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Black Lion Audio Profire 2626 mod vs. stock Profire 2626
Old 23rd January 2011
  #1
Black Lion Audio Profire 2626 mod vs. stock Profire 2626

A few months ago I was essentially given a BLA modded Profire 2626 by a friend, I also happened to have a stock unit, but neither unit has been in the same location.....

stike UNTIL NOW!! stike

A few notes about this quick and dirty A/B,

1) this isn't the best A/B that can be done, I wanted to get something up quick for people to listen to, I will post a more thorough A/B once I have time, a better room, and better sources to record.

2) this was done in my apartment which has horrible electricity, there are a few pops and clicks because of this.

3) the mic position isn't great but they're even and in phase, didn't have much of a choice due to limited space.

4) Both units are being clocked off of a BLA Microclock MK2 that has been modified to be closer to the clock that Black Lion is about to release, its somewhat similar to the clock in the FM192. This makes the stock profire sound MUCH better, and it makes the differences between the stock and modified units fairly subtle. I only had one recording capable computer on hand, and if both units are not clocked together there is too much jitter to make a quality recording.

5) I plan on doing this again with a wider array of instruments ad vocals with different mics and mic pres (to test the A/D conversion) in the future, it might be a while but I hope this satisfies some curiosity for now.

6) A BIG thank you to my wonderful girlfriend for banging some stuff out on her guitars, I know she's not hendrix, but she's a lot better than I am!



Now, I did 2 tests:

To make this fair, I'm not telling which files are which, post which ones you think sound better and we'll see if the BLA unit comes out the winner!

A1 and B1 are a stereo matched pair of AKG 460s directly into the channel 1 mic pres on each unit. The mics had to be placed a little farther away than I normally would due to space restrictions and mic stands that suck.

A2 and B2 are a test of the DI on channel 1 on each unit. The signal was split with a y-cable.


Take a listen, and I will let everyone know which file goes to which unit in a few days!

The files were a bit large so I hosted them myself (21.9mb for test 1 and 13.1mb for test 2)


Test 1: Acoustic guitar playing into AKG C460s
File A1

File B1


Test 2: Electric Guitar into the DI on each Unit
File A2

File B2



EDIT:
SPOILER ALERT!!!:
The answer as to which unit is which is posted below, if you found this thread and wish to form your own opinions on which unit sounds better, READ NO FURTHER!

Last edited by chicagoisonfire; 27th January 2011 at 02:39 AM.. Reason: spoiler alert
Old 24th January 2011
  #2
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GoldMember's Avatar
Question

thumbsup
can you record @ 96-24 ?
and open both units and take Hi Res. Photos?
Old 24th January 2011
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
thumbsup
can you record @ 96-24 ?
and open both units and take Hi Res. Photos?
I can open them up and take photos tomorrow night,

I was planning on doing the "real test" at 96k, i did this one at 44.1 to keep the file sizes manageable
Old 24th January 2011
  #4
They both sound pretty good...the first thing I wondered, was which one sounds more like the guitar your girlfriend is playing?

That said...i would use either, but have a preference for B. I hear more midrange quack in A. But we are splitting hairs here....either are cool..... nice work.

What I would love to hear, is the unmodded profire, on its own clock vs the Black Lion clock...that would be cool...

cheers and thanks

Wiz
Old 24th January 2011
  #5
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YOHAMI's Avatar
 

A sounds tiny compared to B

A has a high self or something, more highs, but the cheap kind

B is duller, but thats probably closer to the original - otherwise its just a very ugly effect

I guess B the BL
Old 24th January 2011
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz_Oz View Post

What I would love to hear, is the unmodded profire, on its own clock vs the Black Lion clock...that would be cool...

cheers and thanks

Wiz
exactly what i was thinkin... having the stock profire 2626 i was thinkin about buying the bla mkII word clock cause i've heard it sounds soo much better with it but haven't been able to find an a/b test anywhere. that would really help make my decision if u did that test. maybe throw in micing a snare drum with a overhead condenser too if you could for the test...? thanks
Old 24th January 2011
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

i prefer B - so guess its the BLA. It sounds smoother, less brittle top end. but then, I am listening on laptop speakers (so if im wrong then ive got an out.... )
Old 24th January 2011
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucifer0688 View Post
exactly what i was thinkin... having the stock profire 2626 i was thinkin about buying the bla mkII word clock cause i've heard it sounds soo much better with it but haven't been able to find an a/b test anywhere. that would really help make my decision if u did that test. maybe throw in micing a snare drum with a overhead condenser too if you could for the test...? thanks
Even before I got my clock modded, the BLA MKII made the profire sound SO MUCH BETTER. With the internal clock, it sounded fairly similar to a friends presonus firestudio, maybe just a little bit better, but with the MKII it was more on par with a different friend's apogee ensamble (the mic pres weren't as nice, but the A/D/A was just a tiny bit better)


Also, the biggest difference I have found between the two units is playback. Right now i'm monitoring with a pair of acoustic research AR-18BXis (blast from the past, but i like them better than NS-10s, and they're cheaper to fix when they blow up) and a Perreaux 3000B. I also used to have a pair of Tannoy system 12 DMT Is that I ran with a Bryston 4B SST.

Especially on the Tannoys, the playback difference is huge, the bottom reaches lower, highs are more clear, and on the AR-18s (which are a sealed cabinet) transients were MUCH clearer. Also, the headphone amps have similar differences, and the ones on the BLA get louder than the stock unit.

If anyone has any ideas on a good way to do a demonstration of playback, please let me know. Ive been pondering ways to do it, but I feel like the differences might be lost when played back somewhere else...


oh, and if anyone has a pair of 12" or 15" tannoys on the east coast that they dont use/want, get in touch, I miss the ones I had and want another pair!
Old 24th January 2011
  #9
Also, I havent had a moment to open them up yet, but heres a quick cellphone pic of the rig I'm using!

Old 24th January 2011
  #10
Deleted #157546
Guest
I prefer A. You should have set up a poll.
Old 24th January 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayvo86 View Post
I prefer A. You should have set up a poll.
You're right, the idea didn't occur to me. It doesnt look like there is a way to add a poll after the fact. I wil remember this for when I get the more in-depth test together.
Old 26th January 2011
  #12
Here are pictures of the insides of the units, I'll tell everyone which unit is which in the tests tomorrow.

Apologies for the poor pictures, had only a few min to take them this morning.

It looks like BLA has added better/different value caps in certain places, and I think theres more going on on the other side of the board, but I wasn't prepared to disassemble my units any further.

(pictures are just links due to size. all the pictures are similar, but some show more detail than others)

Stock Unit:
http://i.imgur.com/3xW16.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/3cHRr.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/zBTK6.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/P1Ids.jpg

Modded Unit:
http://i.imgur.com/GIimt.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/A2jN7.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/KaYMB.jpg

Last edited by chicagoisonfire; 27th January 2011 at 03:00 AM.. Reason: same picture twice
Old 26th January 2011
  #13
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoisonfire View Post
I'll tell everyone which unit is which in the tests tomorrow.

Modded Unit:
http://i.imgur.com/GIimt.jpg <----
http://i.imgur.com/A2jN7.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/GIimt.jpg <----
http://i.imgur.com/KaYMB.jpg
can you PM the answere ?

Thanks.
Old 26th January 2011
  #14
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Mark D.'s Avatar
 

I wonder if such a mod exists for the ProFire 610 model (1/2 rack version)? Also, if there is a mod that improves more than the conversion & clock & if there are other options (a HPF option would be great). The quality of the preamps is good, only good enough if I have to use my stereo mic. But for microphones, on a mono source, 3rd party preamps are always better. Plus, I much prefer a HPF at the preamp stages vs. mic, or after in software. While I don't like the preamps much, I will say, as a guitar or bass DI, they are great. They get that part right.
Old 26th January 2011
  #15
Here are the answers!

In both tests, Unit A is the BLA 2626 and Unit B is the stock unit.
Old 27th January 2011
  #16
Deleted #157546
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoisonfire View Post
Here are the answers!

In both tests, Unit A is the BLA 2626 and Unit B is the stock unit.

Thanks for not waiting 10 years to reveal the answers!
Old 27th January 2011
  #17
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very interesting, so in my opinion B was duller and A had more highs, which one sounds closer to the source for you? do you get better results with the BLA? how much do you hate the stock and why?

need some data after having my assumptions crushed
Old 27th January 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by yohami View Post
very interesting, so in my opinion B was duller and A had more highs, which one sounds closer to the source for you? do you get better results with the BLA? how much do you hate the stock and why?

need some data after having my assumptions crushed
A does sound closer to the source to me, also, I've noticed that the stock unit has a low-mid/high-bass range bump that BLA has gotten rid of.

I do get slightly better results with the BLA, but the biggest difference for me (and most crucial) is in the outputs, for me, the mod is worth the money just in the changes made to the output stages and headphone amps.

I dont hate the stock unit! I think that for the money (~$600-700 new, ~400-500 used) they are one of the most flexible, versatile, and all around good interfaces on the market. I cant comment on the 610, but the 2626, even in stock form, has greatly surpassed everything I had thought it would be capable of.

For someone looking for a fast way to make their 2626 sound better for cheaper, get a clock, a good one. The 2626 sounds awesome with a better clock. But by no means is the mod not worth the money.
Old 27th January 2011
  #19
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YOHAMI's Avatar
 

Awesome, thanks
Old 31st January 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoisonfire View Post
I dont hate the stock unit! I think that for the money (~$600-700 new, ~400-500 used) they are one of the most flexible, versatile, and all around good interfaces on the market. I

But by no means is the mod not worth the money.
Our Price: $1,325.00
M-Audio ProFire 2626 + Black Lion Audio Modification - $1,325.00 : Gear Orphanage
Old 28th May 2011
  #21
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DR Music's Avatar
UPDATE- BlackLionAudio MOD Profire 2626

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
The Mod is now offered thru Black Lion Audio for $575.00 !!! The mod is unbelivable! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!!!!! Huge difference! I also bought the MKll Clock and it has opened up my 8 channel digiMax 96K...!!!
Old 1st June 2011
  #22
Gear Head
 

Profire 2626 Question

How are you syncing the ProFire 2626 to the MKII clock? I do not see a BNC word clock connection on the back of the unit.

Thinking about getting a profire 2626 and clock to drive my 003 and the Profire unit.

Thanks
Old 1st June 2011
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sproto View Post
How are you syncing the ProFire 2626 to the MKII clock? I do not see a BNC word clock connection on the back of the unit.

Thinking about getting a profire 2626 and clock to drive my 003 and the Profire unit.

Thanks
Theres a breakout cable for midi/wordclock/spidif that plugs into the parallel port.

It saves some space, and not everyone uses that stuff.
Old 1st June 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 

Gotcha, Thanks
Old 1st June 2011
  #25
I wanted to echo the low mid range bump on the unmodded 2626. I noticed it when I compared it to the apogee ensemble and rme adi-2. I did a lot of a/b between them and the stock 2626 brought some light ear fatigue upon playback.

I have to say thought the d/a digital conversion was on was on par with the apogee when running external preamps. It was really hard to tell the difference when a/b'ing them. I think the stock 2626 weakness is its clock.
Old 30th June 2011
  #26
Here for the gear
 

How would you rate the bla profire pres to the sytek pres (if you have experience with them?) I have the syteks and am underwhelmed...
Old 1st July 2011
  #27
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DR Music's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by underdub View Post
How would you rate the bla profire pres to the sytek pres (if you have experience with them?) I have the syteks and am underwhelmed...
A lil different... But very useable!! Syteks are fantastic pre's!!
There is a difference, I can hear the low end more rounded and smooth mid and high frequencies.. 100% useable...!!!!
Old 2nd January 2012
  #28
Here for the gear
 

I got my profire 2626 modded by BLA in Sep. 2011. Just wanted to attest to the improvement in the headphone outputs. The had a low-mid bump and were fatiguing. I always used my metric halo uln-2 headphone out which sounded clear and responsive in comparison. After the BLA mod, the profire headphone out sounds almost identical to the metric halo, in other words really good (my cans are ATHM-50's)

I should have recorded some samples using the mic amps before I had it modded but I didn't. So I have nothing to say about that. But basically, I think these guys know what they're doing and have good taste, so I'm glad I did the mod.

I am still on the fence with getting a micro clock. I should probably try it. But I'm not interested in subtle improvements. The bla mod was not subtle, the headphone amps sucked and now they're really nice!
Old 19th March 2012
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Profire 2626 opamp

Stock Profire 2626 have jrc4580 opamp. With which opamp they are replaced in BLA mod?

Big thanks
Old 19th March 2012
  #30
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DR Music's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by smarvelous View Post
I got my profire 2626 modded by BLA in Sep. 2011. Just wanted to attest to the improvement in the headphone outputs. The had a low-mid bump and were fatiguing. I always used my metric halo uln-2 headphone out which sounded clear and responsive in comparison. After the BLA mod, the profire headphone out sounds almost identical to the metric halo, in other words really good (my cans are ATHM-50's)

I should have recorded some samples using the mic amps before I had it modded but I didn't. So I have nothing to say about that. But basically, I think these guys know what they're doing and have good taste, so I'm glad I did the mod.

I am still on the fence with getting a micro clock. I should probably try it. But I'm not interested in subtle improvements. The bla mod was not subtle, the headphone amps sucked and now they're really nice!
The mkll clock made a noticeable difference nit subtle. I would say it's 50% of the mod..
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