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Question about DAV on more transient material Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 11th February 2018
  #1
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Question about DAV on more transient material

Have been close to pulling the trigger on a DAV preamp, and will almost certainly get a two channel. But as far as getting the four or eight channel, which are both very reasonable for the quality, I'm a hair conflicted in my inability to audition one, and so am turning to the forum to ask this. It's a great pre for pianos, ensembles, medium and distant mic'ing of live music. But my recordings are split between those and close mic'ed acoustic guitars, drums and percussion, including close mic'ing of those, and other sources more transient than the former. Basically anything else one can think of. How do DAV owners who also do the latter kind of recording feel it does on those? Obviously it can be great on anything but I'm wondering if I'll regret going for an eight channel DAV, which will then be the only remote preamps in the rack besides the ULN2 and 2882 (fairly unusable preamps for wide dynamic music and medium level mics) when it comes time to record a gig that is not smooth, creamy music.

So while I originally focused on the 8 channel I've been considering just getting the two channel DAV and extending myself into a new four channel preamp that I know is great on drums and guitars (Daking, etc). So my question is: is that unnecessary, and my concerns about the DAV and it not being a transient leaning preamp shouldn't be there? Or are there DAV owners who have tried it on drums and acoustic and electric guitars and decided it wasn't a good fit?

Thanks !

David
Old 11th February 2018
  #2
Hi David,

I'm a percussionist and used a 2-channel DAV (the rackmount BG1U model) extensively on my own music and other very transient-heavy material.

Rather than flattering music which is already "smooth" and "creamy" (to use your words), in my experience one of the DAV's great benefits is the way it gently softens the edginess of LESS-than-smooth source material, whether in terms of transient response, or things like bowed string harshness. I upgraded to a Grace m108 last year, but occasionally miss my DAV for this reason. You should have no qualms about using it as a universal preamp for any source.

To be clear, this "softening" effect is subtle and should not be confused with transformer coloration, for example. The recordings I made with my DAV just had a very slightly "pre-polished" effect -- hearing percussion through my Grace by comparison makes me feel like I am looking at panes of glass through a pane of glass.

DAV is excellent but will not be a night and day difference from your MH preamps. If you are seeking a truly alternative, thicker and more muscular sound to flatter drums, guitars, etc. it may be worth looking at other options.
Old 11th February 2018
  #3
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Thanks, luke. Thanks for your post. I only have two channels of MH ULN2 and am looking to up the quality when I do more channels along with it, so am looking at different options to fill the potential channels with better pres than I've been using as 2nd tier to the MH. I'm not really looking for a beefier/punchier sound but was concerned about the DAV smoothing over transient material a bit too much. But it sounds like you didn't have any problem with that, so that's good to hear : )

It's quite a bit more cost effective getting an 8 channel unit (from anyone) than splitting the 8 between two different manufacturers, hence wanting to verify if it was suitable as an all around, universal pre, and I'm happy to hear, and appreciate you specifying, that you feel it meets that. Every added piece of gear adds much to the laborious aspect of doing a remote (especially not having ADAT outs), so avoiding that extra complication (and expense) is a goal if it still gets good results.

Thanks : )

David
Old 12th February 2018
  #4
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rboy View Post
But as far as getting the four or eight channel, which are both very reasonable for the quality, I'm a hair conflicted in my inability to audition one
Thanks !

David
Where are you located?
Old 12th February 2018
  #5
It is a very dynamic preamp. Not the absolute fastest or punchiest, but transients are detailed and articulate with only a hint of smoothing over. It does a fair job on percussion and guitar depending on the microphones choice.
Old 13th February 2018
  #6
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Further to this, in Michael Stavrou's excellent book "Mixing with Your Mind" he suggests that sounds in general (and microphones) can be grouped along a "softness to hardness" continuum of 1 - 10. He doesn't specify exactly what this is (although it isn't loudness), probably aiming that each reader comes up with their own definition.

Then he recommends pairing a "soft" microphone with a "hard" sound, to counter-balance it. I think that is what we're doing intuitively in this forum all the time, when someone asks for a mic recommendation, after citing the intended instrument/voice/use it will be employed for.

A snare drum crack will thus have a different hardness than a tuba or a female madrigal singer...and you'd make your mic choice accordingly. It's given a little more elaboration here: Experiment 1 – Defining Hardness | philipstirzaker

So a high hardness mic gets paired with a low hardness sound and vice versa...and a 5H mic with a 5H sound

It should be noted that this metric is used mainly in the close-miked studio world...I don't know how well it generalizes out to acoustic music in performance spaces, where the typical distances are much larger ?

Dropping the preamp into the equation, I'd agree with Daniel in post#5 above, in that the DAV sits at the neutral to slightly soft level of hardness...maybe a 4 or 4.5 (with 5 being totally neutral).

In other words, you can pretty much take it out of the equation when it comes to mic selection, and let the factors above dictate your choices (if you subscribe to this particular practice outlined above ?)

Last edited by studer58; 13th February 2018 at 04:45 PM..
Old 13th February 2018
  #7
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Plush's Avatar
There is no drawback to using D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 or Broadhurst Gardens No. 2 with transient rich sources. It does NOT miss the transients.

Why would a Decca design mic amp made for recording orchestra be tolerated if it softened the transients of big tutti, percussion hits, bass drum explosions, Bruckner massed low brass rave-ups, triangle musings etc.?

The answer is it would not be tolerated.

I recommend starting with the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 2 foour channel mic amp.

It is an incredible sound at a fantastic price.
Old 15th February 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Why would a Decca design mic amp made for recording orchestra be tolerated if it softened the transients of big tutti, percussion hits, bass drum explosions, Bruckner massed low brass rave-ups, triangle musings etc.?

The answer is it would not be tolerated.
The tastes and requirements for orchestra, of which I don't do any, are different than close mic'd acoustic and electric guitars and drum sets. An orchestral bass drum is a different animal than a kick drum and an appropriate orchestral recording of it has a different goal than same of a kick drum. A Bruckner massed low brass rave up I will never be the recordist of but a Tower Of Power type horn section I would. My question was more to find about people's experience using the DAV for the latter, non-orchestral uses and whether they kept using on them. The quality of the DAVs is unquestionable. Since they are colored pres I was interested on their appropriateness in music other than the orchestral, which is what most of discussion on them centers on, since I don't do orchestras.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post

Dropping the preamp into the equation, I'd agree with Daniel in post#5 above, in that the DAV sits at the neutral to slightly soft level of hardness...maybe a 4 or 4.5 (with 5 being totally neutral).

In other words, you can pretty much take it out of the equation when it comes to mic selection, and let the factors above dictate your choices (if you subscribe to this particular practice outlined above ?)
Thanks, studer58. Neutral degree of it is good enough. Not needing a punchy, in your face rack of pres, but I am wanting to find out if I can be happy with the DAVs covering everything and not needing to also get a rack of different pres. I'm not a big business, and at this point would rather find 8 channels of a pre with only mic choices for different applications than split it between aggressive and smooth pres, for example. It sounds like the DAVs will be what I'm looking for. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
It is a very dynamic preamp. Not the absolute fastest or punchiest, but transients are detailed and articulate with only a hint of smoothing over. It does a fair job on percussion and guitar depending on the microphones choice.
Thank you, rumleymusic. Never seen a DAV in the wild, so I've never heard one beyond online samples and haven't found any recordist's remarks about using them for modern music and close mic'ing. So this is exactly what I wanted the opinions of : ) I appreciate it : )

I'd like to add that I've emailed Mick Hinton a bit regarding prices and shipping and a few model questions and his responses have all been immediate and as concise and friendly and humanly possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
Where are you located?
In Brooklyn, NYC.
Old 15th February 2018
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
Greetings rboy,

I think you didn't grasp my analogy. If the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 or No. 2 can offer a very defined transient sound on orchestra it DOES THE SAME for your examples.

I do not consider the No. 1 or No. 2 to be a "colored" preamp.

I am the original D.A.V. freak on GS.

Buy the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 2 today.
Old 15th February 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post

Buy the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 2 today.
Do you have a U.S. source you'd like to recommend?
Old 16th February 2018
  #11
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Plush's Avatar
There is no USA source. D.A.V. electronics sells direct and prices include FedEx shipping to your door.

D.A.V. electronics
Old 16th February 2018
  #12
Hi rboy,

this gives you an impression of DAV on el guitar.
it's the 8ch model.
Attached Files

2018-02-16 soldano ribbon DAV.mp3 (8.95 MB, 1335 views)

Old 17th February 2018
  #13
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brhoward's Avatar
 

Here are a few examples I recorded using the DAV BG on everything except (keys or DI'd stuff). This will prove they can do well on guitar/drums/vocals/bass --whatever you put them on. I have other preamps but I love these enough to have 12 channels.





Old 17th February 2018
  #14
A very famous guitarist has multiple DAV mic/pres all over his studio.
Certainly lunchboxes, and I'm pretty sure i saw the 8ch version.
His other recording gear is SUPER high end vintage.
The people I know who have used them typically describe them as natural, true to source.
Old 18th February 2018
  #15
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It doesn't take a lot of searching to discover that they are listed as kit in Mark Knopfler's British Grove studios: British Grove Studios, London |

as well as (possibly) David Gilmour's little Astoria kayak on the Thames River: YouTube
At least I've read the BG8 was specified for a tour by Gilmour, David Gilmour clean amp sound?
Help! Dav bg1 problem

and this comes directly from the DAV webpage: "Our main clients are some of the most well known Mastering & Recording Studios in London:

British Grove Studios
David Gilmour
Universal Digital Mastering
Ealing Mobile Recording
The Decca Record Co.
The Townhouse Studios
Mark Knopfler

The Exchange
Metropolis Studios
Master Room
Master Piece
Audio Archiving Co.
Innocent Ear

Here's an interview with "Mr DAV" (Mick Hinton) outlining his design philosophy and parts sourcing: Designer Talk : Mick Hinton | D.A.V. Electronics / KMR Audio News

Last edited by studer58; 18th February 2018 at 10:35 AM..
Old 18th February 2018
  #16
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Greetings rboy,

I think you didn't grasp my analogy. If the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 or No. 2 can offer a very defined transient sound on orchestra it DOES THE SAME for your examples.

I do not consider the No. 1 or No. 2 to be a "colored" preamp.

I am the original D.A.V. freak on GS.

Buy the D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 2 today.
I love my DAV BG1 and think it's a superb pre on classical chamber music.

And I've met Mick Hinton at the time of purchasing one from him.

Very fine quality and it is, as you say, uncoloured. I hear the same through the headphones as I do in the recording room.

Fantastic value for money. A great British product.
Old 19th February 2018
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It doesn't take a lot of searching to discover that they are listed as kit in Mark Knopfler's British Grove studios: British Grove Studios, London |

as well as (possibly) David Gilmour's little Astoria kayak on the Thames River: YouTube
At least I've read the BG8 was specified for a tour by Gilmour, David Gilmour clean amp sound?
Help! Dav bg1 problem

and this comes directly from the DAV webpage: "Our main clients are some of the most well known Mastering & Recording Studios in London:

British Grove Studios
David Gilmour
Universal Digital Mastering
Ealing Mobile Recording
The Decca Record Co.
The Townhouse Studios
Mark Knopfler

The Exchange
Metropolis Studios
Master Room
Master Piece
Audio Archiving Co.
Innocent Ear

Here's an interview with "Mr DAV" (Mick Hinton) outlining his design philosophy and parts sourcing: Designer Talk : Mick Hinton | D.A.V. Electronics / KMR Audio News
Check the interview with Mick as he mentions me as the original BG freak who broke the news about him in America.
My company was Ealing Mobile Recording, now called Atelier HudSonic.
Old 21st February 2018
  #18
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the responses and clips. Very helpful. Just a matter now of deciding which configuration to order : )
Old 21st February 2018
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboy View Post
Thanks for the responses and clips. Very helpful. Just a matter now of deciding which configuration to order : )
Go 8..cheaper per unit !
Old 23rd February 2018
  #20
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Thread Starter
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Go 8..cheaper per unit !
True that : ) But I needed a small profile 2 pre box that would fit in my bag anyway, so I did get that. And still need to shake out some details about the full rig, as I've been wanting to simplify from all the cables and connections needed to use the ULN2 as the main pres and the 2882 taking outputs of other pres and getting them into the DAW. I'll probably not keep using the 2882 and not wait any longer to see how the upgrade plays out. In looking at replacements for getting new pres into the DAW there's not much out there that's only line ins in my budget, the Ferrofish 16 MKII being pretty much the only contender at $1,300. But from there it's not much of a jump for a unit that has four or eight usable pres and good enough conversion for my needs. So holding off on getting 8 channels of any pres (without digital outs) for another few weeks. I'll be doing well with 2 of DAV, 2 Daking, 2 ULN2 and leftovers from the 2882 until I get that decided.

I haven't even plugged in the DAV yet, but there's one thing I must say. I ordered it at 11:30 PM on the night of 2/20 and by 2 PM today, 2/23 I had it in my hands, from England to Brooklyn! Waaaay faster than I anticipated! That's as fast as I ever get anything from NJ! Pretty incredible, and it's all figured into the price, no shipping or customs sticker shock!! I'm a big fan now and I haven't even opened the box yet!
Old 24th February 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboy View Post
I haven't even plugged in the DAV yet, but there's one thing I must say. I ordered it at 11:30 PM on the night of 2/20 and by 2 PM today, 2/23 I had it in my hands, from England to Brooklyn! Waaaay faster than I anticipated! That's as fast as I ever get anything from NJ! Pretty incredible, and it's all figured into the price, no shipping or customs sticker shock!! I'm a big fan now and I haven't even opened the box yet!
My experience too...in Australia ! Mick waves some mysterious magical wand and the seas of bureaucratic red tape, taxes and sluggish delivery part before him He's a boy wonder in that and many other regards !
Old 26th February 2018
  #22
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I am the original D.A.V. freak on GS.

Buy the D.A.V. Electronics Broadhurst Gardens No:2 today.
I was under the impression that the 4th Book of Gearslutz (Hinton Edition) says: "And yea, verily I say unto thee, go forth and do as Lord Plush says, for he is the keeper of the holy preamp, through which all sound on earth must come to pass."

So I did what I was commanded and converted to DAV-ology about a year ago. Didn't everyone else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rboy View Post
TI needed a small profile 2 pre box that would fit in my bag anyway, so I did get that [DAV BG1]
Seriously though, it's a fantastic sounding pre that doesn't really have any weak points when it comes to recording all sorts of sources, transient or not, and brings out the best in all the mics I have.

There is a sonic imprint, but much like brands like API, it's one that will have you smiling every time.

Of course, there are uber-clean, uber-fast mic amps like the Gordon, Pueblo and Forssell but the cost per channel ratio increases dramatically at this level. After that there are the likes of John Hardy and Grace, but you already have a Metric Halo ULN-2 and that can certainly compete with these in terms of fidelity and pure, clean gain.

I like the form-factor of the BG1 (I have a BG9 too) but the 4-channel DAV BG2 is a great deal and pairs well in a mobile rack with the Metric Halo 2882, allowing the set-up, for example, of a pair of cardioids and a pair of omnis on the same recording.

One invaluable aspect of the DAV design (also present on the ULN-2) is stepped gain pots - not only is this an indispensable aid in matching gains for stereo pairs, but after a while you quickly get to know by heart exactly where the gains need to be on each of your mic models; stepped gains are such a great time saver that I have become allergic to preamps without this feature.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 27th February 2018 at 12:01 PM..
Old 26th February 2018
  #23
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Yuuuuuuuge
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