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Mic Pre is more important than microphone Condenser Microphones
Old 4th April 2018
  #31
Generally disagree w the OP. The closer the device is to the source, the more it matters. In order of importance: performer/performance > room > mic > pre > comp/eq > fx > converters

This obviously isn’t terribly nuanced, as there are a lot of factors that contribute to a good recording
Old 7th April 2018
  #32
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Buying expensive gear will never replace knowledge ...
Old 7th April 2018
  #33
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one question could have been 'under what condition is a mic pre more important than a mic'... - but like that, i mostly disagree.
Old 7th April 2018
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Yes, and the correct answer is the unpopular one. The premise of the thread is technically correct. No one here ever listens to a mic, but always the output of a preamp. So yeah, at least as important as the mic
But a whole slew of mic/pres won't change the sound as much as a 57 versus a U47. So as other are saying, everything is important, but mic choice sits above mic/pre choice. Isn't that why most top studios in the 70's and 80's offered dozens of different mics, but only one mic/pre (the console).
Old 7th April 2018
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
But a whole slew of mic/pres won't change the sound as much as a 57 versus a U47. So as other are saying, everything is important, but mic choice sits above mic/pre choice. Isn't that why most top studios in the 70's and 80's offered dozens of different mics, but only one mic/pre (the console).
Yup.

Simple question: Which would you rather have, a wide selection of mics and one great pre-amp, or a wide selection of pre-amps and one great mic.

No contest for me...
Old 7th April 2018
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I think we sometimes "cast" our mics like actors in a play. And when I want BGV's to sound great but still be "singers in a supporting role," I'll put up a 58. With a really good pre.
That’s an interesting idea. I have to try that. Thanks (And I’m not being snarky, it seems like it would work).
Old 7th April 2018
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That’s an interesting idea. I have to try that. Thanks (And I’m not being snarky, it seems like it would work).
And if you want them even more "back there," try something like an EV 635a, which is sorta like a 58 only thinner.

I see this the same way as how they used to differentiate the status of characters in the old Hanna Barbera cartoons. The main guy got great big eyeballs, while you could tell who the second banana was because his eyes were just dots.

People singing BG's into 58's have dots for eyes.
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Old 7th April 2018
  #38
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The elephant in the room, especially with any LDC, is the room. And you can hear a crappy room with any LDC and any preamp. That’s the issue that puts an “amateur” stamp on many lead vocal recordings. Spending a couple of thousand dollars on a preamp or five thousand dollars on a microphone will just give you a more refined picture of a recording space that still needs a couple of thousand dollars of acoustical treatment.
Sorry, but you can’t have a thread like this without a post like this.
Old 7th April 2018
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
The elephant in the room... is the room.
Then what is the fly in the ointment?
Old 7th April 2018
  #40
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[Mic Pre is more important than microphone]

In order to capture sound waves in the air you need a device to change them into something you can save for later playback. This is what a microphone does, and it is the most important thing in this process, and most determinate in how well this will be achieved. The next, and possibly equally important device in this goal is the transducer that converts this signal back into the original sound wave, so you can hear it again. This would be the speaker.

All the other devices, including the microphone pre-amp, serve only to link these two things in the truest possible way. With the added benefit of the ability to manipulate this sound in some additional way if so desired.

So I would say the premise of the thread is false. Of course a lot of the things in the chain, including the pre-amp, do effect the sound, and much of what we are doing is not necessarily looking to re-play that original sound, but rather a distorted version, for effect.
Old 7th April 2018
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Then what is the fly in the ointment?
I can tell you what's the turd in the punchbowl...
Old 7th April 2018
  #42
Gear Maniac
hmmm, well, I'm not a pro engineer but I will say that the most important thing to people getting into music production is the preamp in my honest opinion.

I read several comments about mic / compressor / converters doing a big difference but from my experience the preamp trumps over that (I'm not talking performance / talent / etc).

people entering music production doesn't have the ear trained and they look for information everywhere and they will be often mislead.

not because people are offering "false information", but it's because talent / experience / ear trained / taste will vary too greatly in the beginning.

Sure, for a seasoned engineer that is USED to good sound and has knowledge, the MIC trumps preamps. a good room, sure it trumps the preamps. but not for the inexperienced or the knowledge lacking people.

a good preamp will give a much better picture on how ur room sound, a better improvement over ur performance (as u are influenced by the way u monitor), and it will be a very noticeable difference from ur interface when u are entering music production.

then, u are getting experience and knowledge. and that trumps mic until u think u are good enough. and then, u re-think about the importance of mic / rooms / etc in my opinion.

it's a very interesting topic. I took more than 3 years to buy a preamp, and I regret. it doesn't have to be the best preamp u can afford, but a nice preamp.
Old 7th April 2018
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dights View Post
I can tell you what's the turd in the punchbowl...
The bear in the woods?
Old 7th April 2018
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dights View Post
I can tell you what's the turd in the punchbowl...
A Baby Ruth, hopefully.

I'm not sure how/why people missed the point of the thread. It's not "what matters most in a recording?" It's only comparing the importance of mics vs pre-amps. I'd agree the mic matters more simply because I've heard cheap mics with really good pres and they still sounded pretty bad - I've also heard good mics with cheaper pres and they still sounded good. Others' experiences may be different but you go with what you know/experience.
Old 7th April 2018
  #45
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Then what is the fly in the ointment?
For me, it was usually Ed Biggs at Motown quality control.

Mostly kidding... I learned a lot working with Ed.
Old 7th April 2018
  #46
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myles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
hmmm, well, I'm not a pro engineer but I will say that the most important thing to people getting into music production is the preamp in my honest opinion.

I read several comments about mic / compressor / converters doing a big difference but from my experience the preamp trumps over that (I'm not talking performance / talent / etc).

people entering music production doesn't have the ear trained and they look for information everywhere and they will be often mislead.

not because people are offering "false information", but it's because talent / experience / ear trained / taste will vary too greatly in the beginning.

Sure, for a seasoned engineer that is USED to good sound and has knowledge, the MIC trumps preamps. a good room, sure it trumps the preamps. but not for the inexperienced or the knowledge lacking people.

a good preamp will give a much better picture on how ur room sound, a better improvement over ur performance (as u are influenced by the way u monitor), and it will be a very noticeable difference from ur interface when u are entering music production.

then, u are getting experience and knowledge. and that trumps mic until u think u are good enough. and then, u re-think about the importance of mic / rooms / etc in my opinion.

it's a very interesting topic. I took more than 3 years to buy a preamp, and I regret. it doesn't have to be the best preamp u can afford, but a nice preamp.
Whenever you use "u" and "ur", it lowers your credibility. And it's cumulative.

Not to mention that you have no idea what you're talking about. But I'm glad you have a nice preamp.
Old 7th April 2018
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
Sure, for a seasoned engineer that is USED to good sound and has knowledge, the MIC trumps preamps. a good room, sure it trumps the preamps. but not for the inexperienced or the knowledge lacking people.

a good preamp will give a much better picture on how ur room sound, a better improvement over ur performance (as u are influenced by the way u monitor), and it will be a very noticeable difference from ur interface when u are entering music production.
To me the above seems like two mutually exclusive statements. It's either that or you're attempting to juxtapose subjectivity with objectivity, with actual expertise somehow now belonging to the former category rather than being an ability to determine the latter. I'm not convinced.
Old 7th April 2018
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
hmmm, well, I'm not a pro engineer but I will say that the most important thing to people getting into music production is the preamp in my honest opinion.

it's a very interesting topic. I took more than 3 years to buy a preamp, and I regret. it doesn't have to be the best preamp u can afford, but a nice preamp.
Some blind shootouts with gains carefully matched and not driven into noise and distortion, which I have done at various times, would probably change your mind.
The differences between moderately driven preamps (interface, board, tube, transformer, hand-wired, cheap, expensive) reveal very small differences in sound compared to the same testing done with various mics (ribbon, dynamic, SDC, LDC, tube, transformer, omni, shotgun, cheap, expensive, etc.).

I dearly love the Focusrite ISA preamps, but if I had the choice between recording a vocal with a low cost MXL LDC through an ISA preamp and recording the same vocal with a $3,000-plus Neumann tube LDC through an average interface preamp, I’d choose the Neumann mic/interface preamp combination without any hesitation. I don’t think very many experienced engineers would disagree.
Old 7th April 2018
  #49
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It's funny how the number 1 album sold to this date was made using a Shure SM7 which is now the SM 7b. According to the producer Bruce Swedien, it was the perfect mic for the voice.

According to the manufacture:

Quote:
The SM7B is a low output mic, so plugging direct into an audio interface may not offer enough gain. In such a case you need a preamp with a decent amount of gain. Due to its smooth sound and thickening characteristics, a transparent-sounding preamp will be a preferred choice.
According to Shure, the SM57 & 58 have the same guts as the 7b. So, $3000.00 for a nice preamp, $4,000.00 for a great mic, $200,000.00 for a great studio, and according to IPSOS, 55% of audio is consumed via smart phones using $12.00 earbuds. @musaee, you started a great thread and there is a lot of hidden advice for all that may come to read it!

Attached Thumbnails
Mic Pre is more important than microphone-55.jpg  
Old 7th April 2018
  #50
Gear Maniac
wow, some comments for my post.

English is not my first language, and my post might have been bad written. so this time I will try to make a full reply...

I also tried to emphasise that I'm not a PRO, and that was my experience and my opinion were based upon people entering the music production.

what I'm trying to say, when u are entering music production, IMO, u have a severe gap in experience / knowledge and budget.

when I started (a little less than 4 years ago), I spent most on the interface and mics, following knowledge on the internet / GS / others.

now, please note that experience may vary a lot, and having someone to teach you or guide u will give u a total different experience and knowledge.

my experience was trial and error.

it took me a real lot of time to understand basic principles. clipping, peaking, guitar setup, guitar tuning, compression, eq, etc, u name it.

it was and it still is freaking hard.

for instance, if I knew it'd take so much hard work, I'm not sure if I would have started. but then, u end falling in love with music production (as the cliche...).

so my comment was based when u don't know all the stuff, and u are entering music production, a preamp, in my experience, will provide a better experience and a faster development.

It'll provide a clearer picture on the room, u will feel more inspired, and u will get used to what (at that point) is sounding good.

is it because preamps sounds brutally different? Eventually u figure that they don't sound brutally different as Bushman suggested me.

it's because it's easy and it doesn't get in the way.

it's two knobs, gain and output. and, it'll sound good. that's it! and there are plenty of beautiful recorded records with sm57 or sm58. a nice preamp will help tremendously.

when I started I just wanted to record as loud as I can, so u can imagine how I sounded.

and I'm a guitar player, I want to put everything on 11! it'd be much easier for me if the red light of a preamp lighted up and something was saying "STOP this is wrong".

and, as far as I know, most preamps have level meters....

it still helps me getting inspired and get quick to recording. I/o messing around with the interface preamps and plugins when u just want to make some music.

but as I said in my first post, as experience / knowledge builds up, you then think again (*I wrote re-think but maybe that word doesn't exist), and learn the importance of other stuff that might be more important to you (room, performance, mics etc).

and then, with time, u think again several times and just learn how big and hard the music production stuff is.

and that's why my post seemed like "attempting to juxtapose subjectivity with objectivity, with actual expertise somehow now belonging to the former category rather than being an ability to determine the latter. "

I'm happy to be corrected, I'm happy to learn. and I also tried to share my point of view.

but, in my experience in GS's posts, people overlook that the vast majority of people are entering music production are not aware of lots of stuff.

they just say Mics and rooms will play a bigger role.

but the time it takes for u to learn to hear that is quite big in my opinion. I'm not even starting the "taste discussion" that it gets worst.

that's why I said, in my experience, when u are entering music production, to ME, in my opinion, is the preamp.

this was a lot harder to explain than when I first thought to write a post.

I will also comment that if people were so critic with "what really matters" they would pay so much more attention to songwriting and performance, because after all we're listening to music but I might be wrong.

hopefully my explanation on why preamp matters more TO ME when u are entering music production gets easier to understand.

Old 7th April 2018
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
it's two knobs, gain and output. and, it'll sound good. that's it! and there are plenty of beautiful recorded records with sm57 or sm58. a nice preamp will help tremendously.
I agree with you 100%! Some of the best music I have heard recently was a acoustic guitar recorded with a Scarlett Solo 2nd Gen, $99.00 and a SM57 $99.00. The Guitarist was extremely talented. Your opinion is just as valid as anyone else in this community, when it comes to what you like. If we all had to like the same thing, it would be very boring around here!

Old 7th April 2018
  #52
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I think it depends how you look at it. Assuming the room and artist are good, then a 58 through a high level pre like a V72 should sound pro right away. I'm not sure that would be true if it was an expensive mic through a cheap pre eg a Mackie desk.
Old 7th April 2018
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
wow, some comments for my post.

English is not my first language, and my post might have been bad written. so this time I will try to make a full reply...

I also tried to emphasise that I'm not a PRO, and that was my experience and my opinion were based upon people entering the music production.

what I'm trying to say, when u are entering music production, IMO, u have a severe gap in experience / knowledge and budget.

when I started (a little less than 4 years ago), I spent most on the interface and mics, following knowledge on the internet / GS / others.

now, please note that experience may vary a lot, and having someone to teach you or guide u will give u a total different experience and knowledge.

my experience was trial and error.

it took me a real lot of time to understand basic principles. clipping, peaking, guitar setup, guitar tuning, compression, eq, etc, u name it.

it was and it still is freaking hard.

for instance, if I knew it'd take so much hard work, I'm not sure if I would have started. but then, u end falling in love with music production (as the cliche...).

so my comment was based when u don't know all the stuff, and u are entering music production, a preamp, in my experience, will provide a better experience and a faster development.

It'll provide a clearer picture on the room, u will feel more inspired, and u will get used to what (at that point) is sounding good.

is it because preamps sounds brutally different? Eventually u figure that they don't sound brutally different as Bushman suggested me.

it's because it's easy and it doesn't get in the way.

it's two knobs, gain and output. and, it'll sound good. that's it! and there are plenty of beautiful recorded records with sm57 or sm58. a nice preamp will help tremendously.

when I started I just wanted to record as loud as I can, so u can imagine how I sounded.

and I'm a guitar player, I want to put everything on 11! it'd be much easier for me if the red light of a preamp lighted up and something was saying "STOP this is wrong".

and, as far as I know, most preamps have level meters....

it still helps me getting inspired and get quick to recording. I/o messing around with the interface preamps and plugins when u just want to make some music.

but as I said in my first post, as experience / knowledge builds up, you then think again (*I wrote re-think but maybe that word doesn't exist), and learn the importance of other stuff that might be more important to you (room, performance, mics etc).

and then, with time, u think again several times and just learn how big and hard the music production stuff is.

and that's why my post seemed like "attempting to juxtapose subjectivity with objectivity, with actual expertise somehow now belonging to the former category rather than being an ability to determine the latter. "

I'm happy to be corrected, I'm happy to learn. and I also tried to share my point of view.

but, in my experience in GS's posts, people overlook that the vast majority of people are entering music production are not aware of lots of stuff.

they just say Mics and rooms will play a bigger role.

but the time it takes for u to learn to hear that is quite big in my opinion. I'm not even starting the "taste discussion" that it gets worst.

that's why I said, in my experience, when u are entering music production, to ME, in my opinion, is the preamp.

this was a lot harder to explain than when I first thought to write a post.

I will also comment that if people were so critic with "what really matters" they would pay so much more attention to songwriting and performance, because after all we're listening to music but I might be wrong.

hopefully my explanation on why preamp matters more TO ME when u are entering music production gets easier to understand.

I think your experience is making you look at it the wrong way.

In my experience from an engineer's perspective you have a cupboard full of 40+ different mics, and they all sound totally different and have totally different applications. That's where I start to plan the recording, from the source, where you put it in which room, the mic to compliment that, and its placement.

From there I'd think about the recording chain of pre-amp, EQ, and compressor to compliment my mic choice, but it's secondary.
Old 7th April 2018
  #54
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana_T. View Post
I agree with you 100%! Some of the best music I have heard recently was a acoustic guitar recorded with a Scarlett Solo 2nd Gen, $99.00 and a SM57 $99.00. The Guitarist was extremely talented. Your opinion is just as valid as anyone else in this community, when it comes to what you like. If we all had to like the same thing, it would be very boring around here!

hey thanks for ur post.

I'm not worried about being boring here (as it happens lots of time), but about music being boring.

when I first wrote I also thought that I could be easily misunderstood (that did happen).

the op's post resonated with me because he said he just plugged in, it sounded great, and as per the post he felt pumped up.

in my head, that increases significantly the chances of sounding good and cool.

to double guess (like choosing lots of different mics, cables, budget etc) will hold u back in music production in my opinion when u are just starting out (and this is the newbie audio engineering forum).

there are just too many variables, knowledge, experience, and budget when u are starting out.

In my opinion being inspired and playing without double guessing helps bedroom producers / people entering the music production / novices much more than a wide selection of mics.

maybe, that is one of the reasons preamp causes such an impression in the first times they are used. u can use it with whatever kind of gear u have like instruments mics etc.

thus my comment "the most important thing to people getting into music production is the preamp in my honest opinion.".

and my reason is pretty simple, it doesn't get in the way.

Now, if u are talking studio business /real pro engineering, my opinion will of course vary and be totally different.

I learned a lot in GS, but there are some posts that are just bashing, not very helpful, and they clearly didn't read the post carefully.

most of the time, people doing this can sound great, but then u look up for their work, songwriting, performance and u might be underwhelmed.

for people entering the market, my opinion is to get stuff that gets u inspired and in the zone. ur ear will be trained more, u will make more music, and u will develop faster in my opinion. and ur music will sound cooler.

In addition, sounding good is pretty hard. and u are competing in a really hard market with people with budget, great rooms, great musicians, great gear, people with great experience, people with great talent, etc.

if by any chance u find my post interesting please check this out: YouTube

I will also say that a tutorial website like puremix helps tremendously, and makes u think regarding a lot of stuff, like taste, performance, human relationship, the importance of placebo, etc.

Sounding cool, recording in a inspired state of mind without double guessing, and how the music feel are the most important stuff in the beginning.

until I got in music production, I never knew who was CLA, what was an 1176, u47, u67, etc. but that's just MY experience haha. so I totally resonate with the op "I just plugged it and bang!" stuff.

Old 7th April 2018
  #55
Gear Maniac
hey I just wrote another reply. look I appreciate ur comment.

but really, I'm not talking in a engineer's perspective. I really hope that I made it clear that when u are just starting out.... but that's okay.

I think my writing or my English must be really bad haha.

I appreciate ur comment for the engineer's perspective and ur will to help. and I do agree on the engineer's perspective side of thing, but that's not my point....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dights View Post
I think your experience is making you look at it the wrong way.

In my experience from an engineer's perspective you have a cupboard full of 50+ different mics, and they all sound totally different and have totally different applications. That's where I start to plan the recording, from the source, where you put it in which room, the mic to compliment that, and its placement.

From there I'd think about the recording chain of pre-amp, EQ, and compressor to compliment my mic choice, but it's secondary.
Old 7th April 2018
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
I think my writing or my English must be really bad haha.
Try using paragraphs.
Old 7th April 2018
  #57
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dights's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeltn86 View Post
hey I just wrote another reply. look I appreciate ur comment.

but really, I'm not talking in a engineer's perspective. I really hope that I made it clear that when u are just starting out.... but that's okay.

I think my writing or my English must be really bad haha.

I appreciate ur comment for the engineer's perspective and ur will to help. and I do agree on the engineer's perspective side of thing, but that's not my point....
Cool. However I didn't miss your point.

You've noticed that a pre-amp can make a difference to how a mic sounds, which it can.

My point is that if you had a large selection of mics to choose from I think you'd realise that makes more difference than the pre-amp.

Whether you're an engineer or not is irrelevant. The engineer's perspective is given simply as one of someone who has plenty of recording experience on different sources with different gear.
Old 7th April 2018
  #58
Gear Maniac
I will start to use paragraphs....

"Sure, for a seasoned engineer that is USED to good sound and has knowledge, the MIC trumps preamps. a good room, sure it trumps the preamps. but not for the inexperienced or the knowledge lacking people." in my first post.

and to all people reading this, I apologize. my posts are just too confusing.
Old 7th April 2018
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by manosar View Post
Generally disagree w the OP. The closer the device is to the source, the more it matters. In order of importance: performer/performance > room > mic > pre > comp/eq > fx > converters

This obviously isn’t terribly nuanced, as there are a lot of factors that contribute to a good recording
Agree!

@ op had a similar reaction to a good pre, the first time i used a u87 through 1073. Switched from a grace preamp to the 1073 and the mic came to life. Great feeling when you get that.

Overall i agree with the quote above. Performance and acoustics are #1 then the mic, then the preamp, tracking comps, but equally important is the mix and master! All the nice gear in the world means nothing if the mix doesnt do it justice!
Old 7th April 2018
  #60
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kasami08's Avatar
Another one of those same threads after another one about converters. The Mic, Pre amp and converter all goes hand and hand. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a great sound. Many of the built in mic pre amps on interfaces these days are better than ones 10-15 years ago. That can be said the same about digital conversion as well. External mic pre amps are simply just add on's to add color or a texture, not a requirement to make high quality music.
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