Which Mic Pre-Amp at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 2nd, 2005, 02:50 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 393
Which Mic Pre-Amp

Thinking of doing the home studio thing (too expensive over time to run out and rent space). I was wondering which mic pre-amp to get. I am fairly new to this particular area (i.e. separate mic pre-amp), so I started doing some digging around. The prices range wildly, but I am not convinced that price and quality is a linear one in this case. For instance, I have seen the Avalon AD2022, which is almost $3,000. It good, but 3k good (maybe not). Any recommendations for a dual mic pre-amp or better in the $500 range that approximates (or dare I say exceeds) the Avalon AD2022. BTW, I use a range of mics for different projects, Rode NT-1A, Marshall, AT 897, Beyerdynamic, etc (not too expensive, but good quality). Help.
Dwight Flynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2005, 08:07 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Posts: 2,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwight Flynn
Thinking of doing the home studio thing (too expensive over time to run out and rent space). I was wondering which mic pre-amp to get. I am fairly new to this particular area (i.e. separate mic pre-amp), so I started doing some digging around. The prices range wildly, but I am not convinced that price and quality is a linear one in this case. For instance, I have seen the Avalon AD2022, which is almost $3,000. It good, but 3k good (maybe not). Any recommendations for a dual mic pre-amp or better in the $500 range that approximates (or dare I say exceeds) the Avalon AD2022. BTW, I use a range of mics for different projects, Rode NT-1A, Marshall, AT 897, Beyerdynamic, etc (not too expensive, but good quality). Help.

Here's the thing. IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to consider the matching of mics and preamps. The combination of mic and preamp determine the sound and some mics and preamps do NOT play well together.

You might try one of Mark McQuilken's RNP preamps. Low cost. SOunds better than you'd expect it to for the price.

Regards,

Ty Ford

audio gear reviews are always available in my online archive
Ty Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2005, 11:50 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 393
Thanks Ty, I'll give your advice a try. BTW, any particular Mark McQuilken's RNP preamp in mind?
Dwight Flynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2005, 07:10 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Posts: 2,323
I'm only aware of one.

http://www.fmraudio.com/RNP8380.htm

Regards,

Ty Ford
Ty Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: new york, ny
Posts: 121
fmr's rnc compressor is the best thing you'll find in that price range too.
Nate Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 393
Hey Spot which mic pre-amp compressor eq combo device

But I have heard that there are comparable dual pre-amps with good compressor and eq built in for the price range? I don't know, so I am just asking. Hey Spot which ones do you use?
Dwight Flynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 02:57 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Indianapolis Indiana
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
Here's the thing. IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to consider the matching of mics and preamps.
I've been involved in audio engineering with various recording studio setups for about 15 years and I've never heard anything about matching mics and preamps.

There are good and bad mics and good and bad preamps. The only matching issues would be quality (like using a great mic with a terrible preamp), but that only makes common sense.

Maybe I'm missing something and there is some application where you need to match a mic and preamp. If so, I'd like to know.

There are plenty of decent preamps at the $500 mark. Whether they stand up to an Avalon depends on who is listening and what you are recording. For instance, a lower noise floor will really make a difference if you are recording something will very wide dynamics. A slightly worse noise floor may not matter if you are recording something like a live concert and plan to rebroadcast it to television viewers.

Thanks,

Kelly
Kelly Wilbur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
I'm not an expert by any means, but wouldn't "matching mics and preamps" mean that you are matching the nominal output level of the microphone to the nominal input sensitivity of the preamp? If the preamp wanted a -66db signal to drive it to 0VU (example: Canon XL2's XLR mic inputs), a mic with a -66db output at reference sound pressure levels would be the best mate.

Related to that, if you fed the mic to a field mixer with a line level output and you wanted to send it to the XL2's mic inputs, if the line level was the professional standard +4dbU you'd need to insert a -70db pad in the line to match the levels properly while if the mixer's output was at the -10db prosumer line level, a -55db pad would be the ticket.

As I wrote this was wondering if there's any problems with cascading attentuation in series? Could the -70db drop needed to lower that +4dbU line level down to the -66 mic level on the Canon, for example, be done with a -50db in-line pad plus activating the camera's built-in -20db mic input attentuator for a total of -70db without otherwise affecting the sound quality? What might be the advantages and disadvantages of doing that versus simply lowering the gain of the mixer?




Or am I totally confused....
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
I would take "matching mics and preamps" to mean combinations for what sound they offer, not for whether they "work" or not. For instance, my BK 4011's sound terrible through my Echo Mona's preamps, but sing sweet through my Avalon or my pet John Hardy.
I'm sure that if Ty meant something else, he'll chime right back in and set the thread straight. :-)

Dwight, for "serious" work that is destined for PBS or other high profile broadcast, where I'm making at least decent cash on the recording/producing, I use my Hardy M2 for nearly everything in those situations. I do also have a great Avalon 2022 that I'm also a fan of, but then that's a little more picky about what mics I use. An AT 4060 for instance, doesn't sound too good in the Avalon, as it takes on a lot of low mid mud. But through my Hardy, it's sweet, and rich.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 08:58 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Posts: 2,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Wilbur
I've been involved in audio engineering with various recording studio setups for about 15 years and I've never heard anything about matching mics and preamps.

There are good and bad mics and good and bad preamps. The only matching issues would be quality (like using a great mic with a terrible preamp), but that only makes common sense.

Maybe I'm missing something and there is some application where you need to match a mic and preamp. If so, I'd like to know.
Kelly
No problem. You ARE missing something. Try a C414 into a Focustrite red 2. Then try it into a GML. Then try it into a Neve with a transformer input. Try a TLM 103 into a Mackie 1604. Then try it into a GML.

At the slightly esoteric level, about five years ago the pro audio market (manley and Groove Tubes to name two) responded to the issue by putting out top shelf preamps with variable impedance front ends. Those of you who remember turntable preamps witth impedance matching coils and capacitors know what I'm talking about.

BTW, some high quality mics sound no better than some of the Sino-crap condensers being shoved down our throats when they are plugged into cheap mic pres. Plug them into good mic pres and the difference is very noticeable.

It's not just about price. Plug an SM57 into a crap preamp and then plug it into something nice. It'll open up and surprise you.

I found SM58s and an old Peavy board tthat should have been retired long ago and that match was quite nice.

MATCHING MICS AND PREAMPS is what it's all about....oops! I let another of my secrets get away again.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Ty Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 09:17 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 393
Ok, maybe I am asking the right questions the wrong way. Is there a book, or manual, or a chart, or something helpful that will help me decide which mic-pre goes with which mic. Again, at least for now I am most frequently using the at897, byerdynamic m88 TG, rode nt-1a, marshall condenser, and I am thinking of getting a AKG 414 BXL. etc. I was hoping to get a good all in one pre-compressor-eq for the above, but if that is not possible, then I am willing to buy them separately (while trying to keep it under a grand if possible)
Dwight Flynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 09:40 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Posts: 2,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwight Flynn
Ok, maybe I am asking the right questions the wrong way. Is there a book, or manual, or a chart, or something helpful that will help me decide which mic-pre goes with which mic. Again, at least for now I am most frequently using the at897, byerdynamic m88 TG, rode nt-1a, marshall condenser, and I am thinking of getting a AKG 414 BXL. etc. I was hoping to get a good all in one pre-compressor-eq for the above, but if that is not possible, then I am willing to buy them separately (while trying to keep it under a grand if possible)
Hi Dwight,

I know of no such book. I was asked to write one once, but there aren't enough days left in my life I wish to devote to the topic.

DON'T get the NT1-a. Go straight to the NT2-a.
I'm not a fan of Marshalls at the moment. All of the ones I've heard have been edgy and overly bright, regardless of preamp. I'd rather go for an AT or a Rode. Which mic and what do you want to use it for?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Ty Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 10:12 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ontario
Posts: 445
Excellent thread!
Jack Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2005, 10:16 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 393
BTW Ty, if you write the book humanity will appreciate the effort long after you're gone:-).
Dwight Flynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 5th, 2005, 05:51 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford

I know of no such book. I was asked to write one once, but there aren't enough days left in my life I wish to devote to the topic.

...

Ty Ford
I'm curious - do the characteristics you're referring to remain consistent from production run to production run or do they change over time so that mic XX manufactured in 1998 might sound great with YY preamp but one manufactured in 2000 sound less satisfactory? Any manufacturers stand out one way or the other in that regard?
Steve House is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:29 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network