There is a lot to be said for having a quality mic pre dialled in at input stage – even if your audio interface is excellent. In addition to cutting great vocals, instruments such as bass and guitars, synths, and even piano can benefit hugely from being run through something nice and analogue at the front end before hitting the digital domain. The V 402 is Neumann’s first mic preamp since the now iconic 476B – so it’s been a long time coming. But has it been worth the wait?
I’ve used a number of analog preamps with a variety of microphones – and there is a lot of quality out there. I have to say, just having something physical to get tactile with is enough to excite me, and although there are an abundance of superb plugins that not only emulate but sometimes improve on some analog circuitry, I prefer to add that stuff later, after the recording has taken place.
And when I do record anything, it always goes in as close to sound at source as humanly possible, so I’m not one for crushing anything or even giving it much of a squeeze before it’s in the box.
So today I’m trying out the V 402 with a Neumann TLM 49 microphone with an emerging artist in Headliner’s HQ studio. I’ve not tracked with the TLM before, surprisingly – my mic collection includes an Austrian Audio OC818, a Vanguard V12, a couple of AKG C414s including the one with the gold capsule, and a few more – all of them of course are great sounding, but considering this is a Neumann unit, I’m going with a Neumann mic.