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Topic: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

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  1. #1

    OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Hi All,
    I had some confusion that I hoped some sound experts could help me out with. I have the Rode NTK mic which is a tube mic. In the past I have heard that plugging a tube mic into a tube preamp would create too much noise.
    I was considering buying an Avalon VT737 Preamp because up til now I\'ve been using the Rode power supply(that came with the mic) with a Presonus Bluemax compressor. The results seem crisp and clean, but I\'d like to achieve top notch voice-over quality and I\'ve heard good things about the Avalon. With my present setup I haven\'t been able to achieve that \"up close and personal\" sound that you hear on so many national commercials.
    The real question is:
    Is it a no-no to use a tube mic with a tube compressor? The NTK seems surprisingly quiet so I\'m not sure which direction to go.
    Better yet, can anyone who owns an NTK recommend a preamp which would be a perfect match for the it (for voice-overs and vox)? Since the connector that connects the mic to the Rode power supply is a proprietary cable, I\'m guessing that I can\'t bypass the Rode supply altogether.
    Thanks in advance for any tips/suggestions
    Travis Barnes

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    I have looked into the 737 as well. I like it because it has everything you need in one unit. I have their direct box the U5 and it is really top notch. I hear nothing bout good things about the rest of their products.

    Good luck with your decision.

    John

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    The NTK with the 737 is a winning combination. You definitely wont be dissappointed. We\'ve used that for about a year & 1/2 now in two rooms and love it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Travis,

    You can\'t (and don\'t want to) bypass the NTK power supply.

    I wouldn\'t worry too much about the tube/tube combo. At that level of gear, you\'re not going to hear a bunch of noise. The NTK isn\'t particularly hard driven, and as you notice, it is quiet in the extreme...in fact, I did a/b noise tests with the NTK and a KSM-44, and the NTK was a fraction of a dB quieter!! The KSM-44 is a very quiet FET mic in its own right...that kind of s/n for the Rode is an incredible accomplishment.

    True Systems (True Audio) is another winner with the NTK.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Originally posted by Travis Barnes:
    Hi All,
    I had some confusion that I hoped some sound experts could help me out with. I have the Rode NTK mic which is a tube mic. In the past I have heard that plugging a tube mic into a tube preamp would create too much noise.
    I was considering buying an Avalon VT737 Preamp
    Travis Barnes
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Go for the Avalon VT737sp. I have used it many years with every kind of mic condenser and tube. No problems about noise. (Even with my old Neumann U 67 ) [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    Elith

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Yeh
    I knew I had a winning mic when I bought it and I just wanted to get a preamp that would do it justice. If anything, the NTK is too accurate. I have had a couple of \"great\" singers in which the NTK has revealed slight imperfections not noticeable with other mics.
    I\'m sure if I pick up an Avalon, my weakest link will be my room acoustics.
    While I\'m on the subject of mic setups.A friend of mine who has a bottomless wallet wanted to get the best possible mic, so he ordered up a bunch from Sweetwater, like the Manley reference mic,a U87, and some other top notch models.
    He also borrowed my NTK and tested all the mics using his Voxbox, Genelecs, and Dunlevy mastering speakers. Surprisingly the NTK shined above the others.
    In addition, he said, the sound quality changed considerably when he changed to a high dollar mic cable. I didn\'t think that it would make a huge difference with small cable runs, but he definitely heard a difference. I can\'t vouch for him, though because I didn\'t hear.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Originally posted by johnhutch:
    I have looked into the 737 as well. I like it because it has everything you need in one unit. I have their direct box the U5 and it is really top notch. I hear nothing bout good things about the rest of their products.

    Good luck with your decision.

    John
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    i really have to stop doing that [img]images/icons/blush.gif[/img]

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Rode NTK...What preamp to use

    Millennia Media is another one to check out. The model I have, the STT-1 channel, has both tube and solid-state paths that you can choose for the preamp and eq (but not the passive opto-compressor). I have the stock tubes swapped out for optional esoteric flat-plate Telefunkens.

    The point: Bruce is right that noise with two tubes is not even a consideration. But most of the time tube mics run through the unit sound better with the solid-state setting, and v.v.: solid-state mics usually sound better with the tube setting! That includes a Røde Classic II, A-T 4050, a little AT mini-condenser (forget the model #), Oktava MK-019, and a couple of new Oktava tube condensers I\'m in the process of reviewing.

    This is certainly not a big enough sample to make a rule, and my opinions would probably be up in the air if I were using the stock tubes, which sound very close to the solid-state paths. But it\'s interesting. One tube is probably enough.

    The STT-1 also has a transformer you can switch in and out for color, by the way. On some things it sounds nice and round, and on others, like nylon string guitar, it almost sounds like a chorus unit.

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