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Mic Tube preamp for classical music ? Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 18th July 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

Mic Tube preamp for classical music ?

Hello,

I record only classical music (strings, little orchestra) with schoeps microphones.

I use for the moment the preamps of the RME fireface800 and Audient mico but I don't like them, they sound aggressive.


I would like to know if someone has already used tube preamp to record classical music?

Thank you.
Old 18th July 2017
  #2
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Crash's Avatar
While not tube, I would look at some of the Grace Designs preamps for this genre. I used the 801 with great success.
Old 18th July 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 

There are a number of directions you can go. Part of your sound that you aren't happy with is due to the fact that these preamps show distortion at much lower levels than the higher-end transparent pres. Not so much that they are transparent. Once you're in the transparent realm, however, there are a number of directions that you can go. Some show more than others, which can be a good thing and sometimes isn't a good thing. I've standardized on Pueblo Audio pres as my main pickup, but before that I used Forssell, Millennia, and Grace. All had their positive points and their negative points.

If you want something with some color, there are equally large numbers of directions you can go- many of the tube pres out there don't have quite the same amount of gain which may or may not be a problem. My tube "go to" is a vintage set of Vac Rac preamps. They're pretty tough to find these days, though. Other great pres include the Millennia M-2B tube pre, the Forssell Fetcode, and a number of others. You might also look to a good transformer-based pre. For classical, you can do well with an A-Designs Pacifica, Neve and a number of others. There are tons of options really depending on what you are looking for. When you get to a higher-end preamp, it's pretty tough to say one is good or bad- rather it may or may not work for a given genre of music.

--Ben
Old 19th July 2017
  #4
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Earcatcher's Avatar
I use Thermionic Culture Earlybird 4 for classical music. A very elegant and "expensive" sound, although not always preferred by the musicians (speaking string players here). The Earlybird 4 is one of the cleanest tube preamps. From my collection of clean high end preamps most musicians prefer ADT Audio TM101. They're lot cheaper than the Earlybird, by the way. It has input transformers, sounds very lively, energetic and detailed, but not harsh or cold. Make sure you combine your preamp with good converters, or your wonderful signal will be all screwed up.
Old 19th July 2017
  #5
Deleted User
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The idea of selecting Tube units to provide "colour" is an odd one, and detractors often regard tube designs as unusable due to the self-noise, and tube designs are often regarded as expensive by comparison.

As always, it's all in the implementation.

Some of the more "transparent" designs just happen to also use tubes, for example the Knif V804 Pre, which offers a very low self-noise, in an optimised design, for not much coin: Knif V804 Pre.

Last edited by reynaud; 19th July 2017 at 08:14 AM..
Old 19th July 2017
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Adkins's Avatar
I agree.
I'm in love with my QES Labs SMP-2, which is tube based. Still transparent and detailed. Dead quiet.
Check this old shootout recorded with the DPA 4011 on a piano:
Stereo Tube Preamp: D.W. Fearn, Tube-Tech, QES Labs
Old 20th July 2017
  #7
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrganMaster View Post
Hello,

I record only classical music (strings, little orchestra) with schoeps microphones.

I use for the moment the preamps of the RME fireface800 and Audient mico but I don't like them, they sound aggressive.
Did you already think about if it also could be the microphones?

The afforementioned Grace Design is a little on the bright side and together with the Schoeps it could be to much and doesn´t got the direction you´re looking for.

I also don´t see the solution is a tube preamp. A tube preamp in its best way is just transparent and without harshness. You can get almost the same from a Gordon - transparent, fine resolution without any sharp or hard sound - very open.

But again, also take a look at alternative microphones.
Old 20th July 2017
  #8
You shouldn't automatically assume you need tubes based only on your experience with third-tier solid-state preamps. The solid-state preamps most often found in classical remote racks sound nothing like those. The usual A-list preamps (Millennia, Grace, Forssell, Gordon, etc.) sound lovely with Schoeps SDC's and have been used on too many excellent classical recordings to mention. Borrow any of the above for a session before deciding to abandon solid-state.

If, after trying a good A-list preamp or two, you still want something different, consider that you can get most of the sound people ascribe to tubes simply by switching to a solid-state preamp with transformers. Plus, you won't have to worry about the extra noise, heat, gain instability, and general fragility of a tube preamp for remote work. The Pacifica preamp that Ben mentioned sounds radically different than a "transparent" preamp and, while heavy, still fits in one rack space with no external power supply. I've used it on a few classical gigs, and found it, um, "overly dramatic", but your tastes may vary. When it comes to transformers, I'm very partial to those (formerly) made by Jensen. For classical work, you'd do well to consider the Jensen Twin Servo preamp manufactured by John Hardy.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 20th July 2017
  #9
Gear Head
 

Thank you !

What do you think about the RME micstasy and AUDIENT preamps in comparison with Millennia, Grace, Forssell, Gordon ?
Old 20th July 2017
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
Micstasy is excellent and in use here as a main part of my set up. It is superior to Audient in my opinion. I also run Gordon here. Micstasy is not comparable to Gordon performance, but it offers, say, 85% of the Gordon performance.

It has its origins in a Deutsche Grammophon in house design where the goal was to make a very transparent multi-channel mic amp combined with a top class a/d converter. It was brought out of the DG company and realized as a commercial product by RME.

I use it quite simply with an eight channel AES output to a digital console.
A/D conversion is truly excellent and the mic amp is like nothing else in the RME line--again, a superior design.

The unit has many other features too such as automatic level setting, m/s decoder, low cut filters, ability to be remote controlled and much more.

Also has the possibility to have a MADI output card fitted.
Old 10th June 2018
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Bumping an older thread but the topic is relevant to my question.
Have any of you tried the Sebatron tube pres like the Axis 200VU? The price is very appealing.
Old 10th June 2018
  #12
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Plush's Avatar
I recommend the Edwards Audio LE-10 tube pre. Edwards Audio Research | Tube Mic Preamp

Also the Tube Tech MP2A. Both are very clean and neutral sounding.

Move towards Pueblo or Gordon for stunning solid state preamplification.
Old 11th June 2018
  #13
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Don S's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=Plush;13363060]I recommend the Edwards Audio LE-10 tube pre. Edwards Audio Research | Tube Mic Preamp

Is this what Tony F is referring to when he mentions EAR preamps?
Old 11th June 2018
  #14
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Don S's Avatar
 

Give Pueblo a listen, they are stunning.
Old 11th June 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
[QUOTE=Don S;13363363]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I recommend the Edwards Audio LE-10 tube pre. Edwards Audio Research | Tube Mic Preamp

Is this what Tony F is referring to when he mentions EAR preamps?
No I think he means EAR : Esoteric Audio Research, chief honcho there is Tim de Paravacini (or is that Power of Attorney ?) Apparently if the man is left alone in a room with a piece of recording or playback electronics for half an hour, you'll come back finding it converted to tube operation and performing many times better than the original ! He spent a considerable amount of time in Japan....which should explain much about his tube persuasion.

https://www.stereophile.com/intervie...rav/index.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWskjEoCbMc

EAR Yoshino | Hifi Product Range

Tim De Paravicini — EAR-USA
Old 11th June 2018
  #16
Quote:
Bumping an older thread but the topic is relevant to my question.
Have any of you tried the Sebatron tube pres like the Axis 200VU? The price is very appealing.

I have a Sebatron AXIS 200VU which I use almost exclusively for classical recording.
It has a wide frequency response that easily captures all the nuances of the source.
I also love the fact I'm able to dial in a slight amount of color without the obvious artifacts.

I own and have used many different preamps for classical and folk recordings but the Sebatron AXIS is the one I use the most.
Old 11th June 2018
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
[QUOTE=Don S;13363363]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I recommend the Edwards Audio LE-10 tube pre. Edwards Audio Research | Tube Mic Preamp

Is this what Tony F is referring to when he mentions EAR preamps?
As mentioned, Tony uses EAR 824 tube mic amps. An incredible sound. They provide highest headroom of any mic amp. Vintage King sells them for $12,500 for a stereo unit. Years ago I took Tony’s advice and bought a used one at Funky Junk London. The sound of the EAR helped me to win many recording awards.

I was speaking of the fantastic Edwards LE-10
Preamp made in LA. A beautiful sound and reasonably priced at $2495 for a stereo unit.

I am a dealer for Edwards and have units in stock here in CHITOWN.
Old 11th June 2018
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Ive switched to using exclusively ribbon mics for my acoustic instrument sources and am wondering out of the recommended options, will any of them be better for ribbon mics (higher impedance option, etc)?
Old 11th June 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari88 View Post
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Ive switched to using exclusively ribbon mics for my acoustic instrument sources and am wondering out of the recommended options, will any of them be better for ribbon mics (higher impedance option, etc)?
I record classical and other acoustic music and can highly recommend the Gordon preamp. It’s
solid state but basically I never hear the preamp ( only what’s going into the mic) and ideal
for use with ribbons-very very quiet gain (see
Specs)
and 2 Megohm input impedance which unloads the mic. Also it’s ideal for low output ribbon mics
because the Gain Control Module is in a separate box so you can put the preamp at the base of the mic stand and then run line level as far as you want without degradation. (A single XLR cable is needed to link the Gain Control for a stereo preamp.)
Old 12th June 2018
  #20
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Don S's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=Plush;13363809]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post

As mentioned, Tony uses EAR 824 tube mic amps. An incredible sound. They provide highest headroom of any mic amp. Vintage King sells them for $12,500 for a stereo unit.
Thanks Plush! THAT number sounds closer to what Tony would use. I guess that makes Gordon and Pueblo a bargain!
Old 12th June 2018
  #21
[QUOTE=Don S;13365046]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post

Thanks Plush! THAT number sounds closer to what Tony would use. I guess that makes Gordon and Pueblo a bargain!
You have a great looking logo!
Old 12th June 2018
  #22
I built my own here. Variable gain pots too, +20~60 db without attenuators. I used better stuff than the commercial products do. All Mills wirewound and Vishay bulk foil resistors, Jensen transformers and silver foil capacitors. NOS Telefunken tubes.

Zero db negative feedback and still only .003% THD. EIN is -127.5db. Bandwidth is well over 100k hz past the transformers. Phase shift is under 40 degrees at 20k hz. It would cost a fortune to manufacture these.
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