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I'm definitely underwhelmed
Old 30th August 2010
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eganmedia View Post
It seems when when talking about abstract qualities of various mic preamps, people talk as if they are as different as oil and water. As soon as someone claims they can't hear the difference between them, apologists come out of the woodwork saying the differences are too subtle to hear easily, yet still relevant as hell.

I have owned everything from cheap a cheap Mackie 1202 to API, Grace, Avalon, Manley,Crane Song And Great River. The real difference I can hear is the amount of available gain without noise. That's about it. Yes there are some small qualitative differences, but until I sold my D&R console last spring, it's onboard mic amps were my go-to preamps. I hear immense differences between mics. I hear huge differences between speakers and EQs and compressors. How mic preamps ended up with the same kind of clout is beyond me. I agonize over mic choice and placement, instrument and instrument placement in the room. I hear frequency anomolies in certain areas in my control room. I have a lot of outboard compressors I am sure I could identify in A/B tests with others. But as far as I'm concerned, a mic preamp pretty much either works or or it doesn't. If I have to stack ten tracks before I notice the difference, there is no practical difference. I'll mitigate the difference with mic choice or placement.

People spend thousands of dollars on esoteric mic amps for studios with $500 monitors. It's the biggest case of Emporors New Clothes I know of. Anyone here read the thread from earlier this summer comparing a cheap ART preamp with a polythousand dollar Great River? It was embarrassing how many people rushed to fault the test (the poster used two different takes- like you would in a real session if you were auditioning mic preamps) once the results went up.

There are certain mic amps (V72s and V76s come to mind) that have a truly distinctive sound. The vast majority are, to my ears, minor variations on the same thing. A mic signal can be brought up line level with low distortion, low noise, in a fast and transparent way with a very inexpensive IC op-amp design. I'd bet my left nut I could run a U87 and an SM57 throug a Mackie 8bus preamp and a Millenia Media preamp and nearly everyone here could reliably pick the mic, and nearly everyone here could not reliably pick the preamp.

Ask me how I feel about the idea of spending big bucks on a master clock for a 003 rig with crappy monitors in an untreated listening room.

Sorry for the rant.
I hear a lot of poo-poo'ing of Mackie desks here. I certainly didn't pay radio shack prices for mine.. and frankly it doesn't sound like it either. I've made awesome recordings with my 1604. It's been a real mystery to me why so many posts on GS bad-mouth Mackie. Maybe they export all their good gear?
I have a Ted Fletcher designed JoeMeek VC1, which sounds great. It sounds different to the Mackie, sure.. but I have no hesitation tracking through the Mackie . . . until that is, I read a bunch of bad-mouthing of Mackie on GS and I have to wonder, "Is there something to this?" I believe the performance, the passion and playing, the engineering, room, mix and monitoring environments have all lead to greater differences in my completed product than the pre-amps I use.
Having said that, I do want to buy another pre-amp and see if suddenly my eyes are opened. If they don't, I'll be sure to follow Marshall's lead...
Old 30th August 2010
  #32
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Roland's Avatar
It's easy for people to knock Mackies and alike and most of it comes from those who really just don't know. Whilst I would be the first to say that they are hardly esoteric, a lot of good work has been done by many people over the years using such equipment. As pointed out above there are many sitting in bedroom studio's with 2 bit systems sticking very expensive, collectible valve mic's through supposedly top line mic amps. I replied to a thread not long ago where someone was using a "modern" valve pre-amp, "extolling" it's "wonderful" virtues, the amusing thing is that particular pre has always had a reputation amongst those in the know for being a total POS. More people here, should engage ears, before mouth.

Regards


Roland
Old 30th August 2010
  #33
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Underwhelmed when replacing you preamp......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eganmedia View Post

I have owned everything from cheap a cheap Mackie 1202 to API, Grace, Avalon, Manley,Crane Song And Great River. The real difference I can hear is the amount of available gain without noise. That's about it. Yes there are some small qualitative differences....... But as far as I'm concerned, a mic preamp pretty much either works or or it doesn't. If I have to stack ten tracks before I notice the difference, there is no practical difference. I'll mitigate the difference with mic choice or placement...
Sorry for the rant.
So i've been giving this some thought cause I think this is a pretty poignent (read true, IMHO) statement. If someone was recording a track using Mackie preamps and they recorded the drums "recorder-man style" (3 tracks), added bass (1 track) then some guitar (2-3 tracks) and then used the remianing tracks for vocals (let's say 3 tracks). That=10 tracks total, and they are really trying to have a minimalist approach. They should be able to get just as good results (provided good mic placement etc., etc.) as someone doing the same with Millenia preamps right?

I say this because I hear folks saying quite often after the shocking results of shootouts between inexpensive pres and high end pres, "you only hear the difference when you stack 10+ tracks." I'm just curious as to what you Slutz feel about that?

I just wonder about this one because personally, I'd look at whatever's in front of the mic...or the mic...or the mic placement...or the room treatment, before I'd even think about the preamp. No flames please....I'm just proposing a thought that can be discussed....or not.


Old 30th August 2010
  #34
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Those were the good old days
it's a long time to wait just to bump a thread that "suks" heh
Old 30th August 2010
  #35
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
the amusing thing is that particular pre has always had a reputation amongst those in the know for being a total POS. More people here, should engage ears, before mouth.

Regards


Roland

what preamp was that? Im interested! I guess that wasn't on this forum then?

It seems that the mackie hate is borne more out of ignorance/herd mentality than any real issue with the product. I find it all a bit ridiculous.
Old 30th August 2010
  #36
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
a lot of good work has been done by many people over the years using such equipment.
it's not that the work isn't good, it's that it could sound much better
using a better quality console

for some people good, is not good enough
Old 30th August 2010
  #37
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
it's not that the work isn't good, it's that it could sound much better
using a better quality console

for some people good, is not good enough

I'd say that is far more subjective than most people would choose to believe.

One thing that all great sounding records records always have in common are good musical performances. A great vocalist on a 58 will sound wonderful, a local hack on a Valve 47 will still sound like a hack.

Regards

Roland
Old 30th August 2010
  #38
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
A great vocalist on a 58 will sound wonderful, a local hack on a Valve 47 will still sound like a hack.
Oh if I had a dime...This trite truism is trotted out here every single week, yet it never can negate the possibility that the great vocalist on the great mic will sound even better than wonderful.

For that matter the hack vocalist, on the better mic will probably also experience some improvement. Possibly even an improvement in his performance as he hears himself in an ideal manner for perhaps the first time in his life!
Old 30th August 2010
  #39
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
I've heard so much about getting better preamps to increase sound quality, but this whole experience has put a damper on my spirits.
Welcome to the real world of honest people with honest ears. The dream is over. Spring is come.
Old 30th August 2010
  #40
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Oh if I had a dime...This trite truism is trotted out here every single week, yet it never can negate the possibility that the great vocalist on the great mic will sound even better than wonderful.

For that matter the hack vocalist, on the better mic will probably also experience some improvement. Possibly even an improvement in his performance as he hears himself in an ideal manner for perhaps the first time in his life!

Perhaps I'm overstating, it a little, but it's the fundamental principle that is being missed here. I was in the pub about a month ago with Phil Brown (engineer/producer, Talk Talk, Stones Beggers Banquet, Dido etc), and we were discussing the principle questions that everyone asks. We joked about the most common question he get's asked, "how do you get that great Dido vocal sound?" to which the answer is, get Dido to sing it.

I've done many sessions where sound quality improved, purely by the way the musicians played a particular take.

Mackie mic pre's, were the particular item that came in for a lot of disdain. I think it is fair to say they do have a slight characteristic all their own, possibly down to their own slightly individual design. Many other mic amps share very similar components and design elements and possibly they all sound a little much of a muchness. The fact that many engineers/producers, with widely differing views about gear, mixing, eq settings, compression, all can make great sounding records, proves, beyond reasonable doubt that there is no magic formula. If that was the case, how come the market isn't, all of a sudden, flooded with all the best sounding records ever made? great performances and recordings tend to happen almost by chance, tweaking around can lead to a lack of spontaneity, this in itself can be a killer for performance. Most gear made today is capable of at least reasonable performance. Unless what you are using is truly rubbish, if the results aren't happening, you need to start blaming something else.

Roland
Old 30th August 2010
  #41
I was recently tracking drums and couldn't get the kick drum sound I want. Then I noticed that the meter on the preamp I intended for the kick mic to be going through wasn't moving. Turns out the second patched it into the wrong preamp and that's what was making me unhappy.

I pointed that out, he repatched it to the right preamp and I smiled.

If you can't hear the differences between preamps on a single source, fine. Just don't suggest that the difference isn't really that noticeable until you have 10+ layers. To some people it is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
So i've been giving this some thought cause I think this is a pretty poignent (read true, IMHO) statement. If someone was recording a track using Mackie preamps and they recorded the drums "recorder-man style" (3 tracks), added bass (1 track) then some guitar (2-3 tracks) and then used the remianing tracks for vocals (let's say 3 tracks). That=10 tracks total, and they are really trying to have a minimalist approach. They should be able to get just as good results (provided good mic placement etc., etc.) as someone doing the same with Millenia preamps right?

I say this because I hear folks saying quite often after the shocking results of shootouts between inexpensive pres and high end pres, "you only hear the difference when you stack 10+ tracks." I'm just curious as to what you Slutz feel about that?

I just wonder about this one because personally, I'd look at whatever's in front of the mic...or the mic...or the mic placement...or the room treatment, before I'd even think about the preamp. No flames please....I'm just proposing a thought that can be discussed....or not.


Old 30th August 2010
  #42
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall Simmons View Post
I received my Ward beck modules from dave thomas (the 460's) and i had a vocal session with that and the aea ribbon mic. I didn't hear a difference between the ward beck and the macke 24-8 i used before on the ribbon.

Is it me? are my ears just not tuned to the differences between preamps. Could it be the monitors aren't transparent enough to tell the difference? (tannoy's)

Its odd because i can definitely hear the difference between mics, and i can hear the difference between different sets of monitors. But not preamps. I've heard so much about getting better preamps to increase sound quality, but this whole experience has put a damper on my spirits. To a certain degree, i'm hoping that its my ears, because the difference will be there, but at the same time, i don't like the idea that my ears aren't refined enough to hear the difference.

What do you think
Marsh
what EXACTLY are you monitoring thru?

if you're using the WB preamps and still monitoring thru the Mackie, youre gonna hear more mackie than WB.... i went thru this years ago when i determined that my mackie 32/8 desk introduced so much BS into the audio that i could NOT make important distinctions like this...

setup some way to bypass the smackie
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