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V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy

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D. M. Gremlin
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V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:25 am Download Post

So, the three pre-amps in question:  An XDR pre-amp on a VLZ-Pro series mixer, a Presonus TubePRE, and an M-Audio Audio Buddy.  The setup - My Esteve nylon string classical guitar, played through an MXL V67G microphone - the direct outs on the VLZ-Pro mixer were connected directly to my Echo Layla 24/96 card, and the TubePRE and Audiobuddy were also connected directly to the Layla via 3' Mogami patch cables.  I also used a 15' Mogami xlr cable to connect from the mic to the pre-amps.

Here are the clips (streaming .mp3 format, 192kbps):
Audio Buddy - TubePRE - Mackie XDR

Here's what I thought - To me the Audio-Buddy sounded a little 'dull'.  It sounded the same sort of dull with both the vocals and the guitar, but not significantly dull.  In fact, I think if you were to put a BBE sonic maximizer plug in on this it would sound just fine.  The pre-amp kind of reminded me though of the difference between the Behringer pre-amps on the board that was meant to be a copy of the Mackie 24x8 and the Mackie 24x8 itself.  

I thought the TubePRE sounded.... well, like what one would expect from a tube pre-amp.  Slightly warmer, with a nice contour.  All in all a good sound.  On the vocals the tube seemed to (audibly as well as visually) give a mild amount of compression.  I had the drive setting right around where the gain setting was so the signal was getting as much tube level as it was straight pre-amp level.  

The XDR preamps?  Well that's what I'm used to listening to all the time, so maybe I have a little bit of bias towards this one.  I like them... I won't bother saying more than that, you can listen and make up your own mind.  

The difference in price?  Well the guys at Guitar Center actually got me a really good deal on it - it's a shame that I'm going to return it.  Its M.A.P. is $119, but they sold it to me for $100 'out the door'.  Considering you get two pre-amps for that amount of money it's not a bad deal.  The TubePRE I'd probably sell for about $85 if someone called for the price and you'd only get one pre-amp.  The difference in tone between the pre-amps is pretty minimal, but I would still go with either the VLZ Pro's XDR pre-amps or the TubePRE over the Audio Buddy presonally.
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 7:40 am Download Post

Hey, thanks for the samples. Having trouble playing the files in sonar. First off, when checking properties, they are all only 59 bytes, and 16 KB on disk. Seems kind of small for mp3's. Even when I try to play it as streaming audio, I get a message that says the playlist contains no data and to make sure the files aren't corrupt. I've downloaded other samples of yours ok so I'm wondering if there are problems with these files. I'll check back soon. Thanks
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D. M. Gremlin
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 7:58 am Download Post

Here are direct links to the files if the streaming thing isn't working for you:

AudioBuddy

TubePre

Mackie XDR

Let me know if you want the .wav files as well - I'll put them on an FTP server for you if you'd like.
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D. M. Gremlin
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Pictures Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:05 am Download Post

Also - so there can be no doubt, here are pictures of the gain settings of the preamps for this test.

Vlz-Pro
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Audio Buddy
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Tube Pre
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 4:51 pm Download Post

Downloaded the clips ok. One thing that struck me was the unusually high noise level on the audiobuddy. It's usually very quiet. I did some research and it appears the 1/4" outputs on the presonus are unbalanced while the audiobuddy are balanced. I believe the mackie outputs are balanced but the specs were a little confusing.

I'm wondering what you're input settings were for the Layla: -10dBu or +4dBu. I get much less noise and have to use much less gain with the +4Bu on my Mia. I assume you'd have to use -10dBu for the presonus with unbalanced outputs. Thanks again.
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D. M. Gremlin
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 8:29 pm Download Post

Hmm... The Layla was at +4. You are correct that the Audiobuddy 1/4" outs are balanced and the Presonus 1/4" outs are unbalanced - although the Presonus unit does have a balanced XLR output, I wasn't using it for these tests. Also, the Mackie does have balanced outputs.

I hadn't noticed the noise - one thing I should mention (as you can see by the pictures) I had the preamps all at fairly high levels, since my nylon string is a very very quiet instrument... so perhaps it isn't so noisy at normal operating levels. For example when doing vocals - the level of the preamp needed only to be at about 10:30.
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:40 am Download Post

Ok. The bottom line seems to be my audiobuddy should work fine. Looking forward to the B1/V67G comparisons. Since you've already established yourself at the BBS, I'll let you post any links.
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Re: V67G+3 PreAmps: Mackie XDR, Presonus TubePRE, AudioBuddy Reply to topic Reply with quote Go to the Bottom
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:52 pm Download Post

sounds to me like the tube pre is the sweetest of the bunch...
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