Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
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rojarosguitar
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Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:29 am

On this shootout I took the Recorder 2 from the previous Recorder Comparison and compared 5 different preamps.

A is the 'reference' and BCDE are four different other (not A!) preamps. So each take is a pair of the same playing with two different pres.

Im very curious what you think...
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tyjrqgodkvf2 ... YgzDa?dl=0
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Kurt Penner
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by Kurt Penner » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:19 am

As always I favour the kit that brings out the bass frequencies and is not harsh in the trebles. For me that is preamp D. It also is magically clean and just sounds professional.

KP

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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:43 am

Thanks... curious for further comments...
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el_guitarrero
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by el_guitarrero » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:46 pm

D sounded best, fuller.

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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:05 am

That's very interestong; both comments seem to favour D... very unexpected!
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StGeorge
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by StGeorge » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:40 am

I prefer D as well. 8)
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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:15 am

I like the A, specially in the 4th take :).
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:17 am

Finally some differntiation :D
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:05 am

Any more comments?
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:09 am

OK, as nothing much is going on anymore, here is the solution:

The preamp called A is the inbuilt preamp of the Tascam HS-P82 recorder that has been used for the whole test. All the other preamps also went to that recorder with their analog inputs set to line input. The complete recorder costs in the USA around 2000 US$ (was over 5000US$ when introduced).

Preamp B: Millenia Media HV-32P dual mono preamp (with ribbon input) costs around 1100 US$ 2-channels mic inputs, nothing more.

Preamp C: DAV Broadhurst Garden 1 (BG1) is considered by many professionals as one oft the great British preamps (in Germany to be had around 560 Euro) for two channels preamp. Exists also in 4 and 8 channel variation.

Preamp D: Now, this one is very interesting case because it got some attention here. It's Presonus Digimax D8 with eight channels of preamps and a ADC (44.1 and 48khz/24bit) ADAT output for ... around 400 US$ for eight channels of preamps!

Preamp E: AEA TRP (True Ribbon Preamp) + external phantom power unit (as this preamp doesn't even have phantom power, being intended for ribbon mics only. It is 900 US$ in the USA. I used it with the Audix Phantom Power unit sold for around 120 Euro in Germany (works very well BTW).

What are my own thoughts about the outcome? Well, first of all I liked the results of E followed by A and then on third place C. I liked D least because in my ears it sounds a bit scooped in the midrange and a bit harsh in the highs.
The sound of E is rock solid but open and effortless. The Sound of A is maybe a bit less open as compared to E but still open enough, solid and balanced.
B lacks a bit of this solidity and appears to my ears as a bit veiled.
C is almost larger than life with a bit too much glue inside the mids...

The aim of this test was: would I dare to come to a recording session just equipped with the recorder and a set of good microphones, or would I need to drag external preamps with all that it entails: Extra cables, AC cords and outlets and all the hassle of connecting all the preamps ...

For me the clear result is: yes, the preamps of the Tascam stand so well that I would not bother to go through the extra hassle. I'm quite glad about that!
Thanks for your contributions...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:12 am

OK, as nothing much is going on anymore, here is the solution:

The preamp called A is the inbuilt preamp of the Tascam HS-P82 recorder that has been used for the whole test. All the other preamps also went to that recorder with their analog inputs set to line input. The complete recorder costs in the USA around 2000 US$ (was over 5000US$ when introduced).

Preamp B: Millenia Media HV-32P dual mono preamp (with ribbon input) costs around 1100 US$ 2-channels mic inputs, nothing more.

Preamp C: DAV Broadhurst Garden 1 (BG1) is considered by many professionals as one oft the great British preamps (in Germany to be had around 560 Euro) for two channels preamp. Exists also in 4 and 8 channel variation.

Preamp D: Now, this one is very interesting case because it got some attention here. It's Presonus Digimax D8 with eight channels of preamps and a ADC (44.1 and 48khz/24bit) ADAT output for ... around 400 US$ for eight channels of preamps!

Preamp E: AEA TRP (True Ribbon Preamp) + external phantom power unit (as this preamp doesn't even have phantom power, being intended for ribbon mics only. It is 900 US$ in the USA. I used it with the Audix Phantom Power unit sold for around 120 Euro in Germany (works very well BTW).

What are my own thoughts about the outcome? Well, first of all I liked the results of E followed by A and then on third place C. I liked D least because in my ears it sounds a bit scooped in the midrange and a bit harsh in the highs.
The sound of E is rock solid but open and effortless. The Sound of A is maybe a bit less open as compared to E but still open enough, solid and balanced.
B lacks a bit of this solidity and appears to my ears as a bit veiled.
C is almost larger than life with a bit too much glue inside the mids...

As conclusion I would say that the differences in quality are astoundingly little considering the range of prices being involved here. All in all the quality standard in this league (though one can spend a lot more money on preamps, too) is very high. And big thumb up to Tascam: With the HS-P82 they have produced a very decent self-contained 8 channel recording machine.

The aim of this test was: would I dare to come to a recording session just equipped with the recorder and a set of good microphones, or would I need to drag external preamps with all that it entails: Extra cables, AC cords and outlets and all the hassle of connecting all the preamps ...

For me the clear result is: yes, the preamps of the Tascam stand so well that I would not bother to go through the extra hassle. I'm quite glad about that!
Thanks for your contributions...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

konstantine
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by konstantine » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:12 am

Thanks once again for the comparison, listening through my AKG K271 MKII here are my thoughts:

I preferred E closely followed by B, these two have a more mature sound, more detailed and somehow more 3D to the rest.
I would be happy with A as well, it sounds pretty balanced and natural. In your case I wouldn't bother bringing other preamps for location recording unless I was recording in a really nice space for an album.
C is nice but sounds already compressed, I know many people swear by it but it brings the low mids up in a way that doesn't compliment at least this guitar.
I didn't like D because as you also said, it had too much of a mid range scoop.

All in all, I would be happy with any - except maybe D - and small changes in mic placement or the performance, a different room or a different guitar might yield different results.

Konstantine

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Five Different Preamplifiers Compared

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:29 pm

Thanks for your exhaustive comment ... I fully agree about E nd what you said about when these differences would really matter...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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