Theo Tigno

Composer and Musician

Gear Shootout

What mic, preamp, converter, etc. to use?

I am by no means a recording professional. I had the chance to do some work in a studio a while ago with some great gear. After I worked there, I had a little mixer and an SM57 and tried to do the best I could with recording.

As I slowly upgraded my gear (still not professional by any means, but at least an upgrade) I noticed that my recordings sounded better. An odd thing accompanied this, though: I found that even with a small mixer and an SM57, I could make something that sounded better than with the gear that I had. It made me ponder ...

I visit the Acoustic Guitar Forum when I need a break from work. One of the things that I notice on there is that there is a lot of debate about gear.

One thing to note is that you can have the greatest gear in the world, but if the musician doesn't do the piece justice, or if the piece isn't inspiring, nobody will care that you went through a vintage microphone through a high-end preamp into the best AD/DA converters.

When I did recording in that little studio, they had a ton of gear available. I recorded a friend of mine singing the Ave Maria on a Mackie mixer and a Blue Blueberry microphone and it is still, till this day, the most inspiring recording I ever did. My friend got an offer from a large music company to submit a demo from this.

That company had some great ... and I mean GREAT ... gear available. Yet, I wanted something that I could plug in and hit record with. It didn't matter that I didn't use the high-end tube preamp or the compressor that costs more than a car. It was an inspiring performance and I was blessed to be able to capture it.

I really don't think much about what gear I use anymore. I have cheap microphones and a Presonus MP20 preamp, which I rarely fire up anymore, going into an Echo Audiofire 4. Sure, it's cheap, but I figure that it's probably better to spend the effort writing something inspiring and playing it so that it does it justice. I'm still working on it, but I think when I finally get it, nobody will really care that it was recording on cheap gear.

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    This website is for showcasing my compositions as well as a musician blog. For more information regarding my professional career, please visit my LinkedIn page.

    About Me

    I am a Catholic composer and musician. My compositions include music written for the Polk Street Band, a Mass setting (Mass of the Immaculate Conception) and Antiphon settings for the full year that are geared toward contemporary ensembles. As a musician, I am a bassist and guitarist for Catholic recording artists and bluegrass bands.