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Preamp examples

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Preamp examples

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And from what I've seen, engineers generally find it easier to embrace musical performing/writing, than musicians tend to be able to embrace engineering!

In varying degrees I’d say, I have a friend who is a very successful guitarist, the nearest he ever gets to be an engineer is recording sketches on his mobile phone, I’m a recording wizard AFAHC. His records have always been recorded in studios, and he’s adamant about this.
These days it’s a lot more blurred, but I must admit, the luxury of a studio is still appealing, and still a major selling point I think.
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby blinddrew » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:10 pm

Arpangel wrote:These days it’s a lot more blurred, but I must admit, the luxury of a studio is still appealing, and still a major selling point I think.
I suspect we all agree on that. :)
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:13 am

Arpangel wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:In a 50's recording I suspect we'd be hard pressed to hear the preamp's noise and distortion above that of the tape.

I think a lot of equipment back then was designed to play down, or overcome the limitations of whatever ancillary equipment was being used, EQ curves were designed to enhance and eliminate, mic amps had to "cut through" they were liked because they were good at overcoming certain problems, like the use of various types of noise reduction reducing the high end, noise, and tape issues.

Not at facilities where sound quality was paramount. eg: If Ray Dolby's NR had reduced the highs or created other audible artifacts I doubt it would have been accepted by top studios in the mid 60's. Even Dolby cassettes properly set up dont roll off the highs. If they do, the Dolby is mistracking. Dolby only works when the response across the audible spectrum is essentially flat. It's in the service manuals.

Even the early US tape machines of the late 40's had good response at 15 kHz, and could go higher if needed but 15 kHz satisfied the FCC rules at that time.

It's true people have long used various workarounds such as overly bright mics or extra treble boost on the way in to compensate for poorly maintained/aligned tape machines, and until I learned better I used to do the same.
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:20 am

Hi Tim, your points are well taken, in terms of noise and frequency response a properly setup 15ips tape machine with Dolby A was probably about equal to the performance of the pre amps and capacitor mics of the day.

Where they could not and do not stand comparison with even a mid priced, say £200, digital interface is for distortion. I have to rely on memory here but I doubt even the best machines were better than 1% THD at Dolby level and most folks hit them harder than that.

So, paradoxically it might be the very cleanliness of digital that now allows peeps to HEAR the shortcomings of those ancient pre amp circuits?...And they love 'em!

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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:24 am

ef37a wrote:Hi Tim, your points are well taken, in terms of noise and frequency response a properly setup 15ips tape machine with Dolby A was probably about equal to the performance of the pre amps and capacitor mics of the day.

Where they could not and do not stand comparison with even a mid priced, say £200, digital interface is for distortion. I have to rely on memory here but I doubt even the best machines were better than 1% THD at Dolby level and most folks hit them harder than that.

So, paradoxically it might be the very cleanliness of digital that now allows peeps to HEAR the shortcomings of those ancient pre amp circuits?...And they love 'em!

Dave.

Multitrack noise was always an issue for me, through the crackle and pops of a vinyl LP you could always here the tape kick in SSSSSSSSSS!
Digital had a lot of issues, but just the lack of noise even on my recordings was a revelation, I’m sure it sold on that alone in some circles.
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:07 am

I like Altec, that one is good. Used on 50's stuff to make that rockabilly sound. It's green plate vintage stuff. All the past recording studios made their own consoles with built in amplifiers right so this is a mute point to the degree most of those consoles now exist in modern forms through different names. There is a video documentary of a guy using the Altec stuff in a vintage studio which I found very interesting. He acquired the equipment from a roller skating rink and oddly enough the gear is the same type of equipment that would have been used in schools for PA announcements. The past was intensely advanced for the day; think space race and obsessions with the future,. What is now is not nearly as advanced in terms of quality when everything back then had to be pure with not computer parts or microchips to make things go sound.
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:17 am

Argiletonne wrote:What is now is not nearly as advanced in terms of quality when everything back then had to be pure with not computer parts or microchips to make things go sound.

Not sure what you mean with "back then". It's now about 49 years since Federico Faggin and the other three whiz kids managed to put together the Intel 4004, thanks to their amazing vision, brains and not much help from Intel - which at the time didn't care at all. It's about 95 years since the ENIAC girls were a group. And 72 years since Claude Shannon published his theorem.

It's kinda sad that someone can write what you wrote above. But perhaps a sign of the times.
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:34 am

I loved "back then" it was great, because? any improvements in sonic quality could be clearly heard, and they were a revelation to my ears, do bare in mind, I had little money, so anything half decent always blew me away, compared to my Dansette record player!
Plus, we all had this longing to hear what things sounded like in a "recording studio" it was a mysterious world to me, I thought "wow! it must sound incredible in there" and we’d always be trying to somehow get that mysterious sound with our own stuff.
It was a hopeful time, everything was improving constantly, in obvious ways, and we embraced those improvements unquestionably because they were so obviously "improvements"
Nowadays the improvements aren’t so obvious, if noticeable at all, and quality has reached a level where it’s just a matter of personal preference sometimes, it’s not like "back then" when it was so blatantly obvious things were actually "improvements" and no one doubted that, that was of course, until transistors took over from valves...

:D :D :D
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:55 am

Arpangel wrote:I loved "back then" it was great, because? any improvements in sonic quality could be clearly heard, and they were a revelation to my ears, do bare in mind, I had little money, so anything half decent always blew me away, compared to my Dansette record player!
Plus, we all had this longing to hear what things sounded like in a "recording studio" it was a mysterious world to me, I thought "wow! it must sound incredible in there" and we’d always be trying to somehow get that mysterious sound with our own stuff.
It was a hopeful time, everything was improving constantly, in obvious ways, and we embraced those improvements unquestionably because they were so obviously "improvements"
Nowadays the improvements aren’t so obvious, if noticeable at all, and quality has reached a level where it’s just a matter of personal preference sometimes, it’s not like "back then" when it was so blatantly obvious things were actually "improvements" and no one doubted that, that was of course, until transistors took over from valves...

:D :D :D

Don't you go knocking transistors sir! They are the root of all the advances in audio electronics.

Yes, the early 'Geranium' devices were very feeble and rather noisy but with the coming of the Silicon planar transistor, at last we could have audio kit that was of great sound quality and PORTABLE!

The active monitor/PA speaker could never have happened. The biggest practical quality valve PA is about 100W and that bugger runs bloody hot.
In every technical department a well designed transistor amplifier is superior to a valve device. Valves really have only one 'quality' that sets them apart from Silicon. Distortion, more of it but of course some people like that.

Oh yes! Valves are largely immune to hard radiation but who will be left to listen?

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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:17 am

ef37a wrote:Don't you go knocking transistors sir! They are the root of all the advances in audio electronics.

And digital electronics! Where would the microprocessor be without the transistor?
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:11 pm

ef37a wrote:Oh yes! Valves are largely immune to hard radiation but who will be left to listen?

Dave.

I think, bunkers and communications designed for WW111 use very old, but reliable technology, 1930's telecoms equipment, and valve powered radios etc.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:Don't you go knocking transistors sir! They are the root of all the advances in audio electronics.

And digital electronics! Where would the microprocessor be without the transistor?

And that’s progress....

:D :D :D
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Re: Preamp examples

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:13 pm

Arpangel wrote:
ef37a wrote:Oh yes! Valves are largely immune to hard radiation but who will be left to listen?

Dave.

I think, bunkers and communications designed for WW111 use very old, but reliable technology, 1930's telecoms equipment, and valve powered radios etc.

Yeah but the acoustics are DREADFUL!

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Re: Preamp examples

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:17 pm

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
ef37a wrote:Oh yes! Valves are largely immune to hard radiation but who will be left to listen?

Dave.

I think, bunkers and communications designed for WW111 use very old, but reliable technology, 1930's telecoms equipment, and valve powered radios etc.

Yeah but the acoustics are DREADFUL!

Dave.

:D

The bunker at Angel Towers is acoustically treated, in the form of two large sofas, so at least I’ll be sitting comfortably when it all goes up.
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