Quantcast
Single/Dual preamp and mic selection - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Single/Dual preamp and mic selection
Old 8th May 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Single/Dual preamp and mic selection

I realized that since I ramble on alot and use parenthesis and oddly structured sentances (sorry!) that it would be easier if my "main" questions were in bold. Enjoy!

Hey all, I'm looking for some advice on GOOD $500-2k preamps (single or dual) and possibly some mic ideas. I'm putting together a hip-hop/r&b autoproduction studio thing (I'd sooner rather kill myself, but its money, and I'll learn alot). The core setup looks something like this:

1.25 dual g4
motu hd192
motu dp4
motu MachFive (when it comes out later this month)
StudioLogic/Fatar 88 key hammer weighted Midi controller
Dynaudio BM6A mons + BX-30A sub

The preamp/mic chain will be used to record 95% vocals but occasionally an acoustic guitar, random sounds to sample in MachFive, etc.

I'm probably going to use a Studio Projects C1 rather than any of the lovely upper end pieces - purely for cost effectiveness...though I'd like to try a U87 or Cactus. I've been pleased from the C1's past performances though, and I have sm57s, an sm81, d112, and a few akg c418s for whatever. Suggestions for a better vocal mic under 1k would be appreciated.

The SM81 will probably be the goto for a clear/bright acoustic, and - if I've got multiple channels - mixed with a C1 for size/balls and sprinkled with touch of DI. Let cool for 2 minutes.

But anything I buy I want to be happy to have in a year...the point of this setup is expandability (throw in a nice 12 channel front end over the next year and have the ability to record full bands). Also, I want some variety. An amazing two channel pre would be great, but two very different single channel pres = better. Really even a very strong single channel would be spectacular. But if a client doesn't like the vocal sound and I've only got 1 mic and 1 pre...hmm...

Not that i really expect any of the clients to be able to tell the difference - but it would be...not good.

Tube? No-Tube? Both?

I really am an idiot - promise. I know all the big names and $3k pres, but they seem lacking of variety and I'm not sure they'd fit my needs. For instance: would I want to be using a Manley Dual Mono for EVERYTHING? I really want maximum bang, so if the pre I need is $2k, then thats the pre I'm getting.

Thanks.
Old 9th May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you have the bucks, probably the hands-down highest quality most versatile preamp is the Groove Tubes Vipre. That's what I would go for in your situation, especially since you will mostly be recording only one track at a time. It has the capability of making each of your mics into a whole collection.
Old 9th May 2003
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You don't mention compression at all. I don't think I'd record hip-hop vox without compression. That said maybe a channel strip is in order.
Old 9th May 2003
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Was going to get around to that Drumsound =]

I dunno...with all of Jules' ranting about not really needing to hit digital with compression I was considering just using the UAD-1 DSP card's 1176 powered plug-in.

http://www.uaudio.com/emulation/

Looks fairly powerful.

But yes, I'm also interested in pre-comp. I thought about getting a Manley VoxBox or something similar...but dear god that's starting to get grossly overbudget. Perhaps a used Voxbox? Doesn't seem like lots of people are actually aching to give one up though - and not for a cheap price for that matter.

I'm really at a loss about the API and other module style channel strips - I have no idea what to look for...or what is generally "good" sounding and why.
Old 9th May 2003
  #5
Gear Nut
 
madrigal's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you're going to be recording mainly vocals, the phoenix mono pre, the drs-1, is awesome - beautiful warm sound, lots of gain, sounds fantastic on pretty much everything. Stevie wonder uses one (not sure if that's a recomendation these days...)
Can't go wrong with it, and it's around 1K
Old 10th May 2003
  #6
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is just a repeat of what Bob Olhsson has suggested in the past for low cost microphones that can sound great on vocals-
better sometimes than U47/67's and Telefunken Elam 251's.

1) Neumann KM-184 (or KM-84) with Shure "donut" shock mount
& mesh pop screen
(obviously can also be used on acoustic guitar BTW)

2) Beyer M88

3) Electro-Voice Ev 635a omni dynamic

Chris

P.S. The Unidyne III's like the SM57 (and 545) series were also
on the "list".
Old 10th May 2003
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox
Was going to get around to that Drumsound =]

I dunno...with all of Jules' ranting about not really needing to hit digital with compression I was considering just using the UAD-1 DSP card's 1176 powered plug-in.

http://www.uaudio.com/emulation/

Looks fairly powerful.

Sometimes comperssion is used for tone, not just to keep form having overs.

The UAD1 does seem cool if you use a DAW. If I get a DAW some day I'll probablly get one.

Quote:
But yes, I'm also interested in pre-comp. I thought about getting a Manley VoxBox or something similar...but dear god that's starting to get grossly overbudget. Perhaps a used Voxbox? Doesn't seem like lots of people are actually aching to give one up though - and not for a cheap price for that matter.
The pre in the VoxBox is really nice, so is the EQ. The compressor takes a bit of getting used to. I like the way it reacts to tape better than mics sometimes. They ain't cheap, but they're nice. I think I'll keep mine.

Quote:
I'm really at a loss about the API and other module style channel strips - I have no idea what to look for...or what is generally "good" sounding and why.
Only you can answer that.
Old 10th May 2003
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Only you can answer that.

True, but I'm more referring to not knowing general guidelines of what is commonly accepted as "good" for the price. I'm sure anything over 1k will sound good to me (i've never used anything better than $75 per channel!)...its just a matter of weeding out things that are overpriced or perhaps known to have flaws/nastiness.
Old 10th May 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'd say the UA 6176 looks to be amazing for the price...possible just what I'd need - and in a year I'll basically have a 1176 even if the pre doesn't suit me perfect. Any opinions on the pre itself?

I read some on the 610 and noticed that it was used on projects from Sinatra to Pet Sounds to Van Halen.

Ok - sorry ... but ... yuck. I can't think of any audio from Sinatra, Beach Boys, or Halen that I find hugely satisfying. Of course this is a gross generalization and not due only to the preamps...just saying. =\
Old 10th May 2003
  #10
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's the rub. Once you get to that level of gear none of it really sucks. Some pieces are more versatile then others and will see more use in battle for that reason. But, only you can figure out what works for you on your projects. There's some gear that people love and I can't figure out why for the life of me. It's that whole YMMV thang at work.

I will say this, if your only going to get one preamp your way better off getting something on the cleaner end of the spectrum. Also, the mic matters more then the preamp. If you have $3K to blow I'd get a $1000-1200 pre and spend the rest on mics. But again...YMMV.
Old 10th May 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just to complucate things more, rather then the C1, take a look at the Audio technica 4050, 4047, 4060, 4033... al of these beat the C1 for me, and the 4050 is a great all around mic, 3 pattern, and they are great on Electric guitars, massive spl handeling and sound huge.

I have used one on something or other on every seeion I have done in the last 5-6 years, So I am thinking it will have some longevity for you as well as you grow that gear list.
Old 10th May 2003
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Jay / Steve.

Having a 1176 in the chain seems like a great thing to me, so I guess I'm leaning towards the 6176.

I take it neither of you are C1 fans? Everybody seems to say its performance is far beyond its price range (owning multiple $400 and below mics i'd have to agree). It also seems to have a rep for making vocals already in the frequency pocket. I also found this to be my experience - mostly. Actually I loved the tone I got from them on overheads...alot more low-mids without being overly dark. The ride pings seemed to almost hit me in the gut of my head. Yes that's right. The gut of my head.

Rip Rowan had a pretty stellar review of it (then again, what do his opinion matter?)...and he did some 4050 comparisons, with the C1 beating it in his mind. Then again, he professes that he isn't impressed by U87s...and whilst I haven't used/heard one in person, I can obviously gather that this is a 1 in 1000 opinion.

First thing first: it has to be a great vocal mic. After that versatility and longevity come into play.

I'll check out the 4050 - found some good prices. Jay, any suggestions for a 500-1500 mic then?
Old 11th May 2003
  #13
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hope you don't mind me saying this since I'm not Jay , however,
for under $1500, one mike to keep an eye on is the Stephen Paul model that Studio Projects is coming out with.

BTW, have you ever tried any of the microphones listed in my last post on vocals? There definitely worth a try to see (hear) how you like them on various singers. The EV 635a is cool for singers who are inexperienced with working a mike as it's an omni.
My (limited) experience indicates it tends to work better with 2nd tenor and higher vocalists as it doesn't have much bass response, that a true baritone or bass may desire.

I had a C1 and thought it was an excellent vocal microphone.
On my voice, it needed some roll-off at the top, and a bit of de-essing. In a real pro studio no problema, but in my humble home setup, the Beyer M88TG that replaced it works like a champ.
(mike technique is more challenging than the C1 though)

The "B" series sound totally different-very neutral and I've got a B1 now at home which is also less technically demanding for an amateur like me to get good sound from my vocals.
Doubt there's another "made in China" microphone that has the relatively flat top end of the B1. Unless you were aware beforehand, you'd NEVER guess it came from the same company
that makes the C1.

Chris
Old 11th May 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov
...for under $1500, one mike to keep an eye on is the Stephen Paul model that Studio Projects is coming out with.
Chris, you might want to be careful about how you phrase that... as I understand it (and I could well be wrong!) Studio Projects is NOT "coming out" with Stephan Paul's mic. Stephan Paul is coming out with his own mic, and it will be distributed by PMI (which also owns Studio Projects). I think part of the confusion is some people (especially on the 'net) use "SP" as a shorthand for Stephan Paul, while others use it as an abbreviation for "Studio Projects", which can make things even more confusing.

The difference may be subtle, but in this case I believe it is important, as these mics will have to meet Stephen Paul's demanding specifications and quality control at every step of the manufacturing process. PMI steps in only to help get the finished mic to your local dealer. (Although I would also guess that Alan Hyatt's extensive Chinese connections were also utilized in the initial process of finding a factory that could meet Stephan's criteria).

As I implied, i have no particular special knowledge or inside information on these issues, so i will happily await being corrected if I have inadvertantly misrepresented the situation.
Old 11th May 2003
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Another comment on the Stephen Paul suggestion. These mics are not yet available to the public. The brother is looking for gear now. I'm of a mind to get gear and work, not wit for "the piece." Who knows, by the time the Stephen Paul (not abbreviating to not add to the confusions that littledog mentioned) mics come out the poster might have recouped enough to get one or two of those too.
Old 11th May 2003
  #16
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Excellent points from both of you.
Sorry for any confusion.

Chris
Old 11th May 2003
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Chris - I checked all of the mics. I'm really keen on a getting a large diaphragm condenser for vocals...I dunno, if nothing but for the look.

Specifically though, the 635a has lackluster bass response, and I'd imagine I will be recording 'artists' who do a lot of deep "screwed" singing. I'm doubting there will be a lot of actual singing. And as far as Neumann...I'm not just sure I want to give them any of my hard earned money right now =]

I thought about looking at the Studio Projects T3, which is supposed to emulate the AKG C12 much like the C1 emulates the U87...

I think right now my plan has become to buy a UA 6176 and then test both the 4050 and C1 for a month too see who wins.

And as per Drumsound's presumtion - Yes, I am very very impatient! My brain is frying just waiting on the MachFive...and I KNOW when that is coming out!
Old 11th May 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
$$ for $$ phoenix is best value around IMHO.

As for mics.. get ya pre first then find the mics that will sound best with that pre. The problem is that different mics load differently to different pre's so its a must that u check out the mic with the pre that u have chosen. Eg my API sucked ass with one condensor but with another brand it was magic... its all in the application.

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 12th May 2003
  #19
Here for the gear
 
chronicdog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Langevin Dual Vocal Combo: 2 channels of Manley designed pres, elop comps, and 40/80K 8/12K pultec style eqs, direct ins.

$1600!?!

Things sounds great on basically any vocal style, pres not super colored but the comps are lovely for getting a hot signal to disk without overs and the DIs sound great on bass. A steal.
Old 12th May 2003
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
No, I haven't heard the Studio Projects mics. There aren't any dealers in NJ and I can't even think of one in NYC. I was supposed to get them at one point for an eval. but I'm NOT going down that road again.

There is no such thing as a bad mic. Only the wrong mic for the wrong purpose. Interpret that as you will. Also, don't go by spec sheets, use your ears.
Old 12th May 2003
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Kind of hard to use your ears when you don't have enough money to be buying alternatives to compare and paying for the shipping and returning and whatnot of stuff you "don't like." =\
Old 12th May 2003
  #22
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, that's kind of a kicker ain't it? But it's really the only way to figure out what you like and don't like. Nobody is going to (or even should tell you) what to buy. Also, it takes a bit of time for me to figure out what I like and don't like. I usually know after a day in the studio if XYZ gear is good or not, but it takes maybe another 3-4 months to figure out what it's really good for. Also, stuff that might seem amazing after the first listen might turn out to be really useless over the long haul.

In the old days this wasn't too much of a problem. People would intern and assist at studios and get to use their gear to figure out what they liked and didn't like without spending money. Plus, you learned the trade too. Now, everyone wants to just buy gear and have the "amazing" recordings. There really isn't a shortcut.

Sorry.
Old 13th May 2003
  #23
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great point Jay.

Also some of it has to be personal taste.
I "grew up" on bright sounding condensers like the AKG C1000, C3000B, and Rode NT-1 (original model).
A few months with each one was more than enough!
Now preferring the "neutral" to "darker" side of the sound spectrum-especially when tracking to 16 bit digital with prosumer A/D converters.

Chris
Old 13th May 2003
  #24
Dot
Lives for gear
 
Dot's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Heterodox, having used and reviewed a lot of the current pres and mics - in your situation, I'd spend $2000 like this:

Great River MP-1NV - $975. Great pre for warmth, color and edge. Allows for a lot of sonic versatility. I reviewed the MP-1NV here.

I'd hurry up on the 1NV - prices are going up soon - maybe May 15th.

Grace 101 - $559 or less [ offer $500 ]. Very clean and excellent pre. Would complement the more colored 1NV very well.

You'd have the best of both world with these two pres.

Studio Project T3 - $499. The price just dropped, making this the best mic, IMO, with a street price under $500. Very warm, airy and versatile - with the 9-position variable patterns. Great bass response.

Studio Projects B1 - $79. Very neutral and versatile. Excellent on vox and instruments.

If you figure in that you've got the C1, there's no vocalist you won't be able to find the perfect match for - also considering you can run the mics through either the colored GR or the clean Grace mic pres.

That's about $2112.

I'd offer other options like the Phoenix Audio (UK) DRS-1 and maybe an AT 4050 - but for what you're doing - and the $2000 budget - I'd say what I listed is the shizz. I honestly can't even think of a second alternative that would give you the quality and versatility you'd get out of these 2 pres and 2 mics for around $2K.

If you want some outboard compression [ which I'd at least advise you have on-hand ] the $179 FMR RNC will more than do the job.

You can listen to soundclips of a lot of mics and pres at The Listening Sessions.
Old 13th May 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Avalon 737 (used) - $1300
Dbx 160x (used) - $200

AT 3035 mic - $200
Studio Projects B1 mic - less than $100
Shure Sm 57 or 58 (for the guys that need a handheld mic) - less than $100

$100 for some decent headphones.

I'm not the biggest fan of my Avalon 737, but when people come in to record hip hop that's the first thing they notice in here and they rave about how cool it is that i have one and how bad they want to use it. For some reason it has legend status in the hip hop circles so why not have it there to impress some people? Also, there are a lot of used ones out there so it won't be too hard to find for that price, and that EQ will come in handy with some vocals.

As far as the DBX goes, it too is somewhat of a staple and can work well on vox and give them a hard edge. For the price, they are one of my favorite compressors.

As far as those mics go, I've always been a fan of the AT3035 because it's so versatile and takes EQ really well. It isn't very "airy" so you'll have to add that if that's what you are going for, but i don't usually for hip hop except maybe for choruses or something. It also has a decent look and when i first got it and was trying it out on toms a year and 1/2 ago the drummer was terrified because he thought they "looked expensive" and didn't want to hit them. I wouldn't tell them how much they cost but they sounded pretty expensive too. There isn't any magic goign on with the AT3035 but it's solid and works on a lot of things.

I have not heard the Studio Projects mic but based on a lot of other thoughts on here, it would be worht getting for under $100 to have another "flavor" around.

Last, either of those shure mics is a must if the singer wants to use a handheld. Cheap and very effective.

That's how I'd start spending my $2000. Then I'd make some money, and get some of those 1/2 rack preamps others listed (the phoenix or GR). I think might not impress as much as the Avalon at first, so I'd get those second.
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 182 views: 81077
Avatar for dmdillman
dmdillman 6th May 2018
replies: 191 views: 16672
Avatar for shebsen
shebsen 1st January 2021
replies: 59 views: 24317
Avatar for thirdroompro
thirdroompro 19th September 2016
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump