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Author Topic: Preamp Comp: Naiant littlekit vs. Grace Lunatec V3 (page 2 is a spoiler)  (Read 7070 times)

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Offline Chuck

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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

Offline Chuck

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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.

Offline Chuck

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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

ยป 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

Offline Chuck

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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

Offline page

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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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Offline page

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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.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

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.
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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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