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Need advice on a mic pre for rap vocals
Old 31st August 2020
  #61
FWIW....my way of totally lifting the quality of my vocal recordings wasnt changing my mic .....

I bought the SSL six for a clean hi-quality pre amp, an analogue signal path , including eq and compression ....and coupled it with the SSL2 , which has replaced my scarlett 18/20 as the a/d into the mac.

I now focus on doing most of my shaping of the vocal when i track.......Low cut , +5khz hi shelf boost and via the 2 compressors....c. 5-6 db peak reduction to hit the A/D at no more than c-8db peak on the way in.

I only use a simple SE Electronics tube mic , (ive changed the tube inside)....with the reflection filter and pf course pop shield.

and then in the box i apply in colouring/advanced eq /saturation etc to whatever aesthetic im aiming for.

I concentrate on getting the balance between a comfortable set-up for the vocalist but also really maximising my recording of their performance by learning their natural dynamics in how they sing/rap and getting my comp threshold right and their position to the mic right.....

ive treated the walls with acoustic panels and keep the mic position off axis to the room shape.....

im reallly really pleased with the improvements, night and day!

i thought id need a 1073 clone and at least a Slate system.....instead it was learning the frequency response of my mic by ear and studying the responses of beloved mics....and appreciating what the spectral difference is between the classic mics and mine....

and doing whatever i can to mitigate that difference ....including using eq to cut/boost to surgically shape my recordings.

Key though id agree with the theme on here,

what is the actual sound at the mic.....the room...the performance.....and then for me......its a high quality analogue signal before the convertor.


good luck.....i think we all find our own way there
Old 3rd September 2020
  #62
Gear Maniac
 
TikkoRome's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlgrimes11 View Post
Focusite Scarletts are decent preamps.

Probably better looking for different mics. That said Rode NT1A is a decent mic as well.

You necessarily don't even have to go the expensive route on mics either.

There are great $100-$500 mics these days.

Pretty much any vocal mic is capable.

What matters more is proper mic technique, vocal performance, environment acoustics, and post processing.

There are folks doing some great stuff with minimal gear.


The thing with mics is learning the EQ moves afterwards to compensate for its color.

For some voices though what sounds horrible on one mic, sounds great on a different mic.

That said i also think it is better to have alot of relatively affordable mics, than one expensive mic.

I have a mix of affordable and expensive mics, and I more gravitate to the cheaper ones.

The best mic is the one where you find yourself not having to EQ as much but that said almost any mic usually requires some EQ moves afterwards.
That lie right there is why rap died. There is no good cheap ass mic. If you get a $100-300 condenser, you might as well record on an SM58 (you'd actually be better off in a lot of ways). You're not gonna get professional quality out of a hobbyist mic. Sure, you can EQ the ****tiness down, if you're skilled enough and take enough time, but you're still trying to carve a million dollar sculpture out of dried dog****. The most important part of a professional mix is a professional recording. Its literally a cliche its so universally understood. Another good one is "you get what you pay for". That cliche isn't more true anywhere than it is in audio.
There are times when a specific performance from a specific artist works well with a particular cheap mic but those instances are uncommon and instances where they actually work better than with the right high-end mic are extremely rare (usually it only works when the artist/producer is going for a specific sound, rather than quality)
The influx of talentless rappers on ****ty equipment making nonsense to a sonically deprived FL Studio beat for SoundCloud and getting popular because their Instagram is interesting- has lowered the expectations of rap audiences, so Im not saying you can't make a "hit" with garbage... but hit or not, garbage is garbage.
Old 3rd September 2020
  #63
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artcutech View Post
Cj mastering def knows what he's talking about, but let me tell you what worked for me

I also rap and have some undertone and raspiness, not too much but enough to feel like jumping through hoops in order to get a somewhat pro recording, I had a Focusrite clarett($500) and a akg c314($650) and could not get a professional recording at all, I mean it was good and decent but I wasn't going for good and decent, after mixing and all the bells and whistles on the vocal chain I wanted to reference against the pros and be like yup, sounds great but never was able to, keep in my mind my mix down and master were extremely stable and even, mixed really well, nothing to take away or add to the vocals, it was the recording that lacked, even before anything, just a plain recording just didn't sound truly great, just decent. After watching a good amount tutorials and other peoples recording techniques I noticed that so many people were using a Apollo mk2(they start at $699) you prob want to get the duo at $899 which has more a lil more DSP which allows you to use UA powered plug-ins, not that you have to just good to be able to at least use a couple if need be for the unison preamps and compressors, the A/D converters are really great on that thing, with all that said my recordings were still not pro, really good, not pro, well what could it be? everyone told me its your room, your mic is fine, I saw shoot outs with the best to the worst and how you can work with almost any mic, and I recorded some singers that seem to get a professional sound out of the c314, ok, so its the room. I built a make shift vocal booth with pvc and moving blankets but still didn't get the sound I wanted, had to def eq a lot of boxiness out but still nothing that made me smile, I just could not achieve that pro sound, finally I bought an isovox and that thing was even boxier than the make shift vocal booth. so i returned it. What was left, I decided to buy a U87($2750 off Sweetwater BRAND NEW!) I told myself I'm gonna start from the top and work backwards, there has to be a weak link. It wasn't recording techniques, mic placement, room or any of that as hours upon hours upon days I tried getting better results with every possible configuration or placement. As soon as I got my U87 and did a take with only a couple moving blankets up in my room I was blown away! for me it was the mic the whole time, right away on playback my vocals were spot on, mind you I was going into a unison Neve preamp on the Apollo which helps also, there was no jumping through hoops. Now I'm able to plug in the mic and hit record and the recordings sound amazing.

This was my experience, as I said, I could record singers with my akg c314 and they really knocked it out the park, but it wasn't the case for my voice. Back in 2002 when I had my old set up I used a Shure KSM27 which is like a $300 dollar mic and seemed to get great results going into a $100 dollar mic tube pre amp then into a echo gina interface/sound card and Cubase, maybe during those years I didn't care as much about how things sounded, i have songs and recordings from then and they sound really good, not pro but really good, better than what I was getting with the AKG c314, I was 19 at that time and I ended up losing everything and being a drug addict and got back into making music in 2016, but I noticed how unflattering Ableton, the akg c314 and my foucsrite setup sounded and its been a two year testing and troubleshooting ordeal to finally get the sound I've been wanting, countless reviews opinions and advice telling me my mic was fine just prolonged me from investing in the U87, plus didn't have the coin for it haha but would have gotten if I knew that would solve my problem, but the things I learned through that time about recording and everything in between was invaluable

you can't excpect to use your rhode($300) mic and get the real deal sound, or put a $3000 mic into a scarlet and get a real deal sound either, but maybe I'm wrong, it seems too vary with people, it's like a movie review, people say how awful or meh it is but you give it five out of five stars.

I can to tell you that you can get a decent recording with what you have, but no amount of recording technique will give you a pro sound, maybe get a lil mic tube pre amp, tubes help a lot and see if your recordings get better

BTW it's important that you bypass the Scarlett preamp by going 1/4 line in and turning the gain all the way down on the interface as to just be using the signal from your external preamp and the Scarletts A/D converters

I hope your still on the forum bro. I am where your at almost. I just bought a At4047 for my vocals —I’m using a akg c214 . I also have a similar voice as you described. And I also record hip hop style and have always heard in my mind and thought” I can sound better I know this isn’t it I just know it” so now I’m in the process of buying a mic preamp or interface. I have an m box3 interface, should I get a mic pre ? I’m leaning towards GRACE M101. Or should I buy an Apollo twin or something in that high end range. Keep in mind I am recording vocals only DAW is PT 12.5hd . Please someone help me out . Thank you very much
Old 4th September 2020
  #64
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TikkoRome View Post
That lie right there is why rap died. There is no good cheap ass mic. If you get a $100-300 condenser, you might as well record on an SM58 (you'd actually be better off in a lot of ways). You're not gonna get professional quality out of a hobbyist mic. Sure, you can EQ the ****tiness down, if you're skilled enough and take enough time, but you're still trying to carve a million dollar sculpture out of dried dog****. The most important part of a professional mix is a professional recording. Its literally a cliche its so universally understood. Another good one is "you get what you pay for". That cliche isn't more true anywhere than it is in audio.
There are times when a specific performance from a specific artist works well with a particular cheap mic but those instances are uncommon and instances where they actually work better than with the right high-end mic are extremely rare (usually it only works when the artist/producer is going for a specific sound, rather than quality)
The influx of talentless rappers on ****ty equipment making nonsense to a sonically deprived FL Studio beat for SoundCloud and getting popular because their Instagram is interesting- has lowered the expectations of rap audiences, so Im not saying you can't make a "hit" with garbage... but hit or not, garbage is garbage.
Highly doubt cheap condensers being the death of Rap.

All I know is in many cases my AT2020 beats my AKG414xls for many voices. My Microtech Gefell m92.1s is a great sounding mic but it isn't a night and day difference and you get what you pay for I wouldn't necessarily equate to mics.

While there are ****ty cheap condensers, there are also ****ty expensive condensers and just because you are using an expensive Mic that sounds good on Rapper X's voice doesn't mean it will sound good on Rapper Y's voice. It's all in context as well. Just like guitars, synths, and what not what sounds right for one producer, will sound ****ty for another producer.
Old 4th September 2020
  #65
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlgrimes11 View Post
Highly doubt cheap condensers being the death of Rap.

All I know is in many cases my AT2020 beats my AKG414xls for many voices. My Microtech Gefell m92.1s is a great sounding mic but it isn't a night and day difference and you get what you pay for I wouldn't necessarily equate to mics.

While there are ****ty cheap condensers, there are also ****ty expensive condensers and just because you are using an expensive Mic that sounds good on Rapper X's voice doesn't mean it will sound good on Rapper Y's voice. It's all in context as well. Just like guitars, synths, and what not what sounds right for one producer, will sound ****ty for another producer.
I concur.
Old 5th September 2020
  #66
Lives for gear
 

two professonal-grade preamps under $700 that don't require a 500 series rack are:
focusrite isa-one
broadhurst gardens dav-1
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