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Have you used tube preamps for recording acoustic and classical music ?
Old 9th January 2020
  #31
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jnorman's Avatar
Ivo - thinking about this a bit more, I was wondering if perhaps you might achieve the effect you are after more directly via the use of a tube microphone, rather than a tube preamp. Since you are fond of Schoeps, have you considered perhaps a vintage Schoeps m221 or m201? Or, of course, the classic original Neumann u47?

If you decide a tube preamp is in order, again I might suggest a true vintage unit such as the telefunken v76, rca op-6, altec 1567a, etc - units from before circuitry was so totally linear.
Old 9th January 2020 | Show parent
  #32
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pentagon's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
Ivo - thinking about this a bit more, I was wondering if perhaps you might achieve the effect you are after more directly via the use of a tube microphone, rather than a tube preamp. Since you are fond of Schoeps, have you considered perhaps a vintage Schoeps m221 or m201? Or, of course, the classic original Neumann u47?
Good suggestion on the tube mic. If going to an AC701 tube mic like the m221, I would head over to the AC701/SDC mics KM 5x, KM 25x series of mics rather than the V14M/LDC U47. The KM56 for solo violin is still my favourite (I've shot it out vs U47 and vintage U67. The difference was massive.)
Old 11th January 2020
  #33
Gear Guru
I've used tube based preamps for decades here. Unlike most, I design them to be very clean, quiet and transparent. Slew rate is 12v/us. Bandwidth is 200k hz tube circuits, 80 k hz from the Jensen JT-115KE input transformer. EIN is -127.5 at 150 ohms source impedance. THD+noise is .003% while using zero negative feedback. Yes, those specs easily beat many so called clean SS preamps. Most have never heard fast and open sounding tube gear. When you remove the crap about all you hear is the mic, just the way I like it. YMMV.
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #34
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
Ivo - thinking about this a bit more, I was wondering if perhaps you might achieve the effect you are after more directly via the use of a tube microphone, rather than a tube preamp.
Same thing, in a way. The tube gain stage just comes earlier in the chain.
Old 12th January 2020 | Show parent
  #35
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon ➡️
Good suggestion on the tube mic. If going to an AC701 tube mic like the m221, I would head over to the AC701/SDC mics KM 5x, KM 25x series of mics rather than the V14M/LDC U47. The KM56 for solo violin is still my favourite (I've shot it out vs U47 and vintage U67. The difference was massive.)
I’ve been tempted to try 221Bs or KM56s for main pairs on a chamber recording but I fear that self-noise could be an issue in quiet passages. Has anyone had great success with using good working specimens of vintage SDCs in a chamber setting? How about orchestral?
Old 12th January 2020
  #36
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🎧 10 years
I have used my KM56 for quartet and double quartet plus bass. They are quieter than any vintage U67 I've used (and my KM56 are not even "c" versions; the reason I didn't modify mine to "c" was because they are so quiet that I wasn't concerned with getting the noise floor lower; I was recommended if I wanted to keep the "mojo" not to modify them and there was a risk of damage to the tube when undoing the coils for the change.) Mine are rated extremely good but not THE quietest heard by my very well-regarded vintage mic tech. So a well kept 56c/256c should be even quieter or has the possibility.

I have used 3 x m221b (not mine) on orchestra for the Decca Tree. Film scoring.

Noise was not an issue in either case. Are they as quiet as my DPAs (4011/4006)?... no. But very close and the noise that is there is very "shaped" to the insensitive parts of human hearing. I'm generally more concerned by the general broadband noise of air in the room than these mics.
(I would post samples but they are all owned)
Old 12th January 2020 | Show parent
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Same thing, in a way. The tube gain stage just comes earlier in the chain.
depending on preamp design i'd say: my summit preamp can more easily be adjusted and be driven way harder (if wanted) than any tube mic will ever go - if a mic does, you're in trouble...
Old 12th January 2020 | Show parent
  #38
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🎧 10 years
I can't help thinking that the DAV BG1 lies somewhere between the Forsell and the Fearn sonically.........two thirds from the Forsell and a third from the Fearn. The Goldilocks zone!?

There's something not nice about the reverb though on the samples, but you can look past that when listening to the pre amps.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 13th January 2020 at 02:13 AM..
Old 12th January 2020 | Show parent
  #39
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
The audiophile community certainly tended to avoid the 'classic tube sound' ( a warm, mushy ill-defined bass, rolled off highs, large amounts of 2nd harmonic distortion) in favour of something which retained the transient speed, tightness of bass and extended HF of solid state....with some of the sharp edges shaved off. I'm sure, as 'audiophile' as that description sounds, you can appreciate what was being sought.
Did someone just mention the euphonic DAV BG1?

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 12th January 2020 at 05:19 PM..
Old 12th January 2020 | Show parent
  #40
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spindrift ➡️
I’ve been tempted to try 221Bs or KM56s for main pairs on a chamber recording but I fear that self-noise could be an issue in quiet passages. Has anyone had great success with using good working specimens of vintage SDCs in a chamber setting? How about orchestral?
I have never found that tube mics have any noise to worry about. At least a well maintained microphone will not have intrusive noise. Noisy tube mics need a tech.

My faves are Schoeps M221b and Neumann KM53.

From the standpoint of noise, I work with them as normal; as with a transistor microphone.
Old 13th January 2020 | Show parent
  #41
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emrr's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
If you decide a tube preamp is in order, again I might suggest a true vintage unit such as the telefunken v76, rca op-6, altec 1567a, etc - units from before circuitry was so totally linear.
You don't want an OP-6 or any other portable vintage preamp with built in power supply, as the induced noise from the power transformer will wreck the experience. None of those type devices are remotely noise free, especially for ambient recording.
Old 13th January 2020
  #42
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Doug - The original specifications claimed a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz, ±1dB, with distortion of 0.5 percent RMS at the nominal output level of +8dBm (dBm, not dBu, because it expected a 600Ω termination). The maximum output level was +18dBm with the noise level 70dB lower (ie. just -52dBm).
Old 13th January 2020 | Show parent
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
Doug - The original specifications claimed a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz, ±1dB, with distortion of 0.5 percent RMS at the nominal output level of +8dBm (dBm, not dBu, because it expected a 600Ω termination). The maximum output level was +18dBm with the noise level 70dB lower (ie. just -52dBm).
Yes, but have you actually used one?

The modules of the RCA line can be quiet enough, but only because the PSU is outboard. The portables do not qualify as quiet, they qualify as capable of making the spoken word of a reporter audible over a telco patch. The PSU accounts for more than the top 12dB of the noise floor. If you want to hear hum, the OP-6 is for you. There are plenty of better options from that time.
Old 13th January 2020
  #44
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Doug - I defer to your technical expertise here. But, yes, I have used one - we had a single unit at Deep South back in the early 70s that Hal Ellis would occasionally pull out to use with our “new” U87 because he felt the Neumann was too bright... I don’t remember noise being an issue, but it was likely buried in the low S/N ratio of the tape machines anyway...(we didn’t even have Dolby in the studio at that time) - I remember it looking pretty cool though. And there is some company that makes clones of it these days, so I guess some people like it.
Old 13th January 2020 | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
Did someone just mention the euphonic DAV BG1?
I think the BG range straddles that divide quite successfully...leaning more to the solid state than the mushen-lushen tube end of the spectrum
Old 13th January 2020 | Show parent
  #46
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
Doug - The original specifications claimed a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz, ±1dB, with distortion of 0.5 percent RMS at the nominal output level of +8dBm (dBm, not dBu, because it expected a 600Ω termination). The maximum output level was +18dBm with the noise level 70dB lower (ie. just -52dBm).
Ouch, that would hurt here. Low pass filter with an aural exciter and dither built in.
Old 13th January 2020 | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
Ouch, that would hurt here. Low pass filter with an aural exciter and dither built in.
I think the Aphex Big Bottom would protect...to some degree ? http://www.aphex.com/products/exciter
Old 13th January 2020
  #48
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🎧 15 years
I've been very curious about trying out a Pendulum Audio MDP-1. I had one a few years ago and loved it but never had the chance to use it in a classical location recording. I had to sell it to get the OCL-2 compressor. I miss both.
Old 14th January 2020 | Show parent
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo ➡️
I've been very curious about trying out a Pendulum Audio MDP-1. I had one a few years ago and loved it but never had the chance to use it in a classical location recording. I had to sell it to get the OCL-2 compressor. I miss both.
I used to have both ... In my experience and within my impression - slightly boring units with "nothing special" sound ... sold both ..
Old 23rd January 2020 | Show parent
  #50
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So I have received the tube preamp Sonicfarm XCalibur (that has an identical tube preamp section as Creamer Plus that I was originally thinking about) https://sonicfarm.com/xcalibur-saturation-preamp/

They had it for review in S.O.S so it was easy and quick to get. Based on all the descriptions etc. I looked forward very much to it and was anticipating beautiful big and sweet sound for some acoustic instruments and vocals.

I was trying it the whole afternoon today and comparing to my Forssell SMP-2 (with Schoeps MK2 and Josephson C700S) and BAE 1073 (on vocals - with U47). It has quite complicated interface with many settings (I did not use saturation), but in the end the sound is quite similar ...

I tried it on melodic percussions, violin, classical guitar and flute (compared to Forssell) and then on vocals and spoken word (compared to BAE 1073).

Well, my enthusiasm decreased quite quickly and unexpectedly ... On all the instruments (comparing to Forssell) the sound was rather 2D, less airy and detailed and often with slightly "edgy" touch (on violin etc.) and it was quite consistent on anything and in any settings ...

On vocals with U47, BAE was bigger and sweeter ...

There was not much left to test ....

Since before I already tried Pendulum, LaChapell, DW Fearn and Thermionic Earlybird and always found Forssell SMP-2 unsurpassable on acoustic instruments, my hopefully final conclusion is that a tube preamp is not needed for my purpose (recording delicate solo acoustic instruments).

And since over the years it is my maybe 150th attempt to compare something to Schoeps (MK2) and Forssell and to find something yet better - with the same result (returning to what I already have), I promised the Universe and the Goddess of Music that I will stop testing and trying whatever else and will concentrate only on creatíng new music

Let us see how long this vow will last
Old 23rd January 2020 | Show parent
  #51
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➡️
So I have received the tube preamp Sonicfarm XCalibur (that has an identical tube preamp section as Creamer Plus that I was originally thinking about) https://sonicfarm.com/xcalibur-saturation-preamp/

They had it for review in S.O.S so it was easy and quick to get. Based on all the descriptions etc. I looked forward very much to it and was anticipating beautiful big and sweet sound for some acoustic instruments and vocals.

I was trying it the whole afternoon today and comparing to my Forssell SMP-2 (with Schoeps MK2 and Josephson C700S) and BAE 1073 (on vocals - with U47). It has quite complicated interface with many settings (I did not use saturation), but in the end the sound is quite similar ...

I tried it on melodic percussions, violin, classical guitar and flute (compared to Forssell) and then on vocals and spoken word (compared to BAE 1073).

Well, my enthusiasm decreased quite quickly and unexpectedly ... On all the instruments (comparing to Forssell) the sound was rather 2D, less airy and detailed and often with slightly "edgy" touch (on violin etc.) and it was quite consistent on anything and in any settings ...

On vocals with U47, BAE was bigger and sweeter ...

There was not much left to test ....

Since before I already tried Pendulum, LaChapell, DW Fearn and Thermionic Earlybird and always found Forssell SMP-2 unsurpassable on acoustic instruments, my hopefully final conclusion is that a tube preamp is not needed for my purpose (recording delicate solo acoustic instruments).

And since over the years it is my maybe 150th attempt to compare something to Schoeps (MK2) and Forssell and to find something yet better - with the same result (returning to what I already have), I promised the Universe and the Goddess of Music that I will stop testing and trying whatever else and will concentrate only on creatíng new music

Let us see how long this vow will last
I'm wondering whether you've been worshiping slightly the wrong Goddess in this instance..? Forgive me if I'm mistaken but, reading through this thread, it seems to me that the ideal solution for you would be a box labelled something like 'mellifluousness/warmth', where you had a knob that would increase (when desired) this combined parameter. In your experiments with tube preamps, you have found that none are providing what you're after. It also occurs to me, though, that, even if they did, you'd be baking in this intended falsification (albeit one that has a lovely effect, a bit like listening through rose-tinted spectacles), which might not be ideal. Have you considered instead trying to bring about the desired effect via software plug-ins? This is not an area in which I have the relevant experience but there are presumably plug-ins that will allow you to boost even-order harmonics and subtly to round off transients (-- plug-ins that are emulations of tube mastering compressors??)...I assume the question is whether these are of sufficient quality to be used in classical/acoustic recordings... Perhaps others here could suggest a few that might be worth your trying?
Old 23rd January 2020 | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 10 years
I'm thinking similarly to John Pk above, that a plug-in like Waves Abbey Rd Studer J37 or Kramer Tape type of analog emulations will give you the sort of dial-in warmth and 2nd harmonic distortion you're seeking.

More importantly you can introduce this with more control over the parameters and % used than you typically can with hardware...where it tends to be rather more fixed in character, as part of the engineering design.

With plug ins you'll be able to layer and tailor the relative contributions of each emulation with more precision...and at overall much lower cost than the corresponding hardware purchases !
Old 24th January 2020 | Show parent
  #53
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Probably yes ... and a great, detailed, clean 3D sound would be a good starting point
Old 24th January 2020 | Show parent
  #54
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➡️
Probably yes ... and a great, detailed, clean 3D sound would be a good starting point
I think so....and you probably have more than a little bit of Bob Clearmountain, Eddie Kramer and Daniel Lanois blood in your veins than you think !
Old 24th January 2020 | Show parent
  #55
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Tube circuitry is faster than solid state...
Peaked my curiosity, due to my ignorance, so I Googled and found this:

https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/tex...emiconductors/
Old 24th January 2020 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 15 years
Ivo, it is very clear that you wish to preserve the beautiful qualities of our beloved MK2 capsule (without interference and additives).

So stick with Forssell for purity and conveyance of all the very special qualities of the MK2.

Tonal changes towards your ideal can only be done with mic placement and the type of rooms you are recording in. The bigger the room / hall, the better.

Breathing room. . .
Old 24th January 2020 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 15 years
Forssell SMP2 and Schoeps MK2, can't beat it.
Old 25th January 2020 | Show parent
  #58
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🎧 10 years
It seems you have been searching for this holy grail many years, it could be worth revisiting some of the earlier suggestions : https://repforums.prosoundweb.com/in...html#msg122794
Old 28th January 2020 | Show parent
  #59
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by blanneau ➡️
Peaked my curiosity, due to my ignorance, so I Googled and found this:

https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/tex...emiconductors/
The common 12AX7A has a 12v/us slew rate, similar to a TI TLO72 opamp. Driver tubes like 12BH7 are slower. 12AY7's are faster due to less stray capacitance.

Some rf tubes are very fast but not suitable for audio usage. Transistor designs here go up to 7000V/us slew rate, that is very fast.

Transistors are faster than tubes.
Old 31st January 2020 | Show parent
  #60
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Forssell SMP2 and Schoeps MK2, can't beat it.
Well, yes ... Amen

Recording from today - just 2 Schoeps MK2, Forssell SMP-2 and Forssell MADA-2.
hmm, seems no need to look for anything else ...

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