Mixing through a mic pre

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hugheju
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Mixing through a mic pre

Post by hugheju » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:42 pm

My band is doing some project studio mixes, recorded on DA-38s and being mixed through a Mackie board (one with parametric eqs). Then the signal goes through a Vintech Audio Dual 72 mic preamp into an aging semi-professional standalone cd recorder. On our latest mix, some kind of weird high end-y distortion has gotten over everything, I was wondering if perhaps not running through the preamp and going straight into the CD recorder could be a fix for this problem, or if it was more likely a result of the board clipping or perhaps the Recorder not functioning properly. It's hard to pinpoint the distortion, it's very crackly and sounds sort of digital, but it's hard to tell.
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mcRack
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Post by mcRack » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:50 pm

There`s no need to amplify a line signal ! Drop the pre and run it directly into the cd player.
Mic pres work best for microphones :)
only time `ll help,it`s a pain in the ... right now but, i know i`ll get there soon enough :)

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decocco
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Post by decocco » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:19 pm

Don't use the preamp unless you are looking to add distortion.
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ott0bot
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Post by ott0bot » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:37 pm

I haven't had good luck with using a pre before a cd player. If anything I've needed to reduce the signal.

If you want some basic mastering you could go into a stereo compressor or limiter to adjust your gain levels and do a little squashing before it hits the recorder.
Last edited by ott0bot on Tue May 05, 2009 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by permanent hearing damage » Tue May 05, 2009 10:02 am

hmmm... i've definitely used my chandler germs at mixdown before with good results. either using the pad or direct boxes. maybe not ideal for some folks but it has worked well for me at times.

i would definitely try that vintech but use di boxes or pads if you have em. are you able to monitor the input of your cd burner? if so, what happens when you pull down the fader on the mackie that sends to the vintech? does the distortion clear up?

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Post by permanent hearing damage » Tue May 05, 2009 10:03 am

germ pres, i should specify.

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darjama
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Post by darjama » Tue May 05, 2009 10:10 am

If you wired up something for passive summing you would need to have an a line or mic amplifier after that. I've got a small passive (but midi controlled) 8 channel summing box I could let go of. Can't remember the name, if you're interested, let me know.

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Post by rwc » Tue May 05, 2009 1:49 pm

In the 60s people would do all sorts of patching to get around unnecessary stages in the console to avoid these issues.

I would suggest following that principle. trix are for kids, and mic preamps are for microphones.
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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Tue May 05, 2009 3:52 pm

rwc wrote: trix are for kids, and mic preamps are for microphones.
:?
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Post by rwc » Tue May 05, 2009 7:03 pm

I read so many posts about people running their mixes through mic preamps, or external summing through cheap fucked up mixers, or purposely distorting stuff for effects, and they like what they hear. More power to them if it lends to their creative vision/

However, I think a lot of people might just be doing stuff because they read someone else did it, without any creative vision behind it. This creates a problem when someone is confused to the point that they don't understand why they are getting distortion when they run a line level mix through a mic level preamp, and my post was there to point this out, albeit in a humorous fashion.

While it's cool to experiment to get new sounds, it should also be instinctive to not continue down a path doing something that doesn't work.

If you are just running the mix through a mic preamp, which makes no technical sense, while also not having a specific vision for the sound you want, then there's no creative or technical reason to be doing it, in which case, I'd suggest not doing it.

If you do have a creative vision for what you were trying to achieve, or what you were expecting to achieve by running a mix through mic preamps, then try describing what you were looking for and people can suggest how to get where you want to go.
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Oscar Wilde

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rwc
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Post by rwc » Tue May 05, 2009 7:07 pm

Ryan Silva wrote:
rwc wrote: trix are for kids, and mic preamps are for microphones.
:?
I read so many posts about people running their mixes through mic preamps, or external summing through cheap fucked up mixers, or purposely distorting stuff for effects, and they like what they hear. More power to them if it lends to their creative vision.

However, I think a lot of people might just be doing stuff because they read someone else did it, without any creative vision behind it. This creates a problem when someone is confused to the point that they don't understand why they are getting distortion when they run a line level mix through a mic level preamp, and my post was there to point this out, albeit in a humorous fashion.

While it's cool to experiment to get new sounds, it should also be instinctive to not continue down a path doing something that doesn't work.

If you are just running the mix through a mic preamp, which makes no technical sense, while also not having a specific vision for the sound you want, then there's no creative or technical reason to be doing it, in which case, I'd suggest not doing it.

If you do have a creative vision for what you were trying to achieve, or what you were expecting to achieve by running a mix through mic preamps, then try describing what you were looking for and people can suggest how to get where you want to go.
Real friends stab you in the front.

Oscar Wilde

Failed audio engineer & pro studio tech turned Component level motherboard repair store in New York

UXB
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Post by UXB » Tue May 05, 2009 8:21 pm

If you like the sound, do it. That having been said, it's important to understand what is happening in regards to impedance, gain staging, etc. I know of some very successful recordings that were passed through neve 1066's on the stereo bus as "glue", and they did the trick. As long as you understand what is happening, pass the signal through a toaster if it gets you closer to the sound the music demands.

Mic pres historically are not "just for microphones" in that you see many similar gain stages being used for pres, make up gain, compressors, etc. Aside from the potential impedance issues, these are gain stages with certain characteristics. Just like the person passing signal through an 1176 without it compressing, they are taking advantage of the character of the gain stages (and trafos too).

Don't be afraid to experiment. If you encounter a major eq shift, you're likely experiencing an impedance mismatch. If you are experiencing a subtle textural change and the noise floor isn't an issue, have fun!

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tommy
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Post by tommy » Wed May 06, 2009 9:53 am

Hook up your CD burner to one of the two track returns near the master section of your mackie and monitor as you mix that way. With that return engaged that is. This way you will be able to hear the distortion in real time as you mix and do something about it before you commit. Also, Mackie's dont have much headroom so you will want to mix with very conservative levels going out.

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