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Author Topic: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?  (Read 4915 times)

Lynn Fuston

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2004, 12:02:36 am »

[quote title=Jim Dugger wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 16:22]
Lynn Fuston wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 13:44

I did a "shoot out" on drums this morning... One preamp in particular is quite obviously different on snare, but beyond that I would say it's shades.  And, the pres I tested today were a quite different set of topologies:  Solid State Clean, Tube, 1073-like.  What am I missing?




Maybe it's the Royer R-122s that we used as overhead mics. The differences were not very subtle. ATM-25 on kick and 57 on snare.
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halljams

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2004, 12:05:11 pm »

While i hear pretty obvious differences between most pres, I find alot of the time that a big difference in how pres sound is heard on the lower level stuff like room ambience decay, how far it reaches. This may be more pronounced on a bi-directional like the 122 than say a 57 on a snare.
I find a good comparison test is an omni or bi-directional about 4-5 feet away from and acoustic guitar.
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Mark LaCoste

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2004, 01:01:44 pm »

Dang.  I always get here late for the good threads.  But fwiw here is my experience so far.

When I have a chance to compare preamps there are "obvious" differences.  So I choose a pre based on these obvious characteristics.  Then, once the track is recorded and layered with a few other tracks, the differences become way less noticable, unless it's something like a lead vocal that's way out front.

I've begun to feel like all I need are a few channels of "Clean, clear, and open", with maybe some optional "Character".  Beyond that It's just too much niggly little details that make only  microscopic differences.
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ted nightshade

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2004, 02:46:30 pm »

With both these questions, it can matter a lot what you're recording- I do a lot of recording of concert percussion, vibraphone and that, and a lot of mics and preamps just can not handle it- you get outright glitches and edgy noises. That said, the human voice can be the hardest of all, even though it doesn't demand a lot in terms of headroom and transient handling and that.

Myself, I'm a fan of a "console sound", not really with a console, but where all the pres are the same, and all the tracks have that much in common. One way to have everything work nicely together as a whole, with pres that work that way. Sometimes I hear stuff on the radio where it's obvious that different parts of the drum kit were done with different pres, and then other instruments were done with yet other ones, and they really didn't go together too well- this was jazz, maybe that's why it sounded so weird to me.

Also, I track a lot of stuff at once to one or two mics, so the mic and pre both need to be able to do it all at once- not a lot of room for a pre that's great on just one source, working that way- but of course there are lots of different ways to work, and some people change that on a daily basis. I can kind of settle into my niche and get a bit more specialized, and accept some limits on what all I can do well.

Or maybe that's all just a rationale for not having one of everything! =)
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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Mark LaCoste

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2004, 07:36:42 pm »

Ted, interesting insight, the "console sound" idea.  Just last night I tried using two different preamps to capture myself singing and playing guitar.  My old trusty Massenburg/Sontec was for the guitar (it's got two channels, and I wanted two mics on the guitar).  My new Great River MP-1NV was for vocals.  The guitar sounded clear and open.  The voice was not...the tracks just weren't going together well.

I tried different mics, but decided that maybe the Great River Neve 1070 reincarnation over-represents the closeness of my control room -- or it's just a closed/covered sounding pre.  That's not what I read it should sound like, so I need to try a different room or something.

Maybe the Ted Nightshade method would have worked better.
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ted nightshade

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2004, 11:00:13 pm »

Mark LaCoste wrote on Wed, 23 June 2004 16:36

Ted, interesting insight, the "console sound" idea.  Just last night I tried using two different preamps to capture myself singing and playing guitar.

Maybe the Ted Nightshade method would have worked better.



The Ted Nightshade method, such as it is, is one mic for both!
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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mwagener

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2004, 11:56:17 pm »

If I may give one little piece of advice: get to know as many different preamps as intimately as possible. The tiny differences you hear when comparing preamps on "solo" instruments start making a big difference once you put them all together in a mix. So, in essence, when choosing a mic pre one has to know what is going to happen with that sound way down the line when everything else gets added. That nice big VIPRE sound used on EVERY instrument or that 1072 on EVERY track might not work in the mix. Lately I use more and more pres for sound shaping and less or no EQs. That said, there are some pres that work on most instruments and some I wouldn't use on any, but having a variety of flavors works best for me.

Granted there are millions of combinations of mics and pres, but I think Lynn's CDs are a good starting point to get a general idea what a particular preamp (or microphone) sounds like, because the overall character of the pre is not going to change on different instruments.

stickman

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2004, 01:35:21 am »

Quote:

Sometimes I hear stuff on the radio where it's obvious that different parts of the drum kit were done with different pres, and then other instruments were done with yet other ones


Ted, if you are serious about this, im seriously giving this whole audio shit away! i can't even hear (strictly sonically speaking) when someone tells me, "this song sounds digital" on the radio. all i can ever think of is, "this song sounds good/shit". to me, it's always seemed like far, far, far too many factors come into play before the final product (radio or even CD) to define such idiosyncrasies...

now im not denying that what you hear isnt true, im still a young (and poor) buck who hasn't had their hands on the cream of the crop gear, so on the contrary im saying thats amazing!

its just that im gradually perceiving this devolopment of dogmatic views in audio production.

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wireline

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2004, 09:08:51 am »

ted nightshade wrote on Wed, 23 June 2004 13:46


Myself, I'm a fan of a "console sound", not really with a console, but where all the pres are the same, and all the tracks have that much in common. One way to have everything work nicely together as a whole, with pres that work that way. Sometimes I hear stuff on the radio where it's obvious that different parts of the drum kit were done with different pres, and then other instruments were done with yet other ones, and they really didn't go together too well- this was jazz, maybe that's why it sounded so weird to me.


{snipped}


Or maybe that's all just a rationale for not having one of everything! =)


I have felt this way for a while now...to my ears, there seems to be a certain inexplicable cohesiveness when doing the "console sound" than the mixing of various maker's preamps...I can't explain it...

Disclaimer: I have asked this very question before, and was advised in no uncertain terms that I was insane - that preamps of varying colors do NOT play a major role further down the chain.  This doesn't change the fact that the best sounding recordings (IMHO) were indeed created using the console approach (albeit to tape)...

Obsessive...perhaps...but if more than one person has noticed this, maybe there IS something to it...
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ted nightshade

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2004, 02:57:04 pm »

stickman wrote on Wed, 23 June 2004 22:35

Quote:

Sometimes I hear stuff on the radio where it's obvious that different parts of the drum kit were done with different pres, and then other instruments were done with yet other ones


Ted, if you are serious about this, im seriously giving this whole audio shit away! i can't even hear (strictly sonically speaking) when someone tells me, "this song sounds digital" on the radio. all i can ever think of is, "this song sounds good/shit". to me, it's always seemed like far, far, far too many factors come into play before the final product (radio or even CD) to define such idiosyncrasies...

now im not denying that what you hear isnt true, im still a young (and poor) buck who hasn't had their hands on the cream of the crop gear, so on the contrary im saying thats amazing!

its just that im gradually perceiving this devolopment of dogmatic views in audio production.




Well, I try not to be dogmatic, although I am a bit of a fanatic- it's just that some approaches and some results really resonate with me and give me the enthusiasm it takes to tackle some of this stuff. I fully believe M. Wagener that once you know how all these combos of pres and mics will play together in the end, you can work it really well. So often, when you run into a snag, it turns out that if you get to know the ways of the confusing new dimension, you can work it to advantage.

As for what you can discern, that is subject to expansion from experience and lots of listening- I haven't worked with that much great gear, and I couldn't begin to identify individual pres- I'm just hearing, in some cases, and probably missing it entirely in most, some strange stuff on the radio that doesn't seem to work together, really- I'm thinking it's pres. I'm pretty sure that's what I was hearing, but I have no way to verify it.

One part of it that I'm especially aware of, is the space that different pres will create for the sound to do it's thing in- different ones can be very different that way, same with mics, and ultimately I suspect it's the combination of the two that I'm probably hearing.

On the other hand, I can verify that many exceptionally wholistically-consistent-in-tone-and-space albums, such as Beatles albums, were done with a console approach- and while there's often some mud from all that circuitry, the overall sound works together in a common space, and the preamp's signature becomes transparent as you get used to it, and helps you forget about that aspect and just get into the music. I'm sure such changes of space can be very effective artistically, done with awareness and experience.

I haven't always been able to identify such things by any means. My listening and aesthetic awareness has gone through some dramatic changes since getting into working with some good gear and making a lot of mistakes- I'm sure yours might well do that too. I wouldn't do anything hasty!
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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mwagener

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2004, 12:08:04 am »

Ted

very interesting point of view, I have to chew on that one for a while. I most definitely agree about different pres portraying the "room" around the instrument very different, so that could be one reason for things not sounding "glued" together. Interesting, at the very least for instruments played at the same time in the same room.

lucey

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Re: Do Mic pre's make a difference or mics?
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2004, 05:01:43 pm »

I have a combo of Ted's view and Michaels's view ... having chosen pres here that are all in the same basic family sound (transformer I/O class A discrete) and thus there is cohesion, yet still various tone colors to suit various instruments and to lend variety.


(off topic: that's why the vocal pre being auditioned now is so hard to come to grips with ... maybe a MSS-10 is good to have around for it's ability to ice cream cone the lead vocal with clarity ... or maybe it's not, depending on the moment and the singer?)
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Brian Lucey
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