I upgraded my recording setup, and I don't like the sound so much!

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by dehughes, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    Hello all,

    I just replaced my Tascam US-122 with a M-Audio Delta 66 and DMP-3 setup, and in tracking vocals yesterday I noticed a strange, boxy, flat midrange tonality present that I'd not heard when I used my US-122. The mic in question is a V67G...nothing else has changed, except the soundcard and preamp, and more memory in the computer, larger hard drive, etc...etc... I believe that the upgraded computer setup shouldn't change things, so I'm leaning towards the DMP-3 and soundcard, with a couple of possibilities:

    1) The preamp and card are just fine, and allowing me to hear the room and mic and my voice in a way that the US-122 didn't, or hid from me, due to its lesser quality.

    2) The mic and room and voice aren't really being heard in their true light, so much as the preamp just has a tendency to bring a harsh, flat tonality to the 500 to 1K-ish range.

    The second one is doubtful, in my mind, and the first is more probable. I really doubt that the US-122 is "better" than my new setup...and I've heard that the DMP-3, while being on the low end of preamps, is relatively clean and uncolored. It is somewhat frustrating as I'd hoped to "upgrade" in terms of tonality and all that, but now I'm finding it hard to get a good vocal tone..

    Your suggestions are, as always, very welcome.

    Thanks,


    david
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Yes, it is possible that the M audio preamps are more accurate than the ones in your cheaper device, and are allowing you to hear more.

    It is also possible that you liked the euphonic coloration of the other preamp, or maybe it had more headroom before distorting - or less.

    The problem with upgrading one part of your recording chain is that often you have to upgrade other parts of the chain to take advantage of the upgrade.

    F'rinstance, let's say the new mic preamp is better; you may now need to get a better mic. IMHO, the V67G is not a very good microphone.
     
  3. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    Agreed all around. What, in your opinion, would be the next step up from a V67G?

    Thanks,


    david
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I'd kid around and say "just about anything" but there are in all honesty a lot of good inexpensive mics out there. The recent Rode mics are a good buy; believe it or not, the $269 Oktava 319 is good; there are some mics like Studio Projects that have gotten good reviews. Actually, some of the less expensive AKGs are nice sounding on certain voices and instruments. I'd say the "next step" isn't up, it's to listen to a bunch of mics.
     
  5. redmax61

    redmax61 Member

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    Hey Les,

    You being a fan of Blue mics, what is your opinion of the Bluebird? I'm considering upgrading from my MXL to either a Bluebird or Baby Bottle for my primary vocal mic. Do you think one would be a better choice over the other?

    I'm also considering a Kickball to be used as my permanent kick drum mic.
     
  6. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    Yeah, I think that's just about it. Don't get me wrong, the V67G is doing quite well for me, ESPECIALLY for the price. I'd just like to have options...maybe something that is a bit brighter. I think I'm hearing this mic's tonality in a somewhat less colored form...someone had mentioned that they drop out some frequencies around 1K with the V67G, and now that I've switched to the DMP-3 I find that that indeed is a good thing, for my voice.

    I'll hit my local audio store and check out what mics they have...


    david
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>You being a fan of Blue mics, what is your opinion of the Bluebird? I'm considering upgrading from my MXL to either a Bluebird or Baby Bottle for my primary vocal mic.<<

    I haven't used the Bluebird, so I'm not going to be of much help on that one. The Baby Bottle is a nice mic, but I like it better on instruments than vocals.

    Someone told me that the Bluebird is geared more toward vocals, but I don't know if this is true.

    I can tell ya all about the Blueberry, Mouse, and Kiwi, tho! ;)
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    It's not the mic...

    We just did yet another shootout, for a rental to a client who will use it at home.

    Beautifully trained Russian alto/soprano, very clear voice, but had a lot of lower midrange. Was looking for something with a little more detail.

    Through a Great River MP-1NV, we tried:

    Neumann TLM-103
    Soundelux U195
    Rode Classic Tube
    Oktava 319
    Sennheiser 441
    AKG 451 w/Omni capsule
    Marshall V67G
    ADK cheapie LDC

    She went home with the V67.

    This mic routinely sounds as good or better than any of our other mics... It kills me, cuz that Soundelux and Neumann didn't come cheap, not to mention our rental fee would have been higher. Sort of like when a Fender Pro Jr. smokes a Matchless, which has also happened. <g>

    It could be the way your signal chain is working, it could be that the tonal character of your pre is not flattering to the tonal character of your mic, or the tone of your voice. It could be the moon, it could be the stars. Such is the eternal dilemma and challenge of recording.

    A famous engineer (Geo Massenberg?) said "We spend our whole lives, trying to make it sound just a LITTLE better." True 'dat...

    Loudboy
     
  9. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    A little bit better...yes indeed. Well, in doing some more tracking I find that this mic gets more midrangey as you back off from it. That is, I believe that I'm hearing proximity effect... :) Yeah, I know, Recording 101... So, I've tried some tracks with the V67G much closer to my mouth than before. Needless to say the improvement was noticeable. Still, this setup sound different, which is okay, as think it sounds more like what I'm hearing (for better AND for worse) than my US-122. I guess I may need to read up on proper vocal micing techniques...anyone have a tutorial for me to devour? :)


    david
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>She went home with the V67.

    This mic routinely sounds as good or better than any of our other mics...<<

    Maybe I heard a bad one. I thought it was awful sounding. But when it comes to recording gear, everything is a matter of personal taste, and finding the right application and combination of stuff.

    In fact, I'll listen to one again based on your say-so.

    :D
     
  11. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    OKAY. I thought I had this thing figured out, but it's really starting to frustrate me.... I listened back on some of my other (past) recordings that I had done in Cubase with my US-122, and even THOSE vocals are sounding kinda harsh and midrangey. What is the deal with that? I mean, I'm using the same monitors, speaker settings, etc....same recording program... Could it possibly be the Delta 66 that is causing this? I dropped the output setting in the Delta 66 software menu to Consumer from +4, and that helped a bit. Is that even possible, that a soundcard output would have a "sound"? Would a high(er) output signal from the soundcard cause certain frequencies to be reproduced (midrange freqs....) in the monitors louder than others? I mean, that IS possible, right?

    Many thanks...


    david
     
  12. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    Well, a possibility would be that the settings in the internal software mixer (grrr...) were down a bit on the inputs, so I'll mess with those, and pick up some TRS cables to use from the preamp to the souncard. We'll see if that helps... :)


    david
     
  13. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    I FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, it is the OUTPUTS that are souding poor. I played several other CDs and recordings (that I KNOW BY HEART) through the soundcard, every frequency and vibe and everything, through different speakers, etc., ALL sound midrangey and flat. It is the soundcard itself, NO question, that is causing my issues. Not the mic, preamp, anything. MAN, I KNEW something was off. My ears are way better than my guitar or recording skills...it has always been that way.

    SO, are there any options here? I don't believe there is a way to adjust the eq on the card, so it seems like there aren't options. Apparently the D/A converters on this card aren't that great, huh...

    Suggestions are, as always, greatly appreciated. This is unacceptable and I'm now in the hunt for a "real" card with A/D-D/A converters that work. :mad: :dude


    david
     
  14. mike@switchback

    mike@switchback Member

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    I don't really have much to add other than to say you're not alone...I had a Delta 44 that, while it worked great, sounded really bad to me.
     
  15. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    ??? What? Really...hmm. We'll, it doens't sound bad, per se, just not what I'm looking for right now. I can see how it would sound great for someone who is just looking to get stuff down on the hard drive, but man, I'm too compulsive for that... :) Any recommendations, Ratter?


    david
     
  16. mike@switchback

    mike@switchback Member

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    No, not really. I don't have enough experience with all the different boxes to make any recommendations. And I guess I shouldn't have said it sounds bad...but let me put it this way. With all else being equal, I could never get a decent guitar sound out of the Delta. It just wasn't happening. I then had an Mbox, and it just sounded so much better right out of the box, recording the same rig. I recently traded the Mbox for an older MOTU 828 but haven't had much opportunity to use it yet. So, obviously, I'm not very experienced at all of this, but it was very apparent to me at least, that the sound of the Delta was just not doing it.
     
  17. dehughes

    dehughes Member

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    That is exactly where I'm at. Many people have said that the Delta 66 is a very respectible card, but while it is handy, stable, etc.., I'm still not a fan of the sound. Not bad, mind you, just different. Hard to explain...


    david
     

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