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Stereo Mic Pre for Classical Digital Converters
Old 2nd August 2004
  #1
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thenewyear's Avatar
Question Stereo Mic Pre for Classical

Hi,

I would be really interested to hear folks on this forum's opinion on a good dual mic pre for classical work. I am looking for a quality analogue piece that will retain its value & that is a considerable step up from what i have used in the past (Soundcraft console, Tascam DA-P1, Digi MBox).

Ideally I am looking for something that has a DAC built in with S/PDIF out so I can run that into the MBox and take the line outs to the DA-P1 as back up.

I have been looking at the Metric Halo ULN-2 which seems like a great unit but if I went that route I would have to purchase & learn a whole new D.A.W. software package as well.

Two of those SSL XLogic channels with the convertor option would do nicely of course but thats a 'little' out of my price range.

The purchase is being driven by the fact that the DA-P1 crapped out on me recently & i ended up having to use the pres on the MBox during a session . Can anyone here say "hissssssss"??? .

Now I wonder if I can get a good price on the Waves Restoration Bundle...
Old 2nd August 2004
  #2
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henryrobinett's Avatar
I was thinking the ULN-2 sounds exactly like what you're looking for. I have one and the pres are very, very good. Other than that I use Millennia HV-3s for jazz and a little classical work.

What would you have to learn/unlearn re DAW? You can also use the ULN-2 as a standalone pre/converter.
Old 3rd August 2004
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
We reccomend the d.a.v.electronics Brodahurst Gardens No. 1
mic amp. It is relatively inexpensive and gives you the REAL Decca records mic amp heritage. Use it with a good outboard a/d for best results.

The problem with a built in a/d converter in the mic amp is that neither is optimized for great sound. An all in one box limits you to the performance designed to a certain price. When one buys a great mic amp and a great outboard a/d converter, you have flexibility to use either on its own.

Talk to Mick Hinton at d.a.v.

find them at http://www.davelectronics.com
Old 4th August 2004
  #4
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Plush

<snip>
The problem with a built in a/d converter in the mic amp is that neither is optimized for great sound. An all in one box limits you to the performance designed to a certain price. When one buys a great mic amp and a great outboard a/d converter, you have flexibility to use either on its own.
<snip>
Perfectly said!
Old 4th August 2004
  #5
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
True I suppose but I've A/Bed my ULN-2 with my Millennias and use it and them side by side on all of my sessions and the ULN-2 sounds great. The convertors are great as well.
Old 4th August 2004
  #6
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Remoteness's Avatar
I'd love to hear the ULN-2...

Are there any owners from the NYC area interested in letting us check it out? Do a shootout and BBQ or something?
Old 4th August 2004
  #7
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SnakeCained's Avatar
 

It sounds like a Apogee Trak2 would suit your needs. Extra clean Mic Pre, tons of gain, fantastic AD and DA, and inserts for that handmade by Rupert's mum Compressor etc.
I have used this on about 4 or 5 classical gigs direct to Stereo and been very happy.
But next time I'm trying my Focusrite 215 through a Rosetta 800, drool.......
Old 6th August 2004
  #8
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thenewyear's Avatar
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. My thoughts as follows:-

Metric Halo ULN-2: I think this unit seems great & there is a dealer in the UK doing a GREAT price on it at the moment but i still have a couple of questions that I hope that someone (Henry?) could answer... Firstly If I were to use it as in standalone mode going digital in to PTLE how would i power the unit? Would i have to buy an (expensive) broadcast power supply or could i power it through the FW port safe in the knowledge that it won't interfere with my digi interface? & secondly what is a fully professional OSX D.A.W. that integrates well with the ULN-2? I know about Logic, Cubase/Nuendo but I am prehaps looking for something simpler (no MIDI neccessary) but rock solid. Is there anything out there?

D.A.V. Broadhurst Gds.: I had not previously considered the D.A.V. stuff but it seems to be of high quality & at a sensible price. I'm not in love with the form factor (Canford extruded box with front mounted connectors), would have much prefered a rackmount interface with all the connectors on the rear. But I would definitely like to try one of them out (or perhaps one of the other units in the range). What would be a good DAC to complement this unit?

Apogee Trak 2: I have seriously looked at this unit in the past. I am not mad keen on it for the following reasons. Firstly i don't like the UI, is it just me or does all Apogee gear operate like a horrendously complex mobile phone? Secondly I don't like their marketing, as well as the truly professional market they are pushing their products firmly at project studios & amateur enthusiasts who do not require or necessarily benefit from the premium product over a cheaper (but quality) converter. Also every new unit that comes out has the "best quality conversion from Apogee to date!" tag line. This is quite possibly true of course & a company that continually strives for excellence in audio is to be applauded but I think these claims are made more in the hope of making existing users feel inadequate in some way. Thirdly, I believe the importance of the items in the signal chain is 1. Mic, 2. Pre, 3. Converter & I feel that the Trak 2 as a product doesn't reflect that. And lastly (phew!) I hate purple.

Well done to anyone who made it this far. Please don't flame me for the lengthy diatribe about Apogee, just personal opinion.
Old 6th August 2004
  #9
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
The ULN-2 is bus powerable. So you can power it from the computer via firewire. It depends on how much drain the computer is taking from other sources. So you can, for instance, run it completely from the computers battery but not for much longer thaan 30-40 miniutes and I think it also depends on the specific fw spec you computer operates on to determine reliability. I have two Metric Halo units: 2882+dsp and the ULN-2. I always power one and bus the other. It comes with a power supply. It shouldn't interfere. I have not every heard this come as a problem.

I use Digital Performer. Works fine. Not too complicated (as complex as you want to make it I suppose).
Old 6th August 2004
  #10
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

Quote:
I'm not in love with the form factor (Canford extruded box with front mounted connectors), would have much prefered a rackmount interface with all the connectors on the rear.
There's something to be said for having a unit you can place as near the mics as possible.
Old 9th August 2004
  #11
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Ted Nightshade
I'm not in love with the form factor (Canford extruded box with front mounted connectors)
Ted, which unit are you referring to? This does not describe the ULN-2.
Old 9th August 2004
  #12
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jajjguy
Ted, which unit are you referring to? This does not describe the ULN-2.
Sorry- mufffed my quote there- that's quoted from the original poster, a comment on one of the DAV preamps Plush cited.
Old 9th August 2004
  #13
Gear addict
 

Gotcha
Old 14th August 2004
  #14
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sonare's Avatar
Someone said something regarding the ability (and implied desirablility) to get the micpre near the mics. I started doing that about a year ago and could KICK myself for not trying it sooner. The downside is that the gain controls are not very handy, but if you are recording in 24-bit then conservative peaks of -10dB are not a problem-- set your gain at about 35-40dB and adjust later.

FIY there are 2 options for remote-controlled micpres-- Grace and Crookwood. Aside from high-end mastering consoles the latter is not well known here in the states, but Crispin's (the designer) background is pretty impeccable with time spent with Neve and Meridian. He is coming out with a new line that have optional DAC built-in. The micpres are remote controlled (which means gain, input impedance (!), and some other things. You should visit his site:

<http://www.crookwood.com/>

Inquire about the "ipres".

Plush can vouch for the sonics as he has some of an earlier model micpre.

Rich
Old 14th August 2004
  #15
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mr.gefell's Avatar
 

Old 14th August 2004
  #16
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djui5's Avatar
 

Do they have to have built in A/D?........because if not you could get something really sweet for classical like a pair of EW or GML pre's....and a lavry blue A/D
Old 18th August 2004
  #17
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thenewyear's Avatar
thanks for all the replies. it really is food for thought & I will research all the suggestions given.

however i find it pretty interesting how many people are extoling the virtues of placing the pres closer to the mics. now for me this is impossible because my work is mainly concerts that are open to the public so from a security & safety stand point i don't want lots of boxes lying around the place.

however i take it that the benefit of this approach is that the cable runs of mic level audio are reduced & hence the losses are reduced.

that being the case should i be limiting the length of my mic cables??? I currently use between 9 & 19m of Mogami 3106 with gold neutrik connectors but was hoping to extend this to perhaps as much as 100m so that i have much more freedom in deciding where to position myself in the venue. however would this result in a loss of audio quality??

thanks in advance for any help.
Old 18th August 2004
  #18
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sonare's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by thenewyear
however i find it pretty interesting how many people are extoling the virtues of placing the pres closer to the mics. now for me this is impossible because my work is mainly concerts that are open to the public so from a security & safety stand point i don't want lots of boxes lying around the place.

that being the case should i be limiting the length of my mic cables??? I currently use between 9 & 19m of Mogami 3106 with gold neutrik connectors but was hoping to extend this to perhaps as much as 100m so that i have much more freedom in deciding where to position myself in the venue. however would this result in a loss of audio quality??

I do as much live work as sessions, and it is not a problem if you setup wisely. Put the pres in a black rack case with the back open to the performers, and it becomes pretty invisible. After all, the biggest "security and safety" issue is that great big 3-7m stand with mics on top!

As for max mic line length, just compute your cable capicitance and see how much it is rolling off the high frequencies. That is the advantage of using AES cable for mic cable. My Mogami is about 14p/f a foot compared to the <40p/f of starquad. I could hear an improvement even before I put the micspres near the mics. The other advantages of a much higher signal over a long distance are obvious. I would not DREAM of taking mic-level 100m!

Rich
Old 21st May 2008
  #19
hi

could someone say how the GTQ2 fairs on classical with mkh 40s, shoeps or the new mkh8040s

and how des it compare with the othe preamps mentioned like D.A.V

thanks
ss
Old 21st May 2008
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
FIY there are 2 options for remote-controlled micpres-- Grace and Crookwood.
there are many more than that. personally i would look at the Millennia.
i cant compare them to the others mentioned but Millennia is a solid option.
Old 21st May 2008
  #21
Gear addict
 

Old 22nd May 2008
  #22
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Preamp location

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
Someone said something regarding the ability (and implied desirablility) to get the micpre near the mics. I started doing that about a year ago and could KICK myself for not trying it sooner.
Haven't tried this either, but have wanted to do so. Any problems with ground loops?
Old 22nd May 2008
  #23
0VU
Gear Addict
 

It might be worth noting that this thread was begun in 2004 when Milennia didn't do a remote controlled mic pre and DAV didn't do a rack mount version of the BG1.

However, even in 2004 there were more than two remote controlled mic pres.

I started out with them in 1991 with Trevor Stride's 'Creation' preamps - not exactly common but superb quality and high on the list of the most over engineered and incredibly well built audio equipment I've ever seen.

Then we added some of the original Crookwood Paintpots.

Then in about 1995/6 got the Sonosax remote stereo preamp option fitted to a Weiss ADC1 A-D converter.

I'm currently still using all of these, plus some newer Crookwoods and Grace 801Rs

Others that I know of include those by Yamaha*, Cadac*, Neve*, Sonosax*, Studer*, Lawo, Stagetec*, RME, Sony* (for the DMX R100) Digico/Soundtracs*, Midas, API* (72 channels custom built for Manor Mobiles in the UK), Innovason*, Focusrite*, DAD, SSL*, Aphex*, Amek*, Calrec*, and a few others)


(*also definitely available in 2004 - I don't know about all the others - some probably were.)
Old 22nd May 2008
  #24
Gear addict
 

Quote:
It might be worth noting that this thread was begun in 2004 when Milennia didn't do a remote controlled mic pre and DAV didn't do a rack mount version of the BG1
WOOPS!

My bad!
Old 23rd May 2008
  #25
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staudio's Avatar
 

The Grace pre's are great for classical and other acoustic music. I have used everything of theirs from the lowly 101 to the remote controlled m802 and they deliver great detail and depth every time. The m201 stereo unit has some great features like a mid side decoder with dedicated outputs and dual outputs from each channel as well as an AD converter option.
Old 27th May 2008
  #26
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Gaston69's Avatar
I am using a Crookwood Paintpot, Korg MR-1000, Stereo pair DPA 4006.

And have to admit it has a fantastic sound, you can find some sample's I posted here.

Good Luck
Old 28th May 2008
  #27
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dbssound1's Avatar
 

ULN-2 or the grace 201 are in my opinion the way to go!
Old 28th May 2008
  #28
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DA-P2

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewyear View Post
Hi,

I would be really interested to hear folks on this forum's opinion on a good dual mic pre for classical work. I am looking for a quality analogue piece that will retain its value & that is a considerable step up from what i have used in the past (Soundcraft console, Tascam DA-P1, Digi MBox).


The purchase is being driven by the fact that the DA-P1 crapped out on me recently & i ended up having to use the pres on the MBox during a session .
This thread is an old one, but it's probably a good idea to mention two things.
1. The DA-P1, which was a horrific DAT recorder in every way, is still available for sale at the stunningly high price of $600.
2. The DA-P2, Tascam's current flash recorder, bares no resemblance in any way to the DA-P1. It looks vaguely the same, but the whole thing is on another planet, so those who've hated the DA-P1 should definitely try the DA-P2. Very nice.

Nice big sound, quiet pre's, etc.
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