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Upgrading mic or pre's worth it with cheap interface?
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Upgrading mic or pre's worth it with cheap interface?

Hi guys!

So I want to upgrade my home studio. I have decent mic (Rode NTK with the tube switched) and a pair of CM4's. My interface is the Scarlett 2i4 second gen. Now I have some money to spent and I want to buy a high end mic, maybe a good pre amp as well. Do you think that makes sense even if I have this cheap Scarlett? Or do you guys think I should upgrade my interface first before I start spending money on the other stuff? I kind off adopted the mentality of buy once cry once, so whatever I'm replacing I want it to be something I can keep forever.

So for example would it be stupid to buy an U87 and lets say a BAE 1073 running through a Scarlett? I don't need a lot of inputs, so would something like a mid range priced interface like the RME Babyface pro be sufficient and a keeper?

Thanks for helping out!
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billenius View Post
Hi guys!

So I want to upgrade my home studio. I have decent mic (Rode NTK with the tube switched) and a pair of CM4's. My interface is the Scarlett 2i4 second gen. Now I have some money to spent and I want to buy a high end mic, maybe a good pre amp as well. Do you think that makes sense even if I have this cheap Scarlett? Or do you guys think I should upgrade my interface first before I start spending money on the other stuff? I kind off adopted the mentality of buy once cry once, so whatever I'm replacing I want it to be something I can keep forever.

So for example would it be stupid to buy an U87 and lets say a BAE 1073 running through a Scarlett? I don't need a lot of inputs, so would something like a mid range priced interface like the RME Babyface pro be sufficient and a keeper?

Thanks for helping out!
I would first spend that kind of money on a better preamp.

I personally love the Neve Portico 5024 and the UA 4-710d but those are very pricey. Unsure of your budget but these are some of the best you can get for a 4 input preamp.

The Warm Audio WA-412 is a bit cheaper and also includes built in DI's but I personally have not used this one.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Well, I'd say the opposite - in the real world the pre hardly matters as the days of terrible sounding pre's are pretty much gone - 95% of the time in modern mixes with heavily saturated vocals it's hard enough to hear the mic let alone the pre-amp! In high gain clean recordings, jazz or whatever, a good pre will make difference - but even then, it's too subtle for most people to notice - okay, when a/b'ing pres, there might be a bias towards the "good" pre-amp - but any modern budget pre won't prevent a hit record becoming a hit record! Mics have a much bigger influence on the sound - but then so does basic engineering techniques, the singer's mic technique - the room! If you're having to crank up the gain for ribbon or some dynamic mics - it might be worth buying a pre over another mic alternative - but you're not struggling with gain with your condenser.

Don't waste your money on pres unless you're honest enough with yourself that you just want a really nice pre - which is fine, we all like nice gear but it isn't going to transform your recordings. Poor engineering or a bad room can make a £15K vocal chain sound bad. Your gear is unlikely to be limiting the quality of your recordings early on in your "recording career". Is your recording space treated? That will have a bigger impact than a mic or a pre combined.
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
scrubs's Avatar
 

1. Room acoustics
2. Monitors
3. Mics
4. Comps/EQ
5. Preamps
6. Converters

In that order.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the replies all! Yes I've treated my room acoustics a lot, still it's far from perfect, but I really can't treat it more then I have. And I think my monitors, Adam A7X's, are pretty good.

I always here a lot of people say gear doesn't matter, a hit is a hit, but I can't imagine some of my favourite mixed songs where recorded by Rode Nt1-a's...
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubs View Post
1. Room acoustics
2. Monitors
3. Mics
4. Comps/EQ
5. Preamps
6. Converters

In that order.
Nice! And how important and big would you say these relations are? For example, even though the mic is on number 3, would you say a good pre amp would make a lot of difference even if you had a really good mic already? As if the mic needs a good pre amp to shine so to speak.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
scrubs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billenius View Post
Nice! And how important and big would you say these relations are? For example, even though the mic is on number 3, would you say a good pre amp would make a lot of difference even if you had a really good mic already? As if the mic needs a good pre amp to shine so to speak.
Depends on the mic but, overall, differences between preamps are subtle. With dynamic mics it can make more of a difference.
Old 5 days ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 
Ken Lusk's Avatar
 

I think any serious upgrade you make in the tracking chain can be a potential game changer for the individual. Upgrading from a low end mic pre to a high end mic pre breathes new life into your mic locker and inherently changes the decisions you make when engineering. The effect is the same when you introduce a quality mic into your locker. Think about how your game changed when you stepped up to 24 bit capture from 16 bit. The same goes for upgrading to a high quality interface. These things affect the engineering decisions you make when tracking and hopefully your skills evolve.

If you're lucky enough to have a lot of money, you can do it all at once. If not, you take it one or two steps at a time.

Maybe buy a high quality mic pre and then see how you like the mic's you already have. If you still want a higher end mic then go for it.

As far as your 2i4 goes, I always felt the Scarlett boxes colored and muddied my external pre's a lot more than I was comfortable with. When I upgraded to an Audient box I thought my external pre's sounded unfettered/less colored. RME interfaces are also super capable of course.

Maybe take it one step at a time to find out the most effective way to spend your money.
Old 5 days ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubs View Post
1. Room acoustics
2. Monitors
3. Mics
4. Comps/EQ
5. Preamps
6. Converters

In that order.
When buying a new home we say location, location, location.

When upgrading our mics and preamps we say performance, performance, performance.

Old 4 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Yeah, it's worth it. I've a 2i4 in the radio studio at work, and a mic or preamp swap out makes 1000 times more difference than if I was to put in a new, more expensive front end. I'm just now installing a new Arrakis board, and its built-in USB interface card module that I'll be using is probably about the same level quality as the 2i4, and I'm not sweating it.

Always good practice to use the best stuff you can afford, but resources must be allocated intelligently. Upgrade the interface when you need to, and when you can afford it.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubs View Post
1. Room acoustics
2. Monitors
3. Mics
4. Comps/EQ
5. Preamps
6. Converters

In that order.
I’d personally swap 5 and 6 without hesitation.

OP, I think upgrading your pre and maybe mic would yield enough difference to make it worth it. Upgrade the interface later when it’s in the budget.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
Gear Head
 

Thanks guys. New mic and pre amp it is!
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