microphones or mic pres? whats more important?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by regotheamigo, Jun 19, 2006.


  1. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I have the money to buy just one now, and want opinions on whats more important for improving the over all sound of my recordings. I already have a cheap mic pre and a couple of SM57S, so just wanting to see which one would be more geared towards getting better tones. Thanks
     
  2. livedead13

    livedead13 Member

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    if you are recording acoustic instruments, you can't go wrong with a budget condenser mic. your mic pre would need to provide phantom power. what mic pre do you already have? and what are you recording? how much is your budget?
     
  3. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I will be recording electric guitars with 20 to 100 watt amps about 90% of the time and the other time will be recording acoustic guitar and vocals. As far as the mic pre I got a little Duo M Audio mic pre which has 2 mic inputs. I don't think they make them anymore. It was the first thing I bought when I started my recording process, and from what I have heard they are not suppose to be real good. My budget is any were from 300 to 800 bucks. Thanks
     
  4. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Whenever someone says they have a cheap ______ and asks how to improve their recordings, it seems to me that the answer is pretty obvious. Upgrade the cheap ______. All things being equal, a mic pre upgrade might not be the most cost effective way to improve the sound, but a cheap one will make your dynamic mics sound basically all the same, and not very good at that.
     
  5. himey77

    himey77 Member

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  6. mild

    mild Member

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    The last man has a point - Edit: Denyle was the last man. Then I got beaten to the post. Badoom-tssh.

    Also remember though... Crap in, crap out. If you get an amazing Pre, but still have shoddy mic's... then you probably won't hear much of a difference.

    I'd go mic's first. The difference would be noticeable, I would think... and hey, they have more uses (ie live, etc). Roar!!
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    A nice large diaphragm condenser mic for acoustic guitar and vox would make a lot more difference than changing mic pres. There are some good ones in your budget. I'm a big fan of Røde and AT mics in that range, but these days there are many more out there with which I'm not familiar at all.
     
  8. himey77

    himey77 Member

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    You can have the nicest microphones and preamps and converters in the world, but if you don't have a good listening environment and monitors than it doesn't matter what it sounds like getting to tape, it won't sound the same on other systems (mix translation).

    Pro studios spend more on acoustic treatment and monitors than they do on mixing desks, computers, mics, etc. combined!

    Is this relevant to your initial inquiry? NO, but it's a never ending cycle so you may as well start out with the important things first.
     
  9. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    What are you recording into? I have a Presonus Firebox, and an SM57. The Firebox's pre's are perfectly fine, don't use any external pre at all. The SM57 is perfect for electric.

    As for acoustic and vocals, I definately need an LD Condensor. I recommend the mic all the way.
     
  10. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    Let's see. Elec guitars, acoustic guitars, and voice. You already have an SM57 for electrics, so that's ok. You have a mic pre. The hole in your gear inventory seems to be an acoustic guitar mic. For $700 or so you can buy a Neuman KM184 and never have to upgrade again. Or, as Michael suggests, you can find a slightly cheaper LD condenser with money left over, but not enough to buy a mic pre that will make a difference (unless you have $500 left over and buy the RNP). You have good choices. Maybe $500 on an RNP and $300 on one of the many cheaper LD condensers (I went this route and bought the Studio Projects C3, happy with it when I need a bright mic, but didn't knock my socks off). The Rodes and Oktavas are interesting LDs that are in your price range.

    EDIT: and the LD would also cover your vocal needs. I'd buy an RNP and an LD to cover all the bases. THe key is finding the right LD for acoustics and voice. Good luck!
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I thought of that if he wanted to use the 57 for vox, but only certain types of singers sound OK on a 57. So I thought a LDC would be more versatile. For other things too, if he stretches out a bit.
     
  12. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    Agreed. The LDC seems to fit his needs, would be nice to audition a couple first if that's an option. I actually have the itch for another LDC. Something on the darker side tonewise to complement the Studio Projects C3.
     
  13. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input. I think what I am going to do is get the mic pre first, and the PreSonus Bluetube is what I have my eye on now. Its a two channel tube mic pre, and it runs for about 180 bucks. If I decide to get it, I will probably buy 2 and daisy chain them together so I'll have 4 channels total. Anyone own this device, and is it worth getting? As far as the microphone. I plan on selling one of my strats for around 6 to 800 bucks, and with that I am going to buy a nice condeser mic like a Blue or a AKG. As we all know the list is never ending when it comes to stuff we need for recording, but I am on my way.
     
  14. elambo

    elambo Member

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    At $90/channel, I can't imagine how a "TUBE" mic pre can sound good. I'd be VERY surprised if you're going to get good sound from that box. And when you upgrade to a good mic, you'll never be giving that mic a chance by running it through the BlueTube.

    I'd highly suggest rethinking your plan. Maybe get a RNP (Really Nice Preamp - less than $500 for 2 channels) as soon as you can and get the best mic you can afford afterwards, maybe a used AKG 414. This combo will get you MUCH better results than any mic and the BlueTube.
     
  15. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Just checked - RNPs can be had for $475 (new) and an AKG 414 can be had on eBay in the $450 range.
     
  16. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a Blue Tube in my rack. It's the last of my budget preamps and it's there mostly to fill the space. On a rare occasion, I use it to add dirt. I wouldn't recommend it. The RNP or the ART pro channel is an excellent option. The Toft single channel strip is another. And there are others as well.

    I think the answer really depends on how you ask the question. If you want to know which will result in a more dramatic difference, your 57 through 2 different preamps vs. your preamp w/ a 57 or LDC, then the two mics will give you a broader range of sounds.

    Look at it another way and the responses might be different. Take your $800 budget and allocate $700 for a mic/ $100 for the pre vs. a $700 pre/ $100 mic. I think the cheap mic/ expensive pre will take your recordings to the next level. The other way around and you've blown $ on a mic that won't meet it's potential.
     
  17. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I think what you said sums it up. Who makes that mic pre RNP and were can I find some info on it? Thanks
     
  18. Tonekat

    Tonekat Member

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    Himey77 makes a good point. We had decent monitors, but until a pro friend came over with his calibration mic and white/pink noise generator to tweak our EQ on the playback system, we couldn't understand why we had too much bass in every one of our mixes when we listened to them back on home stereos, in the car, boom boxes, etc.
     
  19. rhp52

    rhp52 Supporting Member

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    +1 on the AKG414 for acoustic
     
  20. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Also, Toyotas are generally much more reliable than Chryslers.
     

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