• Recording with Josh Fix and learning firsthand how much mics and mic pre amps matter.

A recent post on Recording Review titled Preamps Don't Matter? at first reinforced my belief that for home recording enthusiasts preamps really don't matter much. I mean, unless you really have the technical chops to elicit the preamp's magic, by the time your mix is done, whatever tone the preamp helped create will probably be buried. I still believe this, but pro studios are a whole different matter. There, mic choices and mic pres make a world of difference. I learned this firsthand on a recent session at Hyde Street with vocalist/songwriter/musical ace Josh Fix.

From Engineer Jaime Durr: "On the Josh sessions we used an Audio Technica AT4060 tube mic into a Vintech x73i which is a Neve 1073 clone. We then borrowed a Sound Delux ELUX 251, clone of a Telefunken ELA M251 into a Neve 33114 pre."

And what a difference! The AudioTech thru the Vintech sounded great, but too clean, too precise and a touch thin for me. We then hooked up the ELUX 251 and BLOOM, wow, all these mids came out, it was a beautiful thing, but still not quite right. Finally, we hooked up the Neve 33114 and all was right with the world.

For my home studio, despite the all-too-easy-to-hear quality difference, I would never invest in this caliber of gear. I just can't rationalize the cost. But in a pro studio, where everything is being routed through great stuff and a gifted engineer is running it all, well, I'm glad someone was willing to pony up!