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Poll

Which preamp sounds better to you?

I prefer preamp 1
8 (42.1%)
I prefer preamp 2
10 (52.6%)
I can't tell the difference
0 (0%)
I like them both equally
1 (5.3%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly (new samples)  (Read 19142 times)

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Offline LikeASong

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2013, 07:39:32 AM »
What is everyone using for the listenings? Headphones, PA, IEMs? I listened to the MP3's with Xears XPA2PRO IEMs yesterday and made up my mind, but I've listened to the FLACs now with my hifi PA and the differences ain't that clear... I still prefer 2 but it isn't that obvious now!
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Offline bryonsos

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2013, 08:04:05 AM »
It's easiest to spot differences in audio samples on headphones, so that's what I always use (MDR-7506 driven by an Oz Audio HR-4).

Plus I still haven't fixed my mains :(

Plus they're binaural (basically) recordings, so I would think cans are the way to listen.
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Offline cd2go

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 08:19:14 AM »
What is everyone using for the listenings?

Sony MDR-V6 straight out of Mac Mini  :P
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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2013, 10:39:12 AM »
I was both surprised and pleased at how similar the preamps sound.

Actually, I'm both surprised and curious to know what causes them to sound so different.

Agreed. I'll reveal shortly. Lee, I'm curious, which did you like better?

I'm not comfortable making a judgment based on just these couple samples- there are simply too many unknowns.  Although if pressed I could choose one file over the other in this particular case, I have no reason to think that preference would extend to anything other than these specific recording samples.  That wouldn’t help me form a preference for one preamp over the other in a general sense, or even specifically when used with B3s and an M10, based on just this one sample situation.

That’s not to say that the comparison of these samples isn’t useful or interesting, only that I don’t have enough information to make a useful preference choice.  Instead, what is primarily interesting to me is that they sound so different and why. 

I imagine these small preamps measure far flatter than the response difference between them which I’m hearing.  I wonder if there is some sort of loading effect from the mics used which effectively changes that similar flat response.  I’m at the limits of my electronics knowledge here, but perhaps there are input impedance differences of the preamps which cause them to sound different with the same mics? Or output impedance differences changing the interaction with the M10 (probably less likely I’d guess). I’d like to hear more from Jon or Chris or other better versed on the electrical side who may be able to talk about that

What did I hear on a quick listen? (I listened though my big speaker system, not headphones, but sourced through the not great headphone output of a laptop)  By memory this morning, the first thing I noticed was what sounded sort of like a different frequency ‘tilt’ between the two– in the sense an EQ ‘tilt’ control which adjust frequency response like a see-saw teeter-totter, pivoting about a center frequency and raising response on one side while dropping it on the other, as opposed to more common  EQ peak, shelf, or pass filters.  Not a huge tilt, but enough to be noticeable.  Preamp 1 sounded more tilted towards the bass end, and preamp 2 to the treble end - relative to each other at least.

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Offline Church-Audio

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2013, 11:19:26 AM »
Unfortunately you cant do a comp like this and have the results mean anything. Unless you use the same exact mics and placement. And the same exact source material for both recordings. Meaning it cant be a live performance you are recording. Why? because there are way to many variables.

The volume of the two sources is different. Even if you normalize them the content of the material is not the same. And therefor will not normalize out the same. You want to do a fair test mount the mics on a stand or something that does not move. Take prerecorded music and play it back once record it match the preamp levels so that they are EXACTLY the same. Using a simple VU meter is not accurate enough I would use a 1k tone for this ) because it will be easy to get an absolute reading and it will allow the real frequency response to be the determining factor. Then play back the source once with one preamp * record it * then once with the other preamp record it. Then you have real comparison. I doubt there will be that much difference due to the fact that my preamp is very flat.
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2013, 11:52:00 AM »
Unfortunately you cant do a comp like this and have the results mean anything. Unless you use the same exact mics and placement. And the same exact source material for both recordings. Meaning it cant be a live performance you are recording. Why? because there are way to many variables.

The volume of the two sources is different. Even if you normalize them the content of the material is not the same. And therefor will not normalize out the same. You want to do a fair test mount the mics on a stand or something that does not move. Take prerecorded music and play it back once record it match the preamp levels so that they are EXACTLY the same. Using a simple VU meter is not accurate enough I would use a 1k tone for this ) because it will be easy to get an absolute reading and it will allow the real frequency response to be the determining factor. Then play back the source once with one preamp * record it * then once with the other preamp record it. Then you have real comparison. I doubt there will be that much difference due to the fact that my preamp is very flat.

From your past comments, it is apparent to me you will never ever be satisfied with the conditions of any gear comp.  That's okay.   We are all entitled to our opinion.

But when you say a valid comp can't be done of a live source,  to me, that's just defeatist BS.

Sometimes a comp will not accurately capture the true character of the gear being compared.  It happens.  But more often, I think the well executed comps that get posted do capture the characteristics.  And when they fail to capture the character, the answers to the "why?" can be very valuable learning experiences for improving future recordings.

There are countless members here who have owned a lot of different gear over the years.  They are intimately familiar with the nuances of it's performance and character, in a wide range of live recording settings.  So when we hear a comp of that gear, we can often quickly identify which is which.  And we can say whether the comp reflects our years of experience with the gear.

Do we have comps that capture key characteristics of gear character?  The characteristics we have personally identified after years of experience, and countless recordings, with the gear in question?  The answer is a strong Yes.  That is why I so strongly disagree with many of your assertions on the topic of comps.

There are those of us who can hear a few seconds of a recording and tell the difference between mk4's and mk4v's.  There are those of us who can hear a few seconds of a recording and tell the difference between the v3's a/d and the 722.  And we can pretty much identify them blind every single time.  We don't have golden ears. I certainly don't.

It is fine to talk about how a comp can be done better, and with more rigor.  Even in cases where comps don't reflect the true character of the gear, they often still end up being very useful.

The big thing we really need are more comps.  Tinybox comps.  m10 vs. 722 a/d comps.  Active vs. full body comps.  There are still so many interesting comps to do.

It's fine to give feedback on the methodology of a comp.  Comps are difficult.  But to come into a thread and piss all over it by saying you can never do a live music comp.  That just adds no value.  To me.

IMHO ;)

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Offline bryonsos

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2013, 12:12:08 PM »
I will stand by this comp because I outlined the parameters, and only meant to get input for the samples recorded. M10 set at unity, check. Same cables, check. Same position with same mic placement, check. Gain settings on preamp to get -12 to -6 peaks, check but I will concede that I could've been more accurate on that. I'm going to go ahead and do this a couple more shows to increase the sample size. Different environments may have an influence. For the upcoming samples, I'll be more particular and I won't normalize.
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Offline bryonsos

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2013, 12:29:24 PM »
What's the cable length on the B3s?  Can't find that on their website  ???

They're about 5 ft. It's also worth noting that I had tgakidis do a 2.2k mod to them.
Mics: 3 Zigma Chi HA-FX (COL-251, c, h, o-d, o-f) / Avenson STO-2 / Countryman B3s
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Offline Church-Audio

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2013, 12:40:08 PM »
Unfortunately you cant do a comp like this and have the results mean anything. Unless you use the same exact mics and placement. And the same exact source material for both recordings. Meaning it cant be a live performance you are recording. Why? because there are way to many variables.

The volume of the two sources is different. Even if you normalize them the content of the material is not the same. And therefor will not normalize out the same. You want to do a fair test mount the mics on a stand or something that does not move. Take prerecorded music and play it back once record it match the preamp levels so that they are EXACTLY the same. Using a simple VU meter is not accurate enough I would use a 1k tone for this ) because it will be easy to get an absolute reading and it will allow the real frequency response to be the determining factor. Then play back the source once with one preamp * record it * then once with the other preamp record it. Then you have real comparison. I doubt there will be that much difference due to the fact that my preamp is very flat.

From your past comments, it is apparent to me you will never ever be satisfied with the conditions of any gear comp.  That's okay.   We are all entitled to our opinion.

But when you say a valid comp can't be done of a live source,  to me, that's just defeatist BS.

Sometimes a comp will not accurately capture the true character of the gear being compared.  It happens.  But more often, I think the well executed comps that get posted do capture the characteristics.  And when they fail to capture the character, the answers to the "why?" can be very valuable learning experiences for improving future recordings.

There are countless members here who have owned a lot of different gear over the years.  They are intimately familiar with the nuances of it's performance and character, in a wide range of live recording settings.  So when we hear a comp of that gear, we can often quickly identify which is which.  And we can say whether the comp reflects our years of experience with the gear.

Do we have comps that capture key characteristics of gear character?  The characteristics we have personally identified after years of experience, and countless recordings, with the gear in question?  The answer is a strong Yes.  That is why I so strongly disagree with many of your assertions on the topic of comps.

There are those of us who can hear a few seconds of a recording and tell the difference between mk4's and mk4v's.  There are those of us who can hear a few seconds of a recording and tell the difference between the v3's a/d and the 722.  And we can pretty much identify them blind every single time.  We don't have golden ears. I certainly don't.

It is fine to talk about how a comp can be done better, and with more rigor.  Even in cases where comps don't reflect the true character of the gear, they often still end up being very useful.

The big thing we really need are more comps.  Tinybox comps.  m10 vs. 722 a/d comps.  Active vs. full body comps.  There are still so many interesting comps to do.

It's fine to give feedback on the methodology of a comp.  Comps are difficult.  But to come into a thread and piss all over it by saying you can never do a live music comp.  That just adds no value.  To me.

IMHO ;)
  Live sources never play the same note the same way twice. I know this because I am a musician for over 35 years. I am not saying there is no validity to this test what so ever what I am saying is there is a better way to remove all doubt. I respect your opinion please respect mine. I am not pissing all over the person who did the comp at all. When you are trying to compare mics by all means use a live source but when you are trying to compare preamps that's very difficult to do with a live source. And midstream through a performance is even more difficult. We dont know what the house sound guy was doing to the PA I am constantly tweaking a PA system when I mix live shows. And then there is the fact that temperature and if the crowd is moving around also plays a role as well as wind direction and speed. There are way to many variables here to even think about using this as a meaningful test. For comparison of two preamps. Ever wonder how it is I get my mics to sound so good for so little money? I must know something about audio right? Anyway slag me all you want I am not trying to be a dick.
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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2013, 01:22:13 PM »
L/R difference between pairs of mics is -0.8dB vs. +1.2dB.  Pots are not exactly precision devices, so that is entirely possible.  It makes a comparison tougher though, although as a practical matter maybe that is a valid criterion.

The CA-Ugly has seperate non-detented miniature pots for independant gain adjustment of each channel, so gain differences between channels is moslty determined by the accuracy of the user's adjustment.
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Offline hi and lo

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2013, 02:36:26 PM »

Unfortunately you cant do a comp like this and have the results mean anything.
 

I am not saying there is no validity to this test what so ever...

That's exactly what you said and (unfortunately) with every comp that is done on ts.com someone has to come along and say the results are "totally invalid," for one reason or another, which adds absolutely no value to the discussion. To call an honest, educated response to your post 'slagging' is not right.

Keep in mind that if some random didn't always come along and piss in the Cheerios, maybe we'd see more enthusiasm for future comps. As a retailer, perhaps that doesn't interest you (or is even outright scary), but for the rest of us it is interesting and I would have no problem forming an opinion after multiple, independent comps, scientific or not. I have little interest in waiting until a comp using the rigorous control of variables you are suggesting because I know it will never happen. I'd rather hear 3-4 real world comps, performed by different recordist under varying conditions, and see what trends can be identified.

Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2013, 02:44:41 PM »
Keep in mind that if some random didn't always come along and piss in the Cheerios, maybe we'd see more enthusiasm for future comps. As a retailer, perhaps that doesn't interest you (or is even outright scary), but for the rest of us it is interesting and I would have no problem forming an opinion after multiple, independent comps, scientific or not. I have little interest in waiting until a comp using the rigorous control of variables you are suggesting because I know it will never happen. I'd rather hear 3-4 real world comps, performed by different recordist under varying conditions, and see what trends can be identified.

Where's that damn +T button when I need it.

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 03:19:25 PM »
I don't think he can, it's been stuck at 6666 for something like his last 1000 posts, hasn't it?
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2013, 03:23:04 PM »
It isn't going to eleven thousand.......

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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Naiant Tinyhead vs. CA-Ugly
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2013, 04:02:54 PM »
Preamp 2 for me too. Has better HF response and overall better tonal balance to ME
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