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Author Topic: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???  (Read 4895 times)

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Offline yug du nord

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V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« on: August 25, 2007, 03:37:36 AM »
Anyone know if there is a difference between a Lunatec V2 preamp and a V3 preamp???  The V3 also has an A/D converter, but I'm just wondering about the preamp section of the V3.  Do both the V2 and V3 have the same preamp?  Anyone???
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Offline used-to-tape-alot

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 04:52:52 AM »
dammit don't back out now uncleyug  :)  (no big deal if you change your mind)

actually, I am very curious about this ? myself.

about the only thing I can say is that I believe they are both housed in the same sized aluminum closure.

Just checked the grace website L5.5" x W8.3" x H1.6" (volume =73.04)for the V2 and W8.25” x D5.5” x H1.7” for the V3 (volume=77.1375)

The volume of the V3 is 5.61% larger (rounding considerations on dimensions not taken into account).

The V2 has a decent amount of wires (i.e. less integrated circuits) very purtily arranged.

Perhaps we could get pics of the internals of a V2 and V3 (assuming internals didn't change much with serial #)


« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 05:44:02 AM by used-to-tape-alot »

Offline yug du nord

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2007, 05:45:30 AM »
Hey used-to-tape-alot...  I sent ya a PM and an email... 

Good question...  same size box, but more features on the V3...  there must be a difference with something inside?  Analog components ain't small, so I wonder about the analog section of the V3...  how could it be the same as the V2???   ???
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Offline yug du nord

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2007, 05:48:06 AM »

Just checked the grace website L5.5" x W8.3" x H1.6" (volume =73.04)for the V2 and W8.25” x D5.5” x H1.7” for the V3 (volume=77.1375)

The volume of the V3 is 5.61% larger (rounding considerations on dimensions not taken into account).

The V2 has a decent amount of wires (i.e. less integrated circuits) very purtily arranged.

Perhaps we could get pics of the internals of a V2 and V3 (assuming internals didn't change much with serial #)

I think your on to something with that thought!!!
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Offline used-to-tape-alot

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2007, 06:26:23 AM »
my V2 (serial#V061)is packed up and I don't have a digital camera otherwise I'd post a pic of it.  All I know is when I opened the lid to take a look inside I was quite impressed with what I saw.

Offline Weirdness

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2007, 10:32:55 AM »
My understanding is that they are exactly the same in terms of the preamp portion.  A V3 is essentially a V2 with the addition of an A/D converter.  The V3 lacks RCA outputs which can come in handy if you want to run analog in to any given deck. 

Offline Wiggler

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2007, 10:52:33 AM »
This is how Mike Grace describes the differences between the V2 and V3.

"I guess the word "identical" may be a bit strong here.  When we first
started development of the V3 the mic preamp circuit was "identical"
to the V2 with one exception:  Most of the components in the V3 are
surface mount rather than through hole.  This was necessary to
accommodate the additional converter circuitry.  Components that are
not changed to surface mount include the gain control switch,
metalized film coupling capacitors, conductive plastic trim
potentiometers, HPF filter switches and XLR connectors.
  As we began evaluating prototypes it became clear that the V2 style
trim control would not work in the V3 for practical reasons.  (with
the trim attenuator one could be clipping the preamplifier badly and
it would not be visible on the meters)  However, when the trim on
the V3 is set to 0 the circuit "topology" of the V3 is identical to
the V2 with it's trim set to 0.   ....so... If you looked at a
schematic representation of the both preamplifiers with their
respective trim controls set at 0 the two circuits would be
identical. (with the possible exception of the INA163, which shares
the same architecture as the INA103 but may have subtle differences
in its internal circuit topology.  Burr-Brown does not publish
detailed schematics of these devices.)
   It is instructive that Doug has heard a distinct difference
between the V2 and V3 because it points out how important the very
small details in circuit design can be.  How can two preamplifiers
that have the same circuitry sound different?  Here are a few
possible factors that I can think of:

Surface mount resistors have no leads.  They are soldered directly to
the pcb.  Through hole resistor leads have inductance and stray
capacitance which surface mount parts don't have.

Use of surface mount parts permits a "tighter" pcb layout with
shorter traces.  Again, less inductance and stray capacitance.
This translates to better transient response and a better ability for
the circuit to resolve complex harmonic structures and high
frequency wave forms.
Use of surface mount devices also lets us use a more contiguous ultra
low inductance ground plane on the bottom side of the pcb.
The circuit ground is THE foundation of any audio circuit and the
more solid it is the more performance potential the circuit will
have, especially in the upper registers.

I guess I have billed the V3's preamp as "identical" to the V2 for a
couple of reasons.  One is to try to explain that we did not
compromise the preamplifier circuitry so that we could add an AD
converter in the same box.  The other is that I did not want all of
our V2 customers to think that they were sitting on obsolete
equipment when, IMHO, it is still a state of the art preamplifier.
As a manufacturer it is very tricky to introduce a product that
replaces an existing one.  Especially if you don't necessarily want
to participate in a "throw away" society where "out with the old and
in with the new" is what sustains our economy.

Sorry if this is a jumbled bunch of rambling.
-Michael"

Offline PH

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2007, 12:04:51 PM »
The gain structure on the V2 is different than the V3, in the area of trim.

With the V2, you are negatively reducing the gain after having set it, and having an impact on your headroom by the amount that you've trimmed.

With the V3, you are positively adding gain when trimming, and you don't impact your headroom.

Well said Moke. Having owned both, I can say that I much prefer the V3 to the V2. The obvious reasons aside, the V3 always seemed to my ears to have a bit more fullness and prescence than the V2. I always percieved the V2 as having a slight dip in the middle freq range that the V3 does not. The V2 seems to have more of a hyped sound wheras the V3 is more well rounded.
I've started using the V3 on vocal tracks lately and have been loving the results. I bypass the AD stage and just use it a pre, saves me having to sync it with my other digital studio gear.

I liked what Grace said about the two units, but I think what he said if you read between the lines is that clearly, the V3 was intended to be an upgrade to the existing V2.

Offline used-to-tape-alot

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2007, 01:04:37 PM »
 "It is instructive that Doug has heard a distinct difference
between the V2 and V3 because it points out how important the very
small details in circuit design can be."

I take it this is Doug Oade?  I wonder what those differences in sound bw the two are in his opinion?  Is there one who's sound he prefers?  If you read this Doug, would love to hear your opinion. 

Is it possible that "Through hole resistor leads have inductance and stray
capacitance which surface mount parts don't have." (V2) translates into a "warmer sound" than the V3 (and no I would not describe the sound of the V2 as "warm" at all, rather I would describe it as "precise", or perhaps "crisp and clean".  Just used the term "warm" for lack of a better term to describe possible differences in sound bw the two.

and btw I am not trying to be biased here at all (bc I'm trying to sell my V2)  Good stuff.  Thanks Nashphil - not trying to discount your opinion - just curious by nature about this kinda stuff.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 01:18:24 PM by used-to-tape-alot »

Offline yug du nord

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2007, 04:01:41 PM »
Nice info y'all!!! 
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Offline rokpunk

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2007, 09:07:07 PM »
I've owned 'em both too, and I prefer the V3 for two simple reasons....the LED meters are MUCH better on the V3 and, like Moke explained, the addition of gain rather than the reduction of gain seems much more useful for field recording. Sonically they both sound great to my ears, and I don't prefer the sound of one over the other. Just as a price gauge, when I sold mine, both within the last 6 months, I sold the V2 for $750 and the V3 for $1000.
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again, your showing your cluelessness.


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Offline yug du nord

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2007, 11:38:54 PM »
Those LED's are pretty!!!
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Offline Todd R

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2007, 12:20:45 PM »
Good to see this thread come up with a good discussion on the differences between the V2 and V3.  (Makes me wonder if a similar one ever came up when the V3 first came out -- too lazy to search though.  :P )

I never owned the V2, though I ran one several times.  Certainly not enough experience with it to really compare the sound of the V2 to the V3.  From everything Mike Grace has said though, I don't think there ever was an intention to "skimp" on the V3 preamp section to make room for the A/D section -- either in physical layout room or "room" needed to stay at a particular pricepoint.  As nashphil said -- if anything it seems the V3 was an improvement.

I know I really prefer the gain structure of the V3, both in terms of logistics in running it, and also for the sonic reasons.  Meaning the headroom issue noted, and also I believe the audio signal in the V2 is actually running straight through the trim resistor pot, whereas in the V3 the trim pot is used to set the gain on the instrumentation/op amp.  I could be wrong on that one though.

I've been finding it interesting to see the used sale price of V3 slowly decline while the used sale price of the V2 slowly increase.  Good overall to see the value of a well made preamp remain high -- excellent as a general trend.  In the particular case of the Grace Lunatec products, I don't see why there would be so little price difference between the V2 and V3.  Seems like there is very little value placed on a good A/D product.  Could well be the case I guess -- look at the excellent AD2k, aka the AD2402 (#?), I always thought it made a much better 24 bit converter than 16 bit converter, but now that we're in the 24bit world with recorders, it's used sales price has plummeted.  Go figure.

Anyway, rambling now, better go get some coffee to get focused. :)
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2007, 01:36:19 PM »
I don't see why there would be so little price difference between the V2 and V3  <snip>  Seems like there is very little value placed on a good A/D product.

Three primary reasons, I think:

<1>  All-in-one devices.  As the all-in-one devices have gotten better and better, there's less desire to schlep around more gear when one may achieve 80-90% of the same sound quality in an all-in-one.  I know I've succumbed to this one, as I traded out my V3 > HD-P2 for a 722.  I still prefer the V3 pre/ADC sound, though.  Part of the reason for me was that for 4-ch recording, it was just too much stuff to schlep around.  I might very well go back to V3 > P2 if/when I decide to stick with strictly 2-ch recording again.  However, the fact that the V2 still sells like hotcakes goes against this theory, which takes me to my second thought...

<2>  "Conventional wisdom".  A few people have posted - and many others repeated, sometimes without even owning one - that the V3 ADC was "weak", "thin", etc.  I see it happening a lot around here.  Someone or some small group of people decide a piece of gear isn't right for their ears, and all of a sudden many others are touting how "no one likes X", or "most TSers prefer X", or "X sounds weak and thin and <insert negatively-toned adjective here", etc.  Of course, it happens in the reverse, too, with fluffing.

<3>  Taste.  'Course, it could just be that people prefer the sound of other ADCs over the V3.  It seems to me a lot of people like a bit of a "hyped" sound (very difficult to explain, so I won't bother trying), so it's no surprise the very natural sounding (to my ears) V3 isn't as popular.  As someone who thinks the V3 ADC sounds better than nearly every portable, affordable ADC I've heard (with the possible exception of the Mytek)...my final thought is:  there's no accounting for taste.  :P
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Offline dean

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Re: V2 vs. V3 pre amp ???
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2007, 02:49:33 PM »
It seems to me a lot of people like a bit of a "hyped" sound (very difficult to explain, so I won't bother trying)...

I think you're saying, "not spitty," aren't you?    :P   ;)
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