Skip to main content

"Driving" mic pre's and other gear - overload

Member for

21 years 3 months
Care to discuss?

I have some TLA gear that likes to be 'driven' I have the option on some Neve channels but haven't learned the pro's and con's of it yet.

Who drives their mic pre's or any other gear for that matter (& reduces the ouput level elsewhere) to get the sound they like?

Helios channels DONT like it at all!

Your thoughts?


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 10/25/2001 - 06:16
Don't now about TLA... I used TLA 2-channel comp as pre and its output was way too hot even with gain set to 0... So I'm going to add some gain reduction to its signal during next tracking session (used it as a preamp for SM-81 on Hi-hat, -6dbfs on AD-8000 during peaks - too much in the light of recent discussion on recording level of 24-bit signal in PT - hope to share some conclusions on my experience later...)
Focusrite ISA430 does not like to be driven at all - IMHO...
1176 is completely another story - though used as a pre on snare with SM58 it just cryes to be DRIVEN!!!
Oh, and there's another story about EQ in some analog boards that start to behave like exiters when you feed some HOT signals to them!!! :)

To summerise - I tend to drive the devices that have their own sound more if I'm looking for more "colour"...


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 10/25/2001 - 12:08
I used to fry virtually everything with the channel gain/trim control on a Mackie. Just turn on the gain, make it sing and then lower the fader. Perhaps some eq corrections, too. Not everything at the same time, though, and not everything would respond well to that kind of treatment, but I don't remember ever doing a mix on a Mackie with a "proper" gain structure.

I even used the mic pres on a Mackie 1202 as an outboard processor for the drums via the insert points (kick, snare and overheads). The main console was a Tascam 3700 and it really needed a little character.

I tried the same with other budget mixers, with various degrees of success. They all behaved differently. My venerable Soundcraft Series Two was quite good in that department. Not that it needed any additional color, though. That's also how I discovered that Behringer mixers aren't exactly Mackie clones. Brrrr! Ugly.


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 10/25/2001 - 17:36
first off, hello, i'm adam frick, audio engineer at big idea productions, makers of veggietales and 321penguins among other things - thanks jules for the invite over here - having a good time already lurking and figured i'd go ahead and jump in...

summit tpa-200b, love it as a super-clean preamp for many things, but i'm also always using it as an insert for protools. input up, output down. killer to warm up boring b3 patches especially, but anything that needs it, really.

so that would definitely be overload overlord.


Member for

20 years 7 months

MadMoose Thu, 10/25/2001 - 22:02
Cool. I like distortion. Neve's are cool. When I had my 1272's I'd put them on the mix bus usuing the DI input and crank the gain up to add some edge. Very hip trick, the Dakings don't do that as well and I haven't tried overloading them on kick or snare yet. The 1176 in bypass (turn the attack totally counterclockwise until it clicks) is also very hip. I remember being in a mastering session and A/Bing three compressors. One of them was a pair of Purple MC76's. We finally picked the LCA-2a but when we took the Purples out of line the sound totally changed. It lost it's edge and balls. Turns out the tranny stays in-line and we were hearing the saturation. I also have to admit that the ART MP sounds pretty cool when overloaded. I think it's the only way to use it. My DCL-200 doesn't like to be wildly overdriven.

One of the wickedest distortion sounds I've ever heard was a bass drum overdub. A pair of SM57's going into Neve 1058's, Altec tube 4x1 mixers (mic in of course) and then 1064's (again the mic in). There was so much gain you could hear the drummers change rattle in his pants.