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Old 24th September 2013 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
Originally Posted by fifthcircle ➡️
And I'll put this out there... IMO, there is no such thing as true level matching across different preamps.

Different pres will accentuate (or not accentuate) certain frequencies. One may reproduce low end better whereas one may have a mid-range bump. Because of this RMS will feel different because of frequency response. So use peak levels? Same problem... Then gain structure. How are you matching levels? Analog? digital? What if your pres have different step levels (thinking of Forssell vs. Pueblo I believe it was 2 vs. 2-1/2 dB steps)
But maybe this is OK...even desirable? All other things being equal, maybe the various subtle accentuations/enhancements are the very thing to differentiate between these preamps in the "clean" category? Perhaps these are the things that listeners perceive as the subjective qualities between them?

Of course, measuring these things quantitatively gives us a scientific basis for comparison, but maybe in the interpretation of all things musical, it all still boils down to subjective analysis?

Someone earlier recommended using an acoustic guitar for the tests (darned if I can't find this now...), but I've sometimes found acoustic guitar samples difficult to analyze. There's just too much going on with a guitar that can mask features/weaknesses. Perhaps if you're in the control room listening to the samples on monitors, it's easier to compare. But once you compress the files to post here, it becomes problematic. To me, the best source is voice, either female or male.