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Old April 10th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #1
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cheap preamp solution for studio condenser mic

How many of you guys use your portable preamp/mixer like the sound devices 302, mixpre ..etc in your studio ?

I am looking to get a VO setup in my tiny studio and was wondering if there is any significant sound quality by using the SD 302 vs getting a dedicated studio preamp like the FMR RNP preamp http://www.fmraudio.com/RNP8380.htm

I know the SD mixers work great with small diaphram mic but how do they fare when we plug in a large diaphram studio quality condenser mic to them ?

thanks again guys for your wisdom.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #2
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I've used my Sound Devices preamps with a variety of mics - from ribbons to Neumanns. They sound great with everything. The RNP is reputed to be a very good preamp, but I've never used one.

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Peter
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Old April 11th, 2007, 02:17 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Peter here the SD mixers are great, but I would question whether you need to go to that expense for a mic pre-amp. I have an SD 302 which is fantastic, but it is expensive as it is designed for field use and has a lot of features for just that, and you may not need these in the studio. I use a Rode NT1000 studio mic and a DBX valve pre-amp and it sounds absolutely gorgeous. A valve pre-amp really warms the voice nicely. You can get many good quality studio pre-amps for $500 or less (although I can't comment on the one you have listed) - which is much less than the SD. This is probably how I would go if I were in your shoes. However, if you want to kill 2 birds with one stone and need a field mixer as well the SD 302 is a good option.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #4
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302? good!

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Old April 11th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #5
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yes, i already have the 302 for field use, the only question is , would a $500 tube pre amp designed for studio use be much better for VO and Narration.

Maybe i am over-analyzing this, since i am not recording any instrument but just a male and female vocal.

The next question is, since the consensus is, the 302 preamp is superior, what is the cheapest Audio interface that i should get ? since we are not using the audio interface preamp anymore.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 11:19 AM   #6
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The only drawback for the 302 in a studio setting is that it is sometimes easier to work with sliding faders than it is knobs. Other than that it is an outstanding unit. If you want to go more mixing console style in the studio, look into Mackie's compact consoles. I have a Mackie 1642 desk that has decent preamps and an Echo Audiofire 8-channel audio interface that work very well together and won't break the bank.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #7
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Steve,

I plan to get the Mackie MCU pro as it has most integration with Final Cut Pro. Since i am not recording music, i think the SD 302 would serve my needs ok for now.

Maybe i can even use my audio interface preamp for some in studio VO. Since no instrument nor singing vocal were being recorded, i think a MOTU or Presonous audio interface's preamp wont sound that terrible on narration or short commercial announcement.

The MOTU audio interface has good reputation with mac users, however i heard it is not compatible with Pro tools at all ?? what gives ??
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Old April 11th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Strongfield View Post
Steve,

I plan to get the Mackie MCU pro as it has most integration with Final Cut Pro. Since i am not recording music, i think the SD 302 would serve my needs ok for now.

Maybe i can even use my audio interface preamp for some in studio VO. Since no instrument nor singing vocal were being recorded, i think a MOTU or Presonous audio interface's preamp wont sound that terrible on narration or short commercial announcement.

The MOTU audio interface has good reputation with mac users, however i heard it is not compatible with Pro tools at all ?? what gives ??
Both MOTU and PResonus make excellent gear. As to MOTU's compatibility with ProTools, that I don't have info on. .. Sorry
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Old April 11th, 2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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Jason,

I prefer the sound of the tube pre-amp, but that is just a personal thing. I also use it almost exclusively for dialogue. Valves aren't really practical out in the field, but in a controlled environment they are great. I only wish that I had the ROde NTK as well - a very nice mic.

If you already have the 302 and are happy then why change? I have heard a lot of good reports about the Presonus firewire interface as well - but can't verify them from personal experience. I am currently using an Edirol FA101 firewire and Wavelab which does work very well with my ROde and DBX setup.

Just another thing to consider.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #10
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Graeme,

Well at first i thought the SD 302 cannot drive the EV RE20 mic. That's what triggers the hunt in the beginning. I also like the idea of not anchoring down my SD 302 to the studio by getting another preamp with at least 2 channels for VO studio work. Now i am not too sure anymore :) I can save the money and get a midi keyboard.

I know that if i have the neumann mic, it would do it justice to give it anything less than a tube preamp. I tried the Rode NT2a at guitar center 2 days and and something must be wrong because it sounded really odd coz I heard the Rode Nt1a sounds just like the neumman tlm 103.

SPeaking about the 302, Sonosax just released a 3 channel portable mixer with msrp of $1900. This for sure will be solid competition for the 302.

http://www.sonosax.ch/SXM32/sxm32.html
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Old April 11th, 2007, 10:05 PM   #11
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If an NT1-a sounds like a TLM 103, something's wrong with the preamp or something else. Those two mics are VERY different.

Regards,

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Old April 11th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #12
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Jason,

As is most often the case Ty is definitely correct on this one. The ROde NTK is getting up there with the Neumann (but more like a U87) - but the NT1-a is a realtively inexpensive (but good value) mic. Try the NTK and I think that you might like what you hear, but it is going to cost a bit (as will the Neumann).
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Strongfield View Post
..
..I know that if i have the neumann mic, it would do it justice to give it anything less than a tube preamp...
Tube preamps are not any better or any worse than any other type of preamp, just different. There's certain sound characteristics they can have that may be preferred for certain types of voice and instruments but at the same time not desired for others. It's a matter of taste, just like playing style for a particular piece is to a musician. To say that tube preamps or mics are categorically better sounding than solid state electronics and that good quality mics need them in order to realize their full value is simply not true.
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