Input needed......Im a loser.

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by eonblue, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. eonblue

    eonblue Guest

    Alright, I have been trolling this forum for a bit now and decided that you guys could help me, should you choose to :wink:

    I am a very amateur home recording, err, person. I have just come out of college and have been buying so much stuff that my gf is going to leave me unless I quit. I am fairly happy with the sound of my recordings so far, as they are really just for demo purposes, but I want them to sound good. I am not at ALL happy with my vocal recordings. This is how I happened upon all the threads pertaining to mic preamps and would like some info regarding this subject. The following is a list of my gear:

    - Cubasis VST 2.0 host program
    - Tascam US-428 recording interface
    - Line 6 Vetta II guitar amp (for recording directly)
    - Yamaha S-90 Synth
    - SM-57 Mic

    I can only buy one more piece of gear for a while and it has to last me a long time so I need to get the most bang for my buck. Again, I am thinking about a preamp and am willing to step it up to the Sebatron "Thorax" or something comparable if you guys think it would benefit me. I understand that this would be something I could use for a long, long time perhaps even for live use.

    The question is, with my setup, what exactly would this top-shelve preamp do for my sound in all applicable areas? I read somewhere that it might add warmth to direct recordings. Is this true?

    I am open to suggestions as to other equipment that would benefit me more. If not, what preamp would you suggest?

    Thanks a lot.


    P.S. I have a pair of JBL 4312 Control Monitors that are very old but in mint condition. Does anyone know anything about these?
  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I see no outboard mixer on your list?

    Most mixers(All?) have preamps more than up to the task of mic pre for an SM-57(Or better), along with lots of other knobs and switches and inputs and outputs that will come in handy. And, yes, you'll use it(Somewhere) forever...

    Wait until you get a really good mic to bother with a really good preamp.

    If a single channel mic pre is all you want, get an ART or something for now...(Doesn't matter. Pick a price, then pick the one that looks prettiest, it'll be fine. - wonderful even...).

    I am unfamiliar with the JBL's, but "mint" condition might involve more than how they look outside or even if they seem to sound OK. Older speakers(Even very good older speakers) sometimes used "foam" surrounds for the drivers. This tended to, eventually, dry-out and basically fall apart(Not good.). If they are good speakers, let someone knowledgeable check them out. Many companies offer ways of replacing the foam surrounds(Even rather easy to do "kits" for some.).

    Teddy G.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    A lot of us 'old farts' cut our ears on JBL 4312's.I have an excellent set of Genelecs now....but I sometimes miss the JBL's.A great linear power amp is needed for them.They can withstand a LOT of power.A major complaint I have heard over the years is the lack of bass....But I never experienced this in mixes I did on them translating to other systems....There are literally 1000's of records that have been mixed on these throughout the years.If you learn these, you will have a sense of spacial awareness and depth that a LOT of the 'modern', compact,self-powered,supposedly for digital,desktop monitors just cannot deliver.Again, your choice of power amp and your placement in your listening environment will have a HUGE effect on your ability to use these monitors.But, if they are 'mint',as you say, there is nothing wrong with them and really they are a very good platform to learn from.They are Old School but it was the right school.
  4. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    It really depends on your musical style, but the 57 for vocals wouldn't ever be my first choice. Snare drum, guitar cabinet yes.... vocals no.

    Before you bought the thorax, I would definitely consider a nice, large diaphram mic, or even an ok large diaphram mic for vocals. I'm not knocking anything by Sebatron, cause its great stuff, but overkill for what you're describing.

    Decent LD mics by Studio Projects, Audio Technica, Rode etc... into a decent mic pre (small mackie mixer even) would probably take you a lot farther than you are now.

    My .02
  5. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    my input??? don't call yourself a loser.. newbie, amateur, novice..sure

    the fact that you're here, online looking for advice makes you a winner !!!

    good luck with the next long lasting purchase...

  6. eonblue

    eonblue Guest

    Hahah!! I had given up!

    I thought the people on here were just to "pro" to answer someone with such an obvious lack of knowledge. I guess I was wrong :D

    I am seeing a lot of differing opinions on whether to get a good mic or a good preamp first. I realize that the SM-57 might not be the greatest vocal mic, but I need something to benifit me all around in the recording environment as well as live if possible.

    Since I record all my instruments direct/digitally, I read that a tube preamp has the potential to add some nice organic qualities to synths, amp simulators, etc.... so the main question is, what purchase would benefit me most overall given my current setup.

    The Tascam US-428 is kind of like a mixer I suppose, but I can only imagine how crappy it is at fullfilling that role. I mainly just use it to convert analog to digital and get the sounds into my PC. I record my guitar via two XLR's from the back of my amp into the Tascam.

    In this light does anyone have any more suggestions? If the preamp is a dumb idea then I certainly don't want to make it my final purchase for a while.

    Thank you so much for answering me guys. I had lost hope!!


    P.S. Im so glad to hear those JBL's are decent. Maybe not the greatest, but they were my Dad's. He passed away about a month ago and he never got to hear any of my music, but wanted to. I am happy that I can use something of his to work toward my goals and I think he is probably happy about it too.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I'd keep the speakers forever ...

    The 57 is a great all around mic and will do the job you want. You will most likely wind up wanting somthing a bit better at some point.

    I used to recommend the SP B-1 for a starter LD condenser and I still think it's a good mic but the price has gone up recently and I have stumbled across a new mic out that really sounds good on both vocals and guitar amps ... and that is the KEL Audio HM-1 ... I cannot say enough good things about this mic ... it really defies discription ..

    It is a small diaphragm side address mic about 5" tall that is extremly well built and robust .. It sounds really good on vocals (a lot like a U87) and works very well on guitar cabs as well ... it gets rid of thet "crackle distortion" that happens so often when recording electric guitar amps.

    The HM-1 sells for under $100 (shipping included) and KEL Audio offers a free 21 day no questions asked return policy so it's pretty hard to get hurt trying this one out ... give it a listen .
  8. eonblue

    eonblue Guest


    Thanks for the info Kurt. That sounds like a great deal on the mic. Ima have to check that out cause I got a b-day coming up quick....MUHAHAHAHHAA!

    Here's an intersting little tidbit that one of you might be able to help me out with. I emailed both Sebatron and SoundPure to get some info on what a Thorax might do for my guitar tone. As I stated before, I use a Line 6 Vetta II modeling amp recorded direct via 2 XLR's(for stereo) straight into the board.

    Now, while both Sebatron and Soundpure both agreed that a valve pre would make a modeling amp sound more round/organic/warm, they had differing views on how to get there. Here are the quotes from both emails:

    From SoundPure

    "I think that you will probably yield your best results by using the Thorax DI inputs first, so that you hit the Thorax directly with the instrument, and then feed the Thorax output to the guitar simulator, line level (just a better way to run the signal"
    path since you will want to be using your best analog preamps up front, before hitting any of the simulator)"

    From Sebatron

    "I suggest backing the grunt off within the amp and driving the valve channel either THORAX or even vmp-1000e ( vmp-1000eVU ) quite hard by pushing the output level of the line 6 into the unit ( with 0db Pad )"

    From what I can tell, one recommends before the amp while the other recommends after. I would tend to think that Sebatron has a better fix on how to best use their product, but can someone please explain why one way would be better than the other?


  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Both methods are acceptable but speaking from experience with the sebatron vmp pres I would go with the Sebatron suggestion.

    Each way will have a different sound ... I suggest you try both ways... who knows, one method may work on some things and the other approach may work better on others.

    Experimenting is all part of recording .... "hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if I ( fill in the blank )".
  10. eonblue

    eonblue Guest


    Thanks for the responses and info Kurt. I hit my lady up for the KEL Audio H-1 and I believe she is gonna do it *hop*.
  11. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    one more thing more just for refreance of future searches theise are great mic sujections on what to get i will sujest what to avoide; the samson c01, avoid it like the plauge, or a good charolett concert.
  12. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    eonblue..........I am not all that new to recording, but am kinda new in the sense that I am getting more into learning about what makes good recordings besides good gear. I have a modest setup:

    Nuendo 2.2 sequencer
    Line 6 podXT
    SansAmp Bass DI
    Maudio Delta66 with Omni breakout box
    Maudio SP8 active monitors (which I HATE)
    some radio shack mics, some sm58's and 57's
    Mackie Control

    The last thing I bought was a RODE K2 and have just finished completing my first project with it. I will say that mic combined with the 4 or 5 months I've been tolling through these boards has made a significant difference in my recordings.

    My opinion is this: If you get a great mic now, you will hear the differences immediatly (sp?) in your vocal recordings.......(I assume you are happy enough with the direct recordings you are getting with the vetta going direct.) Later, when you get a really nice Preamp, you'll be even more impressed with your vocal recordings.

    Just my thoughts
  13. fbars

    fbars Guest


    Those JBL's are very good speakers! You can find all the info you need at the JBL website.

    If you should need repairs, parts are available, and factory authorized repairs can be done thru Midwest Audio [Chicago area,] and thru Westlake Audio [LA area].

    After 22 years of use, I had Midwest Audio redo my JBL 4411's. Powered by my dead mint Crown DC-300 [always thought of it as a piece of wire with gain] they sound wonderful. Though it cost almost a grand to redo the speakers, I think it would be hard to find better speakers for that price!

    Davedog is correct, 1000's of records have been mixed with this vintage of JBL's!!!

    Tom Durso
    First Bass Audio
  14. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Hey eonblue. All the advice has been given to my eyes...morew would likely confuse.

    I second the Kel HM1 as a good sounding versatile mic, with a friendly and down to earth guy selling them. Have a listen to the demo's at the Kel Audio site perhaps?

    I just wanted to say, i'm really sorry to hear about your dad passing away man. Keep the JBL's always and continue the work with them into the future.

    take care bro...
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