Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Discuss the hardware/software tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

James Perrett wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 3:40 pm Personally I'd be looking at the Neumann range. I've used the KH120s a few times and found them good. The smaller KH80s are supposed to be even better in many respects and are also supposed to work well with the Neumann sub if you need more bass.

Thanks, I'll check them out. The KH120s are a bit pricey at £1,200/pair but the KH80s are more affordable at £720/pair and as you say, I can always add a sub in future if I can properly utilise it in my space.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

resistorman wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 4:29 pm Focal Alpha range are very good.

I actually added the Focal Alpha Evo 65 to my list recently after reading glowing reviews of them. At £520/pair they're £200 cheaper than the Neumann KH80s and the 6.5" woofer is bigger than the KH80s (4") and the KH120s (5.25"), but I don't mind paying the extra for the KH80s if they're noticeably better for my purposes.

It was also said that the Kali LP-6 or the JBL LSR305 are 90% as good as the Evo 65s at 20% of the cost, although that's not true anymore (if it ever was) as the LP-6s are £300/pair and the LSR305s are £240/pair.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

ef37a wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 5:21 pm Two excellent suggestions. Also, if you have a particular pro studio in mind it could be worth visiting them to see what monitors they use?

They will probably be very expensive monsters (most probably more than one brand) but if say drool inducing Genelecs you could find a smaller version that will likely have the 'house sound'.

The studio might even have a very small but good pair that they use for location work...ask.

Dave.

Thanks, that's a good idea.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Drew Stephenson »

When I auditioned a few things a couple of years ago the KH80 were, to my ears, the best in the price range.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Doveman wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:23 pm ……….. or spending thousands on excellent full-spectrum monitors and room treatment. It makes more sense to do what you suggest and then hire a studio with expensive speakers and room treatment to do the final mix.

Are there any particular monitors that you can recommend?

I’ve been following this thread and the above reply rang alarm bells for me.

If you’re recording vocals in an untreated room you’ll have a significant problem! Room treatment really needs to be near the top of your ‘purchase list’.

At the beginning of the thread you were also looking at a vocal microphone. I don’t know if it was covered earlier, but the quality of the interface pales into insignificance relative to microphone choice and room treatment. Did you buy the Aston?

Regarding interface I’ve never had a problem with latency and it’s a good idea not to commit any effects on your (self-recorded) vocals on the way in - so probably all you need is some comfort reverb for tracking and I’d have thought most interfaces would offer that with minimal penalty.

Regarding interfaces, I’m a UAD Apollo user and, as said above, I only use reverb for monitoring. No problems there, but I do have a range of vocal mics and professionally designed room treatment. I also happily use an SSL 2 or MixPre 10 as an interface. If I was buying new I’d consider RME based on the very good comments around here, but I doubt anyone listening to my projects would notice the difference as to which interface I used! The point regarding UAD plugs-ins is worthy of repeating. I enjoy them very much, but there are now many good alternatives.

Regarding monitors I swapped out my PMC Result6 monitors for Neumann KH80s and couldn’t be happier - but of course having a treated room helps.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Mike Stranks »

Just emphasising Bob's point, I was involved last night in a regular livestream discussion on things audio, where someone posed the question about 'what's the best thing you can buy to improve your sound?'

As expected, there were multiple opinions on this kit, or that kit, or this software, that software, but until I opined, no-one mentioned room treatment. IME getting some room treatment in place - even if not covering absolutely all the bases - is by far the best thing I've done to improve the quality of my sound.

It can be done for much less than some of the figures being discussed here and can be the base on which you then decide whether/not you need to upgrade. Buying kit (more interesting and exciting though it be) without sorting the acoustics is a recipe for wasting money - or at least potentially spending it unnecessarily
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

There is of course a 'chicken and egg' situation here. You cannot know how good or bad* your room is until you produce some 'quality' sound in it, that is why I suggest the purchase of some really good speakers should be very high on the agenda.

I also suggest early on buying or making some proper stands for the speakers. The temptation is to balance them on a desk, always meaning to do a proper job that never gets done! I am fortunate to have two CD cabinets (in pine effect chipboard) that are 0.84mtr high, have 5, 170mm 'holes' in them for CDs and have a board about 250mm sq top and bottom. These hold my Tannoy 5As at just about ear high for the tweeters. I am sure such cabinets are still around?

*There are no good, small domestic rooms but some are REALLY bad!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HOMCOM-Adjusta ... 91&sr=8-12
That ^ sort of thing but you'd have to fit a top and bottom.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Mike Stranks »

ef37a wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 9:51 am There is of course a 'chicken and egg' situation here. You cannot know how good or bad* your room is until you produce some 'quality' sound in it, that is why I suggest the purchase of some really good speakers should be very high on the agenda.

IME there are very, very few good (or even acceptable) domestic rooms without some form of treatment.

Sort out the chickens... then worry about the eggs! :)
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

Mike Stranks wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:25 am
ef37a wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 9:51 am There is of course a 'chicken and egg' situation here. You cannot know how good or bad* your room is until you produce some 'quality' sound in it, that is why I suggest the purchase of some really good speakers should be very high on the agenda.

IME there are very, very few good (or even acceptable) domestic rooms without some form of treatment.

Sort out the chickens... then worry about the eggs! :)

You may have misunderstood me Mike? I am saying get some first class monitors and then you have a first class sound source with which to sort the room. I am sure there are many here who can suggest/donate suitable tracks.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Kwackman »

I'm with Mike in the chicken/egg order.
Even a few duvets will help whether you have modest or amazing monitors.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by James Perrett »

I'd say that basic room treatment and correct monitor positioning are going to make a huge difference. The first you can do before you buy anything else but the second probably needs at least some kind of monitors so that you can experiment with positioning. I've found that raising my monitors up to about 350mm above my desk has massively improved the sound - probably because the desk reflections play less of a part in the sound.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

James Perrett wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:04 pm I'd say that basic room treatment and correct monitor positioning are going to make a huge difference. The first you can do before you buy anything else but the second probably needs at least some kind of monitors so that you can experiment with positioning. I've found that raising my monitors up to about 350mm above my desk has massively improved the sound - probably because the desk reflections play less of a part in the sound.

Ah! I think you are closer to my wavelength James. OP will need an interface to drive the monitors but little else other than some well recorded tracks. He can then start to deal with poor imaging and lumpy bass.

Of course! He should spend several evenings on 'Studio SOS' back articles.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

blinddrew wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:24 pm When I auditioned a few things a couple of years ago the KH80 were, to my ears, the best in the price range.

I think I'll have to try to find somewhere that I can audition them and compare them to the Focal Alpha Evo 65s.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:11 pm Ah! I think you are closer to my wavelength James.

I'd still say that mirror point panels and corner bass traps can safely be built without any monitors as they're always needed. However, if you can mount them in such a way that you can still move them around it would help when fine tuning the treatment with the monitors.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

Doveman wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:20 pm
blinddrew wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:24 pm When I auditioned a few things a couple of years ago the KH80 were, to my ears, the best in the price range.

I think I'll have to try to find somewhere that I can audition them and compare them to the Focal Alpha Evo 65s.

With the greatest respect Doveman, unless you have great experience in such matters I would not bother. I am pretty sure the Top Chaps here. Hugh, Drew, Sam et al will agree with me when I say that monitors in that class are very similar and none are 'wrong' or 'right'.

My hearing is shot so if Hugh or Phil tells me "this monitor sounds great!" I believe them and would be sure I was getting a truly useful 'tool'.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:55 pm I’ve been following this thread and the above reply rang alarm bells for me.

If you’re recording vocals in an untreated room you’ll have a significant problem! Room treatment really needs to be near the top of your ‘purchase list’.

I was just agreeing with Dave that it probably makes more sense to get monitors that are excellent for vocal work, rather than getting ones that are better with the lower frequencies, which will either have poorer mids or be much more expensive, and then spending thousands trying to treat a domestic room to make it work OK with deep bass. I wasn't suggesting that the room won't need any treatment to be able to do vocal work, just that it will be a lot cheaper.

At the beginning of the thread you were also looking at a vocal microphone. I don’t know if it was covered earlier, but the quality of the interface pales into insignificance relative to microphone choice and room treatment. Did you buy the Aston?

I haven't bought the Aston yet. I've also been looking at other mics like the Shure SM7B and the AKG C214 but I haven't decided yet.

Regarding interface I’ve never had a problem with latency and it’s a good idea not to commit any effects on your (self-recorded) vocals on the way in - so probably all you need is some comfort reverb for tracking and I’d have thought most interfaces would offer that with minimal penalty.

Yeah, I wouldn't commit any effects but a bit of reverb, maybe some compression, helps and I think they need to be DSP effects to avoid any noticeable latency.

Regarding interfaces, I’m a UAD Apollo user and, as said above, I only use reverb for monitoring. No problems there, but I do have a range of vocal mics and professionally designed room treatment. I also happily use an SSL 2 or MixPre 10 as an interface. If I was buying new I’d consider RME based on the very good comments around here, but I doubt anyone listening to my projects would notice the difference as to which interface I used! The point regarding UAD plugs-ins is worthy of repeating. I enjoy them very much, but there are now many good alternatives.


I was originally considering a UAD interface but I crossed them off when they abandoned the USB interface and went Firewire only. They have DSP effects of course, which the much cheaper SSL 2 doesn't. I'll probably just pre-order the Babyface Pro FS, as I've found somewhere that says it should have stock by August 19.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:35 pm
Doveman wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:20 pm
blinddrew wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:24 pm When I auditioned a few things a couple of years ago the KH80 were, to my ears, the best in the price range.

I think I'll have to try to find somewhere that I can audition them and compare them to the Focal Alpha Evo 65s.

With the greatest respect Doveman, unless you have great experience in such matters I would not bother. I am pretty sure the Top Chaps here. Hugh, Drew, Sam et al will agree with me when I say that monitors in that class are very similar and none are 'wrong' or 'right'.

I wouldn't necessarily agree with that Dave - different monitors will always have different strengths and weaknesses. Which one you prefer is a matter of taste. I like to have totally lucid stereo imaging which is something that other people may forgo in order to obtain a flatter frequency response.

And some people still think of NS10s as monitors which sound nothing like a typical uncoloured monitor.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Doveman wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:38 pm I was originally considering a UAD interface but I crossed them off when they abandoned the USB interface and went Firewire only. They have DSP effects of course, which the much cheaper SSL 2 doesn't. I'll probably just pre-order the Babyface Pro FS, as I've found somewhere that says it should have stock by August 19.

Just a correction - UAD interfaces are currently USB or Thunderbolt - not FireWire. https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces.html

The Apollo range have the built in DSP for low latency monitoring with plug-ins. The Apollo Solo is currently 400 quid in the UK.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:35 pm Just a correction - UAD interfaces are currently USB or Thunderbolt - not FireWire. https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces.html

The Apollo range have the built in DSP for low latency monitoring with plug-ins. The Apollo Solo is currently 400 quid in the UK.

Sorry, I should have checked my own post on the first page! I meant Thunderbolt, not Firewire. All the newer Apollo models, (i.e. excluding the original Solo and Twin) are Thunderbolt, so even though UAD may still support the older models for now, there's a risk they may neglect the USB drivers going forward.

I ruled out the Apollo Solo because its DSP is too underpowered and with the RME at £650 that seems like a much better deal.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by jaminem »

Doveman wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:34 pm Just revisiting this topic as I haven't got round to buying the Babyface Pro yet as it's been out of stock every time I checked, and is still only available to pre-order for £680-700. So I was wondering if there's anything new that's as good (or better) and maybe cheaper or more readily

Studiocare have limited stock of the babyface right now if you’re still looking…
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

jaminem wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:11 pm Studiocare have limited stock of the babyface right now if you’re still looking…

Thanks but their pricing is a bit much for me at £723. I've pre-ordered with dv247 for £648 and their estimated stock date keeps getting pushed back a day every day, so hopefully they get some soon. Scan have got it in stock for £689 but I'm not in a rush, so I'd rather wait and save £50.

I've just found out that the two headphone outputs can't be fed with different mixes though, so I'm rethinking whether the BFP is right for me. It also doesn't seem to come with a PSU. I've probably got one I can use in my box of PSUs, so it's not a deal breaker, it just seems a bit mean considering how much it costs.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

I'm considering whether I should just get the UAD Apollo Solo USB Heritage Edition for £399. It still doesn't have two headphone buses and the DSP may be too underpowered but maybe if I'm only using it for a bit of reverb, EQ, and compression on the headphone output when recording vocals, it will be able to cope.

The BFP doesn't even have compression, only reverb and EQ, so if the Apollo Solo can only manage to do that it will be as useful as the BFP.

The Apollo Twin X Duo TB3 Heritage Edition is £759, which isn't that much more than the BFP but I'd have to spend another £100+ on a TB3 PCI-E card and cable (assuming my motherboard even has a TB3 header).

The only other option I can think of is to get the SSL2+ for £219, which does appear to have two separate headphone buses but no DSP, and then feed one of the headphone outputs into an outboard reverb and EQ (and maybe compressor). There's still the question of whether this interface has rock solid drivers and low enough latency to be able to play VST instruments in realtime.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

Doveman..mate! If you are now considering the SSL2+ and some fancy external hookup I urge you to look again at the MOTU M4. Unlike the SSL2 it has two extra balanced line inputs. Thus you could simply split the headphone output* (or buy a Behrry HA400, always handy and cheap as..) Run that to the external kit and return it to inputs 3/4. But! I am sure you would find the latency of the M4 more than low enough to allow on board effects. Certainly a bit of reverb (which is often pre-delayed anyway) and compression)

*Not even a true 'split' you just need to 'sniff' the headphone signal to feed another device.

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

ef37a wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:03 am Doveman..mate! If you are now considering the SSL2+ and some fancy external hookup I urge you to look again at the MOTU M4. Unlike the SSL2 it has two extra balanced line inputs. Thus you could simply split the headphone output* (or buy a Behrry HA400, always handy and cheap as..) Run that to the external kit and return it to inputs 3/4. But! I am sure you would find the latency of the M4 more than low enough to allow on board effects. Certainly a bit of reverb (which is often pre-delayed anyway) and compression)

*Not even a true 'split' you just need to 'sniff' the headphone signal to feed another device.

Yeah, having read some more about the SSL2+ it seems the quality isn't that great. The mic pre-amps seems OK but the output quality seems to be somewhat lacking, so the MOTU M4 is probably a much better option at that price point and if I do find the latency isn't good enough for me, I should be able to re-sell it quite easily for minimal loss and then look at the UAD and BFP again.
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

I see that the UAD Apollo Twin Duo USB Heritage Edition is now available new for £799 (previously I could only find a B-stock non-Heritage Edition for £660).

https://www.andertons.co.uk/recording/a ... or-windows

Being USB, that would save me having to spend another £100+ on a TB3 card and cable, so it would only cost me £150 more than the RME Babyface Pro FS that I've ordered, which is limited to EQ, reverb and echo for the DSP effects. In fact I could probably resell the BFP for more than I've paid for it, as the price has gone up quite a bit since then.

Are there any major downsides with the Twin Duo USB compared to the Twin MkII or TwinX? They're £40 cheaper but only available in TB2 or TB3 so once I'd bought a card and cable they'd cost me about £60 more.

Does the BFP have any clear advantages over the Twin Duo USB, or the Twin MkII or TwinX, for someone who won't be using the ADAT I/O?
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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by ef37a »

"Does the BFP have any clear advantages over the Twin Duo USB, or the Twin MkII or TwinX, for someone who won't be using the ADAT I/O?"

I cannot tell you that but RME gear does have one advantage over just about all the others? Longevity, it is almost unknown for a piece of RME kit to be 'orphaned' by a change of OS. And, I am sure I did not dream this? Msoft said "Windows Ten will be the last OS number. Changes and improvements will be by updates".
I bet Win 12 is already 'under construction' (I doubt there will ever be a W13!)

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Re: Audio interface and mic for male vocals

Post by Doveman »

ef37a wrote: Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:36 am "Does the BFP have any clear advantages over the Twin Duo USB, or the Twin MkII or TwinX, for someone who won't be using the ADAT I/O?"

I cannot tell you that but RME gear does have one advantage over just about all the others? Longevity, it is almost unknown for a piece of RME kit to be 'orphaned' by a change of OS. And, I am sure I did not dream this? Msoft said "Windows Ten will be the last OS number. Changes and improvements will be by updates".
I bet Win 12 is already 'under construction' (I doubt there will ever be a W13!)

Dave.

Yeah, longevity and support is definitely important. I thought UAD might be just as good in this respect but if it's known to drop support for products then I guess I should stick with RME.

My main PC isn't even compatible with Windows 11 according to the upgrade tool, although I understand that this doesn't stop me using it, it just won't have some features that rely on a TPM. My music PC is more modern and is officially compatible with Windows 11, not that TPM support is relevant to music production.
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