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NPNG pres - are we still feelin' the love?
Old 21st March 2011
  #1
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elambo's Avatar
NPNG pres - are we still feelin' the love?

People who've heard these preamps have great things to say about them. It's practically unanimous. I was close to pulling the trigger myself at one point. There was some hype for a while but I haven't heard much recently.

How's everybody feeling about NPNG these days?
Old 21st March 2011
  #2
I'd love to hear this too.
Old 21st March 2011
  #3
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

It is probably the best pre I've ever had the pleasure of owning and using on a daily basis. The hype is justified, it is a gorgeous piece of engineering excellency.

Unfortunately I no longer have it. We track drums quite a lot at our place and having lots of different pres is a workflow pita so we decided to get two Crane Song Spiders for 16 channels of front end, conveniently laid out for fast and intuitive workflow.

I had to trade in the NPNG to finance the Spider setup. I cried blood. I miss it every day.

As great as the CS Spiders are, I regret trading in the NPNG. It is just great.
Old 21st March 2011
  #4
Fezzle
Guest
Theyre absolutely amazing. Ive got the 4 channel unit and use her alot, so big clear and detailed .. with a kind of tubish quality, big lush n graceful. When I heard all the hype I took a look just before purchasing the 4 channel GML unit, I took a punt and am now honestly trying to think of something bad to say about them. I really cant , maaaybe apart from if your after thick colour you wont get it from these, but if the sounds your using are great, You get 100% of that to tape with some damn nice personality
Old 21st March 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
People who've heard these preamps have great things to say about them. It's practically unanimous. I was close to pulling the trigger myself at one point. There was some hype for a while but I haven't heard much recently.

How's everybody feeling about NPNG these days?
I talk to Karl everyday. The man can talk!!!!!!!!! I wish I was in ATL right now, as I'd follow the guy around like a slave trying to learn everything he knows, and then buy him several beers after he finished talking. We may never get to that......

I'd say the "hype" on these has been driven by "enthusiasm" for what the product is about and Karl's technical design prowess. Its really an amazing machine, with potency for sure - but you gotta live with one for a little while with your other hardware and I think after you find out what the unit is really about, you'll know for sure if the hardware is up your alley or not.
Old 21st March 2011
  #6
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666666's Avatar
Would be really neat to hear a well done, side by side A/B test of the NPNG verses say a GML (with a fairly accurate mic) just to be able to get a rough idea of what the NPNG is all about. I've read all the ultra-glowing reviews, certainly peaks ones interest. I don't need any pres at the moment, otherwise I'd request a trial run... but, I'd take the time anyway to listen to good, high-quality online A/B test files. Or... does this already exist? If so, please point us to it.
Old 21st March 2011
  #7
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
I talk to Karl everyday. The man can talk!!!!!!!!! I wish I was in ATL right now, as I'd follow the guy around like a slave trying to learn everything he knows, and then buy him several beers after he finished talking. We may never get to that......
You won't get there because the man can only have a couple glasses of adult beverages before he announces that he's reached his "crispy" state. Some of my favorite phone calls are Karl drunk dialing me at midnight to slur about slew rates.

Every time NPNG preamps are used to amplify microphones to a recording medium, a terrorist throws in the towel.
Old 21st March 2011
  #8
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The may be great-
their price per channel ratio
makes no sense for most
commercial studios.
Old 21st March 2011
  #9
Gear Head
 

A user (can't find the text) has the opinion that the NPNG sounds better than the V76!
I'm not sure because many say that this pre sounds very clean like a GML.

Would you prefer 8 channels of the NPNG oder the Aurora Audio GTP8 for drumrecording?

Malini
Old 21st March 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Would be really neat to hear a well done, side by side A/B test of the NPNG verses say a GML (with a fairly accurate mic) just to be able to get a rough idea of what the NPNG is all about. I've read all the ultra-glowing reviews, certainly peaks ones interest. I don't need any pres at the moment, otherwise I'd request a trial run... but, I'd take the time anyway to listen to good, high-quality online A/B test files. Or... does this already exist? If so, please point us to it.
+1 a direct comparison with the GML would be great!

Oliver
Old 22nd March 2011
  #11
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Would be really neat to hear a well done, side by side A/B test of the NPNG verses say a GML
This is from the test I did back in 09. Everything except the bass went through the corresponding preamp. The electric gtrs were reamped so only those are the same take.

GML

NPNG
Old 22nd March 2011
  #12
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Thanks for that syra, but the link doesn't appear to be working for me.

EDIT
; links working now
Old 22nd March 2011
  #13
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
The may be great-
their price per channel ratio
makes no sense for most
commercial studios.
$1,300/channel. It's similar to something like the Hardy Twin-Servo, which many studios have, mine included. It's a lot of green but I think performance merits the price. I get the impression that the NPNG operates on this same level.
Old 22nd March 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
$1,300/channel. It's similar to something like the Hardy Twin-Servo, which many studios have, mine included. It's a lot of green but I think performance merits the price. I get the impression that the NPNG operates on this same level.
The time I was looking into it
the 4 channel unit was
exactly twice as much as what I paid for a gml 8304
in Europe.

Did they lower their us prices ?

Anyway I went with 16 channels of 8304
which lack every feature you could imagine LOL
but never have let me down since.

NPNG looks great though !
The preamp game never ends...
Old 22nd March 2011
  #15
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
The may be great-
their price per channel ratio
makes no sense for most
commercial studios.
To be fair, they've been rather expensive (and worth every cent) for over 15 years and were DEFINITELY built to be used in commercial studios. Makes plenty of sense for a business that wants what it offers at the price at which it's tagged.
Old 22nd March 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
$1,300/channel. It's similar to something like the Hardy Twin-Servo, which many studios have, mine included. It's a lot of green but I think performance merits the price. I get the impression that the NPNG operates on this same level.
That is the question: What IS it? Transformer I/O, transformer-less, discrete transistors, tubes, IC's or ?

Any specs on it? (I know, "we don't need no stinkin' SPECS!")
Old 22nd March 2011
  #17
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Dearest Jim, please remember everyone's favorite internet detective: Google

Architecture:
  • 2 Discrete 13 Transistor Class A Op Amp Stages Per Chan.
  • Discrete* 7 Transistor Front End
  • Min. Gain 30dB, Max Gain 74dB
  • Input Attenuation Variable -4 to -40dB Range(to produce “0” VU)
  • Transformerless Balanced Inputs
  • Transformer Balanced Outputs
  • PPM Meter Ballistics
  • Phase Reverse on Front End

Typical Performance:
  • EIN Better Than -127dB 20Hz-20kHz @ 40db Gain Unwieghted
  • Odd Order Harmonic Distortion @ +40dB Gain / 400Hz: +4dBu to + 23.8 dBu Below .001%
  • Residual Noise below -89dB 20Hz to 20kHz @ 30dB Gain
  • Onset of clipping +24.4dBu
  • Input Impedance 5K Balanced
  • Output Impedance 600 Ohm Balanced
  • Interchannel Crosstalk below 90 dB 20-20kHz.
Karl is a well-respected tech, a REALLY bright guy, and has nothing to hide in this device.
Old 22nd March 2011
  #18
Here for the gear
 
Karl Diehl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Would be really neat to hear a well done, side by side A/B test of the NPNG verses say a GML (with a fairly accurate mic) just to be able to get a rough idea of what the NPNG is all about. I've read all the ultra-glowing reviews, certainly peaks ones interest. I don't need any pres at the moment, otherwise I'd request a trial run... but, I'd take the time anyway to listen to good, high-quality online A/B test files. Or... does this already exist? If so, please point us to it.
I have been checking out these forums for quite some time. Those of you that have first hand experience with my preamps…thanks for the kind accolades.
The NPNG QMP/DMP series preamps are original. They might exhibit sonic qualities and character similar to other units, but they impart a sonic signature which is all their own. The only way to tell for sure whether a device will work for you is for you to audition it first hand, in your recording environment. There are units available for Demo at a few dealers, please email me for details [email protected]
Old 23rd March 2011
  #19
Here for the gear
 

ive had the good fortune of knowing Karl for years and have been equally lucky to have 8 channels of his fine preamps.
i have multiple channels of
api
neve
langevin
universal audio
millenia
vintech


and i ALWAYS use all 8 channels of the npng's first on every record i make
before looking at other options. its just one of those things that make
my life easier cause they make me sound like i really know what im doing !
sometimes i get compliments on how something sounds and i just say its a 57 or whatever mic going into a npng and nothing more. the thing is they
just haven't heard a 57 SOUND that good before.

the other stuff doesn't suck by any means but you really need to try these
to see what the hoopla is about.
im not great at describing things but these pre's are a fantastic magnifying glass with soul for audio in my little world.

best regards
brian harrison
Old 23rd March 2011
  #20
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elambo's Avatar
Specs: the thread assassin.

No offense, Jim - it's a valid question and I was curious myself - but few things kill a thread like the back and forth of Specification Ping-Pong, when people start judging with their eyes instead of the other pair of holes in their head.
Old 24th March 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
This is from the test I did back in 09. Everything except the bass went through the corresponding preamp. The electric gtrs were reamped so only those are the same take.

GML

NPNG
Thank you very much! Both sound very good but the GML seems to be faster on transients and more "in your face". I like the GML better here.

Oliver
Old 25th March 2011
  #22
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the npng seems to be overally rounder than the gml.
I´m not shure if I would put these into the same flavour category...

anyway - thanks for the files syra !
Old 25th March 2011
  #23
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzjoe View Post
Thank you very much! Both sound very good but the GML seems to be faster on transients and more "in your face". I like the GML better here.

Oliver
That's funny because I had that exact comment, except I thought the NPNG had much better transient response with greater detail. The GML felt rounded in a way similar to the effect MP3 encoding has on a WAV or AIF. Maybe I got my links backwards...
Old 25th March 2011
  #24
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I really liked the NPNG on the sax, I thought it sounded beautiful and lush and sweet, however on the drums particularly i preferred the GML Everything else I could go either way.
Old 25th March 2011
  #25
Fezzle
Guest
That test to my ears shows theyre pretty close, GML a fraction more clear but the NPNG has a certain sweetness and sheen the GML doesnt do
Old 25th March 2011
  #26
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666666's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

That's funny because I had that exact comment, except I thought the NPNG had much better transient response with greater detail. The GML felt rounded in a way similar to the effect MP3 encoding has on a WAV or AIF. Maybe I got my links backwards...
I agree... well...

At one point early in my listening, the file labeled "NPNG" sounded like a GML... clear, fast, dynamic, tall, detailed, etc. And the file labeled "GML" sounded very much not like a GML... transients rounded, softer, more distortion (pleasing distortion), more compressed, a little more "glued together" perhaps, thicker, warmer, etc (gee, how many buzz terms can I think of? ).

But then after a bit, the opposite seemed true with respect to the labels. I guess there's something not right with the browser or player on this computer, I seem to be getting inconsistent listening results, at least with respect to the labels. This old, borrowed computer I'm on right now sucks anyway. So, elambo, maybe we're having the same problem here (?).

Regardless, I AM detecting two clearly different results (when just using my ears and not looking at the labels). Each is clearly distinguishable by ear.

So, due to this label confusion on my end, I will ignore the labels for now. But I CAN say, based on my extensive experience with GMLs, that one sounds very much like a GML (fast transients, high-resolution, detail, etc), and the other, by comparison, is quite colored (and doesn't sound anything like a GML). As Shaman mentioned, the two examples are not really in the same flavor category.

Ultimately, both files sound really good. One is not "better" than the other. Apples and oranges. It would be purely a matter of taste as to which would be preferred, in my opinion. For the music in the examples, I could hear it going either way. Or use a mixture of the two as CeretoneAudio suggested.

When I get back to the studio (where I have a good computer, with a fast connection and good monitors etc), I'll have to listen again.

But so far, overall, the file I perceive to be the NPNG is very cool. It indeed has it's own, unique thing. For this type of color, I'd say it's absolutely excellent. Outstanding actually. Very nice contrast to the GMLs in any case. If you had a few of each you'd be totally covered.

I do agree with CeretoneAudio, in this audio example, if I had my way, I might stick GMLs on the drums, possibly on the rhythm guitar too, then put the sax, bass etc through the NPNG.

Thanks, syra!
Old 25th March 2011
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Specs: the thread assassin.

No offense, Jim - it's a valid question and I was curious myself - but few things kill a thread like the back and forth of Specification Ping-Pong, when people start judging with their eyes instead of the other pair of holes in their head.
Not likely to ever happen here. I just thought the readership should have a bit of background on this when discussing it as it read like it was some sort of alien creation not of this world.

Now we know it was indeed created by humans. BTW, those specs are very revealing if you understand them. For the rest of you, disregard the technical diversion and continue with the subjective pronouncements.
Old 30th March 2011
  #28
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Karl Diehl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Not likely to ever happen here. I just thought the readership should have a bit of background on this when discussing it as it read like it was some sort of alien creation not of this world.

Now we know it was indeed created by humans. BTW, those specs are very revealing if you understand them. For the rest of you, disregard the technical diversion and continue with the subjective pronouncements.
Jim, I myself am not big on specifications. It is a necessary evil to publish “specs” as an indicator of general performance, but tells relatively little about what a piece of gear actually sounds like. I believe the “human” ear can tell you way more than specifications ever can. After spending countless hours with audio analyzers, scopes and meters, my ears discern sonic differences that my test gear does not. It was just as, if not more important to work with great players using wonderful instruments. I have been very fortunate in this respect.
Old 30th March 2011
  #29
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Diehl View Post
I believe the “human” ear can tell you way more than specifications ever can. After spending countless hours with audio analyzers, scopes and meters, my ears discern sonic differences that my test gear does not.
And even if it were the other way around - if your meters reveal more than what your ears are capable of - it's still your "ears" where you perceive sound and THEY should be your most trusted tool.
Old 30th March 2011
  #30
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
They sound great, I'm feeling the love for sure, and the input pad is wonderful!!!!! Thanks for giving me my choice to ride the vocal going in.
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