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are high end pre's a waste of time if your stacking less then 5 tracks Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

are high end pre's a waste of time if your stacking less then 5 tracks

i have read and read and read, i have not come to a conclusion.

say an average joe wants to track some vocals on a few beats, he plugs his mic into his rme/apogee/m-audio...etc interface does about 5 vocals takes, main , add libs etc

then he plugs his mic into a high end pre and says hang on it dont give me that pro sound i thought by spendin my whole pay check on.

so whats the gearslutz take on a hobbist that will stack less then 5 tracks using a pre.

would the dude hear any majour differnce compared to his inbuilt rme-maudio ....etc interface inbuilt pre's?

is a highend pre really worth it or would the choice of mic make a more significant differnce?

or even experimenting with the position of artist to mic etc

i ask this as i have read a few recent threads and this area is very grey.
Old 20th December 2010
  #2


Mic selection, mic position, and acoustic environment all make more difference than the mic preamp - unless you are going for a particular effect (gritty, airy, smashed, etc).



-tINY

Old 20th December 2010
  #3
Registered User
 

diffrent preamps give you diffrent sounds having options is always better then having none, but if your looking for that "pro sound" it's a package deal the acoustics the mic the pre the outboard the interface the converters the plugins and of course the ability to mix if i had to pick though id change the mic before I'd change the preamp
Old 20th December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 

No, a high end pre is never a waste of time (although I'm guessing you mean waste of money )
Old 20th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
pre always makes a difference
Old 20th December 2010
  #6
Gear Head
 
mellow's Avatar
 

I would say if you can't hear a difference, then it won't matter to you.
That said, maybe your monitoring is not good enough.
Old 20th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 

My recordings took a big jump when I upgraded to SCA preamps. And while great mics are a great thing too, the SCA's also made a big difference in the sonic quality of instruments recorded with the lowly SM57. So I don't think high end pres are a waste of time.
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
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Jimsi's Avatar
 

too cheap of preamps can ruin your sound, i used to use preamps on an older art mixer and i can now hear unwanted artifacts on those earlier recordings...
Old 20th December 2010
  #9
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pasarski's Avatar
 

RME/Apogee (I would say even M-audio) pre's won't ruin any records and high end pre's won't make any records sound pro with out right performance, room, mics, mic positioning, engineering skills etc.
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 

+1, you have to know what you are doing to get the most out of any piece of gear. That said, some of the low end pres aren't that bad (look around the forum, lots of discussion over which ones...) and will be a "step up" in your signal chain. Once you learn how to use them, you will find that high end pres (like any other high end gear) are worth the money. If you don't know how to use it yet though, yeah, it will pretty much be a waste. Learn with what you have, buy more gear, and learn how to use it, then love the difference! heh After that you'll find that high end gear does have something to offer. A wise person on these forums said something to the effect that you can get 90% of the way there on the cheap, but that last 10% is gonna cost ya!
Old 20th December 2010
  #11
Gear Head
 

thanks for the responses, but people have said on this site and many others.

"a Highend pre comes into its own when using a big track count"

well the question is if your tracking a track count of 5 say is it really worth buying a highend pre,

people say colour tone etc, but wouldnt that hinder your options,

doesnt it make more sense to record as clean as possible then alter the tone/colour/character after?

also another question if you record your input clean into your daw, if you choose to run the same clean signal into your pre, would the source sound the same if run into pre originally? (would you get that tone/colour/character)?
Old 20th December 2010
  #12
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pasarski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcimple View Post
thanks for the responses, but people have said on this site and many others.

"a Highend pre comes into its own when using a big track count"

well the question is if your tracking a track count of 5 say is it really worth buying a highend pre,

people say colour tone etc, but wouldnt that hinder your options,

doesnt it make more sense to record as clean as possible then alter the tone/colour/character after?

also another question if you record your input clean into your daw, if you choose to run the same clean signal into your pre, would the source sound the same if run into pre originally? (would you get that tone/colour/character)?
People say lot's of ignorant things. I don't know why track count should matter? To the other question, you cant run mic level signal out from your DAW so no, it would not sound the same.
Old 20th December 2010
  #13
Sen
Gear Addict
 
Sen's Avatar
If you're looking for a "wow" factor in the improvement of your sound, then upgrade in EQs and compressors will give you much, much more of the "wow" than an upgrade in a preamp..
Old 20th December 2010
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasarski View Post
People say lot's of ignorant things. I don't know why track count should matter? To the other question, you cant run mic level signal out from your DAW so no, it would not sound the same.

Thanks, regarding sending signal level from your daw, couldnt you just lower the gain and dis-engage the phantom power and use the make up gain as you would with your pre to boost a low signal coming in from the daw,

or does the phantom power also play a part in a pre in getting that "sound".
Old 20th December 2010
  #15
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pasarski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcimple View Post
Thanks, regarding sending signal level from your daw, couldnt you just lower the gain and dis-engage the phantom power and use the make up gain as you would with your pre to boost a low signal coming in from the daw,

or does the phantom power also play a part in a pre in getting that "sound".
No, impedances don't match.

Phantom power may have an influence on sound if it doesn't meet the specs. In some baddly designed pre's it might not be full 48V (or even not the spec'd 44V minimum) and some mics won't power properly. Ohterwise it has no influence.
Old 20th December 2010
  #16
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasarski View Post
No, impedances don't match.

Phantom power may have an influence on sound if it doesn't meet the specs. In some baddly designed pre's it might not be full 48V (or even not the spec'd 44V minimum) and some mics won't power properly. Ohterwise it has no influence.
Impedance switches or knobs on the preamps can really change the sound of some mics. Genereally speaking, the lower the impedance of the pre, the mushier the sound will be (but also less hiss in the treble range). Every mic responds differently to it, some just sound the same, some totally change their character.

i'm gonna say this: if you stack a lot of tracks, you want something with little self-noise (high end pres often have more noise than cheaper stuff though...) and different sounds. If you record every instrument with the same preamp, it's more of a challenge than recording vocals with a great vocal preamp, bass guitar with a nice DI-box, snare drum with a nasty piece of junk but well placed microphone. Some sources love a little grit, some like to be clean, some work well with tube saturation, some don't.
The fact is, high end preamps are one trick ponies, they do one thing extremely well but are just mediocre (sometimes even rather bad) on others. Preamps built into high end mixing consoles are a compromise that work very well on everything your throw at them, but can often be beaten by something costing only a fraction of the price (per channel).
Old 21st December 2010
  #17
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Jimsi's Avatar
 

5 tracks is stacking, I would look into something decent, not bank breaking, maybe a golden age pre 73 for $300 of cource it depends on how many tracks are being recording at once ... cheap pres ususaly have cheap components causing weird distortions...or low gains
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcimple View Post
thanks for the responses, but people have said on this site and many others.

"a Highend pre comes into its own when using a big track count"

well the question is if your tracking a track count of 5 say is it really worth buying a highend pre,

people say colour tone etc, but wouldnt that hinder your options,

doesnt it make more sense to record as clean as possible then alter the tone/colour/character after?

also another question if you record your input clean into your daw, if you choose to run the same clean signal into your pre, would the source sound the same if run into pre originally? (would you get that tone/colour/character)?
Old 21st December 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
jazbina's Avatar
 

...believe me ''wow factor'' is in the performance most of the time, gear is the added value to performance...

Last edited by jazbina; 21st December 2010 at 12:43 AM.. Reason: syntax error
Old 21st December 2010
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Impedance switches or knobs on the preamps can really change the sound of some mics. Genereally speaking, the lower the impedance of the pre, the mushier the sound will be (but also less hiss in the treble range). Every mic responds differently to it, some just sound the same, some totally change their character.

i'm gonna say this: if you stack a lot of tracks, you want something with little self-noise (high end pres often have more noise than cheaper stuff though...) and different sounds. If you record every instrument with the same preamp, it's more of a challenge than recording vocals with a great vocal preamp, bass guitar with a nice DI-box, snare drum with a nasty piece of junk but well placed microphone. Some sources love a little grit, some like to be clean, some work well with tube saturation, some don't.
The fact is, high end preamps are one trick ponies, they do one thing extremely well but are just mediocre (sometimes even rather bad) on others. Preamps built into high end mixing consoles are a compromise that work very well on everything your throw at them, but can often be beaten by something costing only a fraction of the price (per channel).


no.
Old 21st December 2010
  #20
Gear Addict
 
studio825's Avatar
Track stacking is a myth,phanton power will only have effect on your track if the phantom power is lower than the mics acceptable voltage.Not all condenser mics require 48v some are lower but can handle 48v.Again room,mic placement and performance trump everything.Lets say you have a 5000.oo mic and a 3000.oo pre,if the room is untreated and the performance sucks, it will sound bad in any situation.........
A high end pre will make a difference with any mic,but will also bring out the crap in your room in not properly treated.
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