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NPNG preamp, quick review
Old 17th December 2008
  #1
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

NPNG preamp, quick review

Every now and then there´s this poll where men are asked what their dream woman looks like. The winner usually ends up with something like Angelina Jolie´s lips, Scarlett Johanson´s nose, Halle Berry´s eyes and Julia Roberts´hair. Then they photoshop it into a picture that looks absolutely horrible, it just doesn´t work.

So when I imagine the ultimate preamp it´s along the same lines. Can I please have the size, dimension and smoothness of the best tube designs, the authority and density of a neve, the forwardness of an api and the clarity and crystal top of a GML ? All this topped off with lightning fast transient response, wide stereo image and a very musical behavior. I´d also like it to sound a couple of inches more in my face than the rest of the bunch. Oh, and can I please get a PSU worthy of driving a small console and overall top notch quality in build and components ?

Friends, meet the NPNG preamp. All the attributes above in a perfect blend.

It doesn´t sound like anything I´ve heard before. It is not a flattering preamp if the source sucks, it will definitely tell you like it is. But when you do get it right you will be generously rewarded. Detail, depth, authority... On the 2-buss as make-up gain for passive summing it was just sick.

On the Mercenary site Fletcher describes it as "jawdropping". Now that I´ve actually used the thing I fully agree.

Someone else commented that now that the NPNG is here, the Beatles and Zeppelin should be re-recorded. Well, maybe that´s pushing it, but just a little.

Old 17th December 2008
  #2
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matt thomas's Avatar
Damn you!

just when I'm trying to prune my preamp selection

lucky they're reasonably expensive so I might be able to resist heh

narco
Old 17th December 2008
  #3
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
Someone else commented that now that the NPNG is here, the Beatles and Zeppelin should be re-recorded.
My vote goes to GG Allin. I'll engineer. NPNG preamps only.
Old 17th December 2008
  #4
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Jon Nolan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon View Post
My vote goes to GG Allin. I'll engineer. NPNG preamps only.
note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session....
Old 17th December 2008
  #5
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blaugruen7's Avatar
being a lowest end gearslut i have heared the npng next to a 1084, an lmnopre and an v76 and i wouldnt have the slightest problem to have only a bunch of npngs
Old 17th December 2008
  #6
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Nolan View Post
note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session....
Nah, I'd set 'em up in a circle and do a decca tree above them. No spit, no ****, no problem!
Old 17th December 2008
  #7
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Hey sean - any plans/possibility that this ends up as a 500 series?
Old 18th December 2008
  #8
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Hey sean - any plans/possibility that this ends up as a 500 series?
Karl's been wanting to do a 500-series module for a few months. It would NOT be the exact circuit that his current unit has (the NPNG rack units which do NOT have an internal PSU are about 20+ inches deep, to give you an idea of why that won't happen). It'd be in the same "tonal family", though not the same exact thing.
Old 18th December 2008
  #9
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Chris Wilson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon View Post
(the NPNG rack units which do NOT have an internal PSU are about 20+ inches deep, to give you an idea of why that won't happen)
Yeah, the chassis on that sucker is like a box of New York pizza.

Because people have been expressing their opinions about meters on preamps, I thought I'd mention how (while not as detailed as a Dorrough or Coleman) the NPNG's meter is quite handy. It's rather scaled down so a quick glance tells you when you’re getting signal, when you’re getting up there, and when you’re in trouble. Perfect! That's all you have time to check on while you're tracking anyway.
Old 18th December 2008
  #10
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

I agree that the metering is very useful, although simple and scaled down.

My ONLY complaint about the NPNG is the LEDs in the meter and the 48V/HPF/PAD/Phase indicators. They are so bright it hurts to look at them.
Old 18th December 2008
  #11
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six_wax's Avatar
 

For $1150 per channel, it better play all the instruments and wash my car, too...
Old 18th December 2008
  #12
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Here's a newly configured 24-input (20 pres) mobile doom rack. Karl rackmounted two PSUs into a bulletproof 2U case for traveling ease. A MacBook Pro lives very snugly in the sliding drawer above the preamps.
Attached Thumbnails
NPNG preamp, quick review-mobilerig01.jpg   NPNG preamp, quick review-mobilerig02.jpg  
Old 18th December 2008
  #13
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sonicdefault's Avatar
I find it hard to use my other pres now. At first I thought they'll be too clean for some things... but then when I heard them, I found their unique sound hard to resist. They are clean, but just like gainreduction says, they're so much more.


-SD
Old 18th December 2008
  #14
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Knox's Avatar
 

I have known Karl a long time. He has been busting his butt over this thing for a long time. It really is an amazing piece.
Old 19th December 2008
  #15
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redrue's Avatar
 

This is really the fundamental problem with
being a GS...

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.

I mean, there's absolutely nothing in my way
of making some absolutely stunning recordings,
nothing! What's getting something else going
to accomplish? Really.

...then accolades start pouring in for something
like this NPNG... Awww $#%@!

I know what's about to happen.
Old 19th December 2008
  #16
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Knox's Avatar
 

*smile* . . . i used to want all kinds of 'new' things that came out. Many times I would get them. One day I realized how ridiculous all this addiction to gear can be . . I walked in the studio one day and looked around and realized I had everything I needed to make records. And THEN some . . . . AND I had MUCH more then the Beatles, Hendrix ever had. Too much reliance on "gear' these days and not enough on talent and ability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redrue View Post

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.
Old 19th December 2008
  #17
Gear Addict
 
maxy's Avatar
I haven't heard the pre's but I love the features. Just based on that I've been tempted to pick them up.

I don't like how the 2 channel version is laid out. Couldn't they be spaced out so as to not look like a half filled rack space. I don't want to look at my rack and be annoyed at that everyday. I guess its not a big deal but enought to keep me from concidering the 2 channel version and I don't really need 4 channels... so, I guess it is kind of a big deal.

Maxy
Old 19th December 2008
  #18
Gear Addict
signing on just to keep track of the thread , I`ll try to get to Mercenary to see it live in Jan .
Old 19th December 2008
  #19
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BradM's Avatar
Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".

Brad
Old 19th December 2008
  #20
AB3
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And that being the case, why should anyone think this is better than the Forssell solid state pre? It is clean and smooth and great sounding.

Sounds like just another good choice to me.

And for that matter, I would like to hear samples of it, the Forssell and the Gordon.

Anyone have all three? (odds are very slim)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".

Brad
Old 19th December 2008
  #21
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxy View Post
I don't like how the 2 channel version is laid out. Couldn't they be spaced out so as to not look like a half filled rack space. I don't want to look at my rack and be annoyed at that everyday.
The 2-channel model uses the same chassis as the 4-channel with two of the slots covered with a blank panel with the logo on it. My dealer was in touch with Karl to find out that it is possible to buy a the dual channel and expand to a 4 banger later on. Either by sending it in or with the assistance of a tech locally who can be guided through the upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".
The thing is that you don´t percieve the NPNG as either clean or colored. It´s like a mix of everything and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is definitely very detailed and revealing but at the same time it brings out harmonics in a way that gives it a tone. Clean with mojo, does that make any sense ? It has a very solid sound that just seem to anchor things where you want them.
Old 19th December 2008
  #22
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redrue View Post
This is really the fundamental problem with
being a GS...

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.

I mean, there's absolutely nothing in my way
of making some absolutely stunning recordings,
nothing! What's getting something else going
to accomplish? Really.

...then accolades start pouring in for something
like this NPNG... Awww $#%@!

I know what's about to happen.
Old 19th December 2008
  #23
Here for the gear
 

NPNG in Europe

Hi !
Thanks Gain Reduction for your short review. As I´m the only NPNG pimp in Europe at the moment I welcome all europeans to Audio Dog Pro Audio AB

I thinks it´s nice that more people in Sweden than me gets to enjoy this very nice piece of equipment.

Sean; I like your hat.

//Ulf
Old 19th December 2008
  #24
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
Nice mobile doom rack Sean!

narco
Old 21st December 2008
  #25
Lives for gear
Hey Mercenary peeps -
I've got a pretty clinical/clean mic with the Korby Blue - what does the NPNG sound like with something like that?
Old 21st December 2008
  #26
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narco View Post
Nice mobile doom rack Sean!
Yes it is! We had a great time, erm, testing it before it had to ship out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Hey Mercenary peeps -
I've got a pretty clinical/clean mic with the Korby Blue - what does the NPNG sound like with something like that?
I have never heard this microphone. In my experience with the NPNG, though, it should sound a helluva lot like the microphone but with an intense magnifying glass over the "detail" and "body" aspects of the mic. We've had guys call back and say that they have never heard their SM57 sound "like that". Still, the only way to know is to listen to the thing. But I don't have to tell you that!
Old 22nd January 2009
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Nolan View Post
note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session....
Oh man, that's funny!

You'd need one of those insect measurement mics to record GG now.... the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out....
Old 19th February 2009
  #28
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Folks, just a quick update. Been in production mode pretty much since I got the NPNG and haven´t had much time for mixing until now.

The NPNG recorded tracks makes me feel like I´m cheating. heh Very little eq, very painless... it´s just *there*. Have no better way of putting it. The NPNG is also on the make-up-gain-for-my-passive-summing-rail gig right now and... yeah. oh yeah.

hehhehheh
Old 20th February 2009
  #29
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
Folks, just a quick update. Been in production mode pretty much since I got the NPNG and haven´t had much time for mixing until now.

The NPNG recorded tracks makes me feel like I´m cheating. heh Very little eq, very painless... it´s just *there*. Have no better way of putting it. The NPNG is also on the make-up-gain-for-my-passive-summing-rail gig right now and... yeah. oh yeah.

hehhehheh
Got any mix samples?
love to hear some stuff done w/ the NPNG's
I need to put a new mobile rack multi track rig together for my film/TV recording stuff
[dialog/VO/SFX,music,etc] and these just might fit the bill
Old 20th February 2009
  #30
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blaugruen7's Avatar
roundbadge,
i heared the NPNG next to v72s, 1084 and lmnopres and liked the NPNG VERY much.
just some positive vibration for your gearslut heart. :-)
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