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Which is the $85 pre and which is the $2200 pre? Condenser Microphones
Old 18th August 2008
  #1
Lives for gear
Which is the $85 pre and which is the $2200 pre?

I won't mention brand names (in public) but is there a discernable difference in the two? I mean, really? I can hear a difference, and yeah - I might actually prefer one over the other, but come on - there's a $2K price difference in the two...It's ****e like this that REALLY makes me think that 90% of the sound is coming out of your mic...and then the pre and converters are fighting over the other 10%...This - and recently using a John Hardy pre - are what has gotten me wanting a pre that does one thing good - stays out of the way of the sound...(I'm only talking vocals here...)

This is a clip of a board mix I brought home from a recent session. I threw on some plugs so it would have some sort of semblance of a rough mix. One is the mix with the vocal recorded on an $85 mic pre and the other with a $2100 mic pre. The chain was a CM7 into the pres into a Rosetta 200 into PT...I figure the end result is all that matters so I threw on some software EQ, comp, reverb and Ozone...
Attached Files

Pre Test A.mp3 (1.56 MB, 1743 views)

Pre Test B.mp3 (1.56 MB, 1582 views)

Pre Test Dry A.mp3 (1.56 MB, 1343 views)

Pre Test Dry B.mp3 (1.56 MB, 1278 views)

Old 18th August 2008
  #2
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elambo's Avatar
Sample A doesn't play...
Old 18th August 2008
  #3
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Carlos Boll's Avatar
 

This is just from listening on PC speakers -

A = $2100

B=$85
Old 18th August 2008
  #4
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elambo's Avatar
The problem is that it's missing an "a" at the end of the link. I added it manually and it downloads fine. You should fix the link though.
Old 18th August 2008
  #5
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fuddfar's Avatar
 

B sounds cleaner to me, A's a little muddy by comparison.
Old 18th August 2008
  #6
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elambo's Avatar
I'll bet the cost of both pres that:

A=Expensive

B=Cheap

I'm listening on a laptop and I hear much more detail in sample A than in B, which is just cloudy and soft and less captivating.
Old 18th August 2008
  #7
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I just listened on my laptop and it sounds like A might be a little louder...sorry...

BTW - I didn't have any problem at all downloading it...let me know if anyone else is having problems...
Old 18th August 2008
  #8
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drumkideric's Avatar
 

I will be very impressed if A is the cheap one. I think it is superior to B.
Old 18th August 2008
  #9
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whitepapagold's Avatar
 

A is cheap
B is expensive

(the high end roll off makes it tricky)

PC speakers as well but Ill stand by my guess regardless!
Old 18th August 2008
  #10
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Guitar Zero's Avatar
The vocal in A is far cleaner than B. So if B is the expensive one, I'd get your money back.
Old 18th August 2008
  #11
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I just listened on my laptop and it sounds like A might be a little louder...sorry...
I'll take that as a sign that I have them backwards. Guess I should get off my lazy ass and walk down to the studio for a better listen.
Old 18th August 2008
  #12
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whitepapagold's Avatar
 

I just read you threw on some plugs and that kinda ruins the test...

I always get confused when people want to A/B something then add stuff to it...

BUT I still think B is the one. And I think those who like A are biting on the more present high end... Whether thats the pre or the plug is a whole different story...
Old 18th August 2008
  #13
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I own the cheap one (it's been sitting in a box since I started "upgrading" 6 years ago) and I'm demoing the expensive one through the kindness of my local pusher...
Old 18th August 2008
  #14
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Dimes's Avatar
 

A sounds more detailed.

Either would get the job done though.
Old 18th August 2008
  #15
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Is that $2200 for 1 channel or 2..??

Not that it really matters, just askin...
Old 18th August 2008
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitepapagold View Post
I just read you threw on some plugs and that kinda ruins the test...

I always get confused when people want to A/B something then add stuff to it...

BUT I still think B is the one. And I think those who like A are biting on the more present high end... Whether thats the pre or the plug is a whole different story...
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...
Old 18th August 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmmrboy View Post
Is that $2200 for 1 channel or 2..??

Not that it really matters, just askin...
One channel with EQ...but it has a brother (not in this test) with two channels and no eq...

BTW - this isn't to "trick" anybody...I just thought it was really interesting...
Old 18th August 2008
  #18
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elambo's Avatar
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?
True, except when focusing on just one of the elements, it's easier to ignore the others. Focus on the tree, not the forest. I understand your point, but also his. Personally, I'd rather hear it without extra processing.

When do we find out which is which?
Old 18th August 2008
  #19
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Guitar Zero's Avatar
It would be interesting to hear just the solo'd dry vocal tracks.
Old 18th August 2008
  #20
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whitepapagold's Avatar
 

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...
Obviously or you wouldn't have done it that way...

Theres too much difference in the high end for it not to completely influence peoples choices. One is rolling off the highs and people are choosing based off lack of definition... Its presented with one giving more definition and you admit to EQing so thats where I take issue. If you tried to "balance them", then youve now added a bunch of money in plug ins to the "85 dollar" pre...

I don't think you are trying to trick anyone, but its biased by the eqing for sure...

Ill still stick with my choice though. The brighter track sounds fishy to me...

Regardless of disagreeing with you, the songs are always good! I just can't believe how many pieces of gear you go through. Ive never seen so many a/b and new purchase posts! It must be fun at least!
Old 18th August 2008
  #21
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davew's Avatar
 

'a' sounds best to me.
Old 18th August 2008
  #22
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KarmaPolice's Avatar
 

I like `A` much better.
Old 18th August 2008
  #23
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Hmm. B sounds a bit harsh to me.
I'd say that 'a' was the better pre, but I could obviously be way off.
I have no idea what you've boosted or cut, how you positioned your mic, and how much you pushed your pre-amps to get any character at out of them, if at all.

I think the point of good gear is in its application by the engineer himself. If an $85 pre-amp covers everything you want to do, then that's great. Same for mic, converters, DAW, tape, monitors, etc.
Old 18th August 2008
  #24
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choinga's Avatar
 

I think I'd like B better if you shelved the top end. I think it's 'smoother'. Add some top end to it (ie; 1073) and it's money.
Old 18th August 2008
  #25
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Sample A for me!
Although b's only slightly duller/muddy'r.
Old 18th August 2008
  #26
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alyricalmind's Avatar
 

A has a definite superiority over B. If A is the cheaper one, I would shi* my pants. I'm listening to them through my new HD-650s and the difference is huge.
Old 18th August 2008
  #27
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Joram's Avatar
 

Differences are obvious and my choice is without any doubt A. Not because I think it's the expensive pre but according to me it has more and better qualities. Hopefully A is the inexpensive one.
Old 18th August 2008
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

'A' sounds better but the problems with 'B' could be from mixing, so it interferes with evaluating the mic pres differences.
Old 18th August 2008
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitepapagold View Post
Obviously or you wouldn't have done it that way...

Theres too much difference in the high end for it not to completely influence peoples choices. One is rolling off the highs and people are choosing based off lack of definition... Its presented with one giving more definition and you admit to EQing so thats where I take issue. If you tried to "balance them", then youve now added a bunch of money in plug ins to the "85 dollar" pre...

I don't think you are trying to trick anyone, but its biased by the eqing for sure...

Ill still stick with my choice though. The brighter track sounds fishy to me...

Regardless of disagreeing with you, the songs are always good! I just can't believe how many pieces of gear you go through. Ive never seen so many a/b and new purchase posts! It must be fun at least!
Fishy? Are you insinuating that I purposely want A to sound better? I could care less which one sounds better - that's the reason I posted it. I really don't go through that much gear. I've owned an Aurora, BAE and Wunder in the past three years...I've rented or borrowed the rest. Since some people don't have access to this stuff, I figured I would share my experiences with it.
Old 18th August 2008
  #30
Lives for gear
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...
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