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How is my vocal recording setup ?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by metallidud, May 10, 2013.

  1. metallidud

    metallidud Member

    May 10, 2013
    I'm new here.
    Getting ready to record vocals for my band's album.
    The genre is progressive metal.. Vocal style is mix of James Labrie, Ozzy, Dio..
    My current setup is :

    Rode NT1a mic --> Groove Tubes brick preamp --> EMU 0404 USB (A/D) ---> usb into PC--> Reaper DAW

    I have produced decent demo recordings with this setup. We do not have the budget to go into
    a pro studio and spend hundreds/thousands on vocal recording session. So we are thinking
    of using the home studio setup. Assuming that the singer is not a bottleneck :) could you
    please let me know if you think I should look into replacing something if you spot a weakest link
    I wonder if the EMU unit which I guess acts as a converter here is the weakest link.
    I have a new-in-box M-audio ultra 8R interface lying around which I could use instead of EMU 0404
    but I suspect it's not gonna affect anything.
    I may also borrow my friend's Focusrite ISA-one digital (preamp + ADC) to see if it will
    make any difference.
    For mics, I am gonna try out SM-57, MXL 990 (dont remember the exact model), Shure beta something..
    We could invest around $500-1000 if it helps improve the sound.
    Not sure if we really need a compressor.. like FMR RNC or something (I was hoping to add compression later)

    Thanks a lot !!
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    until you get into spending thousands, a converter is a converter is a converter. most budget and mid priced box's use the same chip sets and even when you get into the higher priced converter the differences will often be defined by better input and output circuitry design, higher priced components and construction techniques.

    you have a great mic pre amp ... stick with that. it's going to be hard to beat the Brick. i love those things. not sure why GT stopped making them.

    an sm 57 is a great guitar amp mic real ok for vocals. if you are going to use it for vocals be sure to get a pop filter or a foam wind screen.

    .. i guess the Rode would be fine. they are not on my "go to" list but anything that would be better would likely be costly. i would just not bother with the MXL.

    For the cheap LD mics i lean to the sE line ... i hear the Aventone is quite nice and the ADK Hamburg or Vienna get great reports. if you can get an older KEL HM-1 they are killler. very smooth with a sound very close to a U87 for 1 /10th the cost! I wish Kel still made them.

    don't over look ribbon mics. ribbons are great. they are spendy for the good ones but cheap ones aren't worth the materials used to construct them.

    good compression is tricky. i'm not sure what you are looking for .. a compressor is not a compressor is not a compressor. there is quite !!a bit of difference between types and manufactures. i personally don't care for the FMR stuff ... cheap build (can break under the slightest abuse) , poor design with a signal path a mile long. most of all the don't sound that great too me but this is just my opinion as i am sure lots of others will say they love them. i actually got a RNC sent to me by Mercenary once to check out and compare to my other comps. Fletcher was convinced one i used it i would love it but i found it to be disappointing. i really don't think they sound any better than an Alesis 3630 compressor. if you are forced to go for the cheap get an Alesis and do the mod that gets the gate out of the circuit and you will have something that sounds much better than an RNC for 1/3rd the cost.

    for the same money you could find an older DBX box or better yet a vintage Valley Dyna-Mite which imo is a great vca piece. the Dyna-Mite is available as a plug in if you like that kind of thing. i prefer to do my processing in analog for a number of reasons one which is i think it just sounds better plus a hardware piece never has to be upgraded. once you have it, you have it.

    EL OP type comps like an LA2a, LA3 or a Manley EL OP are wonderful but they can be very expensive. if you can get one go for that. best for vocals imo. ART makes a reasonable EL OP comp for those on a budget but don't expect it to hold a candle to the real things.

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