1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Matching up the right mic and mic pre?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by werewolf, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    Hi ya folks, I was thinking of buying a mic pre here recently, and have narrowed down the choices to either the "RNP" or "Grace 101" My Primary use for this mic pre is "Vocals" and some "Acoustic Guitar". I record vocals at home and record most of the music at local studio. But anyway My Mic is a Audio Technica 4050. I was wondering which mic pre would sound best, and compliment my mic the best?
  2. Guest

    I just don't see how anyone can answer what is going to come down to a matter of personal preference.

    These units are hardly rare or unavailable. Borrow, rent, or find a dealer who is willing to send you one of each (with the proviso that you buy the one you prefer and return the other) and audition them yourself .
  3. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    I also think it's a specious concept.
    No one ever worked on a great desk (discrete Neve, Trident A, API) and said, "gee, i'd love to use X mic, but it won't be COMPATIBLE with the mic pre in this thing!"

    A good mic pre is a good mic pre and a good mic for a given application is a good mic...

    i don't believe in "matching" and i don't really like mixing and matching mic pres either.
    the best records are made with ONE type of mic pre on all mics (as in, on a great sounding DESK, not with a hodgepodge).
    We've only come to this business of multiple mic pres by default anyway (because studios stopped having great conosles and because the market is now full of set-ups without a console at all), it was never by CHOICE, because different mic pres would be 'better'.

    there is nothing on Abbey Road or Dark Side Of The Moon or Crime Of The Century that would have been improved with a selection of mic pres to "match" their mics.
  4. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    lol. Now that I think of it , it is kinda silly. Sorry for the stupid question, I have just been seeing sooooo many mic pres in studios and magazines and talk about adding differant flavors, and hint of this, dash of that,, blabhbablhabbha.

    I am a newbie, and I just didnt want to make the wrong choices.

    Thanks for the info guess, peace
  5. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member


    nowhere near a stupid question bro! both schools of thought are correct. I use an RNP for the following in my music compositions/tracking: ...for stereo accoustic guitars, as a DI for my keyboards/piano, for my huge layerd backing vocals (through an AT 4033 mic) and as drum overheads with my small cond. mics...

    I then use a Great River ME-1NV (Neve type clone) as a DI for bass, on my snare drum, and for the reason I purchased it, my lead vocals through a GT Model 1b (vitage tube mic)for ultimate color!

    Thats usually my tracking approach with some exeptions of course due to specific needs.... for me, if I tracked everything through my Great River I do notice a huge jamble of sound when all the tracks are layerd togather (due to that big iron sound of that pre, which isnt a bad thing just not for me)....the clean and delicate RNP allows those instruments i mentioned to layer very nicely as tracks are added...the GR really throws the vocals and bass way out there the way "I" like it!

    I enjoy the different flavors individual pre's bring to a mix...not that a console is wrong, but for this day in age, the digital world really benefits from these choices as apposed to tape (which by the way is still ideal due to the natural color tape brings to the table) however, for a songwriting multi-instrumentalist home studio dude like me, tape and a console is absolutly not an option.

    BTW the RNP and the Grace101 both sound fantastic with or without a tube mic for vocals. your AT 4050 will sound great on both...for me, the two channels of the RNP and cheaper price BTW was no contest. the 101 "to me" did not sound any better and it was mono.....get an RNC $175.00 while your at it and your vocals will track sooo clean!

    good luck man and there's never silly questions around here! :)
  6. Guest

    By the way, Nebula, if you are still here, it was pointed out to me by a moderator that he thought my answer to you was crappy and disrespectful. If you felt the same, i apologize - i honestly thought i was giving some good practical advice. ("when in doubt, get some, and try them out")

    However, since you will be in Boston soon, allow me to demonstrate my sincerity by inviting you to private message me for my contact info. that way, if you have any other questions when you get here, we can discuss them at length one on one, without worrying about our dialogue being criticized for form or etiquette.

    good luck in school. Boston is a fun place - i'm sure you'll have a ball. But i'm warning you - what they call barbeque is NOTHING like North Carolina. Can I pay you to smuggle me up some Southern cooking? :w:
  7. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    Bobby , Littledog. Thanks guys :tu:

    Very good info Bobby I really appreciate it. Aside frome individual tracks, I never really thought about the effect that layering the tracks would have. Just another reason to have more than one I guess. I think I will go with the RNP, and later down the road either get a tube mic, or a colored pre to have the best of both worlds. THanks guys

  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    This is the first I have ever heard any Groove Tube mic called a "vintage Tube mic". While it is "tube", I would hardly call it vintage.. perhaps the tube that is in the GT 1b is vintage (over 25 years old). Kurt
  9. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member

    I put it in parenthesis to describe its type not to say it was called a "vintage Tube Mic" nor is the tube in it 25 years old!

    the GT Model 1b was designed as an updated version of the original Groove Tubes Model 1a which came out about 10 years ago which Aspen Pitman designed as a "vintage style" looking/sounding mic. ...regardless of its style or look or whatever you want to call it, its a fantastic sounding tube mic with a beautiful upper sheen yet full bodied throughout the mids and lows..nowhere near as scooped (across the mids) as a Rhode NTK...the model 1b's physical appearance lends it self to a (vintage type) mic.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Bobby Loux,
    OK Thanks for the explanation.. I was just wondering?? Thanks, Kurt :tu:
  11. ckevperry

    ckevperry Active Member

    In the spirit of a good debate I have to disagree with this. Rather than "mix and match" I rather call it "making the best choice." There is not a single preamp out there(outboard/console) I would choose to use on every single audio source I usually record. There are some I could do that with and be satisfied- but I'm paid to make the best recording possible. So that requires some technical and artistic choices. Since I do have the choice, I choose to paint with many brushes. In my experience there is a greater depth and variety of textures in a recording when using different preamps. So yes...to me different mic pres are better.

    There are vast sonic differences between preamps and I use them to their strengths. A 57 will sound way different thru different preamps.

    If this is how you work...then I am sad you have never heard any preamps from Great River, Crane Song, Pendulum, Manley....none of which are in consoles.

    So I applaud you nebula...but here is the catch- It's more about thow the mic and preamp compliment the source than just the mic and preamp complimenting each other. Try both and see what sounds best. Both are great and will serve you for a long time.
  12. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    I applaud you as well. I guess it is the source that needs matching. That puts it all into perspective for me. I guess the signal chain from vocalist to tape is always going to be a complex collaboration. All of them depending on each other. WoW!!!??? and I thought the real talent stop at the vocalist, Recording Engineers are really the unsung heros of many hit songs and artist.

    You guys are great, just when I think I have it all figured out, I get a little more insight from each and every one of you.

    Thanks guys

    YOUNGMOE Guest

    get your mic right first, then go from there...
  14. ckevperry

    ckevperry Active Member

    And yet it won't ever get any better than the talent on the other side of the mic.
  15. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Well we DO disagree.

    Again, i don't think Abbey Road was starved for 'choices'.
    In fact, i find the opposite.. most beginners do much better by using the SAME mic pre on everything because that consitency lends a certain consitency of sound to the record.. it helps in its subtle way to ensure that the sounds work TOGETHER, which is the hardest thing to 'get' at first and really the most important thing.

    These days when so many pople are overdubbing one instrument or part at a time, it's a real trap to get into the head of EQ-ing and mic'ing in solo to get that one sound "perfect" but without really knowing how it fits with the rest of the record.
    That's what good balance engineering is all about.
    And i say again.. if you are working on a great desk you never have the need for a different mic amp..
    i personally think it's a BAD idea, but at best it's a pointless one.
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    But what would your recommendation be for someone who is not working on a great desk? Many are working on DAW whether we like it or not. Should someone just go out and buy 12 of the same mic pres and be done with it?
  17. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member

    Yeah and I don’t think Abby Road were using DAW's at home in a converted bedroom/home office like a lot of folks are! ....of course it would be better! It also would be better for all of us to be driving a 150k automobile, but that’s about as realistic as your statement!...

    C'mon bro do you hear how pompous you sound? the guy you're initially responding to is looking at a $500.00 mic pre for Pete sake!...what will 5 bills get him on the board at Abby Road?..(A patch cable!)

    OK big shot, now maybe you can answer his question, unless you really don’t have something that will help him!

    Give me a break!
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Hey there everybody...

    Gee, this is starting to get a nasty sort of bent to it.

    It almost borders on the Tape vs. DAW thing in its theory.Its been pointed out that DAW recordings require some sort of 'color' in order to sound 'right' while Tape brings its own sonic coloration to the game and might need less help in its pallette.

    I think that W.W. has a good point in suggesting that there might be a bit too much 'colorization' these days. The Marketing depts. are hip to this happening.Many many folks who are just coming into this, are greatly affected by this and perhaps instead of dealing with 'tonal variations' at the source, are opting to rely on specific pieces of gear to achieve results. I'm not saying this isnt a WAY to do things, I just wonder if all these choices are prempting the learning curve.

    Realize if you will, that the preamp revolution is a fairly new thing as far as outboard gear goes. 10 years back there were some pres to be had but their technology was 40 years old.Seems the "Best" stuff still is.

    Now with the advent of Digital Audio Workstations that fit in your dining room, everybodys' racking up pieces and sections of Neve, API, AMEK, all sorts of consoles' single channel strips,EQ sections,comp sections,mic pres,etc etc.And this is where you're getting all this 'color'..These were all available as just a console for years.

    This, to me, is along the lines of W.W.'s take that a good desk is really all you need.

    Bobby's recommendations of having different 'flavors or colors' is valid as well.

    In reading the original post and the ensuing two or three past that,I felt that an answer and a variety choices were clearly established on both sides even to the point of a humouresque reference to 'silly'.I didnt see any unreasonable difficulties being put forth.

    For those that didnt catch it at first,Nebula stated that he does a minimal amount of his projects AT HOME...consisting of Vocals and an occasional acoustic guitar.And the rest of it is in Studio, where I'm assuming they have a much larger amount of gear to chose from.BTW, Nebula, the 4050 is a very nice mic and if it sounds good on your voice then thats great.It will not sound worse with either preamp you mentioned and in no way can a purchase of either be a bad thing on your part.As was stated there is no school of thought as to which pre sounds better on a specific mic or 'matches' one to the other.It is all subjective to the recorded source.Although if we were talking about a low output mic such as an AKG C12A or an older ribbon then there would be some less choices as to what would be able to establish a workable output without noise being added.

    As for W.Wittman's opinions, and i direct this at Bobby Loux, hes got a pretty extensive track record and has some gold and stuff like that on the wall because of his abilities.That doesnt make him right without reserve, but it does give him some credibility in his opinion.This deserves a bit of respect and at least a good listen whether we agree or not.Since you arent there to watch him type his responses, assuming hes being one way or the other only promotes the very thing we're trying to combat on this BB.I didnt sense any of the pomposity you alluded to, and his takes were right on the mark as were yours.The original poster/questioner, Nebula, seemed to 'get' where everyone was coming from and didnt seem at all perturbed or th least bit putout by anyone. I ask you to reread this and rethink your reply as it was bordering on anger and venom that simply wasnt a part of this at any time. peace mon.
  19. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    All points are valid...relative to you're perspective.

    As far as everything affecting the sound...of course you can chose an API for the snare w/the 57 rather thatn the 1081 'cause you're looking for a more forwad sound.....or you can use all the pre's on Sound City's 8028 and ask for nothing more...either way it's up to the song/arrangement/performance/eingineeing CHOICES that make the most diff.
  20. ckevperry

    ckevperry Active Member

    Very true. I should state that 75% of what I engineer is stuff I am producing. So I do have the big picture when making choices.

Share This Page