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Battery Powered Preamp Single-Channel Preamps
Old 17th August 2016
  #1
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ISLETA - Battery Powered Preamp

Hello GS community,

I have recently been commissioned to build a battery powered version of the Pueblo Audio mic preamp for some world-tripping film applications. As it stands now, the new unit will be a mono, battery powered unit which will provide full and true +48V phantom power. The battery will supply both mic and preamp for 50hrs on a single charge. 0dB to +60dB gain. Size is projected to be about 1.75"x4"x6".

While I am in the mode of creating this custom unit, I wonder how much interest there might be at large for such a product. I would appreciate any thoughts you all might have. Of course, moderators please delete this topic if it is not appropriate.

Thanks in advance,

Last edited by PuebloAudio; 20th November 2016 at 08:27 PM.. Reason: added name of preamp
Old 17th August 2016
  #2
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I for one am wildly interested.

Would this adopt your existing P48 strategy with the external jumper cable or be jumped internally?

I'd take it in stereo, or two mono units depending on how one channel scales to two in the dimensions you provided.
Old 17th August 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
I for one am wildly interested.

Would this adopt your existing P48 strategy with the external jumper cable or be jumped internally?

I'd take it in stereo, or two mono units depending on how one channel scales to two in the dimensions you provided.
Thanks for the reply, Pieter.

There will not be independent phantom/preamp channels. Mainly to conserve room/size for portability. Front panel control for switching between phantom and passive mics. It is an integrated solution which is using a novel approach to provide optimum interfacing for either state. No need for jumper cables here.

A stereo unit would be possible but it would be 1.5 to 2x as large. It would be possible to offer both mono and stereo, but there needs to be a market to warrant the investment in metal. I like the small mono size, as it should allow placing the preamp on the stand with the mic! (even when they are far apart as with spaced omni outriggers, ceiling hangers, etc). I have always found more value in two separate mics over a stereo version to the same mics. For example, a pair of CMC4's versus one MSTC64u. The pair offers considerable more flexibility. I think the same thought applies to very small mic preamps. Especially when two mono units might be almost the same size as a stereo unit.

Last edited by PuebloAudio; 18th August 2016 at 12:00 AM.. Reason: added thought
Old 18th August 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio View Post
I like the small mono size...Especially when two mono units might be almost the same size as a stereo unit.
Superior thinking.

After reading your comments, I like your approach better. Two smaller mono units. I could use one or both.

The whole package sounds very interesting indeed.

With a pair of MKH 80xx mics, that would make for one sweet field package.
Old 18th August 2016
  #5
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Interesting!

I would definitely be interested as well!

My first thought was that a stereo version would be nice as well. I'm not sure how practical something like leaving the preamp on the stand with the mic is for me personally; I would rather not have to run back and forth to adjust gain.

-Mike
Old 18th August 2016
  #6
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This pretty much already exists in the Sound Devices MM-1.
Old 18th August 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Cibley View Post
This pretty much already exists in the Sound Devices MM-1.
Hi Phil. Yes, the field of battery-powered preamps is well populated. Verily there are dozens already in existence. Many of those products are perfectly satisfactory for many tasks. I am not trying to compete against those products. Rather, I have been asked to build a unit which will provide performance not already found in available equipment. Performance demonstrated, for example, in the standard Pueblo Audio JR preamp system.

Keeping in mind the specs of the product you mentioned above - I am proposing a device with at least 2dB better EIN, 100x better CMR at 10kHz, >4dB greater headroom, >100kHz more BW, 10x lower THD, and 30-40 hours more battery life. Heck, you could probably record 8 recitals between charges! Of course, these are just technical specs. The other thing to consider is the subjective audio performance. Something with which Pueblo has found some small favor

I feel such significant contrasts in specs makes the argument that product does not already exist. At least not in a form readily available in the USA at an affordable value.

In any case, I will be making the few custom units already ordered. If there should be others seeking this kind of performance in a battery preamp, then I would consider a small production run. Hence my query here.

Looking forward to further remarks. Both affirmatives or negatives are helpful. Thanks
Old 18th August 2016
  #8
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8inthemorning's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Cibley View Post
This pretty much already exists in the Sound Devices MM-1.
Interesting ...
Old 18th August 2016
  #9
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A.alden's Avatar
 

Could you give a rough estimate of what the price would be if you were to do a production run?
Old 18th August 2016
  #10
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Whats wrong with Sound Devices /Nagra pre amps for film jobs ??
Old 18th August 2016
  #11
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Hi, I'm really interested in this, for my mono tape project in the other thread. I'd love to see some pictures and know the rough cost...
Old 18th August 2016
  #12
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Congrats on your new product. I dig it for remote recording work, especially your battery long charge. Would this preamp have overload proof headroom like your others? Good idea about placing preamp close to each mic, but that might require to "set and forget" level gains. I like that too. What recorder are the world-trippers using? Keep up the great work. Pueblo gear is prestigious and impresses clients. Consider me a customer soon.
Old 18th August 2016
  #13
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Battery operation has some good benefits. A cool project, Scott.

Please keep us posted.
Old 18th August 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
Would this preamp have overload proof headroom like your others?
Yes, when operated correctly this preamp will be effectively overload proof, just like its "big brother". With a 0dB gain setting, this preamp is expected to take at least +22dBu on input without clipping. No need for pads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
Keep up the great work. Pueblo gear is prestigious and impresses clients. Consider me a customer soon.
Thanks for those kind words, Surflounge!
Old 18th August 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alden View Post
Could you give a rough estimate of what the price would be if you were to do a production run?
The price is not yet fixed as we are still finishing the vetting process for various options. A rough estimate would be somewhere between $450-$750 depending on the features.

The $650-750 price area includes a precision 24pos switch, 2.5dB per step as in the standard Pueblo range. There are two outputs: one transformerless, quasi-balanced output and one transformer-balanced output. These can be used at the same time. This offers two sonic flavors and accommodates backup recorders, monitor feeds, etc. A stripped down version, without the transformer output, might land in the $450-550 area.

Those prices do not included the two rechargeable batteries which are $39 each. A battery recharger would also be required and not included in the above pricing.

Those are the projections for now. They will come more into focus as the design tightens up and desired quantities become known.
Old 18th August 2016
  #16
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If you can get anything like the performance of your JR preamps at that price point, I would be a happy customer.

What sonic differences should we expect between the transformer and transformerless outputs?
Old 18th August 2016
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio View Post
Yes, when operated correctly this preamp will be effectively overload proof, just like its "big brother". With a 0dB gain setting, this preamp is expected to take at least +22dBu on input without clipping. No need for pads.
So can we deduce that sonically it will be the perfect equal to its big brother?

For me, the extra cost of the batteries and charger is just fine, but would you provide those to order as well or would we have to source those ourselves? I like all-in packages personally.

At those price points (ish), with your performance, I reckon you should consider expanding your build list right now and put me down for two. Your big brother packages are in my longer-term plans, but honestly, a pair of these would go right to the front of the line.
Old 18th August 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alden View Post
If you can get anything like the performance of your JR preamps at that price point, I would be a happy customer.

What sonic differences should we expect between the transformer and transformerless outputs?
I would prefer no sonic difference, e.g. a Lundahl. Transformers are for galvanic separation. I use preamps with Lundahls, and the difference between transformer out and transformerless out is minimal, the way it should be in my opinion. Adding color this way, always takes something away from the quality, rather add color with a good digital or analogue EQ.
Old 18th August 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
So can we deduce that sonically it will be the perfect equal to its big brother?

For me, the extra cost of the batteries and charger is just fine, but would you provide those to order as well or would we have to source those ourselves? I like all-in packages personally.

At those price points (ish), with your performance, I reckon you should consider expanding your build list right now and put me down for two. Your big brother packages are in my longer-term plans, but honestly, a pair of these would go right to the front of the line.
Of course the variations in power supply type and transformer output necessarily means it won't be a 100% *match*, per say. While there might be subtle differences, it is certainly the same level and class of quality and distinctly Pueblo.

Yes, I would offer the batteries with the pre. But they are also available at large (Amazon, etc) should you want extras, etc..

Thanks for your interest and encouragement. The larger the potential interest, the larger a production run would be. More quantity = lower pricing.
Old 18th August 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio View Post
The price is not yet fixed as we are still finishing the vetting process for various options. A rough estimate would be somewhere between $450-$750 depending on the features.

The $650-750 price area includes a precision 24pos switch, 2.5dB per step as in the standard Pueblo range. There are two outputs: one transformerless, quasi-balanced output and one transformer-balanced output. These can be used at the same time. This offers two sonic flavors and accommodates backup recorders, monitor feeds, etc.
Now you have piqued my interest as well!
Old 18th August 2016
  #21
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If you can get the price down to the point where two channels of the transformerless version would come in at or below 1K, I could see this challenging or besting the DAV BG1 for the title of best value on the market. I would buy at least two, as I'm sure would many of the classical recordists on this forum.
Old 19th August 2016
  #22
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If you can get two pres into a box roughly that size, have it run for a long time on a reasonable AH battery and have it cost what you said they will sell for sure. Lots of people would like to have a couple of channels of Pueblo avail on location... This wouldn't ever be a bag-rig-thing so it doesn't need to be tiny.
Old 19th August 2016
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio View Post
The price is not yet fixed as we are still finishing the vetting process for various options. A rough estimate would be somewhere between $450-$750 depending on the features.

The $650-750 price area includes a precision 24pos switch, 2.5dB per step as in the standard Pueblo range. There are two outputs: one transformerless, quasi-balanced output and one transformer-balanced output. These can be used at the same time. This offers two sonic flavors and accommodates backup recorders, monitor feeds, etc. A stripped down version, without the transformer output, might land in the $450-550 area.

Those prices do not included the two rechargeable batteries which are $39 each. A battery recharger would also be required and not included in the above pricing.

Those are the projections for now. They will come more into focus as the design tightens up and desired quantities become known.
please make this all happen, this is absolutely perfect for my needs.
Would 100% buy.
Old 19th August 2016
  #24
Quote:
Whats wrong with Sound Devices /Nagra pre amps for film jobs ??
That was kind of my thought. Is there really much of a market for a battery powered preamp without the integration of a recorder or field mixer? I would think purely mobile work like this without AC power would try to limit themselves to an all-in-one device, and there are many extremely good ones out there.

Not to be discouraging, just trying to imagine a potential market where this would sell.
Old 19th August 2016
  #25
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I'm definitely interested -- as long as it is kept small and light, as transparent and colorless as possible (think 'wire with gain' ... no trannys for me) and meets a very attractive price point. Think 'toss 'em in a backpack'.

My use would be for 'purist' classical remotes, so either a stereo unit or two monos works for me (but I'd need really tight matching of the switched gains between two mono units for stereo pr use).
Old 19th August 2016
  #26
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Originally Posted by hughesmr View Post
...I'd need really tight matching of the switched gains between two mono units for stereo pr use).
Thanks for your input, hughesmr.

As with the standard Pueblo range, gain precision would be matched +/- 0.1dB between any channel, any box.

The transformer to be used would offer 0.001% distortion and extreme bandwidth. I think that earns it a "purist" honor badge, at least ;-)

Last edited by PuebloAudio; 19th August 2016 at 06:50 AM..
Old 19th August 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
trying to imagine a potential market where this would sell.
Many field recorders can benefit from better mobile preamps to use for line-in, in addition to the preamps already installed (thinking of how this would upgrade Sound Devices 6 series recorders)
Old 19th August 2016
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
Many field recorders can benefit from better mobile preamps to use for line-in, in addition to the preamps already installed (thinking of how this would upgrade Sound Devices 6 series recorders)
Exactly what I'm envisioning with my new Sonosax R4+. 6 total pres of "ahhhh...."
Old 19th August 2016
  #29
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Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Battery operation has some good benefits. A cool project, Scott.

Please keep us posted.
Thanks for the encouragement, Mr. Supremo!

As you may already know, the precursor to the Pueblo preamp was originally battery-powered. When I decided to make it a product, I felt the AC power supply was ultimately superior sonically. In addition, the available battery management situation was not practical for most end users.

But these days, battery tech has really advanced. I now feel the modern batteries can offer great performance, lighter weight and reasonable charging management by end users in the field.
Old 19th August 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
That was kind of my thought. Is there really much of a market for a battery powered preamp without the integration of a recorder or field mixer? I would think purely mobile work like this without AC power would try to limit themselves to an all-in-one device, and there are many extremely good ones out there.

Not to be discouraging, just trying to imagine a potential market where this would sell.
I'm actually really interested in the opposite problem, why isnt there much battery powered stuff out there...
I'm looking for a small battery powered monitor and a battery powered simple mono eq and compressor, do the latter two even exist??
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