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Forssell SMP-2 vs Aurora GTQ2 for recording synths Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 29th March 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

Forssell SMP-2 vs Aurora GTQ2 for recording synths

Hi guys-

For a while now, I've been looking at 2-channel preamps. The ones that keep catching my eye are the Forssell SMP-2 and the Aurora GTQ2. Ideally both would be nice- One clean flavor, one more dirty, but if you could choose 1, which would it be for my purposes?

My goal, I'm looking for low noise, high headroom, high end sounding capture on the front end to record hardware synths that will be leaps and bounds better than recording straight into my audio interface, I want to hit a high quality pre first.

Can you guys comment on Forssell SMP-2 vs the Aurora GTQ2?

Thanks.
Old 29th March 2017
  #2
Gear Head
 

Not much experience recording synths with the gtq2, but in most cases it is my go to pre for vocal recording. I couldn't see it performing any less then spectacualr for you in your case.
Old 30th March 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 

The Forssell is wonderful, but I would say it really excels at recording live acoustic instruments, lush realistic sound.

A Neve style would be more my choice for DI of electronic instruments. You can change the color depending on how hard you drive the output.
Old 30th March 2017
  #4
The only reason to run a synth through a preamp before the A/D is to "add" something other than gain to it, like color, distortion, etc. That is the opposite goal of the SMP-2A; it is of the clean/transparent variety.
Old 30th March 2017
  #5
Gear Head
 

OK thanks for your input. The examples I've heard of the Forssell were all recording acoustic instruments but it definitely was amazing. I guess for my application recording electronic instruments, you're right, I should probably go for something more colored. I guess the idea I had was to use a nice pre to capture my synths as a recording channel strip to give my capture a high end 70s/80s sound like a vintage console instead of going straight into the audio interface, which is has pres that while clear, aren't as nice. I think I'll try the Aurora GTQ2. I'm building a new small home system. I'm thinking Aurora GTQ2 pre for a front end, into a RME, and then a Louder than Liftoff Silver Bullet on the mix bus and be done with it. Does that sound like a good system?
Old 30th March 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
I record synths through the gtq2 frequently. Almost always the DI. It's wonderful. Kind of a secret weapon for drum machines-- the lows distort in a euphonic way when pushed a little.
Old 30th March 2017
  #7
AB3
Lives for gear
 

I would get the ADL two channel tube DI for recording synths. Maybe something else. Unless you want it to double in duties for use with microphones, a great direct in box (with tubes perhaps) is the best route imho.

I would think that two A Designs Reddi units (I think they make it two channel now) would also be ideal.
Old 30th March 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I would get the ADL two channel tube DI for recording synths. Maybe something else. Unless you want it to double in duties for use with microphones, a great direct in box (with tubes perhaps) is the best route imho.

I would think that two A Designs Reddi units (I think they make it two channel now) would also be ideal.
Or the OP could try the Zod, or even the Zulu for tape flavor. If he could use a versatile preamp for other uses, the Juggernaut Twin or the Creamer+ are good options as well.
Old 30th March 2017
  #9
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Forssell is a stellar preamp when you want things sounding as they are - a kind of "big open window". Many other "transparent preamps" (like Millennia etc.) sound quite tensed and not so full and natural in comparison ... I compared it directly even to Gordon preamp, yet I preferred Forssell ...

But it is not really a "flattering" type of preamp. For vocals I always use BAE. For similar sources, where you want things to sound "fatter" and "bigger" (like synths ?) maybe you better look elsewhere.
Old 30th March 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
I agree...

The Creamer+ would be a great option if the OP is set on a dual pre, but the zulu might be the most flexible.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
Or the OP could try the Zod, or even the Zulu for tape flavor. If he could use a versatile preamp for other uses, the Juggernaut Twin or the Creamer+ are good options as well.
Old 30th March 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 
IanBSC's Avatar
The Aurora is really nice, and will add something to direct instruments. To me it's a bit like a more open and less woolly 1073.
Old 30th March 2017
  #12
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Of all these "Neve style" preamps, I personally like BAE the most ... More than for example Heritage or AMS Neve ...
Old 30th March 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
The Aurora GTQ2 is great for synths. Solid sound, thickens a little bit. Nice bass for sure.
Old 31st March 2017
  #14
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gutr2's Avatar
 

If you're planning on getting the silver bullet - doesn't it have mic pres? It might make a dedicated preamp redundant.

I own both the Forssell and the GTQ2 - my 2 favourite preamps. I definitely use the GTQ2 the most for the style of music I make. And would use it for synths as it's much more of a color palette, especially with the EQ. The Forssell is clean, but it's not boring, it's very euphonic, sweet and very, very high quality. The detail you get from it on acoustic well recorded sources is outstanding. For any other recording that does not involve high end microphones in a well treated, good sounding room, I'd go with the GTQ2.
The GTQ is cleaner than the typical neve sound, it's the sound, but more refined, dare I say improved. I much preferred it over the BAE, Great River, Avedis and others I tried. It's my desert island preamp.
I also use it for all analog mixing I do with a thermionic culture pullet.

Have fun.
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