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Preamps big deal? nah...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #31
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My console is a McCurdy custom broadcast console, with Beyer input transformers. I use it as a front end to pro tools, and it sounds very good...not great, but I've been very happy with it considering the other consoles in my price range at the time I bought it. The only other pre's I have are a Presonus Eureka, an Ampeg SVTMP, and 2 Crate...that's right...CRATE mic pre's. (They sound pretty good on some things!)

I had the chance to try some other pre's recently, and do some shootouts with them. I tried the M-Audio Tampa, the Sebatron Thorax, and the new ADK pre's with different input transformers..one a stock ADK, and the other a Lundhall. I've also gotten to try a Vintech stereo pre in the last few months.

It seems to me that the various mic pre combinations and choices have a tremendous effect on the overall outcome of a recording, given a fairly set group of instruments and mics. More that anything else, I seem to hear the "air" some quality pre's provide. The same overall frequency range may be there, but there's something open feeling, and not "constricted" sounding about say, the Vintech or the Sebatron. They're recording the same sources with the same mics, but all together it's a big part of what makes the sound.

Obviously, the player/source/tuning have the most impact, but I feel like the pre choices make a huge difference.

That being said, I'm ordering some SCA pre's in a few weeks..can't wait!
Old 2nd August 2005
  #32
Lives for gear
 

One thing I'd like to add is that the character of a pre really stands out when you start using them "wrong".

Using the TG2 for eg, I did a take last week where the guitar was bothering me - it just sounded thinner than what I was used to. I looked at the settings on the pre and I had a low gain / hi output config. So I cranked the gain, and lowered the output - ahhh it filled in the cracks!

In this regard, pre's make a huge difference in how they sound loaded as opposed to running them clean.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #33
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I don't see anybody entertaining the idea that the DM1000 pres may actually be a quality design in their own right... or, perish the thought, superior from an accuracy/ transparency stand-point. Just a thought, but maybe your test says more about the merits of your DM1000 than any weakness in your boutique pres...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertPhilbeck
Kevin,
What mic amps do you find exhibit this trait the most?
not kevin, but found that the tab funkens v-78 kind of does this. it smooths out the attack imo. you can also do this with the manley dual mono mic pre if you set it to at lower gain like @ 40db.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subspace
I don't see anybody entertaining the idea that the DM1000 pres may actually be a quality design in their own right... or, perish the thought, superior from an accuracy/ transparency stand-point. Just a thought, but maybe your test says more about the merits of your DM1000 than any weakness in your boutique pres...
Interesting that you mention that, cause that was one of my conclusions also. For those who are familiar with the focusrite platinum stuff, the DM1000 preamps beat those by a very large margin, no contest at all. There's not a lot of talk about the DM1000 or DM2000/02R96 on these forums. I had some experience with a DMX R-100 (which I liked very much), but after testing the 02R96 I settled for that one, right then the DM1000 came out and since 48 tracks and 32 digital inputs is enough for what I do normally, I went with that one. Very decent preamps and converters (although I have not done any head to head comparisons with the AD16x or Lavry blue's, but plan to do that in the near future...).

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 2nd August 2005
  #36
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Much coffee this morning...

Interesting, this discussion of preamps...and it's kind of all been said at this point, but for those who contemplate the worth, are on a budget, and don't have a pro audio dealer or hot studio to check out (that was me)...

1. (read: Nathan's posts above): Single instrument tests will only reveal the huge, huge differences. A comparison of millenia and say, a telefunken v72 would be obvious. Listening to an overheads comparison of a chandler ltd-1, a BAE 1072, et. al will be obsessive compulsive. I think mics are easier to test this way, as long as you like the chosen singer, which I usually don't. No offense, but I can't listen to that guy sing "Amazing Grace" acapella twice (at the mic pre listening sessions) before I start to hate not only preamps, but music entirely.

2. (Also thanks to Nathan, I think): Wait 'til they stack up!!!!! My first good pre (hamptone tube) sounded good with the first track, but the first song I finished (used it on every track) sounded RIDICULOUS. It sounded like records! The difference between the cheap converters I was using and the apogee rosetta I got later didn't make anywhere near that much difference.

probably less than $.02...

kb
Old 3rd August 2005
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertPhilbeck
Kevin,
What mic amps do you find exhibit this trait the most?
Hey Robert.

In hindsight saying a pre actually compresses something may have been a stretch but like Dolo I owned a Manley pre which had an adjustable slew rate so you could more or less hear what I`m talking about in action.

Put it up to 60 and the pre reacts quickly and catches all the info. Put it to 40 and it starts to smooth everything out a bit because it`s not reacting as quickly.

Very noticeable on percussive instruments and vocals as well.

I guess it`s kind of a subtle thing compared to compressing something but I was trying to point out theres more to a pre than just the overall shade or color of the sound in regards to freq or EQ. They also pick up sounds quicker and slower and deal with different sounds differently.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #38
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pre compression

I'm not sure of the referenced post, but I'm sure that my hamptone tube pres compress. You don't hear it until you're tracking through something else and then back through it. Lots of room ambience, then everything bundles up around it as soon as you hit a note. No squashing, but...

kb
Old 3rd August 2005
  #39
Gear Guru
 
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with regards to transient response, api is one of my favorites. it seems to be really fast, and yet it steps down fast too, resulting in a kind of splat that i get addicted to. really fast transparent pre's sound spikier, slow ones sound mushier.

api goooood.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 3rd August 2005
  #40
Gear Addict
 
RhOdEz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
Michael, may I rephrase that:
"The hairs you are splitting are the ones standing up on your arm when you listen to the final product". heh
i'm starting offical mwagener worship club
Old 3rd August 2005
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB
Interesting that you mention that, cause that was one of my conclusions also. For those who are familiar with the focusrite platinum stuff, the DM1000 preamps beat those by a very large margin, no contest at all. There's not a lot of talk about the DM1000 or DM2000/02R96 on these forums. I had some experience with a DMX R-100 (which I liked very much), but after testing the 02R96 I settled for that one, right then the DM1000 came out and since 48 tracks and 32 digital inputs is enough for what I do normally, I went with that one. Very decent preamps and converters (although I have not done any head to head comparisons with the AD16x or Lavry blue's, but plan to do that in the near future...).

Greetings,
Dirk
Hey Dirk, Don't feel alone. I use (2) 02R96 boards and love them. The mic pres are decent, although I have only used them a couple of times. AD & DA conversion is also fairly good.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #42
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on observation i might make - having owned many if not all of the pres under discussion.

1. when you aggressively drive color type preamps their differences become more obvious (and more useful). use pads if you have to but make sure you are leaning on the gain.

2. a great AD converter will help you hear (and capture) the differences. currently i'm on a mytek and it exposes a good bit more than stock converters to my ears.

3. it's been said already - the difference is made in the mix. i've done the one preamp console thing and the multiple preamp thing. hell, i've done projects with one preamp where i also did all of the overdubs and vox in the exact same place as the drumset takes to give it that connected wall of sound feeling. it's a really cool sound. the problem with the one preamp approach is when you start trying to unconnect things. on my last project we used API for most drums and TG-2 for most guitars. we used an ultra-smooth type for vox and a tube pre for bass. everything seemed to sit in the mix and vibe together but still be somewhat distinct and punchy.

4. i might be above average, but am far from being a great engineer so i would like to go ahead and subjectively qualify my perspective. YMMV, different strokes for..., $.02, etc...
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