Tube Mic Newbie

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by andystruction, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. I have been recording in my home for the past 3 years, and I have accumulated a pretty good list of gear. The sound I am getting currently, I am pretty statisifed with, however I feel as if I could be getting more from the vocals. I just wanted some suggestions into the world of tubed mics. Would it make more sense to get a tube mic or just get a tube pre amp for my LD mic that I am currently using.

    I have about a $600 budget on this one.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I'm not sure why you're focusing on a tube mic. Especially in that price range. Many assume that a tube mic is "fat" or "warm" or "smooth" (or add adjective here...) but that's simply a case of marketing hype.

    A mic's sound has as much to do with its capsule/diaphragm design and size, internal electronics, load, preamp and other factors as it does with topography (tube or solid state.)

    What do you feel is lacking in your current vocal sound that you'd like to get from a tube mic?

    Some of my favorite vocal mics for rock/country are:

    Royer 121 (out of your price range)
    Senn MD421 (well inside your range)
    Rode K2 (just outside your range and it is a tube mic though)
    AT 4060 (outside your range- tube)
    AT 4040 (more for backing vocals, but it works on some vox)
    Soundelux U195 (outside your range - solid state)
    Blue Baby Bottle/Bluebird (inside your range - solid state)
    Shure SM58 (well inside your range)

    Notice, only a few are tubes and most cases, they sound more "crisp" than the other mics listed here.

    As for tube mic preamps in that range....I wouldn't even think about it. The Summit 2BA-221 is the only one to consider, but if I had to have only 1 preamp, this wouldn't be it.

    Sorry - don't mean to pee on the parade...

  3. Not at all. All good info. I feel a lot of warmth and fullness is missing from the recording. I have been in various bands in the last 5 years, and have done tons of recording in professional studios and I have just always liked the sound when we used Tube Mics. Right now I am using either an Apex 435 or a NT-1A, but something is missing.

    Right now I am using 2 MOTU 896HD's as my interface, if that helps at all.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I would definitely advise you to shy away from tube mics in that range then if it's the warmth you're after.

    I would assume that if you were recording in pretty decent studios in the past 5 years, they probably were feeding you guys through some u87s or u47s or similar perhaps through a nice, iron-filled preamp. All of this costs a lot of money!

    Instead, I would go for a good solid dynamic mic (EV RE20, Shure SM7, Blue Ball, etc.) These are going to give you that very present, full low-mids sound that most people associate with warm. This patched through a pretty decent pre...say an Onyx or a Grace 101 or similar would get you a lot further down the road than you would probably think.

    If I were told that I could only ever have 1 microphone on this planet for recording rock/country/rap vocals, it would probably be the EV RE20 or perhaps the Senn MD421. I love my expensive mics, but they are all quite picky about who I put them in front of.

    Cheers -


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