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Compare Forsell SMP-2 and Apogee Symphony Mic Pres 500 Series Preamps
Old 25th September 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Compare Forsell SMP-2 and Apogee Symphony Mic Pres

Just curious...
To people who have heard them both, how would you describe/compare the Forsell SMP-2 (or SMP-500) and the Apogee Symphony Mic Preamps?
Old 26th September 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

bump
Old 26th September 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
I take the Forssell preamp anytime...Apogee is great,but Forssell is better on that..
Old 26th September 2013
  #4
Both are great, the Apogee has a little more coloration/sheeny/smooth quality to it's tone. Nice bottom fullness and definitely a polished sound. To my ear the Symphony 8MP sounds like the Symphony Converters themselves. Which is cool to me anyway. I like the 8x8+8MP Apogee setup very much. It would add eight awesome preamps to my rack without taking up any rack space.

In my travels I have found the SMP2 to be extremely transparent, as in there is no coloration to the sound. There is no weight added with it, and it seems like a wide open space and width to use how you want. It is very fast without sterility or stridency to the transients. Very well crafted sound that is noiseless and high headroom with miles of gain on tap. Fred puts a really nice stepped pot on his unit. I've always found the SMP500 to sound similar as the SMP2, but I think the SMP2 has higher performance as a standalone machine.

I would also recommend comparing the NPNG 2NW, if your looking for a great "clean" Microphone preamplifier, this one is hard to beat! I find the Passive Input Attenuator is a great feature because you can trim the amount of level that hits the input amplifier. It allows the preamp to be used with any input signal. It is ultra quiet and very deep sounding. The "environment" of the circuit is handled a lot differently with the NPNG. All Class A discrete *hand matched transistor's [down to 1%], output coupled with a Jensen Output transformer [80% Nickel] is a really sweet combination of accuracy and good tone.



peace
a.j.b
Old 27th September 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Both are great, the Apogee has a little more coloration/sheeny/smooth quality to it's tone. Nice bottom fullness and definitely a polished sound. To my ear the Symphony 8MP sounds like the Symphony Converters themselves. Which is cool to me anyway. I like the 8x8+8MP Apogee setup very much. It would add eight awesome preamps to my rack without taking up any rack space.

In my travels I have found the SMP2 to be extremely transparent, as in there is no coloration to the sound. There is no weight added with it, and it seems like a wide open space and width to use how you want. It is very fast without sterility or stridency to the transients. Very well crafted sound that is noiseless and high headroom with miles of gain on tap. Fred puts a really nice stepped pot on his unit. I've always found the SMP500 to sound similar as the SMP2, but I think the SMP2 has higher performance as a standalone machine.

I would also recommend comparing the NPNG 2NW, if your looking for a great "clean" Microphone preamplifier, this one is hard to beat! I find the Passive Input Attenuator is a great feature because you can trim the amount of level that hits the input amplifier. It allows the preamp to be used with any input signal. It is ultra quiet and very deep sounding. The "environment" of the circuit is handled a lot differently with the NPNG. All Class A discrete *hand matched transistor's [down to 1%], output coupled with a Jensen Output transformer [80% Nickel] is a really sweet combination of accuracy and good tone.



peace
a.j.b
Thank you for the in-depth response. It sounds like the Forssell is definitely the cleaner one, while the Apogee is nice in its own respect. I thought I heard that the NPNG can be a little neve-ish. Wouldn't that be the opposite for clean? Or is what I heard completely false?
Old 27th September 2013
  #6
The NPNG is nothing like a Vintage Neve to my ear
Total and complete opposite of that sound. Actually there is nothing really like it at all!!
Old 27th September 2013
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
The NPNG is nothing like a Vintage Neve to my ear
Total and complete opposite of that sound. Actually there is nothing really like it at all!!
Wow talk about misinformation. I can't recall where I heard that it sounds like a neve, but I seems to have a lingering feeling that it was from a non-credible source. Thank you for the information
Old 27th September 2013
  #8
You gotta just try the pre yourself with your mic's

Old 27th September 2013
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
You gotta just try the pre yourself with your mic's

Ooo she's a real beauty. Is that the SMP-2?
Old 27th September 2013
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Wise View Post
Ooo she's a real beauty. Is that the SMP-2?
NPNG 4NW Quad!
Old 27th September 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
adirondack's Avatar
I've had wonderful results with the Forssell SMP2 and can't imagine getting cleaner than that. Amazing on acoustic and plucked stringed instruments. Clear, open and sweetest round top end. But still has a vibe. I have an Ensemble and the Forssell towers above that in sonics. Symphony I have not yet heard but the positive posts here have got me interested.
Old 12th February 2014
  #12
Here for the gear
 

What about prism orpheus preamps vs above mentioned?
Old 31st March 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Rumi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by adirondack View Post
I've had wonderful results with the Forssell SMP2 and can't imagine getting cleaner than that. Amazing on acoustic and plucked stringed instruments. Clear, open and sweetest round top end. But still has a vibe.
NPNG, Pueblo Audio and Gordon are more transparent and more 3-D than the Forssell SMP-2. The Forssell has a - although euphonic - coloration in comparison to those preamps, it has slightly congested low mids and a bloom in the higher mids, and nice highs. The other three are different flavors of real. I would highly recommend to try them out.

The NPNG is very transparent, widely extended in all ways (highs, lows, width, depth), and is very fast and lively (the Forssell - like any other preamp I know - sounds somewhat static in comparison). It is great for acoustic music because of its transparency, and great for Rock because of its liveliness and very solid bottom.

The Pueblo is ethereal sounding, wonderful, deep and sweet, 3-D and transparent. It somehow makes every room sound better than it is, and gives you incredible detail and reach.

The Gordon is in the same realm, but I haven't tested that as extensively.

I do like the Forssell's mid bloom for instruments like cello, but don't particularly like the lower mid thing. And especially for acoustic guitars, mandolins etc., I prefer NPNG or Pueblo Audio.
Old 16th March 2019
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

How can the Forssel be described as clear and transparent yet congested at the same time? It is an inherent contradiction.
Old 19th March 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Rumi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenaBzg View Post
How can the Forssel be described as clear and transparent yet congested at the same time? It is an inherent contradiction.
Welcome back, old thread!

The Forssell has a bloom in the mids and very un-harsh highs that I like a lot. It has somewhat undefined and congested lower mids that I don't like that much.
Those congested low mids could be perceived as punch, but to me, it is not defined enough to be called that.
Nevertheless, I very much like the sound of the Forssell all in all. It can "sound more like a record" than the ultra-transparent preamps in some cases. I find the transparence of NPNG and Pueblo breathtaking, though.

The Forssell is considerably clean and transparent and 3-D, but not as clean, transparent and 3-D as NPNG or Pueblo.
They all are transparent in a nice and musical way, unlike how I remember Avalon and Millennia, which to me sounded clinical, and actually not really realistic, when I tested them in the nineties.

The statement about Neve-like sound from NPNG is indeed strange. The stock black NPNG (which is the most widely known) has nothing in common with Neve, apart from amplifying sound.
NPNG preamps come in four flavours, though: The Cadillac is more on the Neve side ("warm smooth low mids"), and a little more laid back (sources appear about a foot behind sources recorded with the stock black version). The blue is said to be tube-like, and the Uberlux is said to be even bolder sounding than the stock black, more involving, and ideal for acoustic music.
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