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best classical clean sounding 500 series pre-amp
Old 6th November 2014
  #1
best classical clean sounding 500 series pre-amp

I have recently bought a rupert neve designs 511 pre-amp which is a great preamp and I've been enjoying it a lot so that's my subtle coloured pre sorted. Now it's time to get a high end clean sounding preamp.

here's what I was thinking

DAV BG501
AEA RPQ 500
Millennia HV-35

I like the sound of all three but the AEA seems like the most versitile but the DAV is tempting because of the low price, it seems amazing value, and the millennia seems great for classical guitar which is primarily what I'm recording.

I'm also considering the forssell which I've heard good things about.

help me choose!

regards,

Ben.
Old 6th November 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I can't help you decide, but if you want the best, you might also consider Weiss A1 and Lipinski L609. I'm pretty sure Andrew Lipinsky is a classical recordist, and that's what his preamp is designed for. It looks like VK took Lipinski off their site, but I'm pretty sure it is still available.

Earthworks also has a 500 pre in the clean category.
Old 6th November 2014 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn View Post
I can't help you decide, but if you want the best, you might also consider Weiss A1 and Lipinski L609. I'm pretty sure Andrew Lipinsky is a classical recordist, and that's what his preamp is designed for. It looks like VK took Lipinski off their site, but I'm pretty sure it is still available.

Earthworks also has a 500 pre in the clean category.
yeah the weiss looks pretty amazing in every way, I haven't been able to find any user reviews though or audio clips which is a shame. Not heard of Lipinski before so will check it out, thanks.
Old 6th November 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Lipinski Sound - Timeless Analog - products

I haven't heard this preamp, but I have heard their monitor speakers, and as others can attest, they are excellent.
Old 6th November 2014
  #5
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superwack's Avatar
Can't help much with the final decision but I would definitely add the Forssell SMP-500 to your list to check out.
Old 6th November 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
I've just recorded a 5 piece classical medieval sounding vocal group in a church using a pair of AEA rpq 500s and MKH 30/40 in MS...absolutely wonderful. The AEAs are brilliant preamps, so clean but not clinical.

Would get my vote based on my usage this week

Steve
Old 6th November 2014
  #7
The AEA uses a circuit that was designed by Fred Forssell, so that is a safe bet. I would also check out the Five Fish studios preamp SC-501, a similar THAT chip circuit to the DAV. I have both SC and DAV pramps and I do think the Five Fish models are more articulate and cleaner.
Old 6th November 2014
  #8
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Washington's Avatar
 

To stick to your list, I work with both the AEA and the Millenia. They would be both perfectly suited to your needs. The RPQ has the advantage of a very good and simple low pass / high shelf circuit, tons of gain and a high impedance. That's an added bonus for ribbons and dynamics. The Millenia is a no-frills, unbeatable animal, and whatever comes out of it is solid as a brick. It is my understanding that it is quite a staple in the classical-recording world.

I would suggest a side-by-side shootout with your mics of choice.
Old 6th November 2014
  #9
Old 6th November 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Washington View Post
To stick to your list, I work with both the AEA and the Millenia. They would be both perfectly suited to your needs. The RPQ has the advantage of a very good and simple low pass / high shelf circuit, tons of gain and a high impedance. That's an added bonus for ribbons and dynamics. The Millenia is a no-frills, unbeatable animal, and whatever comes out of it is solid as a brick. It is my understanding that it is quite a staple in the classical-recording world.

I would suggest a side-by-side shootout with your mics of choice.
had a look at your website and it's pretty incredible by the way, very well done and it made me laugh, thanks for the recommendation
Old 7th November 2014
  #11
Gear Nut
Well, there's a 500-series unit from True Systems, the people who do the Precision 8. I consider their various first-gen preamp products to be a sort of benchmark for cleanliness that other makes and models can be compared against. However I haven't heard the gen-2 stuff, for which they write "Our Type 2 design provides the traditional ultra-resolution musicality of our original design preamps, but adds serious analog depth and warmth. In short: It sounds BIG!". That may be a pretty way to say that it isn't as clean as their old stuff, or it may not; it is relevant because their 500-series unit uses the second-gen topology.

The AEA RPQ-500 is a preamp that's designed with ribbons in mind - AEA ribbons are pretty killer stuff - but it's a very clean machine that's still totally useful with other kinds of mics.

I would recommend highly the Hairball Audio Lola. This is a DIY kit - though I'm pretty sure you can buy them assembled from Hairball - but it's 100% of the quality and all the professional design you expect from 'proper', non-DIY products. I would get it with the twin Hary 990s as the op-amps; being a fully-differential design from input to output there are two op-amps, and the selection is wide. You can use anything that is 2520 footprint compatible, but the options that Hairball specifically gives are their own 990, a John Hardy 990, or a Neve-ish BA512. Mine has the BA512s, but I would recommend for clean sounds you go with the John Hardy 990. This preamp sounds fantastic, and the rather high slew rate ensures total fidelity to the source material.
Old 7th November 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Cathedral Guitar's Avatar
I do a lot of classical guitar, and I find it is really helpful to think in terms of thick/thin instead of colored/clean. If a guitar already sounds thick by itself, and the Neve would be too muddy, I really like the following in no particular order: Ocean Audio Pre 1 (Trident 80B circuit, w/ scooped mids), Warm Audio TA12-500 (which has a 150 ohm button which is a thick/thin switch by itself), Chandler TG2 (sounds thinner then the Neve because of the HF lift). If Undertone Audio ever makes a UTA1-500 I'd also really recommend that.
Old 7th November 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Deleted 230b1c7
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Washington View Post
To stick to your list, I work with both the AEA and the Millenia.
listening to "mud and grace" at the moment. very much enjoying it. Good work!
Old 7th November 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Washington's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 230b1c7 View Post
listening to "mud and grace" at the moment. very much enjoying it. Good work!
Why, thanks a lot really ! That's Millenia all over the place (no RPQ at that time), and a few API on drums I think. Which goes to show a super clean and solid pre is not for classical use exclusively.

Anyway, I don't mean to hijack this thread for personal promo. I'm off, bless all
Old 10th November 2014
  #15
Forssell. Best sounding clean pre I have heard. There is just something about it that sounds clean AND musical with no apparent coloration of the frequency spectrum
Old 10th November 2014
  #16
+1 Forssell SMP500
Old 11th November 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Besides the d.a.v. Electronics unit which provides a wonderful and highly desirable "glueing effect," I endorse the AMS-Neve 88RLB 500 series module. Outstanding and modern--very quiet with a transformer.

Don't goof around with any others other than the two mentioned above.
Old 11th November 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
I will add the JM-530 Mic pre...
Less noise than Both the DAV or Neve.
Old 28th June 2018
  #19
Gear Maniac
Hey guys, old thread, but it might be worth you checking out this:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-m...l#post13392451

This Cranborne Audio Camden 500 preamp has lower noise and distortion figures than a Milennia, and a way more linear phase and frequency response than the Forsell - especially at higher gain settings.

And it costs half as much as any of those preamps - $349 US Retail / £299 RRP Inc Vat.

Last edited by Ells; 28th June 2018 at 12:09 PM.. Reason: Typos
Old 28th June 2018
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Milennia, Grace, Forsell ! We have done lots of classical ensembles of varying size and instrumentation. Fast, clean and accurate. All winners.
Old 28th June 2018 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by leadplayer View Post
Milennia, Grace, Forsell ! We have done lots of classical ensembles of varying size and instrumentation. Fast, clean and accurate. All winners.
Yeah for sure, they're legendary bits of kit. I've had great success with them in the past too - particularly the HV-35. Sadly they're out of the price range of a lot of budding engineers I speak to.

Also, sometimes you just need quantity! and you could easily get 2 + 1/2 Camden 500's for the price of a Milennia - and the specs are equal to, or greater than in most respects. (Milennia = 0.003% THD+N @ 35dB Gain, Camden = 0.0004% THD +N @ 35dB Gain)

Plus, if you used your Camden for orchestral recording one day; dial in the Mojo control and you can do all-out rock the next day with buckets full of colour and warmth to boot.
Old 28th June 2018
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Are these available in the US ??
Old 28th June 2018 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by leadplayer View Post
Are these available in the US ??
They certainly will be once they have started shipping - around August time.

We're a new company who started up at NAMM but we're all ex-"big-audio-company" guys!

We've taken our time to tune this preamp up to these kind of performance levels.; but we're also releasing 2 500-series chassis:

500ADAT - 8 slot 500 series rack with a built-in ADAT interface, summing mixer, and headphone mixer. (perfect for expanding your current audio interface)

500R8 - 26/28 usb audio interface, summing mixer, monitor controller, and 8 slot 500 series rack.

So yeah, we're going for 500 series stuff big time, but we're doing stuff that's new and a bit different. Looking to the future rather than the past!

Last edited by Ells; 28th June 2018 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: Typos
Old 28th June 2018
  #24
LaChapell
Old 28th June 2018 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ells View Post
They certainly will be once they have started shipping - around August time.

We're a new company who started up at NAMM but we're all ex-"big-audio-company" guys!

We've taken our time to tune this preamp up to these kind of performance levels.; but we're also releasing 2 500-series chassis:

500ADAT - 8 slot 500 series rack with a built-in ADAT interface, summing mixer, and headphone mixer. (perfect for expanding your current audio interface)

500R8 - 26/28 usb audio interface, summing mixer, monitor controller, and 8 slot 500 series rack.

So yeah, we're going for 500 series stuff big time, but we're doing stuff that's new and a bit different. Looking to the future rather than the past!
is there a pre-order system set up? Do you have a US based distributor? thanks!
Old 28th June 2018 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo4880 View Post
is there a pre-order system set up? Do you have a US based distributor? thanks!
Hey Bonzo,

We're still working on our US distribution strategy, but we are in talks with some major US dealers - and so far, talks have been very positive! We're very confident that they will be available to preorder at all the usual suspects very soon.

...but If you'd like to put in a good word about us to your preferred dealer then that would be very much appreciated!!
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