The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Decent Mic and GOOD Preamp, or GOOD Mic and Decent Preamp? Condenser Microphones
Old 22nd March 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Decent Mic and GOOD Preamp, or GOOD Mic and Decent Preamp?

PEACE! in y'all slutty opions (lol) what would you suggest. i have a Shure KSM27 going into a Studio Projects VTB-1... going into a Fast Track Pro. Going to make an upgrade soon... Now the age old question, would i be better off getting a new microphone (AT4047, AKG 214, or Shure KSM44) OR getting a better preamp (Grace 101 or True P-Solo).... Which will make a bigger difference FOR NOW?? I plan on upgrading both SOONER than LATER, but they will be seperated by at the very least a few months. So, i wanna get the best sound i can NOW, until i can get upgraded on both ends of the spectrum. if it makes any difference, i have a Primacoustic Flexibooth and a few gobos set up in the room. pretty decent for recording in. Any input is appreciated. P.E.A.C.E & Bless!!

-Frantik
Old 22nd March 2010
  #2
Gear Head
 

clarification

Yeah peace back.. Give us a budget and perhaps an idea of what type of mic you are after ..ie large condenser or a small condenser/pencil,big or small dynamic or even a ribbon ...? what sort of texture are you after and what are you not happy with at present...
Old 22nd March 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
your mic is workable and your preamp is very low end so i say pre. a sm57 is even workable on anything even vocal and in some cases i preffer it. i like to use a sm7b as my first go to a lot of the time. on something that low end of a pre i think another mic than the other one you have will not make a huge difference as the pre would. with that setup i don't think getting another mic is going to do anymore than give you a different flavor. you obviously want impovement and better clearer sound so go with the pre.

point in case i had a $100 preamp and a sm57. i took the same 57 and added a great river and it was night and day with the sm57. a good preamp can take a shure mic like you already have and make it very very pro. the sm7b sounds awesome on a great river nice pre ect. but on a low end pre it does not shine as much. imo spending more on a mic with that setup is NOT going to make it smoother and clearer just different. now if we were talking a behringer or cad mic that's low end that's different!
Old 22nd March 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
There is a fine line. but when you think about it. $100 buys more than a decent mic. So I go with preamp here, since everyone has a decent mic, it's the sm57. A mic is only 'more' important if you don't have one or don't have a good one. But again a good one can be had for next to nothing$. A 57 into a neve 1073 is going to sound a hell of a lot better than a u87 into a Behringer pre. Everyone knows that. Same with condensers, a cheaper ksm mic is going to sound great through a solid pre. Is a $2500 mic going to sound great through a 1202? Do a test and find out. I don' t think it will sound as good as the first combo
Old 22nd March 2010
  #5
Registered User
 

The vtb-1 is a fine preamp. The ksm 27 is a fine microphone.

How's about posting some clips of your results so far?
A little sound goes a long way...
Old 22nd March 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Turdadactyl's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
A 57 into a neve 1073 is going to sound a hell of a lot better than a u87 into a Behringer pre. Everyone knows that.
That's a pretty darn good contender for sig quote material.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
The vtb-1 is a fine preamp. The ksm 27 is a fine microphone.

How's about posting some clips of your results so far?
A little sound goes a long way...
i wouldn't say it a fine preamp next to a api, neve, grace, great river ect in the $600+ range. it is better than a stock pre on a cheapy interface that's for sure.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
The quality of a pre makes such a difference in the performance you get from the mic IMO. For instance, some people might describe a 4033 as being a little gritty, too bright, tight on the bottom but "not much there", etc. But the problem is the pre, not the mic. Plug that 4033 into something that handles transients faster, has less harmonic distortion, and is a little more transparent and voila!, you're really hearing now the true capabilities of the 4033. Upgrading your pre gives new life to your existing mic locker.

Like slaphappy said, the ksm27 is a fine mic, it's a decent mic for sure. And would you benefit from amping the 27 with a better pre?..absolutely. Upgrade your pre, listen for the difference in results and go from there maybe. Personally, I've found immense value in the pre's on the A&H ZED series...heck they even have a ZED10 for like $250 or something like that. 4 channels of excellent pre's and EQ for $250 - nice. That's just an example though. Then look at the ksm44, a 4047, an sm7, or whatever to take your captures to different levels and expand your toolbox.

Last edited by TurboJets; 22nd March 2010 at 06:56 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 22nd March 2010
  #9
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattg082 View Post
i wouldn't say it a fine preamp next to a api, neve, grace, great river ect in the $600+ range. it is better than a stock pre on a cheapy interface that's for sure.
Depends on the source. For vocals, it is a fine preamp. Could easily hang with many 'high end' choices.


Quote:
it really made my RCA 77DX come alive - better than some preamps I have that cost a whole lot more than the VTB-1
Really, without hearing the OP's results with the ksm27 / vtb-1 combo, how can anyone hope to improve his sound?

Maybe the answer is in his mixing.
In his Room.
In his mic placement.
In his choice of effects.
In his vocal technique.

And not in his mic / preamp.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
lakeshorephatty's Avatar
 

Get a good preamp now. Something on the cusp of high end like the daking pre-one, groove tubes, or fmr rnp.

Starting then all your mics, and any you buy in the future, will be working at or close to their potential. If you upgrade the mic now it still has to pass through the cheapo pre.

Russell
Old 22nd March 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 

PEACE. preciate all the responses. i figured the preamp would be the best choice, my budget is AROUND $500 give or take. thats why i was thinking GRACE, P-SOLO, RNP ect... and yeah, im going to attach some links so you can hear what im working with as far as sound now. (not sure how many of y'all like HipHop) I'm the MC on all the tracks, and i produced the first 2. All mixed and mastered by self as well. Let me know what y'all think. I appreciate your knowledge and EARS!


Eye of the Beholder (Prod. by Frantik)
4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Eye of the Beholder (Prod. by Frantik).mp3

L.I.F.E (Love Infinitely Fall Endlessly) (Prod. by Frantik)
4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download L.I.F.E (Love Infinitely Fall Endlessly) (Prod. by Frantik).mp3

Peace of Mind (Prod. by Decipher)
4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Peace of Mind (Prod. by Decipher).mp3
Old 22nd March 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Cookie's Avatar
I second the notion of having a 57 into a really nice pre. You can use that on any darn thing (and have)
Old 22nd March 2010
  #13
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattg082 View Post
your mic is workable and your preamp is very low end so i say pre. a sm57 is even workable on anything even vocal and in some cases i preffer it. i like to use a sm7b as my first go to a lot of the time. on something that low end of a pre i think another mic than the other one you have will not make a huge difference as the pre would. with that setup i don't think getting another mic is going to do anymore than give you a different flavor. you obviously want impovement and better clearer sound so go with the pre.

point in case i had a $100 preamp and a sm57. i took the same 57 and added a great river and it was night and day with the sm57. a good preamp can take a shure mic like you already have and make it very very pro. the sm7b sounds awesome on a great river nice pre ect. but on a low end pre it does not shine as much. imo spending more on a mic with that setup is NOT going to make it smoother and clearer just different. now if we were talking a behringer or cad mic that's low end that's different!
agree on that.. an SM57 sounds pretty good in an AEA TRP .. (but you will need phantom) ..got enough $$ for a lunchbox and a GR 500nv??
Old 22nd March 2010
  #14
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
I second the notion of having a 57 into a really nice pre. You can use that on any darn thing (and have)
really nice pre ..like an FMR RNP?? they are great for the bucks
Old 22nd March 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Depends on the source. For vocals, it is a fine preamp. Could easily hang with many 'high end' choices.




Really, without hearing the OP's results with the ksm27 / vtb-1 combo, how can anyone hope to improve his sound?

Maybe the answer is in his mixing.
In his Room.
In his mic placement.
In his choice of effects.
In his vocal technique.

And not in his mic / preamp.

if it was that fine of a preamp next to an api or neve for that price then i think i would be hearing about it non stop like the sm7b and it would be raved about as the savior pre. i've heard one and i don't think so, but it's wishful thinking and people tend to think that over gear they own. i didn't say you couldn't get good results but you could do a whole lot better and even a p-solo or grace is a big step up from it.

In the long run regardless of the pre he has now a upgrade to a better one would yeild better results from his current chain more than anything else. If it was room treatment he could fix that with things he has in his house. you can take a bed and corner it in a wall with drapes if so needed.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Peace. Are those links working for y'all? That way you can judge by the sound I'm already getting.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #17
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frantik View Post
Peace. Are those links working for y'all? That way you can judge by the sound I'm already getting.
Frantik,

Your vocal tracks sound really good. Do not buy a sm57 or a true or a grace- they just don't fit the bill for your style. It would be a step in the wrong direction.

Your vocal is a bit on the sibilant ('essy' top end 8-12k) side, and could use some more 'heft' (in the 250-450 range). I like the clarity, but just needs a little more body. If the sound that you get from your headphones (while you're tracking) inspires you, then I would say do some eq adjustment (dip in the highs, slight boost in the low-mids) in the mix. But, if the tracking sound does not inspire, then:

Try an sm7
or
a neve clone (CL, Gap, etc...)

Nice work....Cheers.

ps- Posting your music made all the difference in the world- I don't know how anyone can responsibly give advice without knowing the genre and listening to your previous results....
Old 22nd March 2010
  #18
Gear Nut
 

word... i appreciate that fam. i've spent as much time as i could since i was MAD young mixing and anything and everything. so im able to get a usable sound for sure. there has been A LOT of records released from over here that i've had my hand in. (all underground hiphop) but im sure there has to be a way to get a better sound. cause you know, no sound is ever good enough. haha, but really dont buy the pre huh?
Old 22nd March 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Sounds pretty good to me, too.

That VTB-1 is not such a bad piece. I've been running my KSM32 through mine for a second channel on acoustic guits and occasional vox with decent results.

You are getting some good sounds from that combo.....which proves again that old adage that it's not the equipment as much as the operator.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #20
Gear Addict
 
Mike Douaire's Avatar
 

Focusrite ISA One Classic Single Channel Mic Pre With DI and more Microphone Preamps at GuitarCenter.com.

Focusrite ISA One on sale at Guitar CEnter for $500. Find yourself a coupon and you've got a pretty damn good pre amp for almost half off.

I just picked one up. Just tracked some (fun) vocals with my Heil PR-30 (waiting on my SM7b) into the ISA One and DAMN I was surprised. I feel like I just upgraded a ton.

I would get the Pre first, then upgrade to an SM7b.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turdadactyl View Post
That's a pretty darn good contender for sig quote material.
yes, as a perfect example of sarcasm.

It has no basis in reality.

I suggest you do some reading up.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock View Post
Sounds good. I wouldn't buy anything. Get your song sequenced etc and track in a pro studio for the vocal. Let them mix it and you're done.
3rd on this.

to the OP.. ive been through the "uber nice" equipment phase(and I had a really, really nice mic locker, all Gefells, DPA, schoeps, Neumann, and quite a few of em)..and due to things that were out of my control, I had to sell pretty much everything just to stay afloat(what wasnt lost in the shipment over here on the boat..that is another isse though). I am now rebuilding , having to work with more budget-minded equipment(which I am grateful to have) and I tell you man... as far as preamps go... pretty much anything out there is capable of getting it done.... same with mics, anything really. Technology has come a long way, and in spite of all the arguments about "new records sounding poor , digital is thin blah blah"..... the medium/equipment isnt the problem.. it is the Engineers. people these days are lazy. they dont want to learn, want to fast-track. "press a "hit o matic" button and there it is.. it just doesnt happen that way, though.

You are on the right track. Maximize your effectiveness with what you have(I guarantee you havent unlocked all the potential). Rest assured that any shortcomings...they fall squarely on your head. your responsibility..

the right answer is never "buy more " it is "learn to be able to use what you have more effectively."

I posted a rather comprehensive book list a day or so ago...those books have helped me tremendously in terms of figuring out how to correlate the theory with the practice.

if ive learned anything by being poor(and im finally coming out of it, thank God(and the US Government for giving of a Job and the GI Bill for giving of school money heh ) it is that people (me included) blame tools way, way way too much.


one investment that you can make that WILL(beyond any shred of doubt) -- getting your room acoustics sorted. go to GIK Acoustics. Acoustic Panels and Bass Traps. OR RealTraps - Home and talk to those guys. If you are going to throw money at this business...throw it towards something that matters. Room Treatment certainly does.
Old 29th March 2010
  #23
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerbrain View Post
agree on that.. an SM57 sounds pretty good in an AEA TRP .. (but you will need phantom)
Come again? Are you saying an SM57 needs phantom power? Would you care to, er, um, clarify what you mean by that?
Old 30th March 2010
  #24
Gear Nut
 
Andl's Avatar
Fantastic tracks, really like what you're doing. As for the vocals, they sound great to me.
You need to use what works for you, not for others.
If you are keen on upgrading, I'd suggest trying a load of different chains. Either get gear on approval or even rent it for a day.
If you prefer the sound of another mic or pre or both, then decide if the difference is worth the cost of the upgrade.

You could save a lot of time and money.
Old 30th March 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
geareyes's Avatar
How about :

Decent mic - decent preamp - good mic placement.

Works wonders!

Mike
Old 30th March 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
a good pre makes more of a difference since there is really no reason to own a bad mic. A good mic cost under $200. Based on that fact, it is assumed that everyone (in proaudio world) has at least 1 good mic if they actually have one mic. So the preamp matters more based on the fact that it should automatically be assumed everyone on earth has at least 1 good mic . Not everyone on earth has at least 1 good preamp and also there are more bad preamps on earth than bad mics. What is a good preamp? Anything that amplifies the mic and recreates source signal accurately or if desired, in such a way that the original source is enhanced or colored and reproduced larger than life itself.

Though it is not impossible for someone to own a bad mic it is improbable, since a $89 shure sm57 is a mic that will work on everything and anything source wise. Therefore a good preamp is desired to bring out the best of this $89 mic. A good mic through a bad preamp is going to create bad results. Even though a bad mic though a good pre could also produce undesired results it is unlikely anyone would actually own a bad mic since there are very very few of them unlike the millions of bad preamps available.

An $89 (aka sm57) mic through a good preamp will yield better results than a $2500 mic through a crappy preamp
(in most cases) Same with A/D. Why would anyone use a cheap preamp with a good converter or a bad converter with a good preamp. There really is no point. Sum of all parts.

But a good preamp can be had for a couple/few hundred bucks.
Old 30th March 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 

yeah, I'll agree with the consensus that good mic can be had for cheap, while a good pre will cost you. So I'd go for the pre first, provided I already had a decent mic.
Old 30th March 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 
mikethedrummer's Avatar
Check out the EV/Blue Cardinal. They just discontinued it but most stores still have them in stock. I got mine from sam ash for $100, brought it home and A/Bd it against a 414. ($100 mic vs a $1000 mic.)
The difference was minuscule at best. The pres and converters were the stock ones in an 003 which aren't great, but good enough to be able to notice a big difference if there was one.

But I guarantee if I were to plug either mic into an API 512c it would smoke the other one. Still a grand short of getting a lunchbox though to prove it
Old 30th March 2010
  #29
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Man, I know this is gearslutz heresy of the worst ilk but I just do not like the sm57. It'll do if nothing else is available, but there are always 50 other mics I'd rather be using on any given source.

It's true, the 57 is used on billions of records... but so's the cowbell, and I don't much care for that either. heh

Anyway, count me among the folks who think you should spend the money on a day in the studio. Take your mic there, have the engineer give you some ideas on how to use it, where to place it, what to listen for, how to process the results. Take the tracks home, study them in your room, try to replicate the results.

That'll improve your recordings a billion times more than a preamp upgrade.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 30th March 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
Good mic and decent pre, I'd that a good performer with a decent mic and a decent preamp though...
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
yvesapple / So much gear, so little time
82
Frostythaflow / Low End Theory
6
Neo Keez / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
simplemon / So much gear, so little time
15
chazzo / Rap + Hip Hop engineering and production
7

Forum Jump
Forum Jump