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New interface with mic-pre's ?
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Patchmouse



Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Posts: 140
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: New interface with mic-pre's ? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi ll, I'm getting a new music computer, the one I use now has an M-Audio 2 channel Firewire interface, which has given me faultless service for over 6 years, it's reliable, never crashes, and is stupidly easy to use, plus it doesn't have a ton of useless features that would never get used, but, it doesn't have any mic inputs, so I still have to use an external mixer. I want an interface with the best possible mic amps, I don't care about price, as long as the preamp's are good, low noise, with decent headroom. My gut instinct is to get another M-Audio box, as I've been so pleased with my existing one, but I don't know how good the mic amps are in these, someone recommended RME, but these are also an unknown quantity to me, maybe someone can steer me in vaguely the right direction here ?

Thanks....

Patchmouse.
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 2488
Location: Denver
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you really like your A/D/C, why not just keep it, and get an external preamp? You can spend as little as a 40 USD on a ART tube pre (which are actually not bad, especially for that money!). Or presonus, etc. Then, you'll always have the pre, no matter what interface you go through.
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Patchmouse



Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Posts: 140
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
If you really like your A/D/C, why not just keep it, and get an external preamp? You can spend as little as a 40 USD on a ART tube pre (which are actually not bad, especially for that money!). Or presonus, etc. Then, you'll always have the pre, no matter what interface you go through.


Thanks, what's the noise like on the ART ? and does it have "full" 48v phantom ? a lot of budget pre's I have found don't supply 48v, which can be a problem for some mic's.

Patchmouse.
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
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Location: Denver
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's capable of 70db gain, so if the input is noisy or needs lots of boost, you'll hear it. But self-noise is really low. The knobs on my unit, which is now 10 years old, still don't make any scratch noise when turned. The phantom is reported to be +48v, I've never measured it, but have used it to power not only every mic I have (3 need power), but also a SansAmp bass DI box. All work fine.

I recommend it, as you can always grow into something that costs more, but you'll never stop using this one if it's around. Also great for boosting mono synths that are -10db up to +4db (it has balanced and unbalanced outs).

They make many versions, with variable impedance, compression, dual preamps, rack mount, etc. Take some time to check them out, they are all based on the same similar design, so should all perform similarly.

The ads mention "Tube Warmth", which this doesn't really provide, it has lots of overhead to *prevent* distortion, so you won't be overdriving it much. It is very transparent more than anything.
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DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yea you can spend $1k plus for preamps if you want. RME makes really good gear too, but it costs. I have an Presonus Blue Tube preamp that works finewhen I need an extra pre...they're cheap enough to buy.

Most of the time you run into available dynamic range (or lack of) with the less expensive audio interfaces as well as background noise. As long as you are aware of this and do your gain structure optimally you should be ok...

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Dave
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Patchmouse



Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Posts: 140
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thank's for all the advice, someone has just given me a Samson Mixpad 9, free of charge, I plugged it in and tried one of my mic's through it, I was surprised, I thought it wasn't going to be very good at all, but it actually sounds more than "OK" ! very clean, and quiet, but a bit too clean Sad I don't use mic's that often, but I know the sort of sound I want, I like a very rich warm vocal sound, for my spoken word tracks, I used to get this by running the mic through an old Studiomaster desk, that happened to have really nice intimate, warm sounding pre-amp's, this desk got sold a long time ago, becasue I have been doing mostly instrumental music now using just the computer. I will use the Samson mixer for the time being, until I get a chance to check out some mic-pre's, including the ART.

Thanks...

Patchmouse.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you are recording into a DAW, you can use some compression with a 4:1 or 2:1 ratio, and mess with the threshold. That should warm up your voice a bit. If you use a dynamic or condenser mike, you can get your mouth right up on the mike for the proximity effect to boos bass a little. Or adding an EQ like a mixer would have (doing it in the DAW means you can loop your voice over & over, and tweak the parameters to get it just right for the passage).
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