had as much instant luck with that. I'm certain that's on me, not the machine.
Old 1 day ago
  #33
Gear Maniac
 
weave's Avatar
Another vote for a FMR RNP - it’s really nice! I also got a few of its siblings and they pair up, well, really nicely.

Old 1 day ago
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Yeah a really common vintage vocal mic - not.
they're not common but they're flat and it proves my original point, it doesn't matter how rare it is, neumann got it right with the km84.
Old 1 day ago
  #35
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SingerSongWriter View Post
Because a plug in can do the same thing but with more control.
No plug in could generate +48V phantom voltage in order to supply a condenser mic. A tube mic would come with an accompanying supply ...
Old 1 day ago
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
SM7 and Soyuz Launcher.
(drops mic)

Chris
If you are gonna drop the mic I would recommend the SM58 over the SM7 as it's more likely to survive the drop and if it doesn't you are only out $100 rather than $350.
Old 1 day ago
  #37
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SingerSongWriter View Post
Because a plug in can do the same thing but with more control.
Are you not understanding that there is no plugin for 48v phantom power and that any mic needs proper loading and analog gain to work properly or did you just come here to troll all the nice people trying to help you out???
Old 1 day ago
  #38
Lives for gear
 
nightchef's Avatar
 

1) Yes, mic preamps are really needed--and if you're recording successfully through a microphone, then you already have (at least) one.
2) External mic preamps may or may not be needed. Try recording as you are now and mixing with plugins. If you are satisfied with the results, then congratulations! You have everything you need. If not, then there may be a number of improvements you could make, including but not limited to:

-- room acoustics
-- microphones
-- microphone placement/technique
-- source (voice warmed up? guitar in tune? old strings?)
-- A/D conversion (this is unlikely to be a significant issue if your interface is fairly recent; even the budget interfaces have respectable converters these days)
-- mic preamp

I would experiment with the items on the list that don't require spending any money before you resort to the ones that do. (But you may have already done a lot of that.)

As for the question about mics, here's a visual analogy for why people generally prefer to record with a less accurate "character" mic than record with a flat mic and then add character in the box.

Here's the Mona Lisa as captured by a flat measurement mic:



Here's the Mona Lisa as captured by a cheap, peaky "character" mic:



And here's the Mona Lisa through a quality "character" mic:



Not quite the real thing, but close -- and beautiful. Note that the first one is in some ways a more accurate representation of the original than the third--but not necessarily preferable on that basis.
Old 1 day ago
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast View Post
If you are gonna drop the mic I would recommend the SM58 over the SM7 as it's more likely to survive the drop and if it doesn't you are only out $100 rather than $350.


Great posts too Nightchef!
The middle painting was during Mona's more LSD/Hippie years.
Chris
Old 1 day ago
  #40
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
SM7 and Soyuz Launcher.
(drops mic)

Chris
The mic drop is probably a risky gesture on this forum.
Your SM7 would probably survive, especially if you use that fat extra windscreen they provide.
If you mic drop an 87 or a 44, I’m voting to drum you out of here (after a long thread about which drums we should use).
Old 1 day ago
  #41
Lives for gear
 

Those windscreens prefer to be called "Plus Size Models" now, I'll have you know!
Chris
Old 1 day ago
  #42
The Billie E and Finneas used UA Apollo 8 preamps on the interface and hit a home run with a $80 mic, took home Grammys.
Reminds me of Louie, Louie (we gotta go) being recorded with low-end gear, but the song and production and "timing" hits, all is well....

Great post by nightchef! the beauty of the art and what sells is really into the great wide open. Duplicating classics might require mimic/cloning gear while oriiginal unknown territory might require something that avoids the "classics" gear.
Old 1 day ago
  #43
Lives for gear
Fortunately, nothing reminds me of “Louie, Louie”. Nothing ever has.
Old 1 day ago
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
A modeling mic or a measurement mic will give you flat, uncolored pickup. Some of them are inexpensive, and none of them are “vintage tube LDC” expensive. So, sure, go ahead and record everything with those mics and trust that EQ will deliver everything you need to make competitive mixes.

Don’t stop to wonder why no one is already making hits that way. Or why no one has ever made hits that way.
Maybe no one else has ever been as smart as you. Maybe no one in recording history has thought of this or tried it.
Let’s all just move out of your way and be prepared to say we were on Gearslutz the day the future of recording changed forever!
Looking forward to it!
One of the problems today especially when it comes to songs most of them are lame. A good song shouldn't need much treatment. A good song can stand on its own. Terrestrial radio isn't playing new music because most of it suck and people will change the station.

I've done both digital and film photography and IMO digital is better for the most part. The digital darkroom is capable of doing nearly everything the analog dark room is and doing it better although some of the nuance may be lost. I wonder what George Martin, Tony Visconti and the Motown wizards would have produced if they had the tools of today back then. They had a couple things that producers don't have today and those are good writers writing great content and good performers. A pig is still a pig no matter how much lipstick you slap on it.

We listen to music differently than we did even 20 years ago. Ear buds, even high end ones, are just damn awful but so is most new music.

Both analog and digital have their strengths and weaknesses but since nobody is writing anything descent there it is hard to fairly judge which medium is better over all.

I would like to hear a mic shootout of a PZM vs a high priced mic on a vocal track recording the performance simultaneously. I'd like to hear the tracks dry, then EQ only and then with complete vocal processing by a good engineer.

Which track would sound best an why?

Why is a vintage mic that was used in an analog world suitable in the unforgiving digital realm?
Old 1 day ago
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
1) Yes, mic preamps are really needed--and if you're recording successfully through a microphone, then you already have (at least) one.
2) External mic preamps may or may not be needed. Try recording as you are now and mixing with plugins. If you are satisfied with the results, then congratulations! You have everything you need. If not, then there may be a number of improvements you could make, including but not limited to:

-- room acoustics
-- microphones
-- microphone placement/technique
-- source (voice warmed up? guitar in tune? old strings?)
-- A/D conversion (this is unlikely to be a significant issue if your interface is fairly recent; even the budget interfaces have respectable converters these days)
-- mic preamp

I would experiment with the items on the list that don't require spending any money before you resort to the ones that do. (But you may have already done a lot of that.)

As for the question about mics, here's a visual analogy for why people generally prefer to record with a less accurate "character" mic than record with a flat mic and then add character in the box.

Here's the Mona Lisa as captured by a flat measurement mic:



Here's the Mona Lisa as captured by a cheap, peaky "character" mic:



And here's the Mona Lisa through a quality "character" mic:



Not quite the real thing, but close -- and beautiful. Note that the first one is in some ways a more accurate representation of the original than the third--but not necessarily preferable on that basis.
Interesting post but perhaps a apple vs oranges and a bit of false premise. Mona 2 looks like she was a victim of a photoshoppe filter.

When Mona was painted da Vinci did a value plan and probably painted it in black and white. He then chose the colors he put on the canvas. His brushes didn't pick the colors. Back then painters sometimes made their own paint. There was no filter. The beauty and intrigue of the Mona Lisa my have as much to do with Mona as Leonardo da Vinci.

Any edits da Vinci did were done solely by him. His sketches and black and white value plans probably were very accurate.

I don't think any popular music recorded in the past 20 years even has the soul, beauty, artistry, majesty and emotion of a Leroy Nieman print let alone The Mona Lisa. Music today is lame, most of it. It's to lame for radio.
Old 1 day ago
  #46
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SingerSongWriter View Post

when it comes to songs most of them are lame.

Terrestrial radio isn't playing new music

I would like to hear a mic shootout of a PZM vs a high priced mic on a vocal track recording the performance simultaneously.

Why is a vintage mic that was used in an analog world suitable in the unforgiving digital realm?
1. It is very rude to comment on physical handicaps.
2. New music mostly shows up on extra-terrestrial radio in this decade.
3. I didn’t know we could request shootouts. I’d like to see Hamilton vs Burr.
4. You put “unforgiving” in front of the wrong word. Tape and vinyl are unforgiving. And expensive.
Old 1 day ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Fortunately, nothing reminds me of “Louie, Louie”. Nothing ever has.
Louie Louie was not contrived. I wasn't obsessed over and they had fun making it. It was fresh and it was a song people liked instantly. It didn't matter all that much how it was recorded or mixed.

If you want to hear a crappy recording of a great song check out Vanilla Fudge's Keep me hangin on. It's saving grace was it was a great song performed well and even the engineers could wreck it.

It wasn't covered by multiple artists because it was recorded well. The Supremes had a hit with it an so did Kim Wilde. The recording that Vanilla Fudge released as a single sounded like Helen Keller mixed it and the album version was even worse but it didn't matter. The Supremes covered it and the recording was much better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3bjMtqpGBw

The best it sounded was when Vanilla Fudge did it was when the did it on the Ed Sullivan show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cft60HYb7Fs

Maybe, just maybe, more energy needs to go into writing good music?

I did the vocals on this one with or without a preamp? https://soundcloud.com/user-316831637/kq-lament-2020

Can anyone tell if the vocal mic is a condenser, dynamic, ribbon, PZM?

What mics were used on the bass and guitar amp?

How were the drums miced up?

The point is. I was around during the days of film cameras and lenses and unless you were doing technical photography equipment had little to do with it. I used Nikons for practical reasons and shot Kodak film out of practicality and a slight preference. Had I used overly priced finicky Leica gear my photos would not have been any better even though the lenses were slightly sharper when enlarged 20 times it didn't matter because the difference could not be seen.
Old 1 day ago
  #48
i was just reading the FBI files on the Louie Louie song and lyrics....it was deemed not obscene per the copyright lyrics, but some people heard vulgarity apparently.
Interesting read. .. not to be off topic... excuse.
Old 20 hours ago
  #49
Lives for gear
 
nightchef's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SingerSongWriter View Post
Interesting post but perhaps a apple vs oranges and a bit of false premise. Mona 2 looks like she was a victim of a photoshoppe filter.

When Mona was painted da Vinci did a value plan and probably painted it in black and white. He then chose the colors he put on the canvas. His brushes didn't pick the colors. Back then painters sometimes made their own paint. There was no filter. The beauty and intrigue of the Mona Lisa my have as much to do with Mona as Leonardo da Vinci.
You're taking that analogy way more literally and historically than I meant it.

Quote:
I don't think any popular music recorded in the past 20 years even has the soul, beauty, artistry, majesty and emotion of a Leroy Nieman print let alone The Mona Lisa. Music today is lame, most of it. It's to lame for radio.
I think this a huge overgeneralization. There's a lot of good music out there. Some of it is pretty high-profile, some of it you have to dig for. As always.

I'm also a bit puzzled as to why you are making the point that most contemporary music is "lame" compared to the music of previous generations in the context of an argument for adopting the methods used to produce (some of) the former in preference to those used to produce the latter.

FWIW, even to the extent that you're right about contemporary music, I think the reasons have little to do with signal chains. I mean, I would listen to Regina Spektor's Remember Us to Life with a great deal of pleasure if it had been recorded with a laptop mic. The superb sound quality certainly adds to the pleasure, but it's icing; the cake is brilliant songs breathtakingly performed.
Old 19 hours ago
  #50
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SingerSongWriter View Post

check out Vanilla Fudge's Keep me hangin on.

The Supremes had a hit with it an so did Kim Wilde. The Supremes covered it and the recording was much better.
You are consistently writing beyond your actual knowledge.
“You Keep Me Hanging On” is not Vanilla Fudge’s song as writers or first performers. The Supremes did not cover it. They had the original hit with it.

Your M.O. is interesting. You show up in Low End Theory and write at length as if you are an expert in audio. Emphasis on the “as if”.
Old 15 hours ago
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Clearly a phantom power issue!
Chris
Old 15 hours ago
  #52
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
You are consistently writing beyond your actual knowledge.

Your M.O. is interesting. You show up in Low End Theory and write at length as if you are an expert in audio. Emphasis on the “as if”.
Most want to actually offer knowledge, learn things and share the enjoyment of sound and recording together, while others just enjoy leading us on with BS and ****ing with people.

Interesting is a rather kind description.
Old 13 hours ago
  #53
I'm sharing this so anyone in the low end may possibly save money in the long run.

I went through a ton of preamps comparing: from API/Neve/Blue Robbie/UA110/610/Avalon M5/737/Great River/ISA 110/Presounus ADL/Grace and many others I can't even remember. Honestly, they all pretty much sound the same! Using a bit of EQ or simply moving your microphone 1/2" will be a much more drastic change to the sound. Simply running microphones straight into a Lynx Hilo (or any decent converter) sounded the same if not better than any preamp (you may need an external phantom power box) You might have to turn the volume up on each track but once level matched they usually sound fine and they have no more noise than going through the preamp - I tried with Dynamic and Ribbon and Condenser mics ... oddly the Ribbons sounded best or at least the same - straight into the Hilo when I thought those would be the ones that needed the preamp!

Comparing preamps: I suggest using a Y cable ... yes, the impedance may not be the same as one mic/preamp but at least you're getting the same exact signal into each preamp for a better comparison. Make sure levels are matched exactly. I've fooled myself before thinking a certain preamp is better simply because I didn't match levels or record the exact same thing.

Another thing to take into consideration:
Most preamps built into interfaces have the same preamp!!!!!

ALL UA Apollo X & MOTU 828ES and RME MICSTAY, PRISM Orpheus and many others all use PGA2500 mic preamps!
Otherwise, THAT 1580 preamps are used in Grace M108/Lynx Aurora(n)/AXR4/ RME UFX+

The specs on the built-in preamps actually spec better than most regular preamps anyways. Yes, Cranborne and Millennia may have some quite clean preamps but they spec out pretty close to these preamps anyways.


Most interfaces have the same converter chips too:
MERGING ANUBIS: 5578AD/ES9026DA
Motu 828ES: AK5574/ES9016 (The 828ES AD is just the 4CH version of the AK5578 of the Apollo)
Motu M4: AK5554/ES9016S (Not as good of AD as 828ES ... preamp is the new THAT 6263)
Apollo X: AK5578/ES9016
Antelope Amari: AK5578/CS43198 (This uses multiple chips to make DR better - but as downside makes certain noise specs higher)
Presonus Quantum: AK5574/AK4413


*Also be aware that product specs on manufacturers site don't tell the entire picture unless they say what gain setting it was at! The measurements are WAY different at 10dB gain vs 30dB or 60dB! So unless they tell you what gain setting they used for the measurements it's pretty much worthless.



Mics (or speakers) on the other hand: That's where money would be better spent! You can easily tell the difference between mics: Definitely between speakers.

If you have poor monitoring - how do you know what really sounds 'best'?
Old 10 hours ago
  #54
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm5 View Post
I'm sharing this so anyone in the low end may possibly save money in the long run.
I went through a ton of preamps. Honestly, they all pretty much sound the same!
Read the whole post. Well worth the time. There should be a quiz at the end for college credit!
Old 10 hours ago
  #55
Lives for gear
 

To earn a THD!
Chris
Old 9 hours ago
  #56
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
To earn a THD!
Chris
I used to say that puns are an early warning sign of cancer.
One of my favorite lies!
Old 9 hours ago
  #57
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm5 View Post
I went through a ton of preamps comparing: from API/Neve/Blue Robbie/UA110/610/Avalon M5/737/Great River/ISA 110/Presounus ADL/Grace and many others I can't even remember. Honestly, they all pretty much sound the same! Using a bit of EQ or simply moving your microphone 1/2" will be a much more drastic change to the sound.

That's pretty much the same conclusion I've come to - as long as your pre has enough clean gain for the application it'll do a good job. I do have a few pre - they do sound slightly different - "better" I would argue is subjective. Of course people who have spent £2K+ on a pre expect (and probably hear) "difference = better". The biggest difference to me is if you want to do something that overdrives the pre and different pres do behave in very different ways - but for clean gain - ie your usual vocal mic application - meh!
Old 9 hours ago
  #58
Lives for gear
 

Taurus here.
Born same day as Pete Townshend.
The kids (born then) are all right!
Chris
Old 8 hours ago
  #59
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Taurus here.
Born same day as Pete Townshend.
The kids (born then) are all right!
Chris
Cracking song!
Old 8 hours ago
  #60
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Part of my daily vocal exercise, is always part of their incredible song catalog. Same for The Kinks. Chris
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