Main Forums >> Recording Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
awjoe



Joined: 08/03/11
Posts: 159
mic pre comparison
      #1016657 - 01/11/12 05:14 PM
I very much like the way SOS posts online mp3s to accompany articles in the magazine, and I really appreciate the mic pre comparison in October's edition. Two things, each accompanied by a question:

* The differences between ALL of those pres are pretty subtle, so the conclusion that wants to be drawn is 'well, it doesn't make much difference which pre I use then'. Is there anything obviously wrong with this kind of thinking? (I've heard people say 'well, you won't hear much of a difference between this pre and that pre on ONE recorded source, but when there are ten or twenty miked sources in the same mix, the difference will become much clearer'.)

* The very slight preferences and dislikes I had between the various pres were pretty much completely different/opposite the voting in the 'key to the pres' thread above. Now, I have a huge capacity for self-doubt, so I'm wondering if this is due to years of my using and listening to compromised/crummy sound in my home studio - kind of like 'don't waste the good wine on him - he's been drinking cheap Merlot for so long he actually prefers it'. Okay, I know you can't assess what I like, but to what extent do you think it's just a matter of personal preference for this or that (slight) coloration, and to what extent is it a matter of there being a real difference in terms of clarity and beauty?

Thanks to SOS for both the article and the samples. Years ago, I actually bought a CD of a mic pre shootout organized by a guy in the US called Lynn Fuston, and on that occasion as well, I heard little to no difference between the various recordings, but again, it was just one source being recorded. Anyway, this reinforces my impression that either there's little difference between pres, or that I don't have the ears to hear it.

--------------------
https://yousemusic.bandcamp.com/


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5970
Re: mic pre comparison new [Re: awjoe]
      #1016672 - 01/11/12 06:22 PM
And even if you went back to cassette with its hiss, or vinyl with its rumble, wow and clicks - differences that would leap out at you in a comparison test - it wouldn't be long before your brain stopped listening to the imperfections of the medium and homed in on the music.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22414
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: mic pre comparison new [Re: awjoe]
      #1016691 - 01/11/12 08:36 PM
Preamps are, almost without exception, designed to amplify small signals cleanly with negligible distortion or other artefacts. In the past, most budget preamps and many console preamps struggled to do that, but technology advances over the last decade or so has pretty much resolved that, as our comparison revealed all too clearly.

Strong differences are revealed if you deliberately overdrive a preamp, as its behaviour when pushed into saturation or clipping depends on the circuit design, and the better designs behave a lot more musically than the poorer ones. So where deliberate overdrive is desirable, or where accidental overload is likely, it might pay to invest in a high end preamp that behaves in a way that suits the situation.

It should also be said that while solo piano is a challenging signal in many ways, it doesn't reveal every aspect on its own. I've found that 12 string acoustic guitar is also superb at revealing preamp differences because of the very complex harmonic interactions -- but getting repeatable performances made it inappropriate for this specific test.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
Posts: 2687
Loc: The King's Height
Re: mic pre comparison new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1017874 - 09/11/12 01:41 PM
Very interesting Hugh, as years ago, my desk preamps were never great so I ended up buying a few preamps from dbx286, Focusrite Voicemaster and my Presonus MP20, which I still use.
Interesting is that since a channel went down on the MP20 (getting fixed just now), I've been using a TC Helicon Harmoniser's preamp, and to be honest, it's far better than the old preamps in the AW4416, so I can see where you're coming from and the days of the keen amateur spending lots of cash on preamps is long gone in my opinion as the variations in singing, playing and technique are way more important (and always has been really).

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4487
Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: mic pre comparison new [Re: awjoe]
      #1018049 - 10/11/12 02:37 PM
Sometimes preamps surprise, as in an old Soundcraft Spirit Live 24:4 Mk 1 ... Made some nice recordings via direct outs and ADATs, a million years ago now! tu ag an gcarraig


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
awjoe



Joined: 08/03/11
Posts: 159
Re: mic pre comparison new [Re: Guy Johnson]
      #1020024 - 24/11/12 07:48 AM
Well, yeah, that's lovely. There was more at work than preamps on that one, though. Just lovely.

--------------------
https://yousemusic.bandcamp.com/


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
2 registered and 49 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Forum Admin, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor,  
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 3478

January 2015
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for January 2015
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media