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Author Topic: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)  (Read 6795 times)

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Offline Chuck

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** Grace Lunatec V3 vs Naiant littlekit (INA111) pre-amp comparison **


Source (AUD):  AKG C 480 B comb/ CK61-ULS > Segue Dogstar cables > splitter feeding (2) iRiver recorders.
Microphone configuration:  DINa, center, 7' up

The exact same pair of microphones were feeding both pre-amps and were split with a passive microphone splitter cable.

Phantom power was turned OFF on the V3.
48v phantom power was turned ON on the littlekit.
Two iRiver iHP-1x0 recorders were the bit buckets.

The analog files(s) were recorded LINE OUT from the V3 & littlekit pre-amps to iRiver recorders set at 0 gain.
The digital file(s) were recorded OPTICAL OUT from the V3 to an iRiver recorder at 44.1kHz, 16 bit, stereo.

These are the raw files exactly as I recorded them, with no post editing or processing done.
I tried to get the best levels and balance set in the field.

File01.wav
File02.wav
File03.wav
File04.wav

Each of the audio files are one of these configurations:

mics > V3 *analog out* > iRiver
mics > V3 *digital out* > iRiver
mics > littlekit *analog out* > iRiver

Notes on the Naiant pre-amp...
My littlekit pre-amp is a little different than the littlebox pre-amps Jon is selling now.
The pre-amp is powered with (5) 9v NiMH batterys. So, there are no DC converters used to power the instrumention amps. The (5) 9v batteries also supply 48v DC phantom power to the microphones without DC conversion. My littlekit pre-amp has the Burr Brown INA111 instrumention amp chips in it.


Download the file V3_littlekit comp.zip here:

http://www.filesavr.com/v3littlekitcomp


Thanks to ToddR for advice and doing this similiar comparison:

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,124895.0.html


I'll give it a few days before revealing the identities of the files on this thread.  ;)



edit to add photo

Don't go past page 1, if you want to listen to the files unbiased...  ;)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 08:26:17 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline Chuck

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2009, 02:57:04 PM »
Ooopppsss... forgot to name the source material  :-[ ...

Phish at Red Rocks 08-01-2009
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline OOK

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2009, 07:14:17 PM »
WOW again I just can't really tell much of a difference....oh yeah I have to remind myself again $1300+....

I will have one of these once the final version is set in stone.....

Thanks for the comp.......

Peace OOK
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Offline intpseeker

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2009, 07:50:15 PM »
I'm not hearing a whole lot of difference. That's pretty amazing.
Mics:        Akg 451 eb A51's, ck-1's, ck-2's, ck 8's
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Offline cottle

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2009, 09:13:12 PM »
I've got both set up side by side, and I keep clicking over from one to the other.  I'm having a hard time telling which is which.  Samples 1 and 3 sound slightly less cluttered, if that makes any sense...just a little tighter somehow.  Can't wait to find out the results.

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2009, 09:43:14 PM »
1st of all.....great sources!  Phish at RR sounds spectacular.  I noticed a little "airy"-ness on the 3rd source that made it more preferable on HH.   On Antelope I heard a similar "airy" quality to 2nd source.   But damn if they don't sound very close.  Wicked preamp at that price!
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Offline Jammin72

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 01:31:01 AM »
Oh wow, this should be fun.  I'll have to play on a night when all the neurons are firing.  This is either a test of gear or hearing depending on how you view things.  I hope to get things grossly wrong to further confuse myself so that I can get over gear and get back to taping... well perhaps not.
Yes, but what do you HEAR?

Offline rjp

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 01:33:53 AM »
Apparently, Filesavr doesn't like Firefox... the file wouldn't download.
Mics: AKG Perception 170, Naiant X-X, Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2
Preamps: Naiant Littlebox
Recorders: Olympus LS-10
Interfaces: Focusrite Saffire Pro 14, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Offline bhadella

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 06:07:34 AM »
Apparently, Filesavr doesn't like Firefox... the file wouldn't download.

Works fine for me.
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Offline Chuck

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2009, 11:37:13 AM »
Apparently, Filesavr doesn't like Firefox... the file wouldn't download.

PM me and I will get you the files, if you can not DL from the link I provided.

Also check out my Phish C-481 > littlebox source:

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,125313.new.html#new
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 05:54:53 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline Jhurlbs81

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2009, 07:36:31 PM »
Nice comparison.  I like 2 and 3, but they both do sound pretty similar.  Great tapes!

Jesse

Offline taperj

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2009, 08:40:48 PM »
I would say that files 1 and 4 seem to have a more rigid, stiff sounding bass. My guess would be these are from the same preamp?

2 & 3 seem to have a bit warmer but slightly less accurate sound.

I'm finding it hard to decide since objectivity recognizes the merits in both, but if pressed I would say I prefer 2&3, the sound may not be as accurate sounding but it seems truer to life for some reason.

They're both quite nice, that Naiant pre certainly is holding its own whichever samples it produced. I'll be interested to see if I'm even right about which 2 came from the same pre.

I did the comparison on a Bose "Companion 5" computer speaker system which in general I find to be extremely neutral sounding.

Oh and... nice pull :)

J


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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 11:56:50 AM »
I'm going to hold out on revealing the results for one more day.
Just to make sure that everyone who wants to listen without being biased by knowing the file identities gets a chance to listen.

...but, if you PM me and swear not to tell, I'll give you the the file identities.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline jbell

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 01:30:51 PM »
I liked source 2 the best!  I really couldn't hear that much difference between the other 3 sources.  Sounds great regardless and solidifies that fact that I want a littlebox.  They sound great for the money!  Nice job chuck and I look forward to finding out what is what.
Microtech Gefell M20's> Nbob KCY> Naiant PFA(60v) > Sound Devices Mixpre-6 @24/48

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 03:50:07 PM »
Thanks for the offer on revealing the identities via PM but I can wait for the official curtain to raise. Cheers :)
Rig: Neumann skm184 or Neumann skm140 > Sound Devices Mixpre > Olympus LS-10 or Korg MR-1

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Here is the link to the file identities txt file:

http://www.filesavr.com/v3littlekitcomp-results

I figured I'd do it this way, in case someone stumbles on this thread late and didn't want to see the results posted in the open.



The next post reveals the identities of the files. Don't read past this post unless you want to know the results of the comparison...
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 08:29:47 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2009, 06:22:03 PM »
Well, I put a disclaimer up on the thread, so lets discuss...









































file01.wav is: mics > V3 *analog out* > iRiver
file02.wav is: mics > littlekit *analog out* > iRiver
file03.wav is: mics > littlekit *analog out* > iRiver
file04.wav is: mics > V3 *digital out* > iRiver
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 06:25:23 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2009, 06:37:48 PM »
holy shit.  Had me fooled....
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Offline cottle

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2009, 07:11:10 PM »
In your comp as well as Todd's, I can't tell which two sources are the same.  If my ears can't tell a difference, then there goes my "I can't afford a preamp" argument.

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 07:32:46 PM »
Yeah, I can't help but think there was a flaw in my method... ??? I did e-mail Jon at Naiant before I ran the test with the splitter cables. I'd rather not paraphrase what he said, but it didn't sound like my methodology would be a real problem.

I didn't set out thinking it would be all that close. I did prefer the littlebox on ToddR's comparison though...

FWIW, I used around 20-22 db of gain on the V3 when going analog out and around 35db when going optical out.

I had the knobs on my littlekit set  between 11:50 and 12:10 (clock face) for both sets.

As for my probably biased observations by knowing which file was which using HD600 head phones and Tannoy Reveal (with subwoofer) speakers:

My quick notes are:
1 and 2 are very close sounding, very little difference
1 has slightly wider sound stage, but more confined sounding, not as open as 2
2 is more forward and open sounding
3 is open, more forward, maybe more hollow, with a slight upper-mid range bump than 4?
4 is warmer, more refined than 3?

That said, I generally prefered 2 & 3 overall on the source material I recorded.


edit to add:

I find the littlekit recording to be more involving, if that makes any sense...
I have listened to it (near field speakers and on headphones) three times, all the way through, and I get sucked in every time.

The full recording can be found here:

http://bt.cotapers.org/torrents.php?id=129&torrentid=166

» FLAC16 / 44.1k / AUD / C-481 > littlekit

« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 08:36:30 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2009, 09:42:57 PM »
Jon, the V3 has balanced outputs, too. I used Pin2 hot, Pin1 ground and left Pin3 unconnected as the V3 manual suggests for un-balance output. Maybe that was enough to make a difference in the analog out recordings. ??? But, like you, I was surprised that the V3 digital out and the littlekit analog out recordings sounded even close. I think it says a lot about your pre-amp, to hold it's own, against what many regard as the standard for field recording.

You should listen to the files... I can rename them and sent them to you... if you want an unbiased comparison ... you may become a Phish phan  :)
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2009, 11:19:43 PM »
The analog outs pumped a much hotter signal then +4 on the V3. Your levels on the box may say "-3", but your putting out in the positive teens. This is for the assumption that your putting it into another pro box (like an SD unit, or R-44) which can handle that hot of a signal.

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,113926.msg1524480.html#msg1524480
Courtesy of Jason's handy diagram, it's a difference of 19db (with an unbalanced configuration), which generally correlates with what you used in the test give or take a few db.

edit: added unbalanced note.
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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2009, 12:13:10 AM »
+4dBu is a nominal level, the theory being that should be the average (RMS) level of the recording, leaving sufficient headroom above for peaks.  I do note from that chart that the V3's balanced outs have both pins driven (no surprise there), which accounts for the 6dB difference.

Anyway, if the gain used for analog on both recorders is the same (and it should be), then for that comparison both boxes are seeing the same internal levels.  The active balanced out on the V3 would be generated by sending the + output to an inverting amplifier, such that the voltage seen by both amps is the same (but opposite polarity).  So floating pin 3 on the V3 and just pulling signal off pin 2 should be a direct comparison with the unbalanced out littlebox.

According to the chart, as expected, the V3 makes itself generate +4dBu levels for its converter, which is unfair to the V3 digital as it has to run hotter to achieve the same digital level as the iRiver.  That's not my fault though . . . the iRiver probably doesn't peak at 0dBV (+2dBu), it probably has similar digital "headroom" of +5dBV, so that makes the same 15dB headroom for the expected and measured 12dB difference in gain.

Gotcha, I was trying to reconcile the math discrepancy. Thanks.
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Offline spyder9

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2009, 12:23:52 AM »
So is this correct:

Littlekit = Chuck

Littlebox = Jon

Offline Chuck

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2009, 09:21:25 AM »
So is this correct:

Littlekit = Chuck

Littlebox = Jon

Jon can tell you the exact differences between the two, better than I can.
I bought the littlebox circuit from Jon. It's pretty much the same circuit as the production units he sells, but I don't have metering or DC conversion on mine.
I built the box around it and mounted my own jacks and switch. I call it a littlekit to distinguish it from the production pre-amps Jon is selling.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 06:29:54 PM by Chuck »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline jlykos

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2009, 12:49:02 PM »
I thought that the sources in this comp were much closer than the ones in Todd's.  I preferred 1 and 4, but they were very, very close.  I liked source 1 the best, but then again, I have always preferred Antelope to Dirt so that probably had more than a little to do with it.  Like in Todd's comp, the midrange of the Littlekit / Littlebox stood out more than I prefer and the sound was more cohesive than in 2 and 3.  As I said, however, I thought that they were very close and while I felt that the price differential between the V3 and Littlebox was justified in Todd's comp, it is not justified to me in this one.

Thanks for doing the comp!  And the next time you do one, please, please, please choose a different song than Dirt.
dpa 4061 > Church Audio 9200 > Sony PCM-D50 (Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 interconnect)

"I have no views," Mickey Melchiondo, known as Dean Ween, said in a philosophical moment. "I am way too stupid. I have no strong feelings about anything. I'm really into television and the computer. I believe everything I see on TV and read on the Internet."

Offline Chuck

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Re: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2009, 03:31:07 PM »

And the next time you do one, please, please, please choose a different song than Dirt.

Will do...
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

 

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