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Preamp/Mic for Practice Room? Single-Channel Preamps
Old 21st December 2010
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Preamp/Mic for Practice Room?

Hey all, long time lurker, first time poster. I'm in high school, the singer of a band, with recording experience. I'll be heading to college in 2012, majoring in music. I've always been infatuated with the recording end of music, interning at a local studio for about 6 months now, and starting a little ProTools workstation of my own, using a 002 mixer and 58.

Anyway, when I'm away at college, I'd like to have a rig that can record well in a music hall practice room (consisting of decent soundproofing and a piano). I've got 2k saved for this rig. Like I said, I've already got the 002 mixer, which I'll probably swap for the rack unit, for portability's sake. Right now, I'm in need of a mic and a pre, or just a pre, depending on how the 58 holds.

I'll be recording guitar (acoustic and electric), piano, and vocals in these rooms. The mics I've been looking at are the Shure SM7b, Rode NTK, Shure KSM32, or maybe just a pair of sm57s. The preamps I've been looking at are the Vintech x73i, Golden Age Pre73, and UA LA 610 mkii.

Now that you've got a quite lengthy background, my question is this: is it overkill to invest in the Vintech or UA pres? Will the Golden Age cut it?

And also: would I be better off spending the majority of my money on a better mic than the ones mentioned above?

Bottom line: I'm looking for the best sound possible for 2 grand, with my daw already under my belt.

EDIT: My voice, recorded with a sm7b http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iViv9wqU8eU
Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Sanctitatis; 21st December 2010 at 03:01 AM.. Reason: Link
Old 21st December 2010
  #2
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petsematary's Avatar
 

What will be the setup when you record? You singing and playing piano? Only you or other people as well? Exactly what instruments will you be playing? Pretty important to know to be able to recommend mics, I think.
Old 21st December 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary View Post
What will be the setup when you record? You singing and playing piano? Only you or other people as well? Exactly what instruments will you be playing? Pretty important to know to be able to recommend mics, I think.
I'll be recording separate tracks of guitar (acoustic and electric), piano, and vocals, all played by me.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
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kafka's Avatar
Consider one of those little hand-held flash drive recorders instead, and then just import your tracks into your DAW. The portability will make it a lot easier to find a place to record, or just lay down scratch tracks when your computer isn't handy.

I use a Zoom H4n, which is probably not the best choice for quality. However, it's very covenient as a scratch pad. My best ideas never come in front of a computer screen.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #5
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My problem is that my best takes come when all I have handy is a demo-recorder, equivalent in sound quality to the Zoom H4n. I'd like to skip over that demo recording quality completely and record "demos" that have a definite wow factor.
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
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If i were you, i'd also look at pre's like the Grace m101, m201, as well as the focusrite ISA one digital, there's also the AEA TRP (but this has no phantom power....designed for ribbons and dynamics)

When it comes to mic's, sm7b, md421, the Rode NT2a doesn't go too bad either...maybe a pair of SDCs? My NT5s fit this role...maybe a Cascade Fathead or two as well...

Most of these mic's will give you some versatility...
Old 26th December 2010
  #7
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Thanks for the input Nelson! I just pulled the trigger on a GAP Pre73 as well as the Comp54. I really liked what I heard in the Grace pres. Probably next on my list, after a mic.

Now to decide on a mic...
Old 27th December 2010
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanctitatis View Post
My problem is that my best takes come when all I have handy is a demo-recorder, equivalent in sound quality to the Zoom H4n. I'd like to skip over that demo recording quality completely and record "demos" that have a definite wow factor.
This is exactly how I also think. So suggest considering a custom portable rig that'll fit in your pocket and record full natural quality stereo-surround at a moments notice? And later be versatile enough to expand into a fully featured studio boom rig.
The start


Expanded a bit:


The results on page: Sonic Studios MP3 Page 2 with Ambient Stereo-Surround Session and Live Performance Recordings
Old 28th December 2010
  #9
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I always found that a live off the floor recording in my studio with a single AT 4047 to be surprisingly good sounding. As an added bonus, the mic is quite versatile, and does well for front of kick, bass cab, LDC guitar cab mic, and it also works quite well for voice. You could go in another low cost direction and grab a pair of Sahiaman's Little Blondies, a tiny omni condenser that were less than 100 bucks each (last I checked) and use them in the room. I have a pair that I use for overheads, but they are great for a lot of things. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with.
Old 29th December 2010
  #10
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hereticskeptic's Avatar
Sanctitatis, you're sounding pretty solid through that SM7B. I'd pick that up, and then maybe look into some other lower-cost mics that you had in mind, to find something with a different flavor than the SM7B.
Old 29th December 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynyrd View Post
You could go in another low cost direction and grab a pair of Sahiaman's Little Blondies, a tiny omni condenser that were less than 100 bucks each (last I checked) and use them in the room. I have a pair that I use for overheads, but they are great for a lot of things. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with.
+1 for the blondies. Sahiaman made me a pair of wooden ones, and they do good as drum overheads, but I found I REALLY like them for live-off-the-floor stuff. I set one up the other day about 3 feet away, aimed at my upper chest, and played guitar and sang. It was just for laying down an idea, but I was seriously impressed by the quality. Picked up the guitar and vocals perfectly. If your room is tuned well, I don't think you'd go wrong with a pair. The wooden ones are a little "warmer" sounding...Kind of a ribbon/condenser hybrid sound.

I'd say get a pair of wooden blondies, an M-Audio DMP3 (for a different flavor from your Gap Pre73), and a LDC of some kind (I have both the MXL 2003a and V67G and both sound great).

Good luck to you man!
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

To hossman777 and lynyrd: I just PM'd Sahiaman. I love what I hear in samples of those mics. Looking to get a matched pair pretty soon. Would they eliminate the need for a pair of sdc's?

Oh, and I just picked up an MXL CR-24 from GC, and, as I understand, it's identical to the 2003a in every aspect except for the casing. It sounds great, but it's the first condenser that I've actually owned, so my ears aren't the best judge.

The DMP3 sounds pretty tasty. I'll have to listen to a few more demos.

To guysonic: I'm sure that'd be a great investment in the future, but I'm not quite ready to commit to something like that just yet. I simply love the visual nature of ProTools, and being able to mix ideas on top of each other on location is too tempting to pass up.

To hereticskeptic: Yes, the sm7b is definitely one of my next buys, and I think the necessity for another flavor is covered with my recent purchase of the CR-24.

Thanks again for the responses!
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