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Preamp match for my B&O BM3 and other ribbons
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Corran
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23rd December 2007
Old 23rd December 2007
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Preamp match for my B&O BM3 and other ribbons

Hey Gearslutz...this is my first post! I'm looking for a preamp that will work well with a B&O BM3 that has been retrofitted with a new ribbon and XLR connections (Steven Sank).

I'm mostly recording live classical and jazz music. I actually don't usually use any preamps, just straight into a Korg D888 recorder. With my ribbons I use a cheap Behringer tube (yes I know, starved plate) preamp to decouple it from the mixer to prevent phantom power. Before anyone scoffs, I use it mostly with an Octava ML52 which is a perfect match for the preamp and sounds great through it. However the B&O is not getting nearly enough gain and is very noisy. I also have two BM3 knock-offs (Stellar RM3s) that get about the same performance, low gain and noisy.

I am looking for a preamp to run at least the B&O. However, let me first mention that I am not able to afford a lot. I have searched around and not seen any recommendations for that exact microphone. Something that will run the Stellars would be awesome too, a stereo preamp hopefully that will allow for some nice stereo mixing.

I'm unsure what the impedance on the B&O is, though I think it's 50ohms. The Stellars are said to be 600ohm but I'm dubious of that fact.

So after researching this for a while, here are a few options that I've come up with:

1. The M-Audio DMP3 seems like a really nice preamp, and 2 channels to boot. 63dB of gain will be plenty for the Stellars, though I'm not sure about the B&O. However I can add a little more at the recorder if needed...

2. I bought the B&O at Pro Audio Heaven, and they have some options. First is the Behringer 1953 mod (Upgraded Behringer Tube Mic Pre Amp great 4 Ribbon mics - (eBay item 120200541463 end time Dec-29-07 16:21:33 PST)). It's still a Behringer but I'm not sure if the mods will make it good enough to use. Interestingly I spoke personally to the guy there and they said I could get a modded Apex APA1 preamp for about $400. I little digging and I found that these cost under $40 unmodded. Anyone heard of this mod or used that preamp? It might be something I could stack with something else (or another APA1) to get enough gain, especially since they supposedly get quite a lot of gain. Considering there price I don't know what would make it so much after the mod.

3. If I saved up for a few months I could get the AEA TRP. I know it's a good preamp for ribbons and would probably be perfect for me, but it's a little pricey.

I am open to any suggestions or recommendations. As you can see I'm hoping for something <$200, but I am willing to accept the poosibility of higher costs. Also, I am somewhat competent in electronics, so personally modding something is a possibility.

Thanks!
Corran
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24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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bump for suggestions??
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24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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I have a B&O BM3 with the RCA ribbon and I've been useing 500 type pre's for years with it with great results! You might want to build an Eisen 500 pre kit and make your own box for it and hook up an power supply +/- 15 volts.It would be cheap and you will have one of the best sounding pre's for the money that you can get.

You could also look into JLM audio's mic pre kits as well. I've never heard them but have read good things about them. His1:4 input transformer sounds just wonderful in the 500 pre's as well!

I have an ADM 780 mic pre raw module that I can sell you but it will need a power supply and rack box. It will have plenty of gain for your B&O.




Good luck!!
Stace
Corran
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24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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Hmm I've heard of those in passing but I don't know anything about them. I will have to do some research, and if you have any good links pass them along...

What kind of price are we talking about for the pre you have?
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24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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adm

The ADM pre's I have are $150.00 each! You will need to wire it up for input and output and build a chasis,box and add a power supply. I might even have a supply here I can sell you for $50.00.

They take +/- 20 volts.

ADM was around the same time or a little later then API and they built moduler consoles for tv stations,radio,studio's. They are built like tanks and have a utc input transformer and discrete op amp kind of like an api 2520.

pm me your email and I'll send you some pictures if you like?

Do a search on them on here or over at orphanaudio.com. I have connectors and pin out info for them as well.

Thanks, Stace
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24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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I have a sank modded bm5. I use API 512C's with it. Plenty of gain. Great results. The 512 is a great match for these mics.
#7
24th December 2007
Old 24th December 2007
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i use several different 500 format pres with my B&O, no problem
i like the A-Designs P-1 ( duh ), and the EM-Blue, i like the Great River, but mostly i use mine with the A-Designs MP-2A.
you mentioned being budget minded so i would say look at getting into the 500 format.
lots of plusses in this format!
the B&O i a week mic so don't expect it to be up with some of your others.
happy holidays
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#8
12th February 2008
Old 12th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post

2. I bought the B&O at Pro Audio Heaven, and they have some options. First is the Behringer 1953 mod (Upgraded Behringer Tube Mic Pre Amp great 4 Ribbon mics - (eBay item 120200541463 end time Dec-29-07 16:21:33 PST)). It's still a Behringer but I'm not sure if the mods will make it good enough to use. Interestingly I spoke personally to the guy there and they said I could get a modded Apex APA1 preamp for about $400. I little digging and I found that these cost under $40 unmodded. Anyone heard of this mod or used that preamp? It might be something I could stack with something else (or another APA1) to get enough gain, especially since they supposedly get quite a lot of gain. Considering there price I don't know what would make it so much after the mod.
I would say the Sank mod is great but not the preamp mod.
Better find a "real" pro clean pre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post

3. If I saved up for a few months I could get the AEA TRP. I know it's a good preamp for ribbons and would probably be perfect for me, but it's a little pricey.
I've tried this one, I don't like it, and in fact it is not so quiet !, again AEA makes good ribbon, not good preamps ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post



I am open to any suggestions or recommendations. As you can see I'm hoping for something <$200, but I am willing to accept the poosibility of higher costs. Also, I am somewhat competent in electronics, so personally modding something is a possibility.

Thanks!
For little bit more I would try the Grace 101 with the ribbon mod from factory (up to 70db).
and then unfortunetly for you if you want to have full potential of your BM3, you must go to the $1000 range.
I have found the Phoenix audio wonderfull (80db).
there is the Neumann476a module, that are quite cheap but you need to rack them , and it becomes more or less $1000 for 2.
UA 110 had a very beautifull sound but little noisy (much less than cheap pres)

BUT if its for loud source like trumpets or so , a decent audiocard pre could do "a" job.

the more you will get a pro preamp the more you will appriciate the beauty of these mics !!!

Cheers

G'
Corran
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12th February 2008
Old 12th February 2008
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Hey there! I wasn't expecting to see this thread today!

Thanks for the suggestions. I will probably look at some of those pres for interests sake. However I am actually purchasing those ADM modules from axisdreamer that we were discussing a little further up. I am expecting them to be just what I need.

That's not to say I won't ever need anything else though, so I'll keep my options open. I scour ebay and etc constantly to find deals.

I did end up getting the DMP3 as well though, and I must say I am very happy with it. Still doesn't drive the B&O well, but it has done great stuff with my other ribbons! As well as some other mics as well actually.

As you said, a loud soundsource is no problem, but the problem is I'm usually recording classical recitals where the meter on my DMP3 isn't even moving as the B&O gets signal at the highest gain level...
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