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help with choosing the right mic preamps.

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by matthewvandenham, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Hello, this is a quality message board. Thanks for having me.

    I am looking for a preamp(s) for live and recording situations. What I'd like to achieve is a fully miced band running through the preamp, in to my PC where I can run live VST's or plugins, and re-route it to an powered amp. Also, my goal is to have an all HDMI (or 192khz 32bit) quality chain. I require 2 overhead condensors for my cymbols, 2 toms, 1 snare and i use an electronic kick that plugs in through midi. 1guitar, 1 bass, 1 or maybe 2 vocal inputs. approximately 8 inputs with a midi-in. so 9 total active connections running to my pc, and being sent through the output via HDMI cable.

    I was browsing around and and getting ideas, and basically I need an
    with a
    sound card....but the price tag kills me. Do you know of a cheaper alternative that can handle 192khz/32bit?

    I've been browsing these forums for a while and I've realized that each piece of gear has its own characteristics at the high end level. so Am I better off buying individual preamps designed for drums, guitar, bass and vocals, or will a single multiport unit suffice? I love customizations but I also love simplicity. So if there is an all in one preamp for a fair price I will look in to it.

    Also, I have to consider that I am routing it from the preamp to my PC so I am concerned about a preamp with Microsoft certified drivers and the connection will not fail. I think I've had better luck with USB over any other preamp to PC connection actually. What is the most stable connection source? USB/FIREWIRE etc.... And can I hook up multiple preamps to my one pc?

    Alrighty, thank you for your help.
    cheers :D
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Matthew -

    Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll find a lot of information here on these pages.

    That being said, I think you'll need to do some research - a LOT of research.

    Here are a couple of reasons:
    1 - only DXD (a PCM schema that approximates the resolution of 1bit, 2.8MHz DSD sampling) offers true 32 bit encoding. Sadly the only systems that support this DWARF the costs of the RME units you chose. Otherwise, you're dealing with 24Bit recording and at best, 32 bit (or even 64 bit) post processing.

    2 - HDMI is not a viable pro-audio transmission format. In fact, I don't know of any pro audio equipment that utilizes this connection variant.

    3 - Firewire and PCI are the most optimal ways of connecting audio equipment. USB is acceptable, but high speed connections that command the bus are better than the USB protocol which is merely a "dumb" protocol.

    4 - There really is absolutely no way that you could use any computer to run 9 to 10 channels with VST plugins without a noticable latency (what would be required to support the plugging in of an amplifier and supporting a live show).

    For live sound, your best bet for the past 60 years and still counting is a mixer.

    For audio recording, you'll really want to do some research and determine why you'll want/need 192kHz. For rock, I could rarely ever imagine going beyond 88.2 kHz much less all the way to 192kHz.

    I guess my point is, give us some more information (such as the "why" to a lot of these questions) and we'll do what we can to help.

    On another note, I personally attest to the quality of RME products. They are phenomenal. They're not the "cream of the crop" but they're damn nice for the $$$ and can still hang with the big dogs.

  3. thanks for the reply. Actually I wasn't even sure if this would work. I'm just throwing ideas out here to see if they are possible. So if HDMI isn't used (yet?), then what is the best quality sound source by cable?

    so you think it's not possible to pass the connection from the preamp to my PC and master it on the fly? I would only be conditioning my kick via midi, vocals and guitar.

    I've seen some engineers at live concerts with laptops, so that's where I got the idea.. if they're not using it to condition/master sound sources, then what is the laptop used for? testing acoustics?
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I doubt HDMI will ever be a viable format for pro-audio. Not to say it won't, but considering how many other formats there are right now and how efficient they are, I doubt that HDMI offers anything that the other formats do not.

    The reason that you won't be able to use VST plug-ins, particularly on such a high sample rate is due to latency. With 10 tracks running (first of all, many VST or DirectX plugs don't even process at 192kHz) and plug-ins operating on them, the latency will be greater than 1/10th of a second - a HUGE delay that will be noticed (and a big problem for the performers).

    Also, this isn't considered "mastering." It's just live digital effects.

    It is possible to put digital effects on a live performance, but to do it well, it takes a lot of processing power - usually reserved to dedicated outboard gear.

    The computers you see live on stage are usually used as:
    1 - digital instruments (a well-configured machine can do this function with latencies <1/100th of a second)
    2 - sequencing (everything from lighting to digital instruments to effects processor triggering, etc.)

  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    3 - recording. But these are usually not on stage.
  6. I'm confused with this whole the whole concept of HD then. If an HDMI cable is considered he highest quality cable you can buy for transference of media, then why is it not used in studios from preamp to PC or PC to monitors?
  7. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Because it's BS. HDMI is just a form of connector, the wires in the middle are still metal wire which just carry a series of pulses. People use metal wire all the time to carry digital information.

    Also, connection goes;
    preamp -> AD converters -> PC -> DA convertars -> monitors.
  8. do you think the AD and DA converters decrease the sound quality?
  9. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Yes I do. Digital blows. Buy a record lathe and cut direct to disc. Really, your questions are getting ridiculous...
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    HDMI is just a cable. It's designed to carry video as well as audio which is why it's useless, considering there are a zillion other ways to transfer audio solely and without added cost.

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