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Tube/mic-pre for live use

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Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:39 pm

I currently use a Soundcraft M12 for one of my live rigs, which has decent enough pre-amps in it, but I was thinking of usng a seperate pre that can be moved from rig to rig.

I started off thinking about a pair of PreSonus tube-pre's, which would be enough as there are normally only 2 lead singers, but then I thought about widening the scope and perhaps getting a 19" rack unit. So, I have a budget of around £300 and I'm after something that's tonally very good rather than something with ADAT/SPDIF etc.

Anyone have any thoughts?
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby christianmurphy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:36 pm

Would the line inputs not just be padded down and sent through the mic pres anyway? I'm not sure...

Either way I can't see how how a £90 tube pre will make a very good tonal difference to what you currently have. In fact I think you'll struggle to notice much difference at all. What sort of quality is your live rig?

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/presonus-studio-channel-mono-vacuum-tube-preamp-compressor-parametric-eq--67700

Something like that and you might find what you're looking for. I can't vouch for it being tonally good. But with tube gain/drive, a variable VCA compressor AND an EQ, then you'll definitely get some different tones that will be noticeable.

Something like a TLA Ivory 5051 would probably give you a more noticeable improvement, and give you a noise gate on top of the other stuff. But it's a fair bit over your budget and mono. A 2nd hand one might come in around that price if you can do with one channel...

Maybe just a valve compressor would give you the sound you're after. A 2nd hand TLA 5021, two channels of valve compression should come in around your budget.

Or they also do a valve EQ (dual channel) reviewed alongside the 5051 by our very own Hugh Robjohns here
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:49 pm

We used a pre at the moment on some of the tribute acts, it allows the vocals to sit more 'comfortably' with the backing tracks and it definitely works: that extra bit of warmth does make an audible difference.
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:53 pm

christianmurphy wrote:In fact I think you'll struggle to notice much difference at all. What sort of quality is your live rig?

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/presonus-studio-channel-mono-vacuum-tube-preamp-compressor-parametric-eq--67700

We use a JBL line array, and an HK setup too, so they're fairly good rigs. I have already added that Presonus to my list, but I'd discounted the Larkin kit as I needed something that'd do 200+ gigs a year without so much as an LED failure.
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby artzmusic » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:13 pm

We are currently using the Presonus live with good results. Pres and compressors.

Just looked and didn't find available a rackmount kit for the Bluetube Dual Path unit (without buying 2) but that would fit into your budget. Adjust the tube for as warm as you like.

Best,

Rick
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:58 pm

And what mics are you using? These will have far more effect than a different pre.

But if you're looking for something really interesting for the golden channel how about a UAD LA-610 here

That would give you a nice pre-amp and an LA 2A compressor!

Bob
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:51 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:And what mics are you using? These will have far more effect than a different pre.

But if you're looking for something really interesting for the golden channel how about a UAD LA-610 here

That would give you a nice pre-amp and an LA 2A compressor!

Bob

Bob

We use D5's and EV767a's, so both decent mics and both considerably more detailed than the SM58. One of the sets is a swing set, so it's quite detailed vocally, and quite expressive too, so I'm trying to add some analogue warmth that the pre's on the Soundcraft seem to be missing.

I have the PreSonus live desk too, which I bought under your recommendation, and that has far nicer pre's and as a result it's perfect, however we don't generally take that rig out for this kind of set. That's what makes me think that a nice set of pre's would be worth investing in, the PreSonus live is definitely nicer sounding on the vocal front.

Cheers
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:53 am

artzmusic wrote:We are currently using the Presonus live with good results. Pres and compressors.

I have the same desk in another rig, and you're right, that sounds great, so that's what has lead me to think that a nice set of pre's would help the Soundcraft rig too.
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby tacitus » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:13 am

I'd agree with Bob's post that the mic will make more difference. You'd have to know some really bad secrets about me to force me to gig with separate pres when I've never had the slightest problem getting a decent or better mix with my M12. Unless you regard gigs as a recording session with audience present, I can't see the mileage in lugging and setting up extra kit like that.

But heres' the pinch of salt: I take pretty well everything I've got when I gig on keyboards, but only because of several really bad experiences connecting up with shoddy band or venue PAs.
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Re: Tube/mic-pre for live use

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:51 am

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:

Bob

We use D5's and EV767a's, so both decent mics and both considerably more detailed than the SM58. One of the sets is a swing set, so it's quite detailed vocally, and quite expressive too, so I'm trying to add some analogue warmth that the pre's on the Soundcraft seem to be missing.

I have the PreSonus live desk too, which I bought under your recommendation, and that has far nicer pre's and as a result it's perfect, however we don't generally take that rig out for this kind of set. That's what makes me think that a nice set of pre's would be worth investing in, the PreSonus live is definitely nicer sounding on the vocal front.

Cheers


Interesting you can hear that sort of difference between the Presonus and Soundcraft, though in truth I'm not familiar with the M12.

That being said, I was not taken with a D5 when I tried it. Haven't tried the N/D767, but I'm familiar with the 967. However, I'm picking both these mics would be relatively bright.

The reason I questioned mics is because they will have a greater effect on the outcome than preamps. I have ten different live vocal mics in my collection and they each come out on different occasions for different voices and different environments.

If you're after a warmer sound I'd suggest trying an Electrovoice RE510 which is a warm sounding condenser. It's one of my favorite mics and be worth investing in anyway.

Bob
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