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Tech Tip Of The Day: Mixing Tubes With Tubes

Is it true that you shouldn't use a tube microphone with a tube preamp?

Provided by Sweetwater.

Q: I’ve been reading quite a lot of recording forums lately and I stumbled across a piece of advice which really has me confused.

On one forum, someone said that you shouldn’t use a tube microphone with a tube preamp.

Being the curious type I went searching and this type of advice seems to pop up across the web in many audio forums.

Is this true? Could I have ruined my mic or preamp?

A: Yep, we’ve heard that before, too.

To be perfectly honest, this is a wonderful example of why it’s always a good idea to verify information you find online (no matter the source), especially if something doesn’t seem right to you.

Here’s our take on all this:

1. Countless older records were made using tube mics paired with tube preamps, compressors, EQs, and consoles. We’d be lying if we didn’t say that those recordings sounded perfectly fine to us!

2. There is truly no absolute technical reason why two tube devices should not be connected together. So, in answer to your second question, rest assured that your gear is perfectly fine.

3. There may be aesthetic reasons why you don’t want to use two tube devices together. For example, both the mic and the preamp may be heavily colored and using them together results in too much coloration. However, this is not the same as a hard and steadfast rule saying never use two tubes in sequence together.

Hopefully this has cleared up your confusion. Happy recording!

As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your opinion on the pairing of mics and preamps, be they tube based or otherwise. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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