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Topic: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

  1. #1

    Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Most peices of gear are more \"percieved\" and therefore clearer in function, but preamp to preamp, I really have no idea what the differences are. As I understand it, the sonic characteristics of preamps are as varied as the differences microphone to mic.

    So I was wondering which preamps I should be looking at to sample orchestrally in a small hall atmosphere, using NT5\'s. Any recomendations? I\'m about to record some ensemble flute runs and layered long tones, etc, and fully intend to purchase a \"decent\" preamp. If decent means I need to invest about 1k, then I can work with that, but at the moment, I really have no idea what to be looking for in a preamp at all!

    (Incidentally, if I can find a bang-for-the-buck, R0DE\'esque-value type of preamp, that would be prefered. I don\'t need the greatest thing out there, nor could I afford it.) I\'m just looking for something solid, and well suited to the application I need. I expect there\'s something out there in the $300-1000 range that would be ideal, something with 2 channels, but I\'m clueless. Anyone know where to point me?


  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Check out the new Studio Projects VTB-1. It has been getting great reviews, and you can get two (they are mono) for less than $400.

    I\'ve heard good things about Grace preamps also, but they will be more like $1000 for two channels.

    -- Martin

  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Bayview Pro Audio (http://www.bayviewproaudio.com) has a site that includes product searches by category. Conveniently one of their categories is mic preamps. In just the As they offer products from Apogee, ART and Avalon designs with price ranges from $349 to $3,000ish. And that\'s just the As. They also have a specials page you\'ll probably find interesting. Have fun.

    Steve Chandler

  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?


    See the new thread \"The holy grail of didgeridoo recording\" for a review of the new Studio Projects VTB-1 preamp and their C1 microphone.

    -- Martin

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Michael, don\'t use C1\'s for recording of flutes. Use your NT5\'s and rent a decent preamp with two inputs, or two mono-preamps. I can\'t make any suggestions, because I don\'t know much about preamps, but I know the one I have (Fatman2) is great for close micing (which you want to avoid for your session) - you can\'t go wrong with a focusrite preamp though, so I\'d look into one of those.

    Best of luck,


  6. #6

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Thomas_J: Are NT5s good for distance recording of big string/brass sections?

  7. #7

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Dis, I\'d say yes. They are pretty good and pretty cheap. Worth looking into. You also need a spot mic though. I\'m no expert in this area, but whatever you do I advice you to get hold of a sound engineer for your project, to help answer your questions. Most people on NS are composers and not that technically oriented. I know a lot more about the orchestral instruments themselves, than I know about recording them.


  8. #8

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Thanks, Thomas [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] OK, but you\'ve recorded your incredible custom brass library (used in Unexplored territory etc.), and I think it must have been perfectly recorded, if I hear how it sounds. So this was the reason why did I like especially ask you about mics :-).

  9. #9

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Hi Thomas,

    You mentioned not using the C1 to record flute. Flute is one of my instruments and I was considering the C1. Please tell me more about why I should opt for the NT5. thank you.

    Steve Chandler

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestral Sampling - What PreAmp to use?

    Steve, there\'s nothing wrong in using a C1 for a recording of solo flute, but Michael is recording a flute ensemble. He wants the sound of a typical orchestral flute ensemble and not a solo flute. I think the C1 should be fine for you if you just want to record a solo flute performance or samples. It\'s a bargain at $299 and great for any kind of close micing application.

    Dis, I didn\'t have much to do with the technical aspects of the recording of my samples as the setup consisted of the orchestra\'s standard recording setup. A/B\'s and spot mics (hanging down from the roof) around the instruments.

    I did talk to orchestral sound engineers about this prior to the recording session and they all had different preferences with mic setups etc, but all of them seemed to prefer Neumanns and AKGs for brass and Bruel & Kjaer for strings with regards to spot mics.

    A crossed pair, or AB stereo pair is the most frequently used technique to record choirs and orchestras as it forms the basic stereo image sound and is quite easy to set up. Generally it consists of two figure-8 mics placed at a 45 degree horizontal angle left and right, forming a 90 degrees spread. With spot mics, timing and position is crucial to give a believable stereo projection and spot mics are only used to give definition to the instruments in question. As a general rule you should not hear the spot mic. If you do, it\'s too loud. It might take some experimenting to get the right sound, but it will pay off in the end.

    With huge timing problems such as those encountered in a large recording venue, you will often notice that the engineer is routing the spotmics to a stereo submix and then through a delay unit at around 30-60ms depending on the distance between the stereo pair and the orchestra. This is to make up for the latency \"artifact\" that occurs when the sound travels. I read somewhere that sound travels at 1 ms per feet, so if you got your stereo pair 50 feet from the orchestra you need a delay setting of about 50ms for optimal results.

    Good luck.


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