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I am trying to find a good condenser microphone and tube preamp combination for my project studio. I am looking in the $1000-2000 range to start but may go higher if needed.
I am currently using logic with a PreSonus interface.
I would like to use the mic/preamp mostly for male vocals but also need it to be flexible enough for drum overhead, guitar amp and acoustic guitar micing. We are looking to record classic rock and country tones.
Any ideas?


Mirrormix Sat, 09/10/2011 - 12:55

If you're looking for a decent tube pre the UA 610 is great. My question for you though is why a tube pre, or rather, what do you expect to get out of a tube pre specifically?

As far as mics go that answer always depends. Some otherwise very good mics mate well with certain vocalists and not others. It's a matter of trial and error. I happen to like the results of the CAD e100s. I also like the Avantone CV-12. But oddly enough many times vocals never sound better than through an SM7B into any decent pre. My question to you on that matter though is why condenser, or rather what do you expect to get out of a condenser mic specifically?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for tube pres and condenser mics. It's just that I think they make the most sense when one knows exactly what sound one is looking for and how exactly to go about getting it. I think it's otherwise a strange requirement to specify condenser and/or tube pres in general just for the sake of having that particular design topology as a "workhorse". Some very good sounding and diverse tones can come from a flexible, good quality solid state pre.

If single channel, high quality flexibility with a little "bling" factor in the name is your angle then you'd probably love the Dave Hill Europa 1. Otherwise to be honest there is a lot of mileage to be gotten out of an affordable GAP Pre73 (you could save yourself some money, ignore the "bling" factor and the concept of having a tube and otherwise get all of the great sound). But to each their own way.

BobRogers Sat, 09/10/2011 - 17:41

There are a lot of good large diaphragm condensers at about $1k, Mojave M-201 and AKG C414 are the two that I have at this time. These are very good basic mics. The C414 is multipattern, if that might interest you. I've heard a lot of good things about the Shure KSM32 lately -about $550. The AT40XX series gets a lot of love on this board, so you definitely should check them out.

I apologize in advance if this is off base, but the majority of first time posters asking about tube preamps are guitarists getting started with recording. The classic mic preamps from the 60's and 70's are solid state - Neve, API, etc. Yes, there were great tube preamps made in the 50's (by UA (mentioned above) among others) but today tube pres are in no way standard - especially as mic preamps. (Much more commonly used as guitar or bass DIs.) As I say, if you've heard all of this a million times and love the sound of tube mic pres, fine. But if my guess was right, I'd look beyond tube pres.

With that said, I have a Groove Tubes Brick. I don't use it for vocals, but it's a great DI for guitar and works very well for piezo pickups on acoustics. (I use it for that live and I always use it to record a "just in case" track in addition to using a mic in the studio if I'm recording an acoustic instrument with a pickup. It's out of production, but still pretty widely available used for <$275 and about as good a pre as you can get at that price tube or solid.

And I have a UA 4-710-D, which is essentially four channels of the 710 Twin-Finity. This lets you mix a tube and a solid state circuit within the same pre. I have not had it long and have not been able to put it through it's paces, but I've been very impressed with the test that I have done. The 710 is the same price as the 610 (which has a longer track record.)

aamicrophones Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:37

GA73 preamp from Zen Pro Audio upgraded model and our CM47 or CM47SE microphone. The CM47 has a more U67 "sound" while our CM47SE has an original U47 response with the slightly bumped up midrange.

Jacquire King used our CM47SE in front of the bass amp and on BG vocals on the last King of Leon CD and Dan Wilson loves his on acoustic guitar.

The CM47 has 9 patterns so you can open up all the way to OMNI for drum overheads or set it to FIG 8 to eliminate side wall reflections.

The GA73 is a dead part for part copy of the Neve 1073 preamp. They sound very good right out of the box but with the Zen Pro upgrades they match the Neve response exactly.

You can read the Tape Op review on our site.

Cheers, Dave

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