AT4060 and Trident pre tryout - opinions?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by zenpicker, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Following someone's sage advice here, I've decided to rent a higher-end mike and preamp to see if the upgrade will make a tangible difference in my sound quality. Went into Guitar Center today and cut a deal to rent the following at $125 for 12 days:

    Audio Technica AT4060
    Trident S20 preamp

    I went in looking for Neumanns, because why not, but after the long thread here on that topic I widened my horizons a bit and the salesman made quite a good pitch for the 4060 as a lower-cost but high-performance mike. It's about $1000 through zzounds. The Trident pre is dual-channel at a good price point--again, not the best of the best, but within my budget and certainly a significant upgrade from my mAudio DMP3.

    So, gearheads -- does this sound like a setup worth auditioning for 12 days and $125? I haven't picked the goods up yet because I wanted to post this thread and see what my betters think.

    My music is acoustic fingerstyle steel string guitar and my recording deck is a Tascam 788 hard disk recorder.

    __________________
    Zenpicker
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know much about the Trident, but the AT4060 seems pretty far removed from the microphones you were talking about in the other thread. Are you looking for a large diaphragm, tube microphone? Smaller diaphragm microphones seem to be more popular for close-micing acoustic guitars, as they tend to have better transient response.

    I'd imagine that the 4060 would be a great vocal microphone, perhaps adding a bit of color to the sound due to the tube. I wonder if the Guitar Center guy heard you say the word "Neumann" and immediately thought you were looking for a vocal mic, hence the 4060 recommendation.

    I do think that renting is a good idea, though I'm not sure what a fair rate is.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd get a pair of matched condensors (Neumann, Josephson, Earthworks, Schoeps, or whatever) and an uncolored, quiet two-channel preamp.

    Bryan
     
  3. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried the trident pre but I've noticed that it's one that people love to bash. I'm looking forward to your findings.
     
  4. onemind

    onemind Member

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    I've never been truly pleased with my AT microphones, the 4031 being the only exception. You can get an AKG 414 cheaper than the 4060 which is a much more versatile mic, and great on fingerstyle guitar. Alternatively you can get a pair of small diaphragm condensers (e.g. Rode NT5) which would probably be a nice match with the stereo Trident Pre-amp. You'd have enough of the 1000 left over to buy a Blue Baby Bottle! There have been a rash of used Trident S20s lately for around 700, but I have no experience with them.

    Steve
     
  5. onemind

    onemind Member

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    Of course in my zeal to answer I missed the question! I think this is a terrific idea, but make sure that they will give you at least some of the 125. as credit if you purchase a a mic and preamp set up from them, they're usually very amenable to stuff like that. I got my avalon mic pre from G.C. for 750! so good buys can be had.
     
  6. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    As I fully expected, this is such terrific feedback! Thanks to all. Sounds like I'm off base on the mike, if not both mike and preamp. Bryan - your suggestion about two small-diaphragm condensors is well taken. I am going to consider that seriously. I guess I thought they were hotter than the large-d mikes and that a balance of the two styles would be best. But I have enough decent (not excellent) small-d mikes lying around that I think I'm going to do a little experimentation with those and see what my ear can learn.


    Thanks again to all.
     
  7. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    If you do rent the mic/pre, please post some mp3s so that we can hear what the more expensive gear does for you.

    If it were me, I'd do all of the combinations of gear playing the same piece to get a feel for how each mic/preamp is influencing the sound.

    Bryan
     
  8. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Certainly. Based on feedback I've been getting here and on another forum, I think what I'm going to do is rent a fairly high-end preamp (maybe an A-Designs MP2 or similar) first and test it with all the mikes I've got now, then lay in a more expensive mike (thinking a Studio Projects mike rather than the AT, again based on input from others). It's sounding like (ha ha) the preamp is more the issue as far as the hiss and boxiness that are bugging me.

    Anyway, it will take a couple weeks to get this all together but I will surely post my findings in audible format once I have them. Looking forward to some fiendish experiments.
     
  9. Jaddy

    Jaddy Member

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    While I'm not certain of your recording intentions, I love my AT 4060! I've never used the preamp you mentioned before, but have found that the 4060 is fantastic on a huge array of sounds.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I have several AT mics and I'm very happy with them. I don't know the 4060 per se, but I have a 4047 and a pair of 4054s. I think they are both excellent vocal mics for the right people. They are not, however, as universally good on a variety of singers as others I've used. They favor certain types of voices.

    I also had a Trident preamp for a short time (it was on loan till my Focusrite came in) and I thought it was rather nice. But if memory serves, maybe it didn't have much headroom. I could be mistaking it for another.

    When it comes to buying and trying stuff as personal as vocal mics and preamps, it helps to have a good relationship with an audio supplier. One who will give you a 100% return/exchange policy for a period of time. They might have to know you for a while to know that you'd keep the stuff pristine, and they probably wouldn't put it down in writing.

    Only if they give you back the $125, no questions asked, if you decide to keep looking.
     
  11. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't forget that he is looking for a microphone and preamp for his acoustic guitar playing. Do you think a microphone like the 4060 makes much sense if that is its main use?

    Bryan
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> Don't forget that he is looking for a microphone and preamp for his acoustic guitar playing.

    Jeez, you expect to keep track of his shtick from a whole 'nother thread?? Naw, I barely remember the thread. That was weeks ago!

    >> Do you think a microphone like the 4060 makes much sense if that is its main use?

    I doubt it.

    Moral of this story: Don't ask a GC salesdude any question to which the answer requires real knowledge of his products.
     
  13. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I expect that's a sentiment many would agree with. As a matter of fact, he had never heard of A-Designs.

    In the mean time I did visit another dealer and was steered toward the ART MPA Gold preamp and the SE condensor mikes (e.g. http://www.seelectronics.com/sE1a.html and http://www.seelectronics.com/sE2200a.html). I fear that the A Designs preamp is too much for my budget given that I want two channels. The ART MPA Gold would run me $400 new...or $479 for the new Solid Gold. I happened to talk to an engineer over the weekend who said that's what he uses in the studio with acoustic guitars. If the Trident has mixed reviews and the A Designs is out of my league, how about ART?

    Sorry to keep asking for opinions on the recommendation-of-the-week, but your comments are very helpful indeed. At least I've ruled out the AT mike and the Trident, which was, after all, what I was about to spring for....thanks again to all.
     
  14. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure how much of an upgrade that'll be over the dmp3, but it should sound different enough. There are plenty of options out there. Have you considered the Langevin dual mono or the Vintech 1272? A pair of GT bricks if you want to go with tubes. Also, there's a few Benchmark preamps on ebay for next to nothing, just add a power supply. They're quick and airy sounding which would be nice for acoustic guitar.
     
  15. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Sigh. That's for sure. I did a little googling on the Vintech and Langevins and they do sound well thought of. A little more than I planned to spend, but within spitting distance. I wish there were somewhere to just see a bunch of these options and A/B them...

    Just found out that a friend has a Shure KSM-44 mike that I can try. I just read a glowing review of it. So I will add that to the mix too....
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    FWIW I have never heard an ART preamp that I liked.

    There are so many cheapo preamps now that I don't know what to suggest for a limited budget. Presonus preamps sound good but they're built like ****. Odds are it will become a doorstop within a few months out of warranty.

    Most important is your mic; if you need to go over budget that would be the place to do it. Get a Neumann KM-184 and a FMR preamp till you have the bucks for a nicer pre, that's my suggestion.
     
  17. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    The Toft AFC-2 or ATC-2 might be worth looking at also.

    Even more important than mic or pre is placement. The ksm series are nice and will hopefully get you closer to the sound you're looking for.
     

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