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Holy grail preamp: most versatile?
Old 17th July 2021 | Show parent
  #421
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PuebloAudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental ➡️
It is impossible to do an all analog session without a console.
One of my clients literally releases 1/4" tapes that he sells to audiophiles.
The ethos is NO DIGITAL ALL ANALOG.
You cannot do that without a console.
There are plenty of examples of console-less, 100% analog productions though out the history of recorded sound. Even more contemporary productions can be found. Check out Water Lily Acoustics, Mapleshade Records or Straight Ahead Records.

I, myself, have made a number of all-analog recordings without a console, or at least not what most would consider a proper console. Consoles provide great convenience and flexibility. But Consoles generally can't compete with outboard gear when it comes to channel cross-talk and many other performance characteristics. Pan-pots are generally the Achilles heal of consoles. That is where I feel a traditional console takes a fidelity hit so I like to avoid them. Instead, go without a console and rely on a wide selection of mics and stereophonic techniques, acoustic problem solving and maintaining a minimalist signal path.

I mostly have recorded jazz and classical music using this minimalist method so it won't be applicable for many situations. But I have also done some lite pop. In fact, I have even engineered all analog, direct-to-disc sessions, including a quadrophonic project. I use a bank of my various JR-Series preamp models into my SideWinder summing amp. With this I can add some wonderful 19" outboard analog EQ's, compressors and even EMT Plates (yes, even the verb was analog! ). All of which I find affords better visceral realism than what most consoles deliver.

Not saying anything is wrong with using a proper console. Only pointing out that not only is it possible to run an all-analog session, it was accomplished before we were born.

Last edited by PuebloAudio; 19th July 2021 at 07:56 PM..
Old 17th July 2021 | Show parent
  #422
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio ➡️
Not saying anything is wrong with using a proper console.
Except the fidelity hit from the panpots, of course. :-)

I wouldn't mind if you elaborated on that.
Old 17th July 2021
  #423
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Creamer +1. I have tried many different preamps, and I don't know of any other preamp that is more versatile. Best of all, it sounds great.
Old 18th July 2021
  #424
I always find it intersting that the Millennia STT1 doesn‘t get a lot of love here at GS. We have quite a collection of good preamps (Neve, Forssell, DBX 786, Focusrite ISA, Prism, Millennia HV3, DAV and more) but typically I start with the STT1. It can sound just completely transparent (which I like) but when using the M2B tube circuits for the preamp, eq and compressor you get this beautiful warm sound, which reminds me about the v76 just a bit cleaner.
To me this is really versatile…
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #425
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Except the fidelity hit from the panpots, of course. :-)

I wouldn't mind if you elaborated on that.
Typical stereo crosstalk specs in a analog console vary from -45 db to -90 db at 10k hz, the most difficult frequency to measure. Older designs based on inverting opamp designs max out at -60 db at 10k hz.

Contributing factors are pan pot design, sum amp design and spurious crosstalk from capacitive leakage across the sum resistors.

My Soundcraft console uses current feedback opamps with a bandwidth of 30 mhz, a slew rate of 2000V/us from a pair of low noise input transistors wired into a trans-amp configuration. Stereo crosstalk is -90 db at 10k hz at .0005% THD, 1.5 ppm CCIF IMD. It measures better than most outboard gear.
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #426
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1 Review written
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
Typical stereo crosstalk specs...
If all you're talking about is crosstalk, if you have the panpot at any position except hard left or right, you're deliberately inducing crosstalk, right? So who cares if the circuit does a tiny bit of that on its own?

The poster I was putting the question to used the term "fidelity," and I was assuming that he or she didn't mean crosstalk. Maybe I'm mistaken.
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #427
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby06 ➡️
I always find it intersting that the Millennia STT1 doesn‘t get a lot of love here at GS. We have quite a collection of good preamps (Neve, Forssell, DBX 786, Focusrite ISA, Prism, Millennia HV3, DAV and more) but typically I start with the STT1. It can sound just completely transparent (which I like) but when using the M2B tube circuits for the preamp, eq and compressor you get this beautiful warm sound, which reminds me about the v76 just a bit cleaner.
To me this is really versatile…
Just curious, but how do you like the dbx 786?
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #428
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PuebloAudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
If all you're talking about is crosstalk, if you have the panpot at any position except hard left or right, you're deliberately inducing crosstalk, right? So who cares if the circuit does a tiny bit of that on its own?

The poster I was putting the question to used the term "fidelity," and I was assuming that he or she didn't mean crosstalk. Maybe I'm mistaken.
Hi there!

Jim explained the crosstalk problem well. This problem certainly reduces fidelity. By fidelity, I mean the quality of an output signal to remain sonically faithful to the input signal. Maybe you did not catch in Jim's reply that the crosstalk can be frequency dependent. For example, if you pan a voice at 20 degrees to the left, the fundamentals will localize at that location but the higher overtones may start popping out at various other locations to the right (cross talk). This smeared reproduction may reduce the fidelity of the voice's timbre while also reducing the stability of its localization.

Beyond crosstalk, there is just the plain fact that the signal must pass through the panning circuitry components. This can consist of 1 to 3 more amplifiers, electrolytic caps, potentiometers, various connectors, etc. And most manufactured consoles economize on these parts (do not use high-performance components). So fidelity will be further reduced by the added noise, distortion and phase shifts these circuits may impart.

Less is more when it comes to fidelity which, historically, was the prime reason outboard mic preamps came about in the first place: to avoid going through a comparatively lossy console when printing to multitrack.
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #429
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray ➡️
Just curious, but how do you like the dbx 786?
It’s fantastic
Very big, detailed but still clean in the best way.
I took some measurements and it was even above the forssell and the millennia…
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #430
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sdelsolray's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby06 ➡️
It’s fantastic
Very big, detailed but still clean in the best way.
I took some measurements and it was even above the forssell and the millennia…
I've had mine for quite some time. I prefer it over many others I've either tried or owned for my narrow uses (solo fingerstyle and classical guitar, flesh and nail).
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #431
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray ➡️
I've had mine for quite some time. I prefer it over many others I've either tried or owned for my narrow uses (solo fingerstyle and classical guitar, flesh and nail).
I can really understand you :-)
Typically I start with the STT1, if I need something big / larger than life or Stereo I like to go with the dbx. If I need something little sweeter I take the Forssell and If I need something, that is not so totally detailed but musical and also big I like to take the DAV.
Old 19th July 2021 | Show parent
  #432
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1 Review written
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio ➡️
Maybe you did not catch in Jim's reply that the crosstalk can be frequency dependent.
That makes sense.
Old 21st July 2021 | Show parent
  #433
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio ➡️
There are plenty of examples of console-less, 100% analog productions though out the history of recorded sound. Even more contemporary productions can be found. Check out Water Lily Acoustics, Mapleshade Records or Straight Ahead Records.

I, myself, have made a number of all-analog recordings without a console, or at least not what most would consider a proper console. Consoles provide great convenience and flexibility. But Consoles generally can't compete with outboard gear when it comes to channel cross-talk and many other performance characteristics. Pan-pots are generally the Achilles heal of consoles. That is where I feel a traditional console takes a fidelity hit so I like to avoid them. Instead, go without a console and rely on a wide selection of mics and stereophonic techniques, acoustic problem solving and maintaining a minimalist signal path.

I mostly have recorded jazz and classical music using this minimalist method so it won't be applicable for many situations. But I have also done some lite pop. In fact, I have even engineered all analog, direct-to-disc sessions, including a quadrophonic project. I use a bank of my various JR-Series preamp models into my SideWinder summing amp. With this I can add some wonderful 19" outboard analog EQ's, compressors and even EMT Plates (yes, even the verb was analog! ). All of which I find affords better visceral realism than what most consoles deliver.

Not saying anything is wrong with using a proper console. Only pointing out that not only is it possible to run an all-analog session, it was accomplished before we were born.
When deciding to do something ITB vs OTB. Panning and stereo image is where ITB wins. EQ, compression, effects, I prefer OTB. An of course there are things that can't be done OTB.
Old 21st July 2021 | Show parent
  #434
Gear Guru
 
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1 Review written
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
When deciding to do something ITB vs OTB. Panning and stereo image is where ITB wins.
ITB, dead center is a pinpoint. Different from a console. And a console mixed to tape is even more different.
Old 21st July 2021 | Show parent
  #435
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuebloAudio ➡️
Hi there!

Jim explained the crosstalk problem well. This problem certainly reduces fidelity. By fidelity, I mean the quality of an output signal to remain sonically faithful to the input signal. Maybe you did not catch in Jim's reply that the crosstalk can be frequency dependent. For example, if you pan a voice at 20 degrees to the left, the fundamentals will localize at that location but the higher overtones may start popping out at various other locations to the right (cross talk). This smeared reproduction may reduce the fidelity of the voice's timbre while also reducing the stability of its localization.

Beyond crosstalk, there is just the plain fact that the signal must pass through the panning circuitry components. This can consist of 1 to 3 more amplifiers, electrolytic caps, potentiometers, various connectors, etc. And most manufactured consoles economize on these parts (do not use high-performance components). So fidelity will be further reduced by the added noise, distortion and phase shifts these circuits may impart.

Less is more when it comes to fidelity which, historically, was the prime reason outboard mic preamps came about in the first place: to avoid going through a comparatively lossy console when printing to multitrack.
Outboard mic amps came along because engineers wanted the great sound of the Neve, API, etc consoles they used in the 70s instead of the sound of the mic amps in the SSL consoles that were in a lot of studios in the 80s and 90s. I was told this by Steve Butterworth who worked for Neve from the mid 70s to mid 80s and then went on to become one of the first people to design and sell a commercially available outboard mic amp/EQ channel strip called PAST. It was based on a Neve 1095(looks like a 31105 though) and released in the late 80s.

What he told me was that many producers and musicians hated the sound of tracking on SSLs but loved tracking on 80 series Neve desks. By the late 80s a lot of studios had replaced great sounding old Neves and APIs with SSLs because of all the bells and whistles. Steve's goal was to create outboard mic amps that sounded like the old Neve consoles because that is the sound many big name clients had used in the past and loved.
He made about 150 PAST mic pre/EQs or so and I own 2 of them. They sure do sound great!

Point being, I dont think in the infancy of outboard pre amps the philosophy of these designers was so much "less is more" as it was "lets make it sound like the console my clients know and love......."
See attached photos for more detail on PAST.

I agree with you that pan pots are a weakness in a lot of consoles. My console allows me to bypass the pan pot to the busses which is great if I want something L/R or C. I am a big fan of hard panning, but it is also nice to have the creative option of flipping in a pan pot and putting a sound somewhere in between. To me, often the ability to use the creative tool of the pan pot outweighs any slight sonic degradation it induces. Different strokes for different folks.

I think your philosophy for recording is great by the way.
Attached Thumbnails
Holy grail preamp: most versatile?-img_20171019_154647.jpg   Holy grail preamp: most versatile?-img_20171019_154754.jpg  
Old 21st July 2021 | Show parent
  #436
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental ➡️
Outboard mic amps came along because engineers wanted the great sound of the Neve, API, etc consoles they used in the 70s instead of the sound of the mic amps in the SSL consoles that were in a lot of studios in the 80s and 90s. I was told this by Steve Butterworth who worked for Neve from the mid 70s to mid 80s and then went on to become one of the first people to design and sell a commercially available outboard mic amp/EQ channel strip called PAST. It was based on a Neve 1095(looks like a 31105 though) and released in the late 80s.

What he told me was that many producers and musicians hated the sound of tracking on SSLs but loved tracking on 80 series Neve desks. By the late 80s a lot of studios had replaced great sounding old Neves and APIs with SSLs because of all the bells and whistles. Steve's goal was to create outboard mic amps that sounded like the old Neve consoles because that is the sound many big name clients had used in the past and loved.
He made about 150 PAST mic pre/EQs or so and I own 2 of them. They sure do sound great!

Point being, I dont think in the infancy of outboard pre amps the philosophy of these designers was so much "less is more" as it was "lets make it sound like the console my clients know and love......."
See attached photos for more detail on PAST.

I agree with you that pan pots are a weakness in a lot of consoles. My console allows me to bypass the pan pot to the busses which is great if I want something L/R or C. I am a big fan of hard panning, but it is also nice to have the creative option of flipping in a pan pot and putting a sound somewhere in between. To me, often the ability to use the creative tool of the pan pot outweighs any slight sonic degradation it induces. Different strokes for different folks.

I think your philosophy for recording is great by the way.
I began designing microphone preamps in the late 1970's because of all the poor sounding console preamps, Neve and API were near the bottom of what I wanted. I would bring these to sessions and the AE's would always ask: "What are those things"?

I would answer "these are mic preamps".

They would say "why? We have 48 of them in the desk".

After they heard them they understood. Then they would ask me to build some for them. I don't recall anyone else in LA that did this back then, it began to catch on in the late 1980's.

My console pan pots line up very well, they are the "active pan" design Soundcraft patented back in the early 1990's. Center matches within 1/2 db or better, left to right has -90 db stereo crosstalk at 10k hz.
Old 21st July 2021
  #437
AB3
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Or the undertone pre which is versatile. No tubes but saturates and I thought it was smoother than the v72s.
Old 21st July 2021 | Show parent
  #438
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1 Review written
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
I don't recall anyone else in LA that did this back then, it began to catch on in the late 1980's.
The Hardy MCI-retrofit preamps have been around since the late 70s, and are clearly better than the stock pres.

I've only heard yours in Mark Graue's Mackie 8 Buses. They sounded way better than the Mackie pres to me, but the overall audio quality was still that of a Mackie 8 Bus. Not much you could do about that.
Old 22nd July 2021 | Show parent
  #439
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skybluerental's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
I began designing microphone preamps in the late 1970's because of all the poor sounding console preamps, Neve and API were near the bottom of what I wanted. I would bring these to sessions and the AE's would always ask: "What are those things"?

I would answer "these are mic preamps".

They would say "why? We have 48 of them in the desk".

After they heard them they understood. Then they would ask me to build some for them. I don't recall anyone else in LA that did this back then, it began to catch on in the late 1980's.

My console pan pots line up very well, they are the "active pan" design Soundcraft patented back in the early 1990's. Center matches within 1/2 db or better, left to right has -90 db stereo crosstalk at 10k hz.
Yeah, I have heard of producers and engineers as far back as the 70s having their own outboard mic amps, but back then they were all custom and not really commercially available.............. Unless a person knew someone like you who could build/rack them, there really was no way to buy a commercially available high quality outboard mic amp in the 70s as far as I know........ But I was only a toddler then, so perhaps I am wrong.

The pan pots on my API line up pretty tight too. All of them are within 1/2 db here as well. I should measure the crosstalk sometime just out of curiosity. What level signal at 10khz should I use to measure crosstalk?
Old 15th July 2022 | Show parent
  #440
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge ➡️
It’s called the Vacuvox V41.not on the website yet.
based on the original Telefunken V41 Maihak tube preamp designed in the late 1920’s
The Grandaddy of the V76 and about twice the size
The new version inside is a work of art.
I absolutely LOVE my U23m compressors.
I’m surprised more mastering guys aren’t jumping on these as just the line amps alone sound glorious
Are you referring to the line amps in the V41 preamps or the U23m? Curious if the V41 would add something to the chain before the U23m comps; I don't think the V41s have line level inputs, but a 20db pad, which might be enough signal reduction?

I'd love to use the V41 in the mixing context as well as tracking; patiently waiting for mine to arrive!
Old 16th July 2022 | Show parent
  #441
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray ➡️
Just curious, but how do you like the dbx 786?
After all this years still fantastic. Big, open, detailed and warm. One you understand the spectrum eq, this is great as well
I use it sometimes for mastering
Old 17th July 2022
  #442
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🎧 20 years
Dbx 786 is one you don’t hear of often. Gota say I’m big massive sucker for brushed aluminium facias!
Old 18th July 2022 | Show parent
  #443
Lives for gear
The most versatile one is probably original 1073 or 1084, but it still never sounds like Millennia nor API.
Old 18th July 2022 | Show parent
  #444
Quote:
Originally Posted by momomel ➡️
The most versatile one is probably original 1073 or 1084, but it still never sounds like Millennia nor API.
This doesn’t make sense… it’s exactly the other way around. The Millennia is crystal clear and clean and thus really versatile.
But it certainly does not have the color of a 1073.
The API is again another beast
Old 18th July 2022 | Show parent
  #445
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby06 ➡️
This doesn’t make sense… it’s exactly the other way around. The Millennia is crystal clear and clean and thus really versatile.
But it certainly does not have the color of a 1073.
The API is again another beast
I don't think Millennia is the most versatile pre for pop music production.
Old 18th July 2022
  #446
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🎧 15 years
Just buy an Europa 1 from Dave Hill Design. API, Neve, Earthworks, SSL, Neumann in one Box.
Old 18th July 2022
  #447
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Rupert Neve not only created some of the most memorable pres of the 1960s and 1970s, but left us with the Neve Portico preamps like the 5012, which is how he envisioned the evolution to his sonorous and signature sound.
Old 18th July 2022 | Show parent
  #448
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc No ➡️
Just buy an Europa 1 from Dave Hill Design. API, Neve, Earthworks, SSL, Neumann in one Box.
I was going to chime in with the same. Europa is also pretty cool as a line level processor.
Old 18th July 2022 | Show parent
  #449
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plainofjars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sound125 ➡️
Rupert Neve not only created some of the most memorable pres of the 1960s and 1970s, but left us with the Neve Portico preamps like the 5012, which is how he envisioned the evolution to his sonorous and signature sound.
wow
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