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New Female Singer Insists On Tube PreAmp

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by SurferJoe46, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. OK ---- I've shied a way from using a preamp between the mic and PA since the time I overheated the amp and it thermal'd out for 15 very quiet and embarrassing minutes as the singer was trying to sing in Braille.

    So what's the need anyway and what am I doing wrong?

    I've got two Peaveys, one is an 8-channel head and the other is a 4-channel combo. Neither like the extra oomph that the pre pushes out, but honestly before they self protect they sound a lot nicer.

    I might be imagining that though.

    Does the preamp go in line where I'm putting it, or should I put it into an effects loop or what?

    I've run some pedals in line for splatter, reverb and delay with my harmonicas and even though I am sure they toss some extra power at the input, they don't make it angry enough to thermal out.

    I could also dump the singer and solve the issue a lot easier too. That's an option.

    Peavey XR8600D w/Kustom 15s and a Mackie 18" self powered woofie.

    BTW- "SHE" also uses Digital Reference mics, and I'm really surprised that they have a much nicer response curve than 57s and don't drop off in the upper freqs where her range lives.

    I've reconsidered that my old go-to mics (Shure Beta 87As) may not be all that good for a female voice and the upper register of my harmonics at the same time.
  2. Lets start from the beginning of the audio chain - what mic and preamp does she have?

    EDIT: Anyway, in a nutshell, you really don't want to double preamp a mic - so bypass the mixer channel preamp with external mic tube preamp.
  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I have no problem with that. She can buy her own little mic pre and set it by her mic stand. Cost about $100-$150. Those mics she's using are not pro mics! SMH!
  4. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    If the additional preamp is causing too hot of a signal at the board, turn down the level on the preamp. Then go do a little reading on gain structure.
  5. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    Make sure the output from the preamp goes to a Line Level input on your mixer and not a Mic Level input.
  6. What they said. I've worked with a really raspy rock singer, who sounded best with a tube preamp, to my ears, when recording. For a couple of gigs, I used the same pre to a line in on my mixer. Great sound! Not cheap - the pre is worth around $!K, but sure sounded great.

    Preamps in mixers are designed to be pretty generic. Some are better on voice than others, just like different mics, etc.
  7. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Wow worried about tube pre-amps and microphones while using some of the biggest POS speakers available.:confused: The 2 most important parts of a PA system are #1 speakers followed by #2 microphones. Not sure what Digital reference mics you are using but when Musicians friend has some listed get 3 for $50.00 you know they have to be good.:rollno:
    Pajama_Bottoms likes this.
  8. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    Get one, plug a mic cord into it, and a 1/4" out into an unused jack. Tell her, here ya go. Make sure to "tweak" it to make her think it's working. Because I can't see how those mics and kustoms could reproduce the nuances of tube pre's in a live setting.
  9. Are there no clip indicators on your inputs? Can you not PFL individual channels to check for overloaded input?

    It should be possible to dial down the gain on the mic pre to stop it overloading the channel. Or put it in a line channel, but that often loses eq or effects.

    What I suspect is the singer has no mic control ( no backing off when going for gold and coming in to sing quietly ) so too greedy for gain and clipping when she goes for it.
  10. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    maybe some of the bk butler stuff might work?
  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Those top boxes sure aren't helping overall but that wasn't the question asked...
    If her preamp is line out only then run it into an aux in assuming you can route the aux to the on board effects. no aux in? Run it into a line in, not mic in.

    If her pre can be set to unity gain and it has xlr, mic level out. Then try a mic channel with the eq flat on the board.

    1 or the other approach may prove better that the other. This isn't something I would stress over unless her idea of tube pre is an $40 ART ... Which I guess could be Ok if that mic is actually a low end condenser and she is really using it to provide phantom power to the mic. I'm just guessing that your board has global phantom power, not channel selectable phantom...

    Her preamp could be a better channel strip that what is on your board. As far as the mic goes, some cheapies sound decent for certain uses. Sure they are colored. It might be a nice complimentary color though and how many really good mics are set flat at the board?

    IME it would be odd if the thermal overload/ self protect shutdown issue was truly related to her preamp. Unless of course the overall volume is way above your normal volume.

    I do a lot of gigs where there isn't space for my SL board. In those places we use my guitarist's Mackie 406. The lady lead slacker and I like a little compression so we each run external TC electronics voicetone correct units. They can have a lot of gain so our pads are set a lot lower than the pad on the guitarist's voice channel. Works fine. Same basic concept as the mic pre.
  12. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    +1. Won't make any difference in a loud club setting.
  13. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    There is no way a preamp into the preamp of your mixer is going to cause thermal shutdown. The worst it will do is sound like distorted ass if you have the 1st preamp up too loud. It won't damage your electronics. If you are going into thermal shutdown, that's a problem with the power amp stage. Just pad the preamp on the PA or go in to a line level input and you should be golden with regards to the singer. Still won't do jack for your thermal problem which you need to get checked out.
  14. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    "new ". Strike 1
    "Female". Strike 2
    "Insists". Strike 3
    She's out!
  15. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Good grief. Maybe she should buy a better mic to start off before anything else.
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The Beta 87 is an industry standard for female vocals. Fabulous microphone.
  17. I used to think so too until I saw a chart of the drop off of the 87 for myself.

    Since Shure advertises and packs a bragging sheet inside their mic box as does DR, the comparison is obvious: The 87 takes a nose dive where the DR holds a much straighter line right up through femaledom.

    The 58s are worse though than the Beta 87.

    Ah well, different paint colors and all ----- seems like most singers come with baggage ---- but don't we all?
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The nose dive the 87 takes is at 10K or so. Your singer must have great range.

  19. There's nothing in your PA that would make a decent usable sound. Kustom pa speakers, digital reference mics. No. Start over. Mic and speakers have more to do with your sound than anything else.

    If you're looking to spend money the sell the kustoms and buy a pair of yamaha clubs or something better. Pitch the mix in the trash and buy a 58 or better (audix om2, Senn 835, etc)
  20. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Only if the preamp comes as a package deal with better speakers and a MUCH better mic... she might as well be insisting on putting a new exhaust system in a Ford Pinto.