transparent 500 series pre

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michaelkerchner
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transparent 500 series pre

Post by michaelkerchner » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:33 am

i run a trident 80b console and while it is great for rock drums and guitars and such i find myself lacking in the area of non colored amplification. any one have any recommendations on a pretty transparent pre? my loose guidelines are 500 series in the sub $500 park. also im handy with a soldering iron and DIY situations and would actually prefer that rout.
sounds good, compress it
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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by standup » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:55 am

AEA RPQ is my most transparent mic pre. Over $500 per channel, though.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:12 pm

michaelkerchner wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:33 am
i run a trident 80b console and while it is great for rock drums and guitars and such i find myself lacking in the area of non colored amplification. any one have any recommendations on a pretty transparent pre? my loose guidelines are 500 series in the sub $500 park. also im handy with a soldering iron and DIY situations and would actually prefer that rout.
https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/l ... te-diy-kit

or

https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/e ... te-diy-kit

I own 2 Lola's. Recent build, so haven't had a chance to use them too much yet, but so far, I've found them to be very nice. Big sounding, but natural. Cool that they have a line mode too. The low frequency extension is deep. I also own 2 Coppers, so I can attest to the quality of the Hairball stuff. Really nice, no compromise. The Lola's were fairly challenging to build, but nothing crazy. I biffed one of the op amps and ended up just buying an assembled replacement (they're a pain in the ass, and there are 2 of them so unless you really need to save the dough, I suggest buying assembled ones), but once I swapped it out everything worked just fine.

The Gold's seem rad too, though I have no experience personally. The clips on their website actually do a good job of demonstrating the differences between that and the others they offer. I think if I wanted something squeaky clean, that'd be my first choice.
Ryan Slowey
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I'm Painting Again
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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:09 pm

millennia media makes a 500 now - they're known for being transparent - dunno if the the 500 offering is the same as the others - seem to go used around 500

Grace makes a 500 now too - dunno the price

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by losthighway » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:49 pm

I don't know about transparent, all of them sound subtly different to me with a few extremes, but I enjoy recording a lot of things through an API channel. I have other choices, but I could probably be satisfied recording everything through API's, they're versatile. Especially when you can run vocals or other things through tube compressors etc.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by michaelkerchner » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:00 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:12 pm
michaelkerchner wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:33 am
i run a trident 80b console and while it is great for rock drums and guitars and such i find myself lacking in the area of non colored amplification. any one have any recommendations on a pretty transparent pre? my loose guidelines are 500 series in the sub $500 park. also im handy with a soldering iron and DIY situations and would actually prefer that rout.
https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/l ... te-diy-kit

or

https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/e ... te-diy-kit

I own 2 Lola's. Recent build, so haven't had a chance to use them too much yet, but so far, I've found them to be very nice. Big sounding, but natural. Cool that they have a line mode too. The low frequency extension is deep. I also own 2 Coppers, so I can attest to the quality of the Hairball stuff. Really nice, no compromise. The Lola's were fairly challenging to build, but nothing crazy. I biffed one of the op amps and ended up just buying an assembled replacement (they're a pain in the ass, and there are 2 of them so unless you really need to save the dough, I suggest buying assembled ones), but once I swapped it out everything worked just fine.

The Gold's seem rad too, though I have no experience personally. The clips on their website actually do a good job of demonstrating the differences between that and the others they offer. I think if I wanted something squeaky clean, that'd be my first choice.
thanks, that sounds right up my alley. what op amps did you choose?
sounds good, compress it
@thedarkchurchrecording

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Recycled_Brains
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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:33 am

michaelkerchner wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:00 am
Recycled_Brains wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:12 pm
michaelkerchner wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:33 am
i run a trident 80b console and while it is great for rock drums and guitars and such i find myself lacking in the area of non colored amplification. any one have any recommendations on a pretty transparent pre? my loose guidelines are 500 series in the sub $500 park. also im handy with a soldering iron and DIY situations and would actually prefer that rout.
https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/l ... te-diy-kit

or

https://www.hairballaudio.com/catalog/e ... te-diy-kit

I own 2 Lola's. Recent build, so haven't had a chance to use them too much yet, but so far, I've found them to be very nice. Big sounding, but natural. Cool that they have a line mode too. The low frequency extension is deep. I also own 2 Coppers, so I can attest to the quality of the Hairball stuff. Really nice, no compromise. The Lola's were fairly challenging to build, but nothing crazy. I biffed one of the op amps and ended up just buying an assembled replacement (they're a pain in the ass, and there are 2 of them so unless you really need to save the dough, I suggest buying assembled ones), but once I swapped it out everything worked just fine.

The Gold's seem rad too, though I have no experience personally. The clips on their website actually do a good job of demonstrating the differences between that and the others they offer. I think if I wanted something squeaky clean, that'd be my first choice.
thanks, that sounds right up my alley. what op amps did you choose?
DIY-990's. You can get them assembled too. I might get some of the BA512's to try in the Lola's at some point (that is what's in my Coppers), but the 990s sound good as-is. If you listen to the clips on their site, the difference between the 2 isn't exactly apples and oranges, but it's still pretty obvious that they change the character a bit.
Ryan Slowey
Albany, NY

http://maggotbrainny.bandcamp.com

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:23 am

I would also recommend a couple that I have used:

Danfield Audio MX20vpr (Danfield Audio is out of business so only if you can find one used) - I use this one with my Slate ML-1 and ML-2 mics

FiveFish SC-1 mk500 (if you can find them used) or I think the replacement is now SC501. https://www.fivefishstudios.com/500series/sc501/, which has upgraded knobs, faceplates, even an output xfmr that the original does not have. There is a "kit" SK1-DI that is really cheap (and de-featured) that is also similar but this one has no xfmr's at all. I have the input xfmr on my SC1-mk500's.

Bart HRK MP568C - super cheap (on sale right now). https://barthrk.com/ I just bought a couple of these and i opted for the GT and Brit console "colour" modules. You can disable the color and then it's really clean (but not wimpy) and if you enable the colors - well, then colors. Again the price is just ridiculous. The MP2570 looks interesting too. btw, it took about 2-3 weeks to get them delivered (from Poland). they are well-built and so far i am digging them. The brit module sounded "close enough" to some higher end Neve clones I have that I'm selling them (I have other 1073-style clones too)

Mike
Last edited by digitaldrummer on Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:14 pm

For super super clean audio, try the new Rupert Neve stuff.

His life's goal is CLEAN signal path. I think he is finally close to that.

those are NOT supposed to have "that Neve sound".
Realizing vibratory excursions from a paper widget.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by kslight » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:39 am

digitaldrummer wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:23 am
I would also recommend a couple that I have used:

Danfield Audio MX20vpr (Danfield Audio is out of business so only if you can find one used) - I use this one with my Slate ML-1 and ML-2 mics

FiveFish SC-1 mk500 (if you can find them used) or I think the replacement is now SC501. https://www.fivefishstudios.com/500series/sc501/, which has upgraded knobs, faceplates, even an output xfmr that the original does not have. There is a "kit" SK1-DI that is really cheap (and de-featured) that is also similar but this one has no xfmr's at all. I have the input xfmr on my SC1-mk500's.

Bart HRK MP568C - super cheap (on sale right now). https://barthrk.com/ I just bought a couple of these and i opted for the GT and Brit console "colour" modules. You can disable the color and then it's really clean (but not wimpy) and if you enable the colors - well, then colors. Again the price is just ridiculous. The MP2570 looks interesting too. btw, it took about 2-3 weeks to get them delivered (from Poland). they are well-built and so far i am digging them. The brit module sounded "close enough" to some higher end Neve clones I have that I'm selling them (I have other Neve clones too)

Mike
I am definitely curious about these Bart modules, though one my pet peeves is hard sale pressure websites...this has them all. Countdown timers, supposed large discounts, hounds you for your email to get % discount also, "only so much in stock," "price will go up when timer is finished"... I get that they are a business and don't have a distributor so their website is doing the selling for them..but I would rather they just be transparent about the pricing... I visited the website yesterday and noted the prices (with a 55 minute countdown timer on some stuff), and visited again just now and of course the timer is reset (6 hours remaining) and same prices.. All of that gives it an impression of one of those websites you should definitely not enter your credit card...you know the ones, like the targeted ads I get on Instagram...

But it is all pretty tempting to load into my 500 series chassis, regardless...

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by digitaldrummer » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:04 am

yes, there always seems to be a sale ending soon... "final going out of business sale!". he could be selling furniture or flooring... but I had no problems with ordering. I received tracking and although it disappeared for a week and a half, it then showed up in US customs and USPS tracking took over. Shipping box felt like Chinese cardboard, but the preamps are pretty well built and were packed in lots of bubble wrap.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by alexdingley » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:14 pm

True Systems pT2-500 is the same circuit as they'd put into the Precision8 racks... which are really transparent. One of the guys I used to work with uses 24ch of those for his gospel choir stuff... he's into them because he likes to call them "a wire with gain".

I'm sure the Millenia are equally colorless (maybe nicer though) but I've never heard them

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:06 pm

My old studio partner had the millennia and true precision 8s in our shared space. Both were great and had no “sound”. They sounded like the source and the mic.
The millennia was more prone to problems though. Switches and knobs would develop crackles and dead/noisy spots. The trues were rock solid and never had issues.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by permanent hearing damage » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:42 am

I have a JLM Audio 99v 500 series pre that is pretty damn clean/fast. They make a DIY kit called Baby Animal that got a pretty good review in TapeOp a while back. I believe it's similar to the J99 design though missing a gain stage - but I could be wrong? pretty damn cheap, also.

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Re: transparent 500 series pre

Post by cgarges » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:36 am

The Buzz Elixirs are worth looking at. New, they're over $500, but no one ever talks about them so you can frequently get good deals on them on eBay or Reverb. I have three of them. They have a transformer that's intended to beef up the bottom end, but it's not a "Neve-like" bottom or anything. To my ears, it just makes up a little bit of what's lacking in similar preamps (Milennia, Hardy, Sytek, etc). They're super-fast and pretty quiet, high-gain mic amps with lots of detail. Great-sounding DI, too. I record a lot of jazz and acoustic music and these wind up getting used a lot on upright bass, horns, grand piano, harmonica, violin and other strings, drum overheads, and on room mics a lot. They also sound KILLER for a really clean electric bass sound and are great on dark "Jazz box"-style electric guitars. Also incredible on acoustic guitars when you want "flat and natural" and they are my absolute go-to for classical guitar. I reviewed them for Tape Op when they first came out (2007 maybe) and I still love them and have since bought a third.

Chris Garges
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