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Old 26th November 2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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Default tube preamp before digital recorder

My brother who is in a band is unhappy with the sound of his bands recordings.
They record from the mixer to a computer hard drive.
They think going from the mixer to a tube preamp (buffer) then to the hard drive may improve the sound.
I've been looking at FRANKS preamp in this forum (Tubes/ Preamps) and it looks easy.
With this I belive I could make it without the volume controls, (or put them in and bypass with a toggle switch).
The tube preamps I've seen for sale on the internet have the ability to choose the input impedance for various microphones (unnecessary?).
Any thoughts?
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Old 26th November 2011, 01:29 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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That sort of preamp will not do what you're looking for- what you seem to want is an effects box, not a hifi preamp designed specifically not to alter the sound. I'd look toward some of the low voltage tube stuff that's lousy for hifi but might get you the "sound" you're looking for.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 27th November 2011, 06:18 PM   #3
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I think this will do what you want:

(two for stereo, of course)
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Old 27th November 2011, 08:44 PM   #4
Xoc1 is offline Xoc1  United Kingdom
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It seems that you are implying that you are making live recordings directly from your mix desk. The balance of the signals in the audio mix may be very different from the sound in the room. This is best sorted out by remixing the audio after recording.
In the most basic stereo setup, try sending the vocals to one channel and the rest of the band to the other. The recording can then be remixed so that eq and reverb can be added and the mono sources panned into stereo. Your valve stage could be used in that remixing process. I have used a vintage valve preamp to fatten up a thinly recorded bass guitar with good results.
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Old 27th November 2011, 10:33 PM   #5
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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I agree, that won't do what you want. The sound in the venue is part PA and part live sound, you are recording only the PA mix. And the sound of the PA mix has (hopefully) been set up to sound best within the room's acoustics and through the live PA system speakers. That won't necessarily sound very good on its own elsewhere or through headphones.

ANother thing to consider is WHAT do you want the recordings FOR? When I was touring several decades ago, I taped the performance from the PA, but it was not for enjoyment, it was to record the band play for analysis later, did everyone sing on key, know the words, make the changes together, hit their cues, etc. A sort of musical cover-your-*** file, if you will. Or cover-your-butt, if the language filter is on here.

That didn;t need to be a demo-quality recording, and it wasn;t.
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Old 28th November 2011, 12:47 PM   #6
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this isn't for live recordings. They have 4 CD's out and are unhappy with the sound of their recordings.
The guy who recorded their cd's has an incredible amount of expensive equipment, but they thought tubes might enhance their sound.
Now they want to build their own recording studio.
after being in a band(s) for 30 years, they have most of the equipment necessary, but thought a tube preamp might do the trick.
they have a mixer with a digital recorder in it.
they were thinking of hooking the tube preamp in the effects loop(?)
Thanks again,
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Old 28th November 2011, 09:00 PM   #7
Xoc1 is offline Xoc1  United Kingdom
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What aspects of the recordings are you unhappy with?
Maybe you should post a recording up on Youtube so we could have a listen!
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Old 3rd December 2011, 12:36 PM   #8
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here's a link to the site with song attached.
Mainly they think there recordings suffer from "digitis" and want a tube to sweeten it up.
Official Erick Hovey Web Site
Not sure why this isn't active? You'll have to copy and paste into browser.
They just thought a tube inbetween the mixer and digital recorder might do the trick.
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Old 3rd December 2011, 03:59 PM   #9
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Hey Guys,
what I think your talking about here is "Mastering", visit Bob Katz's website or read his excellent book about this.
Typically devices such as Cranesong HEDD, or Finalisers are used to "fix" dynamics and HarBel to re-equalise mixes. Avoid overuse of "normalisation" or "Loudness" to fix things (the dreaded "radio-mix").
There's only so much you can do to already mixed track(s).
To capture a more "live" feel it's important to add house mics to the board feed. Typically a stereo X-Y at FOH and wider pattern audience mics. These need to be appropriately delayed/EQ'd, usually they go to their own tracks in a multi-track recording and are processed later. (some have even ended up on other recordings)

Hope this helps,
Warmest regards,
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Old 10th December 2011, 10:36 PM   #10
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what you are experiencing is what I call is the song is stuck semi-pro world.

you can send them (all the tracks) in for mastering usually this can be fixed by bringing the track out on a 1/2 inch to 1 inch stereo reel to reel (yes there are special 1 inch drives) slam the tape then record the taped signal. In big studios, there still using the 2 inch only temporary, then they record that signal to the DAW. I've have had sucess without the tape drives it involves compressing the signal before recording digitally (to simulate tape saturation). PM me if you want to know the compressor setting.

for others to see the digitape phenomenon:

the standard digitape controller- CLASP:

WHAT IS THE CLASP? Endless Analog
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