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PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby nino » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:43 am

nino wrote:I chose transparent preamp for my setup (Audient MICO),
cause if you record with condenser microphone you need preamp for 48v power anyways.
Before I was recording with TLA 5051 preamp (very colored) and Behringer which is also very colored.


Yes richie, no doubt that he is right (I mentioned earlier whats essential use of preamps), and this story could be broaden to converters, cables etc.

But there are many inventions that were used for other than intended. Whats wrong with that, its called creativity.

All the best to you all.
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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby schismatic » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:43 am

Thanks for all replies guys.

Some further background. I have a Toneport UX2 as my interface and I usually use the built-in preamps when micing up, then apply PCS in the box.

I recently however found out that I could bypass the UX2's pres, and go directly into the line level inputs of the UX2 to get my signal into my DAW.

I should add that I use a DI box in front of the interface before the line input when recording guitars.

My question was therefore whether I could simply use PCS applied to my line level signal to get an acceptable sound, or whether I would get any mileage from having a dedicated external hardware preamp in between my mic and my interface line inputs.
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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby ngarjuna » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:37 pm

schismatic wrote:Thanks for all replies guys.

Some further background. I have a Toneport UX2 as my interface and I usually use the built-in preamps when micing up, then apply PCS in the box.

I recently however found out that I could bypass the UX2's pres, and go directly into the line level inputs of the UX2 to get my signal into my DAW.

I should add that I use a DI box in front of the interface before the line input when recording guitars.

My question was therefore whether I could simply use PCS applied to my line level signal to get an acceptable sound, or whether I would get any mileage from having a dedicated external hardware preamp in between my mic and my interface line inputs.

Depends largely on the output of the DI but it will probably work okay. You can do this with a mic to a degree; assuming the source is pretty loud and the mic gives off high-ish levels. The problem is that there is a lot of noise when you gain that up in your DAW so it's not viable as a typical recording solution but as more of a special effect (as nino said 'there are many inventions that were used for other than intended'). You'll have to see whether the SNR of your output is what you're looking for but if it is and you prefer that sound then indeed you might not need a preamp for that connection.
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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby kindafishy » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:09 pm

schismatic wrote:I usually use the built-in preamps when micing up, then apply PCS in the box.

Would this not be applying sampled preamp colouration to a real preamp, with any colouration it has already imparted to your signal? You're basically stacking characteristics here (not that this would be bad per se, it might sound great).

schismatic wrote:I recently however found out that I could bypass the UX2's pres, and go directly into the line level inputs of the UX2 to get my signal into my DAW.

This scenario would seem to make more sense to me since you are going straight into your interface, hence you are not getting the colour of a mic pre amplifying your mic level.

schismatic wrote:I should add that I use a DI box in front of the interface before the line input when recording guitars.

Why are you doing this? Isn't this like running from a DI into a DI? Unless of course, the DI box you are talking about is something like the Tube MP, which imparts it's own character (which is either a good or bad thing depending on who you ask) to the signal.

schismatic wrote:My question was therefore whether I could simply use PCS applied to my line level signal to get an acceptable sound, or whether I would get any mileage from having a dedicated external hardware preamp in between my mic and my interface line inputs.

Do you dislike the pres on the UX2? If you are just looking for better pres, there are other interfaces with potentially better pres that you could purchase that will replace the UX2, and still leave you with an all in one box. That is, unless you like/need the UX2 because it is a dongle for the Line6 modeling software. I'm guessing you don't use that though, since it wouldn't make any sense to mic something and then apply a software amp to the signal.

To your question, it would seem that you already have PCS, and you already have the UX2 and know how to record using line in, so why are you asking anyone if this can get you an acceptable sound? You have everything you need to evaluate it for yourself. Try it, and determine for yourself whether or not it is acceptable.

More likely, what you are actually asking is whether or not getting a better mic pre would get you a better sound than what you can get with a line in and PCS.

This I don't know, but I am also interested in hearing opinions on this from those who may have experience with both.
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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby ngarjuna » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:36 am

kindafishy wrote:More likely, what you are actually asking is whether or not getting a better mic pre would get you a better sound than what you can get with a line in and PCS.

This I don't know, but I am also interested in hearing opinions on this from those who may have experience with both.

There might be particular cases where maybe a very small benefit can be derived from having actual hardware (soloists, lead voices in small ensembles, some stereo pair recordings come to mind) assuming the pre is of a fairly high quality. But in mixes of average to modern density I don't think that benefit will ever be heard (and it's only a benefit sometimes, horses for courses and all that).

If I had ~$1000 USD to spend on this rig (the price of a good pre) I'd definitely buy an amp (and a 57 if you need a mic). There's nothing at all wrong with amp sims particularly for non-players like myself filling in parts but you don't get the kind of feedback that an amp gives you and that affects everything, performance and sound. If guitar were my instrument I'm pretty sure I would prefer an amp (as it is I just keep my head down and try not to * up my parts too badly). It also gives you a nice upgrade path in terms of mics (ribbons, condensers, other dynamics maybe) for versatility and color that you really can't get inside the box.

If I had plenty of amps already and/or an amp was just absolutely not an option then I'd probably go for a more general DAW upgrade (speakers and treatment are usually a good place to start) or another new instrument. Or maybe hookers.
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Re: PCS Preamp Colour Suite instead of hardware preamps??

Postby myimo » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:09 pm

I use to own a Fender Twin reverb but I am not gigging now so I sold it. When I had the twin it sounded great but I got bored with just having the sounds from one amp.
That aside, now I am only recording.
What I do is plug my guitar into an Otari MX5050.
No tape, just using the pre. Its very clean and not colored. I make sure my volume is above the noise floor but theres zero clipping.
This goes into my DAW where I use various amp sims.
Then, this is where the mojo gets added in the form of Nebula pres, mics and Cabs (Botus99 did a nice Marshall a couple of months ago) If you spend some time you can get a great sound. No one would know that you are using an amp Sim.
The bonus is that because you have a nice clean signal as the basic track in your DAW you can alter the sound in any way, when ever you want.
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