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Video & Clips: Neve vs BAE Single-Channel Preamps
Old 16th February 2015
  #1
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James Lugo's Avatar
 

Video & Clips: Neve vs BAE

Ok so the past few weeks I have realized I just don't use Eq's on mic pres ever. Just not my thing. So have been going back and forth what I should do. I have a vintage Neve 1073, BAE 1028 and a BAE stereo 1073MPF (no eq, just a filter). So the past few days we have recorded the 3 pres with an array of mics, sources and singers. The results were pretty interesting. Even though I have had them all for years I've never done anything like this. Clips are at the end of the video, also I futzed around with the clips to make them as even as I could but a little volume knob action at the end of the video is needed:


Last edited by James Lugo; 16th February 2015 at 10:36 PM..
Old 17th February 2015
  #2
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127Riot's Avatar
 

BAE / Neve

First off thanks for taking the time to make the video I personally enjoy all your videos and have for years, I sat through the looonnggg painful set up of your SSL, and enjoyed every second of it.

Now I agree and hear exactly what your saying about the Neve vs the BAE, the BAE having a little more of what I call sprite on top, maybe just a tad more open, tad more air, etc...

this is really in the world of splitting hairs but it is noticeable and it is there, weather one or the other is better? that is the listeners opinion.


I own a BAE Dual 1073 MP, I use it on the 300ohm setting mainly. I have compared it directly to a vintage 1073 preamp and found that the vintage pre was very low volume wise compared to the BAE, the BAE gain knob had to be at near the lowest setting to match the vintage 1073, and of course this will affect the sound due to more gain in one mic amp to the other.

In my experience I think the BAE is great and for the price amazing i love the BAE pieces I own and will most likely purchase more if needed.

However, overall the Vintage Neve just had a little more of that mojo magic, something I've only ever heard in old classic gear that has lived a life wether that is worth the price tag or not is up to the buyer because at the end of the day, after processing, bouncing, and burn downs. I doubt anyone would be able to clearly say which is what and who is who.

cool video i like the old neve the best and the MPF comes at a close second IMO for this scenario.

If you want the Butter you're gonna pay for it.

Last edited by 127Riot; 17th February 2015 at 01:58 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 17th February 2015
  #3
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I hear the vintage mojo… the dark smoothness… but is that 5% worth several thousand dollars? only you can answer that… we have been very happy with our choice of vintage BAE 1084's… listening to the clips I could be happy with the MPF and get on with making music.
Old 18th February 2015
  #4
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ARIEL's Avatar
Looking fwd to watching this shootout ! but the video is down now ? I have a BAE here , bought hen someone did a test of this vs the new AMS neve . BAE seemed a tad richer / thicker .
Old 18th February 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARIEL View Post
Looking fwd to watching this shootout ! but the video is down now ? I have a BAE here , bought hen someone did a test of this vs the new AMS neve . BAE seemed a tad richer / thicker .
Yeah it says when that shows up it's a glitch on their end, wait 30 min. It's working straight off my youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPMjMwsDmXE
Old 18th February 2015
  #6
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ARIEL's Avatar
ahhh , great ! Thanks James ! just listening , I agree the MPf sounds pretty close to the vintage unit . I wonder why the 1028 has a bit more top end ? I would stick with the MPF for sure , but the vintage sounds lovely . Edit , just istened to the end bits , I like the MPF the best , I would sell the vintage and use the cash for other nice bits in the studio .

Last edited by ARIEL; 18th February 2015 at 08:45 PM..
Old 18th February 2015
  #7
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so there definitely is a difference between the mic pre's, but they all sound great in my opinion. my question would be, what is the value of the name Neve to your business in general? does the neve lend more "credibility" to what you do than say the bae? i realize i'm asking this question to a dude who's site is SSLMixingOnline.com.
Old 18th February 2015
  #8
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I think that is the point all the experienced engineers have been saying at each of the x vs y debates here…. Yes They are ALL GOOD… there really isn't a bad choice I could make great music with any of the choices… one was a tad darker, one was a tad brighter and one sounded almost exactly like a vintage unit at 2x the price… not EXACTLY as dark and smooth but there is where people argue about the last 5-10% … It is very important to have gear that works all the way through sessions much more to a client than if it sounds exactly like a vintage Neve 1073.. but YMMV, 90% of our clients are musicians who have never heard a 1073 or know what a U47 sounds like… our clients DO care that everything sounds good/great… our room, our mics, pre/eq/comp/ ad/da and that it all works throughout their entire session … gear should not impede creative flow… is it built solid? good components? solid track record? does it sound good? go use it to make music. done.

if i was in a money no object situation I would buy a pair of vintage 1066/1073 and have them restored… to go along with a couple of 8ch racks of BAE 1073/1084… or Heritage… or Sheps …. the AML ez 1073 looks fantastic at 1100 a channel as does their 54f50 comp…..

I guess it all comes down to budget. the important thing is to make music… i would take a great song over a great pre amp… isn't that how all those cats built studios in the 70's? guy writes hit song, sells millions, buys a neve desk and a 2" deck… tries to do it again… repeat.

too bad this model doesn't really work anymore… are there still hits?
Old 18th February 2015
  #9
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the 1073 original has the most balanced and tight sound. the rest seem like they are less tight and kind of sloppy. that's not really a tone thing actually. it's more the solidity of the voice and the evenness of the dynamics. it's like the original one makes the voice more solid, compression without compression. thats kind of the "professionalism" of it. the rest are lacking and for my ears sound less "platinum" and "professional"


I was actually considering getting some bae 1023s but this now makes me think twice and I feel that I'm better off saving the money and should just keep renting out studios whenever I need to track vocals that have real 1073s.
Old 18th February 2015
  #10
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Cool test. 1073 original sounds great. BAE sound like crap, all congested and lifeless.
Old 19th February 2015
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
Cool test. 1073 original sounds great. BAE sound like crap, all congested and lifeless.
i wouldn't say congested I just think it's less tight and the vocal sounds less "together" and firm and cohesive.
Old 19th February 2015
  #12
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Aaron Rash's Avatar
The vintage unit definitely has the buttery low end with the punchy midrange that clones seem to have such a hard time reproducing.

I also did a shootout of my AMS 1073 vs My vintage 1073 with Marinairs here
I was down with the flu when I did it so I'm gonna do a better one soon. I also wont push the units as hard in the next test

AMS Neve 1073 VS Vintage Neve 1073

Last edited by Aaron Rash; 19th February 2015 at 01:21 AM..
Old 19th February 2015
  #13
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Thanks James.
vintage sounds darker/thicker.
honestly with compression etc in a mix the mpf would be fine too.
glad I have my old modules though..they have that slight marinair tx funk and hair.
Old 19th February 2015
  #14
Thanks for the comparison James.
I thought the Neve had a lovely tone but didn't articulate the vocal as well as the BAE's...a bit congested and compressed in low-mids from what I hear. It is an older unit; maybe the BAE's will sound more like that one day? The Neve/BAE almost sounded like different mics.
Be interesting to hear a comparison with an EQ to match the sounds.
Old 19th February 2015
  #15
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I used to own eight vintage 1272's racked by BAE. And yes there is something a bit darker about the older units...but over time I wound up flipping them in favor of AML EZ1073's. I do tend to EQ a little bit going in if I've got it (mainly a touch of the 12kHz on vocals with the AML's.) but my old vintage units didn't have any EQ and always sounded great on everything.

I think some of the difference is actually newer electronics more than anything. As the guts of the gear gets older and heat affects things over time electronics age. Pickups in guitars demagnetize merely over time as another example, and some people (myself included) sometimes prefer older pickups in aged hunks of wood, etc. I've got an old 70's strat that still kills any new ones I try for example.

Still...this was a good shootout in that it's not over-labored, the differences do not outweigh the quality of the units. This all sounds pretty "80's series" to me. Honestly the 1028 was extremely similar to how my old 1272's used to sound, I think without the EQ there's just a tad more low mid going on with those units in general. This is clearly evidenced in the part of the video where Mr. Wooten (is that spelled right?) is singing...the 1028's have that 1272 mid range thing down pat there.
Old 19th February 2015
  #16
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Hey James thanks for posting. Listening to both through some high end reference moniotring I would say they are both great and outstanding results can be had with either.


To the posters that find the BAE congested or unprofessional sounding I'd love to see you do that with a blind test. I wish I still had my vintage 1073 as I would post some clips and I'd bet money you wouldn't consistently tell them apart.
Old 19th February 2015
  #17
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RoundBadge's Avatar
yeah I use some older Averill 1084 repros too.
sound great.a little cleaner perhaps but never had any problems sonically.
Old 19th February 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
Hey James thanks for posting. Listening to both through some high end reference moniotring I would say they are both great and outstanding results can be had with either.


To the posters that find the BAE congested or unprofessional sounding I'd love to see you do that with a blind test. I wish I still had my vintage 1073 as I would post some clips and I'd bet money you wouldn't consistently tell them apart.
I'll take you up on your bet with James's specific units. I cannot account for other 1073s and other BAE units as their conditions may vary, but I can consistently tell them apart (james's) without knowing which is which. The difference is there 100% any half-decent engineer can hear it. Now preference? That's purely upto the person. So you can argue that one might be more tasteful to the eye (ear?) of the beholder but you can't argue you can't tell them apart.
Old 19th February 2015
  #19
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Aaron Rash's Avatar
I can also definitely pick out vintage units in blind shootouts. I've never got them wrong. After working on them for so long their sonic profile is pretty obvious, plus I own a vintage 1073. The way they move and behave dynamically is also different. The newer stuff sounds great but it's allot cleaner and more comparable with other modern gear.

I agree, any engineer that has a pair of ears should be able to pick this very easily. Does it matter when making records? Probably not but to say it's not noticeable is definitely not true, and I always like the extra 10%...

James, I would hold on to your vintage unit. It sounds special. Also the resale value in a few years will only go up.

BAE will always be making units if you ever decide you want them back. Vintage units however are a different story.
Old 19th February 2015
  #20
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Yes there is a difference between these two units. I have also heard differences between two vintage Neve units.

My comments respond to what I find hyperbolic nonesense statements from posters that once they know which is which suggest that the vintage Neve somehow have magical sonic properties while the BAE or other reproductions sound like a some 2d piece of "congested crap" or "less professional or platinum" sounding whatever the f that means.

I and several other people I respect listened to those clips through $30k worth of monitoring in a treated room and personal preferences aside both were very good. Certainly one was not sonic nirvana while the other some flat pos as alleged in the other posts.

I've never known a professional engineer to ever have a problem with the quality and sonics of BAE or AMS.

So my bet it this, several different sources on a couple of vintage 1073s, BAE 1073s, and AMS 1073s, and I bet that no one will be able to pick out which is which with any consistency. And I would be happy to put money on that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aramism View Post
I'll take you up on your bet with James's specific units. I cannot account for other 1073s and other BAE units as their conditions may vary, but I can consistently tell them apart (james's) without knowing which is which. The difference is there 100% any half-decent engineer can hear it. Now preference? That's purely upto the person. So you can argue that one might be more tasteful to the eye (ear?) of the beholder but you can't argue you can't tell them apart.

Last edited by Palermo; 19th February 2015 at 11:02 PM..
Old 19th February 2015
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramism View Post
I'll take you up on your bet with James's specific units. I cannot account for other 1073s and other BAE units as their conditions may vary, but I can consistently tell them apart (james's) without knowing which is which. The difference is there 100% any half-decent engineer can hear it. Now preference? That's purely upto the person. So you can argue that one might be more tasteful to the eye (ear?) of the beholder but you can't argue you can't tell them apart.
Yes I agree with the above two posters (edit: before Palermo posted just prior to me), it's very easy to tell the difference blind between a beautiful Neve and a BAE knockoff with its, um, signature sound that it imparts on everything.
Old 15th March 2015
  #22
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This was tracked with all BAE pres.

It is true that the 1073 mpf's are a lil darker than the modules. But they are identical to the 1073 rack units.

Also the modules have that same darker tone the rack 1073 and mpf's have if you simply engage the eq. strange..
Old 16th March 2015
  #23
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Hmm interesting about the darkness with the eq engaged? Any sound clips to show this or further examples?

I like the darkness of the original. When it gets bright it seems to collapse and be less solid.
Old 5th April 2015
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post

This was tracked with all BAE pres.

It is true that the 1073 mpf's are a lil darker than the modules. But they are identical to the 1073 rack units.

Also the modules have that same darker tone the rack 1073 and mpf's have if you simply engage the eq. strange..
That sounds great; I love the 70's style rock guitar in the intro...I believe I could hear that BAE/Neve character. Very nice performances and recording.

I generally use the mpf on vocals, bass and guitar - the DI works really well with electric guitars IME. I've started to go through the mpf (via Warm 76 & FX) into the amp...it's a very versatile unit for recording.

Nice studio!
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