The Pre-Sonus devices indicate their microphone preamp is class A. This design philosophy generally indicates it will be smoother sounding and with its overload characteristics to be asymmetrical instead of symmetrical. That means it's producing more second order natural harmonic distortion than the third quarter or odd order version of clipped A/B Class amplifiers which is dissonant sounding an unflattering distortion. That sounds much like a car radio turned up too loud. Where the class A distortion sounds more like the overload of a classic tube guitar amplifier which is flattering sounding. Don't get me wrong, some of the greatest preamps ever made are class A/B, such as the API and plenty of Neve stuff. I actually have a client who I set up with that Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB 1.1 device. He also has a Mackie mixer. The Pre-Sonus sounds too smooth to him and he likes that edgier sounding quality from the class A/B Mackie. Which means he's slightly likes better the sound of that edgier quality as compared to the smoothness of the class A. So that's a judgment call based on personal preference. I use almost all strictly class A/B devices which are my Neve & API stuff. I actually had a class A Neve 1272 modified to a microphone preamp which sounds really fabulous. When you get into this stuff, you quickly realize that over driving a class A device has certain musical qualities that are different sounding from the slightly edgier quality of over driving a class A/B device, which can also sound bitchin'. Again, it's personal preference based upon what you are trying to achieve, sonically.
I don't play with the Focusrite stuff so I cannot advise you on that particular device. The design concept with some of their stuff was also based upon the time that Rupert Neve was involved with that company. So that could mean it's either class A, or class A/B? Either way, it's all good stuff. So there really isn't any best, only what you want. Being new at this, you can't possibly know what exactly you want until you begin to use it and learn from it. This will not be your first nor your last device you will own. It will simply be a long list of stuff you will be familiar with as you grow. Only then, will you be able to determine what is best for your needs. Many folks consider what we do to be more of a professional hobby than merely just a profession. And I think that would be somewhat of an accurate statement? It's really quite both. It's something we all have a huge passion for. So your next piece of equipment is just yet another piece of desert.
I like banana splits with all the stuff
Mx. Remy Ann David
Thank you for the education. I truly appreciate your help.
Although I am quite new to recording, I actually have an audience/fan base that like my songs. I want to get decent equipment that is budget, yet professional sounding, and preserves the tone/color/rawness of the voice.
I would say my budget right now for a mic+preamp is about $400.
Here's a simple thing I made just acapella...I'm sure as a pro you can see how terrible the sound is or how much room for improvement there is. I'll be doing a lot of multilayered tracks(?) with vocals, and some acoustic guitar and keyboard in the near future
Yesterday acapella snippet by rawsoul on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
The mic I used to make that is this:
- 8-foot shielded cord with color-coded jacks
- Frequency response: 100 Hz - 16 kHz
- Sensitivity: -67 dBV/ÁBar, -47 dBV/Pa +/-4 dB
- Microphone power source voltage: 1.5 V DC
- Impedance: < 1000 ohms
School is in session. Awesome stuff Remy!...thanks!
Originally Posted by RemyRAD
Well that is certainly a reasonable example you've provided from a $.98 microphone. That capsule really isn't much different from a $300 Crown condenser microphone since they all came from the same Taiwanese factory. What is different is any quality microphone will have a balanced output. When it's coupled to a balanced input, there won't be near the amount of hum your recording is suffering from, from that piece of crap toy microphone you are using. An entry level USB microphone under $100 will provide you with a world of improvement over what you are currently using. Plus, the microphone you are currently using is Omni directional which contributes to the pickup of overall room noise much more so than a Uni directional a.k.a. cardioid polar pattern microphone. It's sound pickup is then directed, directly towards the source of which the sound is coming from and less so from the surrounding environment. But then you also have to be concerned with what is known as " Proximity Effect ". This will provide a huge boost in the bass response which will sound great on headphones and like mud coming out of speakers. That type of microphone will require a low-frequency cut a.k.a. high pass filter, for proper tonal balance when you are working closely to it such as for vocals. You can get away with less low-frequency cut, the further away from the microphone you get. But then the problem of extraneous rooms sound will start to rear its ugly head along with yours. Not that your head is ugly but the sound can be. If you look as good as you sound, you'll have no problem. But those are technical blah blah things you must know about beforehand. And most of these entry level USB microphones are just that, entry level. Not horrible but not great either. Extremely convenient and simple. No other external audio cards or devices are necessary with those. But not all USB microphones also have bidirectional characteristics along with headphone outputs. With those, you are likely going to have to monitor the output of your built-in computer audio card/device. This brings up a secondary problem where he will not be able to monitor what you are doing until you are ready to play it back. And that's why so many people simply purchase a SHURE SM 58 with a relatively inexpensive entry-level USB external audio device such as the Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB 1.1 or their slightly improved version with USB 2.0 connectivity. There are many other such devices by other manufacturers such as Lexicon, Sound Craft, others. And all of those external devices can be used with any kind of raw microphones of any type be it, condenser, dynamic and even ribbon microphones. With a USB microphone, you are generally locked into a condenser microphone which is not always going to be what you want to use. Condenser microphones do not indicate professional quality. They merely indicate condenser technology sound which differs from the sound of dynamic and ribbon microphones. So maximum capabilities and versatility is will be at with separate computer audio interfaces and different microphones.
You Sing very nicely. OK... Take 6 (they're great)
Mx. Remy Ann David
Thanks again for the in depth response. You are truly GREAT. I am ecstatic to hear you say that "An entry level USB microphone under $100 will provide you with a world of improvement over what you are currently using". I wasn't even sure it would...but hearing from you makes me convinced I need to upgrade my sh%$ lol! Alright...so my options right now are to get an SM58 + presonus audiobox. Let's just say I go the sm7b route, what preamp would I need to go with that? Will the Audiobox be good enough?
Thank you for the kind words...I know I need improvement, and lots of it. But I also do know what my strengths are. Are you saying my singing reminds you of Take 6? If so I'm honored.
The Pre-Sonus Audio Box is a marvelous little rig. Both versions, USB 1.1 and their $100 more USB 2.0. The microphone preamp is smooth and velvety. It goes great with velvety macaroni.
You really don't need to waste your money on a SM 7. It can be nearly identical sounding to the SM 58 but comes closer to the Beta 58 in its current version and so it gets a "b" designator. I have an original SM 7 which comes closer to the SM 58. The capsules are nearly identical. The real difference is how much further away you are from the capsule in the 7 as opposed to the 58's. And that's why I generally recommend that people stick on a large foam pop filter onto their 58's. Better still is to utilize one of those large lollipop like pantyhose filter, 2 inches in front of the microphone, which in turn places you approximately 3 inches from the lollipop pop filter. The 7 also includes a pair of switches which will cut the bbase built up from the Proximity Effect. It also provides for a flatter midrange response or its inherent built in presence enhancement which all of the 58's have. And that's a quality everybody loves. You can accomplish the high pass filtering a.k.a. bass cut in software instead of at the microphone directly. Plus the 7 is designed to be able to be screwed directly to a microphone boom without fear of the microphone falling out of the clip. If that's worth an extra $200 to you, I'd say go for it otherwise it's a waste of money. You would be better off taking that extra $200 and tossing it into a better computer audio interface within, say, the Pre-Sonus line. Although the microphone preamps will all be the same within that manufacturers line but other enhancements within their hardware will be obtained, such as real-time effects to monitor while cutting your tracks dry without them. The inexpensive Audio Box USB 1.1 isn't fast enough nor capable of providing that higher-speed CPU-based processing. Otherwise, no difference in sound until you move up to devices costing much more from other manufacturers.
Yeah, I love Take 6 and yes, your singing absolutely reminds me of them.
You are going about this the right way
Mx. Remy Ann David
Hmm so the audiobox 1.1 would be good enough to handle my vocals and acoustic guitar? The presonus firebox 2.0 doesn't improve it noticeably more? I never thought I would get for the sm58 but you have pretty much convinced me to do just that. I'm going to start looking for an sm58 + pop + stand + audiobox bundle...
Sorry for so many questions...I know out of your 5,967 you must have answered these questions countless times. How exactly do I accomplish the bass cut or high pass filtering through the software?
In most software, you'll go to your effects menu drop down. There you will find all the software is capable of. Of course for filtering, you would choose equalizer or filtering. They'll be submenus there and you will probably find out at the different types of filters available, most will have a preset for high pass filtering or a bass cut off of numerous different frequencies. And not all filters sound alike either. They may have similar function but through digital signal processing, they can do things not possible in the hardware world. Possibilities are exhaustingly infinite. Each piece of multitrack software out there all pretty much do the same thing. Some have incredible features others only have some features. Some come bundled with software that would have cost you more than $500 by itself. So when you can get a box for as little as $150 with a $400 software package, wow! The real differences between most software packages is simply in their GUI. And that's as personal as the underwear you wear. Whatever one speaks to you the best, the most intuitive for you, is the one you should use. Sometimes, that alone can be the decision-maker. All of these software developers all have trial versions for you to check out. When you find one you like, start looking for manufacturers that are offering versions of that in their bundle when you purchase their hardware. Sometimes though, you'll find a piece of hardware you absolutely want to have and don't like the software package. Well then, you have the option of buying someone else's software. Most of us use a multitude of different manufacturers software all the time. I've dropped just as much money on software as I have on fine studio microphones OMG! For instance though, I don't do MIDI. Everybody else does. I can even work my way around MIDI so I am a MIDIdiot. My shtick is live, studio, broadcast. So I too lack in certain areas. I'm certainly not an expert in everything but I am. There are limits on so much everything. Others not so much. I know that when I need to know something I don't know, I can come here. Though right now, I'm working on a documentary film that I didn't start. It came from Final Cut Pro. There are some things for which was done I don't understand? It's a technical thing. So I have to find a user group of Final Cut Pro so I can ask about these compressed QuickTime files? These don't appear to be the huge sized uncompressed files are used to working in. I think their proxy files? Which means they are lower in quality and highly compressed data. I think the uncompressed files are on a server that have been erased at the cable access joint from which this documentary came from? Which may mean the hundreds of hours of digital videotape may have to be re-ingested? Oy vey. I'm sure coming from New Jersey you've heard that line before. Oy vey. So that means all my editing will be in vain when it comes time to bump this up to 1080, 16 x 9. C'est la vie.
Back to the editing show or is that the show of endless editing?
Mx. Remy Ann David
just purchased everything, except I got the SM58S...I'm hoping the on/off switch doesn't make this model any different in terms of performance/quality...right?
Nope, no difference. Just a switch that a lead singer can accidentally turn off during a live recording. When I'm interfacing with a PA guy for a live recording and I come upon one of those, I first asked the singer if they need to use the switch? If they don't, I'll generally stick a piece of tape over the switch so as to eliminate that possibility of an accidental switch off. Otherwise, congratulations on purchasing one of the best microphones ever made in this world. There isn't anything you can't use this on. It even doubles as a poor man's Neumann U 87 which costs + $3000 US. So it's not only great sounding it's one of the worlds best bargains to be had. Also note that the SM 57 is the identical capsule that you find in the 56 & 58. So if you have a 58 and need to stick it into a tight spot, simply unscrew the metal ball of the 58 and then you have a 57. Which makes it an even better bargain because you get 2-for-1. But make sure that you stick on a extra foam pop filter when recording vocals because it makes a big difference as the 58 still as the tendency even with its big metal ball and extra foam, to pop and blast. Of course you cannot always do that for a live recording especially one that includes video because it won't look good DA DA DA. So that's a scenario where you particularly want to switch on the bass cut/high pass filter on your preamp and/or console.
Looking forward to hearing your stuff again
Mx. Remy Ann David