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Is it really necessary to connect a mic through a preamp first if a dbx 106A is next in line in the chain? I'm just recording guitar and vocals for home demos. I know an Avalon preamp would sound great but I don't have money to burn. I really don't want to buy an Audio Buddy either if it's not gonna be noticeable if I connect straight into a dbx 160A.


Big K Mon, 09/13/2010 - 02:48

Hello Willie
The compressor does not match with the impedance of microphones and does not deliver phantom power needed for condenser mics.
Even if you are lucky and get a usable sound out of it w/o pre-amp, it will be far below the qualities of the mic and you are stuck when you want to use a condenser...
A pre-amp is a , if not the most important piece in the chain, besides the microphone. Spending a fair chunk of your budget for the best pre-amp you can afford is the best advice I can give you.
You could say, for recording it makes the difference and is indispensable.
Compare some of the low budget to the high class amps. You'll notice immediately why people can be crazy about those higher end amps...
Clarity, depth, frequency range and the ease of tweaking the sound, later on when mixing ( if, at all, necessary)... a.m.m. are the assets of a good pre-amp.
If you record into a DAW you have a wide choice of FW and USB multichannel devices with reasonable preamps already build in.

RemyRAD Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:26

You have a very nice sounding professional compressor/limiter. That's what it is. That's all that it is. Microphones are to be plugged into microphone preamps. You don't go out and get into your car to go to work while you're naked do you? That's what you're asking here. So even the least expensive microphone preamp such as the ART TUBE at about $50 US is the least you should be using with your 160A. With the microphone preamp you then also have the option, if you should so desire, of purchasing a outboard equalizer such as a simple 5 band graphic equalizer. You can then insert this equalizer after the microphone preamp and before the compressor or after the compressor. This will give you truly professional recorded results when used with an inexpensive microphone such as the Shure SM58 at $100 US. So you might be looking at another $150 investment without the equalizer. But this investment will make the difference between sounding like total crap & completely professional. And if you don't want to be a professional, what the heck are you doing with that DBX 160? So what kind of interface are you plugging this into? Your built-in computer soundcard? An external USB professional audio interface? Your butt? Again your question was sort of like " I have a microphone and want to make a recording. How?". That's akin to "I just got a great deal on a used car but the engine is missing. What should I do?" I can tell you that I love my 160's, 166's & 165A's and when fed by a API or Neve microphone preamp, that's what hits are made with and there is a reason for that. And really, sometimes nothing else much more is necessary for a beautiful sound. That is, no extra equalization nor effects. Oh and that API or Neve preamp may still be fed from an inexpensive SM58 for totally professional results. Suffice it to say you can also use a $20 Radio Shaft condenser microphone that has an XLR 3 pin connector on it along with that $50 preamp.

Cheap can't be beat
Mx. Remy Ann David

BusterMudd Tue, 09/14/2010 - 11:04

Big K, post: 353678 wrote: The compressor does not match with the impedance of microphones and does not deliver phantom power needed for condenser mics.

Perhaps more importantly, the required input level of the compressor is several orders of magnitude higher than what a microphone is capable of putting out.

You need a preamp to get a mic signal up to the line level your compressor requires.