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Getting around crappy mic pre pads
Old 16th May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Getting around crappy mic pre pads

I just finished a session where I had to use the pads on an API 3124 to record a couple of loud sources. In short, the pads on this unit SUCK. It's not a subtle change in tone, either. The pads royally **** things up.

My question is, can you buy a transparent, stand-alone pad that you can go through before entering your pre? I'm talking ULTRA transparent. I don't want to hear the damn thing. I just want it to attenuate the signal so that I don't have to use those POS api pads. Someone must make a product like that. Anyone know what it's called and where I can get it?

Thanks!
Old 16th May 2006
  #2
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The real answer has to be to use a preamp capable of handling the level
The Shure attenuator says......
The A15AS attenuator bridges the microphone output and allows maximum signal handling with a minimum of loading-caused distortion or reduction in clipping level.
That's all very well, but what do they mean by 'bridges', and 'loaded-caused distortion'..... The sound of most microphones can be changed subtly by the complex load impedance attached to it.... it can sound warm and present with a transformer, then cold and strident with a pure resistive 'bridge' even if the load is the conventional 5 times the output impedance or more.
No, the only way to guarantee that the sound of the mic stays the same is to use a preamp with the level capability..... and that means an overload margin of at least 28dB.... it's a good argument for getting some decent outboard!
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
seaneldon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
+1 for shure inline pad.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TedF
The real answer has to be to use a preamp capable of handling the level
The Shure attenuator says......
The A15AS attenuator bridges the microphone output and allows maximum signal handling with a minimum of loading-caused distortion or reduction in clipping level.
That's all very well, but what do they mean by 'bridges', and 'loaded-caused distortion'..... The sound of most microphones can be changed subtly by the complex load impedance attached to it.... it can sound warm and present with a transformer, then cold and strident with a pure resistive 'bridge' even if the load is the conventional 5 times the output impedance or more.
No, the only way to guarantee that the sound of the mic stays the same is to use a preamp with the level capability..... and that means an overload margin of at least 28dB.... it's a good argument for getting some decent outboard!
Decent outboard? Since when is API "crap"?

I was recording a loud rock snare drum. Even with the input on the 3124 at zero, we were redlining and the transients were being pushed into square-wave ugliness. I had no choice but to engage the pad. That got rid of the distortion, but killed the clarity and depth on our signal.

Has anyone else had problems with 3124's exteremly hot inputs?

Quote:
+1 for shure inline pad.
Thank you for the link to the Shure pad, gainreduction. I'll check it out.

Anyone know of anything else? It's hard to believe that a 50$ product will smoke the pad on a high-end pre. If that is indeed the case, though, I'll order one tomorrow.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A pad is a pad, resistance wise...
A 15 db pad might be better...
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio
A pad is a pad
not all pads are created equal
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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seaneldon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gooch
Anyone know of anything else? It's hard to believe that a 50$ product will smoke the pad on a high-end pre. If that is indeed the case, though, I'll order one tomorrow.
how much do you think pads inside of micpres cost the manufacturer? close to nothing. that's not what makes high end pres expensive. believe me.

second...don't order one, order 4-5 of them and throw them in a drawer.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie
not all pads are created equal
My point was a resistor is a resistor.
I been using 15 db pads on the pres I build for years and I allways thought going from 0 to a 20 db pad was too much.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
A resistor is a resistor... ummm NO!.. theres lots of different types of resitors.. sure.. not as many as there are types of capacitors.. but still plenty of types
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
how much do you think pads inside of micpres cost the manufacturer? close to nothing. that's not what makes high end pres expensive. believe me.

second...don't order one, order 4-5 of them and throw them in a drawer.
I hear ya. I guess I'm just naive and assume that a company that goes to the trouble of making a badass unit like the 3124 wouldn't totally cheap out on the pad. Wishful thinking...
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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gainreduction's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Shure in-line pad comes in handy aswell when you're using a pre that doesn't have a pad.

Not money wasted having a couple of them laying around.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #13
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I know that Charly Bohaimid the German API distributor offers a mod to the 3124+ where the transformer is equally hit, no matter if you press the pad or not.

I thought about it, but I never heard any negative effects with the pad on my 3124+s. My converters do accept 25dbu so I don't need it that often.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #14
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by username
A resistor is a resistor... ummm NO!.. theres lots of different types of resitors.. sure.. not as many as there are types of capacitors.. but still plenty of types
Dont know what type you use, I only use metal film resistors.
Not interested anything else.....
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #15
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gooch
I was recording a loud rock snare drum. Even with the input on the 3124 at zero, we were redlining and the transients were being pushed into square-wave ugliness. I had no choice but to engage the pad. That got rid of the distortion, but killed the clarity and depth on our signal.
.

Are you sure that the distortion (before pressing PAD) did not fool you?
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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Screws's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gooch
Decent outboard? Since when is API "crap"?

I was recording a loud rock snare drum. Even with the input on the 3124 at zero, we were redlining and the transients were being pushed into square-wave ugliness. I had no choice but to engage the pad. That got rid of the distortion, but killed the clarity and depth on our signal.
Were you redlining the A to D? It seems to me that there is plenty of headroom available in the API preamps, so the square wave stuff is more than likely from the A to D convertor. If so, perhaps an attenuator after the preamp is in order.

http://www.adesignsaudio.com/atty.htm
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #17
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you dont already know this but the red LED on the API is not a clipping its +18, the api has a max of +30db.
Also the gain setting on the api can increase the distortion.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Screws
Were you redlining the A to D? It seems to me that there is plenty of headroom available in the API preamps, so the square wave stuff is more than likely from the A to D convertor. If so, perhaps an attenuator after the preamp is in order.

http://www.adesignsaudio.com/atty.htm
Hmmm... Now I'm not sure...

The API was definitely redlining hard with the mic input all the way down. That, in-turn, peaked the RME inputs... Since I can drive the inputs of our other preamps much harder on similar loud signals without clipping the RME, I assumed the API itself was just being hit too hard and breaking up... I guess the output on the 3124 is really hot. I'll keep that in mind, next time.
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #19
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dpianomn's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Screws
Were you redlining the A to D? It seems to me that there is plenty of headroom available in the API preamps, so the square wave stuff is more than likely from the A to D convertor. If so, perhaps an attenuator after the preamp is in order.

http://www.adesignsaudio.com/atty.htm
i have to go with Screws on this one. also, if you do go with the A-Designs, call peter and ask him about the Atty 2'D. it's essentially the same as an Atty, but it's four of 'em in 1U. i use it with my 3124 as well, and it allows you to really drive the preamp pretty hard, especially when doing drums. smokin'!
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
pedrohead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
now there's really no difference between getting one of those ATTY boxes between your API and your AD than using one of the Shure pads between the API and the AD is there?

can you use the Shure pads after the preamp output in that way?
Old 16th May 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by username
A resistor is a resistor... ummm NO!.. theres lots of different types of resitors.. sure.. not as many as there are types of capacitors.. but still plenty of types
I'd be interested in hearing a little elaboration on this.

I'm not doubting it, mind you. I'm just looking for a little continuing education.

I can certainly imagine that responsiveness to evironmental/self heat as well as linearity of impedance (or whatever you would call it) over power and frequency spectra would be important. But I'm pretty hazy, here...
Old 17th May 2006 | Show parent
  #22
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espasonico's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If the API is not clipping but the converters do, then why you donΒ΄t recalibrate the input on the AD for those channels ?

It can be quite useful to have some channels of AD calibrated some dbs lower. If you are working with PT HD and the 192 you can have 2 settings of calibration and change between them with a mouse click.

If itΒ΄s the API the one that distorts then thatΒ΄s another thing.
Old 17th May 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
insomnio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, I can testify to hear a change in color when I pad my 3124+ too. Is somewhat less agressive than using my ATTY. In the last drum session I tracked everybody noticed it.

______________
Insomnio
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