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Great River MP-2NV vs. Phoenix Audio DRS-2
Old 21st January 2007
  #1
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jdjustice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great River MP-2NV vs. Phoenix Audio DRS-2

i want to purchase one of these units.







i have heard the GR but not the Phoenix.
advice and experience appreciated!!


thanks,
~j.d.
Old 21st January 2007
  #2
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
What did you think of the GR? Was there something you didn't like about it or something you found it lacking?

Just trying to figure out what direction you're trying to go in. Are you looking for more of a 1073 sound than the GR produces?
Old 21st January 2007 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Subtle Differences / Flavours

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➑️
What did you think of the GR? Was there something you didn't like about it or something you found it lacking?
hi Tony!

i was very impressed by the Great River and no, there wasn't really anything at all about it that i found lacking.

if i liked the GR so much then why don't i just get that and stop worrying?
well if i am going to spend over $2k on something i had better have done ALL my research.

i just want to make sure i don't get the GR and then end up hearing a DRS-2 or GTQ2mkIII and slapping myself on the head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➑️
Just trying to figure out what direction you're trying to go in. Are you looking for more of a 1073 sound than the GR produces?
gotcha.

well, i have never had the good fortune of using a 'real' 1073, not to mention a 'great-condition' 1073 that could be used as a benchmark in my judgement.
i don't really care if the preamp is an accurate '1073' emulation; i just want the (subjective) 'best', most interesting, and most 'well constructed' piece i can get.

i have been pretty much sold on the GR but again, i would like some guidance as to the sonic differences in these units.

i am not really considering a BAE 1073/1084 or a Wunder PEQ-1R or a Chandler LTD-1 or a Vintech X73/X81 because i am not so interested in the EQ; that's a distant secondary thought for me.
i just want a two-channel unit of fantastic preamplification that will be a big step up (and a different sound) from my 737sp and Focusrite Red 8.

yes i know that 'big step up' is also subjective; perhaps i should say i AM looking for that Neve 'flavour' (even if i don't know exactly what that is barring my experience with the GR).

i will add a 1073-style preamp for now. API-style is next. then a great tube model, Telefunken V72-style (i am pretty sure i want the TAB V72s if it ever commences re-production, or maybe the Mercury M72s).

thanks for any guidance on this issue.
i am looking for subtleties and small differences that might make one choose one of these models over the other!


cheers and thanks again!
~j.d.
Old 21st January 2007 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjustice ➑️
hi Tony!

i was very impressed by the Great River and no, there wasn't really anything at all about it that i found lacking.

if i liked the GR so much then why don't i just get that and stop worrying?
well if i am going to spend over $2k on something i had better have done ALL my research.

i just want to make sure i don't get the GR and then end up hearing a DRS-2 or GTQ2mkIII and slapping myself on the head.

well, i have never had the good fortune of using a 'real' 1073, not to mention a 'great-condition' 1073 that could be used as a benchmark in my judgement.
i don't really care if the preamp is an accurate '1073' emulation; i just want the (subjective) 'best', most interesting, and most 'well constructed' piece i can get.

i have been pretty much sold on the GR but again, i would like some guidance as to the sonic differences in these units.

i am not really considering a BAE 1073/1084 or a Wunder PEQ-1R or a Chandler LTD-1 or a Vintech X73/X81 because i am not so interested in the EQ; that's a distant secondary thought for me.
i just want a two-channel unit of fantastic preamplification that will be a big step up (and a different sound) from my 737sp and Focusrite Red 8.

yes i know that 'big step up' is also subjective; perhaps i should say i AM looking for that Neve 'flavour' (even if i don't know exactly what that is barring my experience with the GR).

i will add a 1073-style preamp for now. API-style is next. then a great tube model, Telefunken V72-style (i am pretty sure i want the TAB V72s if it ever commences re-production, or maybe the Mercury M72s).

thanks for any guidance on this issue.
i am looking for subtleties and small differences that might make one choose one of these models over the other!


cheers and thanks again!
~j.d.
I think you are on the right track with the 1073-style preamp first, then API idea. That's been my theory for years. They are the building blocks. I used the Great River a few times and thought it was a little bit on the clean side. It didn't really sound anything Neve-like to me, but that doesn't mean it's not a good preamp. It just doesn't sound like a Neve. Phoenix Audio has had some problems that were chronicled in a thread here, and I would hesitate to purchase any of their product at this time. If I had to go out and buy another two channel preamp and wanted a 1073-sounding preamp, and of course assuming I couldn't afford a real 1073, I would get either a Brent Averill 1272 or the Aurora Audio GTQ. I use my GTQ side by side with 1073's all the time, and it has a little bit more top end, and maybe a slight bit less low mids, but the roundness and low end is just like my 1073's. It also breaks up just like my 1073's when I push them. I think all of the preamps we've talked about are quite capable, but based on what you're asking I would have to recommend you at least try out a GTQ2.
Old 21st January 2007 | Show parent
  #5
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carloff's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I tried Phoenix, Neve 1073DPA and Eisen Nevish pre...
Eisen Nevish pre in Api 500 form and was the best.Phoenix is more clean, Neve lacks in highs...
Old 22nd January 2007 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
My feeling is that there are pres that are sort of ear candy. You might put the Phoenix or the Aurora here.

Some pres sort of aim for reality. You might put Millenia or Buzz here.

The Great River series to me is sort of an in-between flavor that sort of goes with everything you can throw at it.

If I didn't own either the Great River or the Phoenix, then I'd probably go with the Great River. If I owned the Great River, then I'd probably pick the Phoenix or an A Designs MP series as they are very complimentary to the Great River.
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Old 22nd January 2007 | Show parent
  #7
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picksail's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The GR is strapped to my 2buss when mixing.

It sounds like the voice of God when used to track toms.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
My only working preamp is in the UA6176 channel strip. I know it's not fashionable but I do like it. My 1950 Gibson ES175 witha P90 never sounded better thru the 610 DI. And I've done sessions with 1 LDC for a singer and ac. guitar that sounded pretty nice, warm and present.
I have a 'vintage' TL Audio Dual Valve when I need two more tracks. Needless to say, I need a new stereo pre.
Like many others, the Great River was calling my name until I heard about the Aurora GTQ.
I know I know, this is becoming a threadbare thread but the EQ on the Aurora is quite appealing to me for tracking with ribbon mics and taming the occasional boomy acoustic guitar as well as adding some 'sparkle' to a murky vocalist (me).

So, if I go with the GR, what do I do about tracking EQ without dropping another
2K?
What do y'all think would be the best next step to compliment the 610?
Is ear candy bad?(Aurora) Isn't reality in the ear if the beholder?(Buzz or John Hardy) Does taking the middle path bring me to nirvana?(Great River)

These are my midnight musings.
thanks for your ears
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #9
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nemisis633's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I was buying just one to start. Hands down Great River. The Phoenix is great, (It sounds like a faster Neve style thing to me.) but the Great River is useful on more sources. Buy one, you wont regret it.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
What about a Wunder PAFOUR... its a budget stretch obviously but if you want the sound... can't talk about the pheonix but I've been A/Bing the GR this week against my PEQ1Rs and Cranesong Spider references. The GR is really good. Got that whole big iron thing going on... but the Wunder is something else again, more mid range detail and just smoother in the top end... ohh and you get 4 for just a little bit more.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #11
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
I have them both and love them both. How's that for helpful?

-R
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #12
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Daedalus77's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't have the most experienced ears around here, but I've yet to find a source on which I can't use the Great River. It can be quite transparent (in a "flattering" way) or "thicker," depending on mic, impedance selection, input and output gain structure. I've never used a "real" 1073 (and doubt I'll ever get the chance), but I've heard the "color" of the BAE Neve clones and the Chandler units, and I'd agree the GR is, in the main, "cleaner." (I've not heard the Phoenix or Aurora—sorry.)

If you're after versatility (and, as others have noted, versatility in the mixing and summing stages, in addition to tracking), it's hard to fault the GR. My sense is that it's lost its "trendiness" in the past year (to the Pacifica and, perhaps, Aurora), but I can't imagine not having it among the few toys in my studio.

One final note: The GR "stacks" really well. I recall reading a thread around here at some point indicating that the real mark of a great preamp was the extent to which a bunch of tracks recorded with it "gelled" in the mix, without build-up of similar (problematic) frequencies. This might explain to some degree, the fact that the GR comes across as "cleaner"—especialily in the low-mids—than some of the "truer" 1073 clones.

Hope that helped at least a bit.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #13
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Great River is to DRS-2 as the jewel is to the lotus.

-R
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #14
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heyman's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Like said above. You cant go wrong.. Try out a few side by side.. Pick your starting preamp from there..

I happen to love my GR.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 15 years
You might want to also consider an Aurora Audio GTQ2. Two channels of Neve'ish pres with some limited, but nice, EQ. I had a Great River for a while...to me it sounded a bit less-colored than the Aurora. I never got a chance to compare them head to head though. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these pres. In the end, you might want to jump on the one that you can find for the best deal. By the way, the DI on the GR is killer. Also, the impedence and loading switches on the GR are nice for changing up the pre's sound (I think that the newest GTQ2 has an impedence switch, my older version doesn't). Like I said, these are both killer pres...you can't go wrong and, if you get a good deal (if you go the used route), you won't lose money on them if you decide to sell.

Good luck.

Mike
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #16
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Matthew Murray's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Tony -- Phoenix has gotten through the rough patches you speak of and they're back in the ballgame full force last I heard. That was months ago and it isn't fair to perpetuate rumours like that.

As for the pres -- I've heard but not owned the Great River, and after getting ahold of the DRS-2 I didn't feel I needed to buy the great river. The GR was really nice, but I like colour and character. GR was a bit less exciting to me than the DRS-2, but I'm not all that hot at describing these things. I really felt like I could achieve a world of different sounds too, as the gain and output knobs really work well together to achieve different degrees of attitude.

If I had to pick it all over again, I'd do it the same way. DRS-2 now, maybe a GR down the road.
Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
have been using the phoenix for a number of years and still really like it and use it often -- tried the great river and the aurora and sent both back -- all of these are really high quality and, no doubt, work very well, depending on your taste and needs... etc. -- so, as always, you'll need to listen for yourself -- personally i thought the great river had a synthetic kind of creaminess, sort of a modern compression tone, that i didn't really enjoy -- this may be what a lot of people like about it (e.g., on certain kinds of vocals and heavy guitars), but it really just didn't sound good to me -- the phoenix is a bit more open to my ear than the great river or aurora, but not as open up top as lots of others... it's all about which one(s) best serves your purposes and ears...
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Old 23rd January 2007 | Show parent
  #18
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Murray ➑️
Tony -- Phoenix has gotten through the rough patches you speak of and they're back in the ballgame full force last I heard. That was months ago and it isn't fair to perpetuate rumours like that.

As for the pres -- I've heard but not owned the Great River, and after getting ahold of the DRS-2 I didn't feel I needed to buy the great river. The GR was really nice, but I like colour and character. GR was a bit less exciting to me than the DRS-2, but I'm not all that hot at describing these things. I really felt like I could achieve a world of different sounds too, as the gain and output knobs really work well together to achieve different degrees of attitude.

If I had to pick it all over again, I'd do it the same way. DRS-2 now, maybe a GR down the road.
Hi Matt,

I know you are a big Phoenix proponent, and I don't want to debate with anyone the status of their business or perpetuate rumours. But, I think it's still a little early to comment whether they have gotten through their rough patches. A post from Dec 14th doesn't constitute months ago, or necessarily mean they are back on track. When their dealers start getting consistent product then it might be a safer bet.

Here's the thread in question:

https://gearspace.com/board/showthread.php?t=90624
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #19
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Matthew Murray's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I definitely do love their stuff. And Shaun's a great guy, and I do come to his defense when I can as I know he's working really hard and they're a small company. That thread was at the tail end of their hard times, and while I'm sure they're still in wind-back-up mode, there's no reason to expect that you couldn't get ahold of gear in a reasonable timeframe.

I guess what I'm trying to say is -- this guy should choose which piece of gear he wants based on the sound, not based on hypothetical availability. If he determines he wants a DRS2, he can call them or a dealer up and figure out how to get ahold of one. But like he says, he's spending a couple grand .. he should want to get the right piece for his application!



Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➑️
Hi Matt,

I know you are a big Phoenix proponent, and I don't want to debate with anyone the status of their business or perpetuate rumours. But, I think it's still a little early to comment whether they have gotten through their rough patches. A post from Dec 14th doesn't constitute months ago, or necessarily mean they are back on track. When their dealers start getting consistent product then it might be a safer bet.

Here's the thread in question:

https://gearspace.com/board/showthread.php?t=90624
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #20
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
I took the liberty of copying Shaun's comments from the thread that Tony referenced. Personally, I've had nothing but first rate service from these guys, and totally love both my DRS-2 and my Nicerizer16. Weird stuff can happen to anybody, and I'm glad that they seem to be getting it back together. I'd do business with them again in a heartbeat.

In my little collection of pre's (Avalon 737, BA 312, GR-2NV, UA 2-610), the DRS-2 gets far and away the most use. Next runner up is the Great River. For some reason I prefer the Avalons on my piano, the 312's are often an alternate candidate for vocals or drums, and I like running synths and the top Leslie mics through the 2-610. Overall, the DRS-2, to my ears, usually gives a very 3-D sound, with a good combination of size, creaminess and detail.

This from Shaun----

<<Hi all,

I'll try to address some of your concerns (not in any particular order, just how it comes out).


For personal reasons I'm not going to discuss on this forum, I have been unavailable a lot of the time, and things have got a little "squiffy" without things being given the direction they needed.

So, for anyone that has had, or is currently having problems with their product, I apologise, and can assure you I will try to get things back to where they should be.

Over the last week I have been investigating the problems that seem to be arising, and have found that we had a batch of Output Stages that had a problem with a particular component (a small signal NPN transistor).

There was no way we could have predicted the problem, or when or where it may manifest itself. Generally, we have found that it manifests itself as a crackling noise in the output, and anywhere between 1 week and 3 months of constant use. The entire batch of components has been rejected, as have any output stages that may have used that component, and this particular component manufacturer won't be used again.

All warranties will be honoured, and replacement of a rogue output stage will be carried out as quickly as possible.

I will be gradually getting back "into the fray" at the beginning of the New Year, and will be addressing all issues, including availability and build.

I am aiming to have any outstanding issues resolved by the end of February 2007.

Please feel free to email me directly regarding any problems. I will endevour to answer all emails within 48 hours. email:[email protected]

Quote:
I sent the unit in to Phoenix under a critical deadline to the U.K. I stated what it was worth (in shipping, because I wasn't going to NOT insure it and claim it's worth $1). They (phoenix audio) rejected the shipment because of import duties and I received it back a month later after it sat in customs and took ages to come back.
Quote:
I think the least Phoenix should have done in this situation would have been to contact you when they were billed by FedEx or whoever, to let you know that your N16 was being held and that there was a duty to pay (probably about £95) rather than just refuse it.
There are specific requirements for the import of any equipment into the U.K. for repairs. If the paperwork is not correct, the receiver will be charged import duties and taxes based on the value declared on the shipment.

At one point we were informed that there was a parcel that a small courier company wanted to deliver, but there was a charge of over £300.00 (Pounds) in duties to be paid on it.

We were unable to find out what the parcel was, or where it was from. There was no tracking information, waybill, parcel number or any other information available, so (naturally) it was refused. Normally we are charged around £20.00 admin charges for UPS to deliver an "Outside of E.U" repair on a Customs and Excise IPR Temporary import Form. We even have to inform Customs and Excise when we have repaired and returned the unit.

We have no control over Customs, or what happens to anything that doesn't have the correct paperwork. When we later found out that it "could" have been a customer repair, we informed the customer what had happened and that it was possible that it was *his* shipment. We heard nothing more after that, from anyone.

Quote:
he swear to contact me again once he has received another ex demo unit....Well after numerous emails from my part, the elusive unit never turned up of course...yuk.
I'm sorry, but we can't predict when or even *if* a ex-demo unit will be returned. I could check to see what stock of new Nicerizer 8's our U.K. distributor has, and pass your details onto him for you to make the purchase, if you like?

My sincere thanks to all of the customers and GS users that have supported Phoenix Audio, and my apologies to those where we have not got it right first time. We have started to put a completely new system into place that should make sure things go a lot smoother in future.

We are also still developing new products (including a comp/lim/gate) which should be available some time in the new year.

Regards,

Shaun Leveque.>>
Old 24th January 2007
  #21
Gear Head
 
lesique's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I Just hope that all this is true...

But I'm...

...still waiting for my prepaid DRS -Q4 since may.
It should have been delivered in July, then November, then...

Promises and expectations.....ah


Bye
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #22
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
One consideration might be gain. My Phoenix Audio DRS-1 has at least 80db of gain. Or it seems like it. I had a sytek pre maxxed out (rated at 70db) but it wasn't enough for a AEA ribbon on a soft source. Plugged the AEA into the DRS-1, with the input set 10 db under max volume, and the master volume on about 6, and I had all the gain I needed. As far as color goes, the DRS is subtle - clean, but with a little bit of midrange 'smack' added. It's not the least bit muddy, and in one of my shootout files, the only pre of mine that beat it for vocals was the Eisen neve-ish. Even then it was more like a tie. I'd pick the DRS over a P1 or Pacifica anytime, but I've never tried a Great River.
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #23
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan ➑️
One consideration might be gain. My Phoenix Audio DRS-1 has at least 80db of gain. Or it seems like it. I had a sytek pre maxxed out (rated at 70db) but it wasn't enough for a AEA ribbon on a soft source. Plugged the AEA into the DRS-1, with the input set 10 db under max volume, and the master volume on about 6, and I had all the gain I needed. As far as color goes, the DRS is subtle - clean, but with a little bit of midrange 'smack' added. It's not the least bit muddy, and in one of my shootout files, the only pre of mine that beat it for vocals was the Eisen neve-ish. Even then it was more like a tie. I'd pick the DRS over a P1 or Pacifica anytime, but I've never tried a Great River.
Yes, the DRS and GTQ both have 80 db of gain. The GR has 60 db of gain.
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #24
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A440's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I really love my DRS-2 and can't imagine anyone not being absolutely delighted with one...worth mentioning that as well as amazing mic pre's, the DI's are incredible...just so good. Whether the Great River would be better for you, I think it really comes down to personal subjective preference at this level...try them both..or maybe get one channel of each!
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 15 years
Chiming in here:

While the DRS pre (and all the Phoenix gear) sounds excellent, and we have never argued this fact, consistency in terms of delivery, build-quality and customer support have been enough of an issue that we have dropped the line, at least for the time-being. I'd say the number one factor has been that our customers have had to wait way too long for delivery of the gear. In fact, the last time we had a Nicerizer 16 in stock, last fall, I had a customer that decided not to buy it because another dealer "beat our price". Well, that dealer did not have one in-stock, and that cusrtomer is still waiting. We are checking from time-to-time with the US distributer to get a head's-up on these issues. Once we see that the ship has turned around, we'll be happy to get back on board with Phoenix.

In the meantime, Great River gear continues to be built like a tank, is in plentiful supply, and customer support is among the best in the business. And when you factor in that the ME-1NV and MP-2NV sound wonderful, there's really no reason not to go that way. They have a subtle and musical British tone, can be gain-staged to be clean or "hot", and are overall about the most versatile pres you can find. You can use them on anything and everything, they have plenty of gain (60db), and the DI sounds great.
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #26
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
GR gain

The Great River has 70db of gain available with the output trim turned all the way up.
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by martyryan ➑️
The Great River has 70db of gain available with the output trim turned all the way up.
Right...and here's the thing, if you don't have enough gain for a classic ribbon on a low-volume source, well, shoot, that's what condenser mics are for.
Old 24th January 2007
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
This thread is great. I was considering purchasing either the Great River or the Phoenix as my next pre. I only have 1 pre right now, an Avalon M5 and it's very clean. I was kind of leaning Great River, then Phoenix, but from comments here, the great river might be clean too. Would either of these be a nice compliment to the M5 or should I go a different route?
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdavidw ➑️
This thread is great. I was considering purchasing either the Great River or the Phoenix as my next pre. I only have 1 pre right now, an Avalon M5 and it's very clean. I was kind of leaning Great River, then Phoenix, but from comments here, the great river might be clean too. Would either of these be a nice compliment to the M5 or should I go a different route?
The Great River has much more character and color than the M5. It has more of a "British" or "Rock" tone.
Old 24th January 2007 | Show parent
  #30
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
cool.
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