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With a cheapness (Preamps/channelstrips)
Old 2nd February 2007
  #31
Gear Nut
 
Red2112's Avatar
 

Joemeek SixQ Nice, very nice for the price.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #32
Lives for gear
 
jdier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaRaNoId View Post
FMR RNP- Breaks up nicely when pushed on drums and has a very low noise level and class-A build throughout.
Got a few, love them, but confused by this statement. Can you elaborate... When mine break up, it does not sound good.

What mics, what settings?
Old 2nd February 2007
  #33
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Crash's Avatar
If you can find one, the Peavey/AMR VMP-2. These are getting more expensive but are still a pretty good deal for two channels, 4 tubes per, high and low shelving EQ. If big, phat and cheap are what you need, this is worth a look. It is built like a tank as well.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug9...peaveyvmp2.htm
Old 5th March 2007
  #34
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peeder's Avatar
 

My conclusions of my last set of tests were: Peavey VMP-2 for dynamics and DI, Symetrix SX202 for transformerless condensers, and AEA TRP for tube condensers and ribbons.

I'm curious about the ART and Meek boxes as color pieces, but I'm pretty satisfied with that lineup for now.
Old 6th April 2007
  #35
Lives for gear
Just wanted to post my incredibly subjective comparison review of the preamp tone of the following two units:
- ART MPA GOLD
- Focusrite Trakmaster Pro (not the older version that wasn't called "pro" but actually offered more features)

Both units are fully stock for this review (I'd like to experiment with tube swaps for the ART sometime soon though). I did these experiments currently only with one dynamic mic since I'm trying to use a mic I know really really well and will possibly be more sensitive to changes in pre than is so with many transformerless condensors.

Mic choice for tests: Peavey PVM 520TL. I started with my RE 20 but then had to rent it out to someone to make some cash LoL, but the 520 is similar and I know it's sound very well also. I didn't want to use a 57/58 cuz they're so overly sensitive to impedence differences, and my audix and sennheiser dynamics I've just used too much recently to enjoy playing with this morning hahaha. Only using male and female vocals for this test. male vocals are me so yea, that's how it goes...

Setup information: both units have useful input impedence switching options, 150ohm or something like 5kohm on focusrite, continuously variable (!!) from 300ohm to 3kohm on ART, and both unit's end up with simlar results when that control is switched, they work as they should, lower level on low impedence, with this mic generally more bass, tighter sound, more exciting tone with high impedence, although the art sounds best at around 1.2 kohms with this mic rather than 3k. all other options on focusrite strip were out of circuit, no comp, no eq, no monitoring, no filter, no phantom, gain at 8. on Art, tube plate voltage was set to high, gain switch on normal, phantom off, phase normal (not that it matters for this test), filter out of circuit, input gain cranked, output level at 2 o-clock. Mic was mounted and experimented with up close, eating the mic, up to a foot away, off axis, on axis, loud, soft, singing, talking, plosives, everything vocal we could think of. Sooooo scientific.... :-) Same mic used on both pres, unplugging and plugging into each pre back and forth repeatedly using extension mic cables so only thing wearing is cables, not mic connector or pre connectors.

Both pres running into my board's line ins, eq defeated, gains set properly, monitored with akg 240 phones (cuz I know them well, although the high frequency ringing from near feedback from phones leakage into mic was annoying).

***RESULTS***
Tone of MPA Gold: warm, present, lots of upper male or lower alto vocal presence, proximity effect frequency range not overly prominent, highs clear but not overly dominant. Completely silent noise wise (I know this isn't accurate unless multitracking, just making a note of subjective impressions).

Tone of trakmaster pro: slightly scooped sounding in comparison (no, the mid scoop was out of circuit, and my calling the tone scooped is probably only a decible or two difference, nothing as obvious as if it was eq'd that way), very radio announcer sounding with this mic, slightly more sparkling highs, definitely more of the proximity effect heard when close into mic, very hifi sounding, also completely silent noise-wise.

Personally with these pres, my choice for my voice (grungy lower range vocals, not a great tone but slightly like ZZtop tone in my voice, the focusrite sounds much better. For alto female vocals, great voice, pop ballad style, the ART brings the tone to the front more and emphasises the best aspects of that voice better.

Note: I often seem to prefer the art for high end condensor mics sitting in the mix for vocals, maybe these results pinpoint the reason why, however when soloed like this I actually think the focusrite sounds more amazing, slightly more finished sound. So a lot depends on your mix, and of course this is only one mic in one (treated) room on one slightly scooped sounding set of phones with one set of ears and one man's opinion.

These experiments weren't recorded, only monitored. At some point I'll record some tests when I get around to it, but time isn't on my side at the moment so I hope this is interesting info at least to people. Certainly shows that there are very noticeable differences in preamp tone for those who disbelieve such things and the important in having a colorful palette of preamps, also shows that both pres are useful to have (at least for me), and shows that it isn't just high end pres that offer great useful tones that are different from one another. These pres offer great performance and great tone but different characters from each other and from my other low and high end pres.

Wierd thing I noticed that I haven't paid attention to before with the focusrite: high pass filter works great but oddly makes midrange more present, not necessarily in a good or bad way, but changes the tone more than just cutting the low bass. The art's continuously variable high pass filter frequency control exibits no strange artifacts or audible phasing and is definitely a very neutral filter compared to that in the focusrite, does exactly what you expect it to do and very well too.

Interesting and imporant note: ART pre has much higher gain using all gain stages turned up, still really low noise with high plate voltage setting used (the only way to use this pre really). focusrite can only just barely handle my ribbon mics and it's cranked and honestly I prefer the sound of my art with ribbons quite a bit anyway, the art sounds more hifi with ribbons than my focusrite, the exact opposite of this dynamic mic test, but that judgement is based on experience from my daily use of these pres in my studio, not this particular test, so your mileage may vary. Ribbon mic results are possibly cuz I can dial in the ideal sounding impedence setting with really natural sounding high gain levels.

Summary: both great pres, art's features are in my opinion better done than focusrite's features (it has phase and variable HPF and variable input impedence in each channel, much improved over features in focusrite), but both are great pres. Quite shockingly different sounding from each other. Compared to my peavey tube pre the art is closest definitely. Compared to my dmp-3 the focusrite is closest, but the focusrite honestly sounds more like the avalon pre I'm renting right now. It's really great in some ways, and I may prefer it for my voice and certain mics. After this test I will avoid using the focusrite with mics that have a slightly scooped tone already and instead use the ART, and for mics that are too midrangey I might use the focusrite. For classical I'd use the mpa, for rock the focusrite. For kick drum the focusrite, for overheads the focusrite, for snare and toms the art. For female focals the art, for male the focusrite.

Cheers,
sorry for the long wordy post, I had an energy drink this morning LoL

Don
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