Preamp Tips?


New member
Just started using the ART Dual tube preamp and I love what it is doing for me - I get to bypass the noisy preamps in the Alesis board. However, I having some problems keeping vocals in the "sweet" range without clipping on the higher dynamics. I have one dual dbx compressor unit that I use at the insert point of the mixer. Mic is an AKG C3000.

I need some techniques to use to figure out how to stop the clipping distortion from the preamp with certain vocalists, particularly those in the higher registers. Any advice? I place the mic upside-down just about nose level to the vocalist, angled away slightly to expose more of the diaphragm, about 8 inches away.

I have to close-mic because the room isn't as soundproof as I'd like, I really can't afford a unit with a built-in compressor, and I'm assuming that using the dbx before the preamp would be a little useless due to the low power output of the mic ... which is why I got the pre in the first place ...

Hey BSutton:

I use the AKG 3000 and an ART mic pre-amp; I don't know if mine is tube; I think not. However, here is what you might try to eliminate vocals breaking the sonic barrier.

Your pre-amp should have an input knob and and output knob; mine does.

I suggest that you lower the input and raise the output of the softer sound. By fiddling with these knobs, I think you can get almost any vocalist's pipes to stay below the "crash" range. I record one gal who has a wide range and by keeping the input lower and adjusting the output, plus tacking on the gain of the recorder or lowering it, things work out fine.

Give it a spin,

Green Hornet
Have you given mic technique any thought??? Don't put the compressor before the pre. When you monitor as you record, set the playback so that you hear distortion when you sing out of the sweet range. From this learn when to back off the mic a little. Many engineers don't use compression with good vocalists cuz their technique is so good.
Well, yeah, if I was recording vocalists with professional mic technique I wouldn't have quite as much problem ... ;-)

Mic setup technique is more what I'm after. If I turn down the input part of the pre then I lose the "sweet spot" on the lower dynamics. What I'm trying to figure out is if there are any mic positioning tips that would help me keep the vocals within a reasonable dynamic range.

What Alesis board do you have? Is it really noisy? I was thinking of purchasing one!

Dom Franco
I've got the Studio 32. I generally like its capabilities and flexibility, but there's a bit of low level crosstalk in the monitoring that's annoying (I don't think it bleeds into the busses, at least I haven't confirmed it yet) and the pre's get very noisy when turned up past about 85%.

It seems to have been a good board to learn on and has been very useful. I'd like to have an opportunity to bring in a couple of different boards and do some working comparisons.

If I had my druthers I'd get something with a true -10/+4 dB input switch rather than counting on the board to "figure it out" - I tended to have the trims turned all the way up for everything, XLR and 1/4" and 1/4" TRS, until I got the ART preamp.