microphones to record classical guitar at home

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Haris, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Haris

    Haris Active Member

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    Could you please suggest some audio interfaces that I could use with the preams suggested in this post ?
    Thank you!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Most audio interfaces already have pre-amps inside them, at least for their microphone (XLR) inputs. It is, of course, possible to use external pre-amps and feed their output into the line inputs of an audio interface, but you have to be careful about how the signal is routed inside the interface. Most lower-cost interfaces attenuate the line inputs and feed them through their microphone pre-amps, so if you are not careful you degrade the quality of your external pre-amps by having to send the signal through the pre-amps in the interfce as well. One way of overcoming this is by using external pre-amps that digitise their outputs and send the audio digitally (using S/PDIF or ADAT formats) to a digital input on the interface, thus by-passing all of the interface's analog circuitry.

    To make recommendations for you, we would need to know

    (1) whether you are wanting (a) an audio interface that has suitable internal pre-amps, (b) separate external pre-amps and an audio interface with line inputs that by-pass the interface's internal pre-amps, (c) digitising pre-amps and a suitable separate interface or (d) some other configuration

    (2) your budget
     
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  3. Haris

    Haris Active Member

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    I think I need solution (a), otherwise I think things will become more complicated and maybe expensive than I want. My budget is at about 1k if I choose this solution.
    Are there solutions of (a) category that have quality similar to combination of separate audio interface+preamp?
    Could you also suggest some audio interfaces that could be uesd with preamps with analog outputs?

    Thank you
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I note you are in Greece, so does that mean your budget is €1K?

    Take a look at the new RME Babyface Pro - it could do what you want.
     
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  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    ohhhh .... daddy like ... $750 street!
     
  6. Haris

    Haris Active Member

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    Thank you for reply!

    RME Babyface Pro is a solution I am considering.
    Could you please suggest some (b) and (c) category solutions?
     
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    The option (c) that I mentioned (external digitising pre-amp) could feed the lightpipe input of an RME Babyface Pro or similar audio interface with optical input. If you are having to keep your total expenditure under the €1K figure, there would not be many quality external pre-amps with 4 or 8 channels available to fit in that price.

    Under option (b), don't forget that the Babyface Pro has two line inputs as well as two XLR microphone inputs, so a dual-channel fully analog external pre-amp could be connected to those and get the benefit of the quality converters in the interface.

    Tell us how many channels in total you are looking for, and we can make further suggestions.
     
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  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    with a stretch of the budget, there is the Apogee Quartet that seams to have nice preamps.. but they're not as good as outboards...
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Quartet
     
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  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Bos... can you provide insight in terms of the best case scenario for what you've mentioned above.... this being for those of us who might have a high end stand alone analog pre in our chain, but that has no computer i/o ?

    When I use the ADK pre - the AP1 - ( this is the same one I used for the transformer shoot-out here on RO a few months ago), because it only has analog outs, I was having to come out of the XLR output of the ADK to a balanced ( TRS) 1/4" jack plugged into the balanced 1/4" line-in of my Presonus VSL, in order to convert the analog audio to digital.

    Because I'm using the line in of the Presonus, I was controlling the gain through the ADK pre, and not through the gain control of the Presonus input channel. In fact, I had the input level on the Presonus line-in at the minimum setting - with the input gain pot on the Presonus turned all the way down - because I wanted to get the least amount of possible further amperage coloration, and I wanted to get the best possible sound of the ADK, without skewing it through any further amping of any kind; so this is why I chose to use a line input instead of an XLR, and besides, the ADK pre already brings the signal up to line level, so further gain is unnecessary. But my suspicion is that in doing it this way, I'm still probably getting something frm the Presonus - either an added character, or maybe even a diminished signal quality, because - even though I'm using the line ins - it's still passing signal through the preamp stage before it hits the converter stage, right?

    BTW, I'm only talking about one channel of conversion, as the ADK is a single channel pre. ;)

    So... What would be the best conversion option for me in this scenario?

    1. Coming out of the ADK to a dedicated, stand alone converter (just a converter, without any pre)?
    2. Or, am I better off with using a PCIe Card-Based type of conversion?
    3. Or ... do you think that my current routing - using the Presonus and its converters - will suffice in terms of quality?

    (While I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting with my current routing, I haven't really had a chance to hear what the ADK sounds like on its own - for as little possible preamp gain coloration I might be adding by using the Presonus, I can't help but wonder if I am truly hearing the best possible sound that the ADK has to offer, and how much degradation I might in fact be getting by using the line ins of the Presonus...
    ).


    I don't recall getting any negative comments regarding the signal "quality" during that shoot-out... all the comments were geared towards XFO's "coloration" preferences - but should I have chosen another way, a better way, to convert the analog signal from the ADK to digital?

    I'm also going to tag Chris on this same question... ( @audiokid ) - and while I understand that he generally prefers preamps without transformers, that's not really the point here... this is about conversion quality, and along with your thoughts, I want to hear his thoughts also, because I know he's used more than a few converters with his rig. I'm just looking for the best possible way to go about converting the analog signal from the ADK pre, and getting the best quality possible..... if it is determined that using the converters in the Presonus VSL isn't the optimal way to convert.

    :)
    d.
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Haris
    Thank you for reply!

    Could you please suggest some (b) and (c) category solutions?

    Focusrite Forte, RME Babyface /RME Babyface Pro, SPL Crimson. are what i have found at that price. $500 - $750.

    all have decent enough preamps. the Crimson is more of a desktop controller and monitor switcher.
     
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  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Are you replying to my post, Kurt?
     
  12. Haris

    Haris Active Member

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    Two channels are enough for me. I will record only my guitar, stereo or mono.


    So could I start with Babyface Pro and in the future if I wanted, I could add a preamp and bypass the Babyface preamps?


    But that needs Macintosh. I have Windows and Linux but not Macintosh.

    Thank you for replies!
     
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Yes, that would be the route for adding a pair of external analog-output pre-amps. If at some point in the future you were able to go for digitising pre-amps such as the Focusrite ISA428, then you could build up to more channels by connecting those optically into the Babyface Pro, by-passing its converters.
     
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  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    the SPL Crimson has line inputs that by pass the mic pres.
     
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  15. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Your Presonus VSL is pretty much as good as it gets at its price level; my memory is that the line inputs go directly to the ADC drive amplifiers, by-passsing the pre-amps. In addition, it gives you the option of adding external digitising pre-amps via ADAT, so units such as the ISA 428 with ADC option I mentioned in the previous post can be interfaced with no detriment to the ISA's audio quality and no further interfacing hardware needed.
     
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  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    isn't ADAT lightpipe is limited at best to 96K ?.... because of that, i think it's a dying protocol. it's nice to have for backward compatibility and that's probably the reason we continue to see it implemented in new products.

    i have seen reference to 192 being available in things like the ONYX preamps. does SMUX support 192 Bos?

    EDIT: i found this so i guess i was wrong about that. looks like i need to rethink my forecast ...
     
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Who uses 192khz now a day ? Most recordist don't hear the difference between 48 and 96 Lol !! ;)
     
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i would go at least 96k. i hear the filters at 20k with 24/48. i think with PONO and other hi res formats emerging, higer sample rates will be the norm, not the exception.

    there's great debate on benefits of 96 or 192 .... studies support the idea that even high freq content we don't hear can affect harmonics in the lower octaves we do hear. othes say they can feel it. Geoff Emrik heard oscillations at 40k on a channel of the Focusrite ISA console that he complained about to Rupert Neve about. Neve didn't believe him until they pulled the strip and found a fault.

    i'm looking at it just for forward compatibility and for archival reasons. i think we will be at DSD in a few years. till then I'll feel beter knowing my archive is stored at the highest rate available.
     
  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I do use 96k but never dared 192. I fear that the bigger files and res will may my computer breakdown and cry ;)
     
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    "memory ..... like the pages of my mind " ......ooops i drifted off. memory is getting cheaper and cheaper every day.
     

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