ART Pro MPA II vs API 3124+...can you tell the difference?
AnnihilationRob
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#1
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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ART Pro MPA II vs API 3124+...can you tell the difference?

ART Pro MPA II VS API 3124+ by AnnihilationRecordings on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds

For this test i did not test the mic inputs or push either preamp into distortion. All this fairly tests is how clean each instrument input is, but I thought it would still be fun to share.

For this experiment, I programmed the drums, and recorded dry guitar and bass tracks through a radial j48 direct box into an apogee rosetta 800.

I got my tones using amp and cab sims. I then recorded vocals using the api 3124+ into the rosetta.

Next, I rendered my guitar tones and drums in my daw, and sent the individual tracks with no eq, compression, or mixing of any kind out my radial x-amp one at a time and recorded each twice, once through the instrument input of the ART, and once through the instrument input of the API. I did this with the vocals too, so they went through the API twice for the "api mix".

Then I mixed it, applying EXACTLY the same mix to each set of files. I bounced my mixes, then cut them up and wove them together so I could hear the song constantly switching from the API to ART tracks.

One of these preamps I labelled "Preamp 1" in the comments on this track and the other is "Preamp 2". Which is which?

Here's the wave file if you aren't liking the soundcloud compression.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/75652364/ART_VS_API.wav

Last edited by AnnihilationRob; 8th April 2013 at 10:42 PM.. Reason: Added link to wave file
#2
19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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I like 2 a little better..
#3
20th March 2013
Old 20th March 2013
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Preamp 1 has a nice midrange and transient response. Preamp 2 has a wider low end (which may or may not be "better").

The top end is difficult to judge because you've either uploaded a poorly-encoded mp3, or the soundcloud streaming using some kind of lossy codec. Either way, it sounds terrible.

Nice drum programming, by the way.
#4
21st March 2013
Old 21st March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
Preamp 1 has a nice midrange and transient response. Preamp 2 has a wider low end (which may or may not be "better").
This is what I heard too. Very subtle, but it's there. I'm guessing the ART is preamp 2, since it's a little "flabby" on the bottom. Big sounding, but not tight.

Never owned a 3124 but I'm guessing it's the more focused pre.

Even so, I think the example shows that a "budget" pre is not going to make or break your recording. (Remember the ART vs GR thread?)
#5
22nd March 2013
Old 22nd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummerz View Post
I'm guessing the ART is preamp 2, since it's a little "flabby" on the bottom. Big sounding, but not tight.
Agreed. But given the poor quality of encoding, I'm not totally confident.

Quote:
Even so, I think the example shows that a "budget" pre is not going to make or break your recording. (Remember the ART vs GR thread?)
I thought the ART vs GR thread was rather obvious, in that the GR sounded much, much better. This test strikes me as a bit less scientific, and a bit less revealing, considering the approach the OP took to do the test.
#6
22nd March 2013
Old 22nd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
I thought the ART vs GR thread was rather obvious, in that the GR sounded much, much better.
On second listen, in a good monitoring environment--definitely.
#7
22nd March 2013
Old 22nd March 2013
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Pre amp 1 sounded better to me on my 4" Edirols.
Preamp 2 sounded compressed, all segments very hard to differentiate and I thought it was a trick to get the track listened to, with some compression applied to pre 2.
But as I said my PC monitors are only 4" Edirols.
AnnihilationRob
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#8
23rd March 2013
Old 23rd March 2013
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Haha, no tricks here. Here's the wave file if you aren't liking the soundcloud compression.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/75652364/ART_VS_API.wav

Obviously, it won't be labelled but you can probably figure out which measures are which by checking the soundcloud labels.
#9
31st March 2013
Old 31st March 2013
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Could you PM the answer?
#10
7th April 2013
Old 7th April 2013
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I prefer 1 for this style of music, which is what I do almost exclusively. PM the answer please?

Also, killer song/performance!
AnnihilationRob
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#11
8th April 2013
Old 8th April 2013
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Hey guys I'm not planning to post the answer here. Just PM me for it.

isawsasquatch, I think this is about as scientific as it gets. The ART vs GR thread is actually rather unscientific since it was two different performances. In this test the only variable that changed at all was the preamp. Everything else is utterly identical.
#12
13th April 2013
Old 13th April 2013
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I like 2 better. Nothing significant, but it seems a little snappier and a bit more expensive sounding.

This could be a very ironic outcome. :^)
#13
13th April 2013
Old 13th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazmar View Post
I like 2 better. Nothing significant, but it seems a little snappier and a bit more expensive sounding.

This could be a very ironic outcome. :^)
Good ear!!
#14
16th April 2013
Old 16th April 2013
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Can I get the answer to the MPA VS API thread. Thanks.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317
#15
24th April 2013
Old 24th April 2013
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Using my AT - m50 headphones i couldn't really hear any difference.. Maybe one of them had slightly more "punch" but nothing that couldn't have been made up for with a slightly different Compression setting.

Listening to the WAV file I cant tell when anything changes.. Do you have the same Tubes that come stock in the ART MPA ii?

I Facebook messaged you, reply answer in there please
#16
24th April 2013
Old 24th April 2013
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I preferred 2 for the most part, seemed a tiny bit fuller and wider, but then near the end I either got confused or whatever but 1 started seeming like the fuller & wider version.......could have just been a volume thing, the wav form did look a bit up and down between sections.
#17
27th April 2013
Old 27th April 2013
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The differences are extremely subtle. Almost to the point where just a splash of additive or subtractive EQ could make the tracks sound identical. I'll be keeping my Art MPA and spending my cash on ANYTHING other than high end preamps. Thanks for posting! I'm also not hearing that "mud" buildup from stacked tracks that's often touted as the reasoning for investing in expensive preamps. What a load of crock..
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