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Need Recommendation: Cheap Ribbon Mic Pre

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Suntower, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member


    I've got several cheap mic pres for a number of cheap mics and I'm satisfied. However, I'm currently demoing a ShinyBox 46MXL which I -really- like, but for the fact that none of my mic pres generate anywhere NEAR enough gain to make it practicable.

    Any recommendations on a good match that won't break the bank?

    (Any by 'break the bank' I mean '$400 or less' --- which is what the mic costs.)


  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I don't think you are going to get 80+dB of good sounding gain from a pre in that price range (though I'd be very interested if I'm wrong). But there are several compressors in that price range that sound pretty good (I have the FMR RNC and it is not bad). You can use the gain on the compressor as an extra gain stage either without adding any compression or by adding compression to taste. That would give you that total amount of gain you need and you'd have a reasonable compressor in your studio.
    1 person likes this.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    True P-Solo Ribbon. No it doesn't come in under your budget but it isn't far above it and you'll have a big ear opener about what great equipment can do for your sound.

    Bob's idea is certainly a viable solution if you dial it all in correctly.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The AEA TRP is cheaper per channel than the True and the specs say the gain is higher 83 vs. 76 dB. The input impedance of the AEA is also higher 18 vs. 10 KOhms but that's not necessarily good or bad - depends on the particular mic.

    Has anyone done an A/B of the two?
  5. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    For $99 you could get a Rode DPlug. It's an in-line little preamp that runs off the phantom power and gives a 20db signal boost. I've got two and use them regularly with my ribbon mics. They're quiet and very convenient. I bought mine from Olympic Microphones when I bought my Fatheads, but I'm sure they're available all over.

  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I nominate you Bob! :)
    I don't have the PSolo Ribbon but I'm about to give it a go with a pair of R101's and the P8. I also have a P2Analog on the way that was just too silly of a price to pass up....damn lack of self control.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    As I understand it, the rule of thumb for preamp impedance is that you want 4x the microphone impedance. So the rated impedance of the R101 output is nominal 300 ohms translating to it looking for 1200-1500 ohms from the preamp. Some of those preamps claim to have up to 20k ohm impedance. I'm not sure if the "extreme" end helps or not.
  8. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    The higher input impedance means the mic pre will be less affected by variance in different mic output impedances. However the higher the input impedance in a mic pre the higher noise (johnson)...it's a trade off...always is ;)
  9. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    I'm really pleasantly surprised to hear you say that. I've read various 'reviews' of the D-Power Plug on the vast interweb and before yours none of them have been too good. I'll see if the dealer will loan me one as part of the demo. Frankly, it's the only way I can see being able to keep the Shinybox.


  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Does the DPlug pass phantom power? Can the Shinybox take phantom? Makes me nervous.

    John - Thanks for volunteering my wallet. Might happen one day. I'll be interested in your report on the R101 and the PSolo ribbon.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The Johnson noise of a good pre-amp is dominated by the combined referred impedance at the input. If the microphone has a uniformly low output impedance (e.g. 300 Ohms) over the audio frequency range and the pre-amp input is medium/high impedance, it's the microphone that will determine the input Johnson noise.

    A pre-amp has other noise sources that contribute (usually) at a lower level, so, for example, its output does not go completely silent when its input is short-circuited.
  12. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Bob... no, the DPlug does not pass the phantom power on to the microphone. Learned that when I went to use it on my Royer R-122 and got no signal.

  13. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    FYI: I just got off the phone with Jon (the maker of Shinybox) and he states unequivocally that his mics should require no more gain than an SM-57. Surprising, but he oughta know, I guess.

    So I think I've got a bad mic and will try to get another to test.
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Just a wild shot, but before your do your next test, make sure that you check your XLR cable to ensure it was assembled correctly. Some microphones (ribbons) are pretty touchy about these things. If you don't have a tester hop on down to your local GC and get one. They are invaluable. You don't need the fanciest one but I use the Ebtech Swizz Army and I have saved lots of time and frustration. I used to use a multimeter only and quite frankly that was a PITA for mic cables and TRS cables.

    Even brand new cables can be cross wired.

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