Hi! I am looking for a decent preamp that would be used mainly for ADR recording and also for some voiceovers. The films that need some ADR are usually shot by MKH 416. It is important to be able to match the sound of the location and the ADR so what I need is a preamp that isnt colorizing too much. Any suggestions? Thanks
I work for a London Film sound post facility with 3 ADR stages. we use the Millenia HV-3 and it does sound great, but the gain pots are stepped. meaning it cant be ridden during a take.
we favour the Focusright ISA428. Clean and neutral with unstepped gain and VU needle meters per strip with the option to add a digital A/D card.
Both great sounding pre's, just depends on your recording style.
I like to use a preamp which has a little bit of character when driven, like a valve preamp, or using a transistor preamp with a valve microphone. The reason I do this is because it makes a relatively soft microphone sound a bit like a 416.
I also think it is a bit too difficult for me to work with a shotgun microphone like the 416 in an ADR situation, where I cannot actively control the position of the microphone (unless I can afford a boom operator for the ADR - which never happens on my films). So I use a cardiod microphone like the MKH-50 in order to have a decent pickup pattern. The only exception is when I work in a very large ADR studio, where I can get the mic more than a meter away from the actor.
The most precious part of dialogue is life, the little errors, the sense of movement. I think you lose that when forcing the actors to stand too still. You need these "errors" if you want the ADR dialogue to match the production sound. It is a lot easier to make the ADR work in the mix by matching up different types of microphones, than it is to make a stiff ADR acting performance work with a vivid on set performance.
When matching up the ADR to the production sound, I use speakerphone quite a lot. Especially the mic modelling, where you can degrade the microphone. I also use altiverb. I usually make a copy of the sound on another track and audiosuite the copy, in order to get a mono version with a credible reverb, because I need quite a lot of reverb to match the natural reverb of the production sound.
I can then mix the clean and the processed track until it sounds close to the production sound. I also EQ the ADR dialogue until it matches the production sound.
I send all of the dialogue, ADR and production sound, to a reverb (at least stereo, sometimes 5.1) which ties it all together (like Lebovski's rug).
Millenia HV-3 is about as flat, low noise, and uncolored as you can get. It would work well for ADR, but most voiceovers are recorded with a preamp with more color.
The chain we use to track both ADR and dialog/VO is a u87 through an Avalon. That chain is somewhat of an industry standard in both game and film work. The Avalon does color the sound a bit (but in a way we like!) so if you really want the most transparent preamp the aforementioned Millenia is a great way to go. The noise floor is so low it's also great for foley. As posted before the gain pots are stepped but that's the only real concern. There are more budget friendly ways to go but you can't miss with this type of chain and good Mic's and Pre's don't really lose their value the way cpu based devices do so they are great long term investments.
Some great recommendations here, I know the Focusrite 428 very well, very nice.
The Sound Devices Mixpre-D mentioned above is fantastic too for ADR, we used a couple of these recently - one in the UK and the other in Germany on a project sending parts back and forward and they're incredible, as someone mentioned above, a great portable mixer and perfect for laptop/DAW - But it's a good idea to buy a power adapter for it, rather than go from batteries when using it with your DAW/ NLE, however the sound devices branded Hirose AC adapter in the UK is around £120.00, which is pretty steep.
I asked our I.T. department for an old HP Laptop AC adapter and sent Sound Devices an email asking if the HP adapter spec was suitable as it was around 18.5v (over the 17v SD spec), they tested and said no problem just buy the Hirose adapter and put it on the end, gotta love the Sound Devices crew!
I sent the HP adapter to www.designacable.com (awesome company) who have made me loads of pro cables, anyway Adam at Designacable supplied the Hirose, connected/soldered it tested etc and couriered it back to me for £19! which is great considering the Hirose connector alone costs over £20 here anyway.
So if you do go the MixPre-D route for your ADR or VO and want to save some money on batteries give Adam at designacable a facebook message/call etc - awesome company for specialist quality "Sound" custom cables and great prices/free return post, he cooks using the best quality ingredients - neutrik,switchcraft,van damme etc.