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pre amps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Fer, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Fer

    Fer Guest

    hey! someone told me I ought to get a pre amp in order to reduce the noise in recording instead of a console, since cheap consoles can be noisy. do you agree?? what kind should I get if that´s the case?

  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Thats the most subjective question one can ask......And...its an assumption that the console one might pick will be noisy.....
  3. Fer

    Fer Guest

    hello Dave. so, you think ALL consoles would be noisy while recording? do you think pre amps have good noise filters that reduce noise and increase sound quality (or at least its "cleanness")?

  4. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Most equipment (including mixing consoles) give specs on their SNR (signal to noise ratio). This the amount of noise a piece of gear omits. Bad wiring has a funny way of masking itself too. Maybe check to see if the cables that are being used are of good quality. That would be the first thing I'd triage. Second, I'd group/run certain cables together and keep them away from power sources, ie: transformers, wall-warts and etc. (another annoying source). I've gone through this (just like a lot of us) and can tell you, it is very bothersome. Hope this helps.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    No....what I'm saying is this....somebody 'saying' a console will be noisy is at best a subjective statement...and may NOT be true.

    Noise is generated in several ways in a recording chain.

    Engineer A may have worked with a particular piece of gear,ConsoleX, at a studio but due to a lack of maintainence at the studio,may have encountered a noise problem during a session.The maintainence not being his problem and perhaps he had no knowledge of this, he may think that Console X is a noisy piece of crap.He may not realize nor even care whether it was the console or a crapped out cable somewhere in the system.But his opinion for the future may be that Console X is a noisy piece of crap. Is this true? Maybe...Maybe not.

    A claim for a piece of gear's ability to operate at a particular level of quality can only be determined by trying it out for yourself under recording session conditions.Only then can one determine whether that piece is the one they want for their room.

    A great piece of gear can be made to sound like shat if its used incorrectly.

    A large group of monkeys set loose in Abbey Road will not record Sgt.Peppers even with a great amount of time to do so..............

    I personally think theres a lot to be said for having a good quality console.Something with good pres and EQ and a easily recognized routing scheme.I think having at least a couple of high grade pres is a great way to go, and if you need more then you have the pres in the console.Best of both worlds.Just be sure and choose something that doesnt do damage to the original signal being recorded.Clean and clear can ALWAYS be manipulated later on through reamping and outboard exciters,Eq's,pre's and such.
  6. Fer

    Fer Guest

    thanks dabmesiter and dave. now that I think about it, I really SHOULD check the wiring (and will do) to look for noise. what do you think a semi-pro card such as audiotrack MAYA could do for me if i´m trying to record from a synth to the computer directly? I´ve heard it reduces noise considerably.

    thanks a lot
  7. hellogoodbye

    hellogoodbye Guest

    i've used tons of crappy mixers and never had a problem with noise. you have to know how to maximize the snr.

    a reason to upgrade pre's to get a better sound.. if you want to get rid of noise read some books first to make sure you are setting your levels correctly, etc. unless you mean hum... if you have hum.. checks cables, outlets etc.. don't plug a lamp in to the same outlet as your gear etc...

    many simple things can cause hums.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Most mixers and mic pre amps these days have very low noise floors. Improper gain management is the primary source of noisy signals. By not achieving gain unity at the early stages of amplifying a signal, then making up for that with excessive gain boost at a later stage, noise is induced. Here is the proper way to set up your gain stages..

    Set your input and master faders to their "nominal" settings. On most mixers this will be at about 3/4ths (or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10) of the faders travel and may be marked with a shaded graphic. This setting will be what is known as "gain unity". Adjust the input attenuator (mic pre) knob so that the signal reaches about 0 dB on the output meters.. be sure to leave headroom so that the signal doesn't clip ...

    Any time you are pulling more gain from the master section while having significantly lower settings on your input faders, you are not achieving gain unity and are inducing noise to the signal ... Be sure to get gain unity through out the signal chain, including inserts.

    Kurt Foster
  9. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :D Hi Kurt! Ok, say we set up in that way, as more and more tracks are being added, what happens next? The unity gain at the output faders will start to be too hot on the output meters.

    What is the best way to contol the main ouput level?
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Hi Rick!
    My advice was in regards to tracking an input signal but it still applies to mixing as well. If you are overloading the master you should turn down the master fader. If you have to bring it down a bunch then you will probably want to start bringing down channel faders a bit in the input section as well.

    Kurt Foster
  11. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :D Thanks Kurt, as far as mixing, that would seem to push the noise floor even lower.


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