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vocal chain upgrade for a smallish vocal booth
Old 13th July 2009
  #1
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vocal chain upgrade for a smallish vocal booth

Hello Guys

I plan to construct a studio in my house, which will predominantly be used for recording vocals, so I am looking to upgrade my vocal chain. vocals will mostly be OD for pop/rock/ballads. keeping in mind I need to use PT.

currently
414B-uls --> Art Pro Channel --> Mbox2

the vocal booth will be around 11x6x8 when finished. I am looking to purchase a SM7b and will be looking to pick up a used dbx160 shortly after.

Any suggestions for other upgrades or headsup on issues regarding the sm7b or 160 would be appreciated!

Thanks!!!
snuf

edit: it seems now conversion is one of the things I need to upgrade, so looking at the option of a sparrow going into the mbox; or just getting another PT interface (maudio 2626?)

Last edited by snufkyn; 14th July 2009 at 09:00 PM.. Reason: more details
Old 13th July 2009
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by snufkyn View Post
Hello Guys

I plan to construct a studio in my house, which will predominantly be used for recording vocals, so I am looking to upgrade my vocal chain.

currently
414B-uls --> Art Pro Channel --> daw

the vocal booth will be around 11x6 when finished. I am looking to purchase a SM7b and will be looking to pick up a used dbx160 shortly after.

Any suggestions for other upgrades or headsup on issues regarding the sm7b or 160 would be appreciated!

Thanks!!!
snuf
Well what kind of audio interface/converters are you using? That would be my first question. I'd say depending on that, I can't be positive. The 414 and sm7 are a good starter for mics. I'd probably upgrade my preamp. What kind of money were you talking about spending?
Old 14th July 2009
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFFG View Post
Well what kind of audio interface/converters are you using? That would be my first question. I'd say depending on that, I can't be positive. The 414 and sm7 are a good starter for mics. I'd probably upgrade my preamp. What kind of money were you talking about spending?
Thanks Mike,

-currently I am using a mbox2 as my interface
-regarding the preamp, I am saving for something in the range of a 737, unless there is something in the sub-$1000 range (used or new) that I can use regularly for the next few years
-I am looking to spend around $1000 on top of the sm7b and the dbx, so my budget would be about $1700.

Forgot to mention in the first post: music style will mostly be pop/rock/ballads
Old 14th July 2009
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by snufkyn View Post
Thanks Mike,

-currently I am using a mbox2 as my interface
-regarding the preamp, I am saving for something in the range of a 737, unless there is something in the sub-$1000 range (used or new) that I can use regularly for the next few years
-I am looking to spend around $1000 on top of the sm7b and the dbx, so my budget would be about $1700.

Forgot to mention in the first post: music style will mostly be pop/rock/ballads
Maybe i'm thinking of something else, but isnt the 737 by avalon like 2 grand? There are a bunch of good preamps for under a grand...If you really want the 'channel strip' type preamp with eq and compression, you could go with something like the SSL Xlogic Alpha Channel because it also has digital outs and so you wouldn't need to use the Mboxes converters...however...

Your interface is probably still the weakest link I'd say. The clock/converters on the mbox 2 are not great...There aren't a LOT of great low-priced interfaces for Pro Tools if thats what your using your mbox with...if not PT you have other options...if you need to use it you could get a better clock like the Black Lion Sparrow and a preamp that has digital outs...

Also, are you planning on acousticlly treating your room? That's key.
Old 14th July 2009
  #5
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

focus on the performance and the room first.

At this point gear should come second.

If you are making a vocal booth get it treated the right way.

I think your money would be best invested from there in converters and a nice preamp (or better interface) than in another mic. Personally a 414 should be more than adequate for good recordings unless you are after the vibe and mojo of an SM7b. In which case knock yourself out but why go through the trouble of building a vocal booth and use a mic that doesn't really pick up the environment much?
Old 14th July 2009
  #6
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-Sorry for the confusion, yes the 737 is 2 grand, which is why I am saving up; which clean preamps would you suggest for under a grand if I am doing mostly vocal OD?
-yes, I plan on treating the room with bass traps and broadband absorption, going to consult the GS brothers on that topic as well after I take some measurements
-thanks for the reminder Keith! but gear can be sooooo tempting at times
-as the mbox is my weakest link, my question now becomes how to upgrade with converter/interface (as I am pretty much stuck with PT)
-I'm not familiar with converters or interfaces AT ALL so please bear with me on this noob adc question: so the sparrow converts the analog signal into spdif which is chucked to the mbox, so does the mbox process this signal between the sparrow and the computer in anyway to annul whatever good the sparrow did? (or is this irrelevant and I am completely wrong?)
Old 14th July 2009
  #7
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dickiefunk's Avatar
The Grace M101, True Systems P-Solo and DAV BG-1 are good options for clean uncoloured preamps.
Old 14th July 2009
  #8
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

I don't use an Mbox as I use Reaper and Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o for an interface but typically an A/D converter like the Sparrow would bypass the clock inside the mbox so you should be much better off since the converters in the sparrow are much higher quality.

I would think a Sparrow and a decent mic preamp would be a definite step forward.

But I would suggest before spending the dough on that SM7b or any mic to check into other mics, I always like having my options open, you never know what you'll like best if you never try it out first.

The BLUE bottle rockets are both fantastic mics and would give you a lot of options down the road with interchangeable capsules. The stock capsule is similar to the Bluebird's capsule btw. I just met a BLUE rep when I was shopping the other day. Now I have a pair of Blue balls coming to mike up guitar cabs lol. And I'm pretty sure I found my next item to save up for in the Bottle Rocket Stage 1 (I'd prefer the tube Stage 2 but I'm broke so I have to keep it real).

If you want that fat, mojo vibe check out the Sennheiser dynamics (MD441 and MD421), the Heil PR30 and PR40, Shinybox 46MXL, Beyerdynamic mics, Electro-Voice RE-20 and RE-27.

I was just thinking though the point of the vocal booth is to use any mic and get a better room sound for your vocals, nothing wrong with an SM7b by any means but you could use a mic that picks up the environment in a good booth and get a little more dimension to your sound.
Old 14th July 2009
  #9
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RonT's Avatar
 

I use a smb7 and 160x and its slamming! BUT I also use a 737sp and Rosetta 800 as my converter into an 003 for PT.

You are in a very fragile place as I was some time ago. Kept trying to make my vocals sound better but in all actuality it wasn't the mic or preamp but the room. When I treated my once very very very small booth 4'X5' my little MK319 into a Behringer Ultra Tube into a dfegadDBX 266xl into a SB Audigy became usable! Matter of Fact I go back to some of the old recording for reference sometimes and I say WTF! This **** sound good!

Now I don't know much but that seems like a pretty low budget vocal chain. Anyway, story is what you have now should be ok to get you some pretty decent vocals with the correct treatment. So get your room sounding the way it should. That means CR too! You will be amazed......

If I could make decent vocals with the crap I had, you should be O.K. for now. It will make you a better mixer in the long run becuase you will have to experiment more to get "that" sound but you will "know" how to.
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