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Hardy or AEA TRP on ribbons...
Old 26th August 2012
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Hardy or AEA TRP on ribbons...

Just wanted to get some thoughts on which would be a better fit for "opening up" some of my ribbon mics. At this point I'm leaning toward the Hardy with extra gain as it's probably more versatile with condensers, but if the TRP (or RPQ) will be significantly better w/ ribbons, I'm fine going that route as well. It'd be good to hear some thoughts.

Fyi, I mostly use a Pacifica w/ ribbons now and find it exaggerates the midrange a bit too much for my tastes on some sources... a bit too creamy if you will.
Old 26th August 2012
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyboy2024 ➑️
Fyi, I mostly use a Pacifica w/ ribbons now and find it exaggerates the midrange a bit too much for my tastes on some sources... a bit too creamy if you will.
Based on that comment, either the Hardy or TRP should work well in your case (look for the most transparent pre you can find with very high impedance and clean, high gain), although I've never heard the Hardy and am not aware of its impedance rating.

EDIT: There's also the forssell high gain version preamp.
Old 26th August 2012
  #3
AB3
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The Forssell SMP also has high gain and a high impedence rating. It also has separate inputs for ribbon mics as well as another set of inputs with phantom power.
Old 26th August 2012
  #4
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🎧 10 years
both are really great.... I would spring for the rpq. It has phantom power for your condensers (something the trp lacks) and an excellent variable hi pass (for taming proximity boost) and a very useful hf shelf. It is a perfect companion to any ribbon but is excellent for any microphone.
Old 26th August 2012
  #5
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🎧 10 years
Gordon 5 has two million ohms. Plus a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
Won't get "opener" than that.

That said, if you'd like to play with impedance and use it to color the tone (ribbons are particularly sensitive to that) then check out the Juggernaut Twin.
300 to 10,000 ohms in 41 steps.
In nickel in, nickel out it (arguably) will be close to the Hardy.

The AER is trannyless and clean by design (Forsell) though not in the league of the Gordon (or Forsell's own pre for that matter).
The RPQ does have the handy EQ of course, specifically taylored for ribbons.



Henk
Old 26th August 2012
  #6
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnajar ➑️
both are really great.... I would spring for the rpq. It has phantom power for your condensers (something the trp lacks) and an excellent variable hi pass (for taming proximity boost) and a very useful hf shelf. It is a perfect companion to any ribbon but is excellent for any microphone.
I've heard great things about the RPQ w/ ribbons, just wondering about its use with condensers. Does it boost high frequencies too much or does it stay pretty natural without the high shelf boost?
Old 26th August 2012
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Also, anyone here use the hardy extensively with ribbons, r84 in particular?
Old 26th August 2012
  #8
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oudplayer's Avatar
 
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About the nicest "modern" ribbon path I've heard was a Royer into a Gordon pre (I've really liked RCA 44/77 into modified RCA tube preamps, but it was a radically different sound). I haven't heard the extra gain version of the Hardys, though, just the regular version.
Old 26th August 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legato ➑️
...
That said, if you'd like to play with impedance and use it to color the tone (ribbons are particularly sensitive to that) then check out the Juggernaut Twin.
300 to 10,000 ohms in 41 steps.
In nickel in, nickel out it (arguably) will be close to the Hardy.
...
I own the Twin and the TRP and the TRP is definitely more open sounding than the Twin with the Nickel/Nickel setting at the highest impedance setting when using R84s, for example. The preamps in the Lavry AD11 are more open sounding as well using those mics.
Old 26th August 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe ➑️
I own the Twin and the TRP and the TRP is definitely more open sounding than the Twin with the Nickel/Nickel setting at the highest impedance setting when using R84s, for example. The preamps in the Lavry AD11 are more open sounding as well using those mics.
Thanks for adding that.

Yes well, my comparison there was between the Jug. Twin and a Hardy (rather than the TRP) and, like I said, an arguable one at that. Hardy has the Jensen tranny which is hard to beat when it comes to fidelity (and no tranny on the output on the M-1). Plus the Juggernaut was designed more of a color box to begin with, even without the iron.



Henk
Old 26th August 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by garyboy2024 ➑️
I've heard great things about the RPQ w/ ribbons, just wondering about its use with condensers. Does it boost high frequencies too much or does it stay pretty natural without the high shelf boost?
without the high shelf it's flat and neutral, but detailed. similar to millennia.
Old 26th August 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legato ➑️
Thanks for adding that.

Yes well, my comparison there was between the Jug. Twin and a Hardy (rather than the TRP) and, like I said, an arguable one at that. Hardy has the Jensen tranny which is hard to beat when it comes to fidelity (and no tranny on the output on the M-1). Plus the Juggernaut was designed more of a color box to begin with, even without the iron.



Henk
I'm wondering what the high gain version of the DW Fearn would sound like with the R84s or other ribbons? Anyone use this with ribbons?

At any rate, I think the OP is looking for a transparent transformerless design to reveal what the ribbons are really doing.

EDIT: Just read the Fearn has Jensen transformers.
Old 26th August 2012
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
I think the OP is looking for a transparent transformerless design to reveal what the ribbons are really doing.
Agreed.

Which brings me back to my first suggestion; Gordon 5.

Pricey, mind.

But I can't think of a pre that would apply more.

If the question remains limited to either Hardy or AER, I think in this particular case, I might go with the AER.
Overall (all kinds of mics), between those two, I'd pick the Hardy.
As always, the proof is in the pudding.




Henk
Old 26th August 2012
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe ➑️
At any rate, I think the OP is looking for a transparent transformerless design to reveal what the ribbons are really doing.
Not necessarily... I've owned a DAV BG in the past but wasn't a huge fan... it was a bit too clean for my tastes. I actually preferred the Pacifica and Neve to it, even w/ ribbons. I was hoping the Hardy would fall somewhere in between these and the DAV, but still fall on the "transparent" side. I like the transformers in there.

Side note, I noticed Seventh Circle Audio offers a Hardy type pre (J99) that you can configure to more than 80db of gain. I'm intrigued.
Old 27th August 2012
  #15
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Yes, but doesn't that lower the impedance?




Henk
Old 27th August 2012
  #16
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Ward Pike's Avatar
 
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For those of you who own the RPQ, how useful do you find the EQ? Do you have favorite EQ settings for specific ribbon models?

Is the lack of impedence selection or variance a drawback to using the RPQ?
Old 27th August 2012
  #17
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I haven't heard the DAV but find it interesting that you weren't a fan (if using it with an R84). I'm finding that with most sources, the R84s do what I want when the pre is super clean and transparent with no transformer "sound". The R84s have never sounded too "clean" to me with ANY preamp, although I've only used a handful of pres with these mics.

That said, with my voice, I prefer the Juggernaut Twin with the Iron/Iron setting and the R84 with the impedance at maximum, which is quite colored compared to the R84 through the TRP. For overheads, definitely the TRP, no question.
Old 27th August 2012
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe ➑️
I haven't heard the DAV but find it interesting that you weren't a fan (if using it with an R84). I'm finding that with most sources, the R84s do what I want when the pre is super clean and transparent with no transformer "sound". The R84s have never sounded too "clean" to me with ANY preamp, although I've only used a handful of pres with these mics.
Perhaps I'm overly picky in this case, I just preferred the Pacifica over the DAV I think due to the additional character it provided on vocals. It also made overheads very smooth when partnered with a pair of ribbons. The DAV just sounded thin in comparison. The Hardy intrigues me as it should be clean, yet have an additional (albeit small) amount of character that it imparts to the signal.
Old 27th August 2012
  #19
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🎧 10 years
Btw, didn't have the r84 with the DAV Maybe that would have made a difference.
Old 27th August 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyboy2024 ➑️
Perhaps I'm overly picky in this case, I just preferred the Pacifica over the DAV I think due to the additional character it provided on vocals. It also made overheads very smooth when partnered with a pair of ribbons. The DAV just sounded thin in comparison. The Hardy intrigues me as it should be clean, yet have an additional (albeit small) amount of character that it imparts to the signal.
What overhead mics did you use with the DAV? Reason I ask is because I can't imagine the R84s sounding thin with any preamp. I like the additional character of vocals most of the time as well.

EDIT: I misinterpreted your last post, and see that you did not use the R84s with the DAV. I think you'll find the R84 does best with very transparent preamps for most sources because they have their own kind of color/character that may get overshadowed by colored preamps.
Old 27th August 2012
  #21
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🎧 15 years
trp is great, definitely worth checking out.
Old 27th August 2012
  #22
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🎧 10 years
From what I understand, you're still pretty much on the fence. Hence the original question of course. Best, as always, would be auditioning all strong candidates (plus maybe one or two that wouldn't seem the strongest, initially).

Another option is picking one that is known to be versatile. From clean(ish) to colored (in various flavors) and in between. A great example of such an animal is the Juggernaut Twin, as mentioned earlier. Forgetting the great reviews for a moment and going by logic only, there just have to be great settings for just about any task (including vocals and overhead). The only thing it won't do is super clean. For that there are several other candidates and I've already told you my favorite. The Gordon is O P E N. And never plastic-y or artificial.
Anyway, do check out the Juggernaut.

And when we talk about versatility (though in a somewhat different way) we can't go passed SCA of course. Especially since you've already spotted the J99. There's the N72, A12, T15, C84 and J99. Those are not clones but in the ballpark of Neve, Api, DAV, Millennia and Hardy (Twin Servo) respectively.

As a matter of fact, I'm on the fence myself about getting a Juggernaut or going the SCA route.
I already own the Gordon.
Did I mention how open that one "sounds"?



Henk
Old 27th August 2012
  #23
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🎧 10 years
A big reason I'm now considering the SCA J99 is because of how good their N72 (Neve based) module is. I bought a pair earlier this year just to try out since they're so cheap, and I've been blown away by their quality- they get used here everyday next to much more expensive units. I understand you can even swap their op-amp for the original Hardy 990 if you like in the J99.

Basically at this point, I really want to go either the Hardy or J99 route, seeing that it might be the more useful approach for my entire mic collection. I might even get a Cloudlifter (+25 db of clean gain) for the times I don't want to push my other more colorful pres so hard when using ribbons on quieter sources.

Another option I'm considering is a good clean hardware eq to help open up the top end slightly on sources like acoustic guitar and vocals. Any thoughts on this option or recommendations?
Old 27th August 2012
  #24
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Old 27th August 2012
  #25
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All blatant bias aside, we include a 'ribbon mic mode' on many of our preamps to do exactly what you are looking for. This feature raises the input impedance up to 20k, bypasses the input decoupling caps, and raises the gain. Many of our orchestral / classical / film scoring engineer clients find this to be an ideal pairing with their ribbons. In fact, one rather famous engineer uses this circuit for his Coles, sometimes with the preamp running wide open, without noise being an issue.
Old 27th August 2012
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Although it wasn't mentioned, I have a feeling that was about Grace preamps.




Henk
Old 27th August 2012 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 ➑️
The Forssell SMP also has high gain and a high impedence rating. It also has separate inputs for ribbon mics as well as another set of inputs with phantom power.
big +1 on the forssell. super clean. ridiculous amounts of gain. just a beautiful pre.

haven't had experience with the hardy or AEA, but i can tell you that our ribbons love the forssell.
Old 27th August 2012
  #28
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🎧 10 years
I wish you guys would stop bringing up the forssell...it's so tempting I know it's crazy good, but don't want to drop quite that much dough right now.
Old 27th August 2012 | Show parent
  #29
AB3
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If saving money is important, the AEA TRP is great and inexpensive. You can probably find one used and in excellent condition - perhaps for $650. Ask for one in the classifieds here. And if you upgrade, then you can get most of your money back. Why not start there and see if it works?

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyboy2024 ➑️
I wish you guys would stop bringing up the forssell...it's so tempting I know it's crazy good, but don't want to drop quite that much dough right now.
Old 27th August 2012
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Anyone on here use the Hardy with ribbons, especially on acoustic sources? ... it'd be good to hear your experience.
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