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
The real diff between cheap and pricey preamps? Condenser Microphones
Old 22nd March 2010
  #31
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubai View Post
some cheap pres have great sound, like FMR RNP
.
on the RNP It gets in shoot outs for stereo pair duty all the time with a pair of API 512c and wins its share. NO prob using it on almost anything....I would not call it cheap.. I'd call that one a serious BARGAIN..
Old 22nd March 2010
  #32
Lives for gear
 
fossaree's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerbrain View Post
on the RNP It gets in shoot outs for stereo pair duty all the time with a pair of API 512c and wins its share. NO prob using it on almost anything....I would not call it cheap.. I'd call that one a serious BARGAIN..
I own pbc-6a and rnc comp. Gotta listen to this RNP though ... it seems it's got its love
Old 22nd March 2010
  #33
Lives for gear
 
brockorama's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fossaree View Post
that means an API 512c is 2 stars !
and one channel of Pacifica is also 2 stars !
I think those prices would include channel strip ingrediants like EQ and Comp. This thread is only addressing pres so the 5 star rating doesn't really apply. I would like to know what (pre-only) he was referring to.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #34
Lives for gear
the difference is marketing.

now if you were to ask what the difference is between bad and good preamps, the answers would be what most of the people here have said in their replies.

but I fail to see how some of the very expensive preamps I've used over the years from companies like focusrite are any better than the preamps in my yamaha board which sound virtually identical and have virtually identical noise and distortion figures.

Now take a GAP preamp - cheap preamp that sounds incredible and adds it's own wonderful signature to the tone.

or the mpa gold which is really versatile and also adds it's own nice signature. both are dirt cheap.

so you can't go be price alone.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkunkWorks View Post
There's a local band here doing very well... sort of Coldplay-ish. When I first heard their first single I salivated over the vocal quality and production values. I ran into the guy a while ago and got to talk to him about the album. It was done locally at his buddy's studio which doesn't have much high end stuff. Turns out it was a Rode NT2000 through a Presonus pre. The Rode is a bit sibilant but that could have been de-essed.

I own a Great River. I'd love to get the sound they got out of that "cheap" gear. The guy does have a world class voice though... and probably sounds like that through anything.

EDIT
Here's the song...

YouTube - Jason Zerbin - In Your Arms - Official Music Video

oh wow!!!! sir you have made me a very happy man. that song is brilliant!!!!!

just bought it
Old 22nd March 2010
  #36
Lives for gear
 
flute player's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gharper23 View Post
That is the most ridiculous star system I have ever seen. So according to this most of your 500 series pres are 2 star! and GR is barely coming in at 3? And a gap 73 is a 1star? Price does not always mean quality
Tjonge jonge.....guys calm down a little.
This is how I look to price connected to quality.
And yes, that might count for dual channels only.
But yes my meaning still is that price does in most way the quality.

Grrrrrrrreetz,

Paul
Old 22nd March 2010
  #37
Lives for gear
 
flute player's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fossaree View Post
that means an API 512c is 2 stars !
and one channel of Pacifica is also 2 stars !
Read above, I did not...repeat.... I did not made a statement with rating.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #38
Lives for gear
 
fossaree's Avatar
Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by flute player View Post
Read above, I did not...repeat.... I did not made a statement with rating.
Now I got it !

Cheers !
Old 22nd March 2010
  #39
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
It's not so much a matter of cheap vs pricey. It's other stuff.

As for comparing one track (of anything) ..it usually doesn't reveal much at all.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #40
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio Addict View Post
Stay that way! It is mentally healthier in the long run.
Funny! heh
Old 23rd March 2010
  #41
Gear Maniac
 
virtualsamana's Avatar
 

The real difference between pres is whether people on GS like them or not. I find that a pre sounds good if other people tell me they sound good. I also find that pres sound bad if other people tell me they sound bad. I used to think that the pres in my Mackie were up to snuff, until I was informed that they sucked and that they would ruin anything put through them. What do you know, like magic, I saw the light and now will not record with them because they sound shrill and smear the transients. Thanks Gearslutz!
Old 23rd March 2010
  #42
Lives for gear
 
SkunkWorks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nick-the-sax View Post
oh wow!!!! sir you have made me a very happy man. that song is brilliant!!!!!

just bought it
Yeah, besides recognizing and meeting Jason when I was at my local music shop a little while ago, I bought a Radial D.I. box off a guy in my local classifieds who turned out to be the bass player you see in that vid. I've heard some other projects he's worked on and is a good writer in his own right. He's also the in house session player at that small local studio where the album was recorded... and has worked on sessions with members of some modern Canadian bands that I really like that have had some national exposure and success. I'm starting to realize that a comment he made to me is true... the music community up here really is a small world Seems like eventually everyone knows each other or knows someone who knows the other guy
Old 23rd March 2010
  #43
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by flute player View Post
You could have said more that price depends of the materials that are used.
Quallity of critical things such as potmeters, vu-meters, capacitors tubes and trannies.
Cheap materials often goes with less dynamics and depth of the sound.
And what do you think of the price of a man hour in China against one in Zweden.
I would rate the preamps in a five star category.

* $ 0 - $ 500
** $ 500 - $ 1000
*** $ 1000 - $ 1750
**** $ 1750 - $ 2250
***** $ 2250 and up

greetz,

Paul
Quote:
Originally Posted by flute player View Post
But yes my meaning still is that price does in most way the quality.
...I'm happy to see that Americans aren't the only ones confused about price=quality...


Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
the difference is marketing.
...that's a start...marketing certainly plays a much bigger part than it should...good marketing=status
Old 23rd March 2010
  #44
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkunkWorks View Post
There's a local band here doing very well... sort of Coldplay-ish. When I first heard their first single I salivated over the vocal quality and production values. I ran into the guy a while ago and got to talk to him about the album. It was done locally at his buddy's studio which doesn't have much high end stuff. Turns out it was a Rode NT2000 through a Presonus pre. The Rode is a bit sibilant but that could have been de-essed.

I own a Great River. I'd love to get the sound they got out of that "cheap" gear. The guy does have a world class voice though... and probably sounds like that through anything.

EDIT
Here's the song...

YouTube - Jason Zerbin - In Your Arms - Official Music Video
Wow, that's a beautiful production man
Just goes to show that the song and talent beats the shyt out of the
"High-End Vs Low-End" debate.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #45
Lives for gear
 
SkunkWorks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyMike View Post
Wow, that's a beautiful production man
Just goes to show that the song and talent beats the shyt out of the
"High-End Vs Low-End" debate.
+1
Old 23rd March 2010
  #46
Lives for gear
 
fossaree's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualsamana View Post
The real difference between pres is whether people on GS like them or not. I find that a pre sounds good if other people tell me they sound good. I also find that pres sound bad if other people tell me they sound bad. I used to think that the pres in my Mackie were up to snuff, until I was informed that they sucked and that they would ruin anything put through them. What do you know, like magic, I saw the light and now will not record with them because they sound shrill and smear the transients. Thanks Gearslutz!
hehhehheh
Old 23rd March 2010
  #47
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyMike View Post
Just goes to show that the song and talent beats the shyt out of the
"High-End Vs Low-End" debate.
What is it that's "Low-End" about any of the gear they're using? I didn't see anything but killer instruments, amps, iso-room mics, talent, etc.

It's not like they're playing Squier guitars through Crate amps and using Peavey mics.

The only thing some might question would be using a presonus digimax, but the digimax is actually a nice little group of pre's with decent converters. And obviously the production is pro and mixed by a pro.

Just asking. Truly not trying to start a war with you.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #48
Lives for gear
 
SkunkWorks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
What is it that's "Low-End" about any of the gear they're using? I didn't see anything but killer instruments, amps, iso-room mics, talent, etc.

It's not like they're playing Squier guitars through Crate amps and using Peavey mics.

The only thing some might question would be using a presonus digimax, but the digimax is actually a nice little group of pre's with decent converters. And obviously the production is pro and mixed by a pro.

Just asking. Truly not trying to start a war with you.
I know you weren't directing that question at me, but since I posted the video... I was talking more about the specific vocal chain and just saying it's not high end as defined by the very categorical break down of the GS board itself... which I believe is partly defined by price. And I also brought it up because the name Presonus was mentioned somewhere at beginning of this thread (in a not so flattering light if I remember). Even Rode mics with maybe the exception of a couple of their top of the line models get bagged on pretty hard around here. I have some nice gear myself... but wanted to demostrate that it's not always the end all be all.

Last edited by SkunkWorks; 23rd March 2010 at 03:16 AM.. Reason: grammar etc.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #49
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkunkWorks View Post
I know you weren't directing that question at me, but since I posted the video... I was talking more about the specific vocal chain and just saying it's not high end as defined by the very categorical break down of the GS board itself... which I believe is partly defined by price. And I also brought it up because the name Presonus was mentioned somewhere at beginning of this thread (in a not so flattering light if I remember). Even Rode mics with maybe the exception of a couple of their top of the line models get bagged on pretty hard around here. I have some nice gear myself... but wanted to demostrate that it's not always the end all be all.
Cool, yeah, the low-end presonus boxes take criticism but the digimax is actually a nice box, at least on par with the focusrite octopre which offers some decent clean pre's with nice converters IMO. Higher end Rode mic's can hold their own and (as implied) especially when there's talent in front of it - which of course in this case is unquestionable. The rest of the gear...amps, guitars, drums, mics, are all enviable model production.

Cool group, awesome lyrics.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #50
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Light's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkunkWorks View Post
There's a local band here doing very well... sort of Coldplay-ish. When I first heard their first single I salivated over the vocal quality and production values. I ran into the guy a while ago and got to talk to him about the album. It was done locally at his buddy's studio which doesn't have much high end stuff. Turns out it was a Rode NT2000 through a Presonus pre. The Rode is a bit sibilant but that could have been de-essed.

I own a Great River. I'd love to get the sound they got out of that "cheap" gear. The guy does have a world class voice though... and probably sounds like that through anything.

EDIT
Here's the song...

YouTube - Jason Zerbin - In Your Arms - Official Music Video

"The guy does have a world class voice though... and probably sounds like that through anything."

THERE'S THE KEY! Raw talent on the players behalf and a good ear on the engineer's part have a WAY bigger role on the way a recording is going to turn out than the equipment used. You can't buy either of those thing for any amount of money.

Aside from that, cheaper doesn't necessarily mean crappier. There are a number of good products around for less than $500 that do a stellar job for the price paid. Just because a pre costs $2k that alone doesn't mean it's a great pre. It's all in the design, personal preference and the job it's needed for.

The good gear is there for when you've reached the limits of a budget system AND you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket. I'd tell over half the people on this board to save their money for now, track as much as you can and learn with what you've got.

My band did a demo in a studio that has pushed out many MANY platinum records. It was a bro deal handed to us from the owner (a good friend , free time but it was the assistants that were engineering the demos. They threw up an assortment of vintage Nuemanns, using a vintage Neve consol.....all the same gear that they use to record the mega artists........and it sounded like SH!T!! Complete crap, could have done better myself with an m-box in my grandmother's attic.

It was a good lesson though, one that I'm trying to convey and was sorta already mentioned in the quoted post.

Have I made my point? I do tend to ramble
Old 23rd March 2010
  #51
Lives for gear
 
SkunkWorks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
...

Cool group, awesome lyrics.
I think the lyrics might actually be faith based from what I know about his family. I believe his father is a pastor from what a guy I work with at my summer job told me... he's friends with Jason.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #52
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualsamana View Post
The real difference between pres is whether people on GS like them or not. I find that a pre sounds good if other people tell me they sound good. I also find that pres sound bad if other people tell me they sound bad. I used to think that the pres in my Mackie were up to snuff, until I was informed that they sucked and that they would ruin anything put through them. What do you know, like magic, I saw the light and now will not record with them because they sound shrill and smear the transients. Thanks Gearslutz!
LOL
this is hyterical
funniest **** ive read here for weeks
heh
Old 23rd March 2010
  #53
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualsamana View Post
The real difference between pres is whether people on GS like them or not. I find that a pre sounds good if other people tell me they sound good. I also find that pres sound bad if other people tell me they sound bad. I used to think that the pres in my Mackie were up to snuff, until I was informed that they sucked and that they would ruin anything put through them. What do you know, like magic, I saw the light and now will not record with them because they sound shrill and smear the transients. Thanks Gearslutz!
i certainly hope you"ve seen the light now.
crappy pre's like that will ruin your dreams,possibly set your house on fire,not to mention,throwing your snare completely out of tune.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #54
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Right, quality of the opamps is the difference between distortion of transients or clarity of transients. A pre can be described as fast or slow...or at least it's ability to process transients with clarity and efficiency. But maybe I'm just overstating the obvious. Just felt (like robert) that the quality of opamp is directly relevant to distortion of transients.
+1

you can't get the same transient response from cheapos.
this is the **** ethan doesn't measure. Why do drums
sound amazing w/ api and 1073? and sound like shiat on mackie?
same room same mics same a/d same engineer same coffee boy
same air conditioning? circuitry

fast pres man you said it
Old 23rd March 2010
  #55
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

i think there are two things at play here that people are discussing.

1-is a $2000 pre better than a $500 pre.
and
2-does it matter.

this is gearslutz so it matters here and i agree, a $60 toaster is usually a step up from a $20 toaster.
a mercedes is usually a step up from a bmw.

i have a simple zed r16 board and i use those pre's.
if i could swith the a/h pre's for the api's, change nothing else in the chain and retain the exact same volume output to the speakers.
would i hear the difference in my truck or home stereo or mp3 player.
i think i would notice a difference here with my unity u15p's and klipsch speakers but would i hear it in my truck.
do you need it or just want it.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #56
Lives for gear
 
Saudade's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualsamana View Post
The real difference between pres is whether people on GS like them or not. I find that a pre sounds good if other people tell me they sound good. I also find that pres sound bad if other people tell me they sound bad. I used to think that the pres in my Mackie were up to snuff, until I was informed that they sucked and that they would ruin anything put through them. What do you know, like magic, I saw the light and now will not record with them because they sound shrill and smear the transients. Thanks Gearslutz!
LOL heh Looks like this thread is starting to degenerate into the usual great divide between the "it doesn't matter" camp and the "if you can't hear it you're deaf" camp. heh

Let me try to focus it on the artifact I am trying to highlight and hope more technically inclined experts can shed more light. I am more interested in people who have had similar experiences and indeed by turning down the preamp gain on their cheaper pres they got an overall better representation of the sound for the sustained loud passages.

I do hear a diff between the onboard pres on an M-audio 410 interface and a AMS Neve 1073DPD. Not really talking about transients here (which are really too fast to compare objectively). Just try getting a powerhouse singer to do some diva song. I hear the most difference on loud sustained passages. There is an obvious "limiter" like artifact on the 410 even when the gain is set in such a way that the loudest passages have still some room to go before clipping. I know it is not a fair comparison but just trying to illustrate the effect I've heard in real life situations.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #57
Lives for gear
 

Coming in from a technical interest point of view here.

One, clearly the quality of a pre is divided into to issues - the transparency side, and the euphonic side, and both have a clear place. However the underpinning designs may take significant departures, and the cost of the design also.

Cost of components. You can spend any amount of money on components. Really. If you think there is only $5 worth of difference in components you simply have no experience of the range of components and the impact they can have. Some have vastly more impact than others. You can spend 1c or $10 on a resistor. One is a garden variety component that comes on a reel, the other could be a Vishay bulk foil. There are a couple of places in a pre design where the Vishay could make a difference. Many other places the 1c resistor will be fine. A 10c resistor may get you mil-spec like reliability. A $10 transformer versus a $100 transformer will be chalk and cheese. Good iron is not cheap, but probably makes more of a difference than any other individual factor, especially when euphonic coluration is the key. The care in winding a transformer makes a clear and measureable difference to its noise rejection and frequency response too. That doesn't come cheap.

However all else pales in the face of the experience and skill of the designer. And this can exist in places that you don't see unless you are fairly well immersed in the art. One place that never gets enough recognition is the physical layout of the device. The layout of components and PCB traces (or general wiring) is so critical to a successful outcome that it probably rates not much below the circuit design itself - and is partly synergistic with the design. This has become even more so with digital - ADC and DAC design is more about RF design skills than analog. But even analog design - especially with more modern op-amps - an understanding of layout issues can make or break a design.

My favourite example is the Apogee Duet. I lose count of the number of threads that pop up praising the sound of the pre's in this little device. What is not realised is that the pre is a single chip wonder that is in a circuit little different to the manufacturer's design note. There are about $20 worth of components. But what there is, is a 6 layer PCB that has been very carefully laid out with serious attention paid to power and ground. In fact most of the Duet is little more than direct copying of the various chip manufacturer's design notes. But the sucess of the whole comes (IMHO) to a great extent from the care in integrating these parts, a huge part of which is the PCB.

Like most things in life the final cost escalates dramatically as you wind up the production costs. A cheap device will have a wider market, can be manufactured on a standard high volume production line (in a cheap labour cost country) and often sells in volume with lower margins through the distribution channel. As the cost of the device rises it is typically made in smaller numbers, something that forces higher unit prices, often involves more skilled input, sells in lower volumes - which typically translates to higher margins - simply because they sit in stock for longer and the cost of selling them is higher. So the price rises quite quickly. The real high end does it all over again, very low volume manufacture, poor economies of scale, high input of skilled workers, and the low sales volume means higher margins still. The cost of components suffers the same fate too. That $10 resistor isn't 1000 times better than the 1c one. But one sells by the billion. You can build a multi-million dollar factory that makes them for 0.1c each.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #58
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
+1

you can't get the same transient response from cheapos.
this is the **** ethan doesn't measure. Why do drums
sound amazing w/ api and 1073? and sound like shiat on mackie?
same room same mics same a/d same engineer same coffee boy
same air conditioning? circuitry

fast pres man you said it
I would love to see (or should I say hear) some tracks actually done that way. Not that I don't believe in nice gear (as I pointed out in my first post) but I really wonder how much of a difference you would hear.
I do own a old Mackie 2408 plus I have
Great River MP 2nv
La 610
Pacifica
Langevin Dual Mono
Maybe some day when I have HOURS to kill I will try recording a drum kit with the Mackie vs using the others.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #59
I was moderating a panel at Tape Op back when it was in Portland, Oregon (maybe 2004?) that was titled "What's the difference between a $1000 preamp and a $100 preamp?"

[Just checked my records. It was 2003.]

The seats on stage were filled by Dan Kennedy (Great River), Dave Hill (Cranesong), George Massenburg (GML), John LaGrou (Millennia), John Hardy (Hardy), Greg Gualtieri (Pendulum), Geoff Daking (Daking), Doug Fearn (DW Fearn) and Fletcher.

Geoff Daking gave the ultimate answer to this question as he said with a straight face....

"The difference is $900."
Old 23rd March 2010
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynn fuston View Post
i was moderating a panel at tape op back when it was in portland, oregon (maybe 2004?) that was titled "what's the difference between a $1000 preamp and a $100 preamp?"

[just checked my records. It was 2003.]

the seats on stage were filled by dan kennedy (great river), dave hill (cranesong), george massenburg (gml), john lagrou (millennia), john hardy (hardy), greg gualtieri (pendulum), geoff daking (daking), doug fearn (dw fearn) and fletcher.

Geoff daking gave the ultimate answer to this question as he said with a straight face....

"the difference is $900."
classic !
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
analoghound / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
ISedlacek / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
33
baadc0de / Music Computers
3

Forum Jump
Forum Jump