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Hip Hop Mic preamp help. Condenser Microphones
Old 30th August 2008
  #1
Gear Head
 

Hip Hop Mic preamp help.

Hey all.

I am on a tight budget here and have decided that I am going to cheap out on the mic (get a sm57) and interface (planning on getting the cheapest usb one possible) and spend a little bit more on the preamp.

I was leaning towards the FMR RNP as the preamp. What do you guys/girls think about this. Again, this is ONLY going to be used for rap vocals. Is there any other preamps better than this in this price range or cheaper that are better for my use? Also, does the interface play a big role because I was thinking on just getting a real cheap USB one.

Also, I dont have a treated room. Its a smallish room with carpet. Ceilings are low. No echo and all that.

Thanks a lot people.
Old 30th August 2008
  #2
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
Hey all.

I am on a tight budget here and have decided that I am going to cheap out on the mic (get a sm57) and interface (planning on getting the cheapest usb one possible) and spend a little bit more on the preamp.

I was leaning towards the FMR RNP as the preamp. What do you guys/girls think about this. Again, this is ONLY going to be used for rap vocals. Is there any other preamps better than this in this price range or cheaper that are better for my use? Also, does the interface play a big role because I was thinking on just getting a real cheap USB one.

Also, I dont have a treated room. Its a smallish room with carpet. Ceilings are low. No echo and all that.

Thanks a lot people.
Your mic is more important ...not your pre.
get a Shure SM7b and a Focusrite Twin Track Pro and youll be just fine.
Whats your DAW?
Old 30th August 2008
  #3
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Lipps's Avatar
 

IMHO I think the preamp is more important than the mic. Well.... they are both important. I've for sure heard of Bono singing with a 58 and I'm 1000% sure it was thru a high quality pre. Never heard anyone use a u87 with a $300 pre. So if you have a 57 I might look at the pre more closely. Again IMO

Also it sounds like you are just starting to gather things and get equipment together. You should think about purchasing gear that you will keep. Ideally you would want A strong mic, pre and converters. So get an affordable pre that you would keep like the RNP or the "brick". Even if you buy a 1073 down the line you'll still have a place for the brick. Not the focusrite as much.

As far as your interface/converters. I would say never get the cheapest of anything especially converters. Do some searches on hear and see what people are thinking and saying about interface xyz in your price range. research, research, research. And when you think you know, research a little more. That's the best way to get great bang for your buck.

I think most importantly don't look at these as purchases. Look at them at investments. You should get good use out of every piece and when the time comes if you want/have to unload it for bigger and better you can get most of what you paid for it back.
Old 30th August 2008
  #4
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Talk to any real engineer and they will tell you that the mic is more important , as its the first link in the recording chain.
Old 30th August 2008
  #5
Gear Addict
 

...and many engineers will record great vocals in the control room with a 57 !! and for certain vocals and i think depending on the color and power of the rap vocals,its 80% sure to sound brilliant and blend well..![good in a boxy untreated room]You have to watch the budget so you are not going to go for API etc...But you might want to indeed get something good enough that you will keep..I have made impulse buys when i should have saved or waited and that included a trackmaster pro!! which is still good value but it soon stayed switched off as the pres in the interface/converters were a touch better..!
For very good pres for not too much money think..
Audient mico..
Sytec
DAV
Mackie onyx
Or think of a half decent interface/pres unit,perhaps secondhand fireface or the TC stuff..
Good luck..
Old 30th August 2008
  #6
Gear Head
 

thx for the feedback so far. Im still lost thought lol.

What if I were to just go for a semi good interface/preamp for now? Bad or good choice?

Like I said my budget is 700 max for everything. That being said, Im obviously not looking for studio quality at this point. I just want something that sounds a lot better than my crappy USB mic.
Old 31st August 2008
  #7
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
thx for the feedback so far. Im still lost thought lol.

What if I were to just go for a semi good interface/preamp for now? Bad or good choice?

Like I said my budget is 700 max for everything. That being said, Im obviously not looking for studio quality at this point. I just want something that sounds a lot better than my crappy USB mic.
Just make certain that your preamp has a variable impedence control.

You must match the mic impedence with the pre.
Most noobs arent aware of tihs very important aspect of mic and pre combos.
Old 31st August 2008
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Just make certain that your preamp has a variable impedence control.

You must match the mic impedence with the pre.
Most noobs arent aware of tihs very important aspect of mic and pre combos.
that's a good point ... i read some nice articles on the subject but i'm still confused. matching the mic's imp. with the preamp's input imp. will result in a 6db signal loss. accodring to shure this is generally acceptable, but others say that it might cause unpreditcable behaviour of the mic ...ie different freq. response or even distortion. there is another article on rane's website saying that matching the sensitivity (max. mic voltage output vs max pre input voltage) is more important.

in general, impedance bridging is recommended rather matching, which means the input imp. being 5-10 times the output imp. of the mic. this way there's no signal loss and the microphone delivers maximum voltage to the preamp.

but i'm still confused ... what happens to the signal if we have a lower ratio? is it just the level loss? my mic has 100ohm and is connected to a pre with 330ohm input impedance. i'm wondering if this is the reason for the poor results i'm getting

a few links
Selecting Mic Preamps
Impedance Matching of Audio Components
shure

BTW how many low-end pres have variable input impedance, i can recall joemeek 3q ... any others?
Old 31st August 2008
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Trust me on this...
DONT WASTE MONEY ON BUDGET EQUIPMENT!
You will just find yourslf making another budget purchase in 30 days..

Get a Great River Pre..and a good vocal mic and you will save yourself hours of recording time..money and piece of mind..
Old 31st August 2008
  #10
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Lipps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaotic1200 View Post
Trust me on this...
DONT WASTE MONEY ON BUDGET EQUIPMENT!
You will just find yourslf making another budget purchase in 30 days..

Get a Great River Pre..and a good vocal mic and you will save yourself hours of recording time..money and piece of mind..
words of wisdom right there! I'm sure a lot of us in the past have spent money on mediocre gear because of budget. Wait another month and get a Great River. That with the 57 will be a real strong combo for hip hop. Plus you can use the Great river to track keys and mpc etc....
Old 31st August 2008
  #11
Gear Addict
 

budget and proper start system options..

Its simple in that you can get a good mid priced interface with usable pres like the RME fireface 400 ,Apogee duet,TC konnect stuff, perhaps MOTU ..Out of those i can 100% recommend RME..Reliable,versatile and has decent sound before getting into more costly 'higher end' interfaces/converters..So then you have a very capable system with lots of connection possibilities,pre amps and line ins..This will be capable of fantastic results to get on with the music..With a 57 and/or perhaps a good budget condenser to start off with{cad179,SE 2200a etc etc..}..
I would say start this way and then you could say start a lunchbox 500 system in the future or buy a dual pre with dig out like the API AD2 pre..With a good basic system you can keep it and smoothly build around it but ...if say you get a really cheap interface,budget pres etc etc..you will replace everything apart from the 57 and waist time,money etc...
Old 31st August 2008
  #12
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by miner View Post
that's a good point ... i read some nice articles on the subject but i'm still confused. matching the mic's imp. with the preamp's input imp. will result in a 6db signal loss. accodring to shure this is generally acceptable, but others say that it might cause unpreditcable behaviour of the mic ...ie different freq. response or even distortion. there is another article on rane's website saying that matching the sensitivity (max. mic voltage output vs max pre input voltage) is more important.

in general, impedance bridging is recommended rather matching, which means the input imp. being 5-10 times the output imp. of the mic. this way there's no signal loss and the microphone delivers maximum voltage to the preamp.

but i'm still confused ... what happens to the signal if we have a lower ratio? is it just the level loss? my mic has 100ohm and is connected to a pre with 330ohm input impedance. i'm wondering if this is the reason for the poor results i'm getting

a few links
Selecting Mic Preamps
Impedance Matching of Audio Components
shure

BTW how many low-end pres have variable input impedance, i can recall joemeek 3q ... any others?
Focusrite Twin Track pro has impedence matching.
I happen to like the unit,but some have not.....I guess because its not "expensive"...as some judge a unit by its price, which is "bollocks"
Old 31st August 2008
  #13
Dor
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Dor's Avatar
How can you tell if you have an impedance mismatch?

D
Old 31st August 2008
  #14
Still haven't found a combo yet? I was searching for the old clips I posted for someone else & realized it was you I posted the clips for.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/rap-h...-preamp-2.html
For anyone else.
Old 1st September 2008
  #15
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Focusrite Twin Track pro has impedence matching.
I happen to like the unit,but some have not.....I guess because its not "expensive"...as some judge a unit by its price, which is "bollocks"
IMVHO the Focusrite Twin Track Pro sucks ass for hip hop. Tried coping with it for one project and I'd never do it again. Not that it isn't usable, but there are more appropriate pres out there for doing the job as far as my tastes are concerned. For hip hop I would say you dont want to go any less or anywhere else by that matter than an RNP or Brick if you are on a tight budget. Those two pres are very well rounded, and you will keep them. Ideally you will want to go no less than a Great River, but hey not everyone has deep enough pockets for that.
Old 1st September 2008
  #16
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Your mic is more important ...not your pre.
get a Shure SM7b and a Focusrite Twin Track Pro and youll be just fine.
Whats your DAW?
I agree with this. IMO, matching up your artists with the right mic choice is more critical than what preamp you are using. Although, I still think preamp choice plays a close second in regards to complimenting your mic choice.
Old 1st September 2008
  #17
Gear Head
 

ok there is an update on my budget. It was around 700 before, then it went down a lot, now i have 600 to spend.

I believe I am going to get a cheap mic for now, and get a mid level pre.

I was thinking:

Mic:
AT3035 ( found one in canada with stand, cables and pop filter for 140, gonna bargain tho)
Or AKG Perception 200 (locally as well 170)


Pre:

Either RNP, brick, or grace 101 if I can find it real cheap. (unless you have other opinions) Which do you reccomend? Brick is cheaper and is a tube which I hear is good for rap due to warmth. RNP is more expensive and I dont necessarily need the extra channel.

Interface: I need suggestions, I will be almost out of money after mic and pre.

Is there anything special I need to know about these preamps in regards to wiring?

Let me know what you think.
Old 1st September 2008
  #18
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tonymission's Avatar
 

i think that you need more money.

not tryna be a wiseguy but including an interface in that range and trying to cram it in 600? sounds like you're gonna be comin back asking us about some "super plugins" to make you sound decent

too bad you dont have a mac... duet + the mic and you're good to go for anything in that range.

flip that 600 a couple times and you're straight lol
Old 1st September 2008
  #19
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
ok there is an update on my budget. It was around 700 before, then it went down a lot, now i have 600 to spend.

I believe I am going to get a cheap mic for now, and get a mid level pre.

I was thinking:

Mic:
AT3035 ( found one in canada with stand, cables and pop filter for 140, gonna bargain tho)
Or AKG Perception 200 (locally as well 170)


Pre:

Either RNP, brick, or grace 101 if I can find it real cheap. (unless you have other opinions) Which do you reccomend? Brick is cheaper and is a tube which I hear is good for rap due to warmth. RNP is more expensive and I dont necessarily need the extra channel.

Interface: I need suggestions, I will be almost out of money after mic and pre.

Is there anything special I need to know about these preamps in regards to wiring?

Let me know what you think.
If I had to give you a suggestion based on the information you provided, I would say

AKG perception 200 - $119.99
Buy AKG Perception 200 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Mic online at Musician's Friend

The Brick - $399.00
Buy Groove Tubes DI and Preamp online at Musician's Friend

M-Audio Fast Track USB b-stock - $79.99
Buy M-Audio Fast Track USB Computer Recording Interface at Musician's Friend

All that would keep you under 600 before taxes, so its in you range.

I don't know what level of music you hope to be recording with gear in this range, but it will beat recording with a computer anyday.

Who knows? Depending on how good you get with things, you could very well make it work for recording decent demo tracks.
Old 1st September 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
ok there is an update on my budget. It was around 700 before, then it went down a lot, now i have 600 to spend.

I believe I am going to get a cheap mic for now, and get a mid level pre.

I was thinking:

Mic:
AT3035 ( found one in canada with stand, cables and pop filter for 140, gonna bargain tho)
Or AKG Perception 200 (locally as well 170)


Pre:

Either RNP, brick, or grace 101 if I can find it real cheap. (unless you have other opinions) Which do you reccomend? Brick is cheaper and is a tube which I hear is good for rap due to warmth. RNP is more expensive and I dont necessarily need the extra channel.

Interface: I need suggestions, I will be almost out of money after mic and pre.

Is there anything special I need to know about these preamps in regards to wiring?

Let me know what you think.
I asked you before but didnt get an answer.
What kind of DAW are you using??
Old 1st September 2008
  #21
Gear Head
 

I dont have anything. I started with this crappy USB .006 MXL mic and my laptop. Im not looking for studio quality and I know a lot of you guys have really high standards which is understandable but as long as this setup will sound quite a bit better than that ****ty usb mic im happy. Im just looking to get presentable and clear songs out of it and obviously in the future I will upgrade but right now 600 is all I have. Im going into university and cant afford to triple this 600 and spend 1800 lol.

So you think the AKG is better than the at3035? I havent heard any info on that mic. is there a good preamp/interface in one that I can put all the preamp and interface money into that is good?
Old 1st September 2008
  #22
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
So you think the AKG is better than the at3035? I havent heard any info on that mic.
Not neccessarly. I would have suggested the AT3035 instead of the AKG Perception 200 if the AT3035 wouldn't put you more over budget in regards to the prices quoated on that website.

They both fair equally well in that price range, and you really cant go wrong making a choice between the two. The AT3035 is a bit more neutral sounding than the AKG, making it a bit more versatile, but whether that matters or not will depend on how much different artists you plan on recording with your setup.
Old 1st September 2008
  #23
Gear Head
 

Stupid me, I cant believe I didnt specify.

This is for me only. Its a personal home project. I am only using this for male hip hop vocals. I just dont know whether to spend the money on a preamp now, or just get an interface/preamp and hold off on the preamp.

Any preamp/interface combo worth looking at instead of a preamp? Or will the quality really be lacking without the help of the brick/rnp? (EM-U 0404 USB?)

How much better do you think the 3035 plus the emu would be than my **** USB mic?
Old 1st September 2008
  #24
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
is there a good preamp/interface in one that I can put all the preamp and interface money into that is good?
Yes there is. You luck out better with this option.

I would suggest one of the following:

FP10 (or Firepod 10) - $399.99
Buy PreSonus FP10 10x10 FireWire Interface (Firepod) online at Musician's Friend

E-MU 1616M PCI - $449.99
Buy E-Mu 1616M PCI Digital Audio System online at Musician's Friend

Focusrite Saffire - $399.99
Buy Focusrite Saffire / Audio-Technica Recording Package at Musician's Friend


For your particular situation, trying to get it "all in one" will be more budget efficient and convenient. As far as these 3 interfaces are concerned, you will now have the possibility of making quality sounding music, dependant on your skill level.
Old 1st September 2008
  #25
Gear Head
 

Thanks for your quick responses its greatly appreciated.

I like the choices, but the only thing is, my laptop doesnt seem to be firewire compatible, thats why I was looking at USB interfaces. But I now know that firewire is more stable. Is there an easy/cheap way around this?

thanks again.
Old 1st September 2008
  #26
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
Stupid me, I cant believe I didnt specify.

This is for me only. Its a personal home project. I am only using this for male hip hop vocals. I just dont know whether to spend the money on a preamp now, or just get an interface/preamp and hold off on the preamp.

Any preamp/interface combo worth looking at instead of a preamp? Or will the quality really be lacking without the help of the brick/rnp? (EM-U 0404 USB?)

How much better do you think the 3035 plus the emu would be than my **** USB mic?
A LOT BETTER! lol

I dont know how good the pres are on the E-MU 0404, but the converters used in all their E-MU products seem to hold up well for their price points, which is a plus.

A good external pre will always be the better choice over using typical onboard pres built into an interface. Your choice here is going to be between getting an external pre and using a ****ty interface, or getting a good interface and leaving the external pre until later.
Old 1st September 2008
  #27
Gear Head
 

I think the smart choice for now is what you suggested. Get a good interface now, that way when I upgrade my preamp I can keep the interface and have a more solid setup.

I now know for the laptop I have to buy a PCMCIA card? to allow firewire capability. There are so many different ones, do you know anything about this?

Or are USB interfaces fine, because I know there are a lot to choose from.
Old 1st September 2008
  #28
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
my laptop doesnt seem to be firewire compatible, thats why I was looking at USB interfaces.
Ahh, my bad, I missed that point. Another option you have then could be something like this:

E-MU 1616M PCMCIA
E-MU 1616M from zZounds.com!

If you can still find one for purchase it would be a great option.

If not the E-MU 0404 USB would be a great second choice.
Emu 0404 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface from zZounds.com!

If its specs tell us close to the whole truth of how good a product this could be, you should be very happy with that purchase.
Old 1st September 2008
  #29
Gear Head
 

thanks. I have a lot of options now.

So you wouldnt reccomend going firewire? cause that saffire was looking nice, I just dont know how much it would cost to make the laptop firewire compatible because the E-MU 1616M PCMCIA is around 700
Old 1st September 2008
  #30
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazedout View Post
I now know for the laptop I have to buy a PCMCIA card? to allow firewire capability. There are so many different ones, do you know anything about this?

Or are USB interfaces fine, because I know there are a lot to choose from.
I haven't really dealt with PCMCIA firewire adapters before, so I don't have the best idea of what brand of card to go with.

I did find a link to something that seems legit though:
Sabrent SBT-PCA4 USB 2.0 & Firewire PCMCIA Combo CardBus with USB Power Cable in Canada at TigerDirect.ca

For the type of recording I think you will be doing, USB interfaces are fine. If you intend to push a larger number of tracks at a time though, a PCMCIA interface like the 1616M or a firewire interface would give you better performance. You would probably get lower latencies as well.
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