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Condenser mics: is absolutely necesary to use an outside preamp?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by jarjarbinks, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Hello experts,

    I recently bought an Mbox 2 and want to buy a condenser mic to record vocals. Im wondering if I absolutely need to get a preamp to work with condenser mics.

    Cant I just choose to work with the built in preamps from the mbox?

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There is no problem at the technical level about the Mbox 2 working with most condenser microphones.

    What you have to consider is whether a condenser microphone (independent of manufacturer and model) is right for your voice, the type of vocals you want to record, what the vocal line has to "sit" with in the mix, and, importantly, the environment you have for recording in.

    Bear in mind that, as a general rule, condenser microphones are more sensitive to the recording environment than other types, so if your recording space is not top-notch, you may be less happy with the results.

    It's not a given that you get better results from a condenser microphone over, say, a good-quality dynamic. Many top artists choose to record using an SM58 dynamic in the studio because they are used to it, they are comfortable with the way their voice sounds through it, and also they know they can reproduce that sound on stage.

    Separately, there are issues to do with the Mbox 2 microphone inputs when it comes to factors like sonic quality and transient handling, but you have to work with those and choose a microphone that gives you the results you want from your voice and your recording environment. If you did want to by-pass the MBox 2 pre-amps, you could consider adding external pre-amps such as the Audient Mico that have an S/PDIF digital output to plug into the Mbox 2 S/PDIF digital input.
     
  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Good advice. Boswell "Many top artists choose to record using an SM58 dynamic in the studio because they are used to it, they are comfortable with the way their voice sounds through it, and also they know they can reproduce that sound on stage."

    Not that I am a top artist but I did three gigs last weekend, each had a shure mic one a 57 nice had to be a little careful with it I have a deep voice and you can get real close on these, the proximity effect was wicked (increased bass response) a 58 which was great and a Beta 58 which was my favorite, with my voice. Anyway it was great singing through these mics they just have "that" sound, easy, warm lots of fun oh yeah and cheap. They sound good in almost any room. Great mics to start off with.
     
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The only absolutes are the need for phantom power and sufficient gain for your application.

    The mic itself will have the lion's share of the effect on tone. Preamps have a lesser but significant effect. Think of it as just that, an effect that alters the tone in some way. Sometimes you want one effect, sometimes you want another.
     

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