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  #1  
Old 07-22-2005, 01:38 PM
David MacNeill David MacNeill is offline
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Default Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

I'm setting up a modest recording studio for home-based startup company doing audiobooks. We're using an MBox and PTLE 6.9.2 on a new 20" iMac G5 1.8GHz. Our first sample recordings that we sent to publishers elicited some complaints about sound quality, specifically the levels (" your peaks are only -8.9db") noise floor ("sounds like it's raining softly" and "I measure the noise at -54db, should be closer to -70db") and compression settings ("what is that, 3:1? Yikes!"). I'm using a Shure KSM44 large-diaphragm mic, a Stedman pop screen, Mogami Gold cabling, and we have a very good isolation booth, so I'm guessing/hoping all we need a better, smoother channel strip to drive the MBox, something with a good compressor and variable impedence for the mic.

Considered the new Focusrite TrakMaster Pro, but they are backordered for a month and we need something next week. My man Dave Brow at Sweetwater suggested the Presonus Eureka as a better unit for not a whole lot more money. We can't afford the Eureka digital option, so I won't be able to SPDIF the Eureka straight in to bypass the MBox preamp -- it'll have to be double-preamped. Our voice talent has several decades of pro experience, so that's likely not the problem. Please don't suggest we change to a different mic, as the KSM44 is all we have to work with.

I'm at the limits of my expertise and humbly request advice from the higher powers that dwell in the DUC. Will this upgrade in our signal path improve our results over MBox preamplification and "welfare plug-in" compression with our KSM44?

~Dave
17" PowerBook G4 1.5GHz/2GB RAM/Tiger 10.4.2 | Digi 002R/Pro Tools LE 6.9.2 | LaCie Big Disk Extreme 512GB/FW800 | LaCie FW800 PC Card | Focusrite VoiceMaster Pro and TwinTrak Pro channel strips
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2005, 03:43 PM
Seeee Seeee is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

Quote:
I'm setting up a modest recording studio for home-based startup company doing audiobooks. We're using an MBox and PTLE 6.9.2 on a new 20" iMac G5 1.8GHz. Our first sample recordings that we sent to publishers elicited some complaints about sound quality, specifically the levels (" your peaks are only -8.9db") noise floor ("sounds like it's raining softly" and "I measure the noise at -54db, should be closer to -70db") and compression settings ("what is that, 3:1? Yikes!"). I'm using a Shure KSM44 large-diaphragm mic, a Stedman pop screen, Mogami Gold cabling, and we have a very good isolation booth, so I'm guessing/hoping all we need a better, smoother channel strip to drive the MBox, something with a good compressor and variable impedence for the mic.

Considered the new Focusrite TrakMaster Pro, but they are backordered for a month and we need something next week. My man Dave Brow at Sweetwater suggested the Presonus Eureka as a better unit for not a whole lot more money. We can't afford the Eureka digital option, so I won't be able to SPDIF the Eureka straight in to bypass the MBox preamp -- it'll have to be double-preamped. Our voice talent has several decades of pro experience, so that's likely not the problem. Please don't suggest we change to a different mic, as the KSM44 is all we have to work with.

I'm at the limits of my expertise and humbly request advice from the higher powers that dwell in the DUC. Will this upgrade in our signal path improve our results over MBox preamplification and "welfare plug-in" compression with our KSM44?

~Dave
17" PowerBook G4 1.5GHz/2GB RAM/Tiger 10.4.2 | Digi 002R/Pro Tools LE 6.9.2 | LaCie Big Disk Extreme 512GB/FW800 | LaCie FW800 PC Card | Focusrite VoiceMaster Pro and TwinTrak Pro channel strips
we're talking your peaks of the music which you need a limiter on the 2 bus for. the a/d and pre amp on the mbox is fine.

your MIX level is what they are saying is low. maxim by digidesign is a good 2 track limiter that will allow you to smash the bejesus out of the 2 track if ya need to and works pretty damn good.

is this JUST acapella vocal or are we talking a mix? post it please.
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2005, 04:02 PM
David MacNeill David MacNeill is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

We're doing speaking voice only, reading text from a manuscript. We do strictly nonfiction, so there are almost no dynamics to the recording. Basically, once I get the levels and settings right, I probably won't have to vary them.
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2005, 04:05 PM
David MacNeill David MacNeill is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

Actually, I have Maxim. Came with my 002R -- I just didn't know what it was!
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2005, 08:41 PM
C52382P C52382P is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

I have a TC voice prism plus .....Its got all kinds of stuff you can do including some old style harmonies....but mostly I use it because the pre-amp is the nicest one I have..(better than the 002 built in pres....the presonus bluetubes ...and my m-audio octane) and because it has EXCELLENT sounding effects...including dynamics and reverbs which are specifically taylored for vocals. TC just discontinued this product a few weeks ago so im sure the price is falling through the floor on them. I managed to pick mine up used with a bad EPROM for 150 bucks. TC sent me the chip for FREE and the unit works fine and sound amazing. Great budget channel strip.
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2005, 11:41 PM
tele_player tele_player is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

Are you using 24-bit sessions?
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2005, 07:27 AM
Windshore Windshore is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

As much as I love to buy esoteric gear, I don't know that you need an expensive mic pre at all. You could get the cheapest one Presonus makes and still get a good sound from the M-box. (I owned an M-box for a short time and was able to get good results with the built in mic pre as well.) It sounds like you just need to optimize your levels. Certainly it'll help if you have a mic pre with a compressor while recording, but just be sure that whatever you use is hitting the meter pretty hard and nearly red-lining. Once it's recorded using a limiter and de-esser plugins will help give it a more professional quality. Ideally, before you buy anything, have an engineer, or find a musician who has some experience set you up. I think paying a pro $100 to consult and set you up could save you thousands and give you a better result all the way around. Since you're only doing one type of recording, a pro could set you up really cheaply and optimize the whole setup so that it's easy to repeat each time....
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:10 AM
C52382P C52382P is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

I dunno if that was directed at me......it was a reply to me so on the off chance that it was ...yes im using 24 bit sessions.
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:20 AM
C52382P C52382P is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

I think theres alot to be said for having a nice mic pre and converter. Especially in this guys case. He is specifically recording the human voice which id say is the single hardest mono instrument to record correctly. Having some nice gear couldnt hurt.

And as to what the original poster said regarding his mic. The KSM-44 is a brilliant mic. I have the KSM-32 and I love it. I use the KSM -32 for everything from the bottom side of snare drums and certainly for vocals all the time. The only time I dont opt for it on vocals is for males with a particularly deep voice. I find it to be rather dark sounding on those particular voices and usually opt for my blue baby bottle.
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:56 AM
David MacNeill David MacNeill is offline
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Default Re: Advice on a channel strip for mono voice

Yes, we're recording 24-bit, 48K. One track for voice, the other for talkback.

I think my biggest concern is running the output of the Presonus into the MBox's preamp set to lowest gain. I've read elsewhere in the DUC that bypassing the MBox pres altogether is the best way to upgrade your conversion quality. If you all think that buying the digital option card from Presonus would make a substantial difference and produce cleaner, quieter, more professional results, then I can go this route. What I don't want is to spend $600 on a piece of gear and end up sounding about the same.
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