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Can You Tell The Difference? ART vs. Great River!
View Poll Results: Which preamp do you prefer?
Orange
222 Votes - 56.78%
Apple
169 Votes - 43.22%
Voters: 391. You may not vote on this poll

Old 24th May 2010
  #61
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TurboJets's Avatar
Orange lacks air, dimension and acuity. It's flat, muddy, and spongy. It FN sucks (sorry). LOL.

Apple is grabbing more detail transients, more of the room, more character of the mic and a more accurate capture of the guitar.

Apple is the GR
Orange is the ART
Old 25th May 2010
  #62
Gear Head
 
Wolfenstadt's Avatar
 

Orange is GR.
Apple sucks.
Old 25th May 2010
  #63
Lives for gear
 

I have a Great River ME-1NV and an ART PRO MPA (the original). I use the Great River more often than not but they both have their uses. As for the example clips:

I like characteristics of each. Like my own two pres I would use one or the other depending on which quality I was after. Overall I find that Orange was a bit over done for this mix. I little too thick. If Orange was the Great River then the input could have certainly been dialed back for a more open sound. Don't know anything about the ART Tube MP so couldn't say whether its character can be controlled or if it's a one trick pony. This is the very thing that I love about the Great River; it has a very wide "character spectrum" depending on how you set the input, load and impedance. Dynamic mics in particular can really come to life with this pre.
Old 25th May 2010
  #64
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dysenterygary's Avatar
 

I can totally see this going both ways. Like most people I think the art is the apple but hope its orange. This is the most entertaining thread I've seen in a while so thanks for posting!
Old 25th May 2010
  #65
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norman_nomad's Avatar
I just listened again on my Adams and HD-650's (was listening on MacBook Pro last night) and I just don't understand how people can enjoy the Apple clip. It makes me wince. It's got that hollow gutted-mids and the ringing/hashy high end that reminds me of the good-ole-days of bedroom mixing with my 4-channel Berhinger mixer. If Apple is the GR then I'll be staying away...
Old 25th May 2010
  #66
Gear Maniac
 

Listening on my NS 10's & old AKG headphones, I preferred Apple right away.
I felt it had more detail, focus & clarity.

Orange sounded hazy, muddy & lacked definition to me.
Especially the vocals.

Cheers
Sean
Old 25th May 2010
  #67
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
I hope this isn't the way you split mics:

Hosa YXM121 Y-Cable XLR female to two XLR male, 6" | Full Compass

Preamp "apple" introduces its terminating impedance to the circuit and preamp "orange" introduces its terminating impedance to the circuit, so you've got one mic being terminated by an unknown combination of impedances, thus making it not a true test of either preamp. The proper way to do this is with one of these:
Assuming the input impedance on both mic pre's are ~ 1200 ohm and the cable length under 20ft, the Y cable will do just fine for this kind of test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post

Whirlwind IMP SPLITTER 1X3 1x3 Mic Splitter | Full Compass

and use the two isolated outputs, disregarding the direct output. You'll also need an external phantom power supply. Now, a) the two preamps are isolated from one another, and b) the mic has a single known load impedance. Yes, this introduces the sound of the transformer into the circuit but it will be the same for both of the preamps you're comparing.

.
Is this an active box? An isolation transformer won't change the impedance relationships ... it'd be the same as a Y splitter ... the only advantage being better CMR and DC block.

Old 25th May 2010
  #68
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad View Post
Assuming the input impedance on both mic pre's are ~ 1200 ohm and the cable length under 20ft, the Y cable will do just fine for this kind of test.



Is this an active box? An isolation transformer won't change the impedance relationships ... it'd be the same as a Y splitter ... the only advantage being better CMR and DC block.

Trust me, it's not the same as the Y cable, it's worse. You don't want anything important going through that Imp trans, there's a reason they are cheap.....
Old 25th May 2010
  #69
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
Trust me, it's not the same as the Y cable, it's worse. You don't want anything important going through that Imp trans, there's a reason they are cheap.....
Right! My thoughts as well....
Old 25th May 2010
  #70
Gear Addict
 

humm de dumm, de doo...

SO TELL US WHICH IS WHICH!

dangit.
Old 25th May 2010
  #71
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dysenterygary's Avatar
 

No matter the outcome of this shootout, the ultimate will be Pre73 vs Great River! A shootout of those two would be VERY interesting to watch/read.
Old 25th May 2010
  #72
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dysenterygary View Post
No matter the outcome of this shootout, the ultimate will be Pre73 vs Great River! A shootout of those two would be VERY interesting to watch/read.
I'd like to see that too.
Old 25th May 2010
  #73
Gear Head
 
-=DanAtkinson=-'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
Did you use any noise reduction at any point?

The reason I'm focused on noise is that this is where I really notice the difference between expensive and cheap preamps.
No sir, no noise reduction at all.
Old 25th May 2010
  #74
Lives for gear
Apple is clearer, with more focused bass, and more balanced. Orange is good, but seems a little loose and unbalanced. At first I thought Orange was better, but after several times listening to them, Apple is clearer and more defined. If you listen to "she's crazy about Elvis" on both back to back, the Orange is harsh and sibiliant, where the Apple is very clear and not sibilant at all. So...

Apple is the GR; Orange is the ART.
Old 25th May 2010
  #75
Gear Head
 
-=DanAtkinson=-'s Avatar
 

(NOTE - Before the big "reveal", the votes were 75% for the cheap ART preamp. Since the reveal, the votes are still pouring in for some reason, but in favor of the Great River. Why are people still voting??)

Ok, time to announce the identity of the preamps. As of this writing, the votes are:

ORANGE: 41
APPLE: 14

Clearly, the vast majority prefer the Orange sound. So which one is it?

Wait for it....




Wait for it........







ORANGE = ART Tube MP




No, I'm not kidding. We were blown away. I recorded these clips at my buddy's studio (it was his Great River we tested), and when we listened to the mixes we were stunned. At first we thought the Great River was more "smooth", but subsequent listening proved that to be false. We were simply going with what we knew to be the expensive pre, and falling for the myth that expensive = smooth, and cheap = harsh.

The end result here is that 75% of folks preferred at $29 preamp to a $2275 preamp. This proves that "cheap" or "junk" or "crap" gear is perfectly viable. People often gravitate towards expensive gear simply because they assume it to be better, but that isn't necessarily the case.

I'm sure people will pick on the GR, and say it sucks, or whatever. But my hunch is, we'd get the same result with many top-dollar pres.

So if you're shopping for a pre, and your budget is limited, you may do perfectly well using the ART Tube MP. If the audio pros on this board have a hard time identifying the ART, imagine the general listener.
Old 25th May 2010
  #76
Gear Nut
 

now that is amazing
i love these tests.. thats what i say, blindtest'em and all BS falls apart
now i'll sit here and wait for posts of people who changed their mind after a second listen
Old 25th May 2010
  #77
Gear Head
 

Wow! incredible! how is it possible make such cheap gear with that results? what does ´expensive gear´ manufacturers have to say about this? Ot´s not the first time I get shocked about things like this.
A week ago I did a test in my studio, and recorded some tracks through SSL VHD, Avalon 737, Neotek 1e, and old Control 24 pres. I bounced and saved files with aleatory names and characters; got home and listened the files..., made my choice of what files sounded better to me. The next day went back into the studio and checked wich filenames matched with the files......and arrrrrrgghh! this is what I had chosen:
1- Neotek
2- Control 24
3- SSL vhd
4- Avalon

So......I will make no more blind tests..
Old 25th May 2010
  #78
RTR
Lives for gear
 
RTR's Avatar
Thats awesome....I need to get my art MP back, I loaned it to a friend because it was just laying around the studio collecting dust!
Old 25th May 2010
  #79
Gear Maniac
 
ArnauTS's Avatar
 

Great thread
Old 25th May 2010
  #80
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thiagoabreu View Post
now that is amazing
i love these tests.. thats what i say, blindtest'em and all BS falls apart
now i'll sit here and wait for posts of people who changed their mind after a second listen
Lol! I already posted that I voted apple, but was questioning my sanity as around three quarters of the votes were against me. I started thinking that the bass on the apple was a little overdone and that the accuracy of the rest I was hearing was actually due to excessive HF, just as the OP describes we are programmed to think. For, me there is a clear difference in sound, but in a one-off recording like this, it's difficult to say which is better, esp. $1.5K better.

Also I'm amazed at how partizan people become. You can say you like one over the other perhaps, or at least describe the difference - but to heap praise on one and vitriol on the other when this test shows that a bunch of audio geeks listening on good systems found the difference to be marginal at best (given the limitations of this test etc. etc.), is a bit much!

Quality thread - well done
Old 25th May 2010
  #81
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by -=DanAtkinson=- View Post
Ok, time to announce the identity of the preamps. As of this writing, the votes are:

ORANGE: 41
APPLE: 14

Clearly, the vast majority prefer the Orange sound. So which one is it?

ORANGE = ART Tube MP

No, I'm not kidding. We were blown away. I recorded these clips at my buddy's studio (it was his Great River we tested), and when we listened to the mixes we were stunned. At first we thought the Great River was more "smooth", but subsequent listening proved that to be false. We were simply going with what we knew to be the expensive pre, and falling for the myth that expensive = smooth, and cheap = harsh.

The end result here is that 75% of folks preferred at $29 preamp to a $2275 preamp. This proves that "cheap" or "junk" or "crap" gear is perfectly viable. People often gravitate towards expensive gear simply because they assume it to be better, but that isn't necessarily the case.

I'm sure people will pick on the GR, and say it sucks, or whatever. But my hunch is, we'd get the same result with many top-dollar pres.

So if you're shopping for a pre, and your budget is limited, you may do perfectly well using the ART Tube MP. If the audio pros on this board have a hard time identifying the ART, imagine the general listener.
How many threads do we all see in various forums saying "how do I get THAT sound?". Or, "I need to upgrade my signal chain to get THAT sound - HELP". And they've been recording so long with ART pre's, mackie boards, various low/mid end interfaces. Then one day they realize their mixes lack detail, clarity, depth, dimension, punch, "quality", and they're sick of not having real headroom.

This is why. How anyone could have chosen Orange over Apple is beyond me. When you start with flat, distorted, muddy captures, your mixes don't stand a chance in the end. People want to chose Orange?.. that's why they're on the boards asking "how can I get THAT studio sound?". They get tired of having to fight and struggle with "Orange".

Oh well. This is a big lesson learned.
Old 25th May 2010
  #82
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

I reckon Apple is the GR.
Old 25th May 2010
  #83
Registered User
 

I don't think the difference between the two was marginal.

The votes for orange were about what those people preferred (rounder, softer, warmer, whatever), and linking their preference with cost/reputation (GR).

Notice that no one said, 'I think the orange is the ART and I actually like it better.'

Fun stuff (especially going back and reading the posts).
Old 25th May 2010
  #84
Gear Head
 
-=DanAtkinson=-'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_Jezz View Post
Lol! I already posted that I voted apple, but was questioning my sanity as around three quarters of the votes were against me. I started thinking that the bass on the apple was a little overdone and that the accuracy of the rest I was hearing was actually due to excessive HF, just as the OP describes we are programmed to think. For, me there is a clear difference in sound, but in a one-off recording like this, it's difficult to say which is better, esp. $1.5K better.

Also I'm amazed at how partizan people become. You can say you like one over the other perhaps, or at least describe the difference - but to heap praise on one and vitriol on the other when this test shows that a bunch of audio geeks listening on good systems found the difference to be marginal at best (given the limitations of this test etc. etc.), is a bit much!

Quality thread - well done
Yes, tests like these are enlightening. If the Tube MP works this well, obviously the ART Pro Channel (rack mount, $200, with EQ and compresor) would be a worthy studio preamp. For the price of one Great River MP2-NV, you could buy 11 ART Pro Channels.
Old 25th May 2010
  #85
Gear Head
 
-=DanAtkinson=-'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
How many threads do we all see in various forums saying "how do I get THAT sound?". Or, "I need to upgrade my signal chain to get THAT sound - HELP". And they've been recording so long with ART pre's, mackie boards, various low/mid end interfaces. Then one day they realize their mixes lack detail, clarity, depth, dimension, punch, "quality", and they're sick of not having real headroom.

This is why. How anyone could have chosen Orange over Apple is beyond me. When you start with flat, distorted, muddy captures, your mixes don't stand a chance in the end. People want to chose Orange?.. that's why they're on the boards asking "how can I get THAT studio sound?". They get tired of having to fight and struggle with "Orange".

Oh well. This is a big lesson learned.
Well, the thing is, I'm sure most of the people who posted in this thread probably own expensive preamps, and are not newbies asking "how can I get that studio sound?"

I doubt any of them record with the ART.
Old 25th May 2010
  #86
Gear Head
 
-=DanAtkinson=-'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
I reckon Apple is the GR.
Thanks for the input. I already revealed that to be the case.
Old 25th May 2010
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
How anyone could have chosen Orange over Apple is beyond me.
But over 70% - including professionals who wouldn't touch ART for the reasons you describe DID choose it. That's the point
Old 25th May 2010
  #88
Gear Addict
 

I just ordered the ART PRO MPA II cheap off eBay two weeks ago, brand new.
Old 25th May 2010
  #89
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Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Only read the first post & listened...

Did not read any other posts so you may have posted the results already.

I`ll read them after this...

My ears tell me...

Apple is the GR.
Orange is the ART.
Old 25th May 2010
  #90
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_Jezz View Post
But over 70% - including professionals who wouldn't touch ART for the reasons you describe DID choose it. That's the point
We know there are professionals who chose the ART? Which ones are the professionals?
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