Matching mics with mic pres



I've been wondering this for awhile. Everyone's ideal studio, from what I've been reading on this board, would include at least 6-10 different mics and 3-5 different mic pres (probably the more, the better). How do you know which mic/mic pre combination works best for a given singer? Surely you wouldn't have that singer try every mic/mic pre combination. If you did that at a studio like Ocean Way, that singer could burn 1 day's worth of studio time finding a combination that sounded best on them.

Kurt Foster

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2002
77 Sunset Lane.
Experience plays a large part in this. Usually most people involved in a session at a room like Ocean Way a very familiar with the sound of different types of mics, mic pres and various combinations. Once someone is in a studio environment everyday working, they get familiar with the tools pretty fast.


May 12, 2003
I can usually listen to a singer and narrow my selection down to three mics and sometimes two right away.
Pre's I think are easier because you get a feel for what kind of pre goes with what kind of music and tracks.
My Millennia pre's will most always sound better on acoustic stuff than my 9098's.
Sorry guess I'm just repeating what Kurt said.
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Jun 1, 2003
i already know before we start which mic pre i'm going to use. i already have the sound in my head for a given singer and will use what i think is appropriate. having a selection is always good. it just depends on the project and the sound you're going for.


Yep. Experience. As long as you're not working at Oceanway, spend lots of time trying different things out. By the time you're ever hired as a freelance engineer to do a project at Oceanway, you'll have a pretty good idea going in what will work and what won't.


My band plans to buy (at least) one really good vocal mic for our studio. Our only deciding factor will be how our lead singer's voice sounds into it. I think what we're going to do is narrow our choices down to 5 or so mics (based on word of mouth and specs) and then buy them all, spend about 3 weeks seriously testing them, pick and keep one, and return the rest. Then, we're going to get a good pre to go along with it.

My question is would this be effective using only a DBX MiniPre for now. Would the minipre ruin the quality of the mic, making everything sound only as good as something could sound going through a crappy pre?

Or should we also buy a couple pre's and test them all out along with the mics and choose the best combination?



go for the combo----- if the pre's suck, the mics suck

its hard to tell the difference between mics on a crappy pre, but as the pre quality increases, the apparent differences increase as well. Positive correlation