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-   -   NPNG preamp, quick review (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/350618-npng-preamp-quick-review.html)

gainreduction 17th December 2008 11:21 AM

NPNG preamp, quick review
 
Every now and then there´s this poll where men are asked what their dream woman looks like. The winner usually ends up with something like Angelina Jolie´s lips, Scarlett Johanson´s nose, Halle Berry´s eyes and Julia Roberts´hair. Then they photoshop it into a picture that looks absolutely horrible, it just doesn´t work.

So when I imagine the ultimate preamp it´s along the same lines. Can I please have the size, dimension and smoothness of the best tube designs, the authority and density of a neve, the forwardness of an api and the clarity and crystal top of a GML ? All this topped off with lightning fast transient response, wide stereo image and a very musical behavior. I´d also like it to sound a couple of inches more in my face than the rest of the bunch. Oh, and can I please get a PSU worthy of driving a small console and overall top notch quality in build and components ?

Friends, meet the NPNG preamp. All the attributes above in a perfect blend.

It doesn´t sound like anything I´ve heard before. It is not a flattering preamp if the source sucks, it will definitely tell you like it is. But when you do get it right you will be generously rewarded. Detail, depth, authority... On the 2-buss as make-up gain for passive summing it was just sick.

On the Mercenary site Fletcher describes it as "jawdropping". Now that I´ve actually used the thing I fully agree.

Someone else commented that now that the NPNG is here, the Beatles and Zeppelin should be re-recorded. Well, maybe that´s pushing it, but just a little.

kfhkh

matt thomas 17th December 2008 01:48 PM

Damn you! gooof

just when I'm trying to prune my preamp selection

lucky they're reasonably expensive so I might be able to resist heh

narco

seaneldon 17th December 2008 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gainreduction (Post 3739849)
Someone else commented that now that the NPNG is here, the Beatles and Zeppelin should be re-recorded.

My vote goes to GG Allin. I'll engineer. NPNG preamps only.

Jon Nolan 17th December 2008 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seaneldon (Post 3740450)
My vote goes to GG Allin. I'll engineer. NPNG preamps only.

note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session.... :)

blaugruen7 17th December 2008 10:41 PM

being a lowest end gearslut i have heared the npng next to a 1084, an lmnopre and an v76 and i wouldnt have the slightest problem to have only a bunch of npngs

seaneldon 17th December 2008 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Nolan (Post 3741373)
note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session.... :)

Nah, I'd set 'em up in a circle and do a decca tree above them. No spit, no ****, no problem!

Johnkenn 17th December 2008 11:21 PM

Hey sean - any plans/possibility that this ends up as a 500 series?

seaneldon 18th December 2008 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnkenn (Post 3741518)
Hey sean - any plans/possibility that this ends up as a 500 series?

Karl's been wanting to do a 500-series module for a few months. It would NOT be the exact circuit that his current unit has (the NPNG rack units which do NOT have an internal PSU are about 20+ inches deep, to give you an idea of why that won't happen). It'd be in the same "tonal family", though not the same exact thing.

Chris Wilson 18th December 2008 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seaneldon (Post 3741656)
(the NPNG rack units which do NOT have an internal PSU are about 20+ inches deep, to give you an idea of why that won't happen)

Yeah, the chassis on that sucker is like a box of New York pizza.

Because people have been expressing their opinions about meters on preamps, I thought I'd mention how (while not as detailed as a Dorrough or Coleman) the NPNG's meter is quite handy. It's rather scaled down so a quick glance tells you when you’re getting signal, when you’re getting up there, and when you’re in trouble. Perfect! That's all you have time to check on while you're tracking anyway.

gainreduction 18th December 2008 02:05 PM

I agree that the metering is very useful, although simple and scaled down.

My ONLY complaint about the NPNG is the LEDs in the meter and the 48V/HPF/PAD/Phase indicators. They are so bright it hurts to look at them. cooge

six_wax 18th December 2008 08:13 PM

For $1150 per channel, it better play all the instruments and wash my car, too...

seaneldon 18th December 2008 08:58 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here's a newly configured 24-input (20 pres) mobile doom rack. Karl rackmounted two PSUs into a bulletproof 2U case for traveling ease. A MacBook Pro lives very snugly in the sliding drawer above the preamps.

sonicdefault 18th December 2008 08:58 PM

I find it hard to use my other pres now. At first I thought they'll be too clean for some things... but then when I heard them, I found their unique sound hard to resist. They are clean, but just like gainreduction says, they're so much more.


-SD

Knox 18th December 2008 10:21 PM

I have known Karl a long time. He has been busting his butt over this thing for a long time. It really is an amazing piece.

redrue 19th December 2008 01:31 AM

This is really the fundamental problem with
being a GS...

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.

I mean, there's absolutely nothing in my way
of making some absolutely stunning recordings,
nothing! What's getting something else going
to accomplish? Really.

...then accolades start pouring in for something
like this NPNG... Awww $#%@!

I know what's about to happen.

Knox 19th December 2008 01:40 AM

*smile* . . . i used to want all kinds of 'new' things that came out. Many times I would get them. One day I realized how ridiculous all this addiction to gear can be . . I walked in the studio one day and looked around and realized I had everything I needed to make records. And THEN some . . . . AND I had MUCH more then the Beatles, Hendrix ever had. Too much reliance on "gear' these days and not enough on talent and ability.

Quote:

Originally Posted by redrue (Post 3744744)

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.


maxy 19th December 2008 02:28 AM

I haven't heard the pre's but I love the features. Just based on that I've been tempted to pick them up.

I don't like how the 2 channel version is laid out. Couldn't they be spaced out so as to not look like a half filled rack space. I don't want to look at my rack and be annoyed at that everyday. I guess its not a big deal but enought to keep me from concidering the 2 channel version and I don't really need 4 channels... so, I guess it is kind of a big deal.

Maxy

MooWahmBah 19th December 2008 03:43 AM

signing on just to keep track of the thread , I`ll try to get to Mercenary to see it live in Jan .

BradM 19th December 2008 04:46 AM

Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".

Brad

AB3 19th December 2008 05:24 AM

And that being the case, why should anyone think this is better than the Forssell solid state pre? It is clean and smooth and great sounding.

Sounds like just another good choice to me.

And for that matter, I would like to hear samples of it, the Forssell and the Gordon.

Anyone have all three? (odds are very slim)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad McGowan (Post 3745119)
Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".

Brad


gainreduction 19th December 2008 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maxy (Post 3744843)
I don't like how the 2 channel version is laid out. Couldn't they be spaced out so as to not look like a half filled rack space. I don't want to look at my rack and be annoyed at that everyday.

The 2-channel model uses the same chassis as the 4-channel with two of the slots covered with a blank panel with the logo on it. My dealer was in touch with Karl to find out that it is possible to buy a the dual channel and expand to a 4 banger later on. Either by sending it in or with the assistance of a tech locally who can be guided through the upgrade.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad McGowan (Post 3745119)
Sounds like "clean" is the new "colored".

The thing is that you don´t percieve the NPNG as either clean or colored. It´s like a mix of everything and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is definitely very detailed and revealing but at the same time it brings out harmonics in a way that gives it a tone. Clean with mojo, does that make any sense ? It has a very solid sound that just seem to anchor things where you want them.

gainreduction 19th December 2008 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redrue (Post 3744744)
This is really the fundamental problem with
being a GS...

I have found the mic pres with which I'm confident
I can do whatever I need... make great recordings.
I've got a couple SCA N72s and the GML 8304... I
don't NEED anything else and have actually sworn
off looking at/considering any more mic pres.

I mean, there's absolutely nothing in my way
of making some absolutely stunning recordings,
nothing! What's getting something else going
to accomplish? Really.

...then accolades start pouring in for something
like this NPNG... Awww $#%@!

I know what's about to happen.

hittthittthittt

Audio Dog 19th December 2008 01:12 PM

NPNG in Europe
 
Hi !
Thanks Gain Reduction for your short review. As I´m the only NPNG pimp in Europe at the moment I welcome all europeans to Audio Dog Pro Audio AB

I thinks it´s nice that more people in Sweden than me gets to enjoy this very nice piece of equipment.

Sean; I like your hat.

//Ulf

matt thomas 19th December 2008 02:24 PM

Nice mobile doom rack Sean!

narco

Johnkenn 21st December 2008 02:37 AM

Hey Mercenary peeps -
I've got a pretty clinical/clean mic with the Korby Blue - what does the NPNG sound like with something like that?

seaneldon 21st December 2008 05:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by narco (Post 3745848)
Nice mobile doom rack Sean!

Yes it is! We had a great time, erm, testing it before it had to ship out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnkenn (Post 3749882)
Hey Mercenary peeps -
I've got a pretty clinical/clean mic with the Korby Blue - what does the NPNG sound like with something like that?

I have never heard this microphone. In my experience with the NPNG, though, it should sound a helluva lot like the microphone but with an intense magnifying glass over the "detail" and "body" aspects of the mic. We've had guys call back and say that they have never heard their SM57 sound "like that". Still, the only way to know is to listen to the thing. But I don't have to tell you that!

James Meeker 22nd January 2009 03:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Nolan (Post 3741373)
note to self: don't get mouth close to mercenary's mics after eldon's gg allin session.... :)

Oh man, that's funny!

You'd need one of those insect measurement mics to record GG now.... the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out....

gainreduction 19th February 2009 10:45 PM

Folks, just a quick update. Been in production mode pretty much since I got the NPNG and haven´t had much time for mixing until now.

The NPNG recorded tracks makes me feel like I´m cheating. heh Very little eq, very painless... it´s just *there*. Have no better way of putting it. The NPNG is also on the make-up-gain-for-my-passive-summing-rail gig right now and... yeah. oh yeah. hittt

hehhehheh

RoundBadge 20th February 2009 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gainreduction (Post 3930678)
Folks, just a quick update. Been in production mode pretty much since I got the NPNG and haven´t had much time for mixing until now.

The NPNG recorded tracks makes me feel like I´m cheating. heh Very little eq, very painless... it´s just *there*. Have no better way of putting it. The NPNG is also on the make-up-gain-for-my-passive-summing-rail gig right now and... yeah. oh yeah. hittt

hehhehheh

Got any mix samples?
love to hear some stuff done w/ the NPNG's
I need to put a new mobile rack multi track rig together for my film/TV recording stuff
[dialog/VO/SFX,music,etc] and these just might fit the billdiddlydoo

blaugruen7 20th February 2009 10:28 AM

roundbadge,
i heared the NPNG next to v72s, 1084 and lmnopres and liked the NPNG VERY much.
just some positive vibration for your gearslut heart. :-)