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Are preamps (that) important to record synths ?
Old 6 days ago
  #241
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I have a feeling that there is a gross misunderstanding of audio and gain-staging in this thread.

If this doesn't apply to you, no worries.

If this does:

1. Most keyboards operate at line level (with some exceptions, mostly with electro-mechanical keyboards and modular).

2. A preamp exists for the sole purpose of raising microphone level to line level. Misuse of a preamp may or may not introduce pleasing distortion characteristics.

3. A DI box takes a line level source and lowers it down to mic level.

4. To properly use a mic pre with a synth, EVEN if it is for adding "vibe", you must use a di before going to the pre. Otherwise, any distortion will be caused partially by the synth's amps, and not the pre itself.

5. Line level source into DI into a pre is one of only 2 correct ways to do it. The other proper way is line into line. You may think otherwise. You are wrong.

6. Since the outboard amplification stage is presumably better spec than the crap used in most synths, the audio quality will almost always be better, at least on paper. Keep your leads as short as possible, and make sure the DI is feeding the pre at an acceptable operating level (usually around 3 o'clock on most synth volume knobs).

7. All outboard pres are not equal. Usually it's smarter to go line in than use the crap pres in a budget or mid-level interface.

8. Impedance is a real thing. With mics and with synths, not all high end pres will sound amazeballs with your source. A great cheap pre with switchable impedance is the Focusrite ISA series. Works very well because of this feature.

9. After the migraines and paranoia wear off, stop worrying about inconsequential questions like, "should I use a mic pre on a line level source?". Realize that the converters you use are crap, and that plugging a manley into an mbox will only get you so far when you are monitoring on KRKs in a basement with 6 foot ceilings. Put that $2000 you just saved into some strong cannabis, and take your significant other out to eat. Buy her a balloon. Chicks dig balloons.
This is true , chicks do dig balloons
Old 5 days ago
  #242
Gear Maniac
I know this thread was necro'd since I remember reading it a few years ago! But for me at least, there was a lot of fuzzy thinking that didn't help me back then so I'll just post this for anyone with the same questions & hope it helps someone.

TL;DR -- yes it can make a big difference but if you don't know why or how, then don't worry about it for the moment in the same way that if you don't know what envelopes or VCAs do, then you probably don't need a Waldorf Quantum right now. Needless to say, this is all pointless if you don't know what you're doing. Gear is no substitute for skills.

Don't confuse audio capture with sound design. Recording music is different than writing/producing music (which sound design is part of). They require different approaches & tools even if the modern music producer has to do it all sometimes concurrently.

If you are trying to noticeably alter the sound of your synth as part of sound design, then preamps are the wrong tool for the job. Preamps aren't sound design tools.

If you want to capture the best representation of your synths & music, then preamps can make a huge difference as part of a robust recording chain. Just because your synth cost thousands of dollars doesn't mean it can't sound better -- after all, a $3000 Model D can sound a lot better if you run it through a $2000 pair of Moogerfooger delays!

There are different flavors of preamps suited to different tasks just as there are different flavors of synths. Sometimes you want clean & sometimes you want more hair.

And not all "clean" preamps are equal. Stick a pricey synth through your interface's "transparent" pre & you'll hear a recording of your synth. Stick it through a better chain (preamp included) & it'll be like you're still playing it. Wait til you hear your sound through a pro set-up & it gives you goosebumps because you sound as good as your heroes.

If a Tascam 424 or Zoom R16 or Mackie VLZ or Allen Heath QU16 gets you there, more power to you but it didn't work for me (nor did Tascam d70, Soundcraft Folio or Sound Devices MixPre -- the AKAI DPS24 did come very close but workflow beyond antiquated).

A lot of synth heads trip up here ... "all a preamp is supposed to do is boost signal" or "converters are so good these days, I don't hear a difference between my laptop soundcard vs a Lyra" ... an analogy might help.

Mobile/cell phones have been able to take clean, accurate photos for a while now. And yet each generation somehow manages to improve image quality ... turns out clean can always get cleaner. The images on some of these new phones/tablets are amazing.

But compare those to a decent DLSR or mirrorless camera -- there's still a "huge" difference. Whether that's worth the cost when our phones are already pretty good depends. Would you (or your spouse) be OK with your wedding photographer shooting all your pics on their cell phone, Apple marketing aside?

As for preamps for distortion/saturation, again, there is a distinction between distortion in sound design vs that in the recording process. If you want something to sound like it's going through a Rat pedal, don't buy a Neve ... run it through a Rat pedal!

Distortion/saturation in the recording/mixing process is also extremely valuable but it's a different beast. Lot of synth heads seem to think preamps mainly capture the signal transparently, job done. Not that simple. Turns out it's not easy to capture "clean" audio in a vibrant manner. Maybe prosumer interface preamps sound pretty good, the same way iPhone photos look pretty good.

But clean sound aside, it turns out ultra-clean audio capture isn't necessarily desirable. Many of us like non-linearities, distortion, etc. in our audio recording.

Synth heads should understand this; after all, how many threads have we seen about VCOs vs DCOs vs gasp, digital oscs? How many synths come with the ability to detune &/or add slop? Many of us don't want to hear perfectly tuned oscillators & similarly, many people don't prefer the sound of perfectly clean audio.

Anyway this is probably long enough for a necro'd thread nobody's really paying attention to but these are some of the lessons I've learned these last few years. Not saying I'm churning out pro recordings now but I've finally reached a point where I'm satisfied all deficiencies reside mainly with the user (me!) instead of converters, preamps, etc. It took a lot of false turns & a bit of money to get there & a lot of hours put in but I learned the incontrovertible laws of gear still holds even in this age of Behringer/Klark Teknik:

2. Buy nice or buy twice!
1. It ain't about the gear!
Old 5 days ago
  #243
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkdvb View Post
I know this thread was necro'd since I remember reading it a few years ago! But for me at least, there was a lot of fuzzy thinking that didn't help me back then so I'll just post this for anyone with the same questions & hope it helps someone.

TL;DR -- yes it can make a big difference but if you don't know why or how, then don't worry about it for the moment in the same way that if you don't know what envelopes or VCAs do, then you probably don't need a Waldorf Quantum right now. Needless to say, this is all pointless if you don't know what you're doing. Gear is no substitute for skills.

Don't confuse audio capture with sound design. Recording music is different than writing/producing music (which sound design is part of). They require different approaches & tools even if the modern music producer has to do it all sometimes concurrently.

If you are trying to noticeably alter the sound of your synth as part of sound design, then preamps are the wrong tool for the job. Preamps aren't sound design tools.

If you want to capture the best representation of your synths & music, then preamps can make a huge difference as part of a robust recording chain. Just because your synth cost thousands of dollars doesn't mean it can't sound better -- after all, a $3000 Model D can sound a lot better if you run it through a $2000 pair of Moogerfooger delays!

There are different flavors of preamps suited to different tasks just as there are different flavors of synths. Sometimes you want clean & sometimes you want more hair.

And not all "clean" preamps are equal. Stick a pricey synth through your interface's "transparent" pre & you'll hear a recording of your synth. Stick it through a better chain (preamp included) & it'll be like you're still playing it. Wait til you hear your sound through a pro set-up & it gives you goosebumps because you sound as good as your heroes.

If a Tascam 424 or Zoom R16 or Mackie VLZ or Allen Heath QU16 gets you there, more power to you but it didn't work for me (nor did Tascam d70, Soundcraft Folio or Sound Devices MixPre -- the AKAI DPS24 did come very close but workflow beyond antiquated).

A lot of synth heads trip up here ... "all a preamp is supposed to do is boost signal" or "converters are so good these days, I don't hear a difference between my laptop soundcard vs a Lyra" ... an analogy might help.

Mobile/cell phones have been able to take clean, accurate photos for a while now. And yet each generation somehow manages to improve image quality ... turns out clean can always get cleaner. The images on some of these new phones/tablets are amazing.

But compare those to a decent DLSR or mirrorless camera -- there's still a "huge" difference. Whether that's worth the cost when our phones are already pretty good depends. Would you (or your spouse) be OK with your wedding photographer shooting all your pics on their cell phone, Apple marketing aside?

As for preamps for distortion/saturation, again, there is a distinction between distortion in sound design vs that in the recording process. If you want something to sound like it's going through a Rat pedal, don't buy a Neve ... run it through a Rat pedal!

Distortion/saturation in the recording/mixing process is also extremely valuable but it's a different beast. Lot of synth heads seem to think preamps mainly capture the signal transparently, job done. Not that simple. Turns out it's not easy to capture "clean" audio in a vibrant manner. Maybe prosumer interface preamps sound pretty good, the same way iPhone photos look pretty good.

But clean sound aside, it turns out ultra-clean audio capture isn't necessarily desirable. Many of us like non-linearities, distortion, etc. in our audio recording.

Synth heads should understand this; after all, how many threads have we seen about VCOs vs DCOs vs gasp, digital oscs? How many synths come with the ability to detune &/or add slop? Many of us don't want to hear perfectly tuned oscillators & similarly, many people don't prefer the sound of perfectly clean audio.

Anyway this is probably long enough for a necro'd thread nobody's really paying attention to but these are some of the lessons I've learned these last few years. Not saying I'm churning out pro recordings now but I've finally reached a point where I'm satisfied all deficiencies reside mainly with the user (me!) instead of converters, preamps, etc. It took a lot of false turns & a bit of money to get there & a lot of hours put in but I learned the incontrovertible laws of gear still holds even in this age of Behringer/Klark Teknik:

2. Buy nice or buy twice!
1. It ain't about the gear!
I enjoyed reading that as I am continually frustrated by the timid sound my MS 20 outputs, and have been looking for something to really boost its level and colour the sound, I was hoping you would offer up advice on particular gear at the end but you didn't..?
Old 5 days ago
  #244
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
I enjoyed reading that as I am continually frustrated by the timid sound my MS 20 outputs, and have been looking for something to really boost its level and colour the sound, I was hoping you would offer up advice on particular gear at the end but you didn't..?
It'd be really hard to recommend particular gear because a) I don't necessarily have the expertise/experience to say what works for you as I'm still trying to figure it out myself & b) everyone's situation/preferences is different.

It's kind of like filters ... should you go w/ a Moog ladder or a Roland Juno or screamy MS20 depends on what sounds you're after & what you like to hear. Preamps are like that but more subtle.

I used to have an MS-20 reish but never recorded it. If your level is low, just turn the preamp up &/or turn everything else down in relation. The loudness bias is very real ... louder will tend to sound better. It's hard to imagine an MS-20 being timid if volumes are relatively balanced.

Sometimes my Matriarch level is low but that's because I tend to low cutoff freqs in my patches. As long as you're recording in 24-bit, there's a bit of leeway in how quiet you can record & just turn it up in the DAW during mix.

As for colour, there are different kinds of preamp colour. The famous ones are known for certain qualities -- the Neve does nice things to your lower end while the API makes things pop a little more. I've never tried the real things but have had gear inspired along those lines & seem to prefer more Neve-inspired sounds but your taste may vary.

Experienced recordists will know which flavor they want beforehand but I'm not there yet (if ever) so it's really hard for me to recommend specific gear.

But don't expect that all you have to do is pull up an awesome patch, record it into your DAW & job done. Things like EQ & compression play a huge part in making everything fit in a track, no matter how expensive &/or vintage your synth is. I remember this article was very eye-opening in thinking about just how much surgery someone like Tycho is doing to a vintage Minimoog Model D in a production:

https://reverbmachine.com/blog/tycho-awake-synth-sound

Assuming you're recording screamy MS-20 lead type sounds, maybe try approaching it like guitar? If it's doing leads, hi-passing it may give you more headroom so you can turn up gain more before clipping.

API seems more mid-rangey in focus & they're known for a bold American rock sound so that might help it cut through more in a mix. If you have a decent amp, maybe even try recording it through the air like an amp. Guitar mic'ing is a whole other can of worms though so while air is nice, maybe a guitar reamp plug will do?

I don't know if any of this is helpful ... you asked about gear ...

I do know I LOVE my Cranborne 500R8 (a USB interface/500 series chasis/summing mixer/monitor station all-in-one solution). It arrived on the same day as my Moog Matriarch & if I could only keep one, the Moog would lose out, no question. They're completely different things I know but ever since I got it, I don't worry about my recording quality anymore.

The Cranborne is nice because it's an all-in-one box, with conversion/monitoring taken care of. Preamps are important but they're part of a whole chain so it's not optimal to plug a Neve into an M-Audio interface with average converters &/or unbypassable preamps/line-ins (which is like taking a picture with a fancy camera & then taking a picture of that picture with your iPhone).

I've also been eyeing the API Tranzformer pedals. If you're not heavily using microphones, those may be ideal to get the API color since they lose the mic gain stage & add API EQ + simple compression. They're marketed for guitars/bass but have been spec'd that API says they're ideal for synths/keys as well. At $500 new (~$400 used) for a complete brand name instrument channel strip, it's a bargain. The EQ may be more helpful to you than a pre, especially since it's really the 2520 op amp & transformer you want anyway & the pedals include those.

I plan on getting a pair eventually when my budget recovers from filling my 500 box.

Take all of this with a grain of salt. YMMV. Buying gear is the easy part. Putting in the hours & trying to figure out why my mixes don't measure up & how to fix that is way more important.
Old 4 days ago
  #245
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
I'm going to try the reamp route when I can afford to buy one, or find some pre amp I can afford and experiment. Lifting gain on the desk doesn't do it any favors at all. it's funny the MS20 kit is one of my fav synths, well the original MS20 is tbh, but it's just not as loud as other synths I have. You know you get gear sometimes that has a hot loud level, I much prefer that to quieter synths. Boosting always feels like you are rubbishing the sound, making it worse etc, much prefer synths to have loud masters so you can dial back. It's much preferable to dial back than to look for something to boost and increase noise and crap. Be nice if there was a pre amp that was especially designed for synths, had 2 input/2 outs, something that had a very particular way of colouring synths, even something that had the ability to download software into like plug out effects pre amp models etc.. or...a 2 input synth pre amp with an analog path and a switch that let you switch to digital so you could use plug out pre amp models, EQ's etc. Yes I'm aware of the UAD stuff but that stuff is uber expensive.
Old 4 days ago
  #246
I tried some preamps early on when I started but they never did what I wanted or what I thought they would/should in terms of adding harmonically pleasing saturation. Then I just got the LTL silver bullet. Drive to taste and record. It doesn't matter what the level coming from the synth is, it just works. "N" adds beef and warmth, "A" channel adds bite and punch and slightly widens the stereo field. It's expensive, but you get good value for the money. Best purchase I think I ever made honestly.
Old 4 days ago
  #247
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Snorktop's Avatar
 

Frequently I run synths through amps and speaker cabinets (and vintage stereo effects), and mic it, such as vintage Hammond amps (which sound amazing and can be obtained dirt cheap) and Leslie cabinets. The sound is mind-blowing, the far side of the universe from timid or dry. Going direct, the A-Designs REDDI is the best DI I've heard for synth (and bass guitar). I use APIs and Neve 1073 clones. I don't always use DI/pre with synth, it depends on the synth and the sound I want in the mix. But even then, its gonna ultimately get some beefy outboard EQ and compression.

Last edited by Snorktop; 4 days ago at 05:01 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #248
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
I enjoyed reading that as I am continually frustrated by the timid sound my MS 20 outputs, and have been looking for something to really boost its level and colour the sound, I was hoping you would offer up advice on particular gear at the end but you didn't..?
two synths i noticed a change towards "sounding like a record" the most,
making them easier to mix and somehow more euphonic than just using straight line ins on UFX,,,

were Korg MS20 mk2 and OB-Xa into my Great River ME1-NV


sound wasnt just louder, but there was a pleasant saturation when i cranked the gain and lowered the output t attenuator to drive the output trannie harder.

also, the highs were less strained/tilted/cringe worthy, and more like natural and warm, for lack of better words.

it also did wonders for some peaky digi synths like XT can sometimes be.
Old 4 days ago
  #249
I never could wrap my head around using a mic pre and DI on synths, though that's how Pink Floyd did it.

I myself for now run my synths - including the ms20m - into the line inputs of several Sound Devices usbpre2 units. I use another one for my wife's vocal chain. Transparent and punchy with a low noise floor is the idea.

I like the 500 series format and plan on staying at line level, with the API 535-LA on my radar.
Old 4 days ago
  #250
That A Designs REDDI DI looks really nice, the 80 db gain of the SD usbpre2 mic inputs is enough gain for it. May try it out on a mono synth.
Old 4 days ago
  #251
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Ah... the resurrection of a Gearslutz classic!

As this never-ending discussion demonstrates (in a good way, because it's all useful stuff), there will never be a singular answer to the OP's question "Are preamps (that) important to record synths?" because everyone's definition of 'that important' will be entirely relative.

I've contributed extensively to this thread earlier and as far as I know, as usual, I'm one of the few who has made some attempt at backing up my words with WAVs. (It's what I do - see my sig.) That said, I'm never quite satisfied with my own 'tests' and am always on a quest to improve the subjective quality my synth sounds, so if course I've been tweaking these past few years since I originally recorded those WAVs and popped them in this thread.

I've been using Radial DI boxes on all my synth outputs for years (passive DIs being the right choice for synths in general). I feel it 'levels the playing field' and means you're always dealing with the same quality of input at the mixer stage (I use an analog A&H ZED board and sometimes my DAV preamps), not to mention reducing noise and interference over long, unbalanced cable runs.

However, I made the mistake of assuming that one would always want the ubiquitous Jensen transformer-equipped DIs on synths to kind of 'warm them up'. Jensen-equipped DIs are more expensive, right, so they must be 'better'?

Wrong!

After careful listening I came to the conclusion that for some of my creamiest analog synths – Moog, ARP, Boomstar etc – these particular transformers (Jensens) were shaving off just a little too much 'liveliness' and I found these already-warm synths sounded more natural through the non-Jensen Radial DI, in my case the cheaper Pro2.

On the other hand, you don't need to be a rocket-scientist to predict that Jensen-equipped DI's are probably going to work very well on anything digital that needs the edges to be tamed down and softened a bit - Kurzweil, Yamaha DX, Casio CZ etc.

(And yes - just to be thorough, DCO synths like the Juno 106 sit somewhere in-between, but generally they're going into Jensens in my studio.)

And anyway - as always, all of this is hugely subject to taste. You may love the sound of analog synths through Jensens and you might like your digital synths as clean as possible. That might suit your style and your music better. Personally I prefer to hear a raw analog sound as cleanly as possible and a raw digital sound as warm as possible; that's just what works for me.

[EDIT: I see the Avedis KeyPre6 linked to below uses Jensens on all its inputs, so clearly they like 'em!]

I do of course plan to do some fresh tests to illustrate my point and post WAVs here. But the difficulty of testing analog synths (and one of the reasons I chose the Kurzweil in my earlier tests) is because, as we all know, when you're dealing with free-running analog oscillators each 'pass' is different and you are never in a situation where you can say each take is identical (so important when doing a rigorous comparison test). I suppose I can use a line-splitter but I am loathe to introduce a new component into the test. Hmm...

Last edited by James Lehmann; 4 days ago at 02:31 PM..
Old 4 days ago
  #252
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

There's a really interesting (relatively) new product for synths from Avedis called the KeyPre KP6 that's come onto the market since this thread was started (don't think it's been mentioned yet).



Here's what Avedis say...

"The KeyPre® was designed for professional keyboard, synthesizer, and drum machine users who want to use something better than a mixer input channel or a DI (direct injection). Electronic instruments often have a wide range of different output levels and impedances, and with much wider bandwidth than traditional passive instruments such as electric guitars. This presents a challenge for any outboard device following it. A high performance preamplifier, specifically designed for electronic instruments, is needed to ensure nothing is being compromised or bottlenecked as your sound is being processed. Over two years have been dedicated to research, test, and develop the KeyPre® and we are confident it will preserve the integrity of your electronic instrument for both recording and live applications."

So... 'better than a mixer channel or a DI' they claim? One would hope so at €2,000.

Anyone have one of these?
Old 4 days ago
  #253
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Synth Buddha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I found these already-warm synths sounded more natural through a cleaner, transformerless DI, in my case the Radial Pro2 DI.
What are you talking about? The Pro D2 obviously has transformers too.
Old 4 days ago
  #254
Gear Maniac
The Pro D2 has Radial's Eclipse transformers.
Old 4 days ago
  #255
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Buddha View Post
What are you talking about? The Pro D2 obviously has transformers too.
Yes, in the context I wrote it I'm talking nonsense - not for the first time!

Obviously I meant 'Jensen transformer-equipped'.

I'll go back and edit my post to avoid confusion! Thanks.
Old 4 days ago
  #256
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
I'm going to try the reamp route when I can afford to buy one, or find some pre amp I can afford and experiment. Lifting gain on the desk doesn't do it any favors at all. it's funny the MS20 kit is one of my fav synths, well the original MS20 is tbh, but it's just not as loud as other synths I have. You know you get gear sometimes that has a hot loud level, I much prefer that to quieter synths. Boosting always feels like you are rubbishing the sound, making it worse etc, much prefer synths to have loud masters so you can dial back. It's much preferable to dial back than to look for something to boost and increase noise and crap. Be nice if there was a pre amp that was especially designed for synths, had 2 input/2 outs, something that had a very particular way of colouring synths, even something that had the ability to download software into like plug out effects pre amp models etc.. or...a 2 input synth pre amp with an analog path and a switch that let you switch to digital so you could use plug out pre amp models, EQ's etc. Yes I'm aware of the UAD stuff but that stuff is uber expensive.
What desk are you using? What interface? Nice preamps are pricey in large part because they won't rubbish your sound when you boost.

Are you doing more live work or recording live synth jams? Any boost in your DAW shouldn't be noisy if you record 24-bit & get basically any bit of visible signal in there. You don't want to record too loud into your DAW. This article recommends -18dbFS, which will look small in your DAW of choice.

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...-bit-recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerbkrawler View Post
Then I just got the LTL silver bullet. Drive to taste and record.
I tried the LTL Chromas in my system but I don't think the 500 format did it any favors & I'm not a huge fan of the fiddly Colour card system. The Silver Bullet looks like it's on another level though! How well can you do "clean"? I find things like my Matriarch, I often prefer not to warm it up because it's already too warm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorktop View Post
such as vintage Hammond amps (which sound amazing and can be obtained dirt cheap) and Leslie cabinets. The sound is mind-blowing, the far side of the universe from timid or dry. Going direct, the A-Designs REDDI is the best DI I've heard for synth (and bass guitar).
Do you have any recs for Hammond amps?

I'd love some REDDI tube action but just too rich for my blood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post

were Korg MS20 mk2 and OB-Xa into my Great River ME1-NV


sound wasnt just louder, but there was a pleasant saturation when i cranked the gain and lowered the output t attenuator to drive the output trannie harder.
The best I've ever heard myself was at a studio where dude recorded my sax through some Great River 500 pres direct to a Studer tape machine, then converted via UA Apollo. The concrete wall room had high ceilings but didn't strike me as anything special for my horn. He gave me the mic he used & I tried to re-record it (wasn't happy with my original performance) using the same mic & the Allen & Heath QU16 & it sounded like a home demo. How much was the preamps vs converters vs technique, I can't say but it all adds up to a big difference in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
After careful listening I came to the conclusion that for some of my creamiest analog synths – Moog, ARP, Boomstar etc – these particular transformers (Jensens) were shaving off just a little too much 'liveliness' and I found these already-warm synths sounded more natural through the non-Jensen Radial DI, in my case the cheaper Pro2.

On the other hand, you don't need to be a rocket-scientist to predict that Jensen-equipped DI's are probably going to work very well on anything digital that needs the edges to be tamed down and softened a bit - Kurzweil, Yamaha DX, Casio CZ etc.

Your findings are interesting as they contrast with Radial's published specs and comments on those DIs. Radial's CEO or whatever posted somewhere on GS that the JDI trannies are designed to be as clean as possible & not add color.
I used to have a ProD8 but returned it because it's spec'ed to go up to 18.5khz while the JDI is listed at 20khz so you're losing some audible high-end with the ProD2. Consider that some EQs have "air" boosts well above 20khz (Maag EQ4 is famous for the 40khz air band), both may lose a little something off the top.

But at the end of the day, it's about how it sounds.

The KeyPre (what a coincidence, I've been eyeing that thing pretty hard this week) is spec'ed to go up to 70khz & from what I understand (which is not all that much), it's really optimized the input impedance for synths, about a third of what the Radial DIs are at. Avedis is very respected in the industry so I have no doubt this is top of the line.

I'd love to get one some day. Pricey but adds a pseudo-input trannie & 32db gain to the Jensen output trannies so no preamps needed.
Old 4 days ago
  #257
Lives for gear
 
Snorktop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkdvb View Post
Do you have any recs for Hammond amps?
Any Hammond amp, or vintage PA amp made by RCA, etc, from the 30s thru 60s. You can find them for $150, even less sometimes, listed as junk. Sometimes more if the seller knows what he has or its been worked on. I've even used old projector and radio amps. Sometimes the tubes I've found in them were worth more than what I paid for the amp. And they are freakin cool looking. Most of them need some work, but many of them don't. You can find some that are just preamps too. The sound is on par with a very expensive vintage tweed guitar amp. They are surprisingly versatile, quiet, reliable. High quality gear.
Old 4 days ago
  #258
The Silver Bullet is pretty clean and it's very forgiving in terms of saturation/breakup since it is specifically designed to act as a preamp AND a color box. I think it has like 78 dB of gain if you cascade the channels like N into A or A into N. Plenty of tonal flexibility from "pretty clean" to "colored" to "absolutely smashed". It has a LPF and HPF (Tight and Vintage), and a baxandall style eq and I am never at a loss to get the tone and amount of saturation I am looking for. I have a voyager which I run through it all the time and while I tend to opt for the API "A" channel most of the time (on pretty much everything), I never feel like it gets boomy or wooly when using the Neve "N" channel on really big/fat sounds. It does subtle, it does bold and it does them well in equal measure. I have looked at that Radial piece, but If I am going to record for maximum clarity, then I will just go straight into my interface. I dont hear enough of an improvement/color from a properly gain-staged preamp to warrant any additional purchases on that sort of thing. Workflow is something to consider though. I only record one part at a time, generally through the SB, to take advantage of outboard EQ and compression options I have sitting on its inserts. So while the Radial might not appeal to me, it certainly might to somoeone who is multi-tracking a live jam and wants clean uncolored recording.
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