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Preamp for recording acoustic material Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 20th November 2005
  #31
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ckett's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Gyang,

I am looking into the Hardy loaded with the transformers.

Does the Hardy have a solid warm, focussed bass end when compared to the Millennia? I have heard the Millennia desribed as more airy and transparent but not as bass heavy.

For all who have experience with these high end preamps, is there a way to try them out in one's own studio before buying?

Thanks
Old 20th November 2005
  #32
Lives for gear
 

there are really a plethora of preamps that sound wonderful on acoustic instruments. it's really a matter of what shade of the color fits your mood on any given day. here are a few that come to mind
pendulum mdp-1a
d.w. fearn vt-2
speck 5.0
hardy m-1
cranesong flamingo
martech mss-1
just to name a few. that said, my first pick on the list for me would probably be the pendulum. then again, i prefer chocolate almond to chocolate chip.
joshua
Old 20th November 2005
  #33
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownmouse
just to name a few. that said, my first pick on the list for me would probably be the pendulum. then again, i prefer chocolate almond to chocolate chip.
joshua
Me too ... with a big dose of double cream ...
I have just ordered the Pendulum

Live is too short, why not to have some enjoyments :-)))
Old 20th November 2005
  #34
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boboji's Avatar
 

Order the Millenia and the Hardy from Fletcher at Mercenary.com. Record tracks with both. Keep the one you prefer and return the other. This is why a good gearslut needs a credit card. If you don't have a credit card you are not a true slut!!
Old 20th November 2005
  #35
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ISedlacek's Avatar
US Gearsluts have a big advantage when checking various gear. UPS´ charge for delivering 7 kg parcel to Prague is 414 dollars, Fedex wants 484 dollars. Shame on them ...
US post cost less but whether it arrives or not is a kind of dangerous lottery ...
Old 20th November 2005
  #36
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Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Preamp

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckett
Hello,

I am looking into a 2 channel preamp to record acoustic sounds. I want something that has incredible clarity, excellent transient response and dymanic range, but doesn't sound anemic and lose some of the bottom end. I will be recording primarily world acoustic instruments (hand percussion, gongs, stringed instruments) , and a variety of "noise makers" to record and sample for more creative sound design.
Self-advertisement is not finely however...

My recommendation:

FAIRMAN
T M A - Tube Microphone Amplifier


Old 20th November 2005
  #37
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Fairman
Self-advertisement is not finely however...

My recommendation:

FAIRMAN
T M A - Tube Microphone Amplifier
We have seen this picture quite a few times here ...
What about to do something with the price ? It could be more interesting then
Old 20th November 2005
  #38
Gear maniac
 
Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek
We have seen this picture quite a few times here ...
What about to do something with the price ? It could be more interesting then
Make a suggestion heh
Old 20th November 2005
  #39
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Fairman
Make a suggestion heh
Well, something between Pendulum and Flamingo (or similar high end units) and it would start being worth considering

What about posting some sound samples to persuade us that for 4500 EUR (5300 dollars) it really sounds a way better than most other preamps ?
Old 20th November 2005
  #40
AB3
Lives for gear
 

Forssell fetcode. Order direct from the maker. (No dealer cost markup). Of course, dealers need to survive too, so I am not putting them down. Awesome on acoustics. Not too sweet, not to sterile. Just hits the spot.

http://forsselltech.com
Old 21st November 2005
  #41
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Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek
Well, something between Pendulum and Flamingo (or similar high end units) and it would start being worth considering

What about posting some sound samples to persuade us that for 4500 EUR (5300 dollars) it really sounds a way better than most other preamps ?
If you have 1 or 2 microphones in this price range:
(VM1, Horch, Klaus Heyne edition, VMA, Sennheiser, Sony ...) and if you have a AD converter (gold Lavry...) then it is correctly / suitably.
Old 21st November 2005
  #42
Lives for gear
 

I use a lot of these preamps on a pretty regular basis. I generally prefer Grace to Millennia, Hardy to both (a bit more character), but my latest "go to" preamp that I've been using on everything and just LOVE is the A-Designs Pacifica. It has enough low and mid-range forwardness to give the music some interest, but a wonderfully detailed top end. I just wish I had more than 2 channels of them.

--Ben
Old 21st November 2005
  #43
Lives for gear
 

I haven't read this whole thread, but I quite like the DACS Micamp for acoustic instruments. I'd love to try the Gordon. Forsell Fetcode is another I'd like to try.

What ever hapenned to the De Medeo stereo preamp? Is he still selling those. I haven't heard anything in a while, but I think the website is still up.

Ahh! I found it. It's the DME 103. I've been wanting to try one of these too.

De Medeo Engineering
Old 21st November 2005
  #44
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ckett's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Isedlecek,

That guitar recording was incredible! What more are you looking for than that? Was that recorded using teh tube or solid state side of teh Millennia? Was the reverb added or is that a natural hall?

Ben,

I visited your website, awesome design! Why do you prefer the Grace over the Millennia? Would the Hardy bring the same dimension and clarity to the sound in a similar way to Isedlecek's guitar recording? I know about the subtle personality that the Hardy has. The 3d Mic Pre CD really shows how the Hardy can have some soul to the sound without being colored or overbearing. I see that you have done many orchestral recordings, have you used teh Hardy for that type of application?

I will primarily be recording acoustic instruments in a close mic'ed situation. My microphone collection right now consists of a Geffell M930 LD, a matched pair of Peluso CEMC6s SDC.

Thanks for your input!
Old 21st November 2005
  #45
Lives for gear
 

The Hardy is a Jensen 990 op amp based design, +24V. A single 990 has about +30 dB of gain, period. They are generally very good sounding. I know of somebody who recently had Steve Hogan (formerly with Jensen Transformers) build 4 channels of ultimate quality custom 990 based mic pres. They came in at $2,500/channel with no expenses spared, including the power supply, etc...

That A Designs Pacifica sounds like a winner too.
Old 21st November 2005
  #46
AB3
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That Pacifica has got to be a real winner. Peter at A Designs is a top notch guy too. My only concern is whether the 600 ohm would be ideal for ribbon mics? It has over 70 db of gain, so that is good news for ribbon users. I wonder if A Designs would provide an alternative higher impedence?
Any comments on this?
THANKS
AB
Old 21st November 2005
  #47
Lives for gear
 

pretty much talking out your ass Jason.

The 990 was designed by Deanne Jensen, I might be wrong, but I don't think Steve had anything to do with it originally, has about 60db of useable loop gain,
and uses it all in the Hardy product.

Don't talk tech if you can't.
Old 21st November 2005
  #48
AB3
Lives for gear
 

Sure wish I had one of Dan Kennedy's pres. Everyone raves about every pre he has made from the MP to the NV. (and I am NV-less which I do not like)
AB
Old 21st November 2005
  #49
Lives for gear
 

Oh well excuse me! You don't have to be rude about it. What's your problem man?

Anyway, Deane Jensen may have been the original designer, but I believe he has not been with us for some time now. I'm pretty sure Steve basically took over further development of the 990 after Deane's death.

I was discussing 990's with a friend of Steve's recently, so if I got that part wrong about 30dB, I was misinformed.

[edited rude expletive]

To be specific, I was recently told about the infamous "Beno mod". Some guy named Beno was modding 990 op amps. Someone told Steve about it, so he called the guy and asked him about it. This is after Deane.

Whatever man. The same friend told me that your preamps have zillions of parts in them, and that alone scared him away from them.

Fine, I edited the bit about Steve being the original designer. Are you happy now? No, probably not. I have to laugh at how offended you get by this sh!t. You take cheap shots at my friend Jim Williams, and now you're getting all huffy about something I post. Relax bro. It's not the end of the world if someone on Gearslutz is misinformed.

Old 21st November 2005
  #50
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I hate pissing matches, but I hate the worldwide spread of mis-information worse.

The 990 has been a static product since probably 1985, maybe about the time you were born? Forgive me Steve, if I'm wrong.

Yeah, my ****'s got zillions, no, wait, to be precise, a brazillion parts, at least.
Old 21st November 2005
  #51
Lives for gear
 

No, sorry buddy, I'm a good 15 years older than that.

Anyway, I have no beef with you. I do think "the worldwide spread of mis-information" is a little exteme. If that's how seriously you take this stuff, maybe you should consider politics as a hobby.



You are right about Deane Jensen being the original designer, but Steve was building them for many years in Deane's absence.
Old 21st November 2005
  #52
Gear Head
 

Hi,
My humble suggestion is that you listen to the particular unit you are about to aquire, in any case. It just happened to me that I bought a Millennia TD-1 and it ended not being what I expected. Not as quiet as I thought it'd be and with a little hum noise when I use much gain. I am now returning the unit back to Millennia to see if they can solve the problem, but it really gave me headaches. I can not say it's a bad gear because I can't tell if it is malfunctioning, but I can say that buying whithout listening had caused me trouble. But what can I do, there are no authorized (nor unauthorized ) dealers where I am.
Regards,

TK.
Old 21st November 2005
  #53
Lives for gear
 

Well, not to take over your thread, but my friend spoke to Steve Hogan about the 990 discussion in this thread. He said that you theoretically could use 60dB of gain from a single 990, but this is not neccesarily how they are intended to be used.

From what I've been told, they were originally designed for the Jensen mic pre. In that particular application, it's designed to be used for about 28dB of gain, with the transformer providing another 6dB. If you need more than that, a second 990 is generally to be used for a second stage. Thus the name "Jensen Twin Servo 990 Mic Preamp".

I'll forward this thread to Steve Hogan for possible further comments. And the custom 990-based mic pres he recently built are said to be amazing.
Old 21st November 2005
  #54
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckett
Isedlecek,

That guitar recording was incredible! What more are you looking for than that? Was that recorded using teh tube or solid state side of teh Millennia? Was the reverb added or is that a natural hall?
.

I always want more Otherwise it would not sound like that ...
It was done with "full power" Origins = tube, transformer, EQ, compressor engaged. The reverb is PCM-91 "Gothic Hall" the one I use most of the time from all the 400 presets there)
I record many other instruments (especially violin, viola, flutes etc.) and sometimes I could imagine different sound (richer, with less sharp HF) than I am able to reach ... Hope that Pendulum will be the right alternative (also for vocals) as a different artistic "brush" and that these two (Origins and Pendulum will be nicely complementary)..I was actually hesitating between Pendulum and Gordon, but having already hyper-realistic HV3, I leaned towards the dreamy and thick"sweetness" at the moment ...
Old 21st November 2005
  #55
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckett
Ben,

I visited your website, awesome design! Why do you prefer the Grace over the Millennia? Would the Hardy bring the same dimension and clarity to the sound in a similar way to Isedlecek's guitar recording? I know about the subtle personality that the Hardy has. The 3d Mic Pre CD really shows how the Hardy can have some soul to the sound without being colored or overbearing. I see that you have done many orchestral recordings, have you used teh Hardy for that type of application?

I will primarily be recording acoustic instruments in a close mic'ed situation. My microphone collection right now consists of a Geffell M930 LD, a matched pair of Peluso CEMC6s SDC.

Thanks for your input!
I dunno- I think the Grace and Millennia are quite close. I have just fell that there was a bit more in the Grace's sound. The Millennia just being a bit more sterile or clinical. I do like color in my sound and that is part of what I like about the Hardy's... I actually use the Boulder Twin Servos (the original Deanne Jensen dual 990 design and the predasesor to the Hardy Twin Servo) instead of the Hardys. They've got transformers in them and that just adds a bit of "meat" to the sound. They are very musical and very flat, fast, etc... But I find that there is just a character that you don't get with the straight-wire with gain pres. These days, I'm using the pacifica in a lot of the places that I have traditionally used the Boulders.

My standard orchestral preamp setup is either the Hardys or Pacificas as my mains and often a Grace Lunatec on my flanks... Really depends on the mics, the room, and my situation that I'm dealing with.

I have a pair of the M930's and love them. They work well with all sorts of pres out there.
Old 21st November 2005
  #56
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Fairman
If you have 1 or 2 microphones in this price range:
(VM1, Horch, Klaus Heyne edition, VMA, Sennheiser, Sony ...) and if you have a AD converter (gold Lavry...) then it is correctly / suitably.
Please, post some samples. You must have done some when you recommend all this ...
Old 21st November 2005
  #57
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckett
Ben,

I visited your website, awesome design! Why do you prefer the Grace over the Millennia? Would the Hardy bring the same dimension and clarity to the sound in a similar way to Isedlecek's guitar recording? I know about the subtle personality that the Hardy has. The 3d Mic Pre CD really shows how the Hardy can have some soul to the sound without being colored or overbearing. I see that you have done many orchestral recordings, have you used teh Hardy for that type of application?

I will primarily be recording acoustic instruments in a close mic'ed situation. My microphone collection right now consists of a Geffell M930 LD, a matched pair of Peluso CEMC6s SDC.

Thanks for your input!
If I you would have to go just for one preamp, I would not suggest HV-3 or something similar. It does not give you that enjoyable pallet of options. HV-3 is perfect, but straight realistic and you would be stuck just with this very sound. A pair of STT-1 is a great thing because it gives you lot of possibilities: pure HV-3, tube M2B, transformer, EQ and comp (both solid state and tubes) and combination of all this. Yet I am still open to another Pendulum (sweet, bigger than life) alternative Slutty Christmas ...
Old 21st November 2005
  #58
Gear Maniac
 

Some general comments about the 990, Deane Jensen, Steve Hogan and myself. The original JE-990 design was done by Deane Jensen and was finished in 1979. The engineering paper that Deane wrote about the JE-990 in 1979 was turned into an AES Preprint that appeared in the AES Journal in 1980. You can go to www.aes.org and pay for this preprint and download it, or I can send a copy to you if you provide a postal mailing address. In the latter half of 1979 I developed packaging for the 990 that was compatible with the API-2520 and offered it as a product. Various mic preamp cards followed over the next few years, with the M-1 Mic Preamp coming out in 1987.

The 990A and the 990C were developed in the mid/later 1980s, certainly in time to be used in the Jensen Twin Servo 990 Mic Preamp that I began manufacturing for Deane toward the end of 1988 (or so). This version of the Jensen Twin Servo Mic Preamp was a combined development of Deane, Steve Hogan, Bill Whitlock and myself, using the M-1 package as the foundation. It replaced the Twin Servo that was built for Deane from 1986 to 1988 by the Boulder Company.

Steve Hogan was instrumental in the development of the 990A and 990C versions. He has been in touch with Beno May about Beno's modifications, but I have no knowledge about the details of those modifications.

The 990 (or any op-amp) does not have "30dB of gain", or even "28dB of gain". It has whatever amount of gain you design it to have. There are limits to how much gain an op-amp can provide, and they are determined by a variety of factors, including open loop gain, the desired bandwidth, maximum allowable distortion, etc.

I never had a specific discussion with Deane about the reason for the two stage design of the Jensen Twin Servo. But I am almost certain that he looked at the combination of the JE-16-A (as it was known at the time) input transformer and the JE-990, and thought to himself something like this: "Wow, the JE-16-A is a perfect match for the noise characteristics of the JE-990, and it's my best input transformer because it has the lowest impedance ratio (150:600 ohms) of all my input transformers, but the low ratio only provides 5.6dB of voltage gain compared to 20dB of gain that the JE-115K-E provides (150:15k-ohms). If I need 60dB of gain, a high-ratio transformer would provide 20dB, the op-amp following it would provide 40dB. But the JE-16-A only provides 5.6dB, so the 990 will have to provide 54.4dB to get me up to a total of 60dB. That is a lot of gain for one op-amp (relatively speaking). I think I'll add a 2nd 990 in series with the first one so that each 990 will provide 27.2dB of gain for a total of 54.4dB of gain from the TWO op-amps." So each 990 in the Jensen Twin Servo mic preamp is adjustable from about 6dB to 27.2dB, for an overall gain range of about 18-60dB (including the transformer voltage gain).

In the M-1 mic preamp, the 990 is adjustable from 5.6dB to 54.4dB of gain, for an overall range of about 12-60dB including the transformer voltage gain.

I have modified quite a few M-1 and M-2 mic preamps, and a few Jensen Twin Servo mic preamps, for greater than 60dB maximum gain (the standard "maximum" gain). If you look at the schematic for the M-1 mic preamp on page 7 of my M-1 data package:

http://www.johnhardyco.com/pdf/M1_M2_M1p_20031025.pdf

You will see that R7 determines the maximum gain of the 990. It is listed as 20 ohms, but it has actually been 19.1 ohms for many years. One approach to increasing the maximum gain is simply to add another 19.1 ohm resistor on the bottom of the p.c. board in parallel with the original 19.1 ohm resistor. This cuts the resistance in half, providing 6dB additional gain. It is easy to add the resistor, and easy to remove it if desired. I have put two of those resistors on a few preamps to increase the gain by 10dB.

So, how much gain is too much gain? Hard to say. YMMV. But the Twin Servo design might have a performance edge when venturing beyond 60dB because the gain is being split between two op-amps, each one working at a much lower and more relaxed gain. On the other hand, it seems that customers that have M-1 preamps with the high gain modification are happy with the results.

Hopefully this clears some things up. Thank you.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
www.johnhardyco.com
Old 21st November 2005
  #59
Lives for gear
 

Thanks John. That's pretty much in line with what I've been told. I also downloaded the 990 PDF from your site earlier and read some of it. BTW, my friend is an old Chicago native who says he's known you "forever".

Kind regards
Old 21st November 2005
  #60
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ImJohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckett
Hello,

I am looking into a 2 channel preamp to record acoustic sounds. I want something that has incredible clarity, excellent transient response and dymanic range, but doesn't sound anemic and lose some of the bottom end. I will be recording primarily world acoustic instruments (hand percussion, gongs, stringed instruments) , and a variety of "noise makers" to record and sample for more creative sound design.

Here are 2 preamps under serious consideration:

Millennia HV-3C
John Hardy M-1

If anyone has reference to recordings made entirely on any of these two preamps, please let me know!

Thanks and look forward to your input!

Hi,

For your convienience and with a big FWIW, here are three wav files, one for gong, dumbek and shakers. Each wav file contains four sections with each section being recorded by a different mic pre :

John Hardy M-1
Lavry Blue Pre
Martech MSS-10
PreSonus M80

The signal chain is as follows and everything was the same except I patched in the different pres on each take :

Josephson E22S mic -> [mic pre] -> Lavry Blue AD -> Cubase SX3 -> WaveLab

The exact same wires were used etc. That said the performances are all quite different and I didn't take time to properly match the pres gain wise, position the mic properly or even give great care to setting the basic levels. This is quick and dirty. In WaveLab I changed the gain of all saples to have a max peak level of -5 dB. No other processing.

I wont reveal which pres are on which tracks or in which order until late Thanksgiving night (or the next day if i fall asleep from to much turkey drug! ) Please have some fun trying to guess. (or insulting me for my foolishness! )

The three files are named :
Gong_All.wav
Dumbek_All.wav
Shakers_All.wav

Go here and copy the files to your computer :
ftp://ftp.blarg.net/users/imjohn/
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