The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Stereo Tube Preamp: D.W. Fearn, Tube-Tech, QES Labs
View Poll Results: What's your favorite?
A
38 Votes - 71.70%
B
8 Votes - 15.09%
C
7 Votes - 13.21%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

Old 8th June 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
bewareofdogs's Avatar
 

Stereo Tube Preamp: D.W. Fearn, Tube-Tech, QES Labs

Hi folks!

This is a blind test.
The contenders are (in random order):

D.W. Fearn VT-2
http://www.dwfearn.com/vt-2_mic_preamp.html

Tube-Tech MP 1A
http://www.tube-tech.com/mp-1a-mic.-preamplifier-19.html

QES Labs SMP-2
http://www.qeslabs.com/e_stereo_mic_preamp.asp

A Grand Piano was recorded through a stereo kit from DPA, the 3511 with 4011-tl microphones.
A passive splitter was used, so to use 2 preamps at a time.
Shootout is A -vs- B, A vs C, B vs C
Chain: mics>splitter>preamps>converter

Later I will post which is which.

Have fun!
Attached Files

Piano A.wav (5.89 MB, 9084 views)

Piano B.wav (5.89 MB, 8304 views)

Piano2 A.wav (5.39 MB, 7755 views)

Piano2 C.wav (5.39 MB, 7817 views)

Piano3 B.wav (4.98 MB, 7065 views)

Piano3 C.wav (4.98 MB, 7122 views)

Old 8th June 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

A by far! I guess it's the Fearn?
Old 8th June 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

Three high end preamps,
though A really shines among the others.
second choice is B, third C.

Thanks for the test.
Old 9th June 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 

I liked A the best too.

B sounded more mid-rangy, not as open and less bass but I liked it's character so it's second.

C was nice too.

I'll take all three.



Piano B file needs about 0.5db gain

Piano 2c file needs about 0.6db gain

Piano 3c needs about -0.6db reduction

to make the test more even.

Cheers for posting.
Old 10th June 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
World Studios's Avatar
I say A, because it is more open sounding and more general purpose, but B has a warmer, fatter low end. Nice. Thanks!
Old 11th June 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 
kokoa's Avatar
Great shootout...thumbsup

my order : A > C > B
Do you have add an artificial reverb or is it a real big cool hall?
Old 11th June 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

I also prefer A to B in the first comparison. Note that after balancing the RMS levels of both takes, there is more than 1 dB difference at 100 Hz between both these preamps.
Old 12th June 2010
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
OhioGreg's Avatar
 

My top 3:
A
B
C

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I also prefer A to B in the first comparison. Note that after balancing the RMS levels of both takes, there is more than 1 dB difference at 100 Hz between both these preamps.
Is it because of the passive splitter?

Anyway, nice shootout.
Old 12th June 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
bewareofdogs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokoa View Post
Great shootout...thumbsup

my order : A > C > B
Do you have add an artificial reverb or is it a real big cool hall?
No, it was hall's natural reverb.
Old 12th June 2010
  #10
Here for the gear
 
kokoa's Avatar
Quote:
No, it was hall's natural reverb.

Ok...beautiful!
Old 12th June 2010
  #11
Here for the gear
 
kokoa's Avatar
Quote:
No, it was hall's natural reverb.
Ok...beautiful!
Curiosity...which dimensions?
Old 15th June 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
bewareofdogs's Avatar
 

About 16ft, IIRC.
Old 15th June 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

I also prefer A with respect to C. Unlike in the A vs. B test, there is no significant level difference in the lows after balancing the RMS levels but there is a 2 dB difference around 1 kHz, which is a lot.
Old 16th June 2010
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

I'd say A (absolutely in every aspect).
second choice was C, then B.

Thanks for the test, can't wait to know which is which!
Old 16th June 2010
  #15
Gear Nut
 
phunk2's Avatar
 

1. A, nice fat lowend, really jazzy tone, smooth highs. Me likey. Could definatly hear this with a Melody Gardot type of voice. I'd guess this is the Fearn from what I've read about it, but I haven't used neither of theese pres, so what do I know.

2. B, clear but still tubey, not as rich in the bottom as the A. I guess this one would fit the best in a mix for the kind of music i make, pop, house etc. A sweet pre.

3. C, This one just didn't have that it factor. I'll be sad if this is the Tube Tech, since they make such a great comp.
On the other hand this might not be a bad pre just out shined in this test compared to the other two sweet sounding pre's. It still works. But I rather use one of the previous.

Just my 2 cents.

Great test!
Old 21st June 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Tanio's Avatar
 

Just A for me.

Thanks for posting.
Old 21st June 2010
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
bewareofdogs's Avatar
 

The Key

Alright.
Here's the key:

A. QES Labs SMP-2
B. D.W. Fearn VT-2
C. Tube Tech MP 1A

Thanks for your comments.

Cheers.

Old 21st June 2010
  #18
Gear Nut
 
phunk2's Avatar
 

Poor tube tech hehe. Well thanks for a great test and makin me think twice before getting a tubepre.
Old 21st June 2010
  #19
Gear Addict
 
fradoca's Avatar
Definitely A!
Old 21st June 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I also prefer A to B in the first comparison. Note that after balancing the RMS levels of both takes, there is more than 1 dB difference at 100 Hz between both these preamps.
In Wavelab, I apply WaveLab EQ-1 low shelf, + 2.1 dB at 105 Hz, and high shelf, + 1.2 at 4400 Hz, and -0.4 dB gain to B so that to get the same spectrum like A. Here the result.

Do you still prefer A?
Old 22nd June 2010
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

I don't catch your point.
Since the test has been done with a passive splitter to avoid external coloration, and my preference was A, without any kind of EQ.
A is the widest among the others.
B is good, but not as A,
C was my last choice.

And this without EQing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
In Wavelab, I apply WaveLab EQ-1 low shelf, + 2.1 dB at 105 Hz, and high shelf, + 1.2 at 4400 Hz, and -0.4 dB gain to B so that to get the same spectrum like A. Here the result.

Do you still prefer A?
Yes, I do!
Old 22nd June 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

My point is that one of this preamp is too far from flat response in the audible frequency band. Two different preamps should not have frequency responses differing by up to 2 dB. Either A is no longer compliant with its specifications, or B is cheating with a loudness type response. This difference is a large part of the difference audible to me.

Edit: oops... See my next message
Old 22nd June 2010
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioGreg View Post
My top 3:
A
B
C



Is it because of the passive splitter?

Anyway, nice shootout.
Well, that might be possible

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
.... Either A is no longer compliant with its specifications, or B is cheating with a loudness type response. This difference is a large part of the difference audible to me.
A was my first choice, so if it's no longer compliant, the newer unit should be even better.

Cheers
Old 22nd June 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Sorry for my mistake. I meant:

Either B is no longer compliant with its specifications, or A is cheating with a loudness type response. This difference is a large part of the difference audible to me.
Old 22nd June 2010
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
8inthemorning's Avatar
Setting the levels, I could find a smaller difference (around 1/1.2dB), which is not weird:
3 different amps, 3 different spectra.
Nothing strange here.

My impression:

A. Was definitely my first choice. Round, focused and balanced. Treble zone is wonderful.

B. My second choice, fat with creamy top, preferred over C (still didn't like your EQ'd B, my preference was the original B, which sounds more natural).

C. Not strong as the previous two preamps, but definitely useable in some mixes.

Nice test indeed. Thanks for posting.
Old 22nd June 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8inthemorning View Post
3 different amps, 3 different spectra.
Nothing strange here.
Yes, such differences at 100 Hz and 4 kHz are much unusual. A preamp response is flat within a few tenth of dB between these frequencies. Some manufacturers even claim a flat response within a few hundredth of dB.
Attached Thumbnails
Stereo Tube Preamp: D.W. Fearn, Tube-Tech, QES Labs-ared-vs-b-white.jpg  
Old 23rd June 2010
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Some manufacturers even claim a flat response within a few hundredth of dB.
Yes, but that's measured with a steady sine wave.
Old 27th June 2010
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Resis's Avatar
 

A was by far my first choice. Amazing 3D, rich low end, silky tops, fast too.
B was my second choice, fat low too.

I didn't pick C.

Thanks for the test.
Old 21st August 2010
  #29
Wow-well I'm opposite everyone else. The level difference in the 1st test makes a BIG difference. Before adjusting levels I chose C, A, B. AFTER turning PianoB up 0.62dB based on RMS from Dorroughs meter, I rank them
1. C
2. B
3. A

Listening on BM6A's in fairly well-tuned room.

Re-listened on barefoots in my new room, adjusted Piano A down 1.35db, Piano2 A down 0.8db and re-ranked:
1. C
2. A
3. B
Old 25th August 2010
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
M.o.T.s's Avatar
 

My first pick is definitely A.
It wins hands down over the others.

Second choice was B, then C.

Thanks for the test.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
4blades / Gear Shoot-Outs / Sound File Comparisons / Audio Tests
40
NorseHorse / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
9
smartalek / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
25
GCL / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
4
music friend / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0

Forum Jump
Forum Jump