Portico 5012 vs. Great River MP-2NV Shootout
Mike Jasper
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4th October 2005
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Portico 5012 vs. Great River MP-2NV Shootout

Mark Viator got a Portico 5012 less than a week ago and brought it over to run a few tests against a Great River MP-2NV at my studio, Deceptive Sound.

Basically, we did two tests: Acoustic guitar and vocals. Rather than give my opinion, I'm just going to post links to the mp3 results and let you draw your own conclusions. (Note: The mp3s are in no particular order. I'll tell everyone which was which in a later post. Possibly.)

The three acoustic guitar mp3s are of a Gurian type 3 steel string acoustic recorded with two Neumann KM184s into the Portico with the silk button on, then into the Portico with the silk button off, and finally, into the Great River with loading button on. On all three takes, the preamp was connected to an Apogee PSX-100SE then to a Mac with Pro Tools LE. No compression, but a little room verb from a KSP8 was added.

Then I did one more test using an SM57 into my standard vocal chain -- preamp to 1176 at 4-1 to Apogee to Pro Tools. Silk button was on in the Portico and loading button was on in the Great River. Yes, there was some compression this time, as well as a bit of 33ms delay and room verb from the KSP8. These are called Vocal 1 and Vocal 2.

Finally, two vocals were recorded with a Neumann U87 to either the Portico or MP-2NV to the Apogee to Pro Tools. The Portico had the silk button on, and the Great River had the loading button on. No compression, but again some room verb from the KSP8. These vocals were recorded to one of the guitar tracks we made.

Extraneous noises happen. I think you can hear my dog on one of the tracks. That said, I think everyone will be able to hear the diffference between the two preamps.

Hope you find this enlightening and entertaining. And thanks to Mark Viator for coming through with the goods.

Jasper
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Guitar1.mp3 (1.14 MB, 2352 views)
File Type: mp3 Guitar2.mp3 (1.15 MB, 2049 views)
File Type: mp3 Guitar3.mp3 (1.15 MB, 1926 views)
File Type: mp3 Vocal1.mp3 (306.2 KB, 2081 views)
File Type: mp3 Vocal2.mp3 (276.0 KB, 1989 views)
File Type: mp3 VocalU87-1.mp3 (1.28 MB, 2096 views)
File Type: mp3 VocalU87-2.mp3 (1.30 MB, 2052 views)

Last edited by Mike Jasper; 13th October 2006 at 09:14 AM.. Reason: Better title.
#2
4th October 2005
Old 4th October 2005
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Acst sounds great. Definitly liked 1 then 3. 2 felt smaller.

Vocals I liked 2 on both sets.

Love the comparisons.
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4th October 2005
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Thx for taking the time to these tests..I liked Acoustic Guitar 1 too...and liked vocals 2 on test 2 and 3.
#4
4th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crogersmod
Acst sounds great. Definitly liked 1 then 3. 2 felt smaller.

Vocals I liked 2 on both sets.
i have the same impressions
#5
4th October 2005
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I liked 1 for the acoustic guitar, but unlike the others I preferred 1 on both vocal tracks. The #2 preamp sounds to me like it is kind of "ringing" in the low-midrange in a way that is not pleasing, so even though #1 is thinner and more sibilant (neither things I would like in theory), it sounded closer to what I would shoot for in a mix with that voice. (Obviously the singer has a lot of low-mid in the voice so perhaps it is a reflection of the performance rather than the pre, which just goes to show ya...).

Thanks for taking the time to make these tests.
Mike Jasper
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4th October 2005
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Interesting results so far. Nobody's picked sound files using the same preamp yet.

Jasper
#7
4th October 2005
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I liked ac guitar 1 the best. It has air and intimacy.

I though everything else was a nice sounding toss up.

As an aside, I think the guitar sounds amazing but the vocal doesn't excite me as much as the guitar from a production standpoint - the vocal performance is great. Maybe I want a little bit brighter sound, and deeper, closer to the mic perhaps? Maybe I just don't like U87s. The guitar sound makes me go "wow", the vocal sound doesn't. But its not bad by a longshot.

Have you tried recording vox with a KM184 ever? Interesting option worth trying.

Nice song


#8
4th October 2005
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I really like the clips. great sound.

I like vocalU87-2 and vocal-1 (sm57) these have a nice "air" to them.

vocalU87-1 and vocal-2 (sm57) seem "mellow" to me, although i would like to have that as well in my rig. i want both



btw, its a cool song, i like it. who is the artist.

"i dont neeeeeeeeeeeeeed no whisky..............."

#9
4th October 2005
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Guitar1.mp3, then 3, then 2

VocalU87-2.mp3

Vocal2.mp3

They all sound pretty good to me though. Thank you!
#10
4th October 2005
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I like the acoustic on both 1 and 3 almost equally. I would give 1 the ever so slight edge, but I could live happily with either.

I like the second of the two vocal tracks on both vocal samples.
#11
4th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jebjerome
Guitar1.mp3, then 3, then 2

VocalU87-2.mp3

Vocal2.mp3
same here.
(though I'm quite suspicious with mp3-shredded material)
#12
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For the guitars I'm guessing #1 is the Great River. I liked 2 and 3 best. For the first set of vocals I'm guessing #2 is Portico, which I slightly preferred. For set 3, the performances and compression amounts were too different for me to get a fix on it.

I've never heard the Portico so I'm curious to find out which is which. Why do you always use the loading on the GR?

Thanks,
R
#13
4th October 2005
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I couldn't really clearly hear the differences with the vocal - with the acoustic it was easier for me to hear the differences.

2 & 3 - seem to be the same preamp. So given that you only had one preamp with 2 settings, I am going to put this with the Portico. 2 and 3 remind me of my ISA428 which I also beleive were Neve designed - just a tad thin on the bottom end.

#1 sounded nice and full sounding. Much beefier bottom end - the difference between #1 compared to #2 & #3 were dramatic to my ears (as far as preamps go)

So in a nutshell, here is my guess;
1) Great River
2) Portico
3) Portico
#14
4th October 2005
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I liked Nos. 1 and 3 of the ac. guitar about equal, tending to favor #3.

I didn't really like the vocals on either... kinda a 'harder' sound than I would be looking for. The sm-57 vocals are about equal for me. Both pretty decent.
#15
4th October 2005
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I think Vocal 1 and Vocal U87 2 are the same preamp. It has more hi end.

I did not listen to the guitar.

I preferred Vocal 1 to Vocal 2 but that could be because of the SM57, which always needs some hiend eqing if you don't scream. At Vocal U87 2 I thought it was a bit too much so I preferred the "darker" one.

Thanks for these files. Please reveal it soon!
#16
4th October 2005
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Nice playing, no comments on the sounds (cheap headphones here) but the playing on the guitar tracks is killer!!
#17
4th October 2005
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You did the test all wrong, and it's meaningless anyway!

I'm listening on headphones, but...

I picked guitar 3 first for a bright and clear sound....(but Guitar 1 seemed good for a less bright more present sound...the Great River!).

I picked VocalU87 2 ...felt a bit more present and upfront (the Great River!).

I picked Vocal 1 as Vocal 2 just seemed way too cloudy.

Thanks for doing the test!! thumbsup
Mike Jasper
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4th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11
You did the test all wrong, and it's meaningless anyway!
Now that was funny. Thanks. I had a stressful day and needed that laugh.

Jasper
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4th October 2005
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my prefs:

- guitar #2

- u87 #1 (this was nearly a toss-up)

- sm-57 #1 (also close)

i've used neither pre-amp so i will not hazard a guess. especially the guess that guitar #2 is the GR.
#20
5th October 2005
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Um someone may have already mentioned this but you named your mp3's by the preamps you used. the first was titled GR the second PortSilkHPF and I'm guessing the same for the rest. Probaby why so many of you are guessing it right.


Just to add a bit, I enjoyed the test eventhough it was totally ruined for me. You saved me from buying a portico, I never thought when people said the GR was better that it was actually that much better. It may have just been me but it seemed so full and big, loved the sound. The portico however I didn't think it was all that great, I'm sure there's something it works really well for but on acoustic guitars the great river just kicks ass.
Mike Jasper
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5th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy79
Um someone may have already mentioned this but you named your mp3's by the preamps you used. the first was titled GR the second PortSilkHPF and I'm guessing the same for the rest. Probaby why so many of you are guessing it right.
Huh. That sounds like some of the original names, but I renamed them before I uploaded to my Web site. Renamed the file, renamed the link. That's just weird. But PortSilkHPF is definitly one of my slugs.

I can't see the old names myself. I guess some of us can, some of us can't. Sure explains a lot, though.

Oh, well. The cat's out of that bag.

Jasper
#22
5th October 2005
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I and probably many others didn't see these names. Can you post which we were which please? Thanks.
Quote
1
Mike Jasper
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5th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jebjerome
I and probably many others didn't see these names. Can you post which were which please? Thanks.
Sure, why not. New people can still guess early in the thread.

Guitar 1 is the Great River.

Guitar 2 is the Portico with silk on.

Guitar 3 is the Portico with silk off.

Vocal 1 is the Great River.
Vocal 2 is the Portico, with silk button on.

VocalU87-1 is the Portico
VocalU87-2 is the Great River.


To me, the Portico was great to sing through. But it's hard for me to explain exactly why. I loved the GR on acoustic guitar, although AC sounded very good on the Portico too. They're different, but I think complimentary.

I might have more to say about this later, but for now I'm tired as hell. It's definitely fun to hear this stuff, even in mp3 form, but I think you have to live with a piece for awhile before you really know.

If only we could do that with every element, huh?

Cheers,

Jasper
#24
5th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
Guitar 1 is the Great River.

Guitar 2 is the Portico with silk on.

Guitar 3 is the Portico with silk off.

Vocal 1 is the Great River.
Vocal 2 is the Portico, with silk button on.

VocalU87-1 is the Portico
VocalU87-2 is the Great River.
Yep, that's what I thought!

Seriously, I've been using the GR on vox and acoustic for the past year and the difference between the two pres was obvious. The Portico sounds smoother but duller with less detail. The GR is bigger and more open. I think for acoustic music like the song you posted I would have gone for the Portico on acoustic and GR on vox. Just my preference. Within the context of a denser/full band mix, I think I would choose the GR for both vox and gtr. Of course, I'm sure the Portico tracks could shine with a little EQ.

Did you try any other mics with the Portico? Ribbons?
#25
5th October 2005
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Funny,

I bought both the MP2NV and the 5012 about a month ago and was going to send one back. Oh well, so I still have both :-).... Now for me,

I liked Guitar 3 the best for this song (Port no Silk)
U87 V2 (GR) and
SM57 V1 (GR) BUT.......

To me the SILK button is a fairly large effect. If I am going for that sound it works great. So far though I have preffered vocals with the SILK off. The sound is then much more in the vein of the MP2NV with (IMHO) the GR being being a little more low mid focused and the 5012 being a little more open in the upper mids. Both great boxes!

Great sample files! Thanks for putting this test up here.

-Lee
#26
5th October 2005
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Jasper,

How did you have the gain and output of the GR set? Was the output level full up, or did you have it set around 12 o'clock? I personally find this makes a big differences in top end and upper mids especially when recording things like vocals.

Because of your recording I'm definitely going to give the Great River a shot on acoustic guitar. I think that's one of the nicest acoustics I've ever heard.

thanks,
Brad
#27
5th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
Huh. That sounds like some of the original names, but I renamed them before I uploaded to my Web site. Renamed the file, renamed the link. That's just weird. But PortSilkHPF is definitly one of my slugs.

I can't see the old names myself. I guess some of us can, some of us can't. Sure explains a lot, though.

Oh, well. The cat's out of that bag.

Jasper
It's funny , i was reviewing the replies and i was the only who bothered to try and guess at what preamp was for each sound sample (which was correct by the way ). So I am not sure what Mike Jasper was referring to about everyone getting it right. Most, if not all, mentioned which mic pre they liked best rather than try to guess the order.

Thanks for posting the test. I just finished a whole bunch mic shootouts on over 21 microphones. You have inspired me to try and post my results in the same manner you did, cheers!
#28
5th October 2005
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Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for putting those files up. Mics & pre's are totally my weakest area, and every chance I get to hear A vs B comparisons, I'm all over them. So...not only did I get to hear the difference between 2 pres with the same mic, I also got to hear 2 mics on the same pre...

This has also confirmed my suspicions about my monitors. I got the right set :-) The differences between the files were really apparent. Not so much in the cans though...

Anyway, my favs:

#3 on the guitar...and #1 is pretty good too.

#2 on both vocals.

And now that I look at the list, I guess I have to buy one of each..starting with the Portico :-)

Cool stuff. That guy has an interesting voice too, kind of a bloatie & the hootfish type of vocal..

Thanks again
Todd
#29
5th October 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
Sure, why not. New people can still guess early in the thread.

Guitar 1 is the Great River.

Guitar 2 is the Portico with silk on.

Guitar 3 is the Portico with silk off.

Vocal 1 is the Great River.
Vocal 2 is the Portico, with silk button on.

VocalU87-1 is the Portico
VocalU87-2 is the Great River.


To me, the Portico was great to sing through. But it's hard for me to explain exactly why. I loved the GR on acoustic guitar, although AC sounded very good on the Portico too. They're different, but I think complimentary.

I might have more to say about this later, but for now I'm tired as hell. It's definitely fun to hear this stuff, even in mp3 form, but I think you have to live with a piece for awhile before you really know.

If only we could do that with every element, huh?

Cheers,

Jasper

Jasper,

Who is that schmuck playing guitar ... Viator??? Never heard of him. You could do better in Austin. And the singer ... Rabinowitz?

Just a comment, having been there and all: the gain on the 5012 guitar clip w/ silk is at a slightly lower volume, so y'all should adjust accordingly. It's a small detail, but it makes a significant difference and balances the 2 tracks.

Listening to playbacks in the studio (before mp3 transfer) I have to say that I picked the Portico overall, but the difference was at times negligible, and the Great River has a slightly diff character. To my ears the Portico has a better response in the low mids, great body there, and the GR has a slight bump in the upper mids that might make it stand out in a busy mix.

I picked the Portico on guitar (just barely) and vocal/57, the GR on vocal/87.

I came away loving them both. Can't wait to do some serious tracking and see how the Portico holds up.

Mv
#30
5th October 2005
Old 5th October 2005
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Damn. You posted the answers before I could post my guess. I only listened to the 4 vocals and guess right off of laptop speakers, but unfortunately I have no proof.

My guess was based on the low end thinking I was hearing the HPF with the GR doesn't have and then a certain tone in the upper mids that I recognized from the Portico.
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