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Mic or Pre??

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by jhagertybhs, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. jhagertybhs

    jhagertybhs Guest

    I have been scrapping and saving for a while now, and finally the woman is going to let me buy another piece of gear! Here's my question, I'm only recording vocals (my tracks are produced elsewhere). I have a tlm-103 and a AT4033 right now tracking through an A-designs mp-2. I'm considering either a new pre (Hardy m-1) or a new mic (charteroaks sa583).

    I know peoples' thoughts on the 103 but check this out. I like the mp-2 but to me, it doesn't give my vocals an "upfront, big sound" like I have heard about other pre's (hardy). Also, I do plan on getting a tube mic sometime in the future (have heard great things about the charteroaks) and was wondering about tube mic through tube pre (mp-2) and compressed with a colored compressor (RNLA). Thought maybe too much color (since I'm wanting a fat vocal with lots of presence). What do you think? Sound off!!
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I've been happy with my 2 rode K2- and I got them for under $600 ea- of course you can always pay more but once you try a K2 you might just be satisfied... for a while, anyway... :D
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    I think it's best to work from the inside out?

    Recording space/Software/Computer/Soundcard/Speakers/Mic pres/mics/.

    If everything "preceding" something does not equal or exceed the quality of the following something you end up with the "weak link" personified.

    So, with no other info on the "priors", I'd say go with a better pre. The basic John Hardy, would be high on my list for "real pro pre". With everything prior to the mic being "up to snuff", you'd be much more prepared to judge mics - including those you have now, which, as far as I know, are quite nice...


    BTW: A "big/upfront sound" is not going to come from your new John Hardy(Or any other pre)... nor your new mic, all by themselves... such things are not, generally, dependent on the ultimate quality of any particular piece of gear(Oh! Maybe your ears and recording skills?).......
  4. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Whoops! I take it all back - ignore the previous post! Well...sort've......

    I just looked up the MP-2, mic pre. If, for 1,550 smackers(List maybe??? MUCH less for real?), it ain't no good, you got ripped! It's already 500 more than the John Hardy! Why would you take a backstep? Even if it is $500 less "for real" why would you take a sidestep to the JH? You are now looking at something like the Millennia Media Origin, or some such of a thing like that there to have any hope of "improvement"... At 3 grand it had better be better, ey? Leastways it has more buttons..!

    Why are your mics less expensive than your pre? Geez', with such a pre as the MP-2, apparently is(No experience here), I'd think something in the line of the Brauner Valvet, would be more in order? I can't talk "big/upfront", but until you've worked a really fine vocal room, with a really fine vocal mic, running through a really fine pre, you just ain't worked!

    Now... let's go back again... Why WOULD you buy a John Hardy, TOO??? As a "standard"(You could also get a Millennia Media "straight" solid state pre, for instance.). For reference. One "pristine" solid state pre, which would allow you to judge all your other pres and all your mics against - something to give you an actual aural idea of "what changes" when trying other pres and mics...

    Again - start at the beginning and work out! A fine, colorless as possible, solid state pre(Hard to find as "colorless monitors", but we do the best we can.) would be a neccessity for any good system. How else would you know how/if/why your tube pre(s) and all your mics sound(Different/better/whatever.) without a reference standard?

  5. jhagertybhs

    jhagertybhs Guest

    Thanks for the replies. Ok, here's why I would want something other than the mp-2...First it is a fairly clean sounding tube preamp. I am wanting a transparent, clean preamp to compliment the mp-2.

    Second, to me the mp-2 isn't giving me the "open" sound I'm looking for. Granted some of that maybe coming from the room (which is actually not bad), the AD conversion (Lucid 9624) or the mics (mentioned earlier). But the sound I'm getting through the mp-2 would be great for backing vocals but I'm not getting a great lead vocal sound. Again this could be due to many other factors (tecnique included in which case I'd love some advise on achieving a great "upfront" vocal). For example, when I increase the gain into the pre, I start clipping the AD. Why? Not sure since the output is fixed! (help here too!)

    Third, as far as cost the mp-2 (not the mp-2a) If I remember at the time around $1400 or $700/channel. Hardy m-1, real world, $1050/channel. Big difference? I don't know.

    I am always looking for tips to help me get the sound I'm looking for. Since I'm only recording vocals, this is my focus.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Spending more money is unlikely to get you a better sound. You already have a pre that costs a hundred+ times more than the ones used by most people(The pre's in cheap mixers). You already have two fine mics. The best? Who knows or needs to know? Many pros have gotten great vocals out of gear such as yours or much less. It's not always fun to hear this, but, it sounds like you need more experience in the studio than time spent at the store...

    Try this:

    Record all your tracks for something with nothing "up" but mics... No effects. Go all the way through the tracking/mixing process with no effects, no level changes after setting a good, basic level, which can take many takes, in itself! After that, if someone "pegs the meter" or is too soft, or off-key, re-set the basic level to accomodate if it seems appropriate and then do the take again, and again, and again, etc., if needed.) - just your talent and your ears. Record, at least(Neat-o to have an instrument or two, or all, playing along while vocal tracking..!), the main and backing vocals at the same time, in the same room, on the same mic, with all vocalists "giving way" when needed and the lead vocalist "makin' it happen" when it's lead vocal time... If someone "ain't makin' it", get someone else. If you do this right(Producers don't make the big money for nothin'!) very little, later, use of even the mixer faders will be needed, let alone effects and no one will care in the slightest that you didn't use this mic or that pre. When you get this take "perfect", try adding some effects to hear if you can make it better... When you've gone as far as you can go, you're done - send it to mastering. Buy better gear when you can --- A. Afford it. B. When you know exactly what it will improve, prior to purchase.


    Note to self: Take own advice...
  7. jhagertybhs

    jhagertybhs Guest


    Thanks for the advise. After reflecting on all this and looking at my gear, I may want to put my cash stash towards some new monitors. Right now I'm using some B-ger Truths.

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