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Good Mic for 00 size acoustic guitar.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #151
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

I'm something of a High-End lurker, as most of my studio can't really hang in the top-tier category of this Forum with the big boys, but on this occasion I do happen to own several pairs of the mics being discussed and can hopefully make a useful contribution, namely concerning the following items in my – let's say, 'Mid-End' – locker:
  • Gefell M296 pair
  • Gefell M300 pair (only recently sold)
  • Line Audio CM4 pair
  • DAV BG2 preamps
  • Metric Halo interfaces
That said, wrt recording acoustic guitar...

I already posted a mono clip made with a single M296 earlier in the thread.

As I understand it, the OP has said that he's hesitating a bit to go stereo because it means he'll need an additional preamp, which may or may not be in his budget. We shouldn't forget or gloss over this factor.

That said, for the princely sum of about €650 one can score a pair of the much vaunted Line Audio CM4s and a 2-ch DAV BG1 preamp and have some very respectable fun like this:



The gear I used here was:
  • Pair of Line Audio CM4s in ORTF
  • DAV BG Preamps
  • Metric Halo 2882 interface
Obviously if you are close-micing with two right-handed players the pick-up angle of two mics in ORTF is completely different(!) but for better or for worse I was determined to try to record this as a coherent live stereo track rather than mic-ing the instruments separately. The take was completely clean (not even a pad or an HPF engaged) - I've deployed a hint of EQ, some light compression, and a touch of Valhalla Room reverb in mixdown.

Please note: these two Blueridge guitars probably sound nothing like what the OP sounds like with his 00 and is envisaging in his recordings (i.e. they're bright, loud and have tons of bass!), but I'm posting this clip just as a place-holder of the kind of quality one can enjoy for very reasonable money.

And I think we should all take a moment to acknowledge this awesomely pertinent quote from 'massimo':
Quote:
Originally Posted by massimo View Post
mic placement is the mother of all equalisers

Last edited by James Lehmann; 2 weeks ago at 06:08 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #152
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I'm enjoying this thread as for once I seem to own several pairs of the mics being discussed and can therefore make a useful contribution, namely concerning the following items in my mic locker:
  • Gefell M296 pair
  • Gefell M300 pair (sold recently)
  • Line Audio CM4 pair
  • DAV BG2 preamps
As I understand it, the OP has said that he's hesitating a bit on the stereo front, because it means he'll need an additional preamp, which may or may not be in his budget. We shouldn't forget or gloss over this factor.

That said, for the princely sum of about €650 one can score a pair of the much vaunted Line Audio CM4s and a 2-ch DAV BG1 preamp and have some very respectable fun like this:



The gear I used here was:
  • Pair of Line Audio CM4s in ORTF
  • DAV BG Preamps
  • Metric Halo 2882 interface
Obviously if you are close-micing with two right-handed players the pick-up angle of two mics in ORTF is completely different(!) but for better or for worse I was determined to try to record this as a coherent live stereo track rather than mic-ing the instruments separately. The take was completely clean (not even a pad or an HPF engaged) - I've deployed a hint of EQ, some light compression, and a touch of Valhalla Room reverb in mixdown.

Please note: these two Blueridge guitars probably sound nothing like what the OP sounds like with his 00 and is envisaging in his recordings (i.e. they're bright, loud and have tons of bass!), but I'm posting this clip just as a place-holder of the kind of quality one can enjoy for very reasonable money.

And I think we should all take a moment to acknowledge this awesome quote from 'massimo':
Well done, it sounds incredible considering the price of these mics !
Is the 2882 2D or 3D? (not sure it changes that much sound wise...but I'm curious, it sounds great!)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #153
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
.…[snip]....
That said, for the princely sum of about €650 one can score a pair of the much vaunted Line Audio CM4s and a 2-ch DAV BG1 preamp and have some very respectable fun like this:



The gear I used here was:
  • Pair of Line Audio CM4s in ORTF
  • DAV BG Preamps
  • Metric Halo 2882 interface
Obviously if you are close-micing with two right-handed players the pick-up angle of two mics in ORTF is completely different(!) but for better or for worse I was determined to try to record this as a coherent live stereo track rather than mic-ing the instruments separately. The take was completely clean (not even a pad or an HPF engaged) - I've deployed a hint of EQ, some light compression, and a touch of Valhalla Room reverb in mixdown.

Please note: these two Blueridge guitars probably sound nothing like what the OP sounds like with his 00 and is envisaging in his recordings (i.e. they're bright, loud and have tons of bass!), but I'm posting this clip just as a place-holder of the kind of quality one can enjoy for very reasonable money.
.…[snip]....
That's a really nice sounding recording.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #154
Gear Head
 

Nice recording yes, but also a great duo of players, great tune
Old 3 weeks ago
  #155
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I'm enjoying this thread as for once I seem to own several pairs of the mics being discussed and can therefore make a useful contribution, namely concerning the following items in my mic locker:
  • Gefell M296 pair
  • Gefell M300 pair (sold recently)
  • Line Audio CM4 pair
  • DAV BG2 preamps
As I understand it, the OP has said that he's hesitating a bit on the stereo front, because it means he'll need an additional preamp, which may or may not be in his budget. We shouldn't forget or gloss over this factor.

That said, for the princely sum of about €650 one can score a pair of the much vaunted Line Audio CM4s and a 2-ch DAV BG1 preamp and have some very respectable fun like this:



The gear I used here was:
  • Pair of Line Audio CM4s in ORTF
  • DAV BG Preamps
  • Metric Halo 2882 interface
Obviously if you are close-micing with two right-handed players the pick-up angle of two mics in ORTF is completely different(!) but for better or for worse I was determined to try to record this as a coherent live stereo track rather than mic-ing the instruments separately. The take was completely clean (not even a pad or an HPF engaged) - I've deployed a hint of EQ, some light compression, and a touch of Valhalla Room reverb in mixdown.

Please note: these two Blueridge guitars probably sound nothing like what the OP sounds like with his 00 and is envisaging in his recordings (i.e. they're bright, loud and have tons of bass!), but I'm posting this clip just as a place-holder of the kind of quality one can enjoy for very reasonable money.

And I think we should all take a moment to acknowledge this awesome quote from 'massimo':
Thanks James. All of your points are well taken. I probably have a reasonable understanding of your post's purpose & perhaps I need to take a long hard look at my situation here. The mics & preamp you featured are well worth consideration. Then I could record my guitar / street noise at a reasonable price.

Secondly, please don't presume I can do justice my guitar's potential as you have perhaps implied in your post. I'll enjoy the attempt but I'm in a room with the big boys here & my sample recording attempts will undoubtedly reflect my shortcomings. (when finally initiated).
For CM4's & DAV BG1, is there a 2 channel interface with good DACs you could recommend? For myself, the 2882 may be overkill.
Another great sounding recording James.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #156
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
Thanks James. All of your points are well taken. I probably have a reasonable understanding of your post's purpose & perhaps I need to take a long hard look at my situation here. The mics & preamp you featured are well worth consideration. Then I can record my guitar / street noise at a reasonable price.

Secondly, please don't presume I can justify my guitar's potential as you have suggested in your post. I'll enjoy the attempt but I'm in a room with the big boys here. My sample recording attempts will undoubtedly reflect that. (when finally initiated).
For CM4's & DAV BG (1 or 2), the 2882 may be overkill -no? I understand the value of quality DAC's, but isn't there something more in line with the rest of the chain you used here?
Another great sounding recording James.
I own a MH 2882, it's not really just about the DAC, it's about owning a reliable tool, great support, and unique features (routing/monitoring/processing/mixing possibilities with the mio console) it's an eco system when you own several MH boxes.
For people who are charging for recording gigs (my case and probably James) reliability is important.. Metric Halo gives you all that and some peace of mind. So not overkill at all, especially when you keep them for a decade or two.
DAV are really great mic preamps! They're high end with an affordable price.
Just like Sebatron, Sytek, CAPI, Sound Skulptor...
The 2882 is the affordable box compared to the ULN8 which costs more than twice its price . It's a cool interface, but the pres don't have much gain. They sound great for loud sources...but for delicate acoustic stuff it needs more gain and the DAV pres are a great addition.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #157
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
….[snip]…. For CM4's & DAV BG1, is there a 2 channel interface with good DACs you could recommend? For myself, the 2882 may be overkill.
….[snip]….
In general, I agree with your thought about 'balancing' the 'performance' level of the components in your recording/playback chain. However, also keep in mind you are also considering getting a very high quality mic (Schoeps) and using your very high quality preamp (Great River). You don't want your ADC or DAC to 'degrade' the 'quality' level of the signal that went into it. You may want to consider your immediate needs (i.e. getting a pair of lower cost mics) as well as if you have a long term gear plan (eventually getting one or two Schoeps mic(s) and using them with your external BR or DAV preamps).

As far as an interface with integrated ADC and DAC, or external ADC and/or DAC gear, you might want to first think about how many channels you need. It seems many of the folks here are doing location recording and they may need more channels (i.e. 2882) than someone with a focus on home recording of acoustic guitar.

What I've done is to focus on my 2 channel recording/playback chain. My logic is that I primarily do stereo recording of my acoustic guitars. So, I've upgraded my 2 channel chain over the years with a focus on what I ideally want for my acoustics; I'd rather have 2 really good channels than many not quite so good channels. I now have 2 channel external gear (preamp, ADC, DAC with headphone amp) that I use with a 'lower end' audio interface. The audio interface is primarily for digital routing and zero latency monitoring of what I'm recording. On the rare occasion where I have a need for more channels or need a more portable setup I use the preamps/ADCs/DACs/headphone amp built into my audio interface.

If you're planning on using your Great River preamp, or possibly a DAV preamp, with an audio interface that has the ADC built in make sure that you can bypass the audio interface's preamps (i.e. connect your external preamp output to the audio interface ADC without the signal going through the interface's preamps); you don't want a 'lesser' preamp in the audio interface to 'degrade' your external preamp gear. I'm using a MOTU audio interface.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #158
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
......If you're planning on using your Great River preamp, or possibly a DAV preamp, with an audio interface that has the ADC built in make sure that you can bypass the audio interface's preamps (i.e. connect your preamp output directly to the audio interface ADC without the signal going through the interface's preamps); you don't want a 'lesser' preamp in the audio interface to 'degrade' your external preamp gear. I'm using MOTU for an audio interface.
Thanks for that Chuck. I will be sure to note the *interface's preamp bypass* on my selection. I had been thinking about that *degradation*, & whether it is commonly designated on such an interface. (just curious about switching variations to watch for). For my needs I think an integrated, 2 channel unit is more feasible but your point about ensuring mic preamp sound quality is paramount. I have a decent hd ph amp which has good DAC.
I have an older model *Apogee Duet* interface I have used with my MBP, but don't care for it's sound.

EDIT: Apogee Duet (firewire 400) 2007 edition - latency issue I suspect https://apogeedigital.com/video/vide...ifferent-duets
Old 3 weeks ago
  #159
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
Thanks for that Chuck. I will be sure to note the *interface's preamp bypass* on my selection. I had been thinking about that *degradation*, & whether it is commonly designated on such an interface. (just curious about switching variations to watch for). For my needs I think an integrated, 2 channel unit is more feasible but your point about ensuring mic preamp sound quality is paramount. I have a decent hd ph amp which has good DAC.
I have an older model *Apogee Duet* interface I have used with my MBP, but don't care for it's sound.
From my understanding, the preamps in the Apogee Duet can be bypassed. You need to set the input to Line In +4dbu using Maestro. I don't know the quality of the Duet's ADC but I would imagine they'd be pretty good.

EDIT: I'm not sure if the preamps can be bypassed on the older Duet (2007 version). Also, I just saw this on another GS thread: "Yes, there's a difference in sound quality from the original FireWire Duet (2007 version) to the Duet 2 (2011 version). We upgraded the mic preamps and converters, made the headphone outputs and speaker outputs independent, and did a few other improvements. The current model (Duet for iPad and Mac, 2013) has the same audio hardware as the Duet 2, but with updated connectivity for iPads & iPhones and a USB MIDI port. "

Another thing to consider in an audio interface is zero latency monitoring. It's nice to be able to hear the guitar you are recording (along with playback of a click track or other previously recorded tracks) without the guitar's signal having to go into and back out of your DAW before it gets to the headphone amp. I'm not sure if the Apogee Duet has that.

If you're planning on a new interface, I'd suggest looking at the Motu 624 (I have the older Motu Ultralite AVB). Maybe it would be the right combination of features/performance for you, but you haven't talked much about what you want/need.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #160
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by La plage View Post
Nice recording yes, but also a great duo of players, great tune
Yes - many thanks to guitarists Peter Tremant and J-P 'Boule' Ghaye for the clip Dalriada Suns.

I had them here anyway, and since my Line Audio CM4 pair had just arrived in the mail and I was keen to test them out, I asked them to quickly throw together a jam that I would be free to share – they had Dalriada Suns down in 1/2hr!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tammer View Post
Is the 2882 2D or 3D?
I upgraded all four of my Metric Halo boxes to 3d.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
is there a 2 channel interface with good DACs you could recommend? For myself, the 2882 may be overkill.
Yes. If you only need two channels then the ULN-2 is the one to go for from the Metric Halo stable - in fact, this already includes two pristine quality 'boutique' mic preamps with +72dB of gain that sound incredible on everything. If more 'colour' or 'euphony' is required for your taste then add a DAV BG1 to suit, but you could already make superb recordings with just the ULN-2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
Thanks James. All of your points are well taken. I probably have a reasonable understanding of your post's purpose & perhaps I need to take a long hard look at my situation here.
I posted the stereo clip, not necessarily to steer you towards stereo, but just as a pointer that you could perhaps bag one 'super-mic' (Schoeps, Gefell, KM84 etc) to try in mono with your Great River pre and also invest in a cheap stereo pair to experiment with that would still make you very respectable recordings for not too much loot; the amazing little CM4s make that roadmap entirely possible, while the DAV BG1 is probably a keeper anyway and if it isn't will hold its value.

It seems to me from reading your comments here that your main worry isn't really to do with the subjective quality of recording – ultimately gear is just gear and as this forum shows there are umpteen high-end routes that will work – but more to do with what mic configurations (polar patterns/mono or stereo array etc) are going to give you useable results on your particular guitar in your particular space. So if you can't persuade Schoeps to lend you an entire stereo kit with all the various capsules to try out for a year, it may be that experimenting with cheaper offerings from Line Audio and Oktava etc is a good way to learn about where you want to end up.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 3 weeks ago at 06:14 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #161
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
......If the OP only needs two channels then obviously the ULN-2 is the one to go for from the MH stable - this already includes two pristine quality mic preamps with +72dB of gain and sounds incredible on everything. If more 'colour' is needed then add DAV BG1 to suit.
......I posted the stereo clip, not necessarily to steer you towards stereo, but just as a pointer than you could perhaps bag one 'super-mic' (Schoeps, Gefell, KM84 etc) to use in mono with your Great River pre and also invest in a cheap stereo pair to experiment with that would still make you very respectable recordings for not too much loot; the amazing little CM4s make that roadmap entirely possible, while the DAV BG1 is probably a keeper anyway and if it isn't will hold its value.

It seems to me from reading your comments here that your main worry isn't really to do with the subjective quality of recording – ultimately gear is just gear and as this forum shows there are umpteen high-end routes that will work – but more to do with what mic configurations (polar patterns/mono or stereo array etc) are going to give you useable results on your particular guitar in your particular space. So if you can't persuade Schoeps to lend you an entire stereo kit with all the various capsules to try out for a year, it may be that experimenting with cheaper offerings from Line Audio and Oktava etc is a good way to learn about where you want to end up.
Thanks again James for the Dalriada Suns recording post. I am starting to appreciate more and more, that while some players can make any guitar sound good, the same is true with those who record them.

I will look into the ULN-2. Many thanks.
Regarding the DAV BG1 & the *colour * you alluded to - Is there a warmth or *vintage* signature to that preamp that can be appreciated?
EDIT: With the 3D version of the ULN-2 > https://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/pro...are/uln-2.html , it appears that a nice *tube* character can be selected (switch engaged). Jensen transformers installed. Perhaps this unit could be an option to the 2D version plus the DAV. (?)

From what I've read on the forum about bypassing the interface's mic preamps to maintain outboard preamp signature sound, it doesn't seem to be a concern if the interface preamps are *pristine quality* as you said of those in the UNL-2, OR if *line in* is used. Am I reading that correctly?
Also, your take & guidance on my situation is much appreciated. I suspect that I can't go wrong with starting cautiously. I'm really liking the CM4 stereo approach as a kick off. I'll get back to you soon on that.

I'd like to thank everyone here for their continued input. I had no idea at the OP that it would develop as it has & branched to this point. Great group you all are!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #162
Lives for gear
 

Hi, B...
I don't own the DAV pres, but I use them on regular basis along other mic preamps.
The Broadhurst Gardens mic amps (they got their name from the location of Decca's London headquarters through the '60s and '70s) don't bring any kind of saturation warmth to the table (no valves no transformers)
They are more in the super clean camp, which is generally more suitable for acoustic guitar recording.
However, they do have their own color ... which is a light one but gives a musical "finish" to the recordings...
They also sound "larger than life" like most professional mic pres. Big and clean.
I think they are perfect for solo acoustic guitar, and to beat them you would need to spend much more (Forsell, Gordon, GML,
Hardy etc...) I don't think it would be reasonable according to yours goals, and the BG will get you 95% there.
(the last 5% are very expensive)
You own a really great mic pre (GR) from the 'Neve family', which adds to recorded sounds some transformer warmth.
While perfectly suitable for acoustic guitars it wouldn't be my first choice, if that's all I had I would be very happy to use it though!
But you own a single channel...which is why we've been suggesting the BG1...as an affordable but professional stereo pre.
An additional Great River channel would cost you quite more than a stereo DAV pre...and the latter will work just as well if not better for acoustics (I personally choose the DAV over the GR for that task...but would prefer the GR for vocals, bass..etc)

As for the interface, the MH ULN2's pres are really good, better than preamps that you can find on most audio interfaces (apart from the ULN8)
They actually have more gain than the DAV (72dB)
But I think the DAV would give you even better results as preamp goes.
I'm a big fan of Metric Halo myself, but if money was a criteria, I think the MOTU 624 mentioned here plus the DAV BG2 would be a good choice, as the MOTU ticks all the important boxes : 4 real line inputs (no internal pres to bypass) great conversion, and reliability.

If the purpose was building a studio, with the idea of expanding with several boxes / interfaces..I would choose Metric Halo over MOTU (for the better routing monitoring processing software and connectivity ethernet..MADI)

However I think if you still have a computer with an older OS you can sorta bypass the internal pres with your Apogee Duet (selecting "Line in" in Maestro) and use an external pre DAV BG2. I suppose you're already doing that with your Great River anyway.
I don't know if it's a true bypass or a 'software pad', but I suppose that would give you good results.
Keep in mind that the MH 2882 doesn't have true preamp bypass either, when using external pres, the signal goes through the internal pre circuitry, it still sounds good that way.

So here you go, you can go mono, and only buy one good mic (Schoeps, Gefell..)
You can do that and/or buy also a pair of cheap (but good enough) mics like the CM4s and a great dual pre like the BG1 to experiment with stereo recordings.
Buy a new interface for future compatibility (vs obsolescence with your Duet) and get line (bypass internal pres) inputs (inserts in the case of ULN2) or choose to keep going with your old Duet a few more years as long as you have a computer with an older OS for Firewire
I'm certain all these options will give you great results...
Don't forget music is more important than sound (after all that )
Old 3 weeks ago
  #163
Gear Head
B....
You've heard lots of great alternative approaches. Maybe it would be helpful to assess your short and long term needs/goals, including timeframe and budget. Some planning may get you to where you want to be without having to lose too much money if you replace or upgrade gear.

What order do you want to acquire gear if you can't afford it all at once? Do you want a high quality mono setup first, or do you want to do some experimenting with stereo first?

Do you care if you have an integrated, portable solution? If not, you might want to consider that audio interfaces are continually evolving, but good external gear (preamps, converters, headphone amp, etc) seem to have long term value. For me, what's worked out is a lesser interface (Moto 624 or Ultralite), that has a fair amount of connectivity with other gear (i.e. has analog line inputs & outputs, spdif or optical or AES digital I/O). This allowed me to add external gear as time goes on and to keep various pieces of gear 'in balance' (quality level of the gear).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #164
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tammer View Post
Hi, B...
I don't own the DAV pres, but I use them on regular basis along other mic preamps.
The Broadhurst Gardens mic amps (they got their name from the location of Decca's London headquarters through the '60s and '70s) don't bring any kind of saturation warmth to the table (no valves no transformers)
They are more in the super clean camp, which is generally more suitable for acoustic guitar recording.
However, they do have their own color ... which is a light one but gives a musical "finish" to the recordings...
They also sound a bit "larger than life" like most professional mic pres.
I think they are perfect for solo acoustic guitar, and to beat them you would need to spend much more (Forsell, Gordon, GML,
Hardy etc...) I don't think it would be reasonable according to yours goals, and the BG will get you 95% there.
(the last 5% are very expensive)
You own a really great mic pre (GR) from the 'Neve family', which adds to recorded sounds some transformer warmth.
While perfectly suitable for acoustic guitars it wouldn't be my first choice, if that's all I had I would be very happy to use it though!
But you own a single channel...which is why we've been suggesting the BG1...as an affordable but professional stereo pre.
An additional Great River channel would cost you quite more than a stereo DAV pre...and the latter will work just as well if not better for acoustics (I personally choose the DAV over the GR for that task...but would prefer the GR for vocals, bass..etc)

As for the interface, the MH ULN2's pres are really good, better than preamps that you can find on most audio interfaces (apart from the ULN8)
They actually have more gain than the DAV (72dB)
But I think the DAV would give you even better results as preamp goes.
I'm a big fan of Metric Halo myself, but if money was a criteria, I think the MOTU 624 mentioned here plus the DAV BG2 would be a good choice, as the MOTU ticks all the important boxes : 4 real line inputs (no internal pres to bypass) great conversion, and reliability.

ULN2 has all these features too (I think you can completely bypass its pres using the inserts) but costs a bit more...with less inputs.
Using the ULN2s preamps on their own with the 'character' plugins will give you great results for sure, although I don't know if it will be as good as going through DAV pres, James might tell you more about it??

If the purpose was building a studio, with the idea of expanding with several boxes / interfaces..I would choose Metric Halo over MOTU (for the better routing monitoring processing software and connectivity ethernet..MADI)

However I think if you still have a computer with an older OS you can sorta bypass the internal pres with your Apogee Duet (selecting "Line in" in Maestro) and use an external pre DAV BG2. I suppose you're already doing that with your Great River anyway.
I don't know if it's a true bypass or a 'software pad', but I suppose that would give you good results.
Keep in mind that the MH 2882 doesn't have true preamp bypass either, when using external pres, the signal goes through the internal pre circuitry, it still sounds good that way.

So here you go, you can go mono, and only buy one good mic (Schoeps, Gefell..)
You can do that and/or buy also a pair of cheap (but good enough) mics like the CM4s and a great dual pre like the BG1 to experiment with stereo recordings.
Buy a new interface for future compatibility (vs obsolescence with your Duet) and get real line (bypass internal pres) inputs (inserts in the case of ULN2) or choose to keep going with your old Duet a few more years as long as you have a computer with an older OS for Firewire
I'm certain all these options will give you great results...
Don't forget music is more important than sound (after all that )

Edit : I forgot about the Jensen tranny option in the ULN2...that might be a tough call (between ULN2 Jensen vs DAV BG)
Thank you Nick, for your thoughtful input. Lots to think on there. It's interesting how the ULN-2 Jensen 3d is such a nice integrated quality *pre/interface* yet so very complex & with such an intimidating learning curve for myself. It has that future compatibility you mentioned (or future proof) aspect to it, but with my limited understanding of it's potential, would take some time to acclimate to, even w/tutorial guidance. Lots to access.

I've also been reading about how the DAV BG1 isn't well suited to low level output. Perhaps the increased gain of the ULN-2 is better for that type of recording. (?)

What are the ULN-2's preamp *character* plugins that you mentioned? I"m assuming that is aside from the Transformer character of the 3d Jensen unit.
I may be wrong on this but can't the ULN-2 3d transformer model be set for not only FROM wire + gain (as with the clean version) > transformer character - BUT that for each separate channel. For instance - if I were to record myself singing in 1 mic & playing guitar in the other, I could have clean guitar & warmer voice. Then pan both channels in the mix for suitable stereo result. Easy for me to SAY.
By the time I'm ready for recording, I'll have forgotten how to hold a guitar.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #165
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
B....
You've heard lots of great alternative approaches. Maybe it would be helpful to assess your short and long term needs/goals, including timeframe and budget. Some planning may get you to where you want to be without having to lose too much money if you replace or upgrade gear.

What order do you want to acquire gear if you can't afford it all at once? Do you want a high quality mono setup first, or do you want to do some experimenting with stereo first?

Do you care if you have an integrated, portable solution? If not, you might want to consider that audio interfaces are continually evolving, but good external gear (preamps, converters, headphone amp, etc) seem to have long term value. For me, what's worked out is a lesser interface (Moto 624 or Ultralite), that has a fair amount of connectivity with other gear (i.e. has analog line inputs & outputs, spdif or optical or AES digital I/O). This allowed me to add external gear as time goes on and to keep various pieces of gear 'in balance' (quality level of the gear).
Hi Chuck. With regard to the continued evolving of interfaces, I can't let that enter the picture. This is for personal recording at relative high quality - not with any plans for improving my situation down the road. There is more road behind me than there is in front of me. I'm in this for NOW! I have to arrive at personal satisfaction in the moment. WHAT IF isn't going to come into play. This is the reason for my persistence & eagerness to listen to those who understand. Thanks to all.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #166
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
What are the ULN-2's preamp *character* plugins?
The preamp 'character' plug-ins are available in the Metric Halo Console software that you will be using with your ULN-2. You can engage them after recording too, so you don't really lose anything by recording clean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
I"m assuming that is aside from the Transformer character of the 3d Jensen unit. I may be wrong on this but can't the ULN-2 3d transformer model be set for not only FROM wire + gain (as with the clean version) > transformer character - BUT that for each separate channel. For instance - if I were to record myself singing in 1 mic & playing guitar in the other, I could have clean guitar & warmer voice. Then pan both channels in the mix for suitable stereo result. Easy for me to SAY.
You can order a ULN-2 with one or two Jensen hardware transformer mods but whatever you do I would order the ULN-2 with two identical hardware preamps, otherwise your ability to record in stereo will be compromised.

I've not tried the Jensen versions but as I have two ULN-2's I really ought to get one unit fitted with them and run some tests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
I've also been reading about how the DAV BG1 isn't well suited to low level output. Perhaps the increased gain of the ULN-2 is better for that type of recording?
Well, yes and no. And it depends.

Firstly, none of the microphones that have been suggested to you in this thread are what I would describe as 'low-level output' so I think all of this is likely to be a non-issue for you.

Indeed some versions of the DAV BG1 are, I think, 'limited' to +59dB of gain but this is more than enough for 95% of microphones and even then you can always ask Mick to ship you one with +66dB. In the real world you are not going to have the slightest problem getting a fantastic sound with the DAV even at +59dB; most of my microphones require around +35-55dB on my BG2 (over +50dB is really only needed for dynamics) - almost anything with phantom power is perfectly happy at +30-40dB). For example, the SM7B needs around +60dB for quiet voice-over, whereas my Gefell M300s were super-hot and rarely required more than +30dB when close-micing instruments; in all these cases stock DAV preamps can cover it with no compromise.

The ULN-2 preamps go up to +72dB which places them at the upper end of interface preamps – actually all preamps – (custom ribbon pre's like AEA TRP go up to +85dB) and will get you comfortably into driving tricky ribbon mic territory. As has already been said, ULN-2's sport exceptionally clean, high-gain preamps which is one reason people love them for remote field-recording etc.

The ULN-2 has a very tactile front-panel with knobs and switches everywhere and superb metering - it feels familiar and can be operated as a reliable stand-alone preamp (once you've created a non-volatile state, or several states recallable from the front panel, on the Mac).

Both the ULN-2 and the DAV feature stepped gain controls which I find is a major boon for set'n'forget stereo recording, and it also means the useable gain range isn't crammed into the last third of pot travel which is so often the case with other preamps.

The only area I can think of where you might run into a limitation with the ULN-2 (or any 2-channel interface) is if you ever foresee a situation where you have kept your Great River pre and added a 2-ch DAV BG1 and wish to record three channels simultaneously; say, stereo acoustic guitar and vocal in one live take? In that case you might be be better off investing in a 2882 and just using it as a line-level converter for those external preamps. (In fact the 2882 does have preamps but these really are of limited gain and don't qualify as 'High-End' so it's really best thought of as an 8-ch line-level interface - a role it excels at.)

I see MOTU has been mentioned as well as a possible interface choice. I can't speak for the quality of their current onboard preamps and conversion but I can say I made the switch from MOTU to Metric Halo many years ago and have no regrets. Aside from hardware differences, the two companies have very different philosophies - MOTU bring out a new range of interfaces every few years to replace what has gone before, whereas Metric Halo are committed to continually upgrading their base hardware over decades, as evidenced by the recent round of 3d upgrades for what amounts to a 20 year-old interface design.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 3 weeks ago at 05:29 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #167
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
Thank you Nick, for your thoughtful input. Lots to think on there. It's interesting how the ULN-2 Jensen 3d is such a nice integrated quality *pre/interface* yet so very complex & with such an intimidating learning curve for myself.]
It's actually pretty simple and intuitive to just get started, select a couple of inputs, set the levels and record!
Some more complex features you will probably never use unless you want to build a huge hybrid studio with analog outboard, mixing console...
Quote:
It has that future compatibility you mentioned (or future proof) aspect to it, but with my limited understanding of it's potential, would take some time to acclimate to, even w/tutorial guidance. Lots to access.
Nothing complicated here...it just means that Metric Halo is a manufacturer who's shown commitment to anti-obsolescence policy.
They prefer to update their audio interfaces with new drivers and also internal cards rather than releasing new interfaces every two years or so and declare the last model "obsolete" by purposely not providing new drivers to its users.
ULN2 & 2882 were designed in 2001!
MH has provided up-to-date drivers during all these years till today.
I think the only other manufacturer who does this is RME : releasing last fall Catalina Drivers for their oldest interfaces (2001/2003) These RME interfaces are indeed old as hardware hasn't been updated...
MH differs from this as they also provide 'hardware' upgrades (connectivity, compatibility, DSP power, updated analog circuitry, clock...etc.)
That way the "old interface" not only gets new drivers to be used with modern computers/modern OS, but also becomes a modern interface that competes with the best.
MH has already issued 2 hardware upgrades, which were provided to its users through an internal card with updated components (user installable)
- 2D hardware upgrade in 2009 where they introduced DSP
- and 3D last year
(more DSP, upgraded sound : conversion analogs & clock, completely new ethernet connectivity allowing to connect up to 13 interfaces up to 100 meters between boxes without monitoring latency, and finally additional modular connectivity with 'edge cards' MADI ADATS AES..)
Antelope has the total opposite business model, they simply stop providing new drivers 2 or 3 years after an interface is released. Not to mention that this programmed obsolescence for more profit is what's killing our planet.

I think MOTU, in that field (obsolescence) is not the worst, more like average.
Antelope is definitely the worst by far
Apogee became pretty bad too imho...They had the chance of using the Mk1 chassis for the Symphony Mk2 converters and decided...not to. UA is not the best either. Digidesign/Avid have been terrible on that matter.

If you want future proof/long term support, it's Metric Halo and RME, Metric Halo being the only one with hardware upgrades.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #168
Lives for gear
 

I think Chuck meant he prefers to invest in gear that he keeps, like good mics nice mic preamps, as this is the part of recording technology that doesn't get obsolete.
A good mic today will remain a good mic in 40 years..same for outboard gear.
Therefore it's a good idea to invest more in that part of your recording chain...and less in the digital part (interfaces, converters, DAW, plugins...) which become obsolete/lose its value quickly, and will need to be replaced.

But with MH the obsolescence part is not a problem.
And I can't encourage you enough to invest in a company like this who does things properly, goes against the current obsolescence/more profits trend, build products that last
Their business model sadly is not the most profitable and if we want companies like this to keep existing we need to support them.
That said if your budget is stretched, it might be better to invest first in a very good mic, or/and a stereo pre like DAV BG plus two CM4s to experiment with stereo, before a new interface.

If you still use your Duet today (meaning you haven't updated OS to Catalina yet) you can totally keep using it for a few more years as long you have a computer with an older OS than Catalina.
Even if the computer doesn't have a firewire port, as there are many adaptors firewire>thunderbolt >usbc
Your Duet has good enough conversion, and you can set up inputs to line +4dB.

The DAV BG really are mic amps that shoot well above their price point.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #169
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
Hi Chuck. With regard to the continued evolving of interfaces, I can't let that enter the picture. This is for personal recording at relative high quality - not with any plans for improving my situation down the road. There is more road behind me than there is in front of me. I'm in this for NOW! I have to arrive at personal satisfaction in the moment. WHAT IF isn't going to come into play. This is the reason for my persistence & eagerness to listen to those who understand. Thanks to all.
Understood...but even if you don't want to evolve...companies make sure that you do anyway...and buy their new line of products...by making their older products obsolete.
If your mac dies and you need a new one...let's say you also buy the mac for your business and need a brand new one with a bill for your accountancy, you'll be forced to "trash" your Duet and buy something else that's compatible with Catalina and further.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #170
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
I've also been reading about how the DAV BG1 isn't well suited to low level output. Perhaps the increased gain of the ULN-2 is better for that type of recording. (?)
Nope.
Like James said, 59dB/66dB for BG1/2 respectively is more than enough for most microphones/ situations.
Also DAV are professional preamps even at high gain the noise level is very low and it's usable.

Also -like James said- I think you can ask Mick to ship you a non rack BG1 with +66dB...or just order a BG1U (19" rack version) these have +66dB stock.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #171
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tammer View Post
I think Chuck meant he prefers to invest in gear that he keeps like good mics nice mic preamps, as this is the part of recording technology that doesn't get obsolete.
A good mic today will remain a good mic in 40 years..same for outboard gear.
Funny enough some of the most revered (and most expensive) mic preamps, compressors, microphones are 50/60 years old. (Neve 1073, Langevin, Telefunken V72s, Helios..U47, U67, C12...KM56 mentioned here)
Therefore it's a good idea to invest more in that part of your recording chain...and less in the digital part (interfaces, converters, DAW, plugins...) which get obsolete quickly and worth nothing.

But with MH the obsolescence part is not a problem.
...[snip].....
This has been a very informative thread. Folks with different backgrounds come at their goals and solve their needs from different perspectives. I wasn't aware Metric Halo supported hardware and software the way they do; good for them and those that buy their gear to support that philosophy. However, for me I wasn't experienced to know what to select / commit to, in a high end integrated device.

Instead, I've gradually 'evolved' to external gear and have been putting my money into mics, preamps, ADC, and DAC with headphone amp. That gear is my long term investment. For an interface, I mainly need it for digital routing, so the router and the mixer and zero latency monitoring and digital I/O are what's important. That digital stuff is pretty cheap, and doesn't need to be upgraded if I add or swap out external gear. Since I don't have much for analog needs in my interface, it seems to fit my needs for quite some time (realizing long term driver support may not be as good as some other manufacturers). This external gear approach works for me because I mainly only need two channels recorded at a time, I couldn't afford external gear for more channels. When I find something I'd prefer over what I have I can upgrade just that one piece of gear. I was able to pick up much of it used, demo, etc.

On the rare occasions where I need more channels, I end up with some channels of very high quality and other channels (the ones using the Motu preamps and converters) of lesser quality. Another 'downside' to my approach is if I do some recording out of house, and need more than two channels of preamps, I end up having to transport and setup a number of pieces of gear; not as convenient as an interface that has all this integrated into a single box.

Regarding the conversation about the need for gain. I play solo acoustic guitar fingerstyle without picks and mic up to 2' away, so it isn't loud. Using my Gefell's, I usually set the preamp at 40 or 45dB. The Line Audio mics have lower sensitivity, but only need a few more dB of gain. Having a limit of 59dB of gain should not be a problem for the OP.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #172
Gear Head
 

Thank you to James, Nick & Chuck for your latest posts. Your insight & the the time involved to assist means a great deal not only to me but to many others, I'm sure. I'm overwhelmed.
I'll need time to digest it all.
I've looked into a couple things :
1. The ULN-2 3d (Jensen version) sells for about $2095 USD ($2745 CDN)(+13% tax=$3100 CDN)) > $700 USD ($917 CDN +tax) more than the standard 3d version. If I can get most of the tranny benefits through *character* plugins, that extra $ could be well applied elsewhere perhaps.
2. I inquired yesterday with Mick @ DAV & the BG1 sells for $1000 CDN inc. shipping & import duties & taxes. (all in)

The M.H. philosophy that has been pointed out is something I take to heart & will certainly enter into it !
Old 3 weeks ago
  #173
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post


Well done, beautiful recording. I'm ordering CM4's pronto.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #174
AB3
Lives for gear
 

From my brief review of this thread, there is obviously no one answer. The Josephson E22s is a sleeper on acoustic guitar! And easy to position.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #175
Lives for gear
 

I asked a friend who happens to own both ULN2s and DAV BGs, he finds them equally good, slightly different sounding.
ULN2 preamp being more like a straight wire with gain and the DAV being a bit more euphonic, slightly smoother high end, yet still detailed. Which is pretty much the idea I had, even though I'm more used to the BG2 than ULN2.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #176
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tammer View Post
I asked a friend who happens to own both ULN2s and DAV BGs, he finds them equally good, slightly different sounding.
ULN2 preamp being more like a straight wire with gain and the DAV being a bit more euphonic, slightly smoother high end, yet still detailed. He says he's using more ULN2 for diffuse field, and DAV for spot mics/single acoustic instruments.
I'm still waiting for a reply from MH in FLorida re. pricing for direct purchase but it's pretty obvious that for the cost of the ULN-2 3d w/transformers I could get (almost equal cost) the *tranyless* version + the BG1.
BUT I kinda like the idea of an integrated unit if all things being equal. NOT as sensible perhaps but read the attachment. That appears to have the option of the clean sound as well as tranny character. I sure am impressed with MH.

I've ordered a pair of Line Audio CM4s + CMEH (shock mounts) AND also a single OM1. This seems to be a practical approach to start. It'll take some time but eventually I'll be able to provide some demonstration samples of stereo (w/ a new pre/interface and possibly mono demos w/ the OM1(same unit) AND mono using the Great River pre though the new interface. I suspect I'll end up with the ULN-2 3d in either configuration. The current USD / CDN exchange rate is BRUTAL!!! SO - it's a challenge to get comfortable with a choice.
Attached Thumbnails
Good Mic for 00 size acoustic guitar.-screen-shot-2020-01-27-10.40.28-am.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #177
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by B.... View Post
I'm still waiting for a reply from MH in FLorida re. pricing for direct purchase but it's pretty obvious that for the cost of the ULN-2 3d w/transformers I could get (almost equal cost) the *tranyless* version + the BG1.
BUT I kinda like the idea of an integrated unit if all things being equal. NOT as sensible perhaps but read the attachment. That appears to have the option of the clean sound as well as tranny character. I sure am impressed with MH.

…[snip]…..
I'm kind of surprised at the cost for adding the Jenson input transformers to the ULN-2.

For example, a complete John Hardy M-1 preamp with 2 channels has a list price of $1260 (has Jenson input transformers, no Jenson output transformers at this price, low cost metering option at this price).

Another example is the Speck 5.0 MicPre. With a front panel switch you can select either the solid state output or its Jenson output transformer. It's a single channel preamp list price is $778 (it also has a variable high pass filter built in).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #178
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
I'm kind of surprised at the cost for adding the Jenson input transformers to the ULN-2.

For example, a complete John Hardy M-1 preamp with 2 channels has a list price of $1260 (has Jenson input transformers, no Jenson output transformers at this price, low cost metering option at this price).

Another example is the Speck 5.0 MicPre. With a front panel switch you can select either the solid state output or its Jenson output transformer. It's a single channel preamp list price is $778 (it also has a variable high pass filter built in).
Price for a stereo Hardy M-1 is $1750 ... not $1260
Also transformers aren't the same JT11(Hardy input) vs JT16 (ULN2 input)
http://www.johnhardyco.com/prices.html
2 channels of Speck is $1556
Also the OP is calculating in $CDN with 13% tax added.

That said...I agree with you that the cost of adding Jensens transformers to the ULN2 is pretty steep!!
These transformers can be had for $300 a pair, so $800 for the option is indeed a bit much, I doubt the modifications are complicated.

However, DAV BG1 for $1000 CDN inc. shipping & import duties & taxes is a great price!
That's about 750 -US$- delivery & taxes included!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #179
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tammer View Post
Price list for a stereo Hardy M-1 is $1750 ... not $1260
Also transformers aren't the same JT11(Hardy input) vs JT16 (ULN2 output)
http://www.johnhardyco.com/prices.html
2 channels of Speck is $1556
Also the OP is calculating in $CDN with 13% tax added.

That said...I agree with you that the cost of adding Jensens transformers to the ULN2 is pretty steep!!
These transformers can be had for $300 a pair, so $800 for the option added is indeed a bit much, I doubt the modifications are complicated.
The price I mentioned earlier for the 2 channel M1 John Hardy was incorrect; I should have stated it as $1295. As I mentioned, this has the JT16 Jensen input transformer but at this price does not have the JT-11 output transformers and at this price it is the low cost metering. (see page 2 of the pricing pdf) The price you mentioned ($1750) has the input and output transformers and the better VU metering). Also, the input transformer used in the Hardy is the JT16, so I believe it may be the same as the ULN-2.

I was primarily trying to compare relative costs of various preamps with Jensen transformers to the cost of the ULN-2 input transformer upgrade. (1) For roughly the cost of a single ULN-2 transformer upgrade you can get the the John Hardy single channel preamp card (which is $350 and includes the Jensen JT-16 input transformer). (2) The cost of two ULN-2 input transformer upgrades is roughly 54% of the cost of the entire Hardy two channel preamp. (3) The cost of the ULN-2 input transformer upgrade is roughly 45% of the cost of the entire Speck single channel preamp.

I agree the DAV BG1 seems to be a great value (I haven't used it).
In any case, it really depends on what best meets the OPs goals.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #180
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
The price I mentioned earlier for the 2 channel M1 John Hardy was incorrect; I should have stated it as $1295. As I mentioned, this has the JT16 Jensen input transformer but at this price does not have the JT-11 output transformers and at this price it is the low cost metering. (see page 2 of the pricing pdf) The price you mentioned ($1750) has the input and output transformers and the better VU metering). Also, the input transformer used in the Hardy is the JT16, so I believe it may be the same as the ULN-2.

I was primarily trying to compare relative costs of various preamps with Jensen transformers. For the John Hardy, the single channel preamp card is $350, and this includes the Jensen JT-16.

I agree the DAV BG1 seems to be a great value (I haven't used it).
In any case, it really depends on what best meets the OPs goals.
Ah yeah it's the same transformer for the input... and I didn't know you could buy an M1 without output transformers...
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