Mic Pre

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Member Since: Sep 30, 2009

Last "what do i get!!!" post for awhile, i promise :P

I really don't even know where to start with this subject... But the only thing i'll need it for is vocals. Its probably going to be my only pre, so....something that will preform well in any genre.

In all honesty, i'm not sure at all what i want out of this thing. But simply from hype and reading up from others, it seems like i'll just really really figure out why mic pre's are so important once i actually hear the difference myself. Which is the whole point of posting this :P just to gather information so i can make a good purchase decision.

I'll likely buy used, and my budget will be...well. I'm young with few real bills. I can save :P That pre that Deon uses is on ebay right now, for 400 bucks. Joe Meeks? no bids, and ends soon. Any word on that, compared to other models? Deon says he loves his but. well, our little buddy from the land down under comes off to me as a bit of a thrasher metal head ;D is that mic pre "up there" compared to other models in various styles of music? And of course, any other recommendations are welcomed! I'm just starting to look

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Since: Sep 30, 2009

Oct 05, 2010 08:35 pm

Update, i'd like it to be SPDIF compatable, so that i can bypass my new tassie's mic pre's. I don't think i care much if its single or dual channel. but. idk haha. the 1641;s a great piece of equipment btw! so far its worked flawlessly. Got it used, and its in awesome condition. Very pleased. I'm hoping that selling my UX2 can almost cover the cost i paid for this.

Also, last thing. Any word on any plug-in's that have been able to do a good job modeling preamps? Any technical reasons someone can think of that these may not one day be able to match where guitar amp models are at now?

Since: Nov 11, 2007

Oct 05, 2010 09:05 pm

We're all limited to recommending what we've tried (I guess we aren't...but we probably should be!! I don't know how many times I've recommended the KB37 without ever having used one haha). I like my API A2D and I use it via SPDIF.

Since: Sep 30, 2009

Oct 05, 2010 10:12 pm

Can I ask you something? Why the API A2D? i'm just curious like, what personally was the deciding factor that made you buy that mic pre? There's just so many options!

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Oct 06, 2010 12:42 am

A friggin' pair of 312's *and* a nice stereo A-D...?

Just a guess... :-)

Since: Jan 05, 2009

Oct 06, 2010 08:32 am

isn't it right to choose the pre for the mic?

ribbon usually need other pre's than condensor or tube mics. also depends if your mics are with transformer, transformerless or like dynamics and which sound you like to capture

I think that a mic preamp is a quality issue which cannot be solved by the next new best 400USD preamp in the yard.

try to get a construction plan of a neve 1073 or an UA LA 2A - you cannot clone or build that for cheap.

some say by experience of listening why an U87 is one of the most recorded microphones and that the avalon 737 fits to it like a glove.

birds can sing much sweeter than words can tell ;-)

SM7b the Chuck Noris of Mic's
Since: Jun 20, 2002

Oct 06, 2010 10:05 am

I was looking a few years ago (i'm always checking new pre's out) for a nice clean all around pre , so i could use it with an assortment of mic's . Sure there are wonderful sounding tube pre's but they tend to aff more flavor than i care for if i'm stacking tracks. If you have many pre's to pair with many different mic's that would be the awesome , but most of us don't live there. I have a few dedicated pre's that i like and have done my testing and reserch on em, they work for me. My recomendation are fairly clean /nutral sounding pres,not sterile ( i like to choose a mic for color) ; Grace 101m, True P-Solo (i own) ,focusrite ISA. Just my .02 :) do you're reserch check em out if you can .

Since: Nov 11, 2007

Oct 06, 2010 09:25 pm

Yeep, I got the API A2D because it improved several aspects of my studio. Three birds with one stone in fact:

-2x 312 API pre's cost $700 per pre when your filling up a lunchbox, and the lunchbox costs another $500. Total for that would be $1900, API A2D is $1850, but then...

-The A2D has an internal clock that I can sync with my Projectmix. I was surprised at how much improvement I heard in my M-Audio pre-amps when I started syncing to the API. I now have 2 super duper pre-amps, and 8 usably-better-than-complete-crap m-audio pre-amps.

-I also got a great stereo AD converter.

Since: Sep 30, 2009

Oct 06, 2010 10:42 pm

Why does the clock improve the sound of the other preamps? What exactly does a clock DO anyway? I don't fully understand that yet. I've read about it..but i don't really understand the practical reasons that one may be better than another.

Well... there goes my paycheck surplus's for the next year :P

Since: Nov 11, 2007

Oct 07, 2010 02:37 pm

From what I understand, the clock is a big piece of what defines the recorded quality of the pre's used. The clock is referenced by the AD converters when interpreting signal from the mics. With the API A2D, I have: 2 pre's, a clock, and 2 AD converters. The 2 AD converters reference the internal clock when translating the API 312 pre-amp signals from analog to digital. At this point, I have a 2 channels of digital signal on the API A2D unit. The source of the digital audio is from the two API 312 pre-amps, via the AD converter that references the internal clock. The digital signal is sent through the SPDIF connection to my audio interface (ProjectMix).

At the same time, my project mix must reference the same clock if I want to multitrack my 8 PMix inputs with the 2 API inputs (for tracking 10 channels simultaneously). So the Projectmix is locked into the API's clock to achieve this. The AD conversion for my 8 PMix pre-amps still happens within the Pmix interface because each input requires AD conversion and the API is already using the 2 AD converters on the unit.

As a result, I believe that I improved the quality of my M-Audio pre-amps by providing a more accurate clock via the API. Granted...it could be placebo, as I haven't run my pmix without the API clock in a long while. I was much less developed in critical listening at the time. Not to say that I'm worth my salt as is...oh wait I do everything for free...that's right. I can always take comfort in knowing that I'm worth the nothing that I charge, haha.

Since: Sep 30, 2009

Oct 08, 2010 09:42 am

I still don't quite understand how the clocks improve audio. Eh, it'll make sense eventually. Just hasn't clicked yet. Either way, that does look like a nice preamp ya got there! I think i will start saving for that or something similar to it.

Does the SPDIF connection make a huge difference? I'll probably end up getting one with a SPDIF connection anyway, at the very least, it will expand my interface from 14 to 16 inputs. But i'm curious, if the volume is all the way down on my interface's inputs, then does it skip the preamp section, adding no noise from the interface? It seems to me like it could go either way.

Anyone ever hear those Focusrite "liquid" preamps, or any of the other "liquid" stuff by focusrite? From what i've read, its a similar concept to modeling but.. it supposedly reacts more with the mic. eh, i have no idea how the science of those things really works.

Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 08, 2010 10:29 am

man this is a good thread ey, let it roll on.
Quince i didnt get all that about the clock thing either.

Can i just ask you this?

I have an outboard pre im running thru my interface via the spdif on the pre into the digital in on my interface bypassing the interface pre's.

Is this the best way to have this hooked up, or do i need to look at using the clock setup?
If so, what do i do?


Since: Nov 11, 2007

Oct 08, 2010 12:32 pm

Regarding the clock:

Microphones capture analog data, the oscillations of the diaphragm/ribbon/etc travel through your XLR cable in real time. Microphones have no memory. They output in real time.

The pre-amps amplify and give character to the real time audio signal, but they don't store any analog information either, it's just amplifying exactly what the mic "hears", (almost) instantly, and again, the next instant that something changes about the signal, the mic/preamp forgets what was being captured the last instant. Everything is still analog, and nothing is being recorded at this time. This is the live performance. All the information is currently in + and - voltage. The change in voltage is not recorded, only real time output.

This where Analog to digital conversion comes in. In order for a digital signal to occur, the analog signal must be documented in a way that computers can interpret. So the AD converter references your sample/bit rate and takes notes while you play an analog signal through it. I'm going to use some arbitrary numbers here so

with me for a second:

Your Pre says: +.5 Voltage
Your AD Converter hears: A wave form 12 big
Your pre says: -.1 voltage
Your AD converter hears: A wave form 3 big

Very...very arbitrary, but I think it will help present the concept.

So now we converted the analog signal to digital, but we're only getting instantaneous data, nothing is being recorded. A recording is the change in signal over time, and so time must be referenced when a recording is made.

Think about your wristwatch. A "second" is an arbitrary, man made time scheme. In order to display a second, you need to count something that is pulsing regularly, kind like a click track. I don't know much about quartz watches, but I think when you run a battery through the quartz, the result is a very predictable, regular pulse. Imagine if your click track were irregular...click...click...clickclick......click...click. you could still count X amount clicks and call it "one second" but it may not actually BE one second. It'll be something else, and random. If you're sampling audio at irregular time intervals, you won't actually hear what's happening in the other room as it happens in REAL time. You'll hear what happens in context of whatever warped time frame your clock happens to document.

But we aren't talking about counting seconds here, we're counting the difference between a waveform 12 big and the next wave form which is 3 big. Counting seconds using pulses is much easier, because seconds are fairly long. And so, I have no freakin clue what kinds of crazy components are in those clocks that people spend thousands of dollars on, but imagine they are intricately configured and carefully chosen.

I gotta go to work but I'll touch on some other things later today.

Since: Sep 30, 2009

Oct 08, 2010 01:08 pm

hmm. interesting already! awesome analogy. its starting to click...clickclick.

Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 09, 2010 01:30 am

hmm, i just cant resist, i just bought the stereo pair of fatheads!!
Cant wait.

Cant wait to see how the pre sounds with those thru it.

Since: Sep 30, 2009

Nov 06, 2010 10:33 pm

Starting to think seriously about putting the cash down, quick question. Will I need something with a digital output? Of course that would be prefered, so i could run it SPDIF to the tascam (and if the word clock is better too, even cooler!) But if i did get something with a really great sounding preamp, and ran it into a mic input on the tascam (with the gain all the way down on the tasies pre) would it still throw some mud into the signal? I'm imagining yes.

Since: Nov 27, 2007

Nov 07, 2010 03:45 am

i dunno about a mic input but i used to use a line in with mine, then realised i was using the tascams pre as well as the outboard pre doing that, so i just went spdif and bypassed the tas' pre.

not sure if its a bad idea or not going thru both pre's. My way of thinking is why go thru a good pre and then thru the tas' pre and maybe take the shine of it. I cant actually remember how it sounded thru the 2 but i mustve ditched the Tas' pre for a reason.

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