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advise request for buying a pre

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Blair Zettl, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. Blair Zettl

    Blair Zettl Guest

    Just setting up my own studio for the first time. I need some advice on buying a pre and perhaps compressor. Plan to mic classical guitar and vocals w/ a U87 . Used a Brent Averill before, liked it but a little pricy. The FMR audio RNP looks good but how does it sound? Other ideas? thanks in advance.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure the stuff that Brent makes would be my choice for classical guitar and I don't know much about the RNP. But the RNC, the compressor, would be a good fit and is one of the best compressors you can get for your money. I would think for a pre, something like a Grace Designs, John Hardy, GML, AMEK/Neve 9098, True Systems. Earthworks, Great River or an all in one unit something like a Millennia-Media STT-1 or the AMEK/Neve Channel In A Box would be where I would start if your looking for something clean, detailed and musical. For something more colored and with character, there are just as many if not more choices.
  3. Blair Zettl

    Blair Zettl Guest

    Thanks for the advise. I'll start diggin'
  4. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member


    i use an RNP/RNC for my drum overs and clean stereo acoustic recordings. I use my Great River ME-1NV/RNC on snare drum, bass, (and main reason I got it Vocals). the RNP sounds great along side the great River and all my other pre's..Its a great piece at a great price!
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Hi Blair,
    Welcome the RO! Any of the pres AudioGaff mentioned are very good.
    These are all high end pres with price tags that reflect it. Of the ones he mentioned I would personally lean towards are the Hardy, GML and the Millennia. The GML is available with eq and the STT-1 ORIGIN (which I reviewed here Millennia STT-1 review ) is a mic pre, instrument direct, 4 band parametric eq and compressor/de esser, with a switchable transformer in the input path as well as a selection of tube or solid state topology for the pre, direct, eq and compressor. I really like the compressor section in the STT-1 very much. The Millennia is a first choice box for me. I have a pair of the Neve Amek 9098 pre eq combo and it is nice but just doesn't grab me. Very "vanilla".

    I also recommend the Sebatron vmp series of mic pres. These are priced more affordably than the previously mentioned pres but are every bit as good if not better than the pres that we have been speaking of. Sebatron vmp-4000 review
    DISCLAIMER(The owner of this forum [RO] is a distributor of Sebatron products in Canada. However, my review of the product and my opinion was formed long before this relationship was forged. In fact, my review was the catalyst for this business association.)

    There is another pre that I have come across recently, that is affordable, which I really like quite a bit. This is the JLM TMP8, eight channel pre. It is 8 channels of Neve/Focusrite type pres in a very compact one rack space package that retails for $1850. This works out to less than $235 per channel! A bargain to say the least. These pres have a very focused and detailed quality to them and in combination with the Sebatron and Millennia I have a wide choice of high quality pres to choose from. There will soon be a review posted on the JLM pres here in the RO E Mag.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    My policy is to only recommend products that are pro in nature, that are manufactured by companies that are open to inquiries from independent reviewers and that offer responsive customer support. I wish I could say any of these things are true about the RNP, but I can’t. The RNP is of the “prosumer” pedigree, seems to only be available from a few select dealers (they don’t even carry them at Guitar center) and I have found it difficult to obtain one for evaluation without purchasing it. I made numerous inquiries to FMR over the period of a year for a review piece and I never received any kind of a response. I finally was contacted by the owner of FMR but only after a highly contested thread regarding my opinions of the RNP ran here at RO. I was disappointed to learn that FMR was not interested in having the RNP reviewed for RO. RO members have posted favorable comments regarding the RNP but as I have stated before, it is difficult to know what their frame of reference is (if they even have heard a pro preamp in action) or if they had some type of agenda. Often, manufactures pose as members under bogus screen names and make posts saying how wonderful their gear is. The only reviews I have seen of the RNP were as far as I could ascertain, written by people who were business associates or personal friends of the company. If anyone is aware of a review on the RNP that was written by an independent reviewer that is not associated with FMR, I encourage them to post a link to it. I will feature it and post the link in the reviews section. I want to try one of these things but I am not willing to purchase it prior to hearing it. If someone has one I could borrow for a week or two, I will pay the shipping charges. Kurt
  6. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member

    Kurt give it a rest on the RNP thing. have you thought for a moment that FMR has no interest in your review of there product good or bad. its obvious if they did they would've sent you one by now, the things been out over a year now. I know its hard for you to believe this, but maybe they dont think your as important as you think you are.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Gee, I didn't know you were in charge of directing the conversation. When did that happen? The last time I checked, I was still the moderator in this forum. :D

    If you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read my posts. Ignore them. But don't make the mistake of thinking that you can tell me what to do, or write.

    The truth is that there are few people here who are interested in what I think. I don't think I am important at all. I just do reviews. I have been told by people at the companies that I have done reviews for, that sales went up after my reviews posted.

    Have you thought for one minute that some companies might be concerned that I will record a comparison of their product and that people will discover that they are not as good as the hype they disseminate? I don't know that this is the case with the RNP but I have my suspicions whenever a company is reticent to allow independent reviewers to check out their product. If not me, why not anyone else? The fact is, as far as I can discern, there is a lack of any independent review on the RNP. All reviews I have heard of were written by business associates, friends or dealers of the FMR line. As I wrote before, if anyone knows of an independent review on the RNP, send it to me and I will post it in the Reviews BB. If anyone wishes to lend me a RNP for a couple of weeks, I will pay the shipping.

    Is there one thing in my previous post that is incorrect? Or is all you have to offer is a critique of my critique? For someone who has whined about the lack of "free speech" on the BB, you sure seem to want to stop me from stating my positions. The guy asked about the RNP, I told him what I thought, as did AudioGaff and you. But I'm supposed to "give it a rest"?

    You should be ashamed of taking this thread and turning it into a flame. Blair came here asking looking for information and you take it and turn it into your personal vendetta, as you have done so many times in the past. Offer your opinion and leave it at that. There is no reason to make it personal trying to insult me.
  8. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member

    Kurt?.....You're Delusional!

    (nice hat your wearing by the way, but I'd go with a slightly larger shirt next time!)
  9. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Bobby - i think you're right this time - HE MUST BE.......... he was actually speaking intelligently to you - as if he believed you'd get it......

    What a damned fool he is to be wasting his time with the likes of you.......... ;)

    Kurt - you are indeed crazy.... :d: :s:

  10. Bobby Loux

    Bobby Loux Active Member

    I can understand a wife standing by her man right or wrong! and as I and others have witnessed around here Kurt is never wrong... nor can his fragile ego take any critisism without a childlike response....

    but as for Rod, who is well known for having is nose so firmly lodged up Kurts ars! I dont believe any of this in any way was directed at you...I'm glad to see you've come out for a little fresh air.
  11. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    Please don't attempt to trade quips with me...... you really aren't bright enough for that....

    It just wouldn't be fair - when i listen to the rubbish you spew - you remind me of the knight guarding the bridge in Monty Python's "Search For The Holy Grail"........

    Not the brightest of brights - never knew when he was beaten by his betters..... yet i will have to give him credit......... he was brave - stupid to be sure - but brave none the less.....

    Oh - wait a moment - he was actually face to face with someone - not hiding behind a computer screen........ whereas you on the other hand......

    uuummmmmm............. never mind - my bad.......


    Oh - just for the record - Kurt happens to be a friend of mine - we even did a little bit of business together - but i suppose the thought of doing business with a decent human being - or maybe having friends - is totally alien to you...
  12. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    I'd expect this stuff at my website, which is frequented by teenagers and sarcastic 20 somes (I fall in that last catagory)... but not here.

    Adults with professional backgrounds fighting about the right to voice their opinions on a website is poor practice for anyone.

    I will refer everyone to that book about everything that you need to know, you learned in kindergarden.

    Kurt voiced his experience with the company, Bloux makes his snippy comment. Rather inappropriate. I didn't expect such a long retort from Kurt... but oh well.

    Mature a bit everyone. please. I will do the same.
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Kurt, I heard that the RNP has been back ordered since it was released, so if FMR doesn't have enough to sell and meet the overwelming demand, that would explain why there isn't any, or enough of them to be loaned out for reviews. And what they do have would likely go to the trade rags before places like here.

    And I don't think FMR has any worry of any review or you comparing to any other product to as long as you compare fairly and apples to apples. The RNP was not designed and is not targeted to compete with the high end pro audio mic pre's as much as it is to provide excellent sound, quality and performance for the best dollar value. It should be compared to others like the Joe Meek or the ART and all the other low budget crap I know little about.

    Back on topic, for the classical guitar I would aim for the GML, John Hardy, or the Martech as many others have already done with excellent results. But keep in mind these units only really shine when used with a great mic and superior sounding guitar. Any flaws in the source and/or the room will be noticed and you may discover things that you don't like. It's the cheap and crap gear that hides these things and can often seem to sound better...
  14. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    I stand corrected........ :eek:

  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Thanks to both AudioGaff and Breezes for their comments. i agree 100% with both of them. Thanks to DH for the link. I will check it out. If it works, I will post it in the "Reviews" section as a sticky. Also, thanks for your opinion on the RNP. I still think if you had a rack of Sebatrons, JLMs, APIs or old Neves you would never look at the RNP. Much of what Paul White said regarding the RNP may also be said about any Mackie pre. But to my ear, those kinds of pre just don't sound good. Just my take.

    I have no problem with criticism. It's character assassination I object to. There is nothing constructive about the comments you directed at me. They are a pitiful attempt on your part, to try to make me look bad and to erode my credibility. Psychologists say that some individuals do this in a pathetic attempt to make themselves look better by trying to pull those they perceive as their superiors, down to their own level. I have to ask who are you to try to do this? Nobody What are your accomplishments in the industry? Nothing Why do you choose to hide behind a screen name? chickensh*t Do you have any real records that have charted? no Do you have records that are available world wide? no Can we punch up your name in a Google search and come up with a number of links? no

    As for my being right or wrong, there are lots of examples where I have been wrong about something, where as soon as soon as I became aware of it, I retracted my statement. You on the other hand, have never admitted you were wrong in your slamming of the Sebatron pres. You just went silent along with all the other nay sayers. I have never head a “Gee Kurt, I guess you were right about the Sebatron” from any of you gutless wonders. To try to make a point that I never want to admit it when I am mistaken or wrong, is very hypocritical of you. Actually, as Rod points out, it’s par for the course.

    This from the # 1 Bill Roberts butt swab. Your head is so far up his ars that he had to install turn signals up there so you wouldn't break your neck.

    None of my initial comments were directed at you Bobby Loux, yet you chose to comment. Yet, you jump down Rods throat for doing exactly the same as you. Once again, I didn’t know that you were in charge of the conversation here. Why don’t you quit trying to tell people when they can speak to a subject?

    As has been pointed out, my mistake here was in responding to your baiting. I admit that. Once again I have risen to the bait, the Internet chum, you and your compadres throw out into the RO waters.

    So be served this notice. The next time you try this tactic, it will be deleted with no response. If you post an objection, that too will be deleted. Then you can go over to the ALEXIA reviews, G S or P S W and whine about the lack of "free speech" at RO, It seems that "free speech" is a one way street for you, with you being able to say what you wish but everyone else has to "give it a rest" if you don't agree with them. It is very obvious to all, you have an agenda. You are showing how hypocritical you are and it is causing your credibility to wane.
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dear dear me......Okay this is how it is BobbyLoux....create crap and son, you'll be reachin for a shovel....As one of the 'other' moderators on this section, I assure you that none of your defamatory crap will be tolerated.Its one thing to disagree on an intelectual level and quite another to bring about discord in the form of personal affrontry.If I see any posts from you in the near future they will become dust.If you want to play rough then so be it.If you would like to play as an adult,then by all means do so.Your disagreement is not the issue.The fact that you have an opinion at all is not up for discussion.However, your boorish,childish, behavior is something that wont be tolerated.BTW....you're lucky that Rod doesnt hunt yer ass down and fold you into a an even smaller replica of a human than you already appear to be.
  17. TedB

    TedB Guest

    I bought an RNP after trying it out for awhile, thanks to Mercenary's return policy.

    I'm a home-studio hack, so take this assessment with a grain of a salt. My reference point is mainly a Mackie 1202, a merc edition GR and the 4 channel Sytek. I do mostly stereo ORTF acoustic guitar recording (Larrivee D-03, folk style) and vocals with a couple of earthworks SRO's and a Rode NT1000.

    I purchased the RNP with the goal of getting something clean and transparent, but with some low-mid/mid "magic", having found the mackie 1202 thin and wierd in the high end once I started hearing the sytek and great river.

    At first, having been so accustomed to the Mackie pres in daily use, the RNP was a let down; it seemed muddy. Over time, however, it's value over the Mackie became apparent. After more testing and auditioning and serious comparisons with the sytek, I found it was the Mackie and my ears that led to my initial disapointment.

    Now, I feel the RNP lends muscle, balls, whathaveyou to the lower mids that nicely works for my acoustic guitar. Larrivee's are pretty balanced sounding, and the RNP brings out the wood. For vocals, the nt1000 lost it's nasal sound from the mackie, and gets down right beefy and sheeny on the top.

    So I kept it. From time to time, I find that what it does in the low mids/mids whatever not my cup of tea. My concern with a classical guitar would be the low mid "bump" and the cuts around 250 you may find yourself doing... but that totally depends on the room the mic, playing style etc.

    I have a cheap squire mexi p-bass. while as a direct box, the rnp really makes my old ensoniq TS-12 keyboard sound so much beefier and just nicer all-around, as a direct box with my squire, the bass is pretty deep, low, but not well defined. I'm not taken with it as a bass DI as some are, having better success with modelling boxes.

    In the end, for my mics and acoustic guitar, I really the woody character the RNP brings out. I like what it does for keys. I really like what it does when I record myself live, singing and playing at the same time, with some room sound. So much more natural sounding than the mackies, like listening to a royer over a cheaper condensor.

    That said, since I really like transparency in my chain, I kinda perferred the sytek. but I don't need 4 channels, and found that with some mild subtractive eq, I can get a very clean and even signal from the RNP. I much prefer the great river, but the RNP's a nice step up for the price, it suits me fine, since I go to a friend's place for any serious recording. My main goal was to get a step up from the Mackies. at an affordable price.

    You may wish to save up for something like a sytek, since your material is more classical. Otherwise call a vendor willing to give you some time with it and give the RNP a try. Compared to the mackie, it's a deal for what it does.
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

  19. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    The Sytek MPX-4aii is pretty clean/transparent sounding... in an Earthworks kind of way. I think it is a good value... four channels for $800.00 - you could also have channels 3 and 4 modified with a "Bur Brown" type op-amp for a more silkier top-end and icy mid-range (nice for vocals).

    Or you can get one channel of Grace for about $550.00

    The John Hardy will probably give you much more character and musicality compared to the Sytek, especially with the Jensen tranny.

    As far as the RNP, I use mine mostly as a bass guitar D.I. these days. Sometimes on keyboards.

    As said earlier, find someplace with a liberal return-policy. Try a few of them out and see what is best for you.

  20. white swan

    white swan Guest

    The key to recording classical music is usuallya good instrument in a good sounding room recorded with accurate/clean mics and preamps.

    The Grace 101 would certainly qualify in the affordable category, at least from my limited perspective.

    But this thread is an excellent example of why you need to take any third-party advice with a grain of salt. For any product in the world, you can find some people who will love it and some who hate it. Kurt points out that some positive reviews weren't, in his opinion, objective. It's also possible for people who say negative things to have a personal axe to grind, as Bobby pointed out in his somewhat antagonistic way.

    In the end, you can only trust you own ears, tempered by the reality of what you can afford.

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