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Setup Improvement

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by goodjohnys, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. goodjohnys

    goodjohnys Guest

    I all..nice forum,and nice ppl :)

    I have an project studio,with one PC with terratec EWS88MT,a MackieVLZ1202PRO,Joemeek VC3Q,AKG c4000 and one SM57,and I want to improve my setup and the sound of my recordings,and buy one new mic,and a high quality preamp,each one in the $500 to $750 range.I was thinking in the Grace 101,SPL Goldmike,or the FMR RNP,and a RODE NTK,or the new K2..what you think about it,do you know something better in this price range?I record mainly vocals,guitars,basses,sax and brass.
    I record all styles but mostly,funk,pop,christian,instrumental sax,ballads..and I donĀ“t record drums,just guitars,basses,vocals,keyboards,sax,and brasses.And I want to buy a compressor from TL audio to give some color to my samples..wath you say about that..?The Grace,or the Sytek?And the Rode K2 or not?Will by a nice improvement?The Grace,the compressor from TL audio,and the Rode k2?

    Thankx in advance...
  2. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    I was in a similar situation recently and decided to go with a Sebatron mic pre. It is very versatile and sounds great IMO.
  3. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    People here are probably tired of hearing me talk about it... but a good vintage tube mic is an investment in your career. Why? You can use it constantly on everything, and it will never go down in value - only up.

    Think about it - I have never been sorry I bought mine. A U-67 purchased in 1980 at $1500 (I overpaid!) now worth over $3000. And I have had the use of it all these years.
  4. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Before tonight I would have said to just buy the best mic you can afford and just use it with your JoeMeek preamp. Because that's exactly what I was going to do - buy a Stephen Paul or U99 or U87 and use it with my Peavey VMP-2, which is a decent sounding tube preamp.

    But today I got my Seventh Circle Audio preamps (seventhcircleaudio.com). 2 - N72 Neve 1272 type and 2 - J99 Hardy Twin Servo 990 type. WOW! The Neve sounds so rich - like vanilla ice cream poured on my voice, and the low mid bump and upper mid edge remind me of all the vocals I loved in the 70's.

    But the Hardy twin servos are amazing sounding... it's a little reminiscent of listening to singing over a telephone compared to real life. More highs, more lows and much more detail. It's like you're hearing stuff in your voice you never noticed before.

    My entire microphone collection suddenly sounds enormously better, and I'm talking about MXL V67, C4000b, NTK, 421, 57 - nothing over $1K.

    Of course, I'll still be getting a U87, U99 and Stephen Paul Mic down the way a bit.

    It all matters.
  5. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    Hey Screws,
    how would you compare the N72 neve 1272 type top the j99 hardy twin? I mean if you had to choose one would it be the j99? I've just been considering the N72 lately.. just curious about more of your perceptions on both of them. thanks.
  6. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Well, I wish I could give you an either/or answer, but I can't.

    For instance, yesterday I spent 6 hours recording a bunch of electric guitars and bass for a project. The day before that was spent recording keyboards, loops (from a Triton arpegiator), electric guitars and female vocals for another project. The week before that was drums.

    The N72 was used on Kick, Snare and all electric guitars. It has an input volume and a separate output volume, so you can hit it hard with signal and get it big and fat with a nice edge to it without overdriving your converters. By the way, the N72 and the Sennheiser e609 is a heavenly combination for crunchy overdriven guitar.

    But for vocals, acoustic guitars and bass, the J99 is in another dimension altogether. Every subtlety and nuance is conveyed while making stuff sound richer and bigger/wider or something. It's hard to describe, but it's easy to hear.

    Now that I've had them both it would be hard to work without either. If I were only doing a lot of rock/punk/hardcore/metal I would probably say the N72's were indispensible for the guitars and kick/snare.

    But in addition to playing guitar I'm primarily a bass player and vocalist. And while I love the crunchy electric guitar tones I'm getting, I REALLY LOVE the vocals and bass tones I'm getting.

    I need both and I can't wait to add the API clone SCA has added to the line up.
  7. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    Awesome :cool: . Thanks for sharing your informative experience with us all. 1 more question; How is the noise on these preamps? I plan to start with only an N72 full unit + powersupply and if I like it, build in a dedicated chassis to slowly add others. I was thinking of the following 4 channel in the long run:

    N72 (2 channels)
    J99 (1 channel)
    A12 (1 channel)

    I usually record 8 tracks at most, so thought SCA preamps might add some life to the following mics considering i'm using a cheap SMPro Audio Pr8 8 channel preamp now ($99):

    Shure SM58
    Shure SM57
    Sennheiser e835
    Oktava Mk012 (2)
    Sennheiser MD421

  8. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    What kind of music and sounds are you mostly working on?

    Live drums?
    Electric guitars?
    Jazzier stuff?
    Folk/Acoustic music?
    Hip Hop?
  9. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    mainly several forms of rock music. No rap or heavy metal. Occasionally, the music takes on a jazz or classic vibe.

    Live acoustic birch wood drums (Pacific FS set)
    1 electric guitar amp
    Bass guitar is recorded directly (btw, r u familiar with the original G&L L2000 series? I think it sounds brilliant especially w/ this custom Bartolini pick up job :))

    I was thinking of using the preamps followingly:

    N72: kick drum & eletric guitar mic
    J99: lead vocals via e835 for now
    A12: not sure yet?
  10. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    I haven't heard the A12 yet, but I've recorded on API consoles back in my Rock band days, so the A12 will probably sound great on snare drum or any darker sound (vocals, bass, tom, guitars) that would benefit from an upper mid push forward in tone. Where the N72 adds a bit of thickness, the API stuff (as I recall) always accentuated the higher frequencies, bringing things forward in the mix without sounding harsh.

    Where I want my overdriven guitars recorded through the N72, I'll probably want my jangly Byrds 12 strings through the A12. And API has always been a winner on rock and pop vocals as well, bringing the voice naturally to the front without needing a lot of extra eq. Those API lunchboxes were one of the first outboard preamps used extensively, and for good reason.

    Good hunting.
  11. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    screws, do you have any recordings with your SCA stuff I could hear? :D
  12. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Kick and Snare, All Electric Guitars - N72
    All Vocals, Acoustic Guitars and Bass - J99




  13. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    nice work! :cool: ...stuff like this that keeps me motivated to keep pursuing my musical interests with zeal.

    I was curious though, can I use the following preamps off the same power supply?:

    N72 (2 channels)
    J99 (1 channel)
    A12 (1 channel)

    I'm only going with 4 channels purely because of budget reasons for now. Ideally, I'd like to fit 4 of these all into possibly a 2-space rack case.
  14. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Yes, all three preamps in the same rack with SCA's PS02 pwer supply.

    The PS02 delivers 27 volts and each preamp card has a voltage regulator to limit the power to what each card needs.
  15. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    Hey Screws,
    if you were starting with one SCA channel to have for a few months before upgrading and adding more channels and you were in my situation, which preamp model would you get first? (J99, N72, or A12)??
  16. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    The N72 sounds great on rock guitar, kick, snare, some male vocals and some rock bass. Also nice on adding some girth to keyboards and sampled stuff.

    But if I could only have one it would be the J99. Orgasmic.
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I never did get the "Neve" 1272 thing. In the first place, Neve, AMS or any other manufacturer ever made a 1272 mic pre. These were inline amp modules, intended as talkback and headphone amps ... never meant to be part of the audio path to the recorder. While their use is acceptable, I was never impressed with the tone of them ... a sort of a "Neve Lite" type of sound ...

    I checked the Seventh Circle web site ... an 8 channel pre loaded with 4 api types and 4 Hardy 990 types is very costly ... over $4100! A person could get the real thing for less in both the Hardy and API products ... Why buy a "clone" / copy when you can have the original for less?

    On the other hand you can get a JLM TMP8 ... 8 channels of transformer balanced OP AMP type pres (the same type as both the Hardy and the API) for $2250.
  18. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    I'm not as knowledgeable as either of you, BUT it looked to me like the SCA prices were considerably lower than the original John Hardy stuff since you buy them in kit form.

    $1796 J99 (4)
    $1036 A12 (4)
    $169 Power Supply
    $299 Chassis
    This comes out to $3300 in kit form. Where'd you come up with $4100? Also, how does the JLM TMP8 compare to these Seventh Circle audio kits in terms of sound quality/price ratio?
  19. Screws

    Screws Active Member


    You are indeed correct about the 1272 being a line amp. But as I recall reading, the Neve 1272 design is one gain stage away from the 1290, which is the mic amp used in the 1073, IIRC. However, that extra gain stage does not kick into the circuit at all until you hit 55 db on the sensitivity switch. It's not that it's padded or anything, it's simply not in the circuit until then. So a 1272 is not a "Neve-lite" at all, unless you need it with lower level sources. But the fact is most times it's used on drums or guitar amps or rock vocals - all fairly loud sources.

    Finally, I feel I should point out that buying 4 channels of Hardy Twin Servo 990 and 4 channels of API will definitely set you back a great deal more than $4100.00. In fact, Mercenary Audio sells the 4 channel Hardy Twin Servo 990 ALONE for $4100.00!
  20. dejacky

    dejacky Guest

    i'm just curious if there's any way to add that "third stage" to the N72 design, or Mr. Foster do you still not recommend the N72 preamp kit for the price? Would you rather buy a Hamptone kit? I'm just curious about your viewpoint.

    Also screws, what kind of A/D & D/A converters are you using and what big-depth/sample rate do you record at? I'm running some better speakers with a hifi Onkyo preamp so i'm hearing more stuff in the mix now :cool:


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