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Pre amp confusion
Old 14th August 2022
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Pre amp confusion

Hi guys,

Could you tell me please what is mic, line and tube in pre amp?

And what is the use of specific type of amplification

Also for example when using Acustica's Audio Cream plugin I get to choose but when using any of the SSL option there is no such an option what does it mean?


I know it is very simple question with very simple answer
but I am still quite confused unfortunately


Kind Regards,
WR
Old 15th August 2022
  #2
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
Hi guys,

Could you tell me please what is mic, line and tube in pre amp?
It would help if you showed pictures of exactly what you're talking about or quoted product descriptions etc.

If you're talking about inputs on the back of a device then "Mic" and "Line" inputs refer to the level expected at that input. A mics output is lower than line level. You plug the mic into the mic input and you would plug a line-level signal into the line input. The output of a mic pre is going to be line level usually, and the input and output of hardware compressors and EQs are typically going to be line level as well.

"Tube" would refer to how the mic level signal is amplified to line level inside of the mic pre. So a "tube preamp" would use a vaccum tube to bump up the mic level to line level. Another type would be a transistor-based preamp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
And what is the use of specific type of amplification
Tube and transformer amplification behave and sound a bit different from each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
Also for example when using Acustica's Audio Cream plugin I get to choose but when using any of the SSL option there is no such an option what does it mean?
"SSL" stands for "Solid State Logic", and the "Solid State" is by definition not vaccum tube-based. So an SSL mic pre plugin likely wouldn't be based on a tube device and therefore wouldn't model a tube section. I.e. no choice between tube and transistor - since it's modeled after SSL's own hardware that doesn't contain tubes.

Other plugins are coded differently.
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Hi Mattiasnyc,

Many thanks for your excellent reply and understanding

My wonder or confusion is regarding the Acustica's Audio Cream 2 Preamp section- I am attaching the picture below-
If you could have a look please I would greatly appreciate it .


Kind Regards,
WR
Attached Thumbnails
Pre amp confusion-screenshot-2022-08-15-08.00.30.png  
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
stella645's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
Hi Mattiasnyc,

Many thanks for your excellent reply and understanding

My wonder or confusion is regarding the Acustica's Audio Cream 2 Preamp section- I am attaching the picture below-
If you could have a look please I would greatly appreciate it .


Kind Regards,
WR
The cream plugin is not based on a single preamp. It is the sampled inputs of a console using the mic and line inputs and the tube options are taken from multiple vintage tape machine inputs.

Most of the Acustica stuff will let you switch between mic and line including their ssl emu and many will also have each channel of the console mic and line inputs sampled individually.
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
My wonder or confusion is regarding the Acustica's Audio Cream 2 Preamp section- I am attaching the picture below-
For plugins it's generally best to just read the manual. Or the website's description. Because they should have a good description of what everything does in the plugin.
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #6
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stella645 ➡️
The cream plugin is not based on a single preamp. It is the sampled inputs of a console using the mic and line inputs and the tube options are taken from multiple vintage tape machine inputs.

Most of the Acustica stuff will let you switch between mic and line including their ssl emu and many will also have each channel of the console mic and line inputs sampled individually.
Thank you!
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #7
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
For plugins it's generally best to just read the manual. Or the website's description. Because they should have a good description of what everything does in the plugin.
Many thanks,

That was the first place I went - to read the manual.
But I find the manual of Cream 2 very cursory regarding the pre amps.
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Guru
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterabbit ➡️
My wonder or confusion is regarding the Acustica's Audio Cream 2 Preamp section-
I think one source of confusion about preamp plugins is due to the fact that they are not actually performing the task in the job description. A plugin EQ actually boosts and cuts. A plugin compressor actually controls dynamics. But a plugin preamp does not actually preamplify. At some point your (incredibly weak) mic signal must be boosted up to be robust enough to get recorded or passed on to other components like EQs and compressors. That's the job of the physical preamp, not the plugin.

If a signal is already in your recorder, some other preamp already preamplified it, that job is actually done. The plugin simply adds the "flavor" of a real preamp, which is normally a byproduct of the design, components and circuitry of hardware. Tubes, solid-state, transformers, etc etc. Because the plugin is not actually doing that task, it always is adding - it's not instead of, it's always on top of any actual preamp that was used.

Quote:
But I find the manual of Cream 2 very cursory regarding the pre amps.
well to be fair, using a preamp is a pretty cursory job. Plug in your mic and adjust the volume. Of course on some preamps you can 'work' the input against the output to slightly distort the signal. But a large part of it is 'box tone' - meaning that choosing which preamp to use can be just as critical as how you 'adjust' the few controls on it.

In the end, you are going to choose the sounds you like. They may be labeled 'tube', 'transformer', or 'solid state'. You can learn to associate these labels with the sounds you hear. It's nice to know what they are, where they came from, but you are still going to like what you like.
Old 17th August 2022 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➡️
I think one source of confusion about preamp plugins is due to the fact that they are not actually performing the task in the job description. A plugin EQ actually boosts and cuts. A plugin compressor actually controls dynamics. But a plugin preamp does not actually preamplify. At some point your (incredibly weak) mic signal must be boosted up to be robust enough to get recorded or passed on to other components like EQs and compressors. That's the job of the physical preamp, not the plugin.

If a signal is already in your recorder, some other preamp already preamplified it, that job is actually done. The plugin simply adds the "flavor" of a real preamp, which is normally a byproduct of the design, components and circuitry of hardware. Tubes, solid-state, transformers, etc etc. Because the plugin is not actually doing that task, it always is adding - it's not instead of, it's always on top of any actual preamp that was used.


well to be fair, using a preamp is a pretty cursory job. Plug in your mic and adjust the volume. Of course on some preamps you can 'work' the input against the output to slightly distort the signal. But a large part of it is 'box tone' - meaning that choosing which preamp to use can be just as critical as how you 'adjust' the few controls on it.

In the end, you are going to choose the sounds you like. They may be labeled 'tube', 'transformer', or 'solid state'. You can learn to associate these labels with the sounds you hear. It's nice to know what they are, where they came from, but you are still going to like what you like.
Many thanks for that clarification joeq
Old 23rd August 2022
  #10
Gear Head
 
Adam Peter Shinn's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hey WR,

When you record a source, it's recorded at a specific volume level...

MIC level sounds are VERY quiet in volume, so you need to use a preamp to boost it up to LINE level...

With a MIC setting, you're telling your preamp "hey, what I'm giving you is REALLY quiet, so I'm going to need you to work hard and add a lot of volume to this sound"

LINE level sounds are already very loud, so you're basically telling your preamp "hey, what I'm about to give you is already very loud, can you just boost it or cut it a little"...

The rule of thumb: if you're recording it with a microphone, use the MIC level setting...

If you're recording it WITHOUT a microphone, do not use a MIC level setting...

In your SSL, there is a likelihood that it will detect whether or not it's LINE or MIC depending on the cable you plugged in...

XLR cables are usually (not always) use with microphones or MIC level.

1/4 TR or TRS plugins usually indicate you're using LINE gear...

So if your SSL interface has what is called a "combi jack" (aka combo input of XLR and 1/4 inch), then the internal system helps you decide...

Of course this makes it impossible to accidently select the wrong recording mode at the expense of less flexibility...

Hope this is helpful?
Old 23rd August 2022
  #11
Gear Head
 
Adam Peter Shinn's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Tube 1 and Tube 2 on your plug-in add different weights to your sound...

They act as "thickening agents" to give whatever you're recording more body...

Like going from a syrup to a sauce...

I would recommend clicking on these tube settings and listen for the sound getting fuller...

From there, just choose whichever setting sounds best for your source and the production...
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