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Best semi colored vocal preamp + connectivity Q's Condenser Microphones
Old 18th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Best semi colored vocal preamp + connectivity Q's

Salutations and thanks for entering! I'm in the midst of upgrading my modest home studio, and thanks to some very wise slutz I've been pointed to the SM7b mic, and I'm sold on it. However I'm also looking for a mic pre...I've seen scattered recommendations with no real clear cut crowd favorites. + I have some nooby signal chain/connection questions


I currently have a st55 running to a FireWire Solo, running to my HP PC....If I buy say, an RNP, will it have connectivity directly to my computer, negating the need for my FireWire Solo? Or, will I always need to have an interface between my preamp and my computer?

Which leads me to my next issue...its recommended SM7b is ran with 60 db gain pre to capture it's full sound, and my FireWire solo is maxed at 40 db. IF I need to keep my FireWire between the new pre and my computer, will the signal be reduced to 40 db as it passes through the FireWire? Would I need to buy a 60 db interface as well?


As far as pre's go, I record solely vocals, and I'm not looking for the dry transparent sound I've been getting from my st55 for years. I want something with a bit more flavor. I've been recommended the RNP, GAP Pre 73, M Audio DMP-3,DBX160 XT, DAV BG-1, Seventh Circle t15(you have to build it?)

ANY insight is greatly appreciated, and will be payed back to the forums whenever i can help
Old 18th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
nowaysj's Avatar
 

Be forewarned, my response to you is a bit like the blind leading the blind, but the low end theory board moves pretty slowly, so I'll just chime in, and anyone else can correct me as they see fit (and they will!).

I'm now in a fairly similar position as you. I've been using my Audio I/O's preamps for a few years now, and just decided to purchase a preamp to see if I can juice up my mic (and instrument) sounds a bit. I've been testing my preamp for the past couple of days, fairly unscientifically, but I'm getting closer to rigorous testing. (have had a debilitating back injury that is frustrating the hell out of me at the moment)

So I got the Art Pro MPA II, for $250.oo shipped w/tax. Preeeety cheap preamp. I also just purchased an Audix i5 dynamic mic to compliment my AT 3035 LDC. I've only had a brief chance to plug in the mic, but I felt it needed a LOT of gain. I am used to working with devices around the 12 o'clock position, but these knobs were close to maxed out. I WILL get back to you with more definitive results with the dynamic mic. I do not know how much more or less gain the SM7b requires relative to the Audix i5, I imagine more.

I will say though (drum roll) that the ability to adjust the impedance on the preamp is like an AH HA moment! I can rock the impedance and go from a light airy response from the Audix to heavy grumbly. I suppose there is a 'right' setting (matching the mic's impedance) but I rarely do anything right. heh

Another nice feature is a low cut filter. I don't have an outboard eq, so this helps attenuate some of that low rumble before my signal hits my converters.

And on to converters - Yes you will need, in some form or other, to convert analog signals to digital signals usable by your computer. These are called AD (analog to digital) converters.

I don't know your particular audio io, and I don't know if it has preamps on every input. I use an EMU 1616m, it has 6 analog inputs, 2 of which have pre's on them. I don't know what the effect of running a pre into a pre is. I imagine the big boys would say no way jose, but I suppose if it was gain staged as best as possible, it wouldn't be so bad. In regards to your pre's gain of 40db, that is the amount the pre can amplify the signal that it receives.

Anyway, I've likely mislead you enough as is, I hope you get a real response!
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
Gear Addict
 
audioboffin's Avatar
 

I use a UA Solo 610 with an SM7b, that combo that has a lot of flavour...
Old 18th December 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 

It's always nice to learn with a classmate! Definitely let me know how your dynamic works out...maybe a sound clip too?

'And on to converters - Yes you will need, in some form or other, to convert analog signals to digital signals usable by your computer. These are called AD (analog to digital) converters.'

This is an EXCELLENT bit of info...I kept seeing AD, I/O, spdif, XLR and was totally lost...i just now figured out the 2nd one with some common sense haha

Thanks a lot for the input, plz don't hesitate to chime in again if you think of something!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nowaysj View Post
Be forewarned, my response to you is a bit like the blind leading the blind, but the low end theory board moves pretty slowly, so I'll just chime in, and anyone else can correct me as they see fit (and they will!).

I'm now in a fairly similar position as you. I've been using my Audio I/O's preamps for a few years now, and just decided to purchase a preamp to see if I can juice up my mic (and instrument) sounds a bit. I've been testing my preamp for the past couple of days, fairly unscientifically, but I'm getting closer to rigorous testing. (have had a debilitating back injury that is frustrating the hell out of me at the moment)

So I got the Art Pro MPA II, for $250.oo shipped w/tax. Preeeety cheap preamp. I also just purchased an Audix i5 dynamic mic to compliment my AT 3035 LDC. I've only had a brief chance to plug in the mic, but I felt it needed a LOT of gain. I am used to working with devices around the 12 o'clock position, but these knobs were close to maxed out. I WILL get back to you with more definitive results with the dynamic mic. I do not know how much more or less gain the SM7b requires relative to the Audix i5, I imagine more.

I will say though (drum roll) that the ability to adjust the impedance on the preamp is like an AH HA moment! I can rock the impedance and go from a light airy response from the Audix to heavy grumbly. I suppose there is a 'right' setting (matching the mic's impedance) but I rarely do anything right. heh

Another nice feature is a low cut filter. I don't have an outboard eq, so this helps attenuate some of that low rumble before my signal hits my converters.

And on to converters - Yes you will need, in some form or other, to convert analog signals to digital signals usable by your computer. These are called AD (analog to digital) converters.

I don't know your particular audio io, and I don't know if it has preamps on every input. I use an EMU 1616m, it has 6 analog inputs, 2 of which have pre's on them. I don't know what the effect of running a pre into a pre is. I imagine the big boys would say no way jose, but I suppose if it was gain staged as best as possible, it wouldn't be so bad. In regards to your pre's gain of 40db, that is the amount the pre can amplify the signal that it receives.

Anyway, I've likely mislead you enough as is, I hope you get a real response!
Old 18th December 2010
  #5
Gear Head
 

@ Boffin, I've def heard some good things about the 610...do you have any soundclips?
Old 18th December 2010
  #6
I guess I may be lucky in that I acquired an EH 12AY7 that is very, very quiet, even with both dials fully cranked. And I was considering getting a 610 to upgrade, but now that I've seen this thread, I think I'll stick with it!

All of the vocals and acoustic guitars on the last album I did used a Studio Projects C1 through the 12AY7 (acoustic also used an SM81 through a VTB-1) - clips can be heard on this page, but this is all mixed/mastered, so you won't hear anything that is raw and without effects, but it is certainly testimony to what can be done with such an inexpensive combo:

Shadow Circus audio samples
Old 18th December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jplanet View Post
I guess I may be lucky in that I acquired an EH 12AY7 that is very, very quiet, even with both dials fully cranked. And I was considering getting a 610 to upgrade, but now that I've seen this thread, I think I'll stick with it!

All of the vocals and acoustic guitars on the last album I did used a Studio Projects C1 through the 12AY7 (acoustic also used an SM81 through a VTB-1) - clips can be heard on this page, but this is all mixed/mastered, so you won't hear anything that is raw and without effects, but it is certainly testimony to what can be done with such an inexpensive combo:

Shadow Circus audio samples

You got some great sounding stuff there! The silky keys on Willoughby took me to Lala Land, then the drums pimp slapped me back to reality...the vocals were a tad distant, but very clean too!


I'll certainly keep my eye on the 12AY7, although I'm searching for a bigger blast of hardware quality atm, seeing as I wont be able to afford any serious mastering any time soon...I'll also be researching those skills extensively. Thanks a lot for the insight!
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
Here for the gear
 

check out Daking pre's, if you're just cutting vocals the "Mic Pre One" would probably do the job.

You end up with a LITTLE headroom (70dB total gain) to work with but i think the key for you would be the stepped gain pot. The pre is very musical and after a little time riding the pot you end up with a great sweet spot. For a couple sessions I was running a 7B through an API channel looking for more color, but the second I threw it on my "Mic Pre IV" I found you can almost get more texture just feeding it clean musical gain instead.

Hope this helps!
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