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Recording Vocals With Analog Mixers
Old 30th July 2018
  #1
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Recording Vocals With Analog Mixers

Hi all. First post here, hopefully it's in the right section / category. A little background first. I've been recording hip hop music for several years, probably more than ten. However, I've had a couple years of "down time" in the middle due to life priorities. I'm finally getting back into it. I'm not a noob, so to speak, but I'm still sort of in the dark on some things, particularly hardware.

Currently, I record vocals with the following:

PC (quad core CPU, 8GB RAM)
Cubase 5
Rode NT1A mic
M-Audio Delta 1010LT PCI audio interface
M-Audio AudioBuddy pre (first and only pre I've ever owned - I think this is my biggest problem)

The vocals have always been decent. However, I recently recorded at a local studio. The guy is running a large analog mixing console among other high end gear. The difference in quality between mine and his is significant, of course. While I'm not necessarily trying to reach the same level, as I'm on a budget, I do think I could get much better quality, reasonably and affordably.

Am I correct in saying that the AudioBuddy pre is possibly the biggest problem, currently? Or am I wrong? If I'm wrong, please fill me in!

So I have a Mackie DFX12 mixer that belonged to an uncle who passed several years ago. It has no USB connection. I'm wondering what else I may need to get the mixer hooked up to the PC / audio interface for the sole purpose of recording vocals, including monitoring the signal of course - the whole thing. And is it likely that doing so will yield a noticeable increase in vocal signal quality over my existing setup?

I would post a link to DFX12 specs, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post external links. I can edit the post with a link if requested, or you can look it up / pull from personal knowledge. I do know it has phantom power and a mic pre on channels 1 & 2.

Thanks in advance. Let me know if I left out any pertinent details and I'll be glad to add them.
Old 30th July 2018
  #2
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kennybro's Avatar
The Audiobuddy is not doing you any favors.
You might try different mics... although the NT1A is OK. Not your weakest link.
Some kind of compressor on the way in will help round things off. Even an ART Pro VLAII or a RNC.
The local studio might have a far better recording environment than your space.

I'd try the Mackie board preamps > compressor > Delta 1010LT. From there, get a decent mic pre and a better interface.
Old 30th July 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
The Audiobuddy is not doing you any favors.
You might try different mics... although the NT1A is OK. Not your weakest link.
Some kind of compressor on the way in will help round things off. Even an ART Pro VLAII or a RNC.
The local studio might have a far better recording environment than your space.

I'd try the Mackie board preamps > compressor > Delta 1010LT. From there, get a decent mic pre and a better interface.
The mic also belonged to my uncle, so that's why I've been using it. Before that, I used an AKG Perception 100, which was also the first condenser I ever owned. At this point, I simply haven't taken the time to shop around for a new mic. Are there any particular mics you personally recommend for vocals, that would be the next step up from the Rode?

Also, I actually have thought about a compressor before. I've seen the ART before. It's not very expensive either, but I've considered the dbx 266XS (comp and gate). It is indeed cheaper, but do you know how the cheaper dbx may stack up to something like the ART.

Yes, the studio definitely has a better environment. He has a dedicated and treated vocal booth - another factor, I know. I like to take this stuff one step at a time, because it's more a hobby than anything. No need to take huge leaps at a time.

I appreciate the input!
Old 30th July 2018
  #4
Quote:
M-Audio Audiobuddy pre (first and only pre I've ever owned - I think this is my biggest problem)
And you are correct. Its a $25 'POS'

If it was me, i would upgrade the audio interface that has good pre-amps in it and do away with the thought of just getting a pre-amp to match with the Delta card. The shortest signal path to the recording source it the best way to go in my opinion.

This is what i would do, its your decision though

CJ
Old 30th July 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
And you are correct. Its a $25 'POS'

If it was me, i would upgrade the audio interface that has good pre-amps in it and do away with the thought of just getting a pre-amp to match with the Delta card. The shortest signal path to the recording source it the best way to go in my opinion.

This is what i would do, its your decision though

CJ
Yep, I get it! Thanks for the input. I've had the AudioBuddy since 2007. LoL. It was my very first pre, before I knew that I'd enjoy making music as much as I do now. At the time, I also had an equally "POS" computer and no interface. :P

What interfaces do you recommend that have decent mic pres built in? I don't have a large budget - maybe $300 or less. If that's not realistic, well, I guess I'll just have to wait. But I'm hoping I can make something happen sooner rather than later.
Old 30th July 2018
  #6
Your mic is fine, but you won't approach the sound of a professional studio with the rest of your set-up. You need a better interface, better preamp (you can combine the two) and probably a better room (sound treatment, vocal booth, etc.).

If you only have $300, I would wait honestly and save up until you can get something decent that has really good converters and decent preamps. There are lots around, but not for $300 that I know of. Once you get to $550 or so, you can get an Apogee Duet or RME Babyface. The difference you experience should be significant. Or buy used and maybe you can get one of those for closer to $300.
Old 30th July 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
Your mic is fine, but you won't approach the sound of a professional studio with the rest of your set-up. You need a better interface, better preamp (you can combine the two) and probably a better room (sound treatment, vocal booth, etc.).

If you only have $300, I would wait honestly and save up until you can get something decent that has really good converters and decent preamps. There are lots around, but not for $300 that I know of. Once you get to $550 or so, you can get an Apogee Duet or RME Babyface. The difference you experience should be significant. Or buy used and maybe you can get one of those for closer to $300.
No problem. I'm not in a position to record myself right now anyhow. Just planning ahead, because I should be back up and running in a year or so. Thanks for the info. Once I pay down a previous purchase, I may consider one of these.

I have looked at the Apogee Duet and the RME Babyface, as they were recommended in other threads while I've been searching. I'm not very familiar with these. Do these negate the need for the Delta 1010LT, or would these devices go into that interface? I can't tell exactly from what I'm looking at.

EDIT:
I see now that you said a better interface. No worries. So the RME, for example, is it USB -> computer?
Old 31st July 2018
  #8
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
The mic also belonged to my uncle, so that's why I've been using it. Before that, I used an AKG Perception 100, which was also the first condenser I ever owned. At this point, I simply haven't taken the time to shop around for a new mic. Are there any particular mics you personally recommend for vocals, that would be the next step up from the Rode?
I've gotten some pretty good stuff from Rode mics. They are not bad. I'd probably work on other stuff first, but shoot for something like an AKG 414 eventually. It's tough to tell, because everyone's voice responds to different mics uniquely. But something like the Shure KSM32 is one helluva usable mic for 550 bucks. Keep and use the Rode, and start collecting a few more nice pieces. You will use them all.

You might want to have a look at iSK mics. Their 2B Beauty is a great tube mic at a great cost. And remember that something like an RE20 or SM7 will minimize room affects. But you may not like a dynamic for a vocal mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
Also, I actually have thought about a compressor before. I've seen the ART before. It's not very expensive either, but I've considered the dbx 266XS (comp and gate). It is indeed cheaper, but do you know how the cheaper dbx may stack up to something like the ART.
I use the ART at a guy's studio all the time, and I like it a lot. I've got DBX160VU's, UA LA2A's, 1176's, and other classics at work and at home here, and the ART stands up nicely in comparison. It's not an LA2A, but it sounds very good. Very usable. It surprises me every time we use it.
I'd say steer clear of those DBX comps, especially the 266. Total crap. The 166 is not horrid, but for about the same price, the ART beats it hands down as a tracking compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
Yes, the studio definitely has a better environment. He has a dedicated and treated vocal booth - another factor, I know. I like to take this stuff one step at a time, because it's more a hobby than anything. No need to take huge leaps at a time.

I appreciate the input!
I'd say try the Kaotica Eyeball, but at $200 to $350, it's way overpriced, IMHO. So are those other ISO devices.

Build some kind of vocal isolation instead. Get some acoustic treatment foam squares and hang them around the mic... try different things, and listen to how they affect the sound. Hang blankets around the mic. Do whatever. Experiment.

Using a comp during tracking is going to accentuate room problems, but those will appear anyway if you compress the vocal while mixing, because they got recorded on the track. Better to hear them up front, and fix problems while tracking. I always compress 2 to 4 db while tracking vocal.

I know you can get great vocal tracks with the Rode > Mackie pre > ART comp > interface. Especially if you get some decent treatment going around the mic. And don't forget, if you are hating your vocals, there is a huge chance that you need to work on your singing. Just saying. Keep recording and evaluating your tracks, comparing them to pro recorded tracks, and identify what you need to do to get your closer to pro. It could be gear... it could be your voice... probably a combo of both.
Old 31st July 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
I've gotten some pretty good stuff from Rode mics. They are not bad. I'd probably work on other stuff first, but shoot for something like an AKG 414 eventually. It's tough to tell, because everyone's voice responds to different mics uniquely. But something like the Shure KSM32 is one helluva usable mic for 550 bucks. Keep and use the Rode, and start collecting a few more nice pieces. You will use them all.

You might want to have a look at iSK mics. Their 2B Beauty is a great tube mic at a great cost. And remember that something like an RE20 or SM7 will minimize room affects. But you may not like a dynamic for a vocal mic.


I use the ART at a guy's studio all the time, and I like it a lot. I've got DBX160VU's, UA LA2A's, 1176's, and other classics at work and at home here, and the ART stands up nicely in comparison. It's not an LA2A, but it sounds very good. Very usable. It surprises me every time we use it.
I'd say steer clear of those DBX comps, especially the 266. Total crap. The 166 is not horrid, but for about the same price, the ART beats it hands down as a tracking compressor.


I'd say try the Kaotica Eyeball, but at $200 to $350, it's way overpriced, IMHO. So are those other ISO devices.

Build some kind of vocal isolation instead. Get some acoustic treatment foam squares and hang them around the mic... try different things, and listen to how they affect the sound. Hang blankets around the mic. Do whatever. Experiment.

Using a comp during tracking is going to accentuate room problems, but those will appear anyway if you compress the vocal while mixing, because they got recorded on the track. Better to hear them up front, and fix problems while tracking. I always compress 2 to 4 db while tracking vocal.

I know you can get great vocal tracks with the Rode > Mackie pre > ART comp > interface. Especially if you get some decent treatment going around the mic. And don't forget, if you are hating your vocals, there is a huge chance that you need to work on your singing. Just saying. Keep recording and evaluating your tracks, comparing them to pro recorded tracks, and identify what you need to do to get your closer to pro. It could be gear... it could be your voice... probably a combo of both.
Thanks for the detailed response, much appreciated. So for room treatment, I've previously recorded in an open room. Maybe with the mic near a corner, and it seemed to minimize a lot of room noise the way I had it. However, before having to temporarily retire my setup last year, I actually built a 4ft x 6ft x 6ft frame from PVC piping and fittings, and draped large blankets over it. It made a noticeable difference in the recording quality.

I don't dislike the way my recordings sound overall. They are still clear enough that people are often amazed at the quality when I tell them I record in an open room with no special treatment. Granted, these people aren't musicians / engineers / whatever. But my current quality is still acceptable, no doubt.

What I'm really missing is clarity, I believe. A lot of my vocals sound a tad muddy, lacking some of the crisp upper (mid upper?) frequencies. I hear that, though my average "listeners" don't necessarily point it out. This is really what I'm out to fix, it seems. And it seems as though the AudioBuddy (more this, I think) and/or 1010LT are the root of that issue. Correct me if I'm wrong though!

As for delivery, working the mic, etc, I don't think I have any issues. I record at this third party studio exactly how I do at home, and his quality is noticeably greater. Again, he has a lot more high end equipment, but I'd still like to step mine up a little closer to that. The guy who records us (my brother and I) has had no qualms with our approach thus far.

This lack of clarity also exists for my brother on my setup. He and I have quite different voices, tonally. Mine is fairly low, his is a bit more mid/high. He's also a lot louder than I am, naturally as well as when recording.

I'll look at possibly experimenting with the mixer and a compressor (probably the ART) when I get my equipment set back up. In the meantime, I'll continue researching and I'll also talk to the guy who records us currently, to see what he may have to add.
Old 31st July 2018
  #10
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
Thanks for the detailed response, much appreciated. So for room treatment, I've previously recorded in an open room. Maybe with the mic near a corner, and it seemed to minimize a lot of room noise the way I had it. However, before having to temporarily retire my setup last year, I actually built a 4ft x 6ft x 6ft frame from PVC piping and fittings, and draped large blankets over it. It made a noticeable difference in the recording quality.
Yeah, I've done this and it has worked very well for me. It's not exactly scientific approach, but if it sounds good, it is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
I don't dislike the way my recordings sound overall. They are still clear enough that people are often amazed at the quality when I tell them I record in an open room with no special treatment. Granted, these people aren't musicians / engineers / whatever. But my current quality is still acceptable, no doubt.

What I'm really missing is clarity, I believe. A lot of my vocals sound a tad muddy, lacking some of the crisp upper (mid upper?) frequencies. I hear that, though my average "listeners" don't necessarily point it out. This is really what I'm out to fix, it seems. And it seems as though the AudioBuddy (more this, I think) and/or 1010LT are the root of that issue. Correct me if I'm wrong though!
The Audiobuddy could be an issue, but from what I understand, the 1010LT is an OK piece. But yeah, the Mackie pres will probably deliver better clarity than that audiobuddy thing.
If you have been recording "near a corner" that could be a problem. Low frequencies tend to gather and build in room corners, and your vocal mic might be picking up those bumps causing muddy buildup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
As for delivery, working the mic, etc, I don't think I have any issues. I record at this third party studio exactly how I do at home, and his quality is noticeably greater. Again, he has a lot more high end equipment, but I'd still like to step mine up a little closer to that. The guy who records us (my brother and I) has had no qualms with our approach thus far.

This lack of clarity also exists for my brother on my setup. He and I have quite different voices, tonally. Mine is fairly low, his is a bit more mid/high. He's also a lot louder than I am, naturally as well as when recording.
The Rode mic can't be the culprit for this. It's a fairly even-balanced piece across 20 to 20k, as long as you don't crowd it and get proximity going. Actually has a bit of a presence hump starting around 3k. I think maybe your muddiness might be room standing waves plus smearing from the cheap preamp. Maybe take the Rode into the pro studio, and see how it differs from when its in your place. And remember, nothing wrong with a little EQ to brighten up a vocal. That might be what the studio guy is doing, who knows. But get it clear, without muddiness before you EQ. Get a good solid sounding track first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
I'll look at possibly experimenting with the mixer and a compressor (probably the ART) when I get my equipment set back up. In the meantime, I'll continue researching and I'll also talk to the guy who records us currently, to see what he may have to add.
Sounds like a good plan. If you want to improve your recording sound, you need to go forward in small steps, understanding the impacts of each little thing you either eliminate or bring to the table.
Old 31st July 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Yeah, I've done this and it has worked very well for me. It's not exactly scientific approach, but if it sounds good, it is good.


The Audiobuddy could be an issue, but from what I understand, the 1010LT is an OK piece. But yeah, the Mackie pres will probably deliver better clarity than that audiobuddy thing.
If you have been recording "near a corner" that could be a problem. Low frequencies tend to gather and build in room corners, and your vocal mic might be picking up those bumps causing muddy buildup.


The Rode mic can't be the culprit for this. It's a fairly even-balanced piece across 20 to 20k, as long as you don't crowd it and get proximity going. Actually has a bit of a presence hump starting around 3k. I think maybe your muddiness might be room standing waves plus smearing from the cheap preamp. Maybe take the Rode into the pro studio, and see how it differs from when its in your place. And remember, nothing wrong with a little EQ to brighten up a vocal. That might be what the studio guy is doing, who knows. But get it clear, without muddiness before you EQ. Get a good solid sounding track first.


Sounds like a good plan. If you want to improve your recording sound, you need to go forward in small steps, understanding the impacts of each little thing you either eliminate or bring to the table.
Thanks! I've been considering the other advice given as well. In doing so, I've actually been researching the Audient iD22, after looking at the suggested Apogee Duet and RME Babyface.

I currently only have a laptop so avoiding unnecessary hardware would be great. From what I can tell, the iD22 could be a major step on both the laptop and even my desktop - am I reading into this correctly? That is, keeping the Rode mic and running the iD22, and eventually maybe a compressor.

I can swing the $500 or so for it, so if it'd be a worthwhile investment now and when I get my desktop set back up, I'm willing to do it. Do you have any experience with these things?
Old 31st July 2018
  #12
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
Thanks! I've been considering the other advice given as well. In doing so, I've actually been researching the Audient iD22, after looking at the suggested Apogee Duet and RME Babyface.

I currently only have a laptop so avoiding unnecessary hardware would be great. From what I can tell, the iD22 could be a major step on both the laptop and even my desktop - am I reading into this correctly? That is, keeping the Rode mic and running the iD22, and eventually maybe a compressor.

I can swing the $500 or so for it, so if it'd be a worthwhile investment now and when I get my desktop set back up, I'm willing to do it. Do you have any experience with these things?
Audient is good stuff. I have their ASP880... love it. But in your shoes, instead of the iD22, I'd go for something you can grow into like the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 ($499). I don't own it, but have a few Focusrite interfaces, and they work very well. It's got 2 good sounding preamps, and six more XLR's on the back. A friend has one, and we use it every week. Two HP monitors.

We go into a Grace pre... You would use the Mackie board pre, and come out of the main XLR outs, into the ART compressor and then into the back of the Scarlett 18i20. USB from Scarlett 18i20 into laptop.

Nice thing about the Scarlett 18i20 is that it's got a lot of easy access inputs and outputs. You could use the Mackie for two pres (two channels panned to left and right outs) and then plug a few more mics directly into the front of the Focusrite, having four mics routed to six tracks. The monitor aux on the Mackie is pre-fader, so that gives you one more isolated mic pre. FX is post, so no go there. So, three from the Mackie and two into the Focusrite. Two of those (L and R Mackie main outs) going through the ART comp for individual compression or stereo linked.
Old 31st July 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Audient is good stuff. I have their ASP880... love it. But in your shoes, instead of the iD22, I'd go for something you can grow into like the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 ($499). I don't own it, but have a few Focusrite interfaces, and they work very well. It's got 2 good sounding preamps, and six more XLR's on the back. A friend has one, and we use it every week. Two HP monitors.

We go into a Grace pre... You would use the Mackie board pre, and come out of the main XLR outs, into the ART compressor and then into the back of the Scarlett 18i20. USB from Scarlett 18i20 into laptop.

Nice thing about the Scarlett 18i20 is that it's got a lot of easy access inputs and outputs. You could use the Mackie for two pres (two channels panned to left and right outs) and then plug a few more mics directly into the front of the Focusrite, having four mics routed to six tracks. The monitor aux on the Mackie is pre-fader, so that gives you one more isolated mic pre. FX is post, so no go there. So, three from the Mackie and two into the Focusrite. Two of those (L and R Mackie main outs) going through the ART comp for individual compression or stereo linked.
That makes sense. Any particular reason you suggest the Focusrite over the Audient? I have indeed looked at that particular Focusrite piece, I just didn't know that it may be better than the iD22.

EDIT: Nevermind, you said "go for something I can grow into". Okay, we'll see what happens eventually. I'm not quite ready to make a move yet. I'll come back at some point if I need any more help. I appreciate it.
Old 1st August 2018
  #14
These are all good suggestions. Do your research and decide which of these fits your needs best.

I have the Audient id22. It’s okay but I’m not a huge fan of it. I also have an RME UFX. In my opinion RME is real quality, which is why I suggested the Babyface. Audient stuff can be very good but the id22 is just so-so IMHO. These options (Duet, Babyface, id22) are small and portable though, which may be a plus for you.
Old 1st August 2018
  #15
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Unless I missed it (I did skim some posts), did you ever say what equipment was used in the studio where you sounded better?
In particular, what was the mic? A ten year old budget interface is not going to be wonderful, but I’m not sure that your problem is entirely the interface. A way to check that is to take your mic to the better studio and record a vocal there. If it comes out great, the mic is not the problem. If it sounds no better, or just a tiny bit better, then the mic is more of a problem than the other stuff. Generally, I hear the microphone more than I hear the interface in almost every situation.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Unless I missed it (I did skim some posts), did you ever say what equipment was used in the studio where you sounded better?
In particular, what was the mic? A ten year old budget interface is not going to be wonderful, but I’m not sure that your problem is entirely the interface. A way to check that is to take your mic to the better studio and record a vocal there. If it comes out great, the mic is not the problem. If it sounds no better, or just a tiny bit better, then the mic is more of a problem than the other stuff. Generally, I hear the microphone more than I hear the interface in almost every situation.
Thanks for the info. We've been using his relatively cheap MXL mic.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
These are all good suggestions. Do your research and decide which of these fits your needs best.

I have the Audient id22. It’s okay but I’m not a huge fan of it. I also have an RME UFX. In my opinion RME is real quality, which is why I suggested the Babyface. Audient stuff can be very good but the id22 is just so-so IMHO. These options (Duet, Babyface, id22) are small and portable though, which may be a plus for you.
Good to hear personal experiences with these things. What about the iD22 do you find so-so? Is it the audio quality? The capabilities?
Old 2nd August 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
I have the Audient id22. It’s okay but I’m not a huge fan of it. I also have an RME UFX. In my opinion RME is real quality, which is why I suggested the Babyface. Audient stuff can be very good but the id22 is just so-so IMHO. These options (Duet, Babyface, id22) are small and portable though, which may be a plus for you.
Audient interfaces are all almost the same quality. As in, they use the exact same mic preamp, the headphone amp circuitry, and equivalent analogue path around the AD/DA converters. The only thing that changes between the iD4 and the iD44 in terms of sound is the converters, and all of them use very good converters anyway. In my experience the iD14 is already on the same level as the iD44, which to me sounds basically the same.

The Babyface is slightly more detailed in the AD/DA, but I really didn't care for op-amp preamps. Same with the Duet and to a lesser extent the Clarett preamps, they're very clean and detailed but sound somehow "pinched" when compared to the Class A Audient.

What I must say, though, is that the Babyface, like anything RME, is the best at low latency on USB I've ever seen. Rock-solid performance with lower buffer settings that I can achieve on the Audient models on Logic and Mainstage, and as I mentioned, slightly more detail in the conversion.

I'd consider the iD14 for the nicest mic inputs for recording in a portable package, that is also dirt cheap. If you can't make pro recordings with this, it's not the interface. It will be a quantum leap in terms of sound compared to what OP has.

If I wanted even nicer sound, I'd go for an ART MPA II with the Babyface, or the Tascam UH-7000 actually, but then it's less portable and a lot more money. For ultimate reliability, RME is the best, though.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #19
Somewhere on here...over the years, I posted that to me, most every modern converter is at least usable.

Hell, I have stuff on 1993 black face adats that sounds OK.

Somewhere in that thread, I noted ONE exception in those converters.
I got flamed pretty heavily for it, but I'll stick to my guns.

Those converters were early MAUDIO converters. They may be earlier than your converter, I don't know. I don't remember the precise time period / era of manufacture. Nonetheless, a couple of people I knew had MAUDIO converter boxes at the time. It sounded grainy, ...almost band limited and bit crushed slightly compared to other manufacturers at the time.

This was long before they were purchased by AVID / Digidesign.

Before you start spending on other gear, please replace your audio buddy box.
I'm not saying it will fix all of what you are not liking, but I bet it fixes some at least.
My Two cents.

Good luck.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #20
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I been using the 1010LT for over 10 years. They do a decent job recording.

First off, did you know those Boards actually have two mic preamps? Channels 1 & 2 have jumpers on the board for setting the gain levels. Volume levels are set within the M-Audio Control panel via the DSP mixer. The problem is those boards have no phantom power so you'd need to use a separate phantom power supply for powering a condenser mic.

As far as using a mixer as a preamp, you can take a tap off the mic inserts of many mixers for this. Unless you have a really decent mixer the results are typically lac luster at best. You could also use the output of a mixer then use the entire channel strips as a preamp but again, if its just your typical PA mixer you'll likely find the fidelity isn't all the great. Stage mixers are designed to prevent feedback so you can get mics loud. High fidelity takes back seat.

I run two of those boards. I use one for recording drums. I've used many different mixers as preamps over the years. Lately I'm using an 8 channel Nady Mixer which winds up working pretty good. I'm able to use come compressors between the preamp and interface and tweak things up nicely.
The other card is used for recording the rest of the band. I take some vocal taps off the PA for scratch vocals, I run bass direct, and I run guitars using Amp modeling sends and miced amps. Having both is very handy.

I typically overdub the vocals using a high quality mic and preamp. I neither EQ or compress the vocals tracking. The goal is to get the singer to maintain his dynamics, not give him a crutch. You can add all that stuff in later when mixing and apply it in the exact amounts needed using plugins. If its added when tracking and you find you used too much you're screwed. Something like compression can get noisy as hell if you find you need to EQ the vocals afterwards. If you simply capture a flat response where all the words can be heard with reasonable fidelity, then adding that stuff later in any amounts needed is simple.

If its a matter of making the singer comfortable and having them sing well - don't put the effects on the recorded track. Put the effects in the headphone mix so the singer hears the effect but it doesn't get recorded. Or you could split the signal and record an additional dry track straight off the mic. From there you can manipulate the singers performance by using those effects. Example: You know the headphones are anything but flat and often tend to have scooped mids and boosted bass response. The singer is going to change the tone of his voice to make the response sound flat which typically means they'll over emphasize the mids and back off the mic to avoid bass boost. The raw track will no effects winds up sounding thing because of this.

What you can do is EQ in some mids, reduce the bass to flatten out what he's hearing and the raw track winds up being ideal because the singer isn't trying to manipulate the voice to a false target. Same thing with compression. Words may sound fine when compressed but there may be major dropouts on the raw track. It might be better to use and expander on the vocals which forces the singer to maintain a steady volume level or loose his facial hair when he bellows too loudly. Helps you get the ideal gain levels set too. if you see a singer backing too far off a mic and the sound is getting thing, he obviously hears himself too loud. Back it down and make him work for his sound. He'll get closer to the mic and fear singing strongly less.

It actually works well, but I suppose these tricks take a little more understanding on cause and effect then most people are willing to invest. If you work with enough amateurs you'll eventually resort to anything that will yield good results in the shortest time. You simply have to try them first hand to know how thay change the results.
Old 5th August 2018
  #21
Hey, some great advice and experience in here!
Old 6th August 2018
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
Hey, some great advice and experience in here!
I agree! I appreciate everyone's input on this thread. It's definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't really know before!

I wanted to update everyone. I did end up purchasing an interface at my local Guitar Center over the weekend. They don't carry Audient products, but I went with the Clarett 2Pre. I also picked up a used mid-2012 MacBook Pro, as I've been wanting to give Mac a try for music for a while. I've recorded a few things to test it out (granted, without room treatment of any kind) and I must say the Clarett has yielded fantastic results so far. Everything is so much clearer than my old setup.

So here's what I'm working with now:

* MacBook Pro
* Reaper (evaluation license)
- I'm considering trying Logic Pro X at some point
* Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB
* Rode NT2 mic (I said NT1A previously, but I was wrong; got it out of storage yesterday)

Compared to the AudioBuddy, I notice very little noise when the Clarett's gain is cranked. The AudioBuddy has all sorts of noise at even moderate levels of gain. So while this may not be "top notch", it is certainly many levels above what I was working with before in terms of quality / clarity.

The Clarett also has MIDI In/Out, which is great because I also have a Roland FA-06 and an AKAI XR20.

Thank you all for your help / input / sharing your experiences.
Old 6th August 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

You should be capable of pro results with that setup, as long as your room sounds good. The differences between the Clarett and the Audient preamps are in terms of "flavour", but any decent engineer should be able to coax a similar quality of sound from either.

I would suggest if you feel you're lacking something, that the first thing to update, before interface, preamps or mics, is acoustic treatment.
Old 7th August 2018
  #24
Yeah, although some converters from that audio buddy era were good, like the Lynx etc, the maudio line was a stand out to me as wrecking your sound.

Obviously they are better now, but the old ones. CD players and DAT machines at the time sounded way better.

Congrats, go make a hit!
Old 8th August 2018
  #25
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
You should be capable of pro results with that setup, as long as your room sounds good. The differences between the Clarett and the Audient preamps are in terms of "flavour", but any decent engineer should be able to coax a similar quality of sound from either.

I would suggest if you feel you're lacking something, that the first thing to update, before interface, preamps or mics, is acoustic treatment.
I'm currently stuck recording in a bedroom, but I'm in the process of finding ways to clean up the sound, such as hanging blankets and similar when I want to record. This is definitely something I'm aware of, and it became more apparent when I listened to a test recording I did with the Clarett. It had that boxy / tinny sound that I hate so much. Haha. Thanks!
Old 8th August 2018
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
You should be capable of pro results with that setup, as long as your room sounds good. The differences between the Clarett and the Audient preamps are in terms of "flavour", but any decent engineer should be able to coax a similar quality of sound from either.

I would suggest if you feel you're lacking something, that the first thing to update, before interface, preamps or mics, is acoustic treatment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Yeah, although some converters from that audio buddy era were good, like the Lynx etc, the maudio line was a stand out to me as wrecking your sound.

Obviously they are better now, but the old ones. CD players and DAT machines at the time sounded way better.

Congrats, go make a hit!
Understood. I was only about 18 when I started and I had no clue what I was doing. The AudioBuddy served me very well, especially when I was just getting started, so no real complaints. Thanks! I'm glad to finally step it up a notch.
Old 8th August 2018
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bin_tenn View Post
Understood. I was only about 18 when I started and I had no clue what I was doing. The AudioBuddy served me very well, especially when I was just getting started, so no real complaints. Thanks! I'm glad to finally step it up a notch.
Man, I hear ya. I have made many purchases I regretted, or just didn't know any better.
One being guitar modelling devices. Chased that for years until I figured out tube amps are the only way to go. Full circle so to speak. Glad to hear you are up and rocking.
Old 11th August 2018
  #28
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Man, I hear ya. I have made many purchases I regretted, or just didn't know any better.
One being guitar modelling devices. Chased that for years until I figured out tube amps are the only way to go. Full circle so to speak. Glad to hear you are up and rocking.
Yeah, now I'm wondering what my next n00b mistake may be, and if I can avoid it.
Old 13th September 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
I been using the 1010LT for over 10 years. They do a decent job recording.

First off, did you know those Boards actually have two mic preamps? Channels 1 & 2 have jumpers on the board for setting the gain levels. Volume levels are set within the M-Audio Control panel via the DSP mixer. The problem is those boards have no phantom power so you'd need to use a separate phantom power supply for powering a condenser mic.

As far as using a mixer as a preamp, you can take a tap off the mic inserts of many mixers for this. Unless you have a really decent mixer the results are typically lac luster at best. You could also use the output of a mixer then use the entire channel strips as a preamp but again, if its just your typical PA mixer you'll likely find the fidelity isn't all the great. Stage mixers are designed to prevent feedback so you can get mics loud. High fidelity takes back seat.

I run two of those boards. I use one for recording drums. I've used many different mixers as preamps over the years. Lately I'm using an 8 channel Nady Mixer which winds up working pretty good. I'm able to use come compressors between the preamp and interface and tweak things up nicely.
The other card is used for recording the rest of the band. I take some vocal taps off the PA for scratch vocals, I run bass direct, and I run guitars using Amp modeling sends and miced amps. Having both is very handy.

I typically overdub the vocals using a high quality mic and preamp. I neither EQ or compress the vocals tracking. The goal is to get the singer to maintain his dynamics, not give him a crutch. You can add all that stuff in later when mixing and apply it in the exact amounts needed using plugins. If its added when tracking and you find you used too much you're screwed. Something like compression can get noisy as hell if you find you need to EQ the vocals afterwards. If you simply capture a flat response where all the words can be heard with reasonable fidelity, then adding that stuff later in any amounts needed is simple.

If its a matter of making the singer comfortable and having them sing well - don't put the effects on the recorded track. Put the effects in the headphone mix so the singer hears the effect but it doesn't get recorded. Or you could split the signal and record an additional dry track straight off the mic. From there you can manipulate the singers performance by using those effects. Example: You know the headphones are anything but flat and often tend to have scooped mids and boosted bass response. The singer is going to change the tone of his voice to make the response sound flat which typically means they'll over emphasize the mids and back off the mic to avoid bass boost. The raw track will no effects winds up sounding thing because of this.

What you can do is EQ in some mids, reduce the bass to flatten out what he's hearing and the raw track winds up being ideal because the singer isn't trying to manipulate the voice to a false target. Same thing with compression. Words may sound fine when compressed but there may be major dropouts on the raw track. It might be better to use and expander on the vocals which forces the singer to maintain a steady volume level or loose his facial hair when he bellows too loudly. Helps you get the ideal gain levels set too. if you see a singer backing too far off a mic and the sound is getting thing, he obviously hears himself too loud. Back it down and make him work for his sound. He'll get closer to the mic and fear singing strongly less.

It actually works well, but I suppose these tricks take a little more understanding on cause and effect then most people are willing to invest. If you work with enough amateurs you'll eventually resort to anything that will yield good results in the shortest time. You simply have to try them first hand to know how thay change the results.
Wow amazing advice im going to use on recording myself for sure! Thx im trying to learn as i got stumbled upon this and boom
Old 13th September 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post

I'd say try the Kaotica Eyeball, but at $200 to $350, it's way overpriced, IMHO. So are those other ISO devices.

.
you can get a knock off of that for cheap on ebay https://www.ebay.com/p/Alctron-PF8-M...oam/2284684831
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