First of all, I have an Echo Layla 3G sound card which has 2 built in mic pre amps, but I wondered if I would experience any huge difference if I bought a $500 dedicated mic preamp? Does anyone here have any experiance with both my soundcard and different mic pre-amps?
I am mainly asking this because this summer I recorded my bands newest album, and we used an SM57 on both the vocal and the guitar recordings. There was no problem turning up the gain on the pre-amp to get a good recording signal, but the result sounds pretty dull, somewhat muffled. I might be able to enhance it with some eq'ing...
What would be the best choice? To continue using the SM57 with a dedicated mic pre-amp or buying a good condenser mic to use with the Layla 3G pre-amps?
If it had to be one or the other, I'd go with a new mic first. The SM57 is a good choice in some situations, but it's going to sound dull compared to most condensers.
Before you ask what mic to get, I'd point you to one of many forums (Gearslutz, 3dbaudio, etc., etc.) where mic choices have been discussed endlessly. Just log into one of those places, and read up.
BTW, when you get around to shopping for preamps, don't be too concerned about how it works with a particular card. That won't be much of a factor. Also, keep in mind that a good pre might be something you keep and use for the rest of your life, long after your current card is hopelessly obsolete.
Good tip! I'll check out one of the forums you mentioned there.
Yes, get a new mic, this will make all the difference in the world. The 57, while many people sware by them for some applications, vocal recording is not one of them. I personally use mine for a hamer Sounds like a tinny muffler to me. A new pre in that price range will not improve the sound. spending 500 on a mic will. I suggest taking a look at the audio technica mics, or sure ksm 32 mic in this price range