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The difference of a mic pre vs comp.
Old 18th January 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The difference of a mic pre vs comp.

So to give you a backstory, I'm recording through the AT4040 straight into the mbox pro 3 and then mixing ITB.

Right now I've got Rvox, Waves LA2A and the 76 too so I feel like I should prioritize a preamp over a compressor. The pre I've chosen is the BAE 1073mpf and it lacks as you know an EQ but is said to color the sound in a nevish way which I'm after (I'm not worried about it to be an exact copy as long as it's in the same ball park and sounds flattering).

The thing I feel I'm lacking the most right now is that my records are too clean sounding forcing me to use distortions to color the sound in a way the EQs I have don't.

I could post my youtube channel here but I'm not sure it'd be very indicative of what I mean.

I understand I'm not giving you too much to work with but I just need to make the best of the 1600$ I'm about to spend!


Edit: I just realize I worded the threa very poorly. I know the difference between a mic pre and comp. I'm interested in which one you think is more vital for a better vocal chain than what I have now. Based off of the fact that I have a few ITB compressors to choose from.
Old 19th January 2013
  #2
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NYCruiser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Between those two choices, I vote for Mic Pre.
Old 19th January 2013
  #3
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superwack's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I vote preamp too... an added point is that you'll need to amplify your mic in to your hardware compressor to track with it so if you only have the Mbox preamps you're not physically able to do that as it doesn't have inserts.
Old 19th January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
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nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser ➡️
Between those two choices, I vote for Mic Pre.
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack ➡️
I vote preamp too... an added point is that you'll need to amplify your mic in to your hardware compressor to track with it so if you only have the Mbox preamps you're not physically able to do that as it doesn't have inserts.
Thank you both, never thought about the need to amplify the mic into the compressor never having really dealt with analog gear. I wish I could try the BAE first, I've used a plugin called ColorTone and if it's of any indication of what I'd be getting then I think it can be worth the savings.
Old 19th January 2013
  #5
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🎧 10 years
I vote for getting a better mic first. Nothing against the 4040, but if your budget is $1600, look there first. It's the first link in the chain.

Money priorities would be mic->pre->converters->outboard gear.
Old 19th January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo ➡️
I vote for getting a better mic first. Nothing against the 4040, but if your budget is $1600, look there first. It's the first link in the chain.

Money priorities would be mic->pre->converters->outboard gear.
I agree but eventually I'll have to buy a pre for the new mic and I doubt I'd change the BAE unless it's for another one from them but with an EQ.. I find the 4040 good enough just too clean, it lacks any coloration, I don't think I'll be changing it until I can get a hold of a u87, vintage (or not, but that will be then)...

But then again, this is coming from someone who hasn't had the fortune to try out a bunch of things cause it's hard to even find places here that have anything but SE, Neumann, Telefunken and Shure..
Old 19th January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you are wanting something with "coloration" and "not too clean," U87 is not the place to look.

If you want color, every step in the chain, starting with the first, needs to be in place. Instrument, performance, mic choice AND placement, pre, etc.
Old 19th January 2013
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nino213 ➡️
I just need to make the best of the 1600$ I'm about to spend.
...I agree that a good preamp is the best option, but there's no reason to blow your budget there...a pre-owned Great River ME-1NV will give you Neve-ish and IMHO, even more versatility at about half your budget...that leaves more than enough for an additional mic of good quality...the GR won't disappoint...

Sent from my SPH-M820
Old 19th January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes ➡️
...I agree that a good preamp is the best option, but there's no reason to blow your budget there...a pre-owned Great River ME-1NV will give you Neve-ish and IMHO, even more versatility at about half your budget...that leaves more than enough for an additional mic of good quality...the GR won't disappoint...

Sent from my SPH-M820
It might be foolish of me but I have been fooled more than once by buying pre-owned equipment and to be honest, I don't think I could find a used one in Sweden. I thought of buying the Avedis MA5 but I've more or less made up my mind of which pre amp I'll buy if it'll be a pre..


Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo ➡️
If you are wanting something with "coloration" and "not too clean," U87 is not the place to look.

If you want color, every step in the chain, starting with the first, needs to be in place. Instrument, performance, mic choice AND placement, pre, etc.
I understand that the u87 is pretty much a what goes in, comes out kinda mic but that's why I'm choosing a 1073 to compliment it in the way I think is what I'm after.

Just out of curiosity, what microphone would you recommend based off this?
Old 19th January 2013
  #10
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Any one of the three, mic-preamp-compressor, could get you there. I love compression but honestly a stellar mic is first for me. But I did learn how to use, and did get the others before finally getting a mic. When I had no stellar mic, the compressor(s) was/were my savior....I vote microphone, and it would be a Blackspade most likely.
Old 19th January 2013
  #11
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Joekkel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You could build a classic api (capi not api) vp26 for 200$ and buy a used lunchbox for about 300$. i built two in about 3 hours. Easy as can be if you're comfortable with soldering. Made every mic i have sound thicker and smoother. Clean mics suddenly had weight and mixing got easier
Old 19th January 2013
  #12
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🎧 15 years
Don't even think about it, the mic is fine. Get a pre.

For that money you could buy a Lunchbox and put a great pre in there, and then add a comp later, etc....the difference between a real pre and what you have will be very obvious.

It makes a huge difference.
Old 19th January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➡️
Any one of the three, mic-preamp-compressor, could get you there. I love compression but honestly a stellar mic is first for me. But I did learn how to use, and did get the others before finally getting a mic. When I had no stellar mic, the compressor(s) was/were my savior....I vote microphone, and it would be a Blackspade most likely.
The thing is I like the microphone, I don't think it's bad at all. I just want (and please don't butcher me) a 1073 sound. I've never heard of the Blackspade mics but I'll look into them. I got the Amethyst Vintage recommended to me from Violet Design and the few demos I've heard sounded nice, a shame I can't try one here.

Also, in this thread whitepapagold writes:
Quote:
Now Im not saying there is no difference- there is, BUT the difference between preamps is NEGATED by which mic you use- as in the mic affects the sound 80-90% and the rest is preamp. The only big noticeable difference was how the pres handled transients.
Which makes me feel as if I have to worry more about a new mic than a pre. Thank you for the time btw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joekkel ➡️
You could build a classic api (capi not api) vp26 for 200$ and buy a used lunchbox for about 300$. i built two in about 3 hours. Easy as can be if you're comfortable with soldering. Made every mic i have sound thicker and smoother. Clean mics suddenly had weight and mixing got easier
Sounds like a pre would indeed make a difference for me then. I like the lunchbox concept, that you could add more modules etc. but I'm looking for something in the neve-ish realm and it would probably be the avedis ma5 since they aren't too expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks ➡️
Don't even think about it, the mic is fine. Get a pre.

For that money you could buy a Lunchbox and put a great pre in there, and then add a comp later, etc....the difference between a real pre and what you have will be very obvious.

It makes a huge difference.
I guess I like this advice the most since this is how I'm thinking, then I go and read up (for example the thread I linked to vintageidiot) and start doubting again.
Old 19th January 2013
  #14
teo
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🎧 10 years
If you are any good at soldering, for 1600$ (1200E) you could get a lunchbox, a CAPI VP26, and still have 300E in your pocket to put aside towards a 500 series comp down the line.
Old 19th January 2013
  #15
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The reason for getting a mic pre is not that I'm unhappy with my 4040 and that a different mic would probably solve the issue. The problem is that I want a more neve-ish sound since I think it would make the vocals sit in the mixes better.

A lot of people are posting very similar chains in the threads about "what's your favorite/go-to vocal chain?" and most answers will tell you: u87 > 1073 > 1176 > la2a or c800g > 1073 > cl1b. Now I cannot even afford one item of those things, but I want to make my records *better sounding* than they are right now. Good records = good records even if it's recorded with an sm57/cheap mic. But! That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to make the best of your situation.

I have two options the way I see it based on the feedback:
1. Sell my mic (I know I should try to have as many mics as possible, but I can't make money appear from nothing..) buy a new mic that costs more and then either skip, build or buy a pre that isn't that expensive (avedis ma5 would be my first choice, but even then it costs to get a lunchbox).
2. Buy a BAE 1073mpf to go with my mic
Old 19th January 2013
  #16
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NYCruiser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Grab a GAP Pre73 and see if you like the "neve" sound on your sources. They're cheap enough to jump into and popular enough to re-sell quickly if you don't like it or want to upgrade to the BAE version.

Edit: I bought a Pre73 MKII and ended up liking it, although not all the time. For the price, I bought a second one so I could have a pair for overheads or stereo applications and just keep 'em in the rack for when I need 'em. At that price I don't feel like I have to use them all the time.
Old 19th January 2013
  #17
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
When I got my Neve channels I immediately noticed it opened up everything, an effervescent experience. My argument is though I was still able to do good recordings before the Neve, and if there is anything I can compensate for in a chain, the one I do not see overcoming is a weak mic. But the AT4040 is not weak, as you have noted. I own an AT4033 and know what you mean. Get the Neve, but follow that with a stellar mic, it will land you atop a big mountain.
Old 19th January 2013
  #18
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser ➡️
Grab a GAP Pre73 and see if you like the "neve" sound on your sources. They're cheap enough to jump into and popular enough to re-sell quickly if you don't like it or want to upgrade to the BAE version.

Edit: I bought a Pre73 MKII and ended up liking it, although not all the time. For the price, I bought a second one so I could have a pair for overheads or stereo applications and just keep 'em in the rack for when I need 'em. At that price I don't feel like I have to use them all the time.
I could see myself buying a more expensive microphone and a cheaper pre as the GAP (with one of the mods to get rid of the noise) since it does a decent job of getting into the 1073 lane. I'll post a clip or two of two songs where you can hear my voice to see if the mic I have already fits me but I don't know if that will help since the tracks are mixed and all..
Old 19th January 2013
  #19
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➡️
When I got my Neve channels I immediately noticed it opened up everything, an effervescent experience. My argument is though I was still able to do good recordings before the Neve, and if there is anything I can compensate for in a chain, the one I do not see overcoming is a weak mic. But the AT4040 is not weak, as you have noted. I own an AT4033 and know what you mean. Get the Neve, but follow that with a stellar mic, it will land you atop a big mountain.
You're absolutely right, the whole AT line is underrate IMO and the only problems I really have with the 4040 is that I get a lot of sibilance (which is weird cause I still have to turn up the highs with a EQ - sometimes the air feature on the MAAG EQ ITB..) and also cause I find it just a tad dull sounding.

What mic would you consider an upgrade to this if you'd want something with a fuller bottom/mid + less sibilant?

I hope you can skim through the songs I'll post up but I'm not sure if they'll help giving a hint of my voice since they're mixed and going through colortone, maag (itb), waves nls..
Old 19th January 2013
  #20
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm sorry for the formatting, writing on the phone..

Here are 3 songs with just the 4040 and the mbox + itb mix:
http://youtu.be/8f8ooSzq4gY
http://youtu.be/lyEpHSjTsv4
http://youtu.be/iZAj0t-mf9g
Old 19th January 2013
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Used Apogee Rosetta 800 or a less expensive converter with more ins and outs so you can make real hardware inserts so you can apply processing after the take is recorded. Spend maybe a little more for a lunchbox and get an Avedis Ma5 or API 512c and then a good comp and EQ as you can afford it. You will thank me later.

Better conversion and using real hardware inserts with be a revelation in your recordings. It has for me.
Old 20th January 2013
  #22
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I hear that you are overdriving your vocals, is that deliberate? Maybe you aren't hearing your pre because you passed by it's sweet spot.....

Sent from my ZTE N9120
Old 20th January 2013
  #23
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
save up a few more bucks,get a neve 1073 dpd
then you'll have a decent pre and bypass that crappy mbox conversion.
that will make a big difference.
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #24
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NYCruiser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➡️
I hear that you are overdriving your vocals, is that deliberate? Maybe you aren't hearing your pre because you passed by it's sweet spot.....

Sent from my ZTE N9120
I heard that too. I assumed he was adding some kind of saturation to get him by until he has some neve sounding transformers…..LOL
Old 20th January 2013
  #25
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BluegrassDan's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
After hearing your audio clips the character of the AT4040 is evident. I've worked for years with AT4040s and they're fine utility mics, especially for live acoustic music, but not anywhere near my first choice for studio vocals. The high end can be somewhat "grainy" and lacking "air."

Don't sell your soul to a U87 either. Ours sits in the box for most sessions. Depending on the source, they have a very mid-forwardness that can be pretty offensive for many voices. There are better options for less money.

I'd take a serious look at the Peluso P12 for the type of music you're doing. It lists for $1500, but you could find one used for quite a bit less. Probably in the $900 neighborhood.

You can't go wrong with the Classic API VP26 and the API Lunchbox. Say you buy a P12 for $900, with the remaining $700 you could buy a used 6-space Lunchbox for $350, build a Classic API VP26 for $225, and save the rest for a 500 series compressor. Or you could save up for a Vintech 573. Then you'd have the Neve flavor you're looking for.

Perhaps an even better option would be to trash the mbox for an Apogee Duet 2. Better conversion and preamps!

Yes. I would get a used Peluso P12 and an Apogee Duet 2. Then save up for a Lunchbox and fill it.

That's what I'd do.
Old 20th January 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'd go for a Warm Audio wa12 mic/pre( excellent reviews ) at 499 a piece modelled after the api 312 and has cinemag transformers.
Buy two and use it for 2 buss summing.

I cancelled my order on the presonus adl 700 and ordered two of these bad boys.

With your 1600 budget you now have 600 to buy the mike of your choice.

All I can say is read the reviews before you purchase any other mic pre.

Cheers

Last edited by nickknack; 20th January 2013 at 06:19 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 20th January 2013
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
coffeecup77's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Hi,

Know this ? U.K to Sweden musn't be too hard to achieve...
(Am in no way related to AML)

Keep the difference and save up for a better vocal mic later on.

Cheers.

Last edited by coffeecup77; 20th January 2013 at 08:09 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➡️
I hear that you are overdriving your vocals, is that deliberate? Maybe you aren't hearing your pre because you passed by it's sweet spot.....

Sent from my ZTE N9120
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser ➡️
I heard that too. I assumed he was adding some kind of saturation to get him by until he has some neve sounding transformers…..LOL
That's the result of me pushing the Waves NLS very much, on the no more jack record it almost even sounds like clipping. I'm using the pre's in the mbox and I'm no where near red.
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by the keester ➡️
Used Apogee Rosetta 800 or a less expensive converter with more ins and outs so you can make real hardware inserts so you can apply processing after the take is recorded. Spend maybe a little more for a lunchbox and get an Avedis Ma5 or API 512c and then a good comp and EQ as you can afford it. You will thank me later.

Better conversion and using real hardware inserts with be a revelation in your recordings. It has for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge ➡️
save up a few more bucks,get a neve 1073 dpd
then you'll have a decent pre and bypass that crappy mbox conversion.
that will make a big difference.
You don't think the mbox pro 3 has good ad da? I researched it a lot and from what I've understood the first gen had crappy converters, the 2nd was better but still below average and that the 3rd is up too par with the Duet 2 etc.

I don't record anything other than vocals, maybe I'll get into recording guitars or single shot drum samples but even that isn't in the plans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeecup77 ➡️
Hi,

Know this ? U.K to Sweden musn't be too hard to achieve...
(Am in no way related to AML)

Keep the difference and save up for a better vocal mic later on.

Cheers.
I hadn't heard of this pre before this, I'm going to look it up. If I were to choose a cheaper pre I would've gone with either a modded GAP (don't know which mod is the best though) or the Avedis MA5 as I've only heard good stuff about it. This looks like a solid contender simply cause it has an EQ section too..
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Nut
 
nino213's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BluegrassDan ➡️
After hearing your audio clips the character of the AT4040 is evident. I've worked for years with AT4040s and they're fine utility mics, especially for live acoustic music, but not anywhere near my first choice for studio vocals. The high end can be somewhat "grainy" and lacking "air."

Don't sell your soul to a U87 either. Ours sits in the box for most sessions. Depending on the source, they have a very mid-forwardness that can be pretty offensive for many voices. There are better options for less money.

I'd take a serious look at the Peluso P12 for the type of music you're doing. It lists for $1500, but you could find one used for quite a bit less. Probably in the $900 neighborhood.

You can't go wrong with the Classic API VP26 and the API Lunchbox. Say you buy a P12 for $900, with the remaining $700 you could buy a used 6-space Lunchbox for $350, build a Classic API VP26 for $225, and save the rest for a 500 series compressor. Or you could save up for a Vintech 573. Then you'd have the Neve flavor you're looking for.

Perhaps an even better option would be to trash the mbox for an Apogee Duet 2. Better conversion and preamps!

Yes. I would get a used Peluso P12 and an Apogee Duet 2. Then save up for a Lunchbox and fill it.

That's what I'd do.
Well, it looks like I can get one brand new here in Sweden for $1400 which I'd gladly pay for and my knowledge is telling me:
You could get a mic that doesn't color the sound (u87), go in to a pre that does color the mic (1073) OR
get a mic that colors the sound (p12) and in to a pre the doesn't color (isa one, or just the one in the interface).

Don't you think it would be too much coloration if I'd get the P12 and then on top of that get a neve flavored pre? I actually had the option to get the Duet 2 when I bought the mbox since I compared the two and preferred the mbox pro..

The more I read about the P12 the more I like it but I don't really think it'll get me the neve flavor I'm desiring so bad. But you heard the samples, and you've dealt with the 4040 before and I will definitely listen more to what you have to say, thanks for helping out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknack ➡️
I'd go for a Warm Audio wa12 mic/pre( excellent reviews ) at 499 a piece modelled after the api 312 and has cinemag transformers.
Buy two and use it for 2 buss summing.

I cancelled my order on the presonus adl 700 and ordered two of these bad boys.

With your 1600 budget you now have 600 to buy the mike of your choice.

All I can say is read the reviews before you purchase any other mic pre.

Cheers
I don't think I could find a microphone I would like very much more than the one I have for under 600$ but the more I read the more I get confused. Half the posts say that the mic is 80-90% of the sound but then I read that a pre could change that sound *very* much, which is contradicting. I just stumbled upon a review of the WA12 on tape op and it's the second time in two days I get it recommended to me.. If I weren't so under the spell for a neve sounding pre I'd most likely go ahead but...
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