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hardy M1?
Old 5th March 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
out1ear's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
hardy M1?

I've never used one before. I see they use Jensen trannies. So would you say this is similar to and API? What would you compare the M1 to? In what applications are you using them?
Old 5th March 2003
  #2
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Similar to an API? Only in that it amplifies microphone level signal to line level signal... tonally and texturally they're quite different. The Hardy is a good bit clearer, the API a good bit more 'aggressive'.

Both are excellent units and can indeed be used interchangably... but they're definitely different sounding.
Old 6th March 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Fletcher is right--they are very different sounding. The Hardy is more crisp and faster than the API whereas the API is harder and more aggressive sounding. I find myself choosing the Hardy often for acoustic guitars, drums, bass, orchestral instruments....anything where I want a cleaner sound. I just used it with an R121 last night to record trombone. I often pick the API for electric guitars, drums, vocals.

Brad
Old 7th March 2003
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Hardy

I think the Hardys are also great on guitar cabs, but I recently tried to scrounge up enough cash to double some guitar parts with an API 3124. -E
Old 8th March 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I use mine on vocals and acoustic guitars. Ditto the 'faster' comment someone made earlier...

-john
Old 10th March 2003
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Sir Bob's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Brent Averill told me that unlike the Neve, the API does not shave off the transients.
Old 10th March 2003
  #7
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When you say it sounds "faster", are you refering to the rise time of the unit?
Old 14th March 2003
  #8
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
When you say it sounds "faster", are you refering to the rise time of the unit?
I don't know if rise time is the right technical term, but it just seems like the transient response is faster (or 'snappy-er' might be another word) with the M1 than the API. It doesn't 'compress' the transient as much.
-John
Old 14th March 2003
  #9
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Sir Bob
Brent Averill told me that unlike the Neve, the API does not shave off the transients.
Hmmm. I love my APIs, but to my ears, the attack is a bit blunt compared to something like a Hardy. (So hard to describe this stuff...)
Old 16th March 2003
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
When you say it sounds "faster", are you refering to the rise time of the unit?
ecue yes and this is measured as Slew Rate. The higher the slew rate the faster the reaction time of device. This is critical for devices that need to reproduce transients accurately. You will see high quality mic pres as well as amplifiers publish slew rate figures which are shown as volts per microsecs .

Generally speaking the more transparent sounding the device the faster the slew rate. The average you will see is 20 V/us and the fastest mic pre that I know of is 140V/us. Something like a Bryston amp would be 60V/us for example.

So when someone refers to speed of a mic pre this is what they are talking about.

Obviously a slow slew rate is not always a bad thing, at least in a mic pre. Part of what makes a Neve or an API sound the way it does is its slow response time. Of course having a bunch of iron in the design also slows things down.

So for vocals or maybe electric guitar a slow, fat, dumb and happy mic pre is exactly what the doctor ordered. But as was pointed out, for strings, acoustic guitar or snare, fast is where its at.

Lee
Old 18th March 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I've had a pair for about 8 years, and never really liked them on drums. I seem to like slow dumb...whatever the other guy said. I love them on vocals and acoustic guitar. They're super reliable, and clean with TONS of headroom. +26dB before it even thinks about clipping!
Old 18th March 2003
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Ianneve's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I know a guy who has a quad unit for sale.
Old 18th March 2003
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quad what?

Quote:
Originally posted by Ianneve
I know a guy who has a quad unit for sale.
API or Hardy? If API, I'd like to talk to the guy -E
Old 18th March 2003
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jim Anderson, arguably today's equivalent of Rudy Van Gelder, endorses Hardy preamps on every CD done by him I've run into. The sound quality Anderson consistently gets is absolutely stunning by any measure. If anybody ever entered his recordings in the Grammys he'd probably win best engineered every time!

The history of Jensen is that Deane Jensen was the chief engineer of Quad-Eight around the time API virtually wiped them and everybody else out in the console market because people loved the 550 equalizer. He started his company to manufacture upgrade transformers and opamps for API boards because most of the Hollywood audio establishment considered the OEM parts to be giant step backwards from what they were used to in audio quality. My understanding is that Hardy builds pretty much exactly what Deane designed as an ultimate tweaked-out version of an API preamp.
Old 18th March 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I worked for John a little bit, making M-1's. They use a more tweaked/discreet component version of the 990 opamp (like an API) and the Jensen JT16B transformer, but sound nothing like API to me. Maybe John will chime in here...
Old 19th March 2003
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks to everyone for the compliments on the M-1 mic preamp. A few thoughts:

Jensen transformers: The input transformer that I use is the best of the Jensen mic-input models, the JT-16-B. It has the lowest impedance ratio of all the Jensen mic-input transformers, providing the best performance (widest bandwidth, most linear phase response, lowest distortion, etc.). It is perfectly matched to the noise characteristics of the 990 discrete op-amp. There are other mic preamps that use Jensen input transformers, but not the JT-16-B.

The optional output transformer is the best of the Jensen output transformers, the JT-11-BMQ (look at the JT-11-BMCF on the jensen site).

One of the reasons that the M-1 sounds "fast" (or whatever) is because there are no coupling capacitors in the signal path. Capacitors have a characteristic known as "dielectric absorption", where part of the signal passing through the capacitor can be absorbed briefly by the dielectric, then released, smearing the signal somewhat. Some capacitors are much better than others, but the best capacitor is NO capacitor.

There are actually three versions of the 990: the original, the "A" and the "C" version. The only one in regular production is the C version (happy to build the others if requested). It has additional circuitry so that it can operate over a range of +/-12VDC to +/-24VDC power supplies. It also has additional protection circuitry. I build it faithfully according to the Jensen design, except for the following items:

1. The original design had a diode (CR3) that Deane suggested could be replaced by a diode-connected PN4250A transistor for better matching with Q3 (also a PN4250A). I use the PN4250A in place of CR3.

2. All resistors are upgraded to 1% metal film.

3. There is a special trimming procedure that we do to get optimum matching of input bias currents.

The M-1 and API preamps are only similar in the sense that they have input and output transformers and a discrete op-amp. The transformers in the M-1 are much better, and the 990 is much better than the API2520. Of course, API preamps have a unique color, and I salute that. But I think that the overwhelming majority of the time engineers would like things to sound the best that they can possibly sound, so the M-1 is much more appropriate for that.

Common "jargon" for transformers is to refer to them as "iron". This is true for many transformers, but not the ones that I use. They have core material that is 80% nickel. It is much more expensive, and the resulting transformer will be larger than an iron-core transformer with the same maximum output level. But there is more than just the core material. There is the special expertise that can only be found at Jensen. I absolutely believe the extra cost is worth it.

Thanks again.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
Old 19th March 2003
  #17
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've heard those little M-1's...I record a LOT of acoustic music...GAWD do I seriously want eight of em......GREAT JOB JOHN!!! and welcome to the sluttiest place on earth.
Old 19th March 2003
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
John, thanks for the insight into your designs, this is very helpful.

I would like to ask your opinion of the Sowter transformers. This is not a Jensen vs. Sowter but because you seem to know a lot about the Jensens I thought you might have an opinion on the Sowters.

Lee
Old 19th March 2003
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Lee;

I have no experience with the Sowter (or Lundahl, or other) transformers. I will be happy to evaluate them. I have some Lundahl transformers here for evaluation.

I know the care with which the Jensen transformers are designed and fabricated. Deane was fanatical about the designs. Steve Hogan and the others at Jensen are carrying on in the same spirit.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
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