For this test i did not test the mic inputs or push either preamp into distortion. All this fairly tests is how clean each instrument input is, but I thought it would still be fun to share.
For this experiment, I programmed the drums, and recorded dry guitar and bass tracks through a radial j48 direct box into an apogee rosetta 800.
I got my tones using amp and cab sims. I then recorded vocals using the api 3124+ into the rosetta.
Next, I rendered my guitar tones and drums in my daw, and sent the individual tracks with no eq, compression, or mixing of any kind out my radial x-amp one at a time and recorded each twice, once through the instrument input of the ART, and once through the instrument input of the API. I did this with the vocals too, so they went through the API twice for the "api mix".
Then I mixed it, applying EXACTLY the same mix to each set of files. I bounced my mixes, then cut them up and wove them together so I could hear the song constantly switching from the API to ART tracks.
One of these preamps I labelled "Preamp 1" in the comments on this track and the other is "Preamp 2". Which is which?
Here's the wave file if you aren't liking the soundcloud compression.
I'm guessing the ART is preamp 2, since it's a little "flabby" on the bottom. Big sounding, but not tight.
Agreed. But given the poor quality of encoding, I'm not totally confident.
Even so, I think the example shows that a "budget" pre is not going to make or break your recording. (Remember the ART vs GR thread?)
I thought the ART vs GR thread was rather obvious, in that the GR sounded much, much better. This test strikes me as a bit less scientific, and a bit less revealing, considering the approach the OP took to do the test.
Pre amp 1 sounded better to me on my 4" Edirols.
Preamp 2 sounded compressed, all segments very hard to differentiate and I thought it was a trick to get the track listened to, with some compression applied to pre 2.
But as I said my PC monitors are only 4" Edirols.
Hey guys I'm not planning to post the answer here. Just PM me for it.
isawsasquatch, I think this is about as scientific as it gets. The ART vs GR thread is actually rather unscientific since it was two different performances. In this test the only variable that changed at all was the preamp. Everything else is utterly identical.
Using my AT - m50 headphones i couldn't really hear any difference.. Maybe one of them had slightly more "punch" but nothing that couldn't have been made up for with a slightly different Compression setting.
Listening to the WAV file I cant tell when anything changes.. Do you have the same Tubes that come stock in the ART MPA ii?
I Facebook messaged you, reply answer in there please
I preferred 2 for the most part, seemed a tiny bit fuller and wider, but then near the end I either got confused or whatever but 1 started seeming like the fuller & wider version.......could have just been a volume thing, the wav form did look a bit up and down between sections.
The differences are extremely subtle. Almost to the point where just a splash of additive or subtractive EQ could make the tracks sound identical. I'll be keeping my Art MPA and spending my cash on ANYTHING other than high end preamps. Thanks for posting! I'm also not hearing that "mud" buildup from stacked tracks that's often touted as the reasoning for investing in expensive preamps. What a load of crock..