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Forssell SMP-2 vs Gordon Model 5
Old 13th February 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Forssell SMP-2 vs Gordon Model 5

OK - I've spent the past few months watching other threads, sending PMs and just trying to find an opinion from ANYONE who has heard both of these no doubt fine units as I want to buy or the other. Up here in Toronto it is very difficult to hear them without buying both and returning one, paying shipping, customs fees etc - basically making it not worth it.

I'm REALLY hoping someone can chime in here and offer some feedback.

I'll be upgrading from my Avalon 2022 to one of these for cleaner recording - Grand Piano, ribbon mics on strings, acoustic guitar for more clean sounds.

I currently also own a Pacifica and LaChapell 992EG, and am perhaps days away from a lunchbox with MA5s and perhaps more.

Thanks.
Old 13th February 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I've tried both.
neither would be an upgrade to what you already have.
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Art - thanks for the feedback - I'm quite surprised to hear that though - for me the 2022 is a tad "hard" and a bit bland sounding, a bit of a nice sheen to the sound though and gorgeous to look at - besides that I was told either would offer significant upgrade - is this wishfull thinking or gearlust on my part perhaps?
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan ➑️
I've tried both.
neither would be an upgrade to what you already have.
Can you elaborate it a bit ? It surely means that you have tried and carefully compared all the four of them ? I did - except Gordon .... I am pretty sure that at least SMP-2 will be a substantial upgrade to what you already have ... (in case of Gordon I cannot say it for 100% sure ... since I have not tried it)
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
IVO - you are currently the main reason the Forssell is in my top two - thanks for your many samples and opinions posted on the SMP-2!!
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
bump
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
OK I wasn't going to say anything yet to avoid the appearance of being a tease (especially if it somehow doesn't happen!), but I and another fellow local GS member are planning to get together late this month to do this shootout. I have a Gordon model 5, and he has an SMP-2. It will be (initially at least) on some classical/choral stuff, using Josephson 617/set mics. If we have time and opportunity, we'll compare with other mics and genres as well.

I too have been awaiting this comparison, and am as eager as anyone to do this!

Mark W
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
AB3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It helps to try it on a harmonically rich instrument like a grand piano IMHO.

Not every pre is the best for every piano, pianist, type of music, etc.

I love my Forssell. But I also love the Benchmark Pre420 on my Grand Piano. It is a little colder than the Forssell, but in the case of my piano, it is so rich, that the Benchmark provides the balance needed.

The Forssell is one of those desert island pres. It sounds great on everthing, excels on some things, but is never bad on anything.

The rest is source, mics, placement, etc.

The Forssell is also great for ribbons, especially with its dual input choices for each channel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mwurfl ➑️
OK I wasn't going to say anything yet to avoid the appearance of being a tease (especially if it somehow doesn't happen!), but I and another fellow local GS member are planning to get together late this month to do this shootout. I have a Gordon model 5, and he has an SMP-2. It will be (initially at least) on some classical/choral stuff, using Josephson 617/set mics. If we have time and opportunity, we'll compare with other mics and genres as well.

I too have been awaiting this comparison, and am as eager as anyone to do this!

Mark W
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I've used them on accoustic guitar and voice.
they both sound a little dead or lifeless as compared to the onesl that you have.
I guess I just prefer pres with color.
Also the two that you mention sound good at 96k through high end converters out high end speakers. As soon as they are convertered to MP3 and played through average speakers those two pres loose more quality than a pre which is adding a little color. I think the recording process takes a way color and pres with color translate better in the long run.
I think the people giving great reports on the Gordon have great systems.
i would suggest listening back to your tests on MP3 files through average speakers and amps (like the rest of the world listens) and you will see the very subtle benefit of the ultra clean pres just evaporates.
I agree with AB3 though, If a source has alot of harmonics or color to start with
(such as a piano) then yes the gordon and Forsell would sound good.
but on a monophonic instrument such as voice, no way do they come in first place when listened to in context of a whole mix. shoot outs are not done by soloing tracks.
Art Johan.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Rob King's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you want clean with a "vibe" I would suggest you try and listen to a Martech MSS-10. They sound absolutely wonderful. Tons of detail and hugeness paired with the right microphone. I am sure that Lachapell 992EG sounds wonderful on a piano as well. What mics do you have? Perhaps that is a better investment. You should be able to do some great recordings with your pre's already. The Martech's are a bit blissful though.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob King ➑️
If you want clean with a "vibe" I would suggest you try and listen to a Martech MSS-10. They sound absolutely wonderful. Tons of detail and hugeness paired with the right microphone. I am sure that Lachapell 992EG sounds wonderful on a piano as well. What mics do you have? Perhaps that is a better investment. You should be able to do some great recordings with your pre's already. The Martech's are a bit blissful though.
Sorry, totally off topic but how's your mom's car running? Is she still enjoying her present?
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwurfl ➑️
OK I wasn't going to say anything yet to avoid the appearance of being a tease (especially if it somehow doesn't happen!), but I and another fellow local GS member are planning to get together late this month to do this shootout. I have a Gordon model 5, and he has an SMP-2. It will be (initially at least) on some classical/choral stuff, using Josephson 617/set mics. If we have time and opportunity, we'll compare with other mics and genres as well.

I too have been awaiting this comparison, and am as eager as anyone to do this!

Mark W
Fascinating. I would encourage you to at least try one or two different mics, especially with regard to input impedance differences. That might make a substantial difference.

Gordon:

Quote:
Two megohm input impedance eliminates current-related losses and load distortion in mics
Forssell:

Quote:
Input Impedance: 15k ohm
[Addendum: Just checked the output impedance of the Josephson C-617/set. It may not be an issue.]

Quote:
Output impedance: 50Ω (minimum load impedance 1kΩ)
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan ➑️
i would suggest listening back to your tests on MP3 files through average speakers and amps (like the rest of the world listens) and you will see the very subtle benefit of the ultra clean pres just evaporates.
With this philosophy you can really save lot of money, equip your studio with Behringers all the way through and be happy and rich man (you can also stop wasting time discussing about things in this forum section) ... and it is very likely that people listening to their "music" on mobile phones will not hear the difference ... But there are still people who have ears, some aesthetic sense, they enjoy what they do and they want their music to sound beautiful ... and they also have a nice equipment to listen on ...

As for your remark about Gordon/Forssell sounding "dead" - they sound exactly as you play .... (or slightly better than that)

And for sure - if the singer sings into U47 - Telefunken V76 combo or Oktava - Behringer combo will not matter in the end for mp3 eaters ... So ?
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I urge the OP to do exactly what he says is not worth it. Buy both and make the comparison. Passion leads to sacrifice. Pay the duties, shipping and all else so that you can judge with your ears and gears.

By the way, I agree with nothing of the above where super high quality gear is said to make little difference.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️

By the way, I agree with nothing of the above where super high quality gear is said to make little difference.
Amen ...

If you love and enjoy what you do, the difference is huge and you will never stop passionate explorations for yet another great alchemic devices and possibilities

If you do it just as an impersonal job, it really does not matter much and anything which works will do ...
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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massimo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I believe I have posted it several times, that I have been waiting for this comparison (I'd ideally also include a GML...) for maybe two years. The 1000USD price difference between the two is especially puzzling, not in terms of how much the guts and build of the Gordon are expensive (they sure are), but of hearable quality difference on acoustic instruments (my perspective application).
Really hope this comparative test is going to happen, I wish to thank in advance the guys who will handle the task.

best regards
Massimo
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You should really try.
You say its hard to get a test, you got to buy both and send one back, ok, but what if you buy one caused by an internet meaning and find out years later that this opinion or test was wrong for your taste.
Ask for demo units, iΒ΄m sure this is possible. I know it should work with the gear Fred Forsell builds. I bought one and i could have sent it back within 2 weeks, getting the money back.
Well, I kept the SMP-2, itΒ΄s great.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
you should also check out the dw fearn they are pretty amazing .
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by massimo ➑️
I believe I have posted it several times, that I have been waiting for this comparison (I'd ideally also include a GML...) for maybe two years....Really hope this comparative test is going to happen, I wish to thank in advance the guys who will handle the task.

best regards
Massimo
Add a Buzz MA2.2 and we'd have the "ultimate clean pre shootout."

Until the next, new, greatest one comes out, of course.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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thermos's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Wait, wasn't there a thread recently about this very thing? Zool2 (Bruce) had a detailed comparison I think. I remember reading the Gordon was a bit deeper/fuller in the lows while the Forssell had an ethereal high end quality.

I'll add I was a part of a record where the engineer used Gordons on almost the whole record (it was a jazz record). It sounded unbelievable, and changed my view of "clean" preamps. Just huge and beautiful. That said, if I wanted a pre like this I'd get the Forssell. I have his A/D and D/A converters, and I'm a believer. Not to mention its cheaper.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Can someone maybe post a link to that thread? I couldn't find it just now for some reason. Thanks.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Here is a small sample of a children choir I recorded last year, using SMP-2 preamps (with Schoeps MK-2 and MK-21 mics). That time I still did not have the Forssell MADC-2 converters, which are sonically yet step up from the DAD AX-24 which I used at that time, so the result might have sounded yet better overall ... We also brought Millennia HV-3 at the venue to make an interesting quick comparison. As already Mr. Adebar mentioned in the other thread, there was a clear difference: HV-3 sounded nice, but comparing to SMP-2 somehow lacked the depth and ("ethereal") smoothness and added some slightly thin, edgy factor to the sound, the SMP-2 result sounded more full and incredibly "real", without any artifacts and "processed" feeling ...

AGNUS DEI

(just a "naked" recording with the natural reverb of the church)
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Ivo, a really beautiful sample and recording. Is there any info on the net about Fred's A/D converter. I have a pair of Fred's SMP-500's in the budget for this year.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Ivo - lovely recording - what mic placement did you use - that interests me, as always, as much as gear.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
Here is a small sample of a children choir I recorded last year, using SMP-2 preamps (with Schoeps MK-2 and MK-21 mics). That time I still did not have the Forssell MADC-2 converters, which are sonically yet step up from the DAD AX-24 which I used at that time, so the result might have sounded yet better overall ... We also brought Millennia HV-3 at the venue to make an interesting quick comparison. As already Mr. Adebar mentioned in the other thread, there was a clear difference: HV-3 sounded nice, but comparing to SMP-2 somehow lacked the depth and ("ethereal") smoothness and added some slightly thin, edgy factor to the sound, the SMP-2 result sounded more full and incredibly "real", without any artifacts and "processed" feeling ...

AGNUS DEI

(just a "naked" recording with the natural reverb of the church)
Ivo,

Awesome job.

2.5 Thumbs up.

Congratulate the choir and conductor too. They were spectacular.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianokeys ➑️
Ivo - lovely recording - what mic placement did you use - that interests me, as always, as much as gear.
Not to get OT - all the details, including more samples are mentioned HERE
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
Here is a small sample of a children choir I recorded last year, using SMP-2 preamps (with Schoeps MK-2 and MK-21 mics). That time I still did not have the Forssell MADC-2 converters, which are sonically yet step up from the DAD AX-24 which I used at that time, so the result might have sounded yet better overall ... We also brought Millennia HV-3 at the venue to make an interesting quick comparison. As already Mr. Adebar mentioned in the other thread, there was a clear difference: HV-3 sounded nice, but comparing to SMP-2 somehow lacked the depth and ("ethereal") smoothness and added some slightly thin, edgy factor to the sound, the SMP-2 result sounded more full and incredibly "real", without any artifacts and "processed" feeling ...

AGNUS DEI

(just a "naked" recording with the natural reverb of the church)
I used that lovely piece the other day in a test with Lynx Aurora 8 and Line Audio 8MP. I looped DA > 8mp > AD and by setting the gain and pad of DA and preamp I ended up at 30dB gain of pre so 0dBFS out of converter equaled 0dBFS in to converter.

Listening with HD650 I can not hear a difference between the original and the loop.

It's to big to upload and I don't have a server but I would be interested in others impression.

I also looped two other pieces and could not hear a difference there either.


/Peter
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
Not to get OT - all the details, including more samples are mentioned HERE
Thanks for posting the samples and photos ISedlacek. I definitely prefer the Forsell SMP2 over the Millenia HV3 in your recordings.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
mwurfl - so any idea when that shootout is going to take place?

I have been using 4 mics on grand piano - 2 Gefell M930s as close mics and a mis-match pair for about 6' away - Wunder CM7/gt/M7 and M149 with good results.

Just received a pair of BeezNeez Jade mics as well which I'm keen to try and will tomorrow.
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