4 ch portable preamp suggestions...
Old 20th September 2013
  #1
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Thread Starter
4 ch portable preamp suggestions...

HI -

Looking for ideas on a 4 channel preamp to feed my 744t recorder for DMS & ambisonic surround recording. This will often take me into the field so DC or battery powered option, solid build and portability, precise gain level matching are wished for... & 3 or 4 channel linking/ganging perfection.

I know I should just upgrade to a 788t or a Nagra VI but looking for a cheaper solution in the meantime.

So, a tall order but something with beautiful, clean preamps could also serve me later in other venues indoors, out of the bag...


thanks!

peter
Old 20th September 2013
  #2
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johnsound's Avatar
 

Which Ambisonic mic are you planning to use? The ST450 outputs at line level, so no need for extra pre-amps for the 744T. The ST250 output is also hot enough to drive a line level input. Before I got my 788T, I did all my location recording to a Mac PowerBook, using a Metric Halo 2882, which was the first bus-powered interface and also works very well from a 12v source.
Old 20th September 2013
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsound View Post
Which Ambisonic mic are you planning to use? The ST450 outputs at line level, so no need for extra pre-amps for the 744T. The ST250 output is also hot enough to drive a line level input. Before I got my 788T, I did all my location recording to a Mac PowerBook, using a Metric Halo 2882, which was the first bus-powered interface and also works very well from a 12v source.
Hi John,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I'm not yet sure which way to go with ambisonics... I've followed your and other's posts with great interest as I plan my approach. I've read some of what you've written here ( and on JWSOUND, I believe that's you...) about the topic, from SPS200 to tetramic to ST450. All informative!
Seems to be a lot of opinions by various users... someone writes about a Core-Sound tweak that drastically improves the SPS200, another writes how the tetramic is "best mic of this century", another how the software approach is fussy in the field, etc. In this specific regard of having a dedicated box, certainly the ST450 sounds perfect, robust and field ready but alas not for me just yet...
All I know is that I want to really dig into height information, that's what drew me first to ambisonics aside from all the many other possibilities. Of course, coming up with a speaker system to monitor the recordings is another jump further.
In the meanwhile, I have been experimenting for a while with DMS and have a Schoeps setup, two ccm4s and a ccm8, so the 3/4 ch preamp needed there as well and trying to kill 2 birds with one stone.
The laptop approach is interesting, i do have a fairly recent macbook air 13" but we know its not ready for the elements. But maybe that's the path for now & would love to hear about your field work with that setup.
thanks again for all your great posts & willingness to share information.
cheers,
pete

Last edited by peterson; 20th September 2013 at 08:00 PM.. Reason: clumsy
Old 21st September 2013
  #4
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boojum's Avatar
I cannot speak from experience, but others on the board have written about the Line Audio pre's in terms of transparency and economy. It may be worth consideration.
Old 21st September 2013
  #5
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I would suggest you also look at and/or contact Naiant. Jon built me a custom battery powered, gain matched, 4 channel pre for my tetramic that has worked great so far. It was surprisingly cost effective for me as well.
Old 21st September 2013
  #6
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This is on Ebay in the UK at the moment. Happy to bid for it on your behalf, if you're interested...

John

eBay item number: 261285488454
Old 21st September 2013
  #7
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Thread Starter
Hi John-
Thanks - I actually saw that but not quite what I'm looking for... I already have an SQN-4S IV with 4 lovely preamps that Bob @ SQN modded with direct post fader outs a few years ago so I could use it with my 744t for general doc work; but it cannot gang more than two channels to a single fader knob, something I really want / need for DMS & more.
As mentioned, I know what I should buy - something like that 788t of yours ( or NVI ). Or the rumored Sonosax SX-r4 remodel. As someone once told me, " I can't afford to buy cheap" and I'm seeing that most solutions for the moment are interim ones that I will only need to upgrade in time.
But that's a generous offer you made and the gesture alone makes your beers free whenever you are in town.
cheers,
p
Old 21st September 2013
  #8
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Thread Starter
Hi Boojum / Plush2 -
thanks for the other suggestions, much appreciated.
1) It appears the Line audio preamps are either 2 or 8, and the 8 is not so portable.
2) I will give Naiant an enquiry... what sort of - ballpark - $ are you in for your unit? What is your recorder?

best

Last edited by peterson; 21st September 2013 at 05:14 PM.. Reason: clumsy
Old 23rd September 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 

A Grace Lunatec V2 or V3 would work nicely, too. Easy to power with an external battery. I use a V3 for my 744T when I'm running 4 channels. You can only find them used, since the V3 was discontinued a couple of years ago. Not too hard to find; run about $800-900.
Old 23rd September 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterson View Post
2) I will give Naiant an enquiry... what sort of - ballpark - $ are you in for your unit? What is your recorder?

best
The preamp I got was between $400 and $500 all told although since it was a custom job he may have re-evaluated afterwards and it may be more.

I was using a modified zoom h2 for the last two years but I recently upgraded to using a Focusrite 18i8 (powered by an Anker battery) with my android phone running the Audio Evolution apps. The size is bigger but the I/O options for field recording are much increased.
Old 23rd September 2013
  #11
Old 23rd September 2013
  #12
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Jon at Naiant does great work and his pricing has always seemed to me to be extremely reasonable. Essentially all his preamps are custom as there are so many possible options. I've got two of his Tiny Boxes and one Little Box. Very nice stuff.
Old 24th September 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pohaku View Post
Jon at Naiant does great work and his pricing has always seemed to me to be extremely reasonable. Essentially all his preamps are custom as there are so many possible options. I've got two of his Tiny Boxes and one Little Box. Very nice stuff.
I love my quadbox. If you google "naiant quadbox" you can get a look at the unit. It sounds great and the battery lasts forever...literally days per charge.
Old 24th September 2013
  #14
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Yeah, he generally designs his preamps to maximize power efficiency. There are trade offs, of course, but I've been more than happy with the quality of his gear and of the sound. He has a lower noise option for low sensitivity mics, but the design is more power hungry. I suppose the design would be good for nature recording, but it isn't necessary for recording music. The standard model runs my Schoeps and AKGs just fine.
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