Tube Mic + Tube Pre = ?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by AcousTronic, Aug 30, 2005.

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  1. AcousTronic

    AcousTronic Guest

    Can there be TOO much tube? If I use a tube mic, am I better off using a channel strip pre, rather than a tube pre?

    I'm getting a Rode K2 this weekend, and I have a tube pre (SM Pro Audio, TB202), a MOTU 896HD, and a Mackie 1202 (currently collecting dust, see my other thread). Can I get a "great male vocal sound" with my current set-up and the K2, or will I need to upgrade my pre also? I can't afford Focusrite, Sebatron, or Universal Audio at the moment, but heard great things about The Brick, but there again, TUBE...

    Also, for those of you using the K2, what pre has worked best? If it helps, my voice is in the Dave Matthews/Arron Lewis range.

    Thanks in advance for any light at the end of this "tube" tunnel.

  2. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    hello mate
    i heard tube mic + tube pre = mud. I think this is a good general rule... erm i think.
    Try yo mic with all your pre's , mackie , motu etc. and tell us which is best!

  3. twenty5south

    twenty5south Guest

    Since I live by the rule:

    "There are no rules!"

    I'll say this, try it and see what the end result is. In my opinion a tube mic. with a tube pre. may be to much tube....... I had this same delima a few months back when deciding on a new mic, I wanted to go with the Rode NTK but wasnt sure how it would sound in conjunction with my ART Pro Channel. I couldnt get my hands on one to try it out and needed to do something fast so i went with the Rode NT1a (actually a pair of 'em). Id still love to get my hands on a good tube mic. and try it out with my tube pre and if it doesnt work ill slap it on one of the stock pre's on my DPS.

  4. Zoltar8814

    Zoltar8814 Guest

    Nope, not necessarily true...
    But.. it depends on the quality of the equipment itself, not just the fact of it having tubes or not.

    Yes, the Brick is good.

    The Brick is a wonderful...good sounding...well made piece of equipment.

  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I get a good vocal jazz sound with a K2 and a grace- for rock I use the k2 and a sytek, BB option. If I had a brick I would not hesitate to use it with it.
  6. bounce

    bounce Guest

    Some of the great vocal recording from the 50's 60's 70's and later used a tube mic through a tube pre (and a tube compressor!). Not all tube mics or pre's are "Dark." You just need quality pieces and, as always, match the right pre with the right mic with the right source : )

  7. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    As long as you're using a good mic and a good pre it won't really matter if there's tubes in it or not. I don't really think it should be looked at the way you and some other people do a great mic is a great mic whether it has a tube or not same with a pre. I don't buy something because it has a tube I buy it because it kicks ass and if theres a tube in it cool. But then again thats just me.
  8. AcousTronic

    AcousTronic Guest

    Thanks for the great replies!! I am going to give the K2 a shot with my current set-up, as my tube pre varies as to how hard I drive the tube in it. If I keep the input setting low and boost the output it uses little tube, or I can drive the tube by boosting the input to just below clipping. I will experiment for now, but I am going to look into getting The Brick, while I save up the $2k to get a top notch pre. I will always have a use for 'The Brick' somewhere...

    Thanks again,
  9. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    The tube myth prevails. There is no 'tube' sound. It doesn't exist. Some of the 'warmest' pieces of gear on the market are solid state (Chandler products, Vintech, Soundelux iFET7, AEA ribbon mics, Empirical labs Distressor, Empricial Labs Fatso, Purple Audio MC77, etc). Those that I listed can be considered very very warm. Then there are very clean pieces that are tube - Brauner tube mics, Gefell 92.1S, Millennia M2b preamp, Pendulum Audio products, Manley VoxBox with transformerless output. So the answer then is really a resounding NO - because running a TUBE Gefell into a TUBE Millennia preamp is going to be easily clean enough for classical work. But putting an SS iFET7 into a SS Vintech with the input pushed into a SS Fatso will sound great, but it will be anything but 'clean'.
    bigtree likes this.
  10. AcousTronic

    AcousTronic Guest


    Half of the products you listed, I have never even heard of. I attribute that more to the fact that the names I do know, have HUGE marketing budgets, but I'm sure by no means does that mean they are necessarily any better. I checked out your company's Site and am impressed by what I am seeing.

    As I try to be as informed a buyer as I can, I am going to do some searches for reviews of some of your products. So, if there is anything that stands out in your mind that would be a must have for me, (ie: outstanding vocal MIC for male vocals, and great PRE for that mic) and within say a $1,500 budget for both items, PLEASE let me know. Either PM me here or e-mail to

    I am going to make a purchase VERY soon, as I can't bother tracking vocals right now with what I have, only to have to redo it in a couple weeks.

  11. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:

    Hi John, I emailed you, but I can post here too just in case someone else is wondering the same thing as you. I recommend the Soundelux U195 and the Groove Tube "Brick" preamp/DI. This is a stellar combination that can't be beat for the price IMO. The Soundelux has a big sound, and can be switched (on the mic) from an airy brighter sound, to a fat thick sound making it very versatile. The Brick is a warm sounding preamp (but not without fidelity). You'll be able to use this combination for just about anything with a good degree of success. Hope this helps!! :)
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Great recommendations Nathan ... and I agree that there are some solid state pres that are darker sounding than a lot of well implemented tube designs.

    A comparison of a Sebatron or The Brick to the GRMP2NV comes to mind for me. I recently recorded some vocals using both solid state LD condenser and an old ASTATIC 200S crystal mic. We started with the GR pre and the sound was just a little too dark regardless of how I staged the gain settings. We switched to a pair of Bricks and everything just opened up. A Sebatron vmp is even more "airy" and open than The Brick so go figure ... :roll:

    Please don't interpret that as my saying the GR sucks because it doesn't. Its a great pre. I would love to have a rack full of them. But it can be a bit too dark at times for my taste.

    All one needs to do is listen to the many recordings Bill Putnam and Bruce Swedine recorded with tube gear in Chicago at Universal in the late 50's to hear that tubes don't have to be dark or lack high end. More hits came from those guys at that studio than a lot of people realize. Putnam even recorded some Country records there including some cuts with Hank Williams Sr. Blues stuff for Chess including Howlin Wolf, cuts for Sun Records ... Nat King Cole, Count Bassie ... The whole spectrum of pop music. Putnam defined the modern studio there ... (It was Putnam that came up with the idea of the modern recording console, echo chambers and the ability to dial in reverb instead of capturing it with the mic while recording).

    All that stuff was cut with only tube mics, pres EQs and dynamics. Plenty of high end in that stuff.. so, are tubes bassy and dark sounding? To the contrary, I would say "Not at all!"

    Some of the brightest LD mics I have ever used were tube based ... for example, a C12 or a C12a ...
  13. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Active Member

    Apr 16, 2005
    I'm glad the tube myth is getting busted up! I don't know too much behind the science of it all, but I had an adk mic that I did the royer/mojave mod to and the mic opened up a lot. Defintiely did not get "warmer" but definitely sounds "better" and easier to mix now, and I'm only running into an m-audio dmp3 (which coincidentally makes my bass sound "warmer" going direct than my direct box, not a tube in sight). I know that the ART tube MP, when I've used it in the past, sounded anything but warm, no matter how much "tube" I dialed in. And the Hartke Bass amps that I am forced to use in some rehearsal studios, with the dual preamp design, defintely do not sound warm with the tube preamp. So using your ears as to whether something sounds good, as opposed to marketing hype that this one piece of equipment will solve all of your "harsh digital sound problems" is a great way to go. I think word of mouth on various forums is much better advertising than any ad in a magazine, people here seem to know what really works and what is hype. Just my 2 cents.
  14. muddystick

    muddystick Guest

    All i have to say is don't be afraid to expiriment, if you find it too muddy, don't use it, if you like it, keep it!
  15. Timmetje

    Timmetje Guest

    In my studio the combination of a GT model 1 through a TLA 5001 is mud. Damn. What are the odds :?
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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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