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Is it better to have 2 or more different mic pres?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by tterral1, Aug 20, 2003.

  1. tterral1

    tterral1 Guest

    Wondering if I need to purchase 2-2 channel mic pres or 1-4 channel. I am looking at the Sebatron VMP 2000e and RNP (or similar) or the Seb VMP 4000e. I did not know if recording all tracks on the Seb would create any problems, frquency wise. I have read that using a Neve 1073, for example, for all tracking can create some build up of certain frequencies that may not be desirable.

    Currently using a Langevin DVC and will probably sell to purchase the other pres (I need 4 channels of preamp). I do not want to trade down by going to the Sebatron or Seb/RNP, but from what I have read about the Seb, I doubt that will be the case.

    Oh yeah, I am recording acoustic type music (folk/bluegrass/etc.), am I looking at the right pres for this kind of work and budget (+/- $1,500)? I am using Soundelux U195, Josephson C42, Oktava MC012 and At 4041 microhones.

    Tim T.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Having many flavors of mics amd mic pre's is always a great thing just as an artist has many brushes and colors to choose from to complete a painting. Recording/Mixing sound can be thought of as an aural painting.

    The Langevin is real good mic pre and worth keeping. Having something like a Neve and API as well as something real tube like a D.W Fearn or Universal Audio would give you some nice flavors to choose from and complement the Langevin.

    As for the Neve comment, yes that is true, but that is not necessarly a bad thing. Hundreds if not thousands of great recordings have been done using all Neve mic pres specificly because of their tone. Many people and top engineers still prefer to mix their tracks on Neve consoles. The Neve tone is the most popular and sought after recording tool ever made or copied. Over a dozen companines are making Neve reproductions. AMS/Neve themselves offer the 1081 reissue and plan to release another reissue which is rumored to be the 1073 if not others as well.

    [ August 20, 2003, 10:42 PM: Message edited by: AudioGaff ]
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I have done some songs on the Sebatron vmp 4000 and a U87, playing three or four tracks of acoustic guitar, bass and three or four vocal parts and I have not noticed any frequency build up. I find the vmp to be wonderful on acoustic guitars, making them sound huge.. I also think you should consider keeping the Langevin.. I would think that an RNP would be a step backwards.. Anything from Manley Labs is hard to beat.. Kurt
  4. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    This is one topic where i disagree with most 'home', or 'project', studio recordists...
    i think you are MUCH better off with only ONE type of mic pre, although of course the better quality it is the better off you are.

    But that consistency of basic character adds a cohesiveness that benefits the record in the end.

    most of the great recordings people point to with reverence were in fact made on ONE console with its inboard mic amps... not with mix and match pres.

    would Abbey Road or Dark Side Of The Moon sound better if they had only had a different mic pre to choose for this overdub or that?
    i think NOT.

    A range of choice is overrated.
    and in fact, i really believe, creates more problems than it solves.
    one GREAT mic amp is much better than a choice of several.
  5. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Many people report getting great results for what you are doing from Nighthawk, Phoenix, RNP, and Great River...although some have gotten great results with a $100 Rane...

    Are you planning on mixing in DAW or external mixer? That can have a significant impact on your choices, I think...

    The whole thing is a tightly interleaved process I believe, in which no one piece can make or break the final result...
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    l'll challange that. First off, those are OLD classic recordings made with consoles that had great pre-amps to start with. Second, Outboard non-console preamps were not really available.

    You completely underestimate the capability of those involved if they could of had the oppertunity to make choices for gear that we have today. Who knows what those people would have created or how much better they could of done if they had options such as different mic pres, quieter mics, fader automation, digital effects, unlimited single source tracks, instant recall, ect...

    The main point being that they used everything they needed and had available at the time just as how it is done now. If after hearing Sgt. Pepper people thought that all they ever needed was two 4-track recorders, a couple of mics for drums and just a few faders we would have never have grown past that. You think Dark side of the moon would have had the same impact and sound if they had just used regular drums instead of the then just invented roto-toms? Having many choices is a great thing. Not knowing how to make use and commit to those choices is a bad thing.

    [ August 21, 2003, 09:18 AM: Message edited by: AudioGaff ]
  7. tterral1

    tterral1 Guest

    Thanks for the responses. I totally agree that ideally I would keep the DVC, but I have to have 4 channels of preamp and the only way to do that (with my current budget and wife) is sell the DVC and buy either the VMP 4000e or the VMP 2000e and the RNP. Now I can kick in a little more $$$ to the proceeds from the DVC, but cannot swing adding the VMP 2000e to the line up, while keeping the DVC, as much as I would like to. Kurt has indicated the RNP is a step down from the DVC and I realize it probably is, so maybe the best way to go is the VMP 4000e.

    Any other ideas?

    Tim T.
  8. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Great preamps in the console to start with is EXACTLY the point.
    even now, working on a great desk one does not find the need to go outside for another preamp.
    it's only when desks started to appear with lousy mic pres that engineers started carrying better ones with them to studios.
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Ya, Keep the DVC which besides being a real good dual mic pre, gives you a very good dual channel compressor/limiter than you already own! Very few mic pre's are worth more as far as tone, quality, features or flexability than the DVC.

    If you really need 4-ch of mic pre's right now, then don't buy any of the Sebatron stuff right now if you can't afford it. Buy something that you can afford and upgrade latter when you can.

    What is your budget? What type of tone are you looking for? What are these two additional mic pre's going to be used for? There are dozens of preamps to choose from these days but keep in mind that you pretty much get what you pay for.
  10. tterral1

    tterral1 Guest

    Looking for something flexible, i.e. can be transparent or add some color (hence the Sebatron stuff). I am recording acoustic (bluegrass/folk/etc.) music, so I am looking for something that can be fairly accurate as well. The additional pres are so that we can record live, as opposed to tracking separatly. This pretty important. The RNP is probably the only thing close (budget wise) that would fit the bill if I kept the DVC. I do not use the EQ or the compressor of the DVC much when I track, I prefer to track with little or no effects. I would probaly get an RNC for my compression needs, which would be mainly for the bass.

    Tim T.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Uhhhh....AudioGaff, WW WAS one those involved.You should maybe check his credits.....

    That being said, Tim T's needing a couple more channels of pres for his group to be able to record 'all at once'.All agree that the Langevin is a really nice unit and if you can survive with it still in tow you wont be backing up.You have nice mics and really only need two more pres.Going from the Langevin to an RNP while it might facilitate your needs is not a step forward....Why dont you rent a couple channels for your project? I know there has to be a place there in Tulsa that has what you need.Send a private mail to 'sheet' our live sound moderator.He lives there and knows everyone.He might even rent you something of his...

    The advice that WW gave about having ONE STERLING pre for project studios is a good one.Choices are good,no doubt...but too many choices can be detrimental to acheiving a 'glue' to your sound especially when going to DAW or standalone recorders as many folks do these days.I have found in my setup, that having a high quality pre for doing just the feature instruments and vocals really helps pull these out and using my console pres for everything else is not a detriment at all.It makes everything kinda sit together well.
  12. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Isn't it one of those sports truisms that you never trade two great players for four average ones? ;)
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    If you only need the two extra pre's for recording this one project or every once in a while, renting something real good makes sense.
    If the RNP is all you can afford there is nothing wrong with it. I would think it would do the job well.

    I would agree that having just one type of real good mic pre is ok and acceptable. Just because you may have many choices to choose from, doesn't mean you have to use them all. But not having them available when you want something different leaves you stuck high and dry.

    As for the glue thing, if you just tracked and mixed with all things being equal that is valid, but I have found that most people going the DAW route and who are using just one pre or many different pre's over process the $*^t out the tracks with plugs anyway leaving the glue theory diluted and null. I find that glue is more often done and effective with the mix 2-bus rather than by tracking. And ya, it can be a challange and requires some real skill to have and use a vast variety of choices and still get things to sit right and glue together. Never been much of a problem for me.
  14. prodmac

    prodmac Guest

    I have a tendency to agree with mr Wittman on this subject. To me using multiple preamps doesn't help as much as changing the position or the mic. It becomes a luxury of our times at the great pleasure of dealers and manufacturers. All the greatest rock albums of the last 5o years were mostly tracked with the same preamps . Buy yourself some great stuff like Trident A Range or Helios and you won't need anything else. if anything, buy yourself a great solid state chain and a great tube chain like V76, pultec and LA2A. Not the newer cheap stuff a la HHB or whatever...
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Those people,Audiogaff, who tend to overproduce using whatever methods,plugs,hardware,software,underware, are the very people who's production would acquire the "glue" had they LESS choices. and...Tim, as new member Prodmac suggests, a great chain will never let you down.You have at your disposal right now, several great chains simply because of the Langevin paired with the Josephsons,the Soundeluxe and th Audio Technica...The Octavas are great too, if you got a good set.
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Maybe, Maybe not. You would hope so anyway. "Glue" can be obtained in many ways and is not restricted to only using one type of preamp or with using only a few choices. Just because it is easier to obtain with just a few choices doesn't assure that you will achieve the glue factor. This thing we call glue is not automatic. It is something that requires professional grade gear, skill and experience.

    The reality is that people do have all those choices and will likely use and/or overuse them requardless. Having less choices is not as valuable as knowing which of those choices to use as well as why and where you use them. It would seem to be wiser to say that before you learn and know how best to use all those choices, to keep it simple and not over do it. Playing around with all those choices in every way you can conceive can be a productive way to obtain experience and learn on your own but should not be done at the clients expense.
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    If you decide to sell the Langevin, PM me!
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Your points are well made and its true that those with the EXPERIENCE will more than likely choose wisely when making selections of gear which will have impact on a recording.My reply was to your own take on those who overprocess.And it seems to me was WW's take on that very thing also.So it seems we agree in essence. The problem I see these days, is that there is SO much gear to choose from, and there is an opinion running through all of these BB's and threads that the average home recordist or the average demo level studio re: project studio,can't be complete or make good sound without a plethora of outboard,inboard,overboard gear.So it feeds the machine and most everybody you talk to or hear about in this situation, is looking for more,better,gear.Not to say that better isnt better...it is without a doubt....but many people are of the mind that filling a rack with this,that,and the other thing is going to bring them pro results without having the skills set in place to accomplish this.I'm certainly glad for you that by your own admission, this is no problem for you.You are in the minority.A thourough read of the questions being asked here and other places by people who have very very good pieces in their arsenal will comfirm this.It doesnt take great gear to make great sound, it certainly helps considerably,those with the skills and knowledge to get great sound, but it is no guarantee of it.

    While I am not touting poor performing gear, what I am saying is that learning how to use one really good recording chain to its potential goes a much longer way than simply adding more things in the rack to try and compensate for poorly learned recording skills.Remember, 80%(a guess) of those posting on this site are NOT doing this for a living.Some may charge a fee to do friends or acquaintences projects, but there are few real pros amoungst us here.Most are hobbiests and are doing their own projects....musicians who are looking for a better way to express themselves.Not to say that they are not serious about turning out a product and the best that is possible.

    For my dollar, theres a lot more sonic ground that can be covered by a varied selection of mics and a good path for them to the recording medium.Theres a greater variety to be had with placement than simply turning a knob.

    enough of my diatribe.........

    [ August 23, 2003, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: Davedog ]
  19. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm in complete agreement with the above and the only thing I can say to all that is...AMEN!

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