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Author Topic: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?  (Read 5021 times)

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Offline danzz1234

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I run CA cards > CA bbox (no roll-off) > h320.

I'm going to use it mostly for very loud concerts.

Will it improve quality or only give me more options (recording quiet stuff, for example)?

Thanks

Offline DaveG73

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2007, 12:04:44 PM »
Simple answer as I understand it (and I am still very much an amateur in this field) is Yes.

Dave.
Always Taping Under The Influence.

I was under the assumption that as a taper, we're all geeks?  I just thought it went with the territory?

Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2007, 12:08:08 PM »
Simple answer as I understand it (and I am still very much an amateur in this field) is Yes.

Dave.

Yes, it will give me more quality

or

Yes, it will only make my rig more versatile

 ???

Offline DaveG73

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2007, 01:00:54 PM »
Simple answer as I understand it (and I am still very much an amateur in this field) is Yes.

Dave.

Yes, it will give me more quality

or

Yes, it will only make my rig more versatile

 ???

Both, as far as I am concerned.

I am running the exact same rig as you if you substitute the Batt Box for the ST9000 and I have been amazed by the results that I have achieved for such a low-pro low budget set up.

The real benefit for me is for the quiet stuff, which I tape quiite a lot, (But unfortunately can't currently share), but the CA pre's are remarkably good and hugely versatile from my limited experience.

Dave.
Always Taping Under The Influence.

I was under the assumption that as a taper, we're all geeks?  I just thought it went with the territory?

Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2007, 01:15:42 PM »
For loud stuff, you really don't need the gain of the preamp.  Some camps would say that less is more, and adding the preamp in the chain is a negative.  Others would say that the sonic signature (flavor) of the preamp is an improvement over the sound.

I have found the church preamps to sound really good...
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Offline firebaugh

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2007, 01:59:10 PM »
I'm very new to taping as well and I only tape loud rock/metal/punk shows.  I've taped two shows so far, 3 bands each.  The first show I taped with just a batt box (MM-EBM-Custom) and the second show I taped with a preamp (ST-9100).  I like the second show better but there are other factors that could color my opinion as well, different styles of music and different venues as well.  I liked having Chris's 9100 because it was very easy to quickly adjust my levels instead of having to turn off the hold, adjust and then turn hold back on.
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Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2007, 03:13:37 PM »
Thanks for the answers guys. Anyone else?

So if I got it right... using the 9100 in a loud show wont be bad in any way, and I MIGHT get better results.

And I read somewhere that the 9100 works as a bbox/preamp combo, so I wont need to use the bbox anymore, right?

Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2007, 03:35:59 PM »
Thanks for the answers guys. Anyone else?

So if I got it right... using the 9100 in a loud show wont be bad in any way, and I MIGHT get better results.

And I read somewhere that the 9100 works as a bbox/preamp combo, so I wont need to use the bbox anymore, right?

you are correct!
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Offline Belexes

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2007, 05:14:57 PM »
I taped "RATT" last night...a loud 80s metal show with the 9100.  I had the 9100 at about "noon" on the dial and then I think the R-09 was at 8 and pulled a good recording.

I see some cranking the 9100 to +20, but that didn't work for me at Tool, which was a very loud concert.  The pre overloaded, but the silly red light should have given me a clue...now I know better.
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Offline 69mako

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2007, 03:53:59 AM »
I'm running the 9000 preamp and I noticed a huge difference in my recordings after the first time I used it.  When I was using a battery box, I had to use the gain on my recorder.  Now I'm using the gain on the preamp and my recording seem to have more life!!

Thanks Chris for a quality product!!!

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Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2007, 11:05:29 AM »
Now I'm using the gain on the preamp and my recording seem to have more life!!

Nice, that's what I wanted to know.

If anyone has any other experience with this, please let me know  ;)

Thanks

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2007, 03:33:48 PM »
Since getting Chris's preamp I've never went back to the battery box.  Personally I found trying to figure out the bass rolloff settings on the (SP) battery box to be a major pain in the ass.

Offline landshark

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2007, 12:45:52 PM »
Hey Danz -

My two cents (and that's about all it's worth!) -

Here's my thinking - something has to amplify the signal coming out of the mics (even for loud shows).  You can either have the h320 do the amplification the way you do now, or have something else do the amplification.  I think the question is whether the Church Audio preamp is better (cleaner) than the preamp in the h320.  I've never heard the preamp in the h320, but I expect the CA preamp is MUCH better.  I do know the CA preamp is MUCH better than the preamp in the MicroTrack, and the MicroTrack is specifically designed for recording, whereas the h320 is not.  So, at any given level of amplification, I expect the h320 is going to add more noise than the CA preamp.  In addition to noise, there's the whole issue of "color", or how faithfully the preamp reproduces the exact frequency and dynamic range of the source input.  Again I'll bet that the CA preamp reproduces the inout signal better than the h320.

As long as my assumption about h320 vs. CA preamp quality holds true, I think the rest follows logically.  Of course, sometimes I'm an idiot so use any suggestions with caution...<grin>

Good luck!

Mike

Mike
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Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2007, 05:50:21 PM »
I think the question is whether the Church Audio preamp is better (cleaner) than the preamp in the h320.

As long as my assumption about h320 vs. CA preamp quality holds true, I think the rest follows logically.  Of course, sometimes I'm an idiot so use any suggestions with caution...<grin>

+T
That was REALLY helpful as I'm a noob at this and wasn't thinking about it that way you said (H320 preamp vs. ST-9100 preamp).
Now I guess I got it why it's good to use the Church preamp even at loud shows, and like someone said above, I wouldnt need to use the gain on my H320 and wouldnt have any possible noise by doing that.

Thanks again

Dan

Offline som

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2007, 05:59:18 PM »
My two cents....

There is a learning curve with using a preamp. Now you have *two* places where gain is controlled, vs. just one. There is more that can potentially go wrong. My first loud show using the preamp was kind of dissapointing, NOT that there is anything wrong with the preamp.

Here's a thread with a sample and more details if you're interested:

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,90301.0.html

AT ES943/C's > Church Audio ST-9100 > iRiver H100 (Rockboxed)

Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2007, 07:00:56 PM »
My two cents....

There is a learning curve with using a preamp. Now you have *two* places where gain is controlled, vs. just one. There is more that can potentially go wrong. My first loud show using the preamp was kind of dissapointing, NOT that there is anything wrong with the preamp.

Here's a thread with a sample and more details if you're interested:

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,90301.0.html

Hmmm
That's interesting. Maybe that's why Fred mentioned above that "less is more, and adding the preamp in the chain is a negative".

Did you tried recording another loud show with the ST-9100 + iRiver but without adding any gain at the iRiver? Or just using the +15 that someone said in that topic and not +20 thats what you used first time?

Cheers

Offline som

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2007, 09:26:37 AM »
Not yet. I don't go to a lot of shows anymore. My next one is Jethro Tull in October. Wish me luck!
AT ES943/C's > Church Audio ST-9100 > iRiver H100 (Rockboxed)

Offline landshark

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2007, 12:56:13 PM »
Wow, didn't realize JT was coming for north america tour dates!  The sucky thing is they're not coming to MA (????) so I'd have to do some travelling to go to any of the shows (Providence or Wallingford, CT). 

Regarding the preamp, I wholeheartedly agree with you, Som, it takes some time to learn how to use a preamp.  I'm just now (like, last night) getting good recordings using the MixPre I bought.  It's taken me several tries to get the right balance of levels and attenuation between the preamp and my Korg MR1 - and the Korg has great level meters!  It'd be really hard without the level meters.  However, now that I think I have it "dialed-in", I hope it's a lot easier going forward. 

One thing I forgot to mention - some preamps have a floor level of gain.  This means that even with the knobs turned to zero, there is still some gain being applied to the signal.  This means that you could end up in a situation where the minimum signal coming out of the preamp is still too hot for the recorder even if the gain is turned to zero.  For example, the older MP2 from Sound Devices had a minimum of 20db of gain applied to the signal, even with the knobs turned all the way down.  I have no idea if that's the case in this situation, and I seem to remember Chris telling me his preamps don't have such a floor - they can all achieve "unity gain", a situation where the preamp is in effect passing the signal through without adding to it.  You can also have "attenuation" where the preamp is actually LOWERING the strength of the signal =, in effect "de" amplifying it.

When I started out, my whole goal was minimum footprint stealthability, with a Sony D8 and Coresounds Binurals with a battery box.  It's still pretty impressive how much you can accomplish with that setup - Sony used some pretty good preamps in those DAT recorders, to my untrained ear better than those in the MicroTrack OR the Korg.  I then moved to the MicroTrack for the ease of full digital storage, and later for the phantom and ability to use full-sized mics (AKG391s) in an open situation.  Later, I moved to the Korg in the hopes of better preamps and thus a better "single box" solution - just plug the mics into the Korg!  I tried this at a Police concert, and unfortunately when using mic in (which means using the fixed gain internal preamp in the Korg), my mics overloaded the preamp, and using line in (bypassing the fixed gain internal preamp), they didn't deliver enough ooomph to properly drive the unit.  So, enter the preamp. 

What I found is the biggest change in the quality of my recordings and ability to handle a wide range of volumes and high-sound level (high spl) situations was the use of a quality preamp.  That being said, it has been quite a learning experience since while living in a city, there's really no way to simulate a high-spl situation (without totally pissing off the neighbors, at least!!) other than at a show, so sometimes you have to just hit record and cross your fingers....

Keep asking questions, the answers are out there somewhere, and this board is an amazing resource for learning how to have fun with this hobby!  I'm constantly amazed and grateful for the time many of the very well-educated (electrical engineering, sound professionals, etc.) members are willing to spend to help the rest of us improve our game. 

Good luck!

Mike
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Offline som

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2007, 01:10:17 PM »
+T Mike....nice post.
AT ES943/C's > Church Audio ST-9100 > iRiver H100 (Rockboxed)

Offline danzz1234

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2007, 05:31:08 PM »
Good luck Som! Hope you get a nice recording this time :)

Again, nice post Mike.

And here's another fact... A friend of mine from Helsinki is using Church Cards > ST9100 > R09 and he recorded Amorphis some days ago, the recording is really good and I asked him the settings he used in the R09 and ST9100. He said he used full gain at the pre (+20) and the recorder gain on 8.

After that I thought it could be something about overloading the iRiver, what do you guys think?

I guess we will have to wait 'til october so Som can test it without any gain from the iRiver and use only the gain from the pre.

Offline Borlag

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2007, 04:45:27 AM »
Good luck Som! Hope you get a nice recording this time :)

Again, nice post Mike.

And here's another fact... A friend of mine from Helsinki is using Church Cards > ST9100 > R09 and he recorded Amorphis some days ago, the recording is really good and I asked him the settings he used in the R09 and ST9100. He said he used full gain at the pre (+20) and the recorder gain on 8.

After that I thought it could be something about overloading the iRiver, what do you guys think?

I guess we will have to wait 'til october so Som can test it without any gain from the iRiver and use only the gain from the pre.

I like both of those Amorphis recordings too ;) I read from this board that the Edirol R-09 doesn't boost nor attenuate the signal at all when set to 8, so that felt like the natural starting position for me, considering I've also read that the R-09 builtin preamp is rather noisy. This way it allowed me to pretty much override that pre entirely (though I'm sure the signal still goes through it one way or another) and really see what the ST-9100 is capable of and it seemed to perform very well.

After testing the exact same rig with the exact same settings initially, I've recorded an acoustic singer/songwriter gig with just couple of feet from his small PA he was using, a hockey arena gig of Chris Cornell, a club gig with a loud as hell hard rock/metal band (think Motörhead, it's similar) and those two Amorphis gigs. The Cornell gig was that only gig where I had to turn the gain knob down a bit, think at the end I had it at about +16-18dB or so. Also noteworthy might be that the Cornell gig was my very first gig with this rig and I might've been a bit more cautious with the levels, and as such it could very well be that I could've run it at +20dB and still have enough headroom for it to not distort.

If you use iRiver, I'd highly recommend looking up the recording level setting where it's at that same neutral point of no attenuating and no boosting and then seeing if you're able to do the same. It's almost like a fire and forget setup this way.
Main Rig: Church Audio STC-11 Cardioid Mics > ST-9100 > Edirol R-09
Backup Rig: Microphone Madness MM-MCSM-4 > MM-EBM-1 > Sony MZ-NH600

Offline austaper

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2007, 10:13:41 PM »
My two cents....

There is a learning curve with using a preamp. Now you have *two* places where gain is controlled, vs. just one. There is more that can potentially go wrong. My first loud show using the preamp was kind of dissapointing, NOT that there is anything wrong with the preamp.

Here's a thread with a sample and more details if you're interested:

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,90301.0.html

Hmmm
That's interesting. Maybe that's why Fred mentioned above that "less is more, and adding the preamp in the chain is a negative".

Did you tried recording another loud show with the ST-9100 + iRiver but without adding any gain at the iRiver? Or just using the +15 that someone said in that topic and not +20 thats what you used first time?

Cheers

I just got Chris' Cards and the 9100 pre amp a couple of weeks ago.  I taped several shows at the aCL festival ranging from pretty quiet to very loud.  at the 11:00 setting the pre amp is neutral for gain.  The combination of the mics and the pre amp made outstanding recordings with a Maudio at both 16.1/44 and 24/48.  I also used the preamp with some Nak 100's for the Subdudes last week.  I set up one foot from the pa on Saturday after getting way to much audience noise on Friday,  Steve Earle and Bob dylan from ACL are up at Traders den and The Subdudes are up at Dime and Traders den.  I used some gain at the quiet shows and set to the neutral for Dylan and the Subdudes.

Really happy with both the pre and the mics.  Chris makes excellent products.  I have a friend running $1000 dpa's and a battery box with the same deck and I think Chris' mics and pre sound better.

Offline Church-Audio

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2007, 10:14:37 AM »
WoW thanks for all your kind words..  I think it would be cool to do a comparison. I can build a Y cable so that the signal can be "split" you can run one recorder the preamp signal and the other recorder can get the direct signal * I think its important * to make sure the gain levels on the meters read the same and record a concert with the same pair of mics.. I am going to talk to my partner Spark'e and see what he says about this. That way the test could be done and if there are differences we can do a double blind test. And see.. What do you guys think? I need someone with a pair of my mics and two identical recorders.

Chris
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Offline austaper

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2007, 10:10:50 PM »
If I am reading your scenario correctly the remaining difference might be a slight difference depending on whether your mics are powered by just the 9100 or both!  Not sure how the y cable would handle that.

Offline Church-Audio

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Re: How much improvement ST-9100 will bring over simple bbox in loud shows?
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2007, 12:16:11 PM »
If I am reading your scenario correctly the remaining difference might be a slight difference depending on whether your mics are powered by just the 9100 or both!  Not sure how the y cable would handle that.

I am going to look into it and see... I might be able to build something.

Chris
for warranty returns email me at
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