Singing Forum by Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy
Hey Dudes and Divas!

Welcome to Singer Forum by Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy. Enrolled KTVA vocalists have access to the full singer forums, self-registered members have access to limited areas of the KTVA singing forum. Register to learn more.

To enroll in Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy Singing Lessons click here.

10k Wish List Pre and Mic

One year from now I'll be picking up a "top of the line" preamp and mic. Criteria, will be the last mic to buy for at least a decade, and hold its market value, all things equal. So something that's worth it's salt.

So if your gear budget was 10K, what would you get, Mic and Pre first anything left over is just a bonus?


  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 179Pro
    edited March 2016 Vote Up1Vote Down
    I don't frequent this forum as much as I used to, but Streeter messaged me this on Facebook and this was part of my response. Be aware that I was trying to fit all of this into a FB message so some of the truncated information might not be strictly correct or may have exceptions:

    Now as far as I know, all you need for an audio interface is for it to interpret sound into the DAW. Allow me to type a bit of a longer post here. When you're looking to upgrade from an interface like the Scarlett 2i2, chances are the options you browse will tote something like "192kHz" or "32-bit."

    44.1khz is all you need. What does 44.1khz mean? It's the maximum recordable frequency the interface can handle. All the notes we play or sing... they come with frequencies that go way higher than the actual note. I want to call them overtones but that might not be the word. However, the human ear can only hear so high... Around 20khz I think, for a youngster. Even then, a lot of professional studios roll off the sound at 16khz because at that point it's mostly white noise static sounds. If you ever see a plug-in or option for a "high-pass filter", it's for removing high frequencies. On the flip side, if you cut off too much high frequency, your recorded sound loses some "sparkle."

    What this means is that audio interfaces that sell anything about 44.1khz is selling you the ability to record sound THAT YOU CAN'T HEAR. The Scarlett 2i2 can already record up to 96khz. This is way above what you can hear.

    As for audio interfaces that have 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit, etc... That's different. That's how much difference in volume is recorded. The higher the bit rate, the smoother the dynamic volume. There are more sound levels that are detected and converted into sound that goes into your DAW. This is detectable to the human ear... But barely. Even trained ears might not be able to tell the difference on extremely good equipment and actively listening for it... Much less hearing the song on the car radio while driving (or something). Many professional albums are released on CD at 16-bit, I believe. The Scarlet 2i2 records at 24-bit.

    For frequency comparison, the highest note on an acoustic guitar is usually around 1100hz. It should already sound shrill to you. Not kHz, mind. Just Hz. It's like .0025% of 44.1khz.


    So to summarize, when considering a new interface, don't be bedazzled by claims of high conversion quality. If you're intent on upgrading your interface, I would personally focus on the features available, such as the number of inputs, MIDI, built in A/D converters... etc. There might be other factors that affect interface sound quality, but I can't think of any right now. Perhaps the connection, such as FireWire? I have a working knowledge of how to record and mix, but there's a whole other field on audio engineering that is separate from vocal training. I'm certainly not going to pretend to know more than I do. A good idea when considering buying an expensive product is to call the manufacturer's offices and tell them you're thinking of upgrading and have them tell you all the ways their product is better than your current one. It's literally their job. Then you can research their claims on your own or post them here.

    However, if you're able to get your hands on something like the Avalon 737sp, do so. Many veteran recorders claim that you just can't replicate a big fat tube sound. Many factors go into a "professional" sound. Mixing and mastering is a big part of it that's often forgotten, I think. You could have the best equipment in the world, and if you don't know what you're doing in the workshop, your product still won't sound that great. You can't exactly buy the skills needed to mix. Spend some time learning or hire a mix engineer.

    There have been some studies that have shown humans can interpret sounds beyond 20kHz through bone conduction. If you scroll around on Google, you'll find that there are some forum discussions on whether or not 192kHz is truly useless (as opposed to partially useless, I guess). My opinion on this is that it is useless for your purposes of getting a solid recording. You don't have to believe me. Open up your DAW and roll off a song's master EQ at 20kHz (start dropping it then and let it steadily fade to nothing.) However, studies into ultra high-frequency recording MIGHT be relevant for the never-ending quest to better, simpler audio fidelity technology.
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 179Pro
    edited December 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    This weekend I was in a studio where they ran me through an avalon 737sp preamp and an additional distressor. The mic was about 2k and I didn't really notice what it was.

    You might be interested to know that I've heard some studio owners discuss that instead of buying one very expensive mic (this one in question was $20,000), it would be better to get a selection of slightly cheaper ones for use on different songs or singers. Try to experiment with a few and find one that makes your voice shine. Good luck!
  • kaulferskaulfers Posts: 294Pro
    edited December 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down

    There are a few in mind in the 1500-3500 range, mostly for VO work and I'll be testing out a few. A high end mic won't make anyone "sound better", if anything it will show them a lot more the problems.

    I'm just painting the picture of my future treated music room.
  • True, no mic will make you sound better than you are. However, some mics will capture the parts of your voice you like better. So some mics will "sound better" than others. There's a reason different artists prefer different mics. Michael Jackson swore by the SM7B, for example.

    Let us know what you end up getting. New reviews are always helpful.
  • kaulferskaulfers Posts: 294Pro
    edited December 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    SM7B is what we used in our radio studios, the Electrovoice RE20 is what is in the picture as I was trying it out that week. It is a nice mic.
  • A few choices on the list right now:


    Manley CORE
    Avalon 737

  • @blondiewales ,

    I ordered an Apollo Twin Duo for now as an interface/pre. It's at the low end of pro interfaces without all the extra features a single user doesn't need.

    I'm mobile right now so this thing looked like the best solution for what I'm after at the moment.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,872Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    You were considering some top-dollar, top-of-the-line pieces there... I think the Apollo Twin Duo will work well for you, though.

  • @highmtn,

    Right now I don't have anything but my camera mic and pre, which is great (Sound Devices MM1, and a Rode NTG-2). Just a pain to go back and forth from camera to laptop. I'll still be picking up what I'm after by the end of the year.

    My main use for the Apollo is voice over, which I've been doing with a logitec headset, and a lot of doctoring in post.
  • Apollo kept pushing back their release date, told them to hold the order. It's out now but being on the move again in a few weeks again I said keep it. Just using camera inputs for now and it's fine for the moment.

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 668Moderator, Pro
    @kaulfers I've been stuck for months on which interface to purchase as an upgrade from my Scarlette 2i2. I've been checking out the Apogee Duet, RME babyface and more recently, the Apollo Twin Duo. The Apollo Twin looks rather incredible, almost to good to be true but the catch is, I'd have to upgrade my computer as I don't have a thunderbolt connection.

    Do you think it's worth a total overhaul of equipment for that 1 piece of gear or would I be satisfied with an Apogee. I'm worried if I bought the Apogee, I'd always be thinking about the Apollo and then just buy it later anyway. Meaning I'd have spent even more money...
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 668Moderator, Pro
    edited March 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    My other question is, what interface would not bottleneck a great piece of gear such as the Avalon 737 or Grace Design m101. @kaulfers @highmtn @blondiewales @philmaher
    Hypothetically, if I wanted to remain largely analogue and have great hardware, what would I need to convert it and get the signal into a DAW?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,872Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    The great analog path is expensive, but having a 737 on a great mic is a worthy goal that you would be happy with. Apogee makes really good D/A and A/D converters. The apollo is getting a lot of good press, and computers seem to need to be upgraded every few years anyway... so the apollo might be a good long-term choice, if you can find a way to use it.

  • @blondiewales ,

    Thank you for the feedback.


    Apollo Twin comes in USB 3 now which is what I put on order before they kept pushing the date back. So right now I'll stick with my 18i8 which just two 2i2s.

    I don't think bottle necking is much of a problem. It's going to convert the line signal into digital signal just fine. the 2i2 shouldn't even bother it.

    What I've read, the USB 3 Apollo Twin does eat up the USB 3 buss, meaning nothing else can be on that line. So if you're external HDs are on it there could be a problem.

    I just like "higher end stuff" because it's easier to sell later on and I like the lower end stuff because it's easy to make videos about as it has more reach.

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 668Moderator, Pro

    Have you had time to play with the twin yet... Really thinking about taking the plunge!
  • streeter said:


    Have you had time to play with the twin yet... Really thinking about taking the plunge!


    No, I've been using a Sound Devices MM-1 into a focusrite interface and that little preamp does great.

    We went back and forth at work on picking up a couple of twins for our editing stations (video/voice over). But grabbed a couple Zoom Tac 2Rs, with thunderbolt. Been using a beyerdynamic m99 with it sounds pretty good, clean neutral.
  • The best investment I could make with my gear is keep on training the voice. Grabbed a few feedback sessions with Ken and boosted my training days again.

    More water less coffee as well. Although that Kona coffee is very very good.
  • @highmtn,

    Glad I waited a bit for the apollo, just picked up a MKii for a good price. Also some other goodies to go along with it.

    I'll be making some new LAH videos soon.
Sign In or Register to comment.