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Grace 201 vs. 2 Grace 101s

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by BobRogers, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The Grace m201 is $2,150. Two Grace 101s are $1,140. Other than a few obvious features like MS decoding, what is the difference. They say, "The Grace 101 uses the same fast, musical transimpedance amplifier architecture as the venerable Grace 801 and 201"... Where did the extra $1K go?
  2. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    I would think it most likely went into the second channel of the preamp for the 201..... the 101 is one channel.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Two 101s are $1,140
  4. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Oh...oops! Guess I need to read closer...
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I was weighing these differences a while back:
    There is the INTERNAL power supply, not a wallwart. This does cost more
    due to the certification headaches manufacturers have to go through to avoid wallwarts.
    There is a built-in M+S decoder and associated controls.
    A hardware provision for the optional A/D converter you can add.
    24-step rotary Gain selector (vs. 11-step).
    Input Polarity switch on each channel.
    Rotary Input Selector with "Ribbon" mode, and the option to have +130volt power for DPA mics.
    Triple-LED metering instead of a singl LED.
    Dual balanced XLR outs on each channel rather than a singleXLR/w unbal 1/4" jack.
    For me, I have 2 101's and am very happy with them. I mainly use them to record acoustic instruments for pop, simple jazz, and/or bluegrass material. I would think that the extra's I listed would benefit someone more into stereo recordings of classical ensembles, choirs, etc. Like YOU, BR, No?
  6. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    I would like to try M/S, but the Grace price differential is steep.
    Who else offers M/S decoding?
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I had not noticed this and I expect it is a far bigger source of expense than I had guessed. I keep coming up on situations where a manufacturer has a big jump in price between models and there is always a wall wart involved (e.g. PODxt vs. PODxt Pro).

    I can see how my posts have left that impression since I usually have questions about classical recording. Most of my recording is of pop, folk, country, and jazz. But there I'm (usually) not inexperienced enough to be confused, but not experience enough to be an expert.

    Anyway, I really appreciate the careful chart of feature comparison. It is a nice list of features. All are at least somewhat useful. The MS decoding is nice for monitoring, but I'd want it to let me record the M and S tracks the way they are since I often want to pan the M track somewhere other than the center. I'll have to check it out if I get to thinking about the 201. At any rate I've found myself using Blumlein or xy more often as a coincident pair technique when recording single instruments.
  8. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Can you record separte M/S tracks and then decode them in ProTools? I couldn't find any discussion on this in the ProTools documentation. I have a pair of 414s, so I am all set in that department.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Protools doesn't have an automated decoder, but it is easy to do. You start with your mono mid track recorded with a cardioid and the mono side track recorded with a figure 8 coincident with the mid mic but pointed (as you would guess) to the side. Create a new stereo track, grab the side track, and paste a copy in each side of the stereo track. Now grab one side of the stereo side track and use the invert function in audio suite. Delete (or hide) the mono side track. The stereo pair side track now has inverted signals on either side so they will cancel if summed to mono - leaving you with the mid mono mid track. You can now mix the Mono mid and the stereo side as desired. You can also pan the mid as desired to place the pair wherever you want in the stereo field.

    I assume that a decoder will give a 50/50 mix of the mid panned center and the stereo side. This is a typical mix, but not the only way to do it. (UPDATE: Oops. Just looking at the front of the Grace m201, there is a knob for adjusting the m/s mix. Don't see any obvious way to pan the mid though.)
  10. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Thanks. I think I almost know enough about Protools to follow these directions.
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'll be glad to help if you have any questions.

    BTW if you ever feel you aren't making fast enough progress up the PT learning curve, go get one of the many tutorial books that are available. Get one with a CD of exercises, music to edit, etc. You can learn a huge amount in a couple of weekends work going through one of these. There are more of these for PT than for any other piece of music software. To me this was the biggest consideration in buying PT for my first DAW - the help is available to learn it more deeply in less time. If you are going to live with the drawbacks of PT, you might as well enjoy one of its biggest advantages.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I had this exact question years ago when getting into Grace's line, so I called Grace himself.

    He boiled it down by saying that the circuitry, while very similar between the two units, is better in the 201 all around. He did not pinpoint exact cases for me, but did state that it was identical to the 801.

    His indications to me were that the 801 and 201 were the flagships and that the Lunatec offered a good 90% of their performance and the 101 offered 85% of their performance.

    These differences are all quite unquantifiable and because of that, somewhat useless. However, as one who has owned both the 101 (stereo set) and the 201s side-by-side, I can definitely say that the 201 is just a tad better.

    Is the "just a tad" worth $1k? I don't know. I preferred the built-in power supply immensely. Again, worth $1k? I don't know.

    However, I do know that I made some damn fine recordings with the 101 and you would have a hard time finding a pre in that price range that could even touch the Grace 101.

    My general practice for gain staging on the 101 was to leave the continuously variable stage at the 12:00 position and then adjust the course gain to where I wanted/needed it. This would give me +/- 5dB of gain on the variable if I so desired.


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