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hi there I'm thinking of getting a little external tube mic preamp to "warm and fattern" up my mics sound which is used only to record vocals. the equiptment i have is a RODE nt1000 and a zoom mrs1004 digital workstation. the RODE nt1000 is quite a nice sounding mic but a little too bright so I'm looking for something to warm it up. the digital workstation has a built in mic preamp of course but i guess its not going too be the greatest. you can also edit tone and EQ of the mics sound through the workstation but I'm not sure if this would acchieve the same effect as a tube pre.
i asked a sound tech friend and he said it would not be worth while unless i got a very good external mic preamp. he said that the models i was looking at such as Samson c-valve, PreSonus single tube pre, ART tube mp studio 3 etc would not be much of a step up from the zooms inbuilt one thus i would be adding another "budget" piece of equiptment in the chain (ultimately degrading the sound) is this true?

if not what make/models could be recommended?

many thanks :D

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RemyRAD Tue, 01/02/2007 - 16:04

robertmetal, your vocal sound is too crispy because you are using a crispy microphone. Purchasing a tube microphone preamp will give you a crispy sounding microphone with extra noise and tube distortion. So Mr. metal man, the joke is on you. Your microphone sounds exactly as it is supposed to sound.

For a smoother warmer vocal microphone sound, use a Shure SM58. That's right, one of those. What?!? Don't think you can get a good vocal sound that way? You're not getting a good vocal sound now, Mr. metal mouth. The SM58, is a marvelous vocal microphone and is virtually the same microphone used to record all of Michael Jackson's vocals. That's right, Bruce "the Swede" used an SM 7, which is nearly the identical capsule to a SM58, placed a little further back in the body to keep people's lips approximately 3 inches from the diaphragm. A nice little presence rise with plenty of that flattering low-frequency proximity effect. Don't believe me? How about if you knew that Bono, Steve Tyler and lots of others have used the SM58 to cut vocals for their platinum selling music.

Now use that nt1000 on something nice like drum overheads, acoustic guitar, acoustic piano, cello.

Microphone selection 101
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:45

its not so much im getting a bad sound now just that as you said the rode nt1000 is a little crispy, which doesnt make it bad-its very open and detailed sounding but im looking for something a little warmer and fatter. is there a mic in the rode nt1000 price range that might fit the bill and is on the same level quality wise?

p.s. i do have some nice dynamics that i use but ultimately i want the more clearer and open sound of a condenser for my demo recordings.

many thanks

CoyoteTrax Wed, 01/03/2007 - 15:21

Have you tried some simple plugins in the box like psp vintage warmer, or any of the tape saturation plugs available?

You could also line thru a pro vla on minimal settings just to pickup a little analog cream. Sometimes even lining through a cheap little porta 01 can give a track that discreet analog color you're looking for. The built-in limiter in the porta series tape machines are a godsend.

RemyRAD Thu, 01/04/2007 - 15:12

The quality level IS there on the SM58/Beta 58. Don't think for a moment that it's not. Condenser microphones don't always equate to quality microphones. Want something with a little more body? Try an Electro-voice RE20/27 on vocal. Quite sweet and smooth with no harshness and a clean high end to 20kHz. No irritable crispies like cheap condenserville.

Generally I find lesser cost condenser microphones to be mostly crispy and crunchy with no warmth, nobody, no soul. That's fine if that's the sound you're looking for but that's not the sound you're looking for. That's why I'm recommending a dynamic microphones which offers a certain amount of bandwidth limiting and a smoother sound from a larger capsule with the clarity, depth and transient performance you crave.

But, something for nothing is worth nothing like my advice. After all, just who the heck am I? I want a refund! I spent $20 to give people advice here and if they're not going to take my advice, I want my money back!

Bitter old spinster teacher
old lady Remy Ann David

CoyoteTrax Fri, 01/05/2007 - 13:58

zemlin wrote: A tube preamp will do nothing to "soften" the sound you're getting from the NT1000. You'd be better of putting a couple of socks over your mic.

I beg to differ. Pretty much anything you plug into an EHX 12AY7 gains the quality of focus and density; solidifying the dimensional quality of most budget mic's and "softening" it's grittiness in the upper mids and spittines of the high's (if they exist).

Just my opinion.

Cucco Wed, 01/10/2007 - 07:19

Remy, Remy, down on the Rode...

I wouldn't call the NT1000A a "crispy" microphone. In fact, an NT1000A is actually quite a nice mic and when paired with a nice pre has a very clean, extended top end. Granted, the 57/58 will work beautifully as well either the dynamic OR the condenser would work well through a good mic pre.

The Zoom pres really aren't that nice. A GT Brick or the EH pre certainly would help. (Although, you might want to check - I think line inputs on the Zoom still go through the mic pre...ARGH).


ouzo77 Wed, 01/10/2007 - 10:19

since you're looking for a budget mic pre i'd recommend the studio projects vtb-1. it's virtually noiseless and you can regulate how much tube you want.
i haven't tried it with a condenser, yet, but with my sennheiser e845 dynamic mic it sounds really nice.
i don't know the zoom pre's, but i think you won't find a better one in that price range.
if you need something with eq and compressor check the sm pro audio tb101. it's also nice, but noisier.