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Beginner Needs Help Picking Mic Preamp Dynamic Microphones
Old 3rd August 2008
  #1
Gear Head
 

Beginner Needs Help Picking Mic Preamp

Hey all. I am fairly new to hip hop and started recording and writing about 1 month ago. Right now, for my gear I am limiting myself to around $600. I was planning on buying a cheaper condenser so I have more money for the Pre as many say a better pre is a better investment.

I was considering the following:

Mics:

AT3035 (heard it sounds good for hip hop, 119 brand new!)
AT4040 (100 more than 3035, not sure if its justified.
-Suggestions on others?

Preamps:

ART MPA Gold - ART MPA Gold Microphone Preamplifier from zZounds.com!
GT Brick -
Mackie 802-VLZ3 (Mixer) - Mackie 802-VLZ3 | Sweetwater.com
Mackie 1202-VLZ3 - Mackie 1202-VLZ3 | Sweetwater.com
Allen and Heath ZED14 Mixer with USB Interface - Allen and Heath ZED14 Mixer with USB Interface from zZounds.com!

Questions:

1) Will mixers such as these, work as good as the preamps? I was hoping to get something that has more than one use.

2) I am a noob, so I dont know about cables. I need XLR mic cables to go from mix to pre right. What do I need to go from pre to computer?

I am recording in a non cure room.

Let me know, I am open to other suggestions as well.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Mic

I use an AT4040 with a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro and I love the combo. I would personally stay away from the ART pre as it is built like crap.

You can hear how an AT 4040 and Focusrite sounds by listening to any of my tracks:

MC Celtic/Black Irish Productions
Old 3rd August 2008
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Fist off I would suggest using the search engine because alot of what your asking could be found there.

second you will need an interface to connect to your computer, and besides the brick none of those preamps will be much better than what you get in your interface.

for the mics you should see if you can demo some at you local music shop because mics can be tricky with different voices. but I dont hear anything bad about the at 4040 for the money and a studio projects c1 is especially nice for the price.

And if your new to music and dont want to waste your money buy used on ebay and if you decide it just aint your thing you can sell it for what you paid.

Get ready for a lot of time spent and frustration learning the ropes! (I wish someone would have told me that a few years back) Good Luck
Old 4th August 2008
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Follow up

The 4040 is a solid MIC to start with. I disagree with the statement above. I have a M-Audio Firewire 410 and the mic pre on that compared to the focusrite sound is crap. I would recommend getting one of the pre's you listed above.

You are going to need to find a music store that lets you try the mics as it is true that mics are specific to your voice. I went with the 4040 because it fits as a general mic pretty well. If you are looking for some type of sound, preview the mics.

You will need an interface box. I have the following chain in place:

M-AUDIO Firewire 410 -> Focusrite Trackmaster Pro -> 4040

Just make sure you get a good PRE and MIC with a USB or FIREWIRE box. These are the backbone of your studio. I would also recommend getting a good set of monitors and headphones.
Old 4th August 2008
  #5
Gear Head
 

thanks so far, I havent read to much good stuff about the focusrite so thats a no go. Can someone do what the above poster did and reccomend a good chain in my price range. Its either AT3035, or AT4040. (is the 4040 worth 100 more?)

Is there any good solution for USB interface/pre in one?

I was thinking mbox 2? Digidesign Mbox 2 Educational Version | Sweetwater.com
Old 4th August 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
I use an AT4040 with a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro and I love the combo. I would personally stay away from the ART pre as it is built like crap.

You can hear how an AT 4040 and Focusrite sounds by listening to any of my tracks:

MC Celtic/Black Irish Productions
Decent combo,for sure.
Nothing wrong with it.
Ive done some demos with the same combo and they sounded pretty "pro" to these old ears.
Old 4th August 2008
  #7
Gear Addict
 

FocusRite

I don't know where these bad reviews come from on the FocusRite but I think it sounds great for the price range. I think it takes some time to set it with the built in compressor and people don't put the time in and then call it crap.

I personally think its a great combo for the money.
Old 4th August 2008
  #8
Gear Head
 

So what would the best combo be?

AT4040/AT3035 > which pre > which interface
Old 4th August 2008
  #9
...your favourite Mic > Allen and Heath > Apogee Duet
Old 4th August 2008
  #10
Gear Head
 

i have a cap of around $600. The duet is 500 alone. I dont think I can afford that setup although it sounds good.

In other words. What is the best pre amp and interface combo for MAX 400?

Im using this for rap so something possibly a little warm, im guessing someone who raps may know which pre is good for this.

btw. thanks for all the feedback so far.
Old 4th August 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Docmattic's Avatar
 

im fair sure the duet has a preamp in it. you could get that and an at3035. The at3035 isnt bad, ive found it distorts easy tho. maybee im too close when i use it someitmes, but its not a bad mic by any means.

If you havnt got treatment and a quiet computer or room, i might suggest a dynamic like an sm57 (with tabfunken worth transformer) or heil pr20 or pr35. (i forget how much the hiels cost) the sm57 will run you $180 and sounds alot better than the stock one (apparantly), asit has more lows and highs. I have a shure sm7b (which its been compared to being somewhat alike) and like it alot, especially on agressive tracks. I think i need a re-20 for quiet tracks tho, but that doesnt matter for your price.

duet and at3035 would put you $20 over budget. duet and 57 would put you $80 over. Just because its a condencer doesnt mean its better. been there dont that. because you say your starting out, id go with the shure sm57. If i could go back to when i was starting i would have taken this route. It would have saved me a lot of time messing ronud with gear.
Old 4th August 2008
  #12
Gear Head
 

You reccomend the shure over the 3035? Is there a big difference between the two? I no it doesnt mean anything, but i cant get over the cheap look of the sm57.

1) What about the Mbox 2 Digidesign Mbox 2 | Sweetwater.com

Its selling for 295 on ebay. Do you think the 2 preamps in there would be sufficient enough so that I dont need a preamp for now?

3) One more question. Is it possible to run lets say the brick, into the ART MP tube and into the computer? This would just be cheaper.
Old 4th August 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Docmattic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
You reccomend the shure over the 3035? Is there a big difference between the two? I no it doesnt mean anything, but i cant get over the cheap look of the sm57.

1) What about the Mbox 2 Digidesign Mbox 2 | Sweetwater.com

Its selling for 295 on ebay. Do you think the 2 preamps in there would be sufficient enough so that I dont need a preamp for now?

3) One more question. Is it possible to run lets say the brick, into the ART MP tube and into the computer? This would just be cheaper.
1) for high quality recording the m box is ****! if you just want to mess around go for it.

Its not about how it looks, its about how it performs. Condencers will pic up the eco of the whole room, you need mic technique and placement for it to sound its best. It will also pic up other people in the house, a noisy computer fan etc as the condencer is so much more sensitive. The dynamic mic only pics up what is in front of it so the presence and clarity will be there wherea condencor may seem thin in comparison. If you have a quiet room, with some sound treatment, with little reverb, sure go for the condencor.

Being honest with you, you get what you pay for with audio gear. I think it would be better to spend more now, than buy a cheap one get bored in a few months and have to buy what you could have bought in the first place again(wasting money). The brick and mpa wont give you bad sounds, just not the best. Im not a pro so i cant tell you it all. I was just giving you advise based on my experience.

I plan to buy a duet myself. It has top convertors, and a preamp. If you plug a preamp in it becomes a converter. I wish id payed more attention to this earlier.

ANd to answer your question you can plug mpa>brick.

hope ive helped a bit.
Old 4th August 2008
  #14
Don't know what you software/DAW you prefer but here's a decent chain for your budget.
Mic of choice->Joemeek ThreeQ Pro Channel Strip->EMU 1212M

If your a mac person, go with an Apogee Duet & save for your mic of choice.
Old 4th August 2008
  #15
The AT4040 is solid. It has the highest output of all the mics I've used. A hot mic means you use less preamp, which is good.
Old 4th August 2008
  #16
+1

Shure # > Joemeek ThreeQ Pro Channel Strip > EMU 1212M

Rode # > Joemeek ThreeQ Pro Channel Strip > EMU 1212M
Old 4th August 2008
  #17
Gear Head
 

Im using a laptop half of the time. Would the emu not need a PC.. Wouldnt i need a interface on top of that.

and the duet is for mac unfortunately
Old 5th August 2008
  #18
Gear Nut
 

how would you guys describe the sound of the three q? im interested in getting it aswell. would you recommend using it for vocals?
Old 5th August 2008
  #19
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
I don't know where these bad reviews come from on the FocusRite but I think it sounds great for the price range. I think it takes some time to set it with the built in compressor and people don't put the time in and then call it crap.

I personally think its a great combo for the money.
You can bypass compressor if you want and patch in a different one or use a decent software comp on input such as one from the UAD 1 or the URS pro which as a good assortment of comps to choose from.

FYI,I use that Focusrite unit for a lot of stereo instrument tracks with no problem whatsoever.
Old 5th August 2008
  #20
Gear Head
 

OK. So Its either

AT4040
OR
AT3035

My only question about these before i make my decision is:

Which one would function better in an untreated room. I hear the 4040 picks up a lot of detail so this might be a bad thing?

---------------------------------------------------

Preamp choices:

ART MPA Gold
or
GT Brick (only if i find a good deal)
or
M-Audio DMP-3

Interface:

Interface:

Does it really matter what interface I get? I was thinking of just a $99 M-audio fast track.

If I find a good deal on a brick, I will get it. If not, 90% MPA Gold.
Old 5th August 2008
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Docmattic's Avatar
 

if your room is not treated what so ever, buy a dynamic, it will be better for your situation and will probably give you better results. Otherwise look at a hand held condencer (like sennheiser) whith a hypercardoid pickup pattern.
Old 5th August 2008
  #22
I'd like the SM58->RNP->Interface.
Will sound good in your situation. Especially with an untreated room. Also the RNP has plenty of gain. I've got 66db but only use 54 with the SM58. You could probably get it all used for like $550 but new it'd be like $675. But it'd be well worth it knowing all of your gear works as it should. Or buy Here on GS in the classifieds. I have sold on here like 3 or 4 times. I'd like to think everyone here is legit too. You could save & get some good gear. I wouldn't buy a mic on ebay, I bought 2 & both were not working as they should. Maybe I'll record something later with that chain & send you a clip. I've got to go right now but pm me with an email unless I can figure out how to post the sound clip for others to hear.
Old 5th August 2008
  #23
Gear Head
 

Ok. I understand that a dynamic will be better for me. But at 475 theres no way I can afford that pre and theres non for sale in the classifieds unless you wanna sell yours

1) Is there anything like 1 step down thats a little cheaper but still functions well with a 57 or 58?


2) How much better does the 57 sound with the new transformer?
Old 5th August 2008
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Docmattic's Avatar
 

It sounds more like an sm7 than an sm57. Just read the reviews around here and you will see that the sm7 is a highly respected mic. You can also get it the upgrade for the sm58 but it costs more.

SM57 Microphone with TAB-Funkenwerk Transformer


Mercinary audio only carry good gear.
Old 5th August 2008
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Black Seal's Avatar
 

Let's see....

You dont' have an interface, but what kind of computer do you have? If you have a Mac then get an Apogee Duet and a Shure SM58 or Beta 58. The interface matters quite a lot as it will provide conversion as well as mic pres(depending on the unit). That would be a good place to start. DO NOT buy a condenser with an untreated room, period.
Old 6th August 2008
  #26
Gear Head
 

Im on PC. I wont be using the interface preamps if I get a preamp will I? I have spend more on what matters more due to my budget. You tell me whats more important lol. Im pretty sure pre.

What about a Presonus Eureka mic preamp with an upgraded jenson transformer. I can get one for 350.

Old 6th August 2008
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
termtables's Avatar
 

I used the Trakmaster Pro for a year. I got some good results by not using it for anything other than a preamp. No eq or compression. I used it with the baby bottle mic.

I had a client by the Presonus Eureka for his home studio and he uses the AT4040. Pretty solid combo IMO. It also has an eq and comp.
Old 6th August 2008
  #28
Gear Head
 

Does the sm57 being a dynamic need a ****load of db?
Old 6th August 2008
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Docmattic's Avatar
 

more importantly, what will you be plugging in your preamp into when you get it?

and is a duet only compadible with a mac?
Old 6th August 2008
  #30
Gear Head
 

il be plugging it into what ever interface I get... Or do I have the whole concept wrong lol.
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