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Thread: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

  1. #1

    Default Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Curious what exists that would do this sort of thing.

    I run an Audio Technica Pro35 on my mandolin, and it really sounds great and has worked well for me.

    But... since I'm always searching, I'm curious if anyone has a recommendation of/knows of a good preamp that I could use.

    Seems like some desired features would be:

    Supplies phantom, or passes phantom through.
    Has a simple EQ.
    Not huge.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    If it sounds good I would think the pre amp in the board is all you need, the EQ on the board must be alright too are the mandolin wouldn't sound good. I'm a big believer in If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    These are normally 100% fine straight into the board's own mic preamp. An additional preamp is unlikely to add anything useful, provided your board is of decent quality. I use the ATM350 quite a lot, which is very similar to the Pro35, and always run straight to the board.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    What Mandoplumb said, unless for some reason you want EQ you can adjust at your playing position, and the mixer isn't near you.

    Also, note that getting phantom power and EQ together in one unit will most likely require AC power. I can't remember anything off the top of my head that combines mic preamp gain, decent EQ section, and phantom power as well as running on batteries. It's not a common configuration because phantom power eats batteries.

    If you still want something that runs on batteries, you could hook up something like a Sound Devices MP-1 preamp to a good quality battery-powered EQ pedal, and that would get you there. That MP-1 is a great little unit for this sort of thing, although you'll still need frequent battery changes. I used one for a while when I wanted to have a tuner pedal nearby, for my DPA 4099 mic. That's one of the few applications where you might want something like this.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    I'm fine w/o batteries... I actually thought there might be units that would just pass on the phantom power from the board to the mic, and let me EQ.

    My main thought was that I could have a known EQ starting position, and then on various PAs I might be more likely to get the sound I want out front without having to rely on a sound guy who may not know what I'm after...

    But these things are truly never the same system to system, I fully understand that. For my guitar, I have a DI that lets me do this, though, and I like that control... to do the same w/ my mandolin setup, I'd need the device I described, with XLR input instead of 1/4" like my guitar DI... if I could stick it on my pocket or something where I could tweak it a bit might be nice as we end up running our own sound fairly often.

    Might be a pipe dream.

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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    small 4 channel sub mixers should work OK. usually 2 are Mic Pres 2 are Line.
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Yeah... just... bigger than I was hoping. I was wondering if someone made the equiv of a LR Baggs Para DI with an XLR in and phantom... maybe not.

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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Zoom makes this: https://www.zoom-na.com/products/gui...coustic-guitar

    XLR in, phantom power, various processing. I've never used it, but it seems to fit the bill.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Quote Originally Posted by keithb View Post
    Zoom makes this: https://www.zoom-na.com/products/gui...coustic-guitar

    XLR in, phantom power, various processing. I've never used it, but it seems to fit the bill.
    There was a discussion about that here recently, might be worth looking up.

    IIRC, it needs the AC wall wart to run phantom power, and I'm a little skeptical of the build quality for hard-knocks stage use based on other Zoom gear I've used. But it's compact, and fits the requirements if the OP doesn't mind running a power cord.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Huh... interesting - I want that... but without all the processing stuff. I imagine most of what you pay is for the processing stuff.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    One potential difficulty here is that when you are on stage, that is far from the best position to accurately assess and adjust EQ for what the audience will hear. You really need to do that from out front. Two ways to do that: 1) A wireless rig allowing you to walk around or up to the console - this can work quite well or b) Virtual sound check using a digital desk with an Ipad remote (which is what I do when I am performing and also running sound at the same time). I suspect given you are using various consoles supplied by venues, the wireless option may be your best bet. One caution: avoid cheap wireless. If you are going to do it that way, you have to get pro grade stuff. The AT Pro 35 also comes in a version with a wireless belt-back connector.

    There are, as Foldedpath notes, also potential issues with anything that requires AC power on stage as not only is it inconvenient, but adds in a possible source for ground-loop problems.
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Quote Originally Posted by LBob View Post
    I was wondering if someone made the equiv of a LR Baggs Para DI with an XLR in and phantom...
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    These do work with the XLR versions of the AT mics... but still do not overcome the issue of adjusting the FOH PA EQ from the "wrong place". They run off 2X 9v batteries... not cheap. Around $350 US.

    I have one (as well as the smaller EDM that does not offer a mic input) but mainly use them as DI's for piezo transducers.

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    Given the situation you describe however - I'd seriously look at wireless.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    These do work with the XLR versions of the AT mics... but still do not overcome the issue of adjusting the FOH PA EQ from the "wrong place". They run off 2X 9v batteries... not cheap. Around $350 US.
    I forgot this is one that actually does supply phantom power on a battery, but ugh... two 9v batteries?

    And having to use a coin to remove a plate to get to them? That's not a good design for powering condenser mics on batteries in my world. The Sound Designs MP-1 that I mentioned above is much friendlier, with a finger-screw cap and AA batteries. Then just plug the output of that into an EQ pedal.

    Given the situation you describe however - I'd seriously look at wireless.
    Yeah, that's why I eventually sold my MP-1. Once it got to that point where I wanted things like a tuner pedal on the floor, I figured wireless was a better way to go.

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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Just to clarify. You do not have to use a coin to change batteries. It is a deep, knurled knob that is easily accessed with thumb and finger. I've had one of these for about 4 years and never needed to use a coin. Same on the EDM-1. It has some other 'battery use friendly' features including a blue warning light that comes on when the battery voltage falls, but well before performance is affected adversely. You could still get many hours of use even after a 'low battery' alert allowing plenty of time to change. Batteries last a long time... 60 or 70 hours of actual use, going by my experience.

    I suspect the reason they used 9v batteries is that two of these get you straight to a base voltage of 18v where you'd need 12 AA's to do that. Of course, you can do it with less but then you need much more in the way of DC-DC conversion. The Sound Devices MP-1 uses two AA's and cited performance is 6 hours use, without phantom power. I have not used that one but I did have the two-channel Mix-Pre a few years ago when I was still using larger video cameras, and I remember changing batteries all the time. I used to consider myself lucky if I got 2 hours out of a set when phantom power was on. Nice little preamps and field mixers, but they eat batteries.
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Clearly the place to mix the front of the house is in the front of the house, but if I can control the starting point then the FOH the house guy has a starting point that is closer to what I want to hear, especially since not all FOH guys will do an awful lot with EQ, etc.

    I think of it like an electric guitar and amp... sure, the guy out front is going to have control over the sound once it's mic'd and run through the PA, but if I have that rig sounding the way I want it to in the beginning, he's less likely to screw up my sound.

    Wireless introduces a whole other level of complication I'm not sure I'm ready to go for... and those Headway units look nice, but $350... I can think of other things I'd like to spend that amount on.

    Sounds like I might just live with my current situation - wasn't sure if there was a simple and relatively inexpensive (I was thinking $100 - $150ish) option I just was not aware of...

    Appreciate the education.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    There is one (cheap) shortcut, that can provide some insight, and that is simply to wander over to the mix position with your clip on mic and plug it in right there... you can now set the EQ to taste, no wireless needed. Obviously... things can change as a gig progresses (more bodies soaking up sound, even humidity changes) but that should get you reasonably close. Most of those other changes would be dealt with by changing EQ on the master outs, anyway. Your channel should be set, apart from level tweaks.

    You can do this with a clip on due to the very close mic positioning to the source and (relative) lack of room influence.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    I suspect the reason they used 9v batteries is that two of these get you straight to a base voltage of 18v where you'd need 12 AA's to do that. Of course, you can do it with less but then you need much more in the way of DC-DC conversion. The Sound Devices MP-1 uses two AA's and cited performance is 6 hours use, without phantom power. I have not used that one but I did have the two-channel Mix-Pre a few years ago when I was still using larger video cameras, and I remember changing batteries all the time. I used to consider myself lucky if I got 2 hours out of a set when phantom power was on. Nice little preamps and field mixers, but they eat batteries.
    Yep, they sure do eat batteries. I guess we're down to personal preference here, because I hate... really hate... having to swap out 9v batteries. It's a stupid legacy design for that connector, and often the first thing that fails and needs to fixed on a battery-powered gadget (talking generally here, not necessarily about the Headway).

    I understand why some gear uses it for the voltage, but for anything mission-critical like a performance gig, I try to avoid anything that runs off 9v batteries like the plague.

    Also, I'm used to swapping out AA's for every gig when using wireless transmitters, so the requirement to do that with the MP-1 preamp wasn't an issue when I used it. Not very eco-friendly, but I never have to worry about whether there's enough juice for the gig.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    I'm not quite sure why they did this.. but with some of the Sound Devices gear they had the brightest LED meters I have ever seen...very impressive, and no mistaking what they said, but my goodness.. they must have used up some power
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    It's probably because Sound Devices assumes that anyone using that level of gear is working commercially, and will just pass along the costs of batteries and any other disposables to the client. And with a markup if you can manage it! I used to work as an advertising photographer and I remember thinking that way. I tend to forget that I'm the client, now that I'm retired.

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    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live mic pre with EQ and phantom?

    I'm not sure why, when using a mic as good as the AT pro 35 you'd think you'd need eq'ing. It's a mandolin. You're going after clarity, not low-end thump or anything. Just make sure the sound guy is using the high ass filter and keep it bright and clear. I basically forbid artists to mess with their rigs once the check is done. In no way does a near-field monitor come close to the sound that the audience hears. The one beauty of clip on is that it cuts way down on other instruments being picked up, if not completely eliminating it, so it's easy to keep it clear. Adding another link in the chain can only mess it up.

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