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FMR RNP vs DAV BG-1 vs ...
Old 21st January 2007
FMR RNP vs DAV BG-1 vs ...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there are a million "what mic pre should I buy threads".

That aside, here's my situation;

After experiencing the sheer inconvenience of trying to set the right levels for a dynamic vocal performance on my interface, I decided that an external compressor was a must for my home studio setup (ITB guy here).

As a result, my first ever eBay purchase - an FMR RNC - has just arrived and I'm now in posession of my first bit of outboard gear. Yay. My choice of this compressor should be obvious. From my research it's the only budget unit I can trust and is worth many times what I paid for it.

Now, as the converters on my MBox 1 have crapped out (dammit) I've invested in a Mbox Mini for rehersals, gigging and location recording use. At the moment it's also the interface in my home setup, though a higher-spec Digi machine will wind its way here shortly, but this means that I no longer have access to the insert points on the MBox. Therefore, to use the RNC the time has clearly come for me to invest in a mic pre and this is, as we know, an issue to spend a good deal of thought on as it's really not worth compromising as far as is possible on quality.

This is where you guys come in.

Now originally I was going to get an Avalon M5. It's the right size (goes well with the RNC and MBM), is of very high quality and is suffiently 'un-coloured' to be versatile for my needs. Speaking of which, I'll need to record a lot of vocals, then acoustic instruments, DI'd guitar and bass and then basically whatever else I need to get into Pro Tools for whatever project I'm working on; (music for TV/Radio commercials, music recording and mixing of every type of application - pop to R'n'B to Rock to folk to jazz to spoken word to God-knows-what. Versatility and quality are a must.

However, even with my dealers discount an M5 is going to set me back £850. Even though I have the cashish that's a lot of dollar for me right now. (My car died and I need another one, I need a nice electric and acoustic guitar, some more software, a higher-spec interface, more mikes, food etc; etc.

As a result I then considered the FMR RNP. This has a seriously glowing reputation (as you're all no doubt aware). It's also designed with the RNC in mind (TRS insert points and size) and obviously provides me with two channels as opposed to one. So far so yummy.

However, as my research continues I have come across the DAV BG-1, which has similarly rave reviews and endless superlatives wherever it's mentioned. This is all I have to base my opinions on by the way, I haven't actually heard any of these pres.

My thoughts now generally sway me towards the latter two. Even though an investment in a serious piece of high-end gear will flatter every single signal I send to my Digi converters (and I'm going to be recording a mono signal the majority of the time), I don't think I can lay that sort of dolla on a bit of kit right now when I can use it for so many other items I need.

So, firstly; How will either the RNP or the BG-1 improve upon the MBox mic pres?

Secondly; When it comes to the crunch (and I realise that this is as subjective as hell) which if the two is 'better'?

Thirdly; Which would be the best investment for the future?

Technical features aside - RNP has inserts, greater gain and will integrate perfectly with the RNC, BG-1 has HPFs - what are the significant differences between the two? Is the BG-1 more 'coloured' than the RNP? Is either more or less versatile?

Or should I bite the bullet and cough up for a serious mono pre of a least twice the price?

Your opinions are of the greatest interest, my dear slutz.

the tortoise

P.S. As far as mics are concerned, at the moment I'm using a first generation SE Z5600. This is merely my 'starter' mike that I picked up second hand. I plan on building a nice cabinet and I'd like to put whatever funds I can toward expanding up the scale as soon as possible, but that's another thread for another day...
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Maniac

i own the digi002 and bought the RNP a few months ago. I bought it even though a few people mentioned that it was a lateral move . . . and it was.
the RNP provided 2 extra channels and nothing else--well, a sound that was a bit more dark and strange.
(i was comparing both preamps to the John Hardy M-1 so I guess that's just not fair, but still)
I would go with the DAV (well, john hardy but that might be a bit out of your budget)
Old 21st January 2007
Hhmm, "dark and strange"? That doesn't sound too pleasing.

Have you used the DAV then?
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Guru
FFTT's Avatar

The DAV BG-1 is like a bottle of 30 year old Scotch smoooooth!

You might need to engage the pad running it with prosumer gear, but the
BG-1 is a definite keeper as your system grows.

You can also use it as a 1 or 2 channel DI with a 1/4" to XLR adapter cable.
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Maniac

no, i have not heard the DAV so I guess I'm not the best person to ask.

I just know that for me, the RNP did not serve as an "upgrade" and that's what I was looking for.
you will definitely like the john hardy, though. Guaranteed.

I listened to a test I did about four months ago between the 002 preamps, the RNP, and the John Hardy M-1.
on acoustic guitar using a spaced pair of AT4040's, the tracks done through the john hardys were more detailed and had I could hear how far away I was from the mic. There was depth--and for a long time I thought the idea of depth capture (in a small space, that is) was a load of crap. they are much more quiet as well.
good luck.
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Maniac

I've got an FMR RNP. It was one of my first pre's. While I still use my pair of RNC's from time to time, I have not used the RNP in a couple of years (yes, it's time to sell it). It's a great bang for the buck but there are other pre's in the transparent dept that way outshine it...the DAV BG1 being one of them. I've not used one myself but I've heard samples and I've heard finished projects that used them and there is no way, IMO, that the RNP could get the fullness or the dimension that I've heard from the BG1.

I don't hear it as 'dark' myself...or strange....but compared to the better pre's that I've since picked up it's maybe a little 2 dimensional, or something. I used to think it was just transparent, but then I heard Millenia HV and John Hardy M1 and the Martech MSS-01 (or is it 10) and then the BG1 (in samples and projects, mind you) and they do transparent with a spaciousness or dimensionality and a fullness that is in another league.

And...if I can tear myself away from this board for a bit...I've got a Gordon Model 5 just arrived from a fellow slut, that's begging me to try it out. It too is in the superdimensional transparent camp.

Since you're in UK and so's Mick (the papa of the BG1), I think it's a no-brainer for you...supporting your local economy and avoiding the waste of overseas shipping, etc. If it's good enough for Gilmour....
Old 21st January 2007
Lives for gear
uncle duncan's Avatar

DAV BG1. I'm on the verge of ordering one myself. The HPF can be quite helpful with acoustic guitars and such. My RNP only gets turned on when I need extra pres, which isn't often.
Old 21st January 2007
Lives for gear
bigbongo's Avatar

BG1 = : )

I went from 001 pre's to TLA 5051 to Avalon 737 to BG1, it's was my favourite of that bunch ( now on P1 which is current fave although sounds to my ears rightly or wrongly more coloured than BG1?? ).

the BG1 sound is strong, clean and clear, sounds similar IMHO to the 737's 'pre' but slightly bigger and less anaemic. I only used it with a U87 and mic'ed guitars, vocals and percussian but it never ever sounded bad and frequently sounded great.

if you've not already, check Ivo's threads on the BG1, you can hear from those the quality yourself.

Old 21st January 2007
Wow, that pretty much wraps it up then. Unanimous support for the DAV.

I'll admit it looks a bit bulky and I was looking forward to having the convenience of the two FMR pieces fitting together perfectly, but in the end I couldn't care less how my gear looks. If I can get gorgeous results that I will be using for years to come then there really is no question about it.

It's also really nice that it's British made too.

Thanks for all your input guys, I'll let you know how things pan out.


the tortoise
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Maniac

Hi there, just thought I'd let you know the RNP is pretty good for what it is... as nobody else has really recommended it. I've tried a ton of high end pre's from all the big names and you know what? The RNP can still hang with them. It has a sound like everything and that sound is useful in the right hands. Yes it is not as clean as the millenia or hardy but it doesn't cost as much either. Ummm the digi002 pre's sound like plastic to me, the RNP much much better! And yes, it works well paired with the RNC for a nice little strip. Check out funk logic and get them both racked. But really you should get one to try out and see if you like it, then ab it with the dav and make your decision. Food for thought.
Old 21st January 2007
Gear Addict


I've never used the DAV and hear only nice things about it. But keep in mind, I believe it's transformerless. I had a transformerless preamp (Grace 101), which I traded away, and now I find I much prefer the sound of preamp with a transformer. (My current goto is the AEA TRP; I'm into ribbons). To my ear, the transformerless design gives you a more pristine (digital?) sound and preamps with transformers give you a slightly thicker/analog sound.
Old 21st January 2007
Yeah, my only worry at this point is going from the balanced DAV to the unbalanced RNC.

But as I understand it, I can disconnect the third connector (cold) and this will solve the problem with no audio degradation. Is this true?
Old 22nd January 2007
Well, I just got off the 'phone to Mick and he confirmed that disconnecting the 3 pin will allow it to hook up to unbalanced gear, with a 6dB drop in output. Fine.

He also said that he'll calibrate the red LED to light at +18 and the green LED at 6dB lower than that (as opposed to 3dB) for me so that it will integrate better with my MBox Mini/Pro. This is all very good indeed.

I didn't realise for some reason that there's no DI input though, which is a shame. It's there on the new BG-1U rackmount version, but aside from being more expensive I also need the portability of the BG-1 so it's not an option. Oh well.

I've got to say I'm dead excited! My first pre, my first bit of (nice) outboard gear.


Thanks again for all the advice chaps.

the tortoise
Old 22nd January 2007
report back when you get a chance to use it please.
Old 22nd January 2007
You can count on it.


the tortoise
Old 6th February 2007
I just received my BG1U a couple of days ago and all I can say is WOW!
This thing sounds so smooth and detailed, yet very big. Exactly the sound I've been looking for.
The DI is killer, too. It even made an €80 practice bass with crappy pickups sound nice!
Old 7th February 2007
The non-rack thing was really all that was holding me back on the BG-1. I'm stoked on the BG-1U!

How much do they run?
Old 7th February 2007
I paid €879,- incl. VAt (19%) for mine here in Germany. I got it from the german distributor. I think you will have to order from Mick directly. Just send him a request through the DAV website and he'll refer you to the place to buy it from, if there is a company in the US selling his stuff. I did the same and got a phone call from the german distributor right away.
Old 7th February 2007
Lives for gear
Albert's Avatar

Originally Posted by the tortoise View Post
I've got to say I'm dead excited! My first pre, my first bit of (nice) outboard gear.
Great choice, I love my BG-1. Tell us how you like it once it arrives!
Old 7th February 2007
Lives for gear
Jimbo's Avatar
Originally Posted by bluegrasser View Post

I've never used the DAV and hear only nice things about it. But keep in mind, I believe it's transformerless. I had a transformerless preamp (Grace 101), which I traded away, and now I find I much prefer the sound of preamp with a transformer. (My current goto is the AEA TRP; I'm into ribbons). To my ear, the transformerless design gives you a more pristine (digital?) sound and preamps with transformers give you a slightly thicker/analog sound.
I didn't realize TRP had a transformer in the path.

I'm with you on the liking xformers thing.

- Jim
Old 7th February 2007
Lives for gear
lampmeister's Avatar
I have a couple of BG-1's but I've not used a RNP. All I can say is that all the DAV gear is gear for life, you won't outgrow it. Plus superb pre and post sale service from Mick in Twickenham (nr London, UK.


Old 8th February 2007
Gear Head

I didn't realize TRP had a transformer in the path.
It doesn't. It is transformerless.
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