pre amp question

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by CrunchBoy, May 5, 2008.

  1. CrunchBoy

    CrunchBoy Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    O.K., let's say you've got a Mbox or similar and you add a high quality tube mic pre that you want to incorporate. Can you somehow bypass the internal pres on the box or do you just run through the new pre and then the box? If so, is it still going to be worth it for sound quality? What's the next upgrade step up after that? Like, if you ditched the Mbox would you get a high quality ad/da converter? So would the best chain for home recording be great mic> great mic pre> great converter> out USB to hard disc?
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Messages:
    27,418
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    Start with the great mic.
     
  3. Gi-gi-giggity

    Gi-gi-giggity Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    You can do that on the Duet, so I would assume that you can do it on an Mbox. If your preamp is better quality, then naturally it will sound better, however start at the beginning of the chain with the performance (vox, guitar/amp, etc.), once you have that, then move to a mic.
     
  4. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Well, as the others have said its Great Source -> Great Mic -> Great Pre -> Great Converters -> CPU.

    But it's SO much more than that. You need great plugins, great outboard, great monitors and most importantly, great ears.

    If I were you though, I'd try to get a sweet preamp and run into the line ins on the mbox (if your version of the mbox has 'em).

    And, as is the opposite with guitar gear, tubes aren't always superior with recording gear. (Neve 1073's have no tubes, but a universal audio LA-610 does. Most engineers would take a 1073 over a LA-610 for 98% of stuff).

    It gets easier.
    Tim
     
  5. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    The mic will make the biggest impact off the bat. After that I would go with a better mic pre and outboard gear or better interface.

    Don't get too bogged down in the tube mic pre thing. I went this route a few years ago and found the thing with the vintage gear that in part made it sound so good was analog tape. The exact same signal chain in digital will never sound the same. It can sound great but not the same.

    A Neumann Tube mic through a Mackie Pre always sounds better than a cheap mic through a Neve based one. IMHO.
     
  6. CrunchBoy

    CrunchBoy Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    Thanks for the replies. I've got the source and mic parts under control. I was mostly curious as to how to incorporate an outboard pre into the typical hobbyist interface, which already features onboard pre(s). I mean, if you're using a high-end pre, it makes sense that you wouldn't want to pass the signal through another pre, but rather, get it to disc ASAP.

    I guess I'm a little confused as to how pres work with Windows DAW's also. I was messing around with an Audio Technica 2020 USB mic recently. You can just plug the mic straight to USB and adjust the levels with the windows faders. How do those faders work? Are internal preamps always "on" in Windows? Is the concept possible to go from your mic to AD conversion straight to disc and adjust your levels from the windows recording control box? This seems, in theory, to be a better way to "cleanly" capture the signal from the mic with minimal coloration. Does a mic pre add greater fidelity or clarity to a mic or is the raw signal from the mic as "accurate" as it gets? Educate me, please.
     
  7. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    I haven't used the MBox but the principal is the same for most applications. If you are using an external mic preamp you are best to go through the line inputs. I believe the MBox has these in the back. This way you will not be getting any additional noise which is most likely if you put one preamp through another. On my Motu 828MKII interface my line inputs have a setting for -10 instrument level or +4 pro or line level. Use the +4 and just make sure your levels from you external mic pre don't overload the MBox.

    The A/D convertors in your M Box should be better than what you have in your PC.
     
  8. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

    Messages:
    5,250
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    "[...Most engineers would take a 1073 over a LA-610 for 98% of stuff)...]"


    Really?
     
  9. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Yep.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    On the original MBox, the inputs that are combo XLR/TRS go through the internal preamp, there's no way to bypass it. I don't know about the newer ones.

    If you use an outboard converter you can use SPDIF digital inputs.

    Hope that answered your question.
     
  11. ivers

    ivers Member

    Messages:
    3,234
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    I have the original Mbox and a RNP, so I have a problem these days... what would be a nicely priced USB interface that does the job well in terms of reliablity and communicating with the PC and allows bypass?

    The internal preamps can obviously be crappy as hell, because I won't need them.
     
  12. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,362
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Maybe it's closer to 95%, but that's true.
     
  13. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,362
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Use the line in.
     

Share This Page