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Which is the $85 pre and which is the $2200 pre? Condenser Microphones
Old 4th December 2008
  #151
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Gearhero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Uh, yeah...there is. I plugged a mic into it and then ran it into a Rosetta. Then I pressed record. And for a mere $85, you too can achieve that glorious sound.
Yeah but I bet you had to spend hours and hours fixing it in the mix to get those professional sounding results. You wouldn't have had to do that with the expensive pre.
Old 4th December 2008
  #152
Gear Maniac
 

There are a lot of egos on this site....obviously. If you've got thousands tied up in high end gear you're less apt to admit that a piece which costs "peanuts" is going to compete. I think expertise beats money.
Old 4th December 2008
  #153
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I totally agree and I too just heard the files for the first time.

Nice song and performance!

I'm listening thru the UA 2192's DA by the way and though I haven't hooked it up anymore, I'm sure that the difference would be way smaller when listening thru say the DA of my Digi 002.

So there's a whole other discussion attached......do preamps matter when almost everybody listens on mp3 and cheap earbuds? I really do think that it matters.
Actually I was listening thru cheap logitech speakers on my computer and the difference was still VERY apparent. I can imagine an even bigger difference on my gen 1032's!!
Old 4th December 2008
  #154
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhero View Post
Yeah but I bet you had to spend hours and hours fixing it in the mix to get those professional sounding results. You wouldn't have had to do that with the expensive pre.
No - I literally did this in 10 minutes. I plugged the mic into the pre and the pre into the Rosetta and recorded it...
Old 4th December 2008
  #155
Gear Maniac
 

Are you saying you didn't take the time to set up the pre on both and the levels at the board to accurately compare the two?
Old 4th December 2008
  #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getarzan View Post
Are you saying you didn't take the time to set up the pre on both and the levels at the board to accurately compare the two?
I don't think the test was made to scientific standards but that shouldn't really matter, we are talking about $85 versus a $2200 and the $85 won.

Why does everyone say the VTB1 sucks so bad? I don't get it. I thought it was completely unusable or needed to be tweaked to death before you could get a usable sound out of it. Is this just a fluke?
Old 4th December 2008
  #157
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Chaellus's Avatar
it was apparent to me that B was alot better but it doesnt mean A is useless, it takes the right talent to make it useful and that task doesnt come easy but after stating my opinion it occured to me that someone was saying that the test was altered with plugin eq's big no no tutt obviously who ever felt the need to process didnt think it measured up or was trying to even a playing field with the 2 pres which can hardly even be called an a/B test, in an A/B test the 2 files should be about a half Db off each other so that loudness doesnt interfer with judgement, because the louder file is always preceived better even if its not, also both sources must be flat and have exact procedures dialed in..so that they are comparable however the files presented were night and day that i felt certain that B was the Better Pre .
Old 4th December 2008
  #158
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The dman's Avatar
 

I've seen a lot of threads like this where once people the more expensive gear is revealed opinions seem to change to favor it on the later post's. It seems like it happens almost every time.

Somebody should flip the results sometime and see what happens.
Old 4th December 2008
  #159
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

I think 'B' is much smoother and rounder. I personally like it alot better than 'A'. 'A' seemed alot harsher and edgier to me - much more brittle.

However, for $85 I think it is a no brainer if that sound fits the music you are trying to record.
Old 4th December 2008
  #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
althought A was brighter it was cheap sounding, the stereo image was small and lacked any depth.. listen to B and all the qualites of a high end pre where there...
What does the stereo image have to do with the pre ?? Was it a stereo take ? What are those high-end pre qualities you're alluding to ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
it was apparent to me that B was alot better but it doesnt mean A is useless
It wasn't so apparent before the results were posted, apparently. So maybe A is really useable after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
However, for $85 I think it is a no brainer if that sound fits the music you are trying to record.
It's even more of a no brainer if the majority of people prefer the $85 sound before knowing what it is.
Old 4th December 2008
  #161
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Jack Luminous kicks butt. You're right on.
Old 4th December 2008
  #162
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zulusound's Avatar
I think if John had pushed the inputs of the preamps more it would have shown more differences between the two preamps. But then again, I heard clipping and sibilance in the expensive preamp. I also might have just liked the performance better with the cheap preamp- the lyrics were clearer to my ears with A.

I've always wanted to put a POS low end preamp or compressor in a Neve box and do an A/B with the same POS low end preamp, and do a non-blind test with some know it alls, that would be funny. Preconception and reputation are certainly strong factors. I do know that I use my ART Pro VLA II instead of other way higher quality compressors I have sometimes, if that's what the signal needs.

Also, I find that the place that the biggest difference in preamps sound is in drums, esp overheads and kick and snare. My drum sound improved remarkably when I got 4 channels of API for those 4 sources. Vocals can also be improved with a nice preamp, esp with a VERY dynamic singer with a 30 db+ range. If it's a pretty controlled performance, such as John's, it's a lot more subtle.

Evan
Old 4th December 2008
  #163
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How is it possible with all the statements about how horrible sounding low-end pres are (especially one that uses the same op-amps as behringer) that A could sound so good with minimal mixing effort by the OP?
Old 4th December 2008
  #164
Gear Maniac
 

Zulusound rules. It's nice to see another person that thinks the way I do. Lol. Many of the guys on gearslutz talk to hear themselves. I'm waiting for my ART PRO VLA II to be delivered. I bought it to use as a second comp ( that's stereo ) with my LA-610. From every review and thread I could find ,no one could honestly put it down so I figured...why not. The price didn't scare me , but the "made in china" did.
Old 4th December 2008
  #165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I don't think it ruins it at all...the end result is all we're concerned about, right? Who cares what it sounds like in stage 1 of a 5 stage process? Put it this way - if these were perfect without any EQ, I wouldn't have EQ'd them...
People who don't share your taste in EQ will care.

Did you put the same EQ on both samples? Then it's an invalid test because they don't necessarily need the same EQ - it will be biased towards one or the other.

Did you put different EQ on both samples? Then it's an invalid test because the signal path is not the same.


If you want to compare them in context, you'd have to do it over time with several different projects and look for a pattern, not an absolute A/B because there are too many variables.


In listening to the dry samples, A sounds better, but it's louder and a better performance and there are a few notes that sound tuned. It sounds like he's in a different position relative to the mic - more on axis and closer as well as a different dynamic in the performance.

Unless it's one performance with a mult, in which case B is suffering from loading.


Then agian, I'm listening off of laptop speakers, so who knows how accurate a playback I'm getting.
Old 4th December 2008
  #166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
File A is a Studio Projects VTB-1
File B is the expensive pre

If anyone wants to know which expensive pre it is, just PM me. Actually, I do think A sounds better - definitely more open and not as crunchy in the top end. It's muddy in the bottom, where B is not, but in my subjective opinion, it sounds better. I'll post the dry files (in the mix) without any processing, although I'm not sure what conclusions can be drawn from that - no one would ever hear it that way in the real world. I guess to alleviate any fears that I doctored the result.
BTW - these were recorded at 30 db - certainly not pushing the input...
Maybe you should have pushed the input.
Old 4th December 2008
  #167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I agree - the noise floor and transient response on the VTB-1 is poor in comparison to the other pre...but I still think the more open top is more pleasing. I guess that's just all subjective.
How can you say one pre has a more open top than the other if you've EQ'd them?
Old 4th December 2008
  #168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
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.
Boo! KM-86s for acoustic guitars!
Old 4th December 2008
  #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Luminous View Post
What does the stereo image have to do with the pre ?? Was it a stereo take ? What are those high-end pre qualities you're alluding to ?


It wasn't so apparent before the results were posted, apparently. So maybe A is really useable after all.

It's even more of a no brainer if the majority of people prefer the $85 sound before knowing what it is.


1. has nothing to do with stereo image per ser in that notion, was basicily descirbing that when i heard in both samples that one sounded more lush and already there compared to the other sample that sound bright tiny in comparision the whole thing sounded hollow...maybe thats a better way to think of it. its also not to cool to find out after the fact that someone went and eq'ed the hell out of the what seems to be sample A, somehow im sure it would have sounded better flat...im hoping than what i heard...it really makes the A/B Test useless, call it what you will unscientific..but it was lame, honestly if i knew someone were eq'ing sample A then id come to the conclusion like posted previously that somone is trying to even the playing field but even then i could seperate them apart. those high end qualites im talking about are definition, depth, and clarity, lower noise S/n the whole package, qualites like putting an SM57 or some other low priced mics and getting them to sound at their prime, those qualities you cant get with a cheap sounding pre. Obviously when you reach the High end of Pres its more or less about what fits for what style or artist..do i wanted a colored pre, do i want a more transparent pre...they all have their colors but they all have one thing in common and thats defintion depth and clarity that when you go to do a take it already sounds like its there.



2. Useable yes but i wouldnt use it, and sorry let me correct myself, it was more apparent to me.. and i did not peak at the answers but you wouldnt care ,the rest of you guys would still like to argue that because the test has been over and that answers have been revealed and thats fine by me i have nothing to prove just stating what i hear , thats all there is to it.



3. Tools shouldnt be purchased or awed at for their price tag but for their sonic quality and performance.
Old 4th December 2008
  #170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
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...
There was a big difference.

However, to answer your question, you really need to try the pre more and in difference contexts, with difference sources and mics.


The short answer to the actual questions you've asked is parts, labor and marketing costs. It may also reflect the size of the company, the manufacturing process and manufacturing location.

Also when it comes to cheap gear, there can be QC issues. Just think about the Oktava MC012 mics that everyone loves. It's also with the caveat of buying them from a place that matches them or buying 4-6 to keep 2 after auditioning them all.

Who knows, maybe your cheap pre was the only one that was made right. Or, maybe it was made wrong and sounds better.


I think, however, that the real question is not why does the more expensive one cost more - that's easy to answer. The real question is how to you quantify the value of a better sound?

That's a very easy answer. After dealing with the fundamentals of the song and performance, optimizing sonics to match the songs and genre are of infinite value and importance. If it costs $5000 to get .00001% better you should absolutely spend the money unless you can't afford to.

You should not ever wast your time or anyone else's making a recording that's anything short of the best it can be.


It should be very clear that I'm not saying you need the most expensive gear, I'm saying you should always buy the best gear you can afford and use it as best you can. At some point you hit a level where improvements can only be made in fractions of a percent, but that stuff does add up.

So in a case where a given piece of gear sounds 1x better, but costs 10x as much, it's worth 10x as much. Is it worth 10x as much to you within the context of your budget? Maybe not, however out of the context of budget, yes it is worth it.


Since we're about to provoke someone to say "a great engineer can make a better record with crappy gear than a crappy engineer can make with great gear" (which is a horrible cliche which should never be said again is a false statement because it's begging the question in the proper sense of that term), I want to point out one way that "better" or "more expensive" gear will make you a better engineer.

My point will be based on the assumption that what "better" or "more expensive" really means is the gear that the engineer most believes in. So if someone is using a Chameleon 1073 and they think they're being held back by not having an original 1073, their engineering will improve if the buy the original 1073. Some may have to do with inherent qualities that the better gear has, but the most important reason to have the best gear that you believe in is so that when you make a bad recording you have to blame yourself and not the gear. It's that process of taking shifting responsibility for the sound from the gear to yourself that makes you a better engineer.

It can be much harder to do that with "lesser" gear.
Old 4th December 2008
  #171
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?
If you're going to look at it form the point of all knowing, objective scientific accuracy, than you could call them meaningless except for the source that they're being tested on.

Or you could look at them more accurately and see that clips are references to each other - not to hear which sounds better, but how they sound different from each other.


And for the super pedantic, you'll always add "....on that particular source".


Realisitically those CDs are far from meaningless and worth checking out for lots of reasons.
Old 4th December 2008
  #172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tguy View Post
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.
"Great" recordings of "hi-fi" recordings?

I don't particularly like The Strokes music or sonics, but they are certainly great recordings.

If you mean "hi-fi" like OK Computer you'll have a better argument. I'm sure there was crap gear used on that like 57s and LeveLocs.
Old 4th December 2008
  #173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
These are just roughs...that might be more of an indictment of my microphone...or my shrill, laser beam, 1-4k nightmare of a voice.
Or the plugins you added.

This is why people complained. Who knows what it's reflecting?
Old 4th December 2008
  #174
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

I haven't listened to the samples, but this being Gearslutz I definitely prefer the more expensive pre.

-R
Old 4th December 2008
  #175
Gear Guru
 
Sid Viscous's Avatar
 

Everyone seems to forget the rule of these things. Take cables for example. A $2 cable gives you 90% of everything a cable (analog) can give you. Make that $40 and you get 95% of everything a cable can get you. After that you have to spend an assload to get any discernable difference and you are going to spend even more to get to 98% and that is where it stops. Preamps are pretty much the same. You can buy pres for say $30 a crack (audio buddy) and it sounds damn good by itself or with other pres. You start adding a lot of the same $30 pre and things start getting a little weird, where with a $1000 pre it doesn't. There are tons of factors to this mess.
Old 4th December 2008
  #176
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
Or the plugins you added.

This is why people complained. Who knows what it's reflecting?
Apparently, you missed it...I posted the dry files without any EQ...
Old 4th December 2008
  #177
Lives for gear
Er...ok...I'm dizzy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
There was a big difference.

However, to answer your question, you really need to try the pre more and in difference contexts, with difference sources and mics.


The short answer to the actual questions you've asked is parts, labor and marketing costs. It may also reflect the size of the company, the manufacturing process and manufacturing location.

Also when it comes to cheap gear, there can be QC issues. Just think about the Oktava MC012 mics that everyone loves. It's also with the caveat of buying them from a place that matches them or buying 4-6 to keep 2 after auditioning them all.

Who knows, maybe your cheap pre was the only one that was made right. Or, maybe it was made wrong and sounds better.


I think, however, that the real question is not why does the more expensive one cost more - that's easy to answer. The real question is how to you quantify the value of a better sound?

That's a very easy answer. After dealing with the fundamentals of the song and performance, optimizing sonics to match the songs and genre are of infinite value and importance. If it costs $5000 to get .00001% better you should absolutely spend the money unless you can't afford to.

You should not ever wast your time or anyone else's making a recording that's anything short of the best it can be.


It should be very clear that I'm not saying you need the most expensive gear, I'm saying you should always buy the best gear you can afford and use it as best you can. At some point you hit a level where improvements can only be made in fractions of a percent, but that stuff does add up.

So in a case where a given piece of gear sounds 1x better, but costs 10x as much, it's worth 10x as much. Is it worth 10x as much to you within the context of your budget? Maybe not, however out of the context of budget, yes it is worth it.


Since we're about to provoke someone to say "a great engineer can make a better record with crappy gear than a crappy engineer can make with great gear" (which is a horrible cliche which should never be said again is a false statement because it's begging the question in the proper sense of that term), I want to point out one way that "better" or "more expensive" gear will make you a better engineer.

My point will be based on the assumption that what "better" or "more expensive" really means is the gear that the engineer most believes in. So if someone is using a Chameleon 1073 and they think they're being held back by not having an original 1073, their engineering will improve if the buy the original 1073. Some may have to do with inherent qualities that the better gear has, but the most important reason to have the best gear that you believe in is so that when you make a bad recording you have to blame yourself and not the gear. It's that process of taking shifting responsibility for the sound from the gear to yourself that makes you a better engineer.

It can be much harder to do that with "lesser" gear.
Old 4th December 2008
  #178
Lives for gear
I find it humorous that people are taking this so seriously...I never claimed this was scientific...So - I'm not trying to sway people one way or the other: You can like which ever one you want. I don't give a ****. For what it's worth, I don't use either of these pres - I (mistakenly) thought this would be interesting, but apparently it just pisses people off.
Old 4th December 2008
  #179
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ProducerBoy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I find it humorous that people are taking this so seriously...I never claimed this was scientific...So - I'm not trying to sway people one way or the other: You can like which ever one you want. I don't give a ****. For what it's worth, I don't use either of these pres - I (mistakenly) thought this would be interesting, but apparently it just pisses people off.
I'm amazed at how everyone is breaking your balls over your opinion. Man... kinda an embarrassing read. But then it makes me laugh... and I keep on reading!
Old 4th December 2008
  #180
Gear Addict
 
Bobalou's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProducerBoy View Post
I'm amazed at how everyone is breaking your balls over your opinion. Man... kinda an embarrassing read. But then it makes me laugh... and I keep on reading!
how right you are!

AND lets make one thing clear:

A great voice AND "performance"will even the playing field regarding gear in the blink of an eye!

we all like to justify our purchases no matter how much they cost! Give me the voice with the performance every day of the week!

nice job on both Johnkenn
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