Thanks for the thought-provoking reply.
In my case, the psychosomatic part is maybe more powerful than the actual sonic part. And I'm ok with that. I'm ok knowing that I'm chasing an experience and a feeling as much as a sound. If my songs and my process feel more valid and legitimate because I'm recording through the Shelford Channel, then the songs are
more valid and legitimate (at least to me). And, really, that might be my ultimate goal, just to feel like my work is as strong and inspired as it can be. It's not so much about an objective assessment of what sounds "better."
I don't know if I'm making any sense here.
The more we analyze this, the more I think that I'm really turned off by the power supply on the SPX. It bothers me tremendously that my iphone as a more solid (and more considered, more thoughtful) power supply than my Neve mic pre. I want to feel like someone really cared about the unit's creation and put endless thought into it. Which, obviously, brings up a really complex conversation about the nature of "clones."
You're right in saying that you added to my discomfort--but in a good way. This is helping me get to the bottom of what it is that's actually keeping me up at night.
Theo_Karon wrote: ↑
Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:12 am
I have used both and prefer the Shelford channel (which shouldn't be a surprise considering the difference in price). But I'd like to qualify that a bit - all of this crap is so goddamned psychosomatic, and the real head-twister is that it can be actual and
psychosomatic at the same time
. I have tracked vocals through the AMS and been perfectly happy with them. Does it sound the same as a vintage 1073 in an 80XX console? Do I care? Does the console preamp just sound different because some of the components are out of spec? Is that good or bad? It's certainly a similar flavor, and it certainly sounds good. It also falls into the trap of vanishingly small iterative cost-cuts in recapitulations of 'classic' equipment, and me wondering how much that actually matters. Can I really
hear it if I squint intently at the knob while I've got nothing better to do? Probably. Do I care in the middle of a session? Not really. Is this whole pursuit a game of tiny increments that add up to something noticeable? Definitely, and that's the context in which this dilemma can be debated productively. As far as it causes that gut-churning anxiety that maybe you're sabotaging your entire project before it even begins by recording one second more of audio through this piece of junk, I think that all can be comfortably left behind. This preamp is perfectly adequate and then some.
Both make use of surface-mount components, a conversation which should have been packed in ages ago but still rises howlingly from the dead at every misbegotten opportunity. I know that the RND units make intelligent, well-considered use of SMD and I assume the same is true of AMS. The only difference you will experience there is that if you are a less-proficient tech (like me), simple repairs will be harder to perform yourself - any competent full-time tech will have no problem. It would be advisable to keep a stock of spares on hand, and future-proofing is another matter, but I struggle to imagine a world in which suitable replacements are truly impossible to find over time, barring a nuclear holocaust or some other unforseen disaster that handily obviates the need for any concern at all about the THD spec or headroom of vintage mic preamp clones. I will say that a modern design that seeks to incorporate some of the sonic signature of its designer's legacy while opening the door to a realm of shockingly modern, flattering fidelity sits better with me than yet another 'almost but not quite' vintage clone, but again, there's that price tag. The RND will probably hold more value over time than an nth-iteration 'budget' (speaking relatively here) clone, so that's also something to consider.
I fear I may only have added to your discomfort here! I hope that's not the case. Make something cool.