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Old 2nd August 2018
Lives for gear

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.