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POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by aaronbagby on 2012-12-02 13:06:04

I use my HD Pro for all of my instrument tracking as of now, and the results have been beyond great. I'm using it for my band's new record, which will hit shelves in February via Rise Records. However, I'm looking to get into vocal tracking at home, and I can only assume that the mic preamp in the POD is not going to make it easy for vocals to be on par with the rest of my mix. I have an AKG C214 and an SE Electronics Reflexion filter. I'm still left with this debate: I'm either going to buy a nice external mic pre and convert to digital with my POD, or just get an Apogee Duet and have a combo of decent pre's/great conversion. I've heard that the POD runs at 48K/24bit and can go all the way to 96K, but I still assume that the Apogee converters are superior based on their raving reviews. Do you think it'd be more beneficial to spring on an awesome preamp and convert with the POD, or go the combo route and get a Duet? Thanks!

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by mdmayfield on 2012-12-02 13:36:10

If your goal is to have good A/D conversion, then the Apogee is a good idea.

If your goal is to get a good vocal sound, then the A/D converter can be safely placed on the back burner until you have:

- A great vocalist

- Great room acoustics

- A great vocal mic

- A great mic preamp

After you have all that stuff set, then maybe the difference between a decent A/D converter and a great one will matter.

Edit: Also, experience with all aspects of mic placement/vocal mic technique, mixing, knowing when and whether to choose specific effects, editing, etc. will make a much bigger difference to your final result than most combinations of gear. A pro engineer with years of experience can make a better-sounding recording with OK gear than an inexperienced beginner can with super high-end gear.

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by aaronbagby on 2012-12-02 14:49:04

For now, the vocalist will mostly be myself. I'm not by any means a great singer, but I'm very confident in my abilities. As for the room, I will be tracking in various parts of my house (mostly my bedroom, far from a great acoustic room) using the SE Reflexion Filter Pro, which I know to be excellent for avoiding bad reflections in a less-than-suitable room. As I said before, I've got an AKG C214, which I've tracked with before and had good results (I was just singing, not engineering/mixing). That leaves me with the preamp debate. The only preamp I have is the one built into the HD PRO. Given the other gear I'll be using, what would you suggest for the best results? Ive heard good things about the preamps built into the Apogee Duet, but if the conversion on the POD is up to par for hi-fi vocal recordings, it seems it may be smarter to spring for a better mic pre. Also, it would hinge on whether or not I can totally bypass the PODs preamps and use it solely for converting. Again, thanks for the help.

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by irishpriest on 2012-12-02 16:28:10

Just talking about converter vs converter, this is no comparison. The apogee is in a different league, well above what you can get with your pod. I wouldnt even coinsider the pod for micing an acoustic. If money is not a problem then go for the Apogee. The poster mdmayfield is right though too. There is more to getting a great sound then just buying a better interface. There is also ways around that problem too. A good set up plugins for vocals can make a huge difference as long as you have a good clear signal coming in.

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by HDProJohn on 2012-12-02 18:12:22

To be clear, you're using the Pod as your only interface? My vote would be to buy a vocal strip and use the Pod's converters instead of buying a Duet. This will have a much greater impact, IMO.

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by aaronbagby on 2012-12-03 13:07:20

Yes, the POD is my only interface right now. If I went your suggested route, what would be the best way to bypass the pre's on the POD? I'm guessing that the XLR/instrument inputs on the front run through a preamp no matter what processing is applied on the patch/tone. Would I only be able to bypass the pre's altogether by running to the Dry Thru on the back, or maybe a digital in of some sort?

Some of the preamps I've been looking into are the Focusrite ISA One, Daking Preamp One, ART MPA-II, UA Solo/610, and a few others. Any input on these choices? My primary use for it will be vocals, but also acoustic guitars and occasionally other instruments. I have no doubt that the preamp in the Duet will be alright. I'm just indecisive and inexperienced with preamps, looking for the best bang-for-my-buck.

Re: POD HD PRO Converters vs Apogee
by HDProJohn on 2012-12-03 16:49:39

I'll give the reason for my first reply to hopefully make it clearer. I too haven't had much exposure with preamps or converters, and hence can't recommend one of those preamps. I can only recommend going to a production forum and asking dudes who do this for a living or are serious hobbyist. In my group, we run a cheaper Focusrite preamp into a Presonus Firestudio. That sounds far superior to the time when I've ran an SM7 into the Pod and used the "vintage preamp."

Hopefully a guru can step in and offer better input regarding the Pod's transparency. Not sure if the Pod's preamps or converters are more so responsible to the end sound. If irishpriest above is correct, then it looks like you'll need both a preamp and interface. However, I'm sort of with mdmayfield above where he places least importance on the converter/interface. I know that the Firestudio is nothing special, yet you see bands like Periphery and Red Seas Fire who are famous for home demos using one. I think that says something about the converter/interface in relationship to a preamp. Makes me want to look up the comparisons between the converters of the Pod and entry level interfaces/Duet.

The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.