Hybrid wrote:Best of luck in your shootouts Kris. Hope it all works out for you.
Somehow, I get the feeling that's not how you really feel
The "shootout" as you so cutely put it, was not for my benefit, but a demonstration of cost vs quality, if quality is defined as high transparency and low noise. Plenty of people have downloaded the samples. Sadly (but hardly surprising) nobody is willing to express their opinion.
For those who did listen to the samples I will now reveal (ta da!) what was what. The panel of pro engineers at Abbey Road chose the second (middle) clip as best and the first clip as next best. The first clip is from a cheap mass market preamp, costing around 50 bucks. The second clip is the $5 home made preamp, and the third clip is from a relatively expensive pro preamp, at ca. $1500 per channel. I'd be willing to bet that most, if not all, of you who listened did put clip number one or two at the top, and the third clip last.
There is nothing wrong
with the expensive preamp in the clip, or any other expensive preamp. They are well made and with low noise. But transparency
is not what they are primarily about. These various high-end preamps each have specific sonic qualities that engineers like to use for different purposes, and that clients
of the studio request or require them to have. To prove that point, take a look at Focusrite's Liquid Pre technology. This is a preamp that attempts to emulate
the sound of 40 classic studio preamps. Emulate? How do you emulate transparency? Well, no, you don't, you emulate the coloring that these popular preamps apply to the signal.
The pros know all this, but the hobbyist is is constantly being misinformed (and spreading this misinformation) and led to believe that they need them for high quality and transparent recordings. Humbug!
And just to be clear again, the RNP is a fine preamp. It really tries to be transparent and I think it succeeds well. I just think it is overpriced.