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3 Channels of Pres for Classical Recording
Old 13th July 2005
  #1
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3 Channels of Pres for Classical Recording

Hello Slutz,

I work as an engineer at a university and we are in the market for 3 pristine preamp channels for the recording of classical music. Our budget tops out at roughly $2700. Our mic configuration is a Decca Tree with two Neuman 170s on the sides and an Earthworks QTC1 in the center.

We are looking at the John Hardy M2s, GML 8304s, and other pres (of course, we wish budget wasn't an issue, but we have to cap it at $2700).

Can anyone tell me how the Twin Servo 990 pres from John Hardy would sonically benefit classical music? (I know it's an open ended question but subjective answers are appreciated).

Do you think we'd be ok with 3 channels of the M2s?

thanks,
Paul
Old 13th July 2005
  #2
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you should also take a look at millenia media hv3's probably one of the most used pre for clasical recording.
Old 13th July 2005
  #3
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the hardy's are great, though i prefer millenia hv3b's for that sort of application. i believe you can get 4x for around the price point you're talking.
Old 13th July 2005
  #4
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The Hardy's are fantastic... You won't go wrong there. I would also suggest perhaps looking at something like a DAV Electronics BG2 and use the extra cash to pick up a used TLM to match the rest of your tree.

Of course Millennias are great (as mentioned), the Grace 201's are great, but that is going to stretch the budget a bit. I've used the new A Designs Pacifica for classical with great results, although 4 channels (2 of them) will stretch your budget a bit as well.

--Ben
Old 13th July 2005
  #5
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Paul,
Take a look at the new Rupert Neve Portico, You can get 2 pair for a few bucks over budget, and they sound great. They sell direct at www.rupertneve.com

kip
Old 13th July 2005
  #6
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Plush's Avatar
I can second the suggestion for the DAV Electronics BG#2 4 channel mic amp. ($1400)

Hardy M-1 is very very good especially with input and output transformers.
($2905) + transformer on the output

I do not suggest the Twin Servo because the extra gain is seldom used in practice.

YOur Decca tree should have 3 of the same mics, so the suggestion to dump the Earthworks might be considered.
Old 13th July 2005
  #7
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Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ101
we wish budget wasn't an issue, but we have to cap it at $2700
I thnk you'll find the Speck Electronics "5.0" to give you the clarity and definition you will require for the application with an elegance and opulence rarely found in units in this price class.

It's a hell of a cool and under rated/over looked box!!!
Old 13th July 2005
  #8
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For polyphonic choirs and Baroque Music I use the same Decca Tree with a GML 8304. Very good results, also with riboon mics like Royer Labs R122,
Luca
Old 14th July 2005
  #9
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Hi! I purchased custom preamp kits from Pat Morford and I must say that the results are top-notch. I record acoustic instruments in my studio, but I have no doubt they'd be great in an orchestral setting as well. He also sells some modified preamp units and all kinds of studio gear. I'm impressed by the guy's work, and also by the sound of my preamps, as well as their price!

In no way am I affiliated with him, I only want to help!

Cheers!


http://www3.telus.net/public/vintage1/index.htm

Don't hesitate to communicate with him to see what he has in store, he's very kind and helpful.
Old 14th July 2005
  #10
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I chose the Millennia for similar work and am very pleased. The GML is also wonderfully fast with transients. I thought the M-1 had a slightly rounder sound compared to the HV-3 or the 8304. Definitely in the same league, though... Do you want a few sprinkles of sugar in your black coffee?

Yeah, you'll be "ok" with the M-2. Hardy mainframe loaded with 3 x M-2 channels (room for that 4th channel later), position your mics, and enjoy.

Have not yet had the pleasure of trying the Broadhurst Gardens pre. I don't really care for the Grace version of clean... pretty box, though.
Old 14th July 2005
  #11
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one advantage of the millenias over the hardy's is the ability to set gain identically for matching mics via the detended pots on the millenia. this obviously plays second fiddle to sound quality, build quality, support, etc. but then again, millenia and hardy are both fantastic on all three of those fronts...

so for whatever it's worth... the millenia has cooler knobs.

--jon
Old 14th July 2005
  #12
84K
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Martech is an awesome choice for your application...
Forget the Millenia... Very Disappointing.
Old 14th July 2005
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
Forget the Millenia... Very Disappointing.
whaaa??!?! millenia certainly isn't the way to go if you're looking for cool color--there is none. but transparency is (in my experience) what you're after in a classical setting.

i suppose we can agree to disagree, right?

--jon
Old 14th July 2005
  #14
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
Martech is an awesome choice for your application...
Forget the Millenia... Very Disappointing.

YOur Martech solution is not within his budget.
I don't think that Millenia is disappointing---it's just that I find the Millenia mic amps to be too laboratory clean. (yes, there is such a thing!)

As far as gain setting is concerned on the Hardy mic amps, the knobs are quite re-settable--besides that task is done by ear. DAV mic amps have stepped attenuators for exact gain re-setting.


Best from Chicago,
Plushy
Old 14th July 2005
  #15
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another vote for the millennia media HV3's - certainly the finest piece of equipment ever in my studio, and john lagrou is one of the best people i have ever worked with.
Old 14th July 2005
  #16
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larry zip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
one advantage of the millenias over the hardy's is the ability to set gain identically for matching mics via the detended pots on the millenia. this obviously plays second fiddle to sound quality, build quality, support, etc. but then again, millenia and hardy are both fantastic on all three of those fronts...

so for whatever it's worth... the millenia has cooler knobs.

--jon
about the onlyt hing cooler about the milennia is the knobs. the hardy m2 has detents as well as being ablt to add 20 db of clean gain with a very clean pre that doesn't sound clinical
Old 14th July 2005
  #17
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cdog's Avatar
API 3124+

Its fast as hell and sounds awesome.

Don't be afraid of a little euphonic coloring, really, don't be.

Cellos need love too.
Old 14th July 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
I thnk you'll find the Speck Electronics "5.0" to give you the clarity and definition you will require for the application with an elegance and opulence rarely found in units in this price class.

It's a hell of a cool and under rated/over looked box!!!

Hey Fletcher,

Are this Rane clone with more features?
Just wondering....

PUPO
Old 14th July 2005
  #19
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman
another vote for the millennia media HV3's - certainly the finest piece of equipment ever in my studio, and john lagrou is one of the best people i have ever worked with.

Hear! Hear!
Old 14th July 2005
  #20
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I'll give another check mark for the Hardy M1's, they should work fine. The M2 is essintially the same except for the stepped pots making them resettable. Plus the fact that John is another person that stands solidly behind his product if anything should go wrong,not that it will. I own a four pack of the Hardy's and wouldn't trade them for anything. A solid well built unit.
Old 14th July 2005
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry zip
the hardy m2 has detents
ahhh... you're right. i was thinking about the m1. sorry about that. i still prefer the millenia (buy a nose), but to each his own.

--jon
Old 14th July 2005
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog

Don't be afraid of a little euphonic coloring, really, don't be.

Cellos need love too.
There is no way I could possibly agree more!

Could I use this for my signature? please......
Old 14th July 2005
  #23
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thanks a lot for all the help everyone...

Yeah -- we have been considering the Millenias as well -- I didn't realize we could get 4 channels of HV-3 for about $2800.

Regarding the Neve Portico -- although I haven't heard it, I have heard some Neve pres -- (1272, 1073) and I love them for their coloration, but I don't think the university staff would be happy with super phat Neve-baked recordings of classical ensembles (not that I wouldn't like it -- but you have to consider who these recordings are for). Nonetheless, is the Portico capable of a cleaner sound than the previous Neves?

Fletcher, I hadn't considered the Speck 5.0 but I like the price. On a scale from moist to toasty, where would you put this preamp?

Paul

ps -- I love the API 512c as well, this is another option I suppose... (Don't get me wrong -- I love euphonic honey -- ideally it would be nice to get a pre that could do both -- what about the Great Rivers for classical? Any opinions or direct experience with any of these pres would be greatly appreciated ;)
Old 15th July 2005
  #24
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FWIW, the Kronos Quartet travels with 4 channels of Great River pres for their mics in performance... Sound quite good...

--Ben
Old 15th July 2005
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
Forget the Millenia... Very Disappointing.
Yeah, Millennia pres are just horrible!


CZ101,

I have heard some lovely chamber recordings using the API box cdog mentioned. Not trying to lump the two together, but I used a 2-610 (normally not my first choice for any session, save DI bass) for a viola & piano Stamitz recording. Needless to say, it was quite colored and a tad bit on the slow side, but it worked with the violist's arrangement and approach. Really, the recital hall was more of a problem than the pre.

Definitely not suggesting that you go out and buy a 2-610!!!!

Is there a local company near you where you can rent a few of these units and give them a whirl? Hearing for yourself is really the only way you're going to know what sounds right to your ears...

BTW - What are you using now for your pres? What do like or dislke about them?
Old 15th July 2005
  #26
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Right now we're using the Focusrite pres on a Control 24, and occasionally a Presonus MP-20 -- hence, our desire to upgrade.
Old 15th July 2005
  #27
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ101
Right now we're using the Focusrite pres on a Control 24, and occasionally a Presonus MP-20 -- hence, our desire to upgrade.
We are strictly in the classical business here. Just as a bit of advice, you can record orchestra/chamber music with any mic amp.

YOu mentioned that you like "euphonic honey."

Neve Portico is very natural-- nothing like a vitage Neve module.
We are using it at a summer chamber music festival to amplify the main pair. lt is very good--just sounds natural and balanced. Transformer in and out gives an expecially nice sound.

DAV Electronics is the epitome of euphonic honey. Natural but with something extra. Authorized by Decca, used by Decca.

I repeat, you can record orchestra with ANY mic amp.
Old 15th July 2005
  #28
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matt thomas's Avatar
I would say the Buzz audio pres would be a good bet , their top one (2.2) will be a bit over budget but the ssa 1.1 is right there.

Do they have a delear in cz? if not talk to tim on the geekslutz board, he's the manufacturer..
Old 18th July 2005
  #29
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So, we ended going with the Broadhurst Gardens DAV1 -- thanks for the advice...

Paul
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