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-   -   I'm definitely underwhelmed (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/2438-im-definitely-underwhelmed.html)

Marshall Simmons 17th January 2003 10:01 PM

I'm definitely underwhelmed
 
I received my Ward beck modules from dave thomas (the 460's) and i had a vocal session with that and the aea ribbon mic. I didn't hear a difference between the ward beck and the macke 24-8 i used before on the ribbon.

Is it me? are my ears just not tuned to the differences between preamps. Could it be the monitors aren't transparent enough to tell the difference? (tannoy's)

Its odd because i can definitely hear the difference between mics, and i can hear the difference between different sets of monitors. But not preamps. I've heard so much about getting better preamps to increase sound quality, but this whole experience has put a damper on my spirits. To a certain degree, i'm hoping that its my ears, because the difference will be there, but at the same time, i don't like the idea that my ears aren't refined enough to hear the difference.

What do you think
Marsh

chrisso 17th January 2003 10:50 PM

Marsh,
I know nothing about Ward Beck but I've read several forum contributions from Ward Beck owners saying they are NOT the Canadian Neve.
I hope for your sake they are better than your first opinion.
I commend you on your honesty in the first place. A lot of people would be saying 'yeah, these kick butt' regardless.

groundcontrol 18th January 2003 08:46 AM

Those old Wardbeck board were broadcast mixers. The reason those boards were so prevalent in Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's studios is because they were made in Canada NOT because they sound like Neve's! tut

Most of thoses mixer strips I've seen were full of cheap op-amps and smallish transformers and sounded pretty small and noisy. I can't figure where that Neve from Canada **** is coming from... hittt Probably from a guy that bought a truckload of them for next to nothing when they got decomissioned by the CBC and now wants to make a nice profit out of those arguably very average mixer strips... mezed

Marshall, did the guy agreed to a tryout period for those modules?

I'd try to get my money back... Good luck man! howdy

T. Alan Smith 18th January 2003 04:42 PM

If the WB is a truly 'pro' unit. It should become clear(er) after laying several tracks with the unit. Mixdown should become significantly easier than mixing tracks recorded thru Mackie pres.

kosi 18th January 2003 08:23 PM

Try a few more mics with it. Use small and big condensers, or even better a tube mic. Go for pretty high gain settings. Play guitars and basses through it.

When you dont hear a difference after all these test, resell it on Ebay.wworried

It's not worth to keep a unit, which you don't like.tut

regards, andreas

JRE Productions 18th January 2003 10:16 PM

preamps
 
Marshal,

The subtle differences in preamps is very tough to differentiate with just vocals. One of the best mic's to hear differences in pre's is the good ole SM57.

In general my expieinces have been:

Class A pre-amps sound a little more agressive than the OP AMP design. This is tough to here if you are just singing into a mic with the monitors on.

I suggest you do this, Record the same vocal part using each of your pre-amps (including the DBX your selling) and them play them back and compare. Write down what you like and don't like about each. You will ten find that no one pre-amp has the same sonic qualities.

Second record a bass or keys direct through each. Listen back again. Write down your thoughts of each.

Then try micing a Accoustic through each. WRite down what you like.

What you should find is that One pre may have a smoother sound even tough the tone quality is the same. You will also find that one pre may not have as clear highs as another, or full lows for that matter.

WHen you go to record next time, remember which unit had the sound you are looking for for the track. EX: If you want to record an acoustic guitar to add to a POP mix, the aggressive sound of a Class A pre might fit in well. But if you were recording an acoustic guitar to add to a ballad with an orchestra you may want the warm sound of a tube pre that has a slight roll off of the highs.

These are all very subtle differences. Remember that the finished product is a sum of all the parts. A little difference on each track can add up fast on the final end product.

There is no night and day differences, just subtle ones.

Joe E

Marshall Simmons 18th January 2003 11:31 PM

is it the general consesus that mics have more tonal variation then preamps do?

maybe i should just buy more mics instead of a bunch of pres. just get 8 good clean channels and have my variation through microphones.

It wasn't a bad sound... i actually thought it sounded great.. but i didn't think there was much of a difference between that and the mackie other then i needed alot less gain.

Marshall

NathanEldred 19th January 2003 01:18 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
is it the general consesus that mics have more tonal variation then preamps do?

I think it's completely equal. Mics and preamps both run the extremes of very pristine and colorless, to producing lots of coloration and character....with variations in between.

Jay Kahrs 19th January 2003 05:09 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
is it the general consesus that mics have more tonal variation then preamps do?

maybe i should just buy more mics instead of a bunch of pres. just get 8 good clean channels and have my variation through microphones.

Yeah. Read about the shootout in Steve Remotes forum. In a nutshell the preamp matters less then the mic but it still matters. Still depending on the Ward Beck stuff it might be great, might be total crap. I know that some of the modules are really good and others are just cheap junk but I don't know which are which.

chrisso 19th January 2003 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Still depending on the Ward Beck stuff it might be great, might be total crap.
It was the statement you made about it not sounding any different from your Mackie that alarmed me.
I've been tracking through Api's into my DAW but a couple of times (working with guitarists) I've slung things through my Mackie for quickness or by mistake. The results were very poor compared to the Api. It may be that the Ward Beck's are indeed much better than your Mackie, but I think you would have noticed during a recording session. In addition if they are the 'Canadian Neve' you should definitely have noticed.

Marshall Simmons 20th January 2003 01:02 AM

I think i'm definitely going to have to try the pre on some other sources... the only thing i've used it on so far is the vocal...

The thing that bothers me is i could hear a huge difference between the schoeps and the oktava small condensers that i had.. as well as the km84 and the schoeps. I'm really thinking it might be the monitor masking... it also could be the fact that i'm monitoring through the mackie too.


We'll se whats up
Marshall

Jay Kahrs 20th January 2003 07:15 PM

If you can't hear the difference on a Wackie what makes you think that Johnny's gonna hear the difference in his Camaro? Maybe you got the ****ty or average WB modules. Like I said, some are great, class A, discrete transformer input deals. Others are made with $10 of Rat Shack parts.

JRE Productions 20th January 2003 07:39 PM

Not Jack!
 
In my general expeirences, meaning to my ears (YMMV):

A class A pre amp (with discrete components) sounds more agressive.

The op-amp (tansister based?) pre like a Sytek seems to loose it aggressiveness to me.

As for the SM 57, per a recomendation from Fletcher I tried this method and found it very helpfull. I was able to hear some differences I was not able to with a condenser. (if you feel that this is crap either try it or consult Fletcher)

Now I'm no elctronic wizard (obviously) but I trust my ears.

Do your own test and post your opinions. I'm willing to hear what you have to say.

Joe E

Roland 20th January 2003 07:53 PM

For me good preamp's only really start to tell when you have tracked several instruments.

Another example:

Record a vocal with a U87 and a 414 side by side.

Switch between the mics, not as much difference as you may have thought?

Now put the two vocals within the track and switch, chalk and cheese!

Preamps for me never make the difference that mic choices do, I think this was born out by the preamp shootout conducted by members of the gearslutz form, but as a cumalative effect they do play their part in adding subtle colours to a track. I would also look to see that the pre's you have bought are indeed good discreet types and not a cheapo version many so called well respected manufacturers have been guilty of that one!

Regards

Roland

JRE Productions 20th January 2003 09:37 PM

Thanks
 
Maybe I have used the wrong terms to describe my expeirences, thanks for bringing that to light.

So than: my ears hear an agressiveness to discrete preamps that I don't here when using a pre-amp based on op-amps.

Have I stated that correctly now?

JE

OzNimbus 21st January 2003 03:16 AM

Re: I'm definitely underwhelmed
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
I received my Ward beck modules from dave thomas (the 460's) and i had a vocal session with that and the aea ribbon mic. I didn't hear a difference between the ward beck and the macke 24-8 i used before on the ribbon.



Its odd because i can definitely hear the difference between mics, and i can hear the difference between different sets of monitors. But not preamps. I've heard so much about getting better preamps to increase sound quality, but this whole experience has put a damper on my spirits. To a certain degree, i'm hoping that its my ears, because the difference will be there, but at the same time, i don't like the idea that my ears aren't refined enough to hear the difference.

What do you think
Marsh

Marshall... I'm a WB user too. I refurbed a board loaded with 12 M480c's last year... which are very similar to the 460's. First off, the preamp itself is transformer coupled class 'A'.... the EQ's are opamp based. Needless to say, I'm not a huge fan of the eq's, but I really dig the pre's.

Now I've read reviews (I think it was Sound on Sound mag, I could be wrong) where the reviewer had a hard time telling the difference between a Mackie XDR pre and a GML!!!! The trick to telling the difference is not only 'colour' but 'detail' as well. Ask yourself, "which pre is giving me the whole picture?" On vocals it could be tough. Another idea would be to check for vocal sibilance between pre's. See which one gives the smoother ride.

I've put the WB's up against my Vintech 1272, the AMR VMP-2, and even some cheapo Alesis pre's.... on MANY instruments. The WB, IMHO excells on overheads, snare & toms, and some vocalists.... It just depends on the singer.

One more thing, once those tracks start piling up on top of each other, see if your WB tracks give you an easier time.

Best of luck, and keep us posted!
-0z-

OzNimbus 21st January 2003 03:21 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Still depending on the Ward Beck stuff it might be great, might be total crap. I know that some of the modules are really good and others are just cheap junk but I don't know which are which.
The pre's are cool, the eq's are lame, and the 2 buss is most UNimpressive. Well, that's the story with my board, anyway!

mdbeh 21st January 2003 03:27 AM

Re: Re: I'm definitely underwhelmed
 
Quote:

Originally posted by OzNimbus
One more thing, once those tracks start piling up on top of each other, see if your WB tracks give you an easier time.

That's one thing I've definitely noticed as well.

When I got better pres, I could hear some improvement on individual tracks, but the real payoff came when I heard everything together.

Marshall Simmons 21st January 2003 05:39 AM

I have heard that most pre's don't shine till they are put into the contex of a mix... also i n the way they handle being eq'd. I'm glad that has been reiterated here. I'll be mixing down soon so i'll post back on my impressions. So right now, let me take back what i said about the WB's until i get some more experience with them...

I guess after improving mics and speakers and other items, i expected a dramatic result. Are items like AD converters the same as pre's? Changes are only really observable under mixdown conditions. I know as i've slowly upgraded my DA converters on my listning system, i've heard distict but subtle differences... smoother highs, tighter bass, more predominant lowmidrange, better imaging...ectect.

I'll post again when i get another opportunity to use it with other instruments and other mics (can't wait to use them with the schoeps)


Thanks
Marsh

Jay Kahrs 22nd January 2003 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
I guess after improving mics and speakers and other items, i expected a dramatic result. Are items like AD converters the same as pre's? Changes are only really observable under mixdown conditions.
Marsh

Yeah, the A/D won't make a huge difference in the same way that the room and mics will.

vsl666 22nd January 2003 07:26 AM

this thread suksfuuck

ScumBum 29th August 2010 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vsl666 (Post 28393)
this thread suksfuuck

Hell Yeah it does dfegadshiee

Teddy Ray 30th August 2010 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T. Alan Smith (Post 27767)
after laying several tracks with the unit. Mixdown should become significantly easier than mixing tracks recorded thru Mackie pres.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...ng-theory.html

wm_b 30th August 2010 01:38 AM

I have two wbs 460's and they are my most infrequently used pre's. That's not to say I don't like them as it says I have other stuff I like better on most things. They are transformer-y sounding for sure. When I do have everything else assigned and don't feel like pulling my spare porticos from my alternate production rig I use the WBS for hat's, under snare or scratch vocals, sometimes toms.

It seems to excel at things that need to sound kind of crunchy. They don't sound thick like a neve type pre. More similar to my 312's than neve anything. Mine have a line input on the front and I use it for that more often than I use it with a mic. A ribon mic is not something I would pair it with. It has a useful HPF. I don't feel compelled to sell it as it does what I need it to do when I need it.

joeq 30th August 2010 03:06 AM

7 years
7 months
7 days

Eganmedia 30th August 2010 04:08 AM

It seems when when talking about abstract qualities of various mic preamps, people talk as if they are as different as oil and water. As soon as someone claims they can't hear the difference between them, apologists come out of the woodwork saying the differences are too subtle to hear easily, yet still relevant as hell.

I have owned everything from cheap a cheap Mackie 1202 to API, Grace, Avalon, Manley,Crane Song And Great River. The real difference I can hear is the amount of available gain without noise. That's about it. Yes there are some small qualitative differences, but until I sold my D&R console last spring, it's onboard mic amps were my go-to preamps. I hear immense differences between mics. I hear huge differences between speakers and EQs and compressors. How mic preamps ended up with the same kind of clout is beyond me. I agonize over mic choice and placement, instrument and instrument placement in the room. I hear frequency anomolies in certain areas in my control room. I have a lot of outboard compressors I am sure I could identify in A/B tests with others. But as far as I'm concerned, a mic preamp pretty much either works or or it doesn't. If I have to stack ten tracks before I notice the difference, there is no practical difference. I'll mitigate the difference with mic choice or placement.

People spend thousands of dollars on esoteric mic amps for studios with $500 monitors. It's the biggest case of Emporors New Clothes I know of. Anyone here read the thread from earlier this summer comparing a cheap ART preamp with a polythousand dollar Great River? It was embarrassing how many people rushed to fault the test (the poster used two different takes- like you would in a real session if you were auditioning mic preamps) once the results went up.

There are certain mic amps (V72s and V76s come to mind) that have a truly distinctive sound. The vast majority are, to my ears, minor variations on the same thing. A mic signal can be brought up line level with low distortion, low noise, in a fast and transparent way with a very inexpensive IC op-amp design. I'd bet my left nut I could run a U87 and an SM57 throug a Mackie 8bus preamp and a Millenia Media preamp and nearly everyone here could reliably pick the mic, and nearly everyone here could not reliably pick the preamp.

Ask me how I feel about the idea of spending big bucks on a master clock for a 003 rig with crappy monitors in an untreated listening room.

Sorry for the rant.

Funny Cat 30th August 2010 04:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eganmedia (Post 5735395)
People spend thousands of dollars on esoteric mic amps for studios with $500 monitors. It's the biggest case of Emporors New Clothes I know of. Anyone here read the thread from earlier this summer comparing a cheap ART preamp with a polythousand dollar Great River? It was embarrassing how many people rushed to fault the test (the poster used two different takes- like you would in a real session if you were auditioning mic preamps) once the results went up.

There are certain mic amps (V72s and V76s come to mind) that have a truly distinctive sound. The vast majority are, to my ears, minor variations on the same thing. A mic signal can be brought up line level with low distortion, low noise, in a fast and transparent way with a very inexpensive IC op-amp design. I'd bet my left nut I could run a U87 and an SM57 throug a Mackie 8bus preamp and a Millenia Media preamp and nearly everyone here could reliably pick the mic, and nearly everyone here could not reliably pick the preamp.

Ask me how I feel about the idea of spending big bucks on a master clock for a 003 rig with crappy monitors in an untreated listening room.

Sorry for the rant.

+1kfhkh

Very eloquently stated...

slaves666 30th August 2010 04:51 AM

I'm definitely underwhelmed
 
I used my ward beck 480c on trombone today sounded great. I find it fairly focused and gritty, and the eq on it is subtle, but sounds pretty cool. Doubt I'd want to track an entire record or mix in a console.

claend 30th August 2010 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marshall Simmons (Post 27664)

What do you think
Marsh

I think Welcome to GS un-reality!!!!!

gooof

NathanEldred 30th August 2010 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joeq (Post 5735258)
7 years
7 months
7 days

Those were the good old days gooof