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Thread: Another bloody preamp thread

  1. #11
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    I dont know what to say, I just want my music to be presented in the best way possible because I can now say my music is very good. I thought the mic I had and the interface I had was good and all I needed was a decent preamp, but it looks like I am lost again.

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    so many variables to contend with. You can never pinpoint it to one or two pieces of gear. It's a complete system from the mic to your ears and back again.

    There are people who can get great mixes with mediocre equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _brian_ View Post
    I dont know what to say, I just want my music to be presented in the best way possible because I can now say my music is very good. I thought the mic I had and the interface I had was good and all I needed was a decent preamp, but it looks like I am lost again.
    Well, I'm going to repeat myself (old guy privilege) - you still haven't really clarified precisely what kind of improvement you expect, and given us any (both raw and processed) clips of examples you'd like to have turn out better, and (at least initially) expected a preamp to help solve.

    Assuming you're plugging into the Zed and taking the analog/line out into the RME, you should have enough gain to get a very clean track for any of those stated purposes. And, what kind of plugins you have tried to accomplish the improvements, i.e., how you took the raw tracks to a finished mix that is somehow leaving you wanting more. Being able to articulate what you're trying to accomplish can help you (and us) maybe zero in on some options. But, more importantly, it might save you a crapload of money spent on something that doesn't do what you want.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

  4. #14
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    I have a Zed 10 and although I don't have anything "better" to compare them with I don't think the pre amps are too bad at all? As others have said, unless there is something you can definitely point to as a lack in the Zed or a benefit another pre amp will give you, sit tight.

    The Zed already has high Z line inputs so bass can go there. One factor could help/change the bass sound? The Ten has 10 meg inputs, not the usual 1 meg. This means certain passive basses might sound rather different plugged into the Ten as against a conventional bass amp. The solution is obvious, solder a meg across a jack and see.. Have you found the "crunch" boost button at the back?

    Dave.

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    There are many more things you need to consider before even thinking about replacing the preamp. Your mics are at the budget end of the market so I'd be looking at something different there. Even more important is room treatment - it needn't cost much but it can make a big difference. The other important factor is mic position - have you had a good experiment with where you put the mics?

    As everyone else has said, it would really help if you could post a sample for us to hear the problem.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    I canít really post any samples as I havenít copyrighted my music yet. Iíll have to cover something and post it instead because Iím wanting to release the songs in bulk. Iím also concerned if I post something and people say itís shit my already shaky confidence will be permanently damaged.

    I feel a bit stupid now for asking the original question, I have no idea what Iím doing. Iíll be brutally honest with you, I donít care about tech, in fact I hate it. The recording/mixing/mastering side of things is the reason why I struggle to write. I feel at a disadvantage because I have to do all this myself. Mic position? I place a mic play something, move it play the same thing again slightly different and wonder if itís the mic position or my playing difference that has made a very slight difference. I used a looping pedal to sort this out but it just sounds like a shit way of working.

    This is like a minefield to me because theyíres too many variables and Iím one of them. Is it me thatís shit? Is my hearing shit? Do I have zero production talent? Is there a weak link in the tech I have? Is it the room? Are my expectations unrealistic?

    I adore writing songs, I love the unlimited combinations at my disposal. I hate the grind of producing it and I am 5366446664% jealous of people who can sit on their arse in a studio being recorded and mixed by someone else. I donít even have a mate that can help me.

    This is how stupid I am: I wanted people to say: get A + B + C and you canít go wrong. Iíd save, buy it, and if it still turns out shit then I at least know itís my fault and something in me has to change. I was perhaps naive.

    An analogy would be for me to buy a £100 guitar, I then painstaking set it up as best I can and use a various techniques and effects to make it sound more acceptable or more expensive. When I could buy a more expensive guitar which requires less brain power to record and sound good.

    When it comes down to it my time & brain power only stretches so far. I work full time in a job I hate, Iím distance studying a diploma for my work which I hate doing and then I have to write/record/perform drums bass guitar keyboard lyrics and vocals myself. Study after effects and premiere come up with music videos, record and edit them. Find the acceptable standards for each. Learn green screening - because Iím too unconfident to film anywhere but in my own house. This is all without delving into things like law of copyright and marketing and all the other bits and peices that are vitally important and I cannot afford to pay anyone else to do!

    I hope none of you think this is a rant, I have to tell you my situation - and Iím not saying Iím a special case. I just want my music to be given a chance because I now believe in it.

  7. #17
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    O....K! I very much doubt you are alone in this frustration Brian but that is perhaps small comfort! Now, I can only talk as a 73 yr old electronics tech. I love music of most forms (Bach top of list but can HB to Quo if the mood takes me!) My dabblings into computer recording come about because I have a very musical son who is now "sort of professional" plays bars and cafes in France and teaches guitar. Perhaps I can at least allay your fears about equipment?

    Hand on heart, IT IS ALL GOOD! From microphones to monitors you can get a setup that is WAY better than Abbey road* had for the Beatles in terms of noise (ain't none now) and distortion (the bad sort. Buggerall of that either) Computers give you effectively infinite recording time and tracks so you can F about for as long as you like and get it "right".

    Comparisons are oderous but, download some music as close to your genre as possible and compare. Is yours musically "technically" wrong? If so you need to work on technique. If just different, that's "art"!

    With reagard to the copyright issue? Don't post anything you hope to sell! Make a 20 second clip of Three Blind Mice "in the style of Brian"!

    You also seem to be speading yourself a bit thin?

    *Ok, you won't have ripsnorting Tannoy monitors but the rest of the electronics has advanced hugely! BTW I don't know what you use for monitors at the moment but since you seem very serious look to dropping some serious coin on them. Speakers of the highest quality and accuracy to REALLY tell it like it is come from the likes of PMC, Neumann and really only a handful of others. Your music (and the aformentioned comparisons) can only be fairly judged if the monitors and the room are close to beyond reproach.

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    The problem with music is it's personal. We work on commissions. Our music is never going to be commercial or sell in numbers, it sells in very small numbers for specific projects. The current one has tracks called "the mouse in the church" and sections called 'circus' and 'under the sea'. My colleague and I flip-flop between projects, passing them over, back and forth. He records one with say a synth or sampled sax, and I record the real one, he then adds a piano track, I then do a string section, he then tweaks that to remove notes that are out of range, or just wrong. I hear things that sound dreadful to my ears - he choose a really inappropriate sound, or played it very oddly, so I n' stand it and fix it - he cannot hear what I have done. I record something he spends a day tweaking that I really cannot hear. Two people, different ears.

    Look at your SM57 mics. Perfectly decent, useful microphones - for most things, but weak in other areas. If you are looking at preamps, I have been convinced over the past year or so, that some make a difference I wasn't aware of before. The gain thing is pretty well understood and based on solid technical issues. Some preamps hiss more than others when they are working with very low input levels that need to be brought up. I get this, but my preamps - nothing special, have enough quiet gain with my mic box. The other thing about preamps is their colouration of the sound. They change it. The in to out sound is different. Could this change be done with EQ or other processing? Perhaps? To my mind, I cannot align this timbre change with 'quality'. It's treatment.

    Change a mic often means a big change in sound. change a preamp means, I accept, a change in sound - but one inflicted on every mic you own.

    You need to bolster your faith in your own ears. Do NOT let people shake you. Compare your work with other people you admire or appreciate as solid. Then stick a finger up at everyone else. I always ask myself if I can improve things I recorded ten years ago. I often say yes, so I try to re-record, or re-mix and very, very rarely is the new one better. That's how it is.

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    I have Yamaha actives and I use beyerdynamic headphones as well as listening in the car/consumer systems to get a feel for what others will hear.

    I know youíd all find this boring but Iíd rather set up the microphone to an amp once. Ready for recording every time - the best place it can be and then I never have to worry about it. I feel it should be the arrangement that excites not the production - but this is probably where Iím going wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    The problem with music is it's personal. We work on commissions. Our music is never going to be commercial or sell in numbers, it sells in very small numbers for specific projects. The current one has tracks called "the mouse in the church" and sections called 'circus' and 'under the sea'. My colleague and I flip-flop between projects, passing them over, back and forth. He records one with say a synth or sampled sax, and I record the real one, he then adds a piano track, I then do a string section, he then tweaks that to remove notes that are out of range, or just wrong. I hear things that sound dreadful to my ears - he choose a really inappropriate sound, or played it very oddly, so I n' stand it and fix it - he cannot hear what I have done. I record something he spends a day tweaking that I really cannot hear. Two people, different ears.

    Look at your SM57 mics. Perfectly decent, useful microphones - for most things, but weak in other areas. If you are looking at preamps, I have been convinced over the past year or so, that some make a difference I wasn't aware of before. The gain thing is pretty well understood and based on solid technical issues. Some preamps hiss more than others when they are working with very low input levels that need to be brought up. I get this, but my preamps - nothing special, have enough quiet gain with my mic box. The other thing about preamps is their colouration of the sound. They change it. The in to out sound is different. Could this change be done with EQ or other processing? Perhaps? To my mind, I cannot align this timbre change with 'quality'. It's treatment.

    Change a mic often means a big change in sound. change a preamp means, I accept, a change in sound - but one inflicted on every mic you own.

    You need to bolster your faith in your own ears. Do NOT let people shake you. Compare your work with other people you admire or appreciate as solid. Then stick a finger up at everyone else. I always ask myself if I can improve things I recorded ten years ago. I often say yes, so I try to re-record, or re-mix and very, very rarely is the new one better. That's how it is.
    I think what you said about re-recording is massive. I like most other people I guess hear the partial arrangement in their head like a slice of the cake - all instruments moods and feelings hit me. Then I go straight in and record it. By manner of something becoming physical instead of just mental it never assumes what you hear in your head - but often it develops into something better. I then get excited listening to that slice of the cake, I add to it and eventually I get hearing fatigue and have to stop. When I get back to it, itís unfinished and perhaps poorly performed but the excitement and mood is still there. I then try and re-record and finish the song and it loses that spark - it becomes sanitised and less interesting.

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