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High-end Preamp or Mic??? Condenser Microphones
Old 8th August 2014
  #61
Gear Maniac
I've heard some good vocals with MBox Minis which is why I bought the 2, I figured it had to do with outboard gear and I could pile it on top.

I've honestly heard good music I listen to daily that was produced with Duet converters too though.
Old 8th August 2014
  #62
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Watch the Traveling Wilburys documentary on youtube.

Moving blankets are fine to absorb reflections.

They won't sound proof a room.

DIY Owens Corning 703 panels are easy and cheap to build.

Lots of how to vids out there.
Old 9th August 2014
  #63
Lives for gear
Duet converters will be a big step up, but you could make hit records with the MBox too, it's not like the sound from any converter/interface is unlistenable, it's just better conversion will get more out of everything else.

So, have you decided which part of your chain you are going to upgrade?
Old 9th August 2014
  #64
sell the mbox .. get focusrite liquid saffire 56 and an oktava mic (keeping your current mic)
save the rest of your cash for a couple of good 500 series compressors and live happily ever after
Old 9th August 2014
  #65
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Funk View Post
Duet converters will be a big step up, but you could make hit records with the MBox too, it's not like the sound from any converter/interface is unlistenable, it's just better conversion will get more out of everything else.

So, have you decided which part of your chain you are going to upgrade?
Unfortunately, the Duet only has a software pad to compensate for +4 inputs.
Old 9th August 2014
  #66
I would get a high-end preamp, and a Neumann TLM 102. I've got a few really good preamps and I use the TLM102...it's worked out for my clients very well.
Old 9th August 2014
  #67
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Motu 16A $1495.00 posted retail ( has both USB & Thunderbolt output.)

DAV BG-1 $690.00+$70 import duty

A few handy home studio mics

SM57 with TAB Funkenwerk Transformer $200.00
Sennheiser MD-421 $379.00
Neuman KMS 105 $699.00
Shure KSM-141 $399.00
Beyer Dynamic M88 $399.00
Old 9th August 2014
  #68
Gear Maniac
 
Gebo's Avatar
 

It's already been established that he has the budget to upgrade both items and then some. I just wanted to chime in and say that I've always felt like upgrading preamps has had a much larger impact on recordings than upgrading mics (which I did first...)
Old 9th August 2014
  #69
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

Let me have a take on this in a slightly different way:

On a 1-10 scale (10 being highest) I will rate my experience with the amount of impact a change in my home studio improved the quality of my recordings:

More experience and Practice: 10

Room treatments to reduce/eliminate reflections and the sound of a bad room: 7
(doesnt have to cost a lot of money)

A decent LDC mic: 8

A quality, two stage pre with big iron transformer: 8
(makes any mic sound much better, and can be clean to colored)

Pro level conversion: 7

Monitors that translate well: 6
(you can learn to work with many monitors, but some will be infinitely easier to get great mixes with, quickly)
Old 9th August 2014
  #70
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I can't argue, a great preamp is an essential, but he also really seriously needs
some sort of better interface.
Old 9th August 2014
  #71
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
I can't argue, a great preamp is an essential, but he also really seriously needs
some sort of better interface.
I only really need 2 channels & MIDI input/output so if anyone has any suggestions

The problem is I'm going to end up spending most of my budget on an interface with insufficient internal preamps
Old 9th August 2014
  #72
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
These three small interfaces grab my attention: Apollo Twin, SPL Crimson, and possibly the RME Babyface. They are all priced around $700 which leaves plenty for a Peluso and maybe even an outboard preamp, if that's what you want. It seems simple, to me.
Old 9th August 2014
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitterasacid View Post
I only really need 2 channels & MIDI input/output so if anyone has any suggestions

The problem is I'm going to end up spending most of my budget on an interface with insufficient internal preamps
Welcome to the club! I think its safe to say we all spent way more than we anticipated.

Maybe the Apogee Quartet?

At least that has built in preamps and pretty good converters.
Old 9th August 2014
  #74
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mbvoxx's Avatar
To the original question: my experience has shown that you will hear more differences in Mics than in preamps. Yes, mic pres have different sonic character but the variances in Mics is more pronounced. In your budget range you can definitely accomplish your goal by getting both a good mic and a good pre.
Old 10th August 2014
  #75
Lives for gear
Nobody said u need to blow your budget on an interface. A third of your budget will get you a nice interface. The rest can get a pre for your already nice mic.
Old 10th August 2014
  #76
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Universal Audio does have a 2 channel Apollo

There are sure to be numerous discussions about it.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin SOLO | Sweetwater.com
Old 10th August 2014
  #77
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doulos30 View Post
it's gearslutz you need both.
Seriously. It's a temporary problem. Whatever the OP gets, he'll find he needs the other one soon enough.
Old 10th August 2014
  #78
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voodoo4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 302efi View Post
This is Gearslutz..you need a U47 and an original Neve 1073 or you vocal chain sucks.

:D
I've got both and my vocal chain still sucks. I need a better singer.
Old 10th August 2014
  #79
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FFTT's Avatar
 

It's easy to spend other people's money around here.

I think the OP's budget can be spent wisely and he'll have a really nice quality set-up.
Old 10th August 2014
  #80
Gear Maniac
It's sort of a long-term budget figure, I've got a little over 700 sitting on my desk right now but it was all earnt in like the past 2 weeks
Old 10th August 2014
  #81
Gear Maniac
 

I had the same question as you a while back. I had an Audio Technica AT4040 with a fast track pro with no preamp. The sound I got through that chain was complete ****. I do believe though that you do not need many thousands of dollars of equipment to make great music. I actually started by getting a preamp. I chose the Chandler Germ MKII. That preamp brought out the best in that microphone! After that I upgraded from my Fast Track Pro to the Lynx Hilo interface. There is a beautiful difference in the sound quality, even when listening to low quality mp3's off Spotify. I recently also purchased a Pearlman TM1 new with a full warranty. I did a ton of reaseach. I was looking at the Peluso 2247's, Telefunken Ar51 and AK47's but the Pearlman to me sounded much nicer and the company has incredible customer support which is very important. Recently I noticed that I have to boost the high end a lot on the mic, but I think the problem lies in the preamp. The Germ MKII is a little dark. People suggest the A Designs Pacifica. So I might sell my Germ and get a two channel Pacifica so I can have two channels.

Buying the preamp first is not as fun as buying a microphone when it's your first preamp. But when you plug it in and you get an excellent quality pre you will notice the difference. I would say do the preamp first, then either the mic or interface. That's my two cents.

ps- Chandler also has excellent support and I would also consider the new TGII 500 series pre.
Old 10th August 2014
  #82
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FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitterasacid View Post
It's sort of a long-term budget figure, I've got a little over 700 sitting on my desk right now but it was all earnt in like the past 2 weeks
You can always buy a good versatile mic or two that will stay with you as you continue to upgrade.

You just need to be very realistic about your room and background noise.

Sometimes it helps to test record just anything and leave space between notes and phrases so you can listen for unwanted hiss, or other background noise.

If you're hearing lots of noise with an SM57, that noise will be even more noticeable with a highly sensitive condenser.
Old 10th August 2014
  #83
Gear Maniac
How are the converters in the Roland Quad-Capture?
Old 10th August 2014
  #84
Lives for gear
 

Talent, then instrument, which is something like 90% of the picture, then mic, then everything else downstream.

So... I'm suggesting get the mic that you really like first. And when you can, get a good pre.

Slightly OT, I was testing out mics for a fantastic sax player who was thinking of upgrading his $300 mic, and we compared 8 various mics of tube, fet, and ribbon variety at widely divergent price points. Even the crappiest mics sounded "good", because he has great tone and an incredible instrument. It was a stark reminder to me that the engineering end of things is a game of inches compared to the impact of talent and a world class instrument.
Old 11th August 2014
  #85
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitterasacid View Post
How are the converters in the Roland Quad-Capture?

The Roland has pretty much the same problem as the M-Box, both mic and line inputs go through their built in pre-amps.

As far as auto sensing levels, it's not clear how it would respond to the output
of a pro +4 outboard preamp.

Ideally you want to be able to bypass their built in preamps when you're coming out of another preamp.
Old 11th August 2014
  #86
Here for the gear
 

MIC. Drake's so Far gone was recorded on a MBOX 2 Pro with a Neumann Tlm 103 mixed with AKG Headphones in an untreated hotel room with pillows on the windows.. Neither of these are high end gear and that mixtape sounded like an complete album. As long as the song is good, and the mixes are clear and you have decent equipment like the aforementioned pieces. You can make quality music. Converters and pres are important but remember people were still making hits with the gear that came out before with "Terrible" Converters compared to today's standards. The human hearing does not hear the difference past 16 Bit 44khz anyway , and if there are differences between the way gear sounds they are subtle and common people do not hear these differences! Once you hit a certain sound quality I think it literally peaks...there is no night and day noticable difference and nobody cares in the real world about what gear was used. Talent Comes first. Whether it's creating instrumentals, mixing, songwriting, etc . If you simply Suck...there is no gear that can save you. There is no need to get super technical about everything.
Old 11th August 2014
  #87
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
The Roland has pretty much the same problem as the M-Box, both mic and line inputs go through their built in pre-amps.

As far as auto sensing levels, it's not clear how it would respond to the output
of a pro +4 outboard preamp.

Ideally you want to be able to bypass their built in preamps when you're coming out of another preamp.
I can't speak to the M-Box 2— but in years past I've done several remotes with an 002r and 8 channels of API or similar.

In every case, the channels going through inputs 1-4 on the 002r sounded great, despite the fact that the internal pres are always in the circuit.

Granted, this is with great source material, good mics, excellent outboard pres etc.
Old 12th August 2014
  #88
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guitarboy94's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
A few handy home studio mics

SM57 with TAB Funkenwerk Transformer $200.00
Agree! I really like my Tab SM57 on vocals. I think I've been liking mine more than my SM7b lately, to tell you the truth. The transformer just adds some nice mojo, and yet, it just seems to cut through the mix easier and need less EQ'ing than the SM7.
Old 12th August 2014
  #89
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarboy94 View Post
Agree! I really like my Tab SM57 on vocals. I think I've been liking mine more than my SM7b lately, to tell you the truth. The transformer just adds some nice mojo, and yet, it just seems to cut through the mix easier and need less EQ'ing than the SM7.
I completely agree. I'm going to mod my 58 as well, since it has a pop filter, and I like the TAB 57 that much already. Such a sleeping giant, underrated I mean.
Old 12th August 2014
  #90
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Tracked vocals, hand claps, and the Bad Cat with my TAB 57, just to see what it could do. Straight up into M-Audio Project Mix inputs, no additional preamps. Used a pop filter on the Tab 57 as needed.



Someone had asked me how the Bad Cat sits in a mix.
I dialed it in to its clean AC100 voicing.
Cab sounds killer!
TAB 57 on the Medusa 150-C. Left Channel.
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