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Is two tubes too much?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pr0gr4m, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:

    New to the forum but been reading it extensively for the past couple of weeks. My mission: To purchase a Mic and Pre amp.

    I'm not going to ask which ones to get. Those question have been beaten to death here and I've got more than enough great info from all the posts. I just haven't made my mind up yet.

    I think I want a tube mic and I'm also thinking about a tube pre. What I'm wondering is basically, are two tubes too much? Is that overkill?

    I like the coloration that some tube equipment adds to the sound. That is actually what I'm looking for. But would I be better off with perhaps a non-tube mic?

    Any experiences you can share?
  2. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    IMHO, no. I use a R0DE NTK with my Sebatron VMP 2000e and I am very happy with the results.
  3. theholotrope

    theholotrope Guest

    I would not go that route personally... unless youre going for that specific effect for some reason. for flexibility, i would go with one tube, preferably the pre-amp. I have a UA6176 and is flexible as to how much tube sound I want so a lot of mics go well with it. But it's funny that you mention this because we tried that just last week and it WAS overkill... Im sure you'll find more benefit from owning just one piece of tube equipment instead of both... of course, this is just my opinion...

  4. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    Two tubes may be too much if they're not great sounding tube circuits... two tubes may be fine if the two sounds are complimentary as it applies to the presentation of the music... two tubes will have to be based on the merit of each tube as it applies to the unit in which it's enclosed.

    There are no rules.

    A Rode "toob" mic will sound nothing like a Soundelux "tube" mic... a Pendulum "tube" mic pre will sound nothing like a _____ "toob" mic pre.

    The bottom line is that you should evaluate each unit on it's own merit and not from some set of marketing buzzwords that describe the basis of the main amplifiers in these units... like in the case of the Neumann/Sennheiser M-149... it has a 'subminiature' tube which is all well and good but the capsule is coupled to the amplifier via a chip which in many ways negates the presence of the "toob" except that Neumann/Sennheiser can market the mic as a "toob" mic...

    Best of luck with your search.
  5. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    In general, unless I'm going for a "tubey" sound, I avoid putting 2 pieces of tube gear together.

    I would suggest a tube mic pre coupled with a high-quality non-tube mic.


  6. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    In general, unless you're using some very distinct sounding "toob" gear it shouldn't matter... for instance, an M-149 through a Pendulum MDP-1A will have less of a "tube" [or what some might perceive as being 'tubesque'] sound than say a U-195 through a Chandler TG-2.

    There are zero rules other than "what you feel is appropriate" vs. "what you feel is inappropriate". To have some kind of BS rule that will prevent you from trying combinations because the units have amplifiers based around tubes is just nonsense.

    Sometimes having sounds with too much of the "tube vibe" is the perfect juxtaposition against sounds that are a bit more 'upfront'... sometimes "hard" sounds will juxtapose well against "soft" sounds... it all depends on the user's sense of aesthetic vis a vis what is appropriate for the music.
  7. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    I'd certainly worry more about finding a GOOD sounding preamp and a GOOD sounding mic, than about whether it has a tube or not.

    having said that, MOST of the "tube" gear out there these days is more about marketing than sound.

    I certainly would advise against a cheap mic that says "tube" in the name just so you can have a "tube" mic.
    MUCH better to get a really good transistor mic for the same money.

    I also am very against the 'horses for courses' approach to recording...
    I say buy a preamp that you will be happy using on everything, not something that's so specialised that you love it on, perhaps, one thing, but can't use it elsewhere.
    It's not good recording OR a good use of your budget.[/i]
  8. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    I use some tube mics with a tube pre, and I have some solid state mics and pres, so I've mixed and matched all combinations. As Fletcher said, if the tube gear is decent or better, you'd be surprised how wonderful a tube mic into a tube pre can sound. My tube mics are a CAD VX2, ADK A-48 and a Groove Tubes GT44. My tube pre is a Pendulum Audio MDP-1a. The FET mics I have are a Microtech Gefell UMT800 and a pair of Schoeps. I have a John Hardy Solid state pre. ALL combinations sound great, yet different to some extent or another.

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