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Author Topic: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo  (Read 6297 times)

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Offline TNJazz

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Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« on: February 16, 2011, 10:07:24 PM »
OK, I'm tired of the gear shuffle and it's time for me to settle on a decent quality 2 track rig.  Curious to get people's opinions on the direction I should take.  Keep in mind that this gear typically sits in a bag for weeks at a time and gets out maybe every other month or so - at least lately.  Most of the time we are multitracking anyway, so it's not really applicable unless I'm out for a fun night or something.  Anyway...

So the mics are B&K 4011.  Pretty pleased with those.  I may occasionally interchange them with the pair of Nevaton MK49s we have in the arsenal.  Through the back end of the gear these mics sounds surprisingly similar.  So I'm all set there.

The destination is currently a MTII, but I'm leaning towards bumping up to a Marantz 661 (if anyone has one, pm me!).  So we're talking digital bit bucket.  Any other options I should consider?

So my question is with preamp/ADC combo and I'm curious what people think I should do.

Right now for a pre I have an EAA PSP-2.  Reasonably happy with it, although I have been toying with the idea of maybe going to a V3 instead, purely for convenience.

Obviously if I keep the PSP-2 I don't want to go line in to the MTII, so I need an ADC.  I picked up a Mini Me to do this, so right now it's 4011-PSP2-MME-MTII

I'm not sold on the Mini Me though, so I'm looking at other possibilities to pair with the PSP-2.  Maybe a Mytek 96 or 192?  Anyone ever tried this combo or have any thoughts?  Anything else I should be considering?

I'm also not sold on the PSP-2 itself, so it may move along if the consensus is that there is a better option.  V3 to replace both the preamp and ADC?  Maybe a Metric Halo ULN-2 to do the same thing?

I want to jam all this crap into a Petrol PEGZ-1.  So space is an issue.  Right now the rig fits, but it's just a tiny bit crowded...

Anyway, just wondering if anyone here has any thoughts on this.  PMs or posts are welcomed!
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Offline flipp

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 10:14:09 PM »
If you decide to part outright (that is if it isn't involved in a trade) with the PSP2, please get in touch.

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 10:44:27 PM »
How about PSP-2 > Sony-M10?  It wouldn't require much of a switch up and I'm sure it would sound great.  I've been real happy going V2 > M10.
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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 10:50:31 PM »
How about PSP-2 > Sony-M10?  It wouldn't require much of a switch up and I'm sure it would sound great.  I've been real happy going V2 > M10.

Thats a decent option right there!
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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 10:53:49 PM »
what characteristics do you want? The V3 and PSP2 are sort of on opposite ends of the spectrum in my opinion.

How about PSP-2 > Sony-M10?  It wouldn't require much of a switch up and I'm sure it would sound great.  I've been real happy going V2 > M10.

Unless you need clocking or 4ch, I think the M10 has a ton of win in the basic 2 channel department. Second if I remember correctly, the M10 has a high input tolerance similar to the 7 series boxes which allows you to blast the psp2 if you so choose.
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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 11:32:34 AM »
Interesting.  Has anyone ever compared the A/D of the M10 with the A/D of a Mini Me?  What about the bigger Sony?  I think it's the D50?  Any improvement in A/D there?

I'm definitely not opposed to skipping the Apogee or any other A/D in the mix for a direct in to a decent recorder.  I don't have any familiarity with the M10 (or any of the Sonys) at all though.

What am I looking for?  I don't know.  Just want it to sound decent I guess.  I'm typically recording a PA system in a room with 2 microphones after all.
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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 11:37:46 AM »
I have read that the D50 has alittle better AD, but unless you plan on using the optical on the D50 I would go for the M10 (Price/size).  For the price if you are not happy with the M10 it could easily be sold in the YS.  I'd be interested to hear the PSP2>M10 or D50 combo. 
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 11:44:29 AM by jmbell »
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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 11:54:55 AM »
I think I'd like to have the flexibility of *eventually* using a digital input with an external A/D.  That's kind of why I was looking at a 661, but I just hadn't considered the Sonys because I wasn't familiar with how good their A/D was.

Hmm.  Maybe I should sell the MME and the MTII and get the Sony then.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this, or suggestions on other paths?

I'm set on the mics and reasonably set on the preamp.  Everything after that is a crapshoot and open to change...

Just noticed the USBPre2 supports line level input - any thoughts on the A/D of this box (not the preamps though).  It would solve a LOT of my connectivity issues if it was a good sounding unit...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 12:06:37 PM by TNJazz »
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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 12:13:57 PM »
I have read that the D50 has alittle better AD, but unless you plan on using the optical on the D50 I would go for the M10 (Price/size).  For the price if you are not happy with the M10 if could easily be sold in the YS.  I'd be interested to hear the PSP2>M10 or D50 combo.

jlykos runs that with MGs in front.

Interesting.  Has anyone ever compared the A/D of the M10 with the A/D of a Mini Me?  What about the bigger Sony?  I think it's the D50?  Any improvement in A/D there?

I'm definitely not opposed to skipping the Apogee or any other A/D in the mix for a direct in to a decent recorder.  I don't have any familiarity with the M10 (or any of the Sonys) at all though.

What am I looking for?  I don't know.  Just want it to sound decent I guess.  I'm typically recording a PA system in a room with 2 microphones after all.

I'll agree with jmbell and say that it's negligable. I remember listening to a schoeps>sax comp which used the m10 and 722 (courtesy of the 2 outs on the sax) and while I could pick a difference or two, it was tough and I wouldn't have been unhappy if I was stuck with the M10. If you're not sold on the mini-me, then I wouldn't bother due to the size. It's a piece of gear that I think people either love for it's unique feature set (the soft limiter being one) or the sound and you seem sort of meh on it. Worst that can happen is you sell the M10/D50 in the YS and I suspect you could recoup most of the cash in relatively short order (they are the go-to budget machine right now unless you hate the volume wheel). Since you seem interested in a digital down the road, I'd grab the D50 of the two.

Second, I'd run the psp2 for a while on this note; what's the harm? If you don't like it, you'll have a line ready and waiting when you decide to sell it. Second, V2/V3s are easier to come by. Last, you're starting with some extremely detailed mics, losing some of that to the psp2 probably won't hurt for this application.

Just noticed the USBPre2 supports line level input - any thoughts on the A/D of this box (not the preamps though).  It would solve a LOT of my connectivity issues if it was a good sounding unit...

Same A/D chip as used in the 7 series boxes. Nic Stage from SD confirmed that a month or so ago. The max input and pre-amps are slightly different, but the A/D chip is the same.

4011s > psp2 > usbpre2 > d50 should fit in a pegz-1 (assuming it's 11"x5" is the main compartment and you put the mics in the outer areas in small boxes). The usbpre2 is aproximately the size of a 702. Just make sure to snag a RA optical cable, the output is on the back/bottom.
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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 12:23:12 PM »
Same A/D chip as used in the 7 series boxes. Nic Stage from SD confirmed that a month or so ago. The max input and pre-amps are slightly different, but the A/D chip is the same.

4011s > psp2 > usbpre2 > d50 should fit in a pegz-1 (assuming it's 11"x5" is the main compartment and you put the mics in the outer areas in small boxes). The usbpre2 is aproximately the size of a 702. Just make sure to snag a RA optical cable, the output is on the back/bottom.

Right.  This seems like a decent option because I can send USB output to my laptop as backup as well.  I'm just wondering how the A/D stacks up compared to others.

Anyone selling a D50?
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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 12:59:57 PM »
I found the A/D to be very similar to the Tascam DR-680 if that tells you anything.  The USBPre2 is a cool little box but you will need to provide power to the USB buss on it for stand alone.  So the downside is you can't use the same 12 volt battery to power  it that you might be using on other gear.  I love my USBPRe2 and with 80dB of gain it can be used in any situation.  The other advantage is it will accept external SPDIF clocking if you want to sync it up to something else.  output is opti/spdif/rca/xlr so it is pretty flexible. 

Offline OFOTD

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 01:15:55 PM »
Speaking as a DPA 402x owner with multiple pre's/ad's in the locker here are a few thoughts from what I have taped with:

1. Without doubt I feel like the absolute best combo with the DPA 402x series to my ears is the ACM V3.   It just sings with the DPA's.   I have many 402x > ACMV3 vs. 402x > V3 (analog) > 744 recordings and would be more than happy to share them.

2, My second favorite combo is the 402x > m148 > Mytek sound.   Certainly different from what the ACM V3 is doing but still good enough to be in the top two.  Scott Brown makes some sweet tapes as well using 402x > V3 > Mytek.

3. After the two combos above nothing to my ears is as sweet.  PSP3, m248, etc.    I mean they all sound good but the two choices above sound great.

4. M10.  You know its a neat little recorder.  For the price it performs very well.   Would I use it's a/d section if I had the option of running any of the other a/d's already mentioned?  Absolutely not.   Again nice device but for $200 it's not made to compete with the likes of Apogee, Grace, SD etc. 

If you already have the mics and a bit bucket I believe Doug is still modding the V3's for a good price.   You do not have to buy the V3 from him to get the mod done.




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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 01:20:42 PM »
maybe trade the psp-2 for a sonosax?

Offline TNJazz

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 01:24:26 PM »
maybe trade the psp-2 for a sonosax?

Seems like I've done this a time or two...or maybe the reverse of it....

Yeah, I'm not sold on the PSP-2 completely anyway, so OFOTD's comments are interesting.  I never considered an ACM modded V3.  That might actually be a good choice.  hmmm.
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Offline Todd R

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Re: Trying to decide on a preamp and ADC combo
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 01:48:35 PM »
**** I had this post all worked up, and then got distracted with work before it ever got sent.  Probably pretty redundant at this point since I think it all got covered, but I'll send it along in case there are any tidbits to consider *****


Dirk, I ran the PSP2 with my Sony D50 quite a lot -- really a very nice sounding rig.  I can dig up samples if you like.  I did get together with a taper a year or more ago to do a controlled comp of the D50 line-in vs the M10 line-in (using the 2 outputs of a littlebox).  We never got together though to swap files, so I've never heard the comp.  I've heard that line-in the M10 is nice, and the D50 def has a nice line-in.  A tad on the darker side, but not too much.

Another option, is to get the new Sound Devices USBPre 2 and run it behind the PSP2 into the MTII or optical into a D50.  The USBPre 2 supposedly has the same A/D as the 722/744 and very similar analog preamps.  So that would probably sound quite a bit like a PSP2> 722 combo at a lot less money.  Potentially smaller too to run USBPre>MTII than a 722, though the overall size would probably depend on your battery solution.  Certainly PSP2>USBPre will be smaller than PSP2>Minime, since the USBPre is really pretty small.  If you really wanted smaller size on a particular outing you could skip the PSP2 entirely, otherwise keep it in the chain when you have room.

On the sound spectrum, I wouldn't put the PSP2 and V3 on the opposite end of the spectrum at all -- my ears anyway.  The PSP2 is a transformer pre, but it has a much more transparent sound as a transformer pre -- much moreso than the SD MP2 or Neve Portico.  And I think the PSP2 is much closer in sound to a V3 than a Minime -- to me the minime is further away on the scale from the V3 than the PSP2.  But again, that's my ears.
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