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Radial Jensen Twin Servo - Hardy?
Old 20th February 2018
  #1
Radial Jensen Twin Servo - Hardy?

Just checking to see if any one has compared the Radial along with the Hardy Twin Servo's

- Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018
  #2
Old 11th August 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 
Christian_C's Avatar
 

Bumping this for curiosity. Been waiting on a Hardy 500 for a LONG time... Anyone experience both?
Old 12th August 2018
  #4
Hardy uses one opamp. The Jensen design cascades two.
Old 12th August 2018
  #5
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monkeyxx's Avatar
One thing I can tell you is the Radial does not use Hardy op amps (they seem to be discretely laid out on the board in the Radial), but the Hardy stuff is obviously using his 990 op amps. As well as the Jensen transformers that I would guess he has to buy from Jensen (Radial.)
Old 12th August 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
One thing I can tell you is the Radial does not use Hardy op amps (they seem to be discretely laid out on the board in the Radial), but the Hardy stuff is obviously using his 990 op amps. As well as the Jensen transformers that I would guess he has to buy from Jensen (Radial.)
Yeah. Aware of that. Hardy has been saying he's going to release a 500 series version of the Twin Servo for a LONG time. Always had it in mind that I'd pick up a pair when he released them, but I'm feeling like it's not going to happen, thus curious about the Radial version.

I'm sure it's a bit different. The question is how it performs and if it gives users an "equal" vibe.
Old 12th August 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian_C View Post
Yeah. Aware of that. Hardy has been saying he's going to release a 500 series version of the Twin Servo for a LONG time. Always had it in mind that I'd pick up a pair when he released them, but I'm feeling like it's not going to happen, thus curious about the Radial version.

I'm sure it's a bit different. The question is how it performs and if it gives users an "equal" vibe.
It's a good question I'm really interested to hear ANY feedback as well.
Old 12th August 2018
  #8
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kafka's Avatar
Seventh Circle also makes a Jensen Twin Servo preamp. You can put the Hardy op amps in it. Not a 500 series, though. I've never used it, or a Hardy for that matter, so I have no idea how any of them compare. But, I am really interested in the answer to this question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Hardy uses one opamp. The Jensen design cascades two.
The M1 is his single op amp preamp. The Twin Servo 990 uses two. http://www.johnhardyco.com/pdf/TSMP2015-03-01.pdf
Attached Thumbnails
Radial Jensen Twin Servo - Hardy?-screen-shot-2018-08-12-4.49.56-pm.jpg  
Old 18th September 2019
  #9
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Looks like it does have the 990's and both xformers

https://www.radialeng.com/product/twin-servo
Old 18th September 2019
  #10
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Does anyone else think Radial is overpriced by now?
Old 18th September 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Does anyone else think Radial is overpriced by now?
It's pricey, but not off point from many other "boutique" 500 pres.

After reading as much as I could about the Radial and the original JH Twin Servos, I went ahead and pulled the trigger one on today.

I can live with 2db less from slightly smaller xformers as long as I get the clarity I'm seeking from this type of circuit.

If it really is comparable to the JH, I think $1k is palatable for something that takes up much less real estate.

We'll see......
Old 18th September 2019
  #12
MYN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Does anyone else think Radial is overpriced by now?
Yeah, by at least a couple hundred bucks. Especially for a product that debuted 4 years ago and has yet to catch much attention, given there are no user reviews at any of the online stores still selling it. Sweetwater doesn’t even carry it anymore. And Radial owns Jensen so it’s not like they’re overpaying for the transformers. I think John Hardy backed off his own 500 series twin servo project when he realized he couldn’t quite match the Sonics of his rack version with the 16v limitations of the 500 series architecture. I’m still very curious how the Radial sounds. I’d bet it’s still pretty great on its own. It’s kinda hard to mess up the beautiful neutrality of a 990 op amp as long as the signal path is clean.
Old 18th September 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basswriter View Post
It's pricey, but not off point from many other "boutique" 500 pres.

After reading as much as I could about the Radial and the original JH Twin Servos, I went ahead and pulled the trigger one on today.

I can live with 2db less from slightly smaller xformers as long as I get the clarity I'm seeking from this type of circuit.

If it really is comparable to the JH, I think $1k is palatable for something that takes up much less real estate.

We'll see......
I've been hearing build quality issues with some Radial gear, which is depressing. I guess I was hearing this about the little utility monitor controllers, specifically.

And I looked inside my J48 and they use a lot of budget components, I believe. Good designs though. I've never broken one, and they get beat up.

If I'm paying for build quality, and components, it's John Hardy himself all day every day.

If I'm paying for Radial I want that iBeam steel enclosure. Not really something that matters with a 500 series preamp. It would be good to know if people have used both the Hardy and the Radial and see how they compare in the real world.

I'm going to try to build my own M1 someday.

Also, sometimes you can find those 500 series JDV preamps for pennies on the dollar when they come up.
Old 18th September 2019
  #14
MYN
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I’ve read some reports of those same quality issues with Radial, too. I bought one of their Gold Digger phantom powered mic selector boxes and one of the channels got noisy, especially when you adjusted the volume pots, and I discovered mics plugged into it definitely lose something sonically.

I built a Hairball Gold last year with the Hardy 990 op amp. I’ve never used the Hardy M1 but the Gold sounds to my ear like the way I’d want the Hardy to sound. That pre gets used here every day. If you do build your own iteration of an M1, please document it. I’d love to see the process.
Old 18th September 2019
  #15
MYN
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This just showed up at GroupDIY

https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic....msg928305#new
Old 18th September 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYN View Post
I’ve read some reports of those same quality issues with Radial, too.............

Fingers crossed. I have other Radial boxes that rock, so hopefully no problems. It'll be under warranty, of if it sucks, it goes back.

Will keep you posted.
Old 18th September 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYN View Post
That person's got great ears the EQ's sound frickin incredible in the demos.

Is that preamp a kit or a DIY project?

Looks like they're using the right output transformer from Cinemag a high nickel one.
Old 18th September 2019
  #18
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For the past year, I keep coming back to Hairball but haven't pulled the trigger on an assembled one and haven't felt like doing a kit.

Just found a seller on Reverb.com from whom I've bought in the past with a pair for $375 ea.

Figured what the hell - picked one up and will do a shootout between the Gold and the Radial. Can always return the latter if it has build issues or if the Gold is close or better in sound.
Old 18th September 2019
  #19
MYN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
That person's got great ears the EQ's sound frickin incredible in the demos.

Is that preamp a kit or a DIY project?

Looks like they're using the right output transformer from Cinemag a high nickel one.
Yeah, I agree. The Chambord guy's got an incredible reputation. It looks like a proof of concept at the moment, so I'm hoping kits or just PCB's are coming soon.
Old 18th September 2019
  #20
MYN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basswriter View Post
For the past year, I keep coming back to Hairball but haven't pulled the trigger on an assembled one and haven't felt like doing a kit.

Just found a seller on Reverb.com from whom I've bought in the past with a pair for $375 ea.

Figured what the hell - picked one up and will do a shootout between the Gold and the Radial. Can always return the latter if it has build issues or if the Gold is close or better in sound.
Great idea. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts after you've tried them side by side.

I recently also just finished building a Hairball Lola and quite honestly, it sounds pretty much exactly like the Gold with very subtle differences, most likely due to the fact that both pres utilize the Hardy 990 opamps, even though like the Twin Servo, the Lola has two 990s to the Gold's one. At spoken word volume, you could edit between the two and probably never know the difference even though the Lola's have Neve-ish transformers. However, I think there's a bit more punch with the twin op amp setup that would probably be more apparent with more percussive sources, like drums, where the onset of the transient is more pronounced. Please definitely, share your experiences comparing them after you've had a chance. I'm interested.
Old 20th September 2019
  #21
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My obsessive nature took over.

In addition to the Radial TS and HBA Gold, I added an HBA Lola with the 990C+ op amps. (Both HBA's have been on my watch/wish lists for over a year. Good excuse, yes?)

To follow MYN's lead, I'll pick up a Whirlwind SP1X3 splitter and will test all three simultaneously. I have a couple A Designs P1's and would love to use one as a fourth comparison. Haven't found a reputable mic-level splitter with more than 3-outs that isn't way above the $100-something I'm willing to spend.

Hopefully my test will be as useful as MYN's Gold/Lola Test. Hairball LOLA vs GOLD?

My hypothesis;

*All three will be great and slightly different.

*Seeing as I got both the Lola AND the Gold for $120 less than one new Radial, I'm gonna guess the latter won't live with me long.....unless it really knocks my socks off. Even then....not sure how many pres I need that fall into this tonal area.

The Radial is on back order and should show up in the next couple weeks.

Last edited by basswriter; 20th September 2019 at 07:22 PM..
Old 20th September 2019
  #22
MYN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basswriter View Post
My obsessive nature took over.

In addition to the Radial TS and HBA Gold, I added an HBA Lola with the 990C+ op amps. (Both HBA's have been on my watch/wish lists for over a year. Good excuse, yes?)

To follow MYN's lead, I'll pick up a Whirlwind SP1X3 splitter and will test all three simultaneously. I have a couple A Designs P1's and would love to use one as a fourth comparison. Haven't found a reputable mic-level splitter with more than 3-outs that isn't way above the $100-something I'm willing to spend.

Hopefully my test will be as useful as MYN's Gold/Lola Test. Hairball LOLA vs GOLD?

My hypothesis;

*All three will be great and slightly different.

*Seeing as I got both the Lola AND the Gold for $120 less than one new Radial, I'm gonna guess the latter won't live with me long.....unless it really knocks my socks off. Even then....not sure how many pres I need that fall into this tonal area.

The Radial is on back order and should show up in the next couple weeks.
Thank you, Sir! and... Woohoo! Now that is some grade-A Gearsluttin'

I read somewhere, probably on GS, that 3 splits is the most you should do from one mic signal, or it will get very noticeably degraded, so you may have to settle for tandem comparisons. But that is way cool.
I'm actually very interested in hearing the P1 in comparison.
Old 20th September 2019
  #23
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Only Hardy! They SOUND best.

Don’t fool with pretenders.
Old 20th September 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Only Hardy! They SOUND best.

Don’t fool with pretenders.
@ Plush

Do you favor M1 or Twin Servo?
Old 20th September 2019
  #25
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I have both here. They sound the same to me. I recommend M1 or M2. Made in Evanston, IL, my home town.
Old 20th September 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Only Hardy! They SOUND best.

Don’t fool with pretenders.
I thought you liked the DAV.
Old 20th September 2019
  #27
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There's no "perfect way" to split a mic, it's just not physically possible. You'll either get extra stuff in the audio path, mic pre interaction, impedance changes, mic to pre decoupling, or any of that.

Make your final decision straight into the mic pre when you have your favorite contenders chosen. Maybe find a super consistent performer.
Old 25th September 2019
  #28
Here for the gear
Brand new Radial Jensen Twin Servo - out of the box directly into the rack. Moved it to a couple slots. Same result.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jzy...ature=youtu.be

The plastic pot knob slipped off as I was taking it out the box...which I thought was a bit cheap. After putting it in my CAPI rack, I realized the dot wasn't lined up with the selector. When I slid it off and back on again, it immediately started to crackle and pop.

The circuit is probably great as well as most of the components. Why would you get a cheap pot for a $1k item? What a shame.

If I'd bought it used for $350 (like the Hairball Gold) I wouldn't care so much because it did sound pretty good with just a SM58/voice test.

But new at $1,000? This thing is going back.....today.

I'm not even bothering with a shootout because, frankly, I don't want to temp myself to let things slide.

For what it's worth, I got the HB Gold a few days ago. It has relatively cheap plastic knobs, but the pots feel way sturdier than the Radial. It has a bit lower input than the A Design P1's but holds its own in terms of tone. That was a great purchase.

My HB Lola arrives Friday. As mentioned previously, the used Gold and Lola together are $120 less than the new Radial.
Old 26th September 2019
  #29
MYN
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Bummer! Sorry to hear that. I want to say I’m surprised at yet another example of questionable Radial quality control, but at this point I’m not. Seems you have unfortunately discovered first hand why nobody is talking about this overpriced pre.
Old 9th October 2019
  #30
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I found this thread because I've been a proud Radial Twin Servo 500 owner for over a year and have been looking...and looking...for another unit to come up used so I can have a stereo pair, and not only do they never come up used, hardly anybody is even selling them new anymore! I agree $1k is a lot, though I was able to snag my first one for $800 as a demo, which I think is reasonable compared to your other 500 series pre classics used (1073, 512V, TG2).

Sad to hear about basswriter's QC experience--I've never had an issue with mine (or any of my other Radial DI, Reamp, 500 series module/rack gear). As someone who's worked in manufacturing quality, QC is part of the deal and it's all about how you address issues when you find them rather than expecting to never have a defect...obviously better to find it before it's in the customer's hands though, yikes!

The Radial Twin Servo is hands down my favorite pre for that fat, pristine, noise-free sound. I do a ton of DI guitar for later reamping and the Twin Servo is still my go-to, in spite of thinking I might switch to the AEA RPQ500...it just sounds fatter, and great on mics, too, of course.

I hadn't heard about Hairball yet, so count me intrigued, especially about the Lola, since it's also dual op amp. Hmm!
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