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What $300-under Mic Pre Amp will compliment a Shure SM7B mic?
Old 8th February 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
What $300-under Mic Pre Amp will compliment a Shure SM7B mic?

I'm a start by saying I like this forum and people here provide good info. and help. I appreciate it. My question is as the title states, Is there a good Mic Pre, $300-under that will best compliment a Shure SM7B Mic? Do I need a new Mic Pre Amp? I have a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro Mic Pre. I haven't tried it out with the Shure SM7B mic yet. (I have to find my power supply for the Focusrite Trakmaster.) Keep in mind I'm doing underground Hip Hop. (The Old 90s boom bap stuff.) So I'm looking for those warm vocals. Nice mid and low range. Don't really know a lot abot Mic Pre Amps or Microphones. In advance I appreciate the help.
Old 8th February 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Raygun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I can highly recommend the Golden Age Project Pre-73.
It is a clone of the classic Neve 1073 Mic Pre and it is roughly within your budget, or maybe a tiny tiny bit more. It sounds really good and has a ridiculous price tag for the quality of the unit. I think what it does is what you're after!

Golden Age Music index

update: I checked the price, as of today it would be about $320.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
I don't mind going over $300 to $340 if its worth it. I love that classic, vintage, analog sound. So I will definately check this out. I grately appreciate it.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I had some great results with the SM7b and an M-Audio Tampa.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Thanks. Hmm. I will check both out and compare the two. Any other suggestions? Appreciate the replies.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't think you're going to find anything, in that range, that will bring anything to the table that you're not already getting with your Focusrite. The Trakmaster is a perfectly fine mic pre, and stylistically, the things you're seeking (I think you said something about "warmth" and analog?) aren't going to found in a mic pre anyway.

Although I suppose if it has an actual power supply, it's a step in the right direction. Powering on is always a good thing.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Really? I heard a lot of bad reviews about the Trakmaster Pro. Like I said though, I haven't tried it with the Shure SM7B mic yet. I moved so, somehow the cable was misplaced. (So I have to find it. haha.) I was previously using a MXL 990 condenser mic with the Focusrite Trakmaster Pro. I didn't really like the result I was getting from the mic. (The mic sounded roomy.) When I was using the two together I had to turn the pre amp level down to avoid the fuzzy sounding, loud noise or hum. In the process, it made my vocals low. (When I turned the pre amp level down that is.) So when I turned the gain knob up, I began hearing the noise again. Perhaps the problem was the mic not the pre amp? Or most likely the user. (Which was me. I don't know much about mics or pre amps.) It was picking up too much sound and noise. The vocals sounded roomy, with a buzz or hum sound. They were dry vocals. Which is how you want them to sound first before adding effects to them? My first setup was: Pro Tools 7 w/ Mbox 2, Focusrite Trakmaster Pro, and MXL 990 mic. Now I'm using: Roland VS 2000CD, Focusrite Trakmaster Pro, and Shure SM7B. I'll be using Pro Tools to Master my songs or Projects. Which will be done by a professional other than myself. Again, I appreciate the replies and help.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DenMark ➑️
The vocals sounded roomy, with a buzz or hum sound.
I had a Focusrite Trakmaster and found it to be useable. The sound was a little thin but there was no buzz or hum!? Something is wrong here!

Have you tried different mic leads?
Are you using balanced leads?

Maybe you have a faulty mic or preamp? Hmm!?
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
The sound was also thin with my vocals, when using the Focusrite Trakmaster. I had at one point, a friend (sound engineer), track my vocals for me. He told me the problem was my mic. That it was picking up too much noise. We checked to make sure that we had balanced leads. We even tried different mic leads. He also said maybe it was the xlr cable. I had just purchase a monster xlr mic cable. We switch and used a different one. He later said, "Your mic is picking up way too much noise." Maybe the location of the mic being in the same room as my computer, studio monitors, and a lamp had something to do with the noise? He told me that had something to do with it, but I still needed a better mic. Maybe even a better pre amp. I guess the only way to tell is to try the two together. So would another pre amp improve my overall sound on the Shure SM7B? Thanks again.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Another preamp depends on your voice, style of music and what sound you want from it!

I'd personally try the SM7b through the focusrite first to see how you get on!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Newcleardaze's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Keep an eye on ebay for an Aphex 207, 207d, or 107. Brittle they aren't. For vocals, they are outstanding for the price.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
I'll try the Shure SM7b with the Focusrite Trakmaster first. If I don't get the result I want, then I'll refer to this thread. Thanks for all the replies. I hope to see other suggestions or ideas as well.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DenMark ➑️
The sound was also thin with my vocals, when using the Focusrite Trakmaster. I had at one point, a friend (sound engineer), track my vocals for me. He told me the problem was my mic. That it was picking up too much noise. We checked to make sure that we had balanced leads. We even tried different mic leads. He also said maybe it was the xlr cable. I had just purchase a monster xlr mic cable. We switch and used a different one. He later said, "Your mic is picking up way too much noise." Maybe the location of the mic being in the same room as my computer, studio monitors, and a lamp had something to do with the noise? He told me that had something to do with it, but I still needed a better mic. Maybe even a better pre amp. I guess the only way to tell is to try the two together. So would another pre amp improve my overall sound on the Shure SM7B? Thanks again.
I'm certain that being in the same room as the computer and studio monitors etc probably isn't a good thing when using a condenser mic. Regardless of the mic and pre. You are usually going to pick up the sound of the computer, fan, etc.
One advantage of the sm7 is that it's got such a tight cardoid pattern that it won't pick up as much exterior sound as other mics.

Try the Trakmaster... if it doesn't work.
The M-audio DMP-3 will work with the sm7 and is a considerably low-cost pre.. but it's got a LOT of gain available. It sounds good to my ears, it's certainly useable.
Good luck with it.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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AdamJay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've heard a Presonus Eureka Pre used for male hip hop vocals to great effect, and with lesser mics than the SM7B.

They run about $300-$350 second hand on eBay.

The EQ and compressor will give you the ability to make it sound more finished as you track and monitor, and this has been known to improve performances. And its got a good bit of gain with low EIN.

good luck
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
secondhand ebay symetrix SX202

not the 302.. 202.

its the ****.. it's about 100 dollars..
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Thanks. Man, a lot of different options or ideas on mic pre amps I'm seeing here. I appreciate the replies. Others?
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
After shooting out my sm7b with a bunch of preamps, I found a clean pre really gives it punch, while "character" pres just make it sound fuzzy. You might check out a Rane MS1b, which I believe is around $150. It's super-clean and detailed, which gives you a good starting place, since you can always grunge up your signal later with plugins, but you can't ungrunge it. But you also might do fine with the Trakmaster. The main thing to listen for is how the S's sound, since sloshy S's are virtually impossible to undo once you get them into your daw.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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doncaparker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with Uncle Duncan. I use my Shure SM-7B with a Grace 101, and it sounds great. When I tried it with a funkier pre, it was just too noisy (the pre, not the mic).

Re: the noise you were hearing with the condenser mic. Keep in mind that the nature of a large diaphram condenser makes them pick up and amplify every freakin' little noise in the room, especially the little noises that you and I tune out as part of every day life. You never knew your room was as noisy as when you bring up the fader on a LDC.

The SM-7B will be less prone to that, but you should probably do some noise hunting (and killing) anyway. The computer tower needs to live in an adjoining room. The heating/AC needs to be turned off while you track. Fluorescent lighting needs to be turned off in favor of incandescent lighting. A CRT computer monitor needs to be turned off during tracking. Dimmer switches on the lights can cause real problems. Anything that hums or buzzes needs to be silenced.

You can tell these little noises send me to the edge . . .
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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asap audio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My experience is with an RE-20 dynamic. My Trakmaster sounded much better than some other low end preamps I own. I also now have a Grace M101, and while it might sound a little better than the Trakmaster, it's not that much better. I also like the Optical compressor in the Focusrite at it's normal setting. Very usable.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
I will take a look at a "cleaner" mic pre. So the first step is to get a clean, clear, vocal. I don't use my computer to track vocals anymore. I use a Roland VS 2000CD. So that should help with some of the computer noise problems. (Also the Shure SM7b.)Thanks for the input, advice, and suggestions everybody. Any others?
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Any mic that can't get along with any number of preamps is suspect. The SM7b is overrated. Try a different mic.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoracer ➑️
Any mic that can't get along with any number of preamps is suspect. The SM7b is overrated. Try a different mic.
What mic would you suggest under $300? That would compliment a Focusrite Trakmaster or another mic pre under $300. Also, what makes the Shure SM7b overrated?
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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awakened's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
the GAP Pre-73 sounds cool, colored at $300.

For cleans, the Rane could fit the bill at $150...

but honestly I've been hearing alot of good things about that new 2 channel from BLA.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoracer ➑️
Any mic that can't get along with any number of preamps is suspect. The SM7b is overrated. Try a different mic.
Hmmmm.... Tango Romeo Oscar Lima Lima?
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordZilla ➑️
Hmmmm.... Tango Romeo Oscar Lima Lima?
hahahaha...

I was just about to respond with a bunch of different mics that are all pre-specific.. when I realized.

They all are to some degree or another.

Dynamics and Ribbons like the AEA R84 and Shure SM7b are great mics that quite simply need a lot of gain in order to work properly.

Not sure if the Great River is considered a "character" pre or not, but it works great with the sm7 in my opinion. You don't necessarily need a super clean pre to make the most of the mic.... though it does work great with clean pres.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
For color, I've also been liking the Golden Age PRE-73. Looks like Alto and JRRShop have them for good prices and both offer great service (have used both). I'm using mine mostly with the GA R1 Mk3 Active ribbon mic but will try it with others over time.

Grace and the like would be great more "transparent" pres, and are also quality suggestions.

I know I want to try the FMR RNP - maybe someone here has tried that with the SM7b?
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The SM7 is a good mic.

It will sound good no matter what you plug it in to. Unless it's broken.

Quit worrying about matching your mics to your pres. Any mic should work with any pre. The whole notion that you have to "match" a given mic to a given preamp is just a lot of mental masturbation for people who have too much time on their hands.

It's like asking what brand of motor oil goes well with AC Delco spark plugs.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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Rob C's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by moon_unit ➑️
The SM7 is a good mic.

It will sound good no matter what you plug it in to. Unless it's broken.

Quit worrying about matching your mics to your pres. Any mic should work with any pre. The whole notion that you have to "match" a given mic to a given preamp is just a lot of mental masturbation for people who have too much time on their hands.

It's like asking what brand of motor oil goes well with AC Delco spark plugs.
Not really... the SM7 has a stupidly low output level, so you need a preamp with enough clean gain for it to be useable.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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kidvybes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
...the GAP Pre73 exhibits some "wooliness" when pushed beyond 50dB, so I'm not sure I would recommend it as the best choice for combination with the SM7B...I have been using mine as a front-end for my Safe Sound P1 (which allows me to keep the Pre73 under 50dB while taking advantage of the P1's wonderful compressor/limiter)...the Pre73 alone with the SM7B was not desireable when tracking vocals due to the "wooly" distortion (which might work well on guitar cab or such)...I hesitate to classify "wooliness" as "colour"...

...that said, the Rane MS-1B is a good match and the Black Lion Auteur sounds like an excellent option as well...
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob C ➑️
the SM7 has a stupidly low output level, so you need a preamp with enough clean gain for it to be useable.
Or you just need to learn how to use the volume slider on whatever DAW you're using.

Generally, it's the one that says: "Volume" on it. And you want to slide it either upwards or to the right, depending on whether your layout is horizontal or vertical.
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