Do I need a separate mic preamp?

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djconrad
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Do I need a separate mic preamp?

Post by djconrad » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:56 am

Although I've been producing for several years now, I'm mainly from a beatmaking/ remixing background, but will soon have the opportunity to record some vocalists and instrumentalists.
I have a Focusrite Saffire 10 i/o and an SE Electronics 2200A condenser, which I'm pleased with, (I use Live, Logic 8 and have the PSP Vintagewarmer 2 plugin as well) but I wouldn't mind some advice.
I've seen the TL Audio Fatman 2Fat preamps going new for cheap prices recently as they have been discontinued.
Would I see a dramatic difference in my recordings if I purchased one of these, or is this just gearlust- should I just stick with what I have and apply processing after recording?
Many thanks

mohler
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Post by mohler » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:16 am

You don't technically NEED a mic pre but they can help to color the sound. It's useful if it's a color that you like.

I had a Focusrite ISA 220 for a couple of years and it was lovely but it ended up in my rack not being used.......

See if you can borrow one, rent one and see if you think it will add to your work flow before spending the money
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pieter
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Post by pieter » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:35 pm

i'm in the same situation as djconrad, and actually i was thinking about the ISA220.
so why did it end up in your rack not being used?

Sales Dude McBoob
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Post by Sales Dude McBoob » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:54 pm

I don't think you notice a "dramatic" difference with good preamps and compressors. It's more of a subtle difference that you really start to hear after you've been working with the hardware for a while.

I know that TL makes some beautiful gear, but I've never used them. Some of their stuff, like the Fat2 seems pretty suspect to me. Any compressor with presets on it sends up a red flag. That usually means there are additional integrated circuits in there that will futz up the sound.

dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:44 pm

a really good mic pre makes an incredible difference, i think moreso than the mic sometimes (i've got a millenia STT 1, among other, even running a dynamic mic into it sounds greats), and that's even if you're soundcard has good pres (i've got RME and emu1616m, still notice significant difference).

but, as noted, that's really only if you like the coloration you get from certain pres.

mohler
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Post by mohler » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:20 pm

pieter wrote:i'm in the same situation as djconrad, and actually i was thinking about the ISA220.
so why did it end up in your rack not being used?
It's a beautiful bit of kit. Sounded better with some mics that others but I guess that's to be expected.

I think the issue for me was that i just got more and more into the processing power of Logic and the plugs available. Partly I didn't trust my engineering skills enough to get it right to print it when going down to disk and then it was much easier to use plugins but it didn't stop me from sending it out through the ISA and back to disk.

I was really sorry to see it go but it was owned by a partnership with another musician and needed to sell it off. There were other bits of the studio I used more.
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corygilbert
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Post by corygilbert » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:47 pm

+ for the opinion that a "higher end" pre can have a more noticible effect on the clarity and color of a sound than a really nice mic.
I've gotten some really good sounds with a nice pre and a 57 or 58.
Now for vocals or quiet acoustic instruments, a good mic is very nice and in some cases very necessary.
But I just wanted to add that many times people will go for a "nicer" condenser before they go for a more upscale pre.
(mics are sexier than a box that you keep under your console.)
But I would definately suggest that you borrow or try out a dedicated pre and see what you think.
You've already got a decent condenser, and honestly the pre's in your IO are quite decent IMO.
But for dedicated vocals/ sampling etc. it's definately worth trying out to hear what you think.
Again just my 2 sense.

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