VoicemasterPro vs. Grace 101 vs.FNR RNP

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Besame Mucho, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Besame Mucho

    Besame Mucho Guest

    I would really appreciate some suggestions or opinions regarding preamps (and good mics to match with) mentioned above.

    I'm (or try to be) a VO "talent"and make a radio/TV commercials as well as corporate multimedia projects for living. Right now my main "tools" are PB 667 DVI/PT 5.2LE/MBox with AT 3035 mic/pair of Tapcos S5 monitors (and pretty quiet bedroom "studio"). I'm satisfied with that combo but, since I received some good paychecks lately ,it's time to invest some money. I would like to raise the quality of production to higher level and think that I should move toward better preamp and mic first.

    So, after searching through the Web, knowing the fact that I want to produce a better quality voiceovers and have a cca 1.000$ budget , my "wish" list consist of Focusrite VoicemasterPro, Grace 101 and FNR RNP. Also I was thinking about RODE NT2 mic to match. Am I move in riht direction or ...?

    My apologies for such a long post and thanks in advance.
  2. teleharmonic

    teleharmonic Guest

    Well, as far as microphones go i have a Rode NT2 and while i like it very much i tend to use it when i need a vocal to 'cut' through a more dense musical mix. I don't know that this is what you would need for VOs... you would know this better.

    In addition, i don't know that the character of the NT2 is going to be different enough from your AT3035 to add much to your collection.

    I would imagine that for voice overs you would want something to make your voice seem rich... to me that says either a decent tube mic or a ribbon mic. Now... these might require you to spend your total amount on the mic alone but if you are wanting to do voiceovers professionally i would think that having a great mic that sounds good with your voice would be a key tool... even if you have to put off buying the preamp until a later date.

    If it is possible, you should try out a number of mics and see what fits with your voice as this tends to be a very personal thing (e.g. certain mics sound good on a certain person's voice but there is no sure way to know which ones without trying. Maybe you will luck out and your voice will sound the best through a sm57!)

    If you get a great mic matching your voice then you could look into renting various mic preamps when you need to record for a pro VO gig. That way, by the time you have tried a bunch of preamps you will have also worked a bunch of gigs... giving you the cash to buy the preamp you like the most.

    just a thought.

  3. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Home Page:
    VO is a specialty area that largely depends on:

    1) the sound you're looking for, huge bottom, crispy top, rich mids
    2) the sound of your voice

    Every mic will sound a little different on different voices. Some VO people use a Neumann U87, some use EV RE20, some use Shure SM7b and some will use whatever you happen to have available, because they are such amazing professionals that they can adjust their vocal timbre to compensate.

    That said, go to Ty Ford's website (a talented VO artist who has put some great info about his craft, mics and preamps on his website.


    Happy hunting and good luck!
  4. doctorfish

    doctorfish Guest

    Instead of buying a mic and a preamp, perhaps you could use all the money for one really nice preamp. There are some good recent threads on quality pre amps that will be a step up from all of the units you mentioned. Do a search a read some of these.

    If you're set on that price range or those units, I've heard nothing but great things about the Grace 101. When I was searching in this price range I bought a Summit Audio 2BA-221. It has a tube in it you can blend as you like and has some extra input output options as well. I've used it primarily for voiceover stuff and have been quite happy with it, and more importantly, my clients have been quite happy too. :D

    As Screws mentioned, think more about what kind sound you want. Some tube richness? Something ultraclean?

    I've heard the Focusrite platinum series is decent but not stellar and the FNR RNP inspires passionate responses both positive and negative.

    Perhaps you could take your 3035 to a proaudio store and test it through a few preamps to see what you like.

    Happy pre hunting to you.

  5. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    Well with the amount of money you have budgeted. You will have to compromise too much on both the mike and the preamp. The preamps you are considering will not be much (if any) better than the ones in your mbox. So unless you spend more than a grand on the preamp you will not hear any improvement. Your best bet would be to go for a good mike maybe a ribbon as was suggested earlier. Then save up a couple grand and buy a killer pre. This mic comes to mind as something you might try. Mic It is with in your budget constraints. Another one close to your budgetother mic. Work from your voice back through the system getting better equipment at each point when you can afford it. Don't be tempted to go cheap you will only be disappointed and have waisted your hard earned money.
  6. Do Makes

    Do Makes Guest

    You really don't need to spend 1k+ on a tube mic for VO work. The sm7 and RE20 are stables for this kind of thing. If you don't want a dynamic, maybe the TLM103 a little more expensive but also used alot in this field. Then theres the multitude of chinese clones (MXL, Rode, ADK, SE, Studio Projects, the list goes on and on) you could look into.

    Either the grace or the RNP. They'll both work well for you.
  7. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I'd recommend the Voicemaster Pro for what you're doing. Even though the preamp sections of the RNP and Grace are probably a bit better, the Voicemaster Pro does have a good complement of other useful features I think you'd get good use of. The de-esser is maybe the best part of the box, and the compressor's pretty good as well. You may not use every section of the box, but chances are you'll get good use out of most of them when shaping the sound of your voice.

    As far as microphones are concerned, there have been some great recommendations made already...I'm not a huge fan of the RE20 for anythign but VO work, and the Sennheiser MD421 works as well. On the condenser side, one microphone that's often overlooked is the Audio Technica 4047, which makes a great VO microphone. I'd probably pick that over the NT2.

  8. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    I'm not experienced with VO recording but a really good quality signal chain I heard to work well was Rode NTK + Grace 101 preamp: colored mic, neutral pre, good blend; again, the best thing you can do is concentrate on a single piece at once, I mean, in VOs the single most important thing is the quality and intelligibility of the voice track, so I'd spend on a better preamp first, and I guess that alone will give you a noticeable step up from the Mbox pres, the AT 3035 being a fairly neutral mic (have a pair, killer mic for the price); as a second move once you have the budget available a good condenser mic, I read that Neumann is putting out a new mic suited for VOs and Broadcast.

    In both cases go to the store with your currently owned gear (the AT 3035 if you decide to get the pre first) and try the next piece you intend to buy with your voice and decide, all of the things mentioned in these post are good quality, but picked alone they have no meaning unless you test them on the destined source, your voice.

    I guess you'll have to take some compression and deessing into account isn't it?

    Hope this helps

  9. Ron.G

    Ron.G Active Member

    Apr 24, 2003
    You could pick up a Symetrix 528 on Ebay and with the money you saved buy the RE-20 mic. that mic seems to be a favorite among broadcasters.
  10. doctorfish

    doctorfish Guest

    Who makes the RE-20? Voice recording is the lion's share of what I do and this mic seems to be mentioned a lot.

  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    EV - Electro Voice.
  12. calidus

    calidus Guest

    Wait a minute....I thought Rode were australian mics? Isn't it just the capsule actually being manufactured by the chinese? Their mics don't look as clones to me... Then again, what do I know?
  13. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    Yes, the Røde microphones are Australian-built, it is just the capsules that are built in China (and that's not even the case any more with the new NT2000 and K2 microphones..and as I understand, the goal eventually is to manufacture all of their diaphragms in-house).

  14. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    Focusrite VoicemasterPro is probably the most verstatile of the three. Warm and full to gritty if need be. Very musical sounding. Really enhances a thin vocalist. The built in compressor is fairly agressive and not always useful however. Generally you would want some other external compressor.

    The Grace 101 is a one trick pony, but very clean and good for jazz or just when you need it clear and crystal.

    FMR RNP - clear to mildy warm. If you have EQ and compression probably the best value choice.
  15. Question about Voice-Over work with the RE-20.

    Isn't the RE-20 used in broadcast as a staple? Like live feeds, on-air, On television type work?

    How does make it any better for voice-overs?

    Since it isn't being broadcast live you have all this massive control over EQ, compression effects etc. with a number of different mics and pres.

    I can get a huge thick warm tone from a number of combinations. Sweet mids and lows and clear highs for voice-over work.

    Would It REALLY benefit to own or use an RE-20 dynamic? Or do people own / use them simply because they are an industry 'recognized' choice for VO work?
  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I have a grace 101 and I use it with an RCA D77 for voice overs... very creamy!
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