tube pre with tube mic or not

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by drzox, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. drzox

    drzox Guest

    I have Avalon 737sp and akg414EB and Nady 1150 tube mic,and I want to buy some expencive microfon(brauner valvet vocal or manly reference cardiodid),but I heard that is better have non tube mic with tube pre and vice versa,so I wonder IS IT TRUE,then i rather buy brauner fantom C or Neumann U87.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I´d say it´s not entirely true. I´ve heard combinations of tube mics and tube pres that sound fabulous. And solid-state combinations that sound fantastic. And both kinds that didn´t sound that nice.

    It´s a misunderstanding that tubes make the sound "degraded in a good way" and that using too many tubedevices makes it sound bad. Tubes are used to build the cleanest audiopaths possible (in designs where this is the purpose) and they can outperform any other design in accuracy and "clean-ness", if they are well made. Good tube designs are expensive, no exception. They´re expensive to build, that´s why. Also many tubedesigns use input- and outputtransformers and most times it´s actually the transformers that make the sound we recognize as "tube-warmth", not the tubes. So the problem would not be too many tubes in a chain but too many transformers. That might result in a more colored and distorted sound. Some people like that a lot aswell. Example: you might use a vintage Neumann tube mic that has an output transformer, a tube preamp that has an input and output transformer and a compressor that also has in- and out-transformers. That way you´ve passed five transformers before hitting record. Passing through a couple of tubes won´t affect the sound as much as all the trafos. (note: there are transformerless tubedesigns aswell).

    You´re shopping for a Manley Ref-C or a Brauner. I´ve tried them both and they are extremely sterile sounding mics. Looking for that "tube-warmth" ? You won´t find it in these mics. The Manley sounds almost "digital" and the Brauner is also like beeing at the dentist. Not saying they sound bad, but very, very clean and to a point where it almost feels unnatural, especially the Manley. What I´m trying to say is that a vocal recorded with a U87 through a Neve 1073 (no tubes in this chain) would sound a lot warmer and more colored than the same vocal recorded with a manley Ref-C through any high-end tube pre.

    It´s also true that the Neve 1073 brings something very nice out of tube mics :) It´s all about matching gear that work well together, tube or not.

    Hope this helps, there was a very good article about the "tube-topic" at It was featured a couple of months ago, maybe it´s still there.
  3. drzox

    drzox Guest

    Hello Marcus
    Your post help me a lot.Can you please tell me a name of couple of mics that sound"tube-warmth".
    Thanks in advance
  4. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I've used mostly vintage Neumanns for that purpose so I'm not very familiar with all the new tubemics. Sondelux makes very nice tubemics, basically replicas of famous vintage mics. Haven't heard a bad word about them. Try browsing the microphone section of and I'm sure you´ll find a lot of interesting microphones.
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Would be great to have an excellent tube mic, an excellent tube pre, an excellent solid-state condenser mic and an excellent solid-state pre. More than one of each, according to one's budget and needs surely wouldn't hurt.

    We are not interested in what sounds our gear makes, as much as we are interested in what sounds we can make with our gear. The widest variety of tools will give us the most assurance of finding those sounds we seek(And some we'll just find by hooking it all up "wrong".).

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