I love working with audio as its as much an art as it is science. Despite all we know about waveform generation and transmission, what really matters is the human experience.
It all begins at the capture point. There are plenty of mics on the market that approach neutral perfection (I’m looking a you R0de!). But perfection is not always desirable, in fact I avoid it! I would rather use a mic whose quirks match those of the source they are trying to capture.
The most loved microphones I’ve ever used are:
- AKG C568B
- AKG D112
- Blue Encore 100i
- Sennheiser MD421ii
- Shure SM-57
A pre-amp is the next part of the equation. There is a hell of a lot of junk out there about the difference a good preamp makes. Whilst I partially agree with that mentality, for me the big advantage is being able to control phase and input impedance (esp. on dynamic mics). Channel strips can be particularly attractive as being able to do a little tone control and compression can make the mixing stage a lot easier.
The pre-amplifiers I have used are:
- dBx 286 Vocal Channel Strip
- dBx 386 Dual Mic Pre
- Focusrite TwinTrak Pro Dual Channel Strip
- M-Audio Tampa