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Preamp/Mic swap question.

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by vcriddler, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. vcriddler

    vcriddler Guest

    Currently I am recording with a Shure KSM27 which is hooked up to a M-Audio MobilePRE preamp which uses phantom power via USB hookup to my computer. I also record and mix with Protools M-Powered. I record vocals and vocals only, and this setup has been okay for the past year or so but I am looking for a higher quality of sound (like everyone else).

    I'm looking into purchasing a ADK TT Area51TT Multi-Pattern Tube Condenser Microphone and I was wondering if it would comply with my current preamp. The specs note that it requires a dedicated ADK power supply. Would the small mobilepre preamp not do the microphone justice?

    Money is not an issue, so if I was to purchase an ADK preamp, would I still be able to use my m-powered protools?

    Basically, what will I need to have my new microphone fully operational? Any help is greatly appriciated![/url]
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Your mic gets pretty good reviews, what you want is a quality preamp or interface. Your current interface seems to be the weakest link in your chain.
  3. vcriddler

    vcriddler Guest

    Gotcha. Just a quick question then. If I swap out my M-audio interface for another, is there anything I can do to continue using my M-Powered Protools?
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Why yes, there's a few things you can do. You can get a preamp to liven up your mic sound, but remember you will still probably lose some edge at your interface because it has a peak 16 bit/48k rate. So you won't be able to record at 24 bit or 96k like some good interfaces for not too much out there...(Cough, PreSonus, Cough). Hmm, excuse me. But I'm fairly certain that you cannot use a PreSonus product with ProTools. Can someone verify this for me? Usable interfaces with the different versions of PT. I don't use PT yet, but maybe once my classes force me to this info would be helpful. Thanks.
  5. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I don't think you can use that version of Protools except through M_audio equipment.

    As far as the dedicated power supply the mic comes with it.

    This interface does not have a preamp bypass input from what I can see so unlike some interfaces you can't just purchase a good pre and A/D it thru your unit. I think that if you are looking at a better preamp set up you are talking some serious money and a new interface or analog/digital converter which likely would come bundled with software. If you are dead set on protools that might limit your choices to manufacturers that are PT bundled or buy a seperate version of PT and should work with most gear.
  6. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    jg49, at my school we use M-Powered and I'm fairly certain that the computers have MBox2's hooked up. How does that work? Does the MBox series work with all PT versions or what's up, cause I too thought that you needed an M-Audio face for M-Powered.
  7. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    From the Digidesigns web page
    "Projects created with Mbox 2 and Pro Tools LE software also open on Pro Tools|HD® and Pro Tools M-Powered™ systems — providing instant compatibility with countless Pro Tools®–equipped project and professional studio around the globe."

    I don't use PT just what I heard, but I could have an ear infunction, Hueseph is a good source for this well versed in different DAWs. I am not, just vanilla cubase for me, old and white, the vanilla that is.
  8. vcriddler

    vcriddler Guest

    You're right. M-Powered protools is limited to using some sort of M-Audio interface. Not a biggie, I've been waiting to make the switch and like I said money is not a serious issue here.

    Yeah, I already dropped 300 on the protools a few years ago and I've spent alot of time learning to tweak the program, but I have no problem making the move over to the beefier normal PT. I think I'll just need to do a bit of review searching to find what I want.

    Thanks so much for the help guys
  9. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I never got into the whole ProTools scene. I mean it's nice but it's just too much of a MicroShaft company. Like if you want to use it you need to use a specific interface and they are overpriced for what they are capable of compared to others. I really got into the Logic scene myself. Lot less money, still capable, comes with less plugs, but then again plugs don't make the sounds, you do.
  10. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I wish I could say money was no object, but its either the mortgage or recording equipment and as much as I love this stuff I have gotten used to sleeping indoors.
  11. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    A couple of things.

    1. The dedicated power supply for the mic basically does what phantom power does. I don't own a tube mic, so I can't say that you *must* use their supply. It's a good idea though. It probably supplies the specific voltage that the mic requires.

    2. Really nice mics require really nice preamps. Which are very expensive.

    3. Really nice preamps require really nice A/D converters. Which are also expensive, and which it seems your current interface doesn't provide.

    Any (signal) chain is only as strong as its weakest leak. I'd hate to see you spend a lot of money on one part or the other, only to lose the improvement w/ a weak link.

    The good thing is you're doing vocals only.
    I'd research nice 1-2 channel preamps, and nice 1-2 (or 4) channel ADCs.
    Chances are, you're gonna spend upwards of $1k for each.
    Still much better than providing 8-24 channels of quality mics, preamps, and ADCs. Which is the boat I'm in.

    Hopefully there are some vets that can provide more insight as to which 1-2 channel units are quality equivalents to use w/ that mic.
  12. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I hope we can get some good pre recommendations here too. I have been looking for a pre for vocals or guitar or both. The Brick has been a contender for guitar, but I have heard not so wonderful things about its performance as a vocal pre.

    The Brick
    link removed

    EDIT: BTW on a side note, or rather getting back to topic. How much is it to upgrade to LE from M-Powered? If it's more than 200, then go with Logic Express. There will be a learning curve coming off PT, but if you only do vocals as you say, then it will be worth the change. You won't have to use PT approved, overpriced faces. In my opinion it is the best way to go. What say you board?
  13. vcriddler

    vcriddler Guest

    Exactly. Thanks so much, your post was exactly what I was looking for.

    I've been looking around this evening and a few that caught my eye:

    AD Converter:


    I'm gonna do a little bit more research on this preamp but I'm liking what I see so far:


    And of course I've got a few mics in mind. The Neumann TLM103 seems to be a great deal for the package as well as the ADK I posted above.

    Any feedback one why or why not what I'm looking into is a good idea would be greatly appriciated. If the preamp/adc are too cheap for the mic let me know. Thanks
  14. droc8705

    droc8705 Active Member

    personally, if i were you, i'd get a Blue Bluebird condenser, an interface, and a True Systems P-Solo. That would allow you to still use your Pro Tools M-Powered, as well as drastically improve your signal chain. I have the Bluebird and can attest to its greatness as a vocal mic. I have yet to own a True Systems piece but there is a great thread here discussing it's strengths (the thread is actually on the P8, which is the 8 channel version of the P-Solo). I think with this set up, you should be pretty good, especially if you try and locate some of these items used.


    Blue Bluebird = appx. $300
    M-Audio ProFire 610 = appx. $400
    True Systems P-Solo = appx. $500
  15. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    That ADK mic looks awesome, what a great deal! Davedog recommended the TT area 51 on the thread about mic's less than $1000. I hope you already placed an order for it, it looked like they only have one left.

    BTW I have the TLM 103, IMHO I think its a fantastic mic, I have no complaints. I wonder how it would sound, at that sale price I could have almost gotten two of the area 51's for the price of the TLM+shockmount ($1250). Oh well, its probably the economy.

    I would suggest checking out these threads a bit:

    (Dead Link Removed)

    (Dead Link Removed)

    (Dead Link Removed)

    I see you have some good A/D converters your looking at, however I would keep in mind that the focusrite your looking at is probably made in china.

    I would save that money and buy a preamp that is hand made and has real input transformers. I am doing the same thing. Saving my money for a great preamp.
  16. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that his focusrite would double as a decent ADC.

    To droc:
    No disrespect, but I own the BB. I like it in certain apps, but I've found it to be little lacking on some vocals. If he's gonna spend $$ on a mic and a pre, I think he can do better than the BB. Like the other mics mentioned.
    Either way, no way of knowing if it's a good match for his voice w/o trying it.

    After looking at the mic and seeing that it's a 7-pin connection, you *must* use the power supply.

    Finally, a 2nd on jammster. Save your money for a great pre.
  17. vcriddler

    vcriddler Guest

    Yeah I think I'll be looking for a better pre, however you said the focusrite works as an ADC as well? Where did you see this, and where should I look for it in other preamps? If I can spend an extra 500 or so on a preamp that acts as an ADC and not have to drop 1000 on an ADC alone that would help. Also, even if a preamp does act as an ADC, would it still benefit to have an ADC on the side?
  18. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I would just get a decent interface for your computer, it has the a/d built right into it. The better mic pre can wait, right? The M-Audio interfaces work fine, however stay away from the usb type devices. They usually don't come with spdif or aes.

    Presonus is just about the best for the money IMHO, but you must have Maudio/digidesign hardware to work with protools. You could always switch platforms on your DAW if you really wanted too, just more $$$. It just starts to be a complicated mess, thats upgrading in the world of pro audio for you!

    Before you know it you've spent $3500 on making the switch. Stop and look at yourself. Ask yourself if are you happy with the way your interface performs with your system at the present time? Then take the next step. I would suggest starting with the right interface and go from there.
  19. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Edit:double post
  20. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    There is nothing wrong with searching for "that ultimate" sound, though there is always it seems one more plateau beyond wherever we get, ha ha ha. If price is not the major constraint, and esp. considering that you are looking for only or two channels at this time then go for the gold!

    I think the bigger issue here is are you ready to make this jump intelligently? I am going to relate this to guitars something I really know a great deal about. With each successive purchase of better and better instruments my ear got better, I had a much greater understanding of tone and playability. Now there are some people who are so gifted aurally they may not have had as long a learning curve as myself. The point is in choosing gear in this price range do not rely so much on others opinions except to point you in the right direction. Take your time, listen A/B units and don't just "fall in love with the first pretty girl you kiss."

    If you get the right gear the first time it should be viable for years to come. The other thing to think about is the fact that if you start getting in this deep you will likely be hooked for life so it would be wise to consider how these purchases might fit into a larger (more channels) picture.

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