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What colour means in a mic preamp?

I'm curious what our interpretation of colour really is and what this translates into a mix for you? I mean, some pres are more middy, have less top and bottom with a git to them. Is that a good thing?

  • Would I use those on a jazz vocal? not likely.
  • Would I choose that on a B3 Deep Purple kind of sound? indeed!

But now that I know more about emulation, (and its 2014), could I get that same (colour), grit, a more forward mid, less top and bottom using one really transparent pre and look to other tube hardware, software techniques?
Could I simply buy one console that had transformerless pre's and use outboard effects to get a close enough sound to multiple choices? Can we emulate micpre colour in other ways, close enough and not compromise the "truth" of the original single path? Which to my ears translates into HUGE sound apposed to everything having a footprint of compromised bandwidth and "additional color" whether we "need" it or not.

My asking this is to simply stir the pot and hear what we come up with?
I want to hear it from us rather than assume we all share the same understanding our colour. I want to demystify misconceptions that micpre colour is some magic button that improves the product. I mean, what really creates the thing we call colour in a preamp? And finally, I get the guitar amp concept and valves, but are coloured micpre's really the best way to get colour when micing?
If you have a large format console, why on earth would we need external preamps on top of the existing pres. And, would external pres inserted into the console actually be what the external preamp sounds like? yet, we are sure to hear a pro or con about that in some forum too. So, did the opinion tell us he was using that pre in a chain or console?
So, how are we all recommending gear when everything is being effected by our stuff?

To kick this off,
To me, "colour" is more of a dirt created by lack. Which, can be a damn nice thing! I mean, I love distortion, especially on my guitars. But now that I am a recording kind of guy, well educated with DAW emulations, I'm thinking I want mics and a pre to be pretty accurate and can now keep the straightest wire possible and use emulation and mixing techniques to do it close enough, if not bigger and better because I have full bandwidth ready all the time!

I would rather have a console or rack of boutique pre's of the highest degree and use outboard hardware and software tools to shape the source.

Every preamp I have used that had what I think of as colour, it also sounds smaller and less hifi.
When I read colour, my first thought is, okay, another name for something compromised.

there, lots of description for us to comment on. Do we use the term colour to sell lack of which often becomes a sonic branding?
What do you think?



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