Mic + preamp question

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Makke
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Mic + preamp question

Post by Makke »

I have no clue about preamps and ohm-stuff, so bare with me on this one. I want to learn, so if anyone knows a good crash course in the basics of mics and preamps, please enlighten me.

I hooked an AKG 190 ES to an old Yamaha EM-300 we've got in our rehearsal hall. I got a very clean and strong signal - in fact, I was impressed by how good it sounded! I took the mic home to do some test recording with it. But when I hooked it up to the Behringer UB1202fx I've got at home, the mic sounded like utter crap - flat, low, muddy and dull.

I understand that there must be some difference between the preamps (some other difference than just the fact that the Behringer is shite), but what causes this, and what can I do about it (other than dragging the Yamaha mixer home, which I really don't want to do because it's a heavy bugger, and we need it for rehearsals)?
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Razmo
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Razmo »

Most analog mixing consoles in the budget range cannot compare to a standalone mic preamp in any way. If you need a mixer with very good preamps, then take a look at Mackie Onyx series... they are not the cheapest, but they are darn good!

Otherwise try and find a single rack unit like for example a Focusrite Voicemaster or similar and plug this to the Behringer line inputs aftwards, as it should make a BIG difference... even though Behringer is bang for the buck, they are average in quality, and some of their older stuff is actually quite dull and lifeless.

I do not have an exeptional knowledge of vocal recording, so I'll let others with more experience in here comment on that, but I've once had a Neumann TLM-103 studio mike hooked up to a Focusrite Voicemaster, and damn! those two captured so many nuances, that I felt embarrassed being able to hear my own saliva at every mouth movement :oops: ...
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Makke
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Makke »

My next investment will probably be a stand alone mic preamp, but before I do that I want to learn more about what to look for.

The problem I'm having with the AKG 190 mic is probably less related to Behringers preamp per se. I think there must be some other technical snag, because I don't get that big a dip result with any other mic I have - I've tested Shure SM58, AKG D321 and Rode N1 on it as well, with good results.

My guess is it has something to do with the 70s technology - both the mic and the Yamaha mixer are 70s hardware - that doesn't sit well with modern (and cheap) preamps. I am of course guessing.
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Razmo
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Razmo »

Makke wrote:My next investment will probably be a stand alone mic preamp, but before I do that I want to learn more about what to look for.

The problem I'm having with the AKG 190 mic is probably less related to Behringers preamp per se. I think there must be some other technical snag, because I don't get that big a dip result with any other mic I have - I've tested Shure SM58, AKG D321 and Rode N1 on it as well, with good results.

My guess is it has something to do with the 70s technology - both the mic and the Yamaha mixer are 70s hardware - that doesn't sit well with modern (and cheap) preamps. I am of course guessing.
Dumb question maybe, but is the AKG mic a dynamic, ribbon or condenser mic? ... if it's a condenser mike, it could be because you have not switched Phantom Power on on the Behringer mixer (if it HAS Phantom power?) ... another reason could also be, that IF it is a condenser microphone, and you HAVE switched on the phantom power, that maybe the cable you use is not soldered properly for a condenser mic that actually need Phantom Power?

If the AKG is a Ribbon mic. and you have put 48 volts of Phantom power through it, you might even have damadged the mic, as some older Ribbon mics cannot handle Phantom Power.
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Makke
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Makke »

Not a dumb question, since I wasn't specific about it, but no - it's a dynamic mic.

It's one of these:
http://www.akg.com/site/products/powers ... ge,EN.html
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Razmo
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Razmo »

Makke wrote:Not a dumb question, since I wasn't specific about it, but no - it's a dynamic mic.

It's one of these:
http://www.akg.com/site/products/powers ... ge,EN.html
Hmm... if it's a Dynamic microphone it should easily work both with and without Phantom Power... I asume you have connected the mike to an XLR plug on the mixer, and not the Line input? ... usualy when things sound "muffled" it's because of the impedance of the input... for example; you cannot plug a Guitar directly into a mixer without routing it through a DI box first (Direct Injection Box)... doing so will make the frequency response greatly reduced, and I'm wondering if this is the cause... but if you've had other microphones with a Dynamic character plugged into the Behringer without probs. and this one does not sound right, then I'm in loss of an explanation... you'll need better technical assistance than I can supply :lol:

Anyways, I'm not that of a wizard with Mics.. I do have a lot of knowledge on analog mixers though and analog synths... but that won't help much I guess :lol:
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Makke
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Makke »

Razmo wrote:
Makke wrote:Anyways, I'm not that of a wizard with Mics.. I do have a lot of knowledge on analog mixers though and analog synths... but that won't help much I guess
But I appreciate the effort. ;)
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Razmo
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Razmo »

Also, I don't know that much about external preamps, other than they are usualy far better than the ones found on small budget mixers. The Mackie Onyx preamps are a league of it's own and are pretty nice as I wrote earlier (As I have an Onyx mixer here, and know how they sound)... the only other external preamp I've tried is the now discontinued Focusrite Voicemaster. It sounded great... but again, it was testet with a Neumann TLM-103 which is quite expensive, so I'm not really sure which one complimented the other there :lol: ... it sounded marvelous though, and the Voicemaster had several other built in features like analog compression and de-esser etc.... was a 1Unit rack thing, and can be found used today for about 1.000 danish kroner (don't know about sweedish currency).

To be honest I believe Lagerfeldt knows a great deal more on this subject than I do... maybe he can elaborate a bit on the subject, if he's still roaming this forum :)
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Makke
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Makke »

You might actually have been right about getting a more expensive preamp. When I yanked the gain up I got a much better sound - flawed a bit with hum and white noise from the noisy old Behringer. The Yamaha might have a much higher gain by default.

I think I definitely need to venture into the world of more expensive preamps. I don't really need the mixer anyway, since I record to the PC. I only use it for the preamps and phantom power.
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Razmo
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Re: Mic + preamp question

Post by Razmo »

Makke wrote:You might actually have been right about getting a more expensive preamp. When I yanked the gain up I got a much better sound - flawed a bit with hum and white noise from the noisy old Behringer. The Yamaha might have a much higher gain by default.

I think I definitely need to venture into the world of more expensive preamps. I don't really need the mixer anyway, since I record to the PC. I only use it for the preamps and phantom power.
I see... in any case, whatever you come by that interest you, always check out the used market before you buy new... much of this gear are quite sturdy, and as long as they do not have mechanical parts like keys on a synth, you can usualy find used hardware for at least 2/3rd the price of new... and sometimes even cheaper. The used marked for musik hardware gear has plumeted ridiculously since the advent of softsynth and DAWs came along :wink:

It's easy to save quite a bit actually.
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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