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Thread: Mic preamp for condenser

  1. #1
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Mic preamp for condenser

    I have a Ear Trumpet Louise condenser mic that I used live with an old Mackie micro mixer and it worked ok. Then I got a Soundcraft ui16 and although I like it a lot, I found the Louise does not work well with it. With phantom power engaged, its a bit noisy anyway PLUS it requires turning the gain up so high to get a decent volume that feedback renders it useless. Some have said that the ui 16 series units suffer from poor quality pres. I have also heard that the phantom power is noisy on these too. All works fine on the usual dynamic mics so we have been just using those and I like the mixer fine otherwise and dont want to shell out more for another mixer.

    So, my question is if I bought a stand alone phantom power so I wouldnt have to engage the one on the mixer would that help? Also does anyone know of a pre amp for a condenser mic that includes a phantom power source as an all in one deal? If not, is there a seperate stand alone phantom power that isnt expensive and a condenser preamp that isnt expensive and If so, would it fix my problem and allow me to use this mic with this mixer?

    From what I read the cloud lifter disables phantom to protect ribbons so I guess it wouldn't work.
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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Triton FetHead might get you the gain you need...?
    https://www.zenproaudio.com/triton-a...ethead-phantom
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    I have had good luck with ART products. This one has the bells and whistles that I think would solve your problems. R
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Hey, that FetHead is a cool product! Hadn't heard of them before. I note that the FetHead Phantom uses the existing phantom power to power its preamp, and also passes that same phantom power onto the microphone. If extra gain is all that's needed this could be a great solution, but if there really is a problem with the phantom power, it might not be a complete solution.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    The Triton Fethead PHANTOM does work fine with the Ui16. Solves the excess noise issue. I have tested that myself.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    OK Im sorry I know I think too much.


    I looked at the Triten Fethead phantom and it crossed my mind that my ui 16's phantom power is noisy (or makes the preamps noisy?).

    Anyway this fethead preamp is powered through the ui16 boards phantom and then the mic also uses the ui phantom for power so I'm wondering if this is going to be a problem. The Triton Fethead page said that its preamp is quiet if the phantom power is quiet. I guess that means if my mixers phantom isnt so quiet then the fethead wont be so quiet either? I know Almeria knows what he is talking about and if it worked for him that is good enough for me but now Ive read on the soundcraft ui16 fb page that there is a lot of variability in the ui16 units with some units having quiet phantom channels and others not and even some units being quieter on some of their channels than others within the same unit. So maybe Almeria has one with quieter phantom than mine?

    I looked at the Arts one linked post 3 above and that preamp does have phantom and some bells and whistles but the reviews of the quality of the preamp were not that great.

    So I did happen to find this one and wonder Almeria if you thought it might be better ?

    https://www.parts-express.com/rolls-...BoC21kQAvD_BwE

    It seems like I could then use the external units phantom and keep the mixers phantom off. Then I assume I still go through the mixers strip input so its still going through the mixers preamp. But I guess I would start with the mixers gain turned way down. ?
    Last edited by Astro; Jul-10-2019 at 7:51pm.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Here's the deal, like a lot of things, compromises are made to bring costs down. I have a friend who over a ten year period upgraded his studio multiple times. His main interface was a MOTU 24 channel input device. Pretty good at about $100/channel. Then he bought an Avalon and a Manley mic pre amp. These were both over $2K, and were one channel. They were outstanding. I could not believe the difference.

    Consumer devices like the u16 are fantastic for what they are. I have an old hhB $400 mic pre that sounds great. But put eight of them in a mixer#an it would cost way too much. Thinking a $49 device is going to help things is IMHO a stretch. Build a u16 device with higher quality pres and you have a QSC with the price that comes with it.

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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Brick, I appreciate that quest for tone thing but I'm not gripping about my mixer. Its great for the price point and suits me fine except for one thing.

    Occasionally I want to use my consenser mic with it and I cant because with phantom power engaged its a little noisy and because the mic requires I turn the gain way up to get decent volume I get feedback and noise even in a quiet space rendering the mic useless and this did not occur with an old cheap mackie board --so I'm thinking its not the mic but rather the weak mic output plus noisy phantom and cheaper mixer pres. So Im not looking for audiophile improvements per say, just enough clean signal to be able to use the mic.

    So I thought maybe I could fix this with an external phantom and preamp. I just need one channel that will work for this one mic. Everything else is fine for what I do anyway. My cheap dynamic mics work fine. My cheap guitar sounds fine. I havent tried a hotter condenser mic but I want to use this one anyway.

    Before I buy more stuff, Im just tying to get a reasonable shot of getting what has the best chance to work-if anything. I have too many drawers filled with gizmos that didnt really work for what I wanted.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    I don’t like the preamps on my Mackie dl1608...about to upgrade to the new Behrenger X32, I’ve been lead to believe that the Midas preamps are top notch on those... anyone have an opinion on those options?
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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    I think the noise or lack of fidelity is from the pre, not the phantom voltage...I’m not completely confident in my stance, but wanted to put that out there for some with an informed opinion to chime in.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    I think the noise or lack of fidelity is from the pre, not the phantom voltage...I’m not completely confident in my stance, but wanted to put that out there for some with an informed opinion to chime in.
    Well that could be the case as then the phantom would maybe just reveal it more because its only on when the mic is on anyway. And just because someone said the phantom was noisy on the soundcloud ui fb page doesnt really mean it is the phantom engagement that is the problem. So in that case the triton fethead runiing off the phantom wouldnt be an issue.

    I think I'll go ahead and get the triton premic fethead phantom thingy.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Well that could be the case as then the phantom would maybe just reveal it more because its only on when the mic is on anyway. And just because someone said the phantom was noisy on the soundcloud ui fb page doesnt really mean it is the phantom engagement that is the problem. So in that case the triton fethead runiing off the phantom wouldnt be an issue.

    I think I'll go ahead and get the triton premic fethead phantom thingy.
    I have one, it does give clean boost to condensers.

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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    The problem with the Ui16 preamps is the chip they used. There certainly IS a link between the "hiss" level and having phantom power engaged, however... it only manifests as you crank the gain right up. If you can avoid doing that, you won't encounter it.

    I did a whole bunch of testing on these things (and I was in direct contact with the designers/developers at the time). What we found was that there are two workarounds.

    1) Use only HIGH OUTPUT microphones.
    If you plug really low output mics in there such as most dynamics (often <2.5mV/pa) you will end up cranking the gain to where the noise will be very evident. Same with lower output condensers, though these do tend to be somewhat better as most are in the region of at least 5mV/pa). I did extensive tests using my own mics, and found that for best results a very high output condenser was required (best results of the lot were with the AT Artist Elite AE5400 (vocal condenser, 10mV/pa) and the AE 5100 condenser 'instrument' mic, a whopping 15.8Vv/pa output). Even the Ui16's pres sounded quiet and clean with these. Any other mics with similar output levels should be fine too. Very classy mics in their own right, but not exactly 'cheap'.

    2) Use a mic booster pre-pre amp. By adding roughly 20dB gain to the mics original output provided you are not using really low output mics (SM7 or SM57/58) this will get you over the threshold of where noise is intrusive. I tested the Triton Fethead Phantom and also made some up of my own... no issues. It worked fine and massively improved how the unit sounded. It is a real shame they released it with that issue to begin with, however! Really should not be necessary... but there you are... it is.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Sounds great ! Thanks so much. Ill get one straight away. Heck might get several. Still cheaper than most any other mixer with these features. If it works for me I'll be one happy boy !
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Brick, I appreciate that quest for tone thing but I'm not gripping about my mixer. Its great for the price point and suits me fine except for one thing.

    Occasionally I want to use my consenser mic with it and I cant because with phantom power engaged its a little noisy and because the mic requires I turn the gain way up to get decent volume I get feedback and noise even in a quiet space rendering the mic useless and this did not occur with an old cheap mackie board --so I'm thinking its not the mic but rather the weak mic output plus noisy phantom and cheaper mixer pres. So Im not looking for audiophile improvements per say, just enough clean signal to be able to use the mic.

    So I thought maybe I could fix this with an external phantom and preamp. I just need one channel that will work for this one mic. Everything else is fine for what I do anyway. My cheap dynamic mics work fine. My cheap guitar sounds fine. I havent tried a hotter condenser mic but I want to use this one anyway.

    Before I buy more stuff, Im just tying to get a reasonable shot of getting what has the best chance to work-if anything. I have too many drawers filled with gizmos that didnt really work for what I wanted.
    If it is just a matter of phantom power, you can buy a stand alone power unit. Turn your phantom board power off and use the stand alone. Not very elegant. But if you need both power and gain, you'd need two devices which complicate things. I know all about drawers full of gizmos.
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    Default Re: Mic preamp for condenser

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    I donít like the preamps on my Mackie dl1608...about to upgrade to the new Behrenger X32, Iíve been lead to believe that the Midas preamps are top notch on those... anyone have an opinion on those options?
    Maybe you should read up on that, lots of good stuff there, the M32 has better pres, but the X32 is still pretty good.

    Using a DL-32 with an X32 also gets you full midas pres.

    Having used both, I prefer the M32, the 100 band rta alone is worth it.
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    Smile Re: [un specific] Mic preamp for condenser

    a lot of small, few channel mixers, can offer phantom power and local control

    of your signal, then feed @ line level, to the main house board..

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