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DIY Hairball Audio - Problems 500 Series Preamps
Old 15th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
DIY Hairball Audio - Problems


yesterday i used valentinsday to build my new Hairball Lola preamp.
a friend who already build several devices helped me , and we double checked every detail to not make any mistake. - you know where this leads to, right?

after testing today of course the lola doesnt work properly.
i hear lots of noises and the usefull signal that comes from the microphone is very quiet, but hearable. i attache a file, with my hand clapping, so that you know what i mean.
the meters show me that the signal from the mic is loud enough, so i guess i should something to do with the output. but since i ´m not a pro , its just my guessing.

does anyone have any clue or idea, that could help me with that problem , before i check every single detail again?

Attached Files

lola.wav (603.8 KB, 237 views)

Old 15th February 2013
Lives for gear
Arthurelletson's Avatar

I havnt listened to the clip as I am posting on my phone, but check the wiring of the output transformer to make shure that is correct.
Old 15th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
By disconnecting the meter bridge it works ... so think i know where the problem is.
now it could make a comparison of my 3 preamps:

- Lola
- Vintage Design M581mk2
- RME Fireface

Interface is RME Fireface.

which is which?
Attached Files

1.wav (3.16 MB, 314 views)

2.wav (3.16 MB, 340 views)

3.wav (3.16 MB, 394 views)

Old 16th February 2013
Gear Maniac

I don't know any of these preamps since I haven't used them but I am interested in the outcome since I was thinking of building a Lola or two myself.

I listened and of the three, here are my opinions:

#1 seemed to be a bit heavy on the low/low-mid end and a bit dark. It actually "felt" good to me, and I liked it - but it might be a bit too much for some situations.
#2 ...I did not like #2. It sounded thin and lifeless. I also seemed to hear noise that I didn't think should be there.
#3 seemed to be the best all-round to my ears. I felt it had just the right amount of low/low-mid weight and added a clarity in the mids that didn't seem to be there with #1.

Again, sorry I can't really say which is which since I've never used any of the three, but I'm sure interested in finding out the results when you reveal them.

Question: What microphone were you using?

Old 16th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
ah you re right - i forgot the mic: its a AT4040
Old 17th February 2013
Lives for gear
elektrovolt's Avatar
I'm with tvent..
#1 is very dark, usable but not for everyday work.
#3 is flat, thin and lifeless.
#2 is indeed the best all-round of the three. Quite a difference, they all sound very different. So, which one is which pre?
Old 17th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
finally the problem is solved and my lola runs perfectly!

1: VintageDesign 581mk2
2: RME Fireface
3: Hairball Lola
Old 17th February 2013
Lives for gear
elektrovolt's Avatar
your answer is exactly what I thought. That Lola thing sounds great.

what was the solution for your problem?
Old 17th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
since i knew that the problem is at the meter bridge i checked all transistors and polarity - everything was fine. so next step was the solder joints.
and there were some joints where there is a possability that its not connected properly.
i just redid everything that wasnt 100% - and that was it.
one small wrong soldering killed the whole beast.
Old 28th February 2013
Gear addict
Neily's Avatar
Lola = my favorite preamp ever.
Old 28th February 2013
Gear Maniac

Thanks for the results and glad they turned out the way they did.
I'll be saving up for a couple of Lola's now!
Old 28th February 2013
Gear Head

Thread Starter
you gonna enjoy them!!!
Old 14th March 2013
Gear Maniac
cowrange's Avatar

Originally Posted by Neily View Post
Lola = my favorite preamp ever.

Sent from my HTC Sensation 4G
Old 26th March 2013
Gear Head

Just built my first of two. This is a great sounding preamp.

Does a nice job of bringing dynamics to life, and sounds wonderful on condensers as well. the output attenuator lets you drive the unit harder if you want some great harmonics, ranging from fullness to over driven effect. the clean sound is - well, everything you'd expect it to be.

Compared to the an API like the vp26, I'd say there seems to be a bit more fullness in the bottom end, without it sounding in any way exaggerated.

I can't wait to record drums through this thing.

Add to that the fact that Mike seems like a genuinely nice guy.

I'm happy
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