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Get great mic preamp or get great converter?
Old 9th March 2014
  #1
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Get great mic preamp or get great converter?

I have a presonus audiobox, and for what it is i think it is a great device. That said, i want to try again to get a viable difference of sound in new equipment. I have tried a couple things and despite the great reviews supporting these products, i was not impressed.

rme babyface interface - i could maybe, MAYBE hear the slightest mouse hair of a difference when recording at 96khz, but i think it was over the borderline of me looking for it. And the difference i want is one that is noticeable, not one (for 700$) that i am racking my brains looking for.

warm audio tonebeast - no difference. I understand how preamps work and how to set them up, i tried a hundred different combinations and could generate no improvement in sound.


I know these are not considered "high end" products but i still want to believe that people buy expensive equipment for a reason. I am not inexperienced and i know what to look for, i want to spend 1000$ or more with the intention of actually hearing a difference, and not have to convince myself i am hearing one.

With that said what should i go for? I really nice preamp or a really nice converter? I have a c214 mic.

Thanks for your time.

Please do not comment saying i dont understand audio equipment or i "dont have an ear" for it. I want to spend bucks for an objective outcome.
Old 9th March 2014
  #2
SEED78
Guest
get both - a 1073 clone from wither Seventh Cycle or Revive Audio + used Lucid converter

thank me later
Old 9th March 2014
  #3
Baz
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🎧 15 years
I had an audiobox given to me and used it for awhile..meh..gave it away also...it did an ok job but had the worst drivers ever. anything is better and an RME will be much more than a hairs difference - especially the drivers. I also would read up on using high sample rates before venturing into 96k.countless pros still on 44 and 48k..
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #4
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 ➑️
get both - a 1073 clone from wither Seventh Cycle or Revive Audio + used Lucid converter

thank me later
Ill check these out thanks alot
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz ➑️
I had an audiobox given to me and used it for awhile..meh..gave it away also...it did an ok job but had the worst drivers ever. anything is better and an RME will be much more than a hairs difference - especially the drivers. I also would read up on using high sample rates before venturing into 96k.countless pros still on 44 and 48k..
I put the rme against the audio box in every way possible, different volumes/sample rates/mics. I even did a blind test with two friends and both chose a different preference. My point being is if I'm going to make an investment, I want to get something out of it that shows.
Old 10th March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
microphone, AKG C214 is electret condenser and it sounds quite ugly IMO
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan ➑️
microphone, AKG C214 is electret condenser and it sounds quite ugly IMO
Plenty of people like it, my self included. And that's not the topic of discussion.
Old 10th March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
if the microphone is limiting your ability to hear difference in preamps and interfaces then maybe it should be the topic. But good luck anyway.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan ➑️
if the microphone is limiting your ability to hear difference in preamps and interfaces then maybe it should be the topic. But good luck anyway.
Already said I tried using more than one mic but I appreciate your advice.
Old 10th March 2014
  #10
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevisi0nary ➑️
.warm audio tonebeast - no difference. I understand how preamps work and how to set them up, i tried a hundred different combinations and could generate no improvement in sound.
did you not at least hear different tones when you used this preamp? I don't understand....
Old 10th March 2014
  #11
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years

If you want to hear a difference, and you refuse to get a different mic, then you should probably get a pre-amp unit with an EQ and dynamics processing....




-tINY

Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #12
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 ➑️
did you not at least hear different tones when you used this preamp? I don't understand....
To be honest not really but I could get fuzziness, none that was desirable. I am certainly not deaf to differences.
Old 11th March 2014
  #13
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burns46824's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Not even a question: converter first. I shake my head when I see threads about upgrading preamps when the OP is using a Fireface or M-Audio converter or something...

My current go-to combo for my home studio is Great River MP-2NV into a Lynx Hilo. I just bought an Antelope Isochrone 10M clock, though, so I think I may buy an Orion to go along with that. You will be hard pressed to beat that trio of digital front-end.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 ➑️
Not even a question: converter.
How come and what would you recommend?
Old 11th March 2014
  #15
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tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years

ANy converter designed since about 2008 won't be a limiting factor...

Those old, budget boxes often had some converter issues. But it's not night-and-day by a long shot.

On the other hand, if you don't want some "color" out of a pre-amp, then they all are pretty good for most things (you may hear differences in drums and cymbals, but that's about overloading and IMD - not issues you get with vocals, typically).




-tINY

Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️

ANy converter designed since about 2008 won't be a limiting factor...

Those old, budget boxes often had some converter issues. But it's not night-and-day by a long shot.

On the other hand, if you don't want some "color" out of a pre-amp, then they all are pretty good for most things (you may hear differences in drums and cymbals, but that's about overloading and IMD - not issues you get with vocals, typically).




-tINY

I'm not opposed to color but the warm audio is not what looking for.
Old 11th March 2014
  #17
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tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years

Sounds like you need to decide why you'd buy a new pre-amp or converter (like, a certain sound you want to hear from an acoustic guitar, lower hiss level, more gain).

Until you have an idea what you want, you just have to try a bunch of stuff until you hear something you like better than what you have. And, remember, the differences will be very subtle in most cases.

Dare I ask if you've played around with position or room treatment?




-tINY

Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️

Sounds like you need to decide why you'd buy a new pre-amp or converter (like, a certain sound you want to hear from an acoustic guitar, lower hiss level, more gain).

Until you have an idea what you want, you just have to try a bunch of stuff until you hear something you like better than what you have. And, remember, the differences will be very subtle in most cases.

Dare I ask if you've played around with position or room treatment?




-tINY

This is a valid point. I think I'm going to try something with reputable color like gap73 and see how I feel. I'm limited with room treatment atm. And I only record vocals
Old 11th March 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
Conventional thinking around GS seems to be that the further you get from the source in your signal chain, the less impact every improvement will have. In other words, a different mic will make the greatest difference, a preamp less so, and so on and such forth. It really is up to your own ears at the end of the day though...
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #20
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 ➑️
Not even a question: converter first. I shake my head when I see threads about upgrading preamps when the OP is using a Fireface or M-Audio converter or something...
I do the opposite...seeing someone go "I'm recording in a bedroom with a <low end mic>, <budget pre>, <respectable interface>, <low end monitors>, <no room treatment>....should I upgrade my conversion?!

If the conversion is the weakest part of your chain, you should upgrade it for sure. It would make no sense running your pre into a really cheap interface/converter (though I think an external clock is pointless in this scenario - what are you trying to synchronise?! Do you know that to synchronise to an external clock, you're using the internal clock anyway? it can only be LESS accurate?!).

However - there's nothing wrong with a Fireface. It's incredibly unlikely to be the weakest link in a home studio.

Everytime I read one of these "I want to upgrade my converters" threads, I think back to when I bought my 002...I was actually a runner at Abbey Road at the time, but I didn't think twice about the "quality" of the conversion - I just happily made recordings and mixes using it at home, and it lasted me for many years - still feel I've done one or two really good mixes on that box. I had no idea that GS wisdom said it was awful with respect to conversion...!
Old 11th March 2014
  #21
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dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Psycho Monkey is right. It's all about order of importance. If your low end interface has a clean way to get an external preamp into it with out going through its preamp again, then for sure get a better mic pre like a Great River. The Great River will still be a high end mic pre 20 years from now and your money will last you longer. If you put the same money into conversion in 5 - 8 years it will be B level at best. Its the same as computers. My thought is put you money into stuff that will be current the longest while building up you gear (more bang for your buck!). Once you have a stash of other good things like Monitors, Mic, Pres, comps and eq's then spend more money on conversion and clocking.

I think for low budget good conversion I would look to something like a Ross Martin and be happy to make some great records. DA is also more important because it is part of you monitor chain.
Old 11th March 2014
  #22
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Monitoring is usually the most critical thing. Maybe better speakers? Then a better mic. Then the converter. Then the pre amp. Good luck.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #23
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burns46824's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevisi0nary ➑️
How come and what would you recommend?
What kind of records are you making? If you're making electronic pop music, like me, and you're recording pretty much everything DI except for vocals, the converter becomes way more important than anything else. If you're doing folk music, then, sure, it's all about microphones and room treatment...and THEN conversion.

For the money, I'd recommend a Lynx Hilo. For the highest quality, I would try an Orion 32 clocked to a 10M, but that's going to run you around $9k. I'm not crazy about "color converters." They don't sound as good as analog tape and never will.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #24
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
I do the opposite...seeing someone go "I'm recording in a bedroom with a <low end mic>, <budget pre>, <respectable interface>, <low end monitors>, <no room treatment>....should I upgrade my conversion?!
If the conversion is the weakest part of your chain, you should upgrade it for sure. "


I can only agree with this. Get great source going in and you will be sweet. spend your money on the best mic you can or a quality pre/channel strip. they'll still be good gear in 30 years time while your converter will be something from the digital age, whatever that was.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️
ANy converter designed since about 2008 won't be a limiting factor...

Those old, budget boxes often had some converter issues. But it's not night-and-day by a long shot.
I agree. I think you should go clean pre - either P-1 or Pacifica and maybe upgrade your mic, depending on how much you want to spend.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #26
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Lenzo's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan ➑️
if the microphone is limiting your ability to hear difference in preamps and interfaces then maybe it should be the topic. But good luck anyway.
Yep, once you a/b that mic against something like a Pearlman or Miktek CV4 you'll start hearing a lot of difference without doing anything but changing the mic.
L.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #27
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mikeyman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevisi0nary ➑️
To be honest not really but I could get fuzziness, none that was desirable. I am certainly not deaf to differences.
did you record a whole song or just try to hear a difference in one track/You might not hear it until you do many tracks and then listen back
Old 12th March 2014 | Show parent
  #28
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 ➑️
What kind of records are you making? If you're making electronic pop music, like me, and you're recording pretty much everything DI except for vocals, the converter becomes way more important than anything else. If you're doing folk music, then, sure, it's all about microphones and room treatment...and THEN conversion.
mm, no, still don't agree! If you're DI-ing, you're still using the preamp. Yes, for anything where microphones are involved, the source/room/mic is still the most important, but the preamp (assuming you're adding gain, which you are when DI-ing or recording vocals) is still more significant in most situations than the conversion.

I know you and I are polar opposite opinions on this, but I stand by mine. I'd rather run a quality pre through any mid level converter (MOTU, Focusrite, RME, whatever) than have your Hilo and a low end preamp. Regardless of source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 ➑️
For the money, I'd recommend a Lynx Hilo. For the highest quality, I would try an Orion 32 clocked to a 10M, but that's going to run you around $9k. I'm not crazy about "color converters." They don't sound as good as analog tape and never will.
For $9k, you could get a decent solution that didn't need an external clock. If you're trying to "fix" the clock in a converter by clocking it externally to a different clock, IMO you're wasting money. You might well get a different result and it might even be subjectively more pleasing, but you won't get a more accurate one.

Spending the money on what is essentially a value-for-money converter like the Orion (now at this point I have to confess I haven't heard one in the flesh; it might be the best converter ever invented, and the fact that it's built to a price point unheard of for 32 channels only makes it more amazing. That's not the reports I've heard but I'm open to persuasion. I certainly don't think it's going to be the "highest quality" solution) only to spend as much again on an external clock is foolish. It's like the guys who buy a cheap hatchback only to "pimp it out". Just buy a better car/converter in the first place - it'll be a simpler, more elegant and most likely better sounding solution!

Simply put, if you need to immediately "fix" the clocking in your new converter, return it and buy a better one. There is absolutely no need for a central clock for a single converter system.

Sometimes I wish people on GS would think a little more about the OP and tailor their responses to that. The OP doesn't want to be spending $9k and running an external clock - look at his budget, look at his mic! Ridiculous suggestions. I'm not convinced the OP is looking in the right place to solve his problems, and I'm not really sure what it is about his current sound that he doesn't like. It might just be that his recording room isn't great, the mic doesn't suit his source, or his monitoring is weak. I've never used the tonebeast; I notice a very definite difference between preamps eg the GAP73 and the 002 (when I had it) which has to be a similar comparison to the Presonus/Tonebeast.
Old 12th March 2014 | Show parent
  #29
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burns46824's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️

I know you and I are polar opposite opinions on this, but I stand by mine. I'd rather run a quality pre through any mid level converter (MOTU, Focusrite, RME, whatever) than have your Hilo and a low end preamp. Regardless of source.
Fair enough...I'm just saying that if you have class A preamps, which could cost you as little as $1000 for a pair, my first upgrade would be conversion, not upgrading to more expensive class A preamps.

As for the Orion 32/10M combo, yes, I realize that it is very expensive, but my most recent mixes have been turning out great with this combo!
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #30
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thevisi0nary's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenzo ➑️
Yep, once you a/b that mic against something like a Pearlman or Miktek CV4 you'll start hearing a lot of difference without doing anything but changing the mic.
L.
This is something I'm gonna consider, you think the miktek is really good?
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