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New pre for a TLM-103

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Sport, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Sport

    Sport Guest

    I just purchased a very lightly used TLM-103 from a friend to replace my wonky MXL V6. The Marshall is fine for it's price but it took a nasty tumble and now has a lovely dent. After about 5 or 10 minutes it will just decrease in volume until eventually it's dead quiet. I borrowed the TLM from a friend who didn't care for it too much and after some wheelin' n dealin' wound up buying it from him for a VERY decent price. So now I've got a much better mic but there's a new problem: My ART TPSII pre. It's gotta go. I'm looking into either the Summit Audio 2BA-221 or GT Brick...something that will function well as a good, affordable high gain mic pre/DI. I will be recording solo male vox and acoustic guitar mostly with the occasional electric bass/guitar. I can get either pre for about the same price, give or take $100, and both seem to be pretty evenly matched. I'd prefer something with a little attitude to it (I think the nod woud go The Brick here) but I really like the Summit Audio's solid state and tube configuration. Tough choice. I'll alternate between the TLM-103 and an SM58 most of the time. I'm not looking for a surgically clean signal. Wanting something a little warm thats able to be pared back for a cleaner sound for some projects.

    With the mics I've got and the sort of signal I'm trying to get which pre would you recommend and why?
     
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    The Summit is an excellent choice. It uses real voltage across the tube stage (as does the brick) but can also run the gamut from pretty darned clean all the way to seriously grungy and nasty (and everything in between.)

    I think that the Summit is one of the most versatile preamps on the market and it sounds damn good to boot. It has PLENTY o gain (far more than most any pre I've seen) but bear in mind, get past a certain point and you get pretty noisy.

    Oh...it also makes for a seriously FAT direct box if you ever want a beefy bass or fat acoustic.

    J
     
  3. Sport

    Sport Guest

    Thanks Cucco. Those are the kinds of details I need to hear. I also like the physical footprint of the Summit better. The Brick is well...too brick-like. There's no good place to put it! The Summit just goes "Thwonk!" right into the half-rack next to my JV-1010 8)

    Have you ever heard the TLM thru the Summit, by chance? I'm curious to hear some comments on the mic itself since I've only auditioned it through my POS ART.
     
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I find that the TLM103 can often be honky and somewhat brittle so I usually use it with a colored mic pre that has both in and out transformers. What has often worked for me is a Neve 1272/1073/1081 or a Neve type clone. API 512, ViPre, Manley sometimes a Focusrite Red.

    I would not think that the Brick or the Summit would be the best mic pre, but either should still work well. I am not a fan of the newer cheap ass Summit stuff.
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Generally, I would recommend the same thing that AudioGaff, recommended. You want character, you want sound, you want API, you want Neve.

    That part about wanting a "high gain" microphone preamp with the TLM103 is quite a mistake! That microphone puts out more level than any other microphone I have used to date! So much so that even distant miking of an orchestra, causes me to roll the gain back, on the preamp, to its lowest level and also, at times, turning on the pad on the preamp! It's a very quiet microphone with a very high output level. It's sweet! And it's the same electronics that come in the U87ai. So a great purchase for you!

    And because it is not an "electret condenser", permanently polarized diaphragm, IT ABSOLUTELY MUST BE PRESENTED WITH A FULL 48 VOLT PHANTOM POWER SUPPLY. Make no mistake about that. Some microphone preamps have a phantom power button that does not deliver 48 volts.

    BEWARE! NEUMANN MICROPHONES ARE ADDICTIVE!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  6. Sport

    Sport Guest

    I picked up the Summit yesterday. What an improvement! It's very quiet, especially compared to the TPSII, and with the tube output dialed in a bit I was able get a nice bite to a rough vocal track. The sweepable mic impedence is really trick also. I got two or three different types of presence just adjusting that alone. The TLM sounds much more "pointed" through the Summit. It certainly has alot more life to it now.

    The only problem I encountered was when I ran the Summits output to my AVP-1 which was not happy to be receiving that much level. With the tube output all the way down and mic gain at about 10 o'clock the AVP was banging the red and overcompressing itself to death. Switching on the -20db pad reduced the sound too much. I made some adjustments on the Antares, turning off the comp./eq, mic modeler and so forth, but the input was just no jiving. Until I get to the bottom of that I'm just gonna use it to process vocals after the fact.

    Next, I plugged in my J-Bass to the HiZ input on the front. Suprisingly, I had to turn the Solid State output all the way up and the Tube out up to about 2 o'clock to get good level. It was still very quiet and what I recorded sounded great. Very warm and fat. Still has me a little puzzled about the amount of gain I had to dial in. I'm gonna try the stacked config. this weekend...excited about that one...
     
  7. Sport

    Sport Guest

    I forgot to mention this.

    I was doing a prelim level test recording directly into Nuendo from my RME digi96, just kind of reciting "test 1,2...this is Tube output at half. Test 1,2...solid state is now at 3 o'clock..." That way I could go back and listen to the adjustments I was making and how it affected the sound. No more than 7 seconds into that process I reached up to adjust the tube output and what was recorded was "test, 1,2...here is tube out at about 9 o'cllooo...$*^t...(sliding sound followed by sickening series of expensive sounding collisions with the wall, floor and console)...oh you've GOT to be KIDDING me..." Yeah. I reached up and pushed the stupid thing right out the back of the rack. Luckily everything fired right back up and works great. Now it sits firmly on it's own little unmovable pedastle. Here's to Summit Audio for being idiot-proof as well as sonically pleasing :oops:
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Sport, that's much better than going "Testing 1" BANG! The guitarist/vocalist has died from electrocution, due to pulling off a power ground pin and plugging it in reversed. His microphone Grill screen and his guitar strings had a 117 volt differential due to his guitar amplifier having a hot chassis and the same for the PA system. This scenario has played out a way too many times.

    Really!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Tube or no tube...I bet those are some WARM AMPS.....(huh, huh, huh...)

    (I know...horrible joke.)
     
  10. Sport

    Sport Guest

    I've heard of that. Glad I don't sing.
     
  11. Sport

    Sport Guest

    Hmmmm...

    Still getting a WAY hot signal going into my AVP-1. I'm only sending it about a 1/4 of what I send when I'm going directly into my RME. The meter on the Antares it slamming the red constantly. If I turn down the Summit to keep it in the green then the level being recorded is too quiet to use.

    I'm using the same XLR to 1/4 on the AVP-1 that I use when I go straight from the Summit to my RME.

    Any ideas?
     
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I think you're problem is running the Antares inline with the micpre on the front. As I recall, the Antares is more of an effects processor and should be used as such. Its inputs are not built to accept such voltage that the Summitt is capable of sending. Look on the Summitt and see if it has a send/return bus on it. If it does patch the Antares there or patch the same way on your RME.I'm pretty sre the Antares is set up to accept mic levels on its input. You could also switch positions and run the mic into it first but this is not the optimum usage from this device. It should be used after the tracks are alreadt recorded or as a sidechain device in a line. This last is mostly for live performance.
     
  13. Sport

    Sport Guest

    I'm nearly positive it doesn't have a proper send/return on it. I'm out of the studio right now so I can't check. I tried googling an image of it to check really quick but you can't find a shot of the back. It does have balanced 1/4 out. Guess I should try that instead of the mic out. :oops:

    Or I guess I could send the Summit to ch. 3, output that signal to the Antares, output the Antares to in on ch. 4 and the problem would be solved but I don't really like that idea because I'm stuck going through the AVP-1 for EVERYTHING that way.
     
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    The Summit 2BA-221 does have a send/return.

    In addition, the main outs are available in both +10 and -4 (both balanced, just different levels).

    The summit is capable of delivering some SERIOUS output voltage (+32V if I recall correctly). If your inputs aren't capable of handling that, you'll want to hook it up as a send/return anyway.

    As for the AVP - it appears the inputs are unbalanced only. There is an unbalanced output on the Summit, but it is the "link" output. It bypasses the tube stage. You don't want to do that! Just run it as an insert.

    Cheers -

    J.
     
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    The Summit 2BA-221 does have a send/return.

    In addition, the main outs are available in both +10 and -4 (both balanced, just different levels).

    The summit is capable of delivering some SERIOUS output voltage (+32V if I recall correctly). If your inputs aren't capable of handling that, you'll want to hook it up as a send/return anyway.

    As for the AVP - it appears the inputs are unbalanced only. There is an unbalanced output on the Summit, but it is the "link" output. It bypasses the tube stage. You don't want to do that! Just run it as an insert.

    Cheers -

    J.
     
  16. Sport

    Sport Guest

    Thanks Cucco, Dave, Remy...AVP is on the insert now and works just fine. I appreciate the lesson!
     

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