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Author Topic: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2  (Read 3477 times)

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Offline mattmiller

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Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« on: April 04, 2010, 05:30:42 PM »
I'm currently running my KM140s straight into a stock HD-P2.  While I'm mostly satisfied with this, I recognize that the last piece of the puzzle is an external pre-amp.  For a while I've always thought that I would eventually buy a V3, but I know that not everybody considers the V3 to be worth the high price tag (for example, I've read that a lot of tapers don't like its ADC).  So at this point I'm looking for recommendations for the right equipment to upgrade that part of my signal path.  I know the UA5 is highly respected, so that option is on the table.  I've also considered the MiniMe, and I even considered just having my HD-P2 modded.  However, I'm not 100% certain that I will always have the HD-P2, so I'd rather not go that route.  So I guess my questions would be:

1.  For those of you familiar with the KM140s and HD-P2, is one of the pre-amps especially well-suited to stick between them?  Are any of them not a great match?
2.  I know the V3 comes as either 6V or 12V -- how does that difference manifest itself in the taping world?
3.  I've seen some of the V3's in the Yard Sale advertised as "opti-mod" -- I'm assuming all V3's have coaxial digital out(?), which is all I could use the with the HD-P2 anyway.  Or does the opti-mod accomplish more than just giving it an optical output?

I'd be happy to spend just a couple/few hundred dollars on a UA5 (or one of its modded forms) if that will significantly upgrade me, but my budget would eventually allow for a V3 if the consensus is that it's worth the extra $.  Regarding mods - I often have a hard time conceptualizing the differences between the available mods, so feel free to try to teach me what I should expect transparent, presence, and warm mods on the UA5 (or available mods for any of the other pre-amps) to sound like with the KM140s.

Also, I'd be interested in any general advice you might have in trying to make a decision like this, and if there is any cautionary advice regarding the use of any particular pre-amp with my gear (from powering it, "hotness" of signal output, etc.).
Mics: Neumann KM100 (x4), AK40 (x2), AK50 (x2)
Pre: Lunatec V3
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Tascam HD-P2 (x2), Sony PCM-M10

Offline sparkey

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 11:10:27 AM »
A V2 or V3 makes a real nice rig....V2's are about $650 right now, which is a damn good deal, V3's not terribly more.

Offline Todd R

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 12:15:11 PM »
As usual, I'll recommend the Naiant littlebox preamp (made by ts.com member mshilarious).  This is an excellent sounding preamp, and a fantastic value for the money.  Unless you are going straight into a computer as your recorder, I'd highly recommend the littlebox over the UA5.

I've made a couple of controlled comparisons of the littlebox to the Lunatec V3 and to the EAA PSP2.  The littlebox has fared very well in these, with a majority of people preferring it over the V3 and PSP2 in blind comparisons.  Dig around for some of the threads on it, but I'd def recommend you at least consider it. 

You can get one for $200-300.  The littlebox is highly configurable with a lot of options, so it may take awhile to figure out exactly what you want.  I've got one with an internal rechargable li-ion battery, which I think is a great choice. 

Mics: Microtech Gefell m20/m21 (nbob/pfa actives), Line Audio CM3, Church CA-11 cards
Preamp:  none <sniff>
Recorders:  Sound Devices MixPre-6, Sony PCM-M10, Zoom H4nPro

Offline yug du nord

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 01:13:44 PM »
Unless you are going straight into a computer as your recorder, I'd highly recommend the littlebox over the UA5.

Yeah...  I agree with this........  and the HDP2 ADC trumps the UA-5 ADC I believe. 
.....got a blank space where my mind should be.....

Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 01:27:08 PM »
The littlebox has fared very well in these, with a majority of people preferring it over the V3 and PSP2 in blind comparisons.

So why haven't you sold your psp2? :P

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Offline Todd R

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 04:02:56 PM »
Who said I was among those preferring the LB over the PSP2?  :P 

Really though -- 4ch recording = need 2x 2ch preamps.  Plus I like the ability to choose between the different sonic signatures, and the transformer PSP2 does have its own sound.

I have been toying around with sending my littlebox back and getting selectable output transformers.  If I do, I'll run a comparison for sure against the PSP2.
Mics: Microtech Gefell m20/m21 (nbob/pfa actives), Line Audio CM3, Church CA-11 cards
Preamp:  none <sniff>
Recorders:  Sound Devices MixPre-6, Sony PCM-M10, Zoom H4nPro

Offline mattmiller

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 05:54:29 PM »
Okay, after listening to the comparisons and reading the reviews, the Littlebox is under strong consideration now too.  Especially over the UA-5 if the ADC on the HD-P2 is considered just as good or better than what the UA-5 provides.  It seems there still is no argument that the V3 is the lower noise, higher gain-capable unit, so I'd still like to ponder the value of that.  Anything else I should be taking under consideration here?  What about powering the V3 -- I've seen references to special hacked Tekkeon power cables for the V3.  I have a Tekkeon 3300 and love it to power my HD-P2 (with AA's always in the unit for backup).  Does the V3 not accept any of the available tips for the Tekkeon?  Any other proprietary cable requirements of the V3, Littlebox, or any of the other popular preamps that I would have to figure into the final cost?
Mics: Neumann KM100 (x4), AK40 (x2), AK50 (x2)
Pre: Lunatec V3
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Tascam HD-P2 (x2), Sony PCM-M10

Offline mattmiller

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 06:29:43 PM »
Follow-up question -- how do people like Oade's HD mod of the HD-P2?  How does it compare to a top-quality external preamp?  Doug has indicated to me that he thinks it sounds better than a V3.  Is that just him standing up for his product, or would a lot of people agree with that?
Mics: Neumann KM100 (x4), AK40 (x2), AK50 (x2)
Pre: Lunatec V3
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Tascam HD-P2 (x2), Sony PCM-M10

stevetoney

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2010, 10:57:00 AM »
As always, I recommend that you do some intense listening on the LMA and reach your own conclusions about what sounds good to you.  I've done my fair share of asking questions on ts.com about what sounds good and more times than not, I find that subjectivity causes these questions to be less useful than if I were to do the sampling myself.

That said, and respecting those that love the V2/V3 sound, I'm one that doesn't care for the V2/V3 sound.  I especially don't think these preamps match up well with the Neumann km-series.  These are personal opinions based on what I like though, so take this with a grain of salt.  In my opinion, the beauty of the km-series is the really tight and concise low-end.  They also sound great in the higher frequencies, but low-end detail, IMHO, is what sets the Neumann mics apart.  Unfortunately, in my mind, the low end is also easily the weakest aspect of the V2/V3 sound...in fact with Schoeps mics, the V2/V3 can make the low-end nearly break up (trust me, it's not the mics all you Schoeps-bashers!  LOL).  So, I think that the combination of a V2/V3 with KM140 just doesn't work well together.

Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising that my personal favorite pre-amps for the KM-140s provided a good compliment to the tight low-end.  While I can't necessarily explain the technical reasons why, I've always had good luck with transformer-based preamps and how these work well with the Neumanns.  Of those that I've owned, this included the Aerco MP-2, Oade m148 and although I never ran it with the Neumanns, the Oade m248.  Not sure if all transformer-based preamps are similar sounding to these, but that's where I'd recommend starting, if I were you. 

Offline dactylus

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2010, 03:22:47 PM »

There's a very interesting article in the current Tape Op on using transformers to "color" the sound of recordings.  you should really check it out. 

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most if not all transformer based pre's distinguished by their "coloration" of sound?





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Offline KenH

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2010, 03:44:17 PM »
I just want to say that I absolutely love the sound of my KM184's -> V3 (digiOut) -> HDP2...  Tried V3 (analog out) -> HDP2, but prefer the former.   

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stevetoney

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2010, 03:46:13 PM »

There's a very interesting article in the current Tape Op on using transformers to "color" the sound of recordings.  you should really check it out. 

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most if not all transformer based pre's distinguished by their "coloration" of sound?

From my experience, I think that's a fair statement, David.

stevetoney

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2010, 03:50:27 PM »
I just want to say that I absolutely love the sound of my KM184's -> V3 (digiOut) -> HDP2...  Tried V3 (analog out) -> HDP2, but prefer the former.   

Cool!  (I'd have been surprised if my comment didn't generate at least one response.)   ;)

Just goes to show (the OP) that the thing to do is listen to samples and decide for yourself

Offline mattmiller

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2010, 04:32:28 PM »
Yeah, I know that's the best thing to do, but so many factors influence how the recording sounds.  It's hard for me to listen to a recording on the LMA from a venue that I don't know, by a band that I don't know, and accurately judge what the various preamps are bringing to the table.

I'm holding off on making any decisions until I figure out the rust problem on my HD-P2.
Mics: Neumann KM100 (x4), AK40 (x2), AK50 (x2)
Pre: Lunatec V3
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Tascam HD-P2 (x2), Sony PCM-M10

Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 09:06:10 PM »
Unfortunately, in my mind, the low end is also easily the weakest aspect of the V2/V3 sound...in fact with Schoeps mics, the V2/V3 can make the low-end nearly break up (trust me, it's not the mics all you Schoeps-bashers!  LOL).

I would agree that the v3 tends to be a little light on bass.  However, I have never, ever heard anything like "breaking up" and I do a lot of bass-intense on-stage recordings at high SPLs with mk21's..   I'm not aware of another portable pre-amp that has the soundstage and detail of the v3.

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Offline Big Perm

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2010, 06:36:32 AM »
I personally ran the 140's for almost 10 yrs.  during that time i ran the oade 248, oade 148, V-2, & Sonosax, of the 10 yrs i bet i ran the 148 for 6 or  7 of them.  I loved the combo, but eventually when adding an apogee a/d i switched to the v-2 to add gain control.  I eventually sold that entire rig to a good friend and still run it all the time.  I really like the V2 with the 140's....but the 148 was no slouch!!!!  listen on archive like everyone is saying and youll make the right decision for those nice neumanns
a
Mics: Schoeps mk41v>kcy>vst62iu
         Schoeps mk5> KC5> CMC6Ug
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Pre’s: Sonosax sx-m2, ACM Lunatec V3, Aeta PSP-3 (x2),
         E.A.A. PSP-2, Neve Portico 512
Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre-10t, Sound Devices 702, Sony m10

Offline jazzgtrl4

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2010, 04:26:33 PM »
I have run the KM140>V3 combo for years. I just picked up a MiniMe and i really dig the sound so far. I taped Les Claypool last night at Coachella with the MiniMe, first time out..FOB on stand...left the V3 at home.  Im going to run it solo for awhile but im definitely gonna run the v3>minime combo at some point.
KM140/50's>V3>MiniMe>Marantz PMD661/MTII
Telefunken ELA M260's>Sonosax SX-M2>ad2k+
KM84i's seq s/n
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Offline H₂O

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Re: Pre-Amp Recommendations for KM140s and HD-P2
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2010, 05:33:39 PM »
EAA PSP-2 -> ran Km140s > psp-2 for bout a year and enjoyed it
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