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The real diff between cheap and pricey preamps? Condenser Microphones
Old 27th March 2010
  #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fossaree View Post
it's not necessarily all about fidelity
There are two totally different issues here that must be kept separate:

1) Creating a sound that you find pleasing regardless of how you accomplish it. This often includes "mangling" the sound with extreme EQ or compression etc.

2) Once you have a mix sounding exactly as you'd like, reproducing that sound exactly with no change in timbre or quality.

Fidelity relates to the second example above.

--Ethan
Old 27th March 2010
  #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I'm a huge fan of Joe Harter! I used one of his tunes (with his permission) in a silly kitty video I made, and I love everything he does. In this case the Before and After recordings seem way too different to be due to only changing capacitors etc.

--Ethan
So, you heard a difference; outstanding.

In light of that, how would you describe the differences you heard, in your own words? In terms of "sound".
Old 27th March 2010
  #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
There are two totally different issues here that must be kept separate:

1) Creating a sound that you find pleasing regardless of how you accomplish it. This often includes "mangling" the sound with extreme EQ or compression etc.

2) Once you have a mix sounding exactly as you'd like, reproducing that sound exactly with no change in timbre or quality.

Fidelity relates to the second example above.

--Ethan
Sure , I understand . But it seems when people are talking about fidelity here there's a misunderstood though ...
Old 27th March 2010
  #214
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ok

Ethan, are there any low budget mic pres you would consider acceptable for recording? and are there any you would pass on? what would you use?
Old 28th March 2010
  #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I'm a huge fan of Joe Harter! I used one of his tunes (with his permission) in a silly kitty video I made, and I love everything he does. In this case the Before and After recordings seem way too different to be due to only changing capacitors etc.

--Ethan
I'm bumping this question, ethan, simply because I feel your answer is valuable:

So, you heard a difference; outstanding.

In light of that, how would you describe the differences you heard, in your own words? In terms of "sound".
Old 28th March 2010
  #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
When I listen to soloed tracks of cheaper preamp recordings (earlier gen Mackies, Behringers etc), I don't hear much difference with similar tracks recorded with boutique pres (compared at same listening levels) when the source material is within a normal, comfortable dynamic range - i.e. no loud passages.
This may be the most relevant phrase in the original post. Almost always, great recording and mixing is a combination of things - really getting all of the fundamentals right. Great performance, great mic, great mic technique, great facility with great acoutsic treatment, great engineering talent - all things that also matter - probably much more than the mic pre.

However - may I ask - which recorded tracks that you refer to (using Mackie's Behringers) were recorded at top flight rooms with legitmately pro engineers, using proper mic technique, where the performance was spot on ?. In the abscence of those variables being nailed down (ie in a semi-pro or home studio) - you are probably right - you are less likely to hear the difference. There are always exceptions, of course.

Cdlt
Old 28th March 2010
  #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeYoo View Post
The real diff between cheap and pricey preamps?

Maybe $5.00

Manufacturers like to cut corners and let you pay for it.

Sorry, but you are plain wrong, at least in your across-the-board generalization.

My personal experience in this realm is with Grace Design, because I worked in the studio next to their cottage workshop on Pearl St. years ago. I had long conversations with Michael and Eben, the designers and builders, regarding their production processes. At least at Grace, they were and are only interested in the very highest quality components. As much as is humanly possible, they knew where every piece in their units was made, and they bought the best they could get. This attitude extended to their production; the fellow who soldered their gain knobs was one of the most meticulous and neatest technicians I've ever seen--and he was making a real wage, with benefits, even when Grace was a little shop-- unlike some wage slave churning out Chinese hardware. And this production stuff only came after the years Michael spent designing and testing the circuits in his units, and the continual improvements and refinements that led up to their first production runs. Working your heart and brains out for years to develop and build a piece of hardware, and then refusing to cut any corners on your build quality, is not the route to cheap equipment.

Not EVERY shop is looking to make a fast buck at the expense of quality.
Some folks really just want to make the best whatever-it-is that they possibly can, as a personal accomplishment and outstanding mark in their own field. Don't we all want that?

Last edited by Boschen; 28th March 2010 at 06:43 PM.. Reason: development isn't cheap
Old 28th March 2010
  #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
how would you describe the differences you heard, in your own words? In terms of "sound".
The modified version sounded way more open and clear, with much more top end. But that difference could be achieved easily by moving the microphone even a few inches. Indeed, by comparison, the original sounded so bad I had to wonder how that mic (when not modified) could sell for more than $10. Really. It sounded like a telephone in comparison. Hence my concern that more is at play here than just changing a capacitor or whatever.

Quote:
I'm bumping this question, ethan, simply because I feel your answer is valuable:
LOL, no need to bump. I ignore nothing, but I do have a life and spend "only" a few hours per day here.

--Ethan
Old 28th March 2010
  #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydottcomm View Post
Ethan, are there any low budget mic pres you would consider acceptable for recording? and are there any you would pass on? what would you use?
I have no idea. There are probably 100+ different budget preamps out there when you include all the available small-format mixers. I've heard maybe a dozen preamps total in the past ten years. A friend bought a $40 Behringer mixer last year for voice-over work. It has two preamps and only basic mixing functions. It sounded fine on his voice with my audiotechnica 4033 mic. I didn't try it with music. I imagine it would sound fine for that too, but I can't say for sure. The only type of low-end preamp I would not recommend, without even hearing it, is one made with tubes. Cheap SS is almost by definition better than cheap tubes for many technical reasons.

--Ethan
Old 28th March 2010
  #220
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I just thought of something...a pre-amp is like a kitty...you has to cuddle
it to make it purr :p. heh
Old 28th March 2010
  #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
The modified version sounded way more open and clear, with much more top end. But that difference could be achieved easily by moving the microphone even a few inches. Indeed, by comparison, the original sounded so bad I had to wonder how that mic (when not modified) could sell for more than $10. Really. It sounded like a telephone in comparison. Hence my concern that more is at play here than just changing a capacitor or whatever.



LOL, no need to bump. I ignore nothing, but I do have a life and spend "only" a few hours per day here.

--Ethan

I totally agree the modified version is much more open and clear with much more top end.

Moving the unmodified mic back a few inches to achieve the same effect is wishful thinking IMO (respectfully).

For instance, with my unmodified MK012 there was an issue with self-noise that was enhanced by MJ's mod. Moving the mic back a few inches from the source isn't going to resolve a self-noise problem. That's just one physical characteristic that must be addressed physically - and can be addressed physically. How can one change the physical performance of a mic by backing away from the source and wishing/hoping that it will help? I do however understand the function of backing off a few inches from a source to get rid of boominess or a bad proximity effect or whatever. Don't get me wrong.

Also, when you find the sweet spot to place a microphone, the last thing you really want to do is to move the mic, right? The sweet spot is the sweet spot, and the mic is either capable of capturing that or it isn't. If a component upgrade resolves those issues then it's obviously worth the money. The sweet spot is a combination of the character of the projection of sound from the source and the acoustics in the room, right? By moving the mic back, you definitely change the characteristics of the room/space in your capture; characteristics that lent magic to what you identified as the sweet spot in the first place. In other words, you've moved the mic out of the sweet zone to the detriment of your art.

There's definitely more involved than replacing "a capacitor",true. He replaces all the caps as far as I know and improves the topology where he can. In most cases he also upgrades the copper wire connecting the capsule to the circuit. But there are no mechanical upgrades in the PE Upgrade unless you get into headbasket improvements, which cost extra of course.

In any event, you obviously noted a vast improvement in sound. So vast in fact that you were compelled to describe the unmodified mic as sounding "like a telephone in comparison". This is the difference between cheap components and "higher quality" components. The difference in cost improved the sound. The improvement in topology is also a cost consideration. A manufacturer has to pay someone with MJ's expertise in topology to detect these subtle design flaws in the first place, and take the time and skill to incorporate such critical improvements. This too costs more money (another difference between low-end and high-end).

Between the unmodified microphone and the modified microphone their performance will be cheap vs. improved no matter where you place them in any room in front of any source. In this case the differences would remain relative in any recording situation. The constants can not magically become variables because we simply wish them to be.

Another interesting thing is your comment "Indeed, by comparison, the original sounded so bad I had to wonder how that mic (when not modified) could sell for more than $10." In context, I would agree. But if you remove the unmodified mic from that context and you have no exposure to the modified version, that mic sounds fantastic. There are thousands of fans of that mic unmodified. And people do very well with it and make some very nice recordings with it. Replace the unmodified mic with a modified version and the artist would anticipate achieving "better" quality recordings of their work, right? At least logic would dictate that assumption. Just a thought.

Thanks for your reply, ethan.
Old 29th March 2010
  #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
you obviously noted a vast improvement in sound. So vast in fact that you were compelled to describe the unmodified mic as sounding "like a telephone in comparison". This is the difference between cheap components and "higher quality" components.
Not necessarily. An audiotechnica 2020 costs $100 and sounds great as is.

--Ethan
Old 29th March 2010
  #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Not necessarily. An audiotechnica 2020 costs $100 and sounds great as is.

--Ethan
A 2020 sounds OK as is, not exactly what I'd describe as great. Certainly doesn't compare to a 4033 for example (higher price), and certainly can't compete with the modified mk219 you were listening to.

And you can't get a 2020 to sound like a 4033 just by backing away from the source by a few inches, can you?

You're avoiding about 80% of my last post.
Old 29th March 2010
  #224
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I avoid nothing. But unless and until Michael Joly chimes in with specifics about what he does, there's little to discuss. Maybe what Michael does makes a huge improvement, or maybe what we hear in the demo is due mainly to something else. I don't know, and you don't either. I asked earlier, "Are there any before / after audio clips on his site that compare the sound improvement in a technically valid manner?" Without knowing exactly how Joe recorded this, we can't judge if it's technically valid.

--Ethan
Old 30th March 2010
  #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
The modified version sounded way more open and clear, with much more top end. But that difference could be achieved easily by moving the microphone even a few inches.
This requires some comment. I do doubt Ethan meant quite what this implies. There is an element of logical inference, plus some significant technical issues to cover.

Moving the mic can of course drastically change the sound, and indeed a huge change in clarity could be due to a change in mic position. But that isn't what was written above. The reading of the sentence says that the (technical) improvement in the sound of the (modified) mic could be achieved with an unmodified mic simply by moving its position. Again, I doubt Etham meant that, but it is what he wrote. That is the logical issue.

The technical issue is more important. A simple dismissal of the change in sound of the microphone will simply say that changing some capacitors changes its electrical frequency response. It is important to realise that such a change can never be reconciled with the change in sound due to moving a microphone except under contrived circumstances. The change in sound when moving a microphone that has physical extent (i.e. is not a point) in a sound field that contains sound from an extended source and/or reverbarent and diffuse sound is not minumum phase. From a simple mathematical point of view no change to the frequency response of the microphone can match the change due to a positional change, and further, the converse is also true. In simple terms, you can't eq the sound of a mic positon shift, and you can't positon shift to compenstate for bad eq. You might approximate, or mitigate, but mathematically, you can't equal or cancel out. Something that isn't exactly news.
Old 30th March 2010
  #226
Moving a directional mic will affect the low end due to proximity effect.

There is no change in high frequency response. Only the ratio of low end to top end changes but the high end does not change with movement of the mic. If one detects a difference in hf response, it's not the position of the mic as something else is causing that.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 30th March 2010
  #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Moving a directional mic will affect the low end due to proximity effect.

There is no change in high frequency response. Only the ratio of low end to top end changes but the high end does not change with movement of the mic. If one detects a difference in hf response, it's not the position of the mic as something else is causing that.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Unless, presumably, one moves it off axis from the source?
Old 30th March 2010
  #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
A simple dismissal of the change in sound of the microphone will simply say that changing some capacitors changes its electrical frequency response.
Of course. But usually when a "mod" company changes capacitors, they replace one cap with another that has the same value. The stated intent is usually to reduce distortion, which is worse in some types of caps than others. Off-hand I'd think a "bad" cap might have 1 or 2 percent distortion, versus maybe 1/100th that for a good cap. I'm too lazy to dig out my references, but that's probably in the ballpark.

--Ethan
Old 31st March 2010
  #229
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Stories

In the early 70's (yeah, I'm that old), I build a phono pre with op-amps. I had build several other ones with transistors before. Just wanted a better one. Tested it on all the gear, I could lay my hands on and it was superb. Untill I started listening to it. It sounded horrible.. Something was not right. It was muddy, harsh, digital, ugly, but not on all types of music.
Several years later, I heard about TIM (not a person). Transient intermodulation distortion. I gathered from the textbooks that when the feedback of an amp (op-amp) is slower than the high frequency transients you present on it's inputs, it goes haywire for an instant. It looses control. Op-amps are a lot better now than back then, but should we still worry about them.
Old 31st March 2010
  #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
Not to say that a good quality preamp is not nice, but IMO it seems like people confuse high quality performance and high quality engineering/mixing skills with the gear used. You can't buy yourself into being a pro.
BTW I have a lot of nice mics and preamps and understand the value but also understand the talent angle to it.
True, but judging from todays unanimous "professional standard" you cannot really get the results without the tools to do it. I realize this more as I expand my tool chest.

There are tools that can do something that nothing else can. Those industry standard pieces cannot be ignored or replaced with something different if you want the "industry standard" results that everybody expects. For instance, you cannot tell me that if you had 12 channels of 1176s you could get the same result as with 12 different carefully chosen compressors.

On the flip side, to take it one step further, you also cannot tell me that you can get the same result in using 12 CH of DBX 166 as you can with 12 CH of 1176s. My point is that you can have all the talent and experience you want, but without the foundational tools to do what you know works, you cannot do it as good or at all; thats the bottom line. And of course the great GS quote applies - YMMV.
Old 31st March 2010
  #231
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Reality? Objectivity? Or high-end and the pleasure principle?

What these discussions and arguments generally do not consider is firstly that this is all about sensory perception which is highly individual, thus totally subjective. Even Mr Winer mentions it in his Audiophoolery article that, I quote: "Psychological factors like expectation and fatigue are equally important. If I brag to a friend how great my home theater sounds and that person comes for a visit, it always sounds worse to me while we're both listening."
Psychological factors, not to mention physical ones like temperature, hygrometry, atmospheric pressure, etc...
Secondly, how can we say that "Fidelity also denotes how accurate a copy is to its source" since probably - I am being careful here - each of us perceive the source differently. The "scientific argument" IMO is not necessarily a totally valid one. Scientific instruments are obviously designed by humans, meaning imperfect and anthropomorphic. And science has been proving itself wrong time and time again. After all, for centuries there was no doubt the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. And bleeding the patient was considered a valid technique to cure just about any ailment. We simply don't know about reality and science moves on constantly.
AFIAC what matters in the end is pleasure. If many of us enjoy the sound we produce using hi-end equipment, and are ready to pay for that pleasure, so be it.
Why would we pay more for a gourmet meal and a bottle of good (vintage LOL) wine when we can eat basic food and drink tap water cheaply?
Not because we need it but because we simply enjoy it. What is life without pleasure? I guess I am just an hedonist, and I like it
Old 31st March 2010
  #232
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Of course. But usually when a "mod" company changes capacitors, they replace one cap with another that has the same value. The stated intent is usually to reduce distortion, which is worse in some types of caps than others. Off-hand I'd think a "bad" cap might have 1 or 2 percent distortion, versus maybe 1/100th that for a good cap. I'm too lazy to dig out my references, but that's probably in the ballpark.

--Ethan
Actually it's around 3%(Y5V) down to .0013%(COG) So NO doubt the cap has a LOT to do with distortion..Plus the rest of the circuit..
Old 31st March 2010
  #233
The real diff between cheap and pricey preamps?

a) cost
b) "stacking" ability?

Probably time to move this to a more techy sub forum..
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The real diff between cheap and pricey preamps?-clown-stacking-balance.jpg  
Old 31st March 2010
  #234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elevteros View Post
What these discussions and arguments generally do not consider is firstly that this is all about sensory perception which is highly individual, thus totally subjective.
This is cleary true - to a point.
Quote:
Secondly, how can we say that "Fidelity also denotes how accurate a copy is to its source" since probably - I am being careful here - each of us perceive the source differently. The "scientific argument" IMO is not necessarily a totally valid one.
Science knows a great deal about how humans perceive sound. And knows a great deal about what they can and cannot perceive. This is not the same as saying that scientists in the field claim to understand human cognition. But they can place very tight boundaries around what humans can and cannot perceive. There isn't a "scientific argument" as such. There is misconception about what science says and does, and this confuses the argument. Good science explicitly contains the limits of its claims. Bad science, or pop science typically overclaims and leads to all sorts of sillyness.

Quote:
Scientific instruments are obviously designed by humans, meaning imperfect and anthropomorphic. And science has been proving itself wrong time and time again. After all, for centuries there was no doubt the Earth was flat and the center of the universe.
I would not go about repeating urban legends about science if you want to criticise it. Two sentence summary: Science knew the Earth was round since the time of the Greeks, and even knew its size. Ignorant non-scientists (mostly priests and politicians) thought it worthwhile claiming otherwise.

This thread is about microphone pre-amps, and has wandered onto microphones as well. These two items are very difficult to make any absolute claim about fidelity for.

There is a useful test for fidelity of an electronic device, due at least to Dave Haffler, but others have thought it up independantly. All you do is place the device (usually an amplifier of some sort) in a test circuit where it is fed a signal, and at the other end its output is attenuated to compensate for its gain. You then set up a switching system so that you can switch the device, plus attenuator in and out of the circuit. Set up a proper ABX test regime and task listeners to tell the device from a straight length of wire. This setup is known to infuriate some golden eared audiophiles. As a test of fideleity of an amplifier it is hard to beat.

It is of almost no value for a microphone pre-amp test.

1. Many mic pres are designed to have a euphonic sound. That is their purpose. This thread started by debating the value of high-end pres. It did not start debating the fidelity of high-end pres. That (rather unhelpfully) came later.

2. A pre's input is subject to significant abuse, as a pre used in a real life (as opposed to a lab) setting must provide very high noise rejection, of both common and differential mode, across a very wide range of frequencies - much larger than audible - and cope with a dynamic range of sound that would damage the hearing of a human.

Point one simply disqualifies a fidelity test from the discussion.

Point two renders the Haffler setup useless. When testing a pre in a Haffler test you would need another mic pre after the test system to bring the levels up to a listenable point. That pre would be required to be blameless, else it itself would be subject to the abuse, and sonic artefacts that result as described above.

Microphones are almost by definition not possible to build as a perfect entity. The best you can do is a very small diameter omni. But that is subject to significant self noise due to that small diameter. Once you make the diaphram larger, you compromise the directionality, and so it goes. Of course directionality and other effects bring in the entire set of needs in capturing sound, and the inherent compromises.

Ethan is happy to place himself in a camp where he eschews any device that provides any euphonic change to the sound. He distains tubes and transformers. A very aesetic point of view. But coming back to the personal perception argument, perhaps this is the nature of Ethan's perception and aesthetic.

The curent state of the art in recording cannot provide even an approximation to fidelity to the real thing. And that is when applied to a situation where fidelity - or recreation as near as possible to the original source is the desire. Since the vast majority of recordings do not aspire to such fidelity anyway - or in reality it simply makes no sense - absolute fidelity is itself a straw man.

(Last week I had the luxury of attending Richard Tognetti play the "Carrodus" violin by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù - performing Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Adelaide Sympony. It was so good I went the next night too. There is no recording or reproduction chain I have ever heard that can even begin to approximate how that sounded. )
Old 31st March 2010
  #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
No I didn't. See my Post #119 above.



Not sure what you mean by that, but you'd never want to intentionally limit the slew rate. And nobody I know of adds low-pass filtering to a mic pre just to avoid slew rate limiting.



Of course. The best way to know how a circuit performs is to measure it with appropriate test signals.

All that said, there really is nothing more to transient response than being able to pass high frequencies at a high level. You can argue different design goals, and using transformers etc, but in the end a transient is simply a signal that changes level suddenly. Any competent preamp should be able to handle that without significant distortion. Indeed, a transient doesn't even have to 1) contain high frequencies or 2) be at a loud volume. Though that's probably how most people think of transient response.

--Ethan

Hi Ethan.. not to quibble, but I know at least one guy who advocates band passing every audio path, including mic preamps (moi).

As I recall Marshal Leach wrote an AES paper on the subject decades ago. While his specific focus was on power amp design, IMO it applies to any audio path exposed to the outside world. If the audio path is suitably bandwidth limited it can't slew overload for any valid input signal (output not voltage saturated). The fastest square wave edge will return a nice exponential rise time, and above band RFI will be harmlessly rolled off.

Note: The old jingling your keys together in front of a mic, stresses the audio path with a lot of > 20kHz energy that can cause audible IMD if the path doesn't either roll off or pass these HF signals cleanly. You won't hear cleanly passed 45kHz (at least I won't), but you will hear the IM products if the circuit can't keep up.

=============

Regarding the actual difference between cheap and pricey preamps, the answer is in the title, the "price" is the main difference.

In world where people pay huge premiums for "special" wire, preamps are a rich field to plow. Since people want a pricey preamp to sound different, they often will (the customer is always right). If the lower cost preamps are already reasonably accurate, logic suggests the more expensive variants must deviate from that. To sound different, you generally need to be different, ignoring perceptual distortions that are harder to manipulate (price helps).

Price differences are often supported by visible touches like gold plated connectors, fancy knobs, and expensive packaging treatments.

There is nothing wrong with using a preamp that adds flavor to your audio path, if it tastes good to the final consumers of the product (the listeners).

JR
Old 31st March 2010
  #236
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
On the flip side, to take it one step further, you also cannot tell me that you can get the same result in using 12 CH of DBX 166 as you can with 12 CH of 1176s.
No auto detect comp will ever sound like a manual attack release feedback comp, they are so different in design.

I do love my 166 though. It's one of the smoothest auto detect comps I've heard. It is rebuilt however. Even George Massenburg recommended them back in the 1980's. I do realize audio fashion has changed since he was quoted.

I can emulate the attack/release of the 1176 with my Aphex 651's but the results are less grainy, I like that.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 31st March 2010
  #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRoberts View Post
Hi Ethan.. not to quibble, but I know at least one guy who advocates band passing every audio path, including mic preamps (moi).
I have no problem with that, and I do know that it's not uncommon for the reasons you state.

Quote:
Regarding the actual difference between cheap and pricey preamps, the answer is in the title, the "price" is the main difference.
Yep!

--Ethan
Old 31st March 2010
  #238
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
I would not go about repeating urban legends about science if you want to criticise it. Two sentence summary: Science knew the Earth was round since the time of the Greeks, and even knew its size. Ignorant non-scientists (mostly priests and politicians) thought it worthwhile claiming otherwise.
Good points.
I of course agree about the flat earth remark but the geocentric model and the bleeding are not urban myths.

I am not criticizing science, but merely saying in a simple (simplistic maybe) way that scientific theories and findings are too often considered by non-scientists as "truths" only to be superseded by later scientific work (see Einstein theories superseding Newtonian physics).
Old 31st March 2010
  #239
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elevteros View Post
scientific theories and findings are too often considered by non-scientists as "truths"
Just as often I see stuff that has been proven beyond doubt questioned by those who do not understand science. A perfect example is the common claim that the output of a digital recorder is comprised of "steps," and thus is not as faithful to the original signal as analog tape. Which of course is ridiculous. There are many more such examples.

--Ethan
Old 31st March 2010
  #240
Price is a difference but it's far more than just a pretty package with lights.

Look inside some high-enders and you will see why the price is higher.

Sure, you can go down to Radio Shack and build a decent capable mic preamp. You can also buy a Smart Car but that won't go off road.

If you use 12 cent resistors instead of 1 cent resistors, that's 12 times more manufacturing expense. Same applies to quality silicon and capacitors. You can buy some 5534's for 20 cents each. You can get low cost caps from Japan. You can also buy top end silicon and quality film caps, those run several dollars each.

It's more expensive because it's more expensive to build. You don't see high end preamps with a fancy front panel and a 3 buck SSM or that chip inside, well, not usually but I have seen those too.

Sometimes you get your money's worth. Know the designer and their work to be sure.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
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