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Holy grail preamp: most versatile?
Old 11th February 2015
  #331
Lives for gear
Quote:
I'll take a Mackie board and top studio musicians anyday over a Neve or API and a bunch of mediocre players. Good preamps play a very small part in a professional sounding record.
Nah, the fun begins when you have both.
Old 11th February 2015
  #332
Gear Head
 
LegacyMix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
This is really two separate issues though. I'm not a professional race car or stunt driver, but I sure as heck wouldn't mind owning a mint Shelby Cobra or even a GTO. It would make driving to the post office a lot more fun.
Haha! Yea you got a point. I always wanted a Lamborghini Countach myself but this 94' Jeep will have to do till I win the Lottery.
Old 11th February 2015
  #333
Ha ha, two great points that are not mutually exclusive
Old 17th April 2015
  #334
Here for the gear
 

Telefunken V 672 and V 672-2 modded for preamping. Originally multipupose summing amps with fixed 34 dB. Offer about 56 dB of gain with a straight frequency curve. Warm, tight low end, sweet silky high end. Fine amps.
Old 9th July 2015
  #335
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumi View Post
Hmm, let's see... This is more or less in order of preference:

NPNG: Authoritative, fast, dynamic and lively, the most transparent mic pre I know, wide open, sounds like having a more extended frequency bandwidth than any other mic pre I know, without sounding harsh or boomy in any way, 3-D, very solid, not as sweet sounding as Pueblo Audio. Since the NPNG is great for acoustic music (transparency and 3-D realism) as well as for Rock (punch and solidity), as described in a previous post, I would call it "most versatile" (and that's what this thread is about, if I recall correctly).

Pueblo Audio: sweet sound, very 3-D, incredible reach, seems to zoom into every nuance of the performance, makes the room sound sweeter than it is, breathtakingly musical, not as authoritative, punchy and solid as NPNG. For classical distant miking probably most wonderful (haven't used it for that yet). For Rock maybe a bit too civilized, though I haven't used it yet for Rock music. Breathtaking musical hyperrealism.

Those two are the greatest preamps I currently know and use.

Gordon: seems to be in the same realm, but I haven't tested it enough to really say something about it.

TAB V76 without low pass filter: great sounding, "finished recording" sound, open, wide, clear (not clean!), solid. The signal is presented to you on a golden tray and has a halo around it. (This is from memory, I sold my TABs some years ago.)

Electronaut: seems to be great (depth and clarity while being nicely colored), but I haven't tested it enough to say much. It reminded me a lot of the way I remember the V76, and maybe even goes beyond it.

Pendulum Audio Quartet: Nice open sound, especially if you use the input without the transformer, a sweet coloration and special sheen that I like.

Avedis MA5: liked it in a short test. Nicely colored, discrete solid state bite and fullness.

Mercury M72s: not as balanced and open sounding as the TAB V76, but similar. Great thick bold tone.

Forssell SMP-2: rather transparent, but more colored and a little less 3-D than NPNG or Pueblo. Nice euphonic bloom in the mids, a little congested in the low mids. Stiffer dynamically than NPNG (but then again, what isn't!). With this preamp I had this impression of "expanded mono" that was described in a previous post for the first time with a transparent mic pre. With NPNG and Pueblo this is even more so. With mic pres like the V76 there is a halo around the sound, but it's different from this "expanded mono" through transparency and depth.

ZAG MLV10: A very rare discrete solid state mic pre from the Seventies, made in Switzerland (they still exist, their main quarter is very close to where Daniel Weiss lives, and nowadays they build elevator control systems. I once met someone from ZAG and euphorically told him that I have some great mic preamps from them. The reply was "Eh?"). Cool sound, versatile. Have 5 of them at hand and like them.

Siemens V78: Similar to Mercury M72s, but with a little more bite, and a bit dirtier sounding. The big similarity in sound is an indication to me how well a job David did with the M72s. I haven't heard the Mercury M76 yet, but I bet it's a great unit.

API 512c: aggressive, a little flat sounding (missing some depth), mids cut through, great for things that need to be upfront in a (Rock) mix. I still recall that smacking sound the API gave a Hohner ElectraPiano. No other mic pre did that. It was great for the track.

Groove Tubes ViPre: Liked it almost as much as the TAB V76 when I tested it many years ago, but after a while I had the impression that somewhere behind a great tone there was something lacking. Hard to maintenance.

Daking Pre/EQ: I liked it on steel stringed instruments, rather unobtrusive, but does its job very well. Traded them for some converters after testing NPNG and Pueblo.
On a side note, I repeatedly used the EQ for mastering. No switched gain, of course, but a very nice sound (for example, you can boost 500 Hz without getting mud as a result, and the bass is punchy).

Metric Halo ULN-8: I compared them to NPNG and Pueblo, which of course is not fair. Quite clean and open, but the mids are a bit hard and strident, compared to the other transparent preamps I own. Haven't used it much so far. The ULN-8 is certainly a great unit. It's worth having a Metric Halo product for the summing alone. But that's another topic.

DAV: only a few tests, seems to be great for the money. Yes, I can hear what Plush calls "syrupy", which I don't seem to like that much, except as an effect (but for what source and why?). Not in the realm of Pueblo and NPNG.

NTP 351-100: very sweet and special mids, not very authoritative, inspite of the M100 opamps.

Studer 289 desk: similar sound as the NTPs.

Revox D36 and G36: Thick tubey tone, can be great if you want character and color. It seems that Jakob Erland designed a Gyraf unit after the mic pre part of a G36 (these are actually reel-to-reel machines). I would like to have a D36 in good shape for that special sound. I still recall how impressive it sounded with a very old dynamic mic. Classy.

Metric Halo MIO 2882: quite useable, a bit too much in the lower part of the mids (slightly muddy), quite noisy - only useable for close miking of louder signals.

TL Audio EQ1: I once listened to a CD and thought "I know that sound! I bet they used a TL Audio mic pre". When I checked the liner notes it was actually stated that they had used a TL Audio mic pre. It is pretty unusual that liner notes state something like this, and while I at times recognize specific compressor models (and especially their settings) etc., I hardly ever recognize a mic pre in a recording. The TL Audio mic pre had quite an effect on me back in the early 2000, I had sort of a hate-love relationship with it. As far as I recall it sounded a little muddy, a bit like plastic, but not that bad. I quite liked the unit as a DI for electric bass - a thick glowing sound which somehow reminded me of playmobile figures.

Siemens V276: I didn't like them. Sounded a little thin and flat to me. No comparison to the great V76.

Manley SLAM!: in a short test I didn't like it, because the highs / transients seemed to be much too strong and disconnected from the rest, no body. It was only a short test. The price did the rest.

Amek / Neve 9098: that was my first "real" mic pre, and I found it strange, and was wondering if it was me or the unit. Someone whose knowledge and experience I respected greatly then told me that the only use he could find for this unit was for shaker. I came to the conclusion that I don't need a mic pre dedicated solely to shaker, and sold it. The EQ sounded strange to my ears. This is such a long time ago that I can't describe the sound of the mic pre, other than I didn't like it. The next mic pre I got was the TAB V76... and the world was okay again.

Avalon M5: Didn't like it. Sterile and strange sounding.

Millennia HV-3D: similar impression like Avalon.

Urei / JBL 7510 mixer: was hyped somewhere on the internet, sold it after a short test. Very midrangey, low-fi. Got much more for it than I had paid. So yes, it did a great job.

Studiomaster desk, Bellari mic pre: well, you have to start somewhere. They amplified mics and did good service back then.

I'm sure I've forgotten some.
I currently also have Great River and Electrodyne mic pres in the studio, but have not used them much yet.

I listened to these mic pres through ATC SCM100A, Bolero Grande with Pass Labs X-250, Acoustic Research LST with Pass Labs X-250, Auratones with a cheap amp, and Audio Data Partout II with a McIntosh 2200.

Music styles were mainly acoustic music, but also Rock, Jazz, Psychedelic, etc. Instruments were many acoustic and ethnic instruments, as well as drums, electric guitars, (grand) piano, etc.

BTW, for me "clear" is not "clean". Clear can very well be the result of harmonic distortion. Some tube preamps like the V76 sound clear to me, but they are not clean. Interestingly enough, I find the effect of this "harmonic distortion clear" to be somewhat similar to the effect of the "transparency clear" of NPNG and Pueblo. Both can lead to a "you are there" impression that grabs your attention and involves you.
I'm afraid your V276 must been broken cos the sound of V276 is FAT and in your face smooth midrange. Kinda combi between Neve & API.
Old 10th July 2015
  #336
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Rumi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simma Lugnt View Post
I'm afraid your V276 must been broken cos the sound of V276 is FAT and in your face smooth midrange. Kinda combi between Neve & API.
That might have been the case, yes. I was surprised to hear that "Voodoo" of D'Angelo was recorded with V276, because I liked the sound of that album, but didn't like the sound of my pair. It was a pair, though, and as far as I recall, both sounded the same. But it's a long time ago, too, it was back in the nineties.
Old 10th July 2015
  #337
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumi View Post
That might have been the case, yes. I was surprised to hear that "Voodoo" of D'Angelo was recorded with V276, because I liked the sound of that album, but didn't like the sound of my pair. It was a pair, though, and as far as I recall, both sounded the same. But it's a long time ago, too, it was back in the nineties.
I don't think that's correct, at least as far as vocals go. From the Russell Elevado Q&A on Gearslutz:

"Vocals were recorded with neumann U67's and U47's. and i usually used an LA2A or a Fairchild 670 and sometimes an 1176 for compression. I recorded with slight compression to tape. I used a focusrite pre on the focusrite board."
Old 10th July 2015
  #338
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
V276 is a wonderful pre, a keeper....
Old 11th July 2015
  #339
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Rumi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by plainofjars View Post
I don't think that's correct, at least as far as vocals go. From the Russell Elevado Q&A on Gearslutz:

"Vocals were recorded with neumann U67's and U47's. and i usually used an LA2A or a Fairchild 670 and sometimes an 1176 for compression. I recorded with slight compression to tape. I used a focusrite pre on the focusrite board."
I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that a whole bunch of V276 were used for Voodoo, like for the whole drum set or something. But I read that many years ago, and my memory could indeed be faulty.

Elevado at least seems to like the V276:

RECORDING D'ANGELO | AudioTechnology Magazine
Old 11th July 2015
  #340
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumi View Post
I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that a whole bunch of V276 were used for Voodoo, like for the whole drum set or something. But I read that many years ago, and my memory could indeed be faulty.

Elevado at least seems to like the V276:

RECORDING D'ANGELO | AudioTechnology Magazine
Yeah he seems to like the tele pres, but of course that article refers to Black Messiah which has a pretty different sound compared to Voodoo. Naturally, the pres are unlikely to have played much of a role in that, but those looking for info on Voodoo may need to dig up older sources.
Old 11th July 2015
  #341
Sonic subjective opinions are as usual all over the map, but where are the hard specs one can use for objective comparisons?

I realize THD and IMD specs may be meaningless to some consumers, but the noise floor is real and should be addressed by any high end preamp manufacturer.

EIN (equivalent input noise) is a real world spec and should be listed at +60 db of gain for easy comparisons. Sounds/colors/preferences are one thing, noise is another.
Old 12th July 2015
  #342
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Tommyswami's Avatar
The a designs pacifica is a great choice for what your looking to do all the tast mojo you need their is reviews all over the internet I've been very happy with all the applications . What I really like is how punchy abd smooth it is at the same time .
Aloha
Old 14th July 2015
  #343
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Rumi's Avatar
For all those who are looking for pinout info for the ZAG and NTP modules, it seems that they're the same:
http://www.gyraf.dk/schematics/ntp-1..._schematic.jpg
Old 14th July 2015
  #344
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Stringsound's Avatar
 

Most versatile preamp ever: Tomo Audiolabs LIAM
Tomo Audiolabs | Products LIAM

Old 26th October 2015
  #345
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KIDBILL's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumi View Post
I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that a whole bunch of V276 were used for Voodoo, like for the whole drum set or something. But I read that many years ago, and my memory could indeed be faulty.

Elevado at least seems to like the V276:

RECORDING D'ANGELO | AudioTechnology Magazine
Nope! it seems they used the pres from the focusrite console for most things (see Q&A)

Last edited by KIDBILL; 8th November 2015 at 11:11 AM..
Old 26th October 2015
  #346
mpr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringsound View Post
Most versatile preamp ever: Tomo Audiolabs LIAM
Tomo Audiolabs | Products LIAM

My vote for the most versatile preamp goes here: HendyAmps Mosaic



Old 26th October 2015
  #347
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
Upon the recommendation of a Grammy winning Engineer/Producer friend, I picked up a pair of these gems about a year ago. The RTZ 9762a's is no doubt in my mind the best all around preamp I've ever put my hand to. I've yet to try it on any source that it just didn't kill it. Huge overwound custom transformers in these things. If I could only have one kind of pre, I'd have a rack full of these.
Old 26th October 2015
  #348
Don't forget Dave Hill's Europa. Great versatile preamp!
Old 26th October 2015
  #349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringsound View Post
Most versatile preamp ever: Tomo Audiolabs LIAM
Tomo Audiolabs | Products LIAM

Lots of knobs on it.

Quote:
"There's a lot of knobs and things in a studio and someone has to work them all." -- Mick Jagger
Old 27th October 2015
  #350
Gear Addict
 
JTC111's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Hardy Twin Servo for what you describe. Gives you what you need to make tracks do what you want for any genre. A good all rounder.

Clean but big, not sterile.

john
If money is an issue, the John Hardy M-1 also does a great job.
Old 3rd February 2016
  #351
Gear Maniac
 
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So far for me this one takes the cake....the CAPI, Inc. Heider FD312 WHR4. I have a few really strong contenders who fought bravely, but they lost the battle today. Also pretty sure it's the heaviest 500 series preamp I have. Worth it's weight in gold. Can't top the classics. Thank you, Jeff Steiger, for your recreation of this amazing preamp Another is on the way
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Old 3rd February 2016
  #352
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Silvertone's Avatar
The correct answer is... The ones you own, the ones you have.

Every pre colors sound and brings its own set of anomalies to the game.

Learn the tools you own, use them wisely young Jedi.
Old 3rd February 2016
  #353
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Hardy, Fearn, Forssell, Pacifica,
Old 5th February 2016
  #354
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mattcollen's Avatar
After years of being on a preamp quest, I'll vote for the RND 5052 or DW Fearn VT stuff.
Old 5th February 2016
  #355
Gear Maniac
 

DW Fearn.. What else?
Old 5th February 2016
  #356
SEED78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nielsb View Post
DW Fearn.. What else?
Valve wise - Electronaut, Sonic Farm, Black Box, GT ViPre, Earlybird, Dizengoff RCA clone coming out, Redd 47 clones. Prob some more I've forgotten - great time to be a gearslut!!
Old 5th February 2016
  #357
Gear Nut
 
robobob's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 View Post
Valve wise - Electronaut, Sonic Farm, Black Box, GT ViPre, Earlybird, Dizengoff RCA clone coming out, Redd 47 clones. Prob some more I've forgotten - great time to be a gearslut!!
HendyAmps Rembrandt!

Hand wired, point to point, tube rectifier, negative feedback under your control (none to plenty), flat-out tone meister, balls with elegance!

The Lotus (race car) of tube preamps, but built like a tank.

HendyAmps Rembrandt

Last edited by robobob; 5th February 2016 at 07:23 PM..
Old 5th February 2016
  #358
mpr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robobob View Post
HendyAmps Rembrandt!
I'm in line for a custom 4 channel Rembrandt. Can't wait!
Old 6th February 2016
  #359
Gear Maniac
Another vote for the RND 5052. Gorgeous tone and tons of headroom.
Old 6th February 2016
  #360
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtythirties View Post
So far for me this one takes the cake....the CAPI, Inc. Heider FD312 WHR4. I have a few really strong contenders who fought bravely, but they lost the battle today. Also pretty sure it's the heaviest 500 series preamp I have. Worth it's weight in gold. Can't top the classics. Thank you, Jeff Steiger, for your recreation of this amazing preamp Another is on the way
The Heider is next on my list
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