Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I Hate USB Mic's- A round up of The Best Pre Amps, Lots Of Info In This Post

Why I Hate USB Mic’s- A round up of The Best Pre Amps, Lots of Info in This Post
I have a USB mic, I have had a few, I have tried most of them, the only one I found that would give a pro sound for cheap, is the Audio  Technica  AT 2020 USB, around 130.00

I hate USB mics for doing a pro sounding vocal, they are great for pod casting, a usb mic, a laptop and your good to go, anywhere, that is a great thing.

A pro sound can be had with a few 100.00 mics the AT 2020 and a few others. Presonus has a great mic for just over 100.00, the thing is, to get that studio sound you need the mic preamp. I have talked a lot a concerning mic pre amps, and how it is the most over looked hardware in the recording chain, it should be the first thing, above a mic even. You must have a quality pre amp and a condenser mic to get that sweet vocal sound, also USB mics for acoustic instruments are awful, and most do not have a great frequency response to start with. I just found the at 2020 on Amazon for 80.00 great price, I have seen them used for around that price , the average used price is around 70.00 to as low as 50.00

AKG has the C1000, the mic of choice for an acoustic instrument, like guitar. You need a 24 bit sound card with a way to input your pre amp, your mic is plugged into the preamp, this is step one. I love tube pre amps, you can get a dual pre amp that gives a pro sound for around 150.00 add a 100.00 condenser mic and you can achieve a pro vox, acoustic sound. The poor mans recording studio, the blog and book gives the set ups on the cheap.

If you have money, buy a real good pre amp and a 200-400 mic and you will be in the big league.
A pro pre amp for a home studio will range from 400.00 to 3,000. But what a sound you get from a quality pre amp. There are single channel-strip, one in put pre amps that are from the same pro mixer boards found in most pro studios. 

 My top pre amps , if you have the money.

 First a mid priced one that gives great sound is, the
Presonus studio channel tube, yes tube, MKll it can be had for 250.00 an excellent choice, it has what I consider a must , it has a built in compressor, you want the vox compressor as the first part -input in the recording vox chain, this is very important, and the compressor is outstanding, also this tube baby has a three- band Parametric EQ, and more, a three band EQ is a must, never a two band, forget it, you can not hit that sweet spot with a two band EQ, it can not be done, a sweeping,  or Q filter in a three band is needed, some do not have the Q filter, many have a three band and a 4th the Q filter, you can fine tune any sound.

As said Presonus has some of the best mics on the planet for the home studio I am a big fan of all their mics and the prices.

A step up , my next choice would be hands down the Focusrite ISA One Analogue pre amp. 500.00 it is sweet, if you have 500.00 this is the one, if you only need one input, and it is pure Analogue. I love to use as much analogue in the recording chain, even though I use a PC, digital recorder, keep as much analogue in the chain that you can, even in the mastering, most recording software comes with the plug ins, most are pure digital, pure digital gives a very stale sound. Nomad factory has some excellent analogue plug-ins, vst's, by favorite go to mastering plug in is T-Racks the new version is a big step up from the older ones, it has many pre amps, great for guitars and such, it has so much and the cost is great.

The next level in price I would get the Universal Audio LA-610 MKll Classic Tube Preamp 1,600 bucks, this is a bog boys preamp, it may sound like a lot of money, but compared to studio time, you will save money in one pro studio session for a full CD project., and it is super rugged and pays for itself. I must say, I have seen many, many great home studios that record others, at 25.00 a song or 25.00 an hour, you can find them everywhere, I used to charge that price myself, there are many pro home studios, the competition is fierce, and so many of them, home recording engineers, Producers want to get clients to just pay for their studio, and their projects. Some like me, I am all about Indy Recordist advocating and promotion, I did many free recordings, I also had what was called the barter shop, I would barter for recordings, that is how I equipped almost my whole studio when I was in the Seattle area.

Lastly I would recommend, if you have the cash, and are trying to build a real super pro studio the Avalon VT-737SP Class A mic Processor, this is more than just a preamp and hence the price, 2,500-2,300.00.
It is a true all in one vox and acoustic, 100% pro unit, used in pro studios,  a go to processor.
2 rack space, combo analogue, solid state, but even though it is a combo, it is great, It has an OPTO Compressor, that alone is worth the money OPTO compressors are the best. A great EQ section with the sweep filter I mentioned, love the lights and the VU meters way cool.

Now you can get a vocal all in one vocal processor that can get pro results for around 225.00 By Behringer, this company has really step up in maybe the best bang for your buck, for the home studio, they have an excellent range of mixers with a pro pre amp built in, their mics, vocal processors, you can not go wrong with this company, excellent studio monitors, just the best, for a little money, but a pro sound.

has a couple, one is a tube and it shows the tubes, it has EQ, compressor, even effects that are needed, a gate, a limiter, so I would, get one of those if you want a all in one cheap priced preamp, vocal processor.

Different Mic and pre amps, give different sounds, so look into that, some combos are better for a female vox than a male vox. The best pro mic for the price is the AKG 414 have that esp. for a male and one of the quality pre amps mentioned and you have a 100% radio ready recording.

Once you master mastering, and it can be done with many presets like T-Racks or nomad factory settings, not digital. I do use some digital plug ins with my waves mastering plug ins, waves is the standard as is the Oxford ones , a mac , an Oxford bundle and the pre amps and mic you have a true portable, if its a lap top, recording studio, I used this set up when I did location, live recordings. You will need extreme isolation headphones when recording live, you can ask the live sound engineer if you can plug into their board and do it that way. Or the harder way, it will take some work, but going through the main mixer board is ideal.

So, I hate USB mics OK, I said it, I mean it, but use what you have, some do the job, but you will need to know how to tweak it, if you learn that, you can get a pro sound.

 I hope this post sheds some light, and gives you some items to consider in your pro home studio, next time I will cover acoustics, it is a must, I will simplify it, Acoustic home studio set up, location baffles and such.
Till next time happy recording.

No comments:

Post a Comment