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Which is the $85 pre and which is the $2200 pre? Condenser Microphones
Old 18th August 2008
  #61
These threads get tiring.

I've said it before and I'll say it again now and again in the future.

"Anyone who considers the price of a preamp as a determining factor in whether or not to use it on a recording is a fool."

The question should always be "which sounds better in this context? This song, this performer, this track, this arrangement."

I've lost track of how many times I've used a cheaper preamp simply because it sounded better. Never to the discredit of the more expensive one.

This comparison illuminates two points very clearly:

A) You have to use your ears and not a calculator to decide what preamp is right on any given day, and

B) We all hear things differently. Not everyone agrees on which is best.

How about a show of hands from people who know that one preamp beats out another on one day and loses on the next? REGARDLESS of price.

And who here has found the one preamp that sounds better on every thing all the time?

I'm glad that people are learning from these samples. I just question what it is that they are learning. If you learned that an $85 preamp sounded preferable to an unknown $2200 preamp to some people on this one recording, then I'd say you learned the right lesson.

Now, armed with that knowledge, go pick signal paths with your ears, not your wallet.
Old 18th August 2008
  #62
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Knastratt's Avatar
 

As much as I agree with your post - there are FEW things I would've liked about going through my EnVoices. heh

Maybe MORE COWBELL would've sounded GREAT passing those - who am I to judge? Didn't try them ALL.

BeY MwellM - VPär
Old 18th August 2008
  #63
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Knastratt's Avatar
 

Which brings me down to the basics - I've been to (through?) a journey where I've caught the knowledge of hearing the (not so) subtle changes in gear quality.

Mojo is the word that springs to mind.

Old 18th August 2008
  #64
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I prefered A on the Verses, but once the chorus hit - I'd use either. They both sounded fine. B sounds a little constricted to me at times. Also the sibilance on B was more troublesome to me, although they both have sibilance to a small degree. Thanks for the test John.

bp
Old 19th August 2008
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
These threads get tiring.

I've said it before and I'll say it again now and again in the future.

"Anyone who considers the price of a preamp as a determining factor in whether or not to use it on a recording is a fool."
Well, I get your point, Lynn, but I would venture to say you aren't pulling out $85 mic pres when you're recording Amy Grant. I was surprised that this cheap little thing hung in there. Paint me a fool because I don't expect Digi003 pres to rival $2000 a channel pres...I realize that's a blanket statement possibly comparing apples to oranges, but I have to say, I expected more expensive pres that were using higher quality components to have more depth or whatever kind of grandiose adjective you want to insert there.
Maybe what I'm really learning is that for vocals, I much prefer the sound of a much less colored mic pre. I don't mind saying that I learn something all the time and this was somewhat of an eye opener for me. Now - the real test would be comparing how the VTB compares to a Martech, GML 2032 and a Hardy M1...which I'm going to do and post tonight.
I enjoy doing this - so if these unscientific tests offend anyone's sensibilities, I apologize. I'll post them without anything on them...
Old 19th August 2008
  #66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Well, I get your point, Lynn, but I would venture to say you aren't pulling out $85 mic pres when you're recording Amy Grant.
I pulled Toby McKeehan of DC Talk off a C-12 once and put him on an EV 630 for a rap. It sounded better for that song.

I've pulled solo guitars out of a Trident A-Range and put them through a cheap Altec 1592B Green Face solid state mixer. It just had more of the right attitude.

I'll say again. It's the sound, not the price tag.

When the record comes out, no one hears the price tag on the mic. Or the pre.
Old 19th August 2008
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
I pulled Toby McKeehan of DC Talk off a C-12 once and put him on an EV 630 for a rap. It sounded better for that song.

I've pulled solo guitars out of a Trident A-Range and put them through a cheap Altec 1592B Green Face solid state mixer. It just had more of the right attitude.

I'll say again. It's the sound, not the price tag.

When the record comes out, no one hears the price tag on the mic. Or the pre.
Then I respectfully stand corrected! Lynn, I still remember a post of yours from the 3dinc page where you had an R84 on acoustics...and it was just fantastic. You still using them on acoustics?
Old 19th August 2008
  #68
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gm5k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I enjoy doing this - so if these unscientific tests offend anyone's sensibilities, I apologize. I'll post them without anything on them...
i really appreciate all of your posts and shootouts. i also have a lot of respect for your willingness to take all the crap from people who get angry about this stuff. you just take it in stride and post more shootouts. keep up the good work

tests like these make me think i should sell some preamps so i can get a Wunder...

heh
Old 19th August 2008
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Then I respectfully stand corrected! Lynn, I still remember a post of yours from the 3dinc page where you had an R84 on acoustics...and it was just fantastic. You still using them on acoustics?
Well, you were right. I never used a cheap preamp on Amy. I did try it once though. A dbx 500 series. Sounded like ____. I went with the Buzz.

The R84 on acoustic guitar was short lived. I did it several times and liked it, but I'm defaulting to KM84s again now. Or AT 450s if I need a sheeny sound. I use my ELUX 251 occasionally. And tomorrow I'm trying out a stereo Sanken with swivel heads.
Old 19th August 2008
  #70
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drBill's Avatar
John, forget the negative naysayers!!! Stick to your guns. The vast majority of us enjoy your never ending gear/mic search. Personally, I love to see when a person just won't give up on achieving the very best they can do. Rock on!!

bp
Old 19th August 2008
  #71
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u b k's Avatar
 

amen for the cheap stuff that can hang.

i use $20/channel converters side-by-side with $1500/channel converters every day and i'll be damned if the cheapos don't hold their own, and quite admirably at that.

i'll also say that i've used $1000/channel preamps that sounded downright ungood to me, and contrary to what mr. fuston says i remain adamant in my fantasy that everything in every context sounds better thru a peach audio m196. heh


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 19th August 2008
  #72
Gear Head
 

B is the Money Pre!

John,

beautiful voice by the way

It became clear that when you sing the part "every little feeling" and take off in the song, from the dry takes, B version is just so much better to me. I mean your voice takes off in that section w/B big difference the vocal is more solid, more awesome sounding like as if something great is happening with some kind of cool saturation, that makes the vocal STRONG, whereas A seems a bit lacking in that part of the music.

Anyone hear what I am hearing? I too was taken by A when I first heard the processed clips, but after really listening to the part of the song where you are digging into the vocal,,,,

warmly, Julius
Old 19th August 2008
  #73
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
i'll also say that i've used $1000/channel preamps that sounded downright ungood to me, and contrary to what mr. fuston says i remain adamant in my fantasy that everything in every context sounds better thru a peach audio m196.
I won't deny your fantasy unless it's based solely on the price of the preamp.

FWIW, I've heard $3000 preamps that I don't care for. So don't think I'm suggesting that more $ = better sound. Just that it's foolish to decide based on that.
Old 19th August 2008
  #74
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fuddfar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuddfar View Post
B sounds cleaner to me, A's a little muddy by comparison.
Like I said.... Try the Symetrix 202 over some name preamps for a good chuckle.
Old 19th August 2008
  #75
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kafka's Avatar
Well, the difference between the B dry and the B processed is huge. And I like the B dry, and the B processed is harsh and annoying. A dry is muddy in comparison to B dry, but it's better than the ice-pick in the ear of B processed.

So, what's it all worth? I'd say the VTB-1 is probably a really good deal for $85. For demoing songs in a project studio, absolutely, there's no reason not to have one. For a multi-million dollar follow-up album, hmmm, well, if it were available at hand, I'd go for preamp B.

BTW, John, you have a fantastic voice. I wouldn't spare a dime on a vocal chain to support a voice like that. Squeeze everything out of it that you can. There's a difference between sounding really good for the money and sounding magical. If you can't manage the second, then go for the first. But honestly, with your voice, go for magical.
Old 19th August 2008
  #76
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

the criteria price means nothing. price is sometimes a marketing thing.

some gear is great for a specific purpose.

there´s great gear for many $, there´s great gear for less $.

the problem with audio is, that nearly everthing is already invented.

some come up with strange designs that are expensive to build but can´t reach the quality of a simple desing by its nature. thats where where it gets funny.

to get the damn deal done you got to do the damn deal done, nobody will ask how...
Old 20th August 2008
  #77
as JohnKenn said is that of a huge difference? i feel B is smoother

Great thread Johnkenn!! thanks!
Old 20th August 2008
  #78
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I don't know. I can tell that they sound different, but I don't know which I like more. I would guess that if the 2 pres were both hit a little harder and some saturation came into play that the difference would become more apparent, as well as more instances of the same preamp.

Pretty cool.

PM me what the $2K preamp was if you can.


Neil
Old 20th August 2008
  #79
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I guess my whole point of posting this is that there's just not a big difference. All of this is subjective - I'm just wondering what costs an extra $2100 in the expensive pre...
Old 20th August 2008
  #80
Gear Maniac
 

I've had cheap berhinger that i used to record with, thinking i would do it again with my calrec 1061 when they would come. Well i built the song around the berhinger and just rerecording the parts with the calrec was sounding not as cool as before. because i built the song around the berhinger sound.

I still have a lachapell, the calrec and that cheap berhinger that i use like 1/4 or the time

aRTS...

tous les coups sont permis
Old 20th August 2008
  #81
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virtualsamana's Avatar
 

So can we finally end the debate now that great recordings can be made with prosumer gear. I would even argue that a radio ready song could be made with VTB1s, some cheap condensers, some sm 57s, a cheap prosumer A to D interface, and your DAW of choice. It's the indian not the arrows.

The technology has arrived which make this entirely possible.

There seem to be some people on this board who just refuse to accept this fact and continue to bash low-end gear as sounding like **** or being unusable. tutt

Worst of all are the chumps on this board that tell newbies that they shouldn't be recording at all unless they fill there racks with expensive gear. This is about the worst advice I have ever heard. The experience you gain by hitting record is far more valuable than mowing lawns to save up for the $2000 'magic bullet'.
Old 20th August 2008
  #82
Gear Addict
 

Lynn they seem like wise words, but do they not also mean shoot out CD's are meaningless, I mean those pre's/mics you test are simply the product of the one source you record on any given preamp so when making a judgement on a preamp it is probably wrong as you will need to test each and every source with a mic/pre combo?
Old 20th August 2008
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XLR2XLR View Post
Lynn they seem like wise words, but do they not also mean shoot out CD's are meaningless, I mean those pre's/mics you test are simply the product of the one source you record on any given preamp so when making a judgement on a preamp it is probably wrong as you will need to test each and every source with a mic/pre combo?
Well...he said it...
Old 20th August 2008
  #84
Gear Addict
 

I still dont agree that great recordings can be made with cheap pre-amps. Possibly lower end DAWs, converters, and mics. But mic pres??? Track A sounded more proffessional and clean right out of the gate. Given it needed a little EQ adjustments it sounded much cleaner, and bigger. It made the singer sound like an artist. The B track sounded a little muddy/hazy to me. It did tame some sibalance, but thats because the clarity of the mic pre is not as defined. The sibilance issue could easily be fixed. That last 1% or 2% in a recording goes a long way. That is what seperates the good from the great. Each time I add better gear to my personal studio my recordings seem to require extra work because the mistakes are now heard whereas before they were not. The same goes for my monitor stands. My new primeacoustic stabalizers brought out mistakes in prior recordings that I can now hear, especially in the bass.
Old 20th August 2008
  #85
Gear Addict
 

Oh and BTW, John, good song and production....Very nicely done.
Old 20th August 2008
  #86
Gear Addict
 

One last correction, I mean to say track B was the better one, sorry for the typo.
Old 20th August 2008
  #87
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virtualsamana's Avatar
 

Hindsight is 20/20. tguy, do you honestly think you would have picked B as being better if the results weren't posted? And more to the point would you have picked A as sounding less professional?
Old 20th August 2008
  #88
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if you turn up the two samples on my S3As very loud, A takes your head off in the higher midrange and B sounds smooth as silk. I would not want to record a whole song just with A, I don't think I would want to record even one track with A it sounds way harsh to me. (I am referring to the first two files)
Old 20th August 2008
  #89
Gear Addict
 

I knew I would get that question. Honestly, that was my first opinion in about 3 seconds into the vocal track. I didnt have to read the end of the postings. I just saw this post today and that is why I responded. There was a similiar post on this board a while ago about converters. There was a shootout between MOTU converters and an Apogee. Many people here failed the test. I am not saying I have golden ears, but I tend to lean toward professional quality rather than which track seemed "larger" or "fuller" which is what most people look for in vocals. The MOTU converters sounded fuller probably to disguise the lack of clarity which the Apogee had by a long shot.
Old 20th August 2008
  #90
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zulusound's Avatar
Great thread, thanks John.

Your voice sounds better with A, without a doubt. B brings out sibilance and seems to start clipping when you go higher on the pre-chorus.
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