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More preamp questions....sorry guys!

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by therecordingart, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I hate to beat a dead horse because I've read almost every post tackling this subject, but I need some personalized help.

    I'm using a Tascam FW1884 and tracking to hard drive using Cubase SX 2.0. I'm using the on board pre's and here is my mic list:

    1-Shure Beta52a
    4-Shure SM57
    2-Okatava 012
    1-Oktava MK-319

    I'm looking for a nice sounding mic pre that will compliment these mics. Here is the catch....I don't have a large budget ($500), and I know you get what you pay for, but I need something that will be a few steps up from the pre's on board.

    My main concerns are the sound of the kick drums, guitars, and vocals. Those are the few things that these pre's don't do a good job with. Everything else isn't bad.

    Let me know what you think....I was thinking a two channel for overheads and a single for the kick,...that should make the drums sound nice. Then I'd have options when recording guitars/vocals.

    Give me some ideas of what you think would work. I'm sick of being lied to at music stores.
  2. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    save the money and when you have around 1200 you'll get a good pre!
    with 500 bucks the sound you'll get from a new pre won't be much different from the ones one the fw1884
  3. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    What do you recommend in the $1200 range? Keep in mind I'd like 3 channels. Maybe I could get a decent 2 channel in the $500-$700 range and then build one of the seventhcircle pre's?!? Is that a decent plan? I'm just sick of getting the run around at music shops...one day they say a certain lower priced pre is decent, and the next the the same person says it stinks.
  4. mikE@THECAVE

    mikE@THECAVE Guest

    why don't you get one of those sebatron 4 channels models
    or that Api 4 channel
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Because each are over $2000!
  6. mikE@THECAVE

    mikE@THECAVE Guest

    ok ok good answer --here is another thought go to atlas pro sound or to Old School Audio and check the Api unit they have they go for around 500$ but im sure you could get a deal .I think 2 modules and the box to hold them is 1300$ .Then you could add 8 units .or 11 depending on what rack you get.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The bad news is there is no way you are going to get 3 pre amps that are better than the ones in your FW1884, for $500 each, let alone $500 for all 3 .. sorry, I know that's not what you wanted to hear.

    The good news is, the pres found in almost all Tascams gear are pretty decent ...
  8. omaru

    omaru Active Member

    >The good news is, the pres found in almost all Tascams gear are pretty decent ...

    Yes - good one Kurt.

    Many years ago, I had an 8 channel Tascam desk that I sold because it didn't have enough channels. External midi and audio needed lots of inputs back then.

    I've since used Mackie and Behringer desks but neither get close.

    The Tascam also had very nice and usable parametric EQ.

    If it had been a 16 channel, I'd still have it.

    Listening back to stuff done on that desk doesn't make me cringe and , until Kurt mentioned it, I hadn't given it any thought.

    For me, they were a very musical desk.

  9. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Based on my journey - I had just an 02R for preamps and started researching and trying and buying.

    Get the Seventh Circle Audio kit for

    1 Chassis - $300
    1 PS02 Power Supply - $169 fully assembled
    3 A12 (API 312 style preamp modules) - $259 x 2 = 518

    Total cost - $1246 plus shipping and your time to put it together.

    You'll have 3 channels of pure rock and roll preamps, great on a lot of different sources. Plus you'll be able to add Neve 1272 and Hardy Twin Servo type preamps for minimal cost.

    I've been using the N72's and J99 (Neve and Hardy) stuff for a few months now, and now I get excited about the sound quality of the tracks I record instead of making excuses to myself. Everyone that I record here hears the difference.
  10. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Yeah I kinda figured there isn't much out there for a cheap price that is better than I've already got. I was just hoping there was a well kept secret floating around. I think that better mics combined with my current pre's will help. I'm going to rent a few MD421's for toms on my next project to see if this may be the case. The sound of the toms I record with the SM57's aren't cutting the mustard. If that brings a little improvement....I know that my savings will go toward a couple good mics, and the beginnings of the seventh circle preamps.

    I know that my kick mic (Beta52) isn't crap, but I can't seem to get a well rounded sound from it. Every kick I've recorded regardless of mic placement hasn't sounded nice and full in all areas. That is what triggered me to start looking at mic pre's.
  11. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Your kick drum sound problem might be helped without a preamp purchase. How do you place your mic on the kick? Inside a few inches, way inside, pointing at the beater, or outside the front head?

    By experimenting with front head on/front head off or hole in front head, tuning of heads and mic placement you should be able to get pretty close to what you're hearing in your own head. Give yourself time to try a lot of different ideas.

    I've heard of one technique (haven't tried it myself yet) where the mic is halfway inside the kick and aimed at the shell instead of at the beater. Some guys use two mics on the kick - a dynamic on the beater to get the click and a large diameter condensor a foot or two in front of the drum to get the low end.

    Sometimes tuning the kick a little higher gives more "boom" to the sound. Looser beater head usually gives a bit more "slap" type sound.

    I graduated from 57's to 421's on toms and I'll never go back - so you're definitely looking in the right direction there.

    Good luck, and remember that the experimentation time is your best investment.
  12. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the response....I appreciate your time. I always rush during mic'ing the kit for some reason. I normally mic the kit, listen to it once or twice and then start recording. Maybe my problem is that I turn into a candy ass when I finally have a band to record and rush the most crucial part of the process. HAHA Makes a lot of sense to me....later in the mix I'm always kicking myself.
  13. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Take your time and get the drums happening with mic placement- if you get a good sound to begin with it will be so much easier later- also you might want to tune and tighten the drums before you start- a poor sound from the kit is a lost cause. A drummer with bad technique is hopeless as well.
  14. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    A few weeks ago I had a hardcore/metal band in and warned them that if they were going for maximum quality, it would require some "upfront" time for drum tuning, amp selection, mic selection and mic placement. If they wanted a quick demo, I'd be willing to do it, but best requires a bit more time.

    They were a little skeptical, wondering if I was just trying to add to their hours and run up the clock, until they started hearing the differences.

    Now they're my best advertisers, sending more and more bands my way.

    We're dealing with huge differences here.The fact is the same guitar and the same amplifier can be used by Stevie Ray, Clapton, Hendrix or Keith Richards, and sound completely different. We owe it to those we record to let them know that the time spent choosing the right mic and moving it around until it sounds great is because no two drummers, guitarists, bassists or vocalists sound the same. Same goes for their instruments, especially drums, where even a tiny tuning difference can become a huge tonal change on cd.
  15. Mumbles

    Mumbles Active Member

    Thank you, Steve. That is a very good point. Too many times have musicians expected to have the "getting sounds" time for free.
    Sometimes I just want to record a song (for free) for them just throwing up whatever I grab first all willie-nillie and get the first take 5 minutes after I turn the gear on... just so they can see how important it is.
    Granted, it has a lot to do with the experience and professionalism of the musicians as well...
  16. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Don't forget that the reputation of your studio and your engineering skills are also at stake. If you spend an insufficient amount of time getting the sounds and it reflects on the final product, no one who hears the cd will hear the excuse - they'll only know the sound you got and it could cost you jobs down the line.
  17. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Well said and point well taken. I started recording my old band today, and it is a dream come true. Since all of the members work odd jobs and go to school we are using an odd approach. We recorded scratch guitars to a click track for the drummer to use as reference tommorrow when we start tracking drums. I've never done things this way, but they know their music inside out, and I doubt very much there will be a problem. The only reason they even laid down scratch tracks to a click was so the drummer doesn't have to think when he is playing.

    Other than that, the drummer triggers his kick and toms through an Alesis module. I'm putting up 2 overheads and close mic'ing the kick and snare (top/bottom). I don't have enough pre's to close mic the toms other wise I would. I'm close mic'ing the kick just to add a little ummph because from some reason the triggered kick always gets lost in the triggered toms and bass....even when he goes to the big name studios around here.
  18. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    i have already recorded just the drums without nothing! my drummer has a lot of guidance and feel! he hears the music inside and plays like he had a band playing with him! it's cool
  19. Mumbles

    Mumbles Active Member

    Yes, Steve, also a good point. It's a delicate balance, I guess.
    What tight rope walkers we are.

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