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Grace M101 to my pre list?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by dickiefunk, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member


    I currently use a UA Solo 610, Focusrite ISA One and Presonus Eureka in my studio.
    These are all capable of different colors and all sound great.
    However, all my pres are transformer type pres and apparently this adds something to the sound??

    Because of this I'm tempted to get a clean/transparent sounding pre and have the possibility of picking up a secondhand Grace M101.

    From my experience of my pres I would say the Eureka in the most transparent/uncolored sounding pre of the bunch.

    My question is , would the Grace M101 be a MUCH more transparent/uncolored preamp than what I already own ? Would the Grace be a worthwhile addition to my current pres?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    My guess is that you already have as much reliable information about this that you are going to get by reading internet posts. You know the general reputation of the Grace and have a rough description of its character. Finer distinction are likely to be for more subjective and personal. Maybe you can try the unit and record a few demos. But at some point the only way to really know if a piece of equipment fits you is to own it for a while. So maybe you should start asking questions like - Do you know the source of this second hand unit? Has it been well cared for? Is it cosmetically nice does it come with manuals and packaging? Is the price in line iwth other used models on, say, eBay? Are you comfortable selling used equipment? If you have a lot of "yes" answers then there is little risk in buying the preamp. If you don't end up loving it you can sell it for close to the purchase price. Quality analog preamps hold their value well.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of 101's- a Model 101 and the newer M101. You definitely want the M101, it has the "Ribbon Mode" which is great for my Beyer ribbons. Both have a very clean transparent sound that's especially nice on stringed instruments. I have a Solo/610, and they are ,tonally speaking, polar opposites, with the 610 being a very colored pre (I usually use it as a bass DI these days).

    What mics are you wanting to use it with? I find that the 101's also seem to work well with my SDC's (SM81, NT5's, etc.), but maybe that's because I use those on stringed acoustic instruments...the chicken or the egg? :) Very quiet, too.
  4. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    I will be using the pre with various LDC's and an SM7b.

    I've been doing some pricing up on these pres and found that the P-Solo costs £463 and the M101 £591!!!

    I've never seen these come up secondhand in the UK.

    I've already got pres in my Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP which are transformerless and said to be pretty clean and transparent. Maybe these will be fine!!?
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The Grace gear is good but very pricy over here. It's like the DAV units in reverse: they are excellent value in the UK but much more expensive in the US.

    That said, don't buy a Grace M101 until you have investigated a (two channel) DAV BG1.
  6. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    I have checked out the DAV online and it certainly looks like a great preamp. The Audient Mico is another option over here and is by far the best value of the bunch.
    From what I've been reading from user experiences though is the DAV, Audient and True P-Solo are more colored than the Grace???
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I have several DAV BG1s and also an Audient Mico, and tend to use them in different circumstances. The BG1s are the most un-coloured pre-amps I have, and I use them for most of my location classical recordings. Their physical layout is not ideal, and they struggle a little with very low output ribbon mics, but that apart, they are great units, and the switch-settable gain is very worth having.

    The Mico is a serious alternative, and one of them going via optical cable into a MacBook Pro computer gives an unrivalled 2-channel portable capture system, if you are needing that sort of thing.
  8. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    The main reason why I'm considering picking up one of these preamps is because I'm curious as to whether a very transparent non transformer based preamp would sound hugely different to my Eureka?
    I know a few people who have both the DAV and Mico and they all say there is little difference in these pres. The DAV seems to slightly have the edge for them but only marginally.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Some folks like the GML's, why not the Millennia? And hey, if George Massenburg invented and uses his GML preamps, I can also tell you that he has recorded and mixed also on NEVE. So what does that tell you? It's all good. But is transparency better? Or, is it just different? Is it right for the application? Correct for the sound you want? And even if you only have a marginal difference, it's that nuance that can make all the difference. Remember not to discount anything that goes for full price. Or something like that?

    I don't like transparency so I like preamps that lie
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Don't get me wrong, I would be VERY happy to own either a Millennia or GML! Come to that I would LOVE to own a Forssell!!!

    Unfortunately budget is the limiting factor for me!

    A Millennia HV3C costs around £1560 and the TD-1 costs around £1650. The GML 8302 costs £1674 without the power supply which is another £420 putting the total to around £2100!!

    The reason why I was tempted by the Grace is because the guy was selling it for around £300, but by the time I had import tax, shipping and handling I might aswell get a new P-Solo!!

    At the moment I'm strictly looking to spend under £300, preferrably around £200.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Your budget is creeping downwards! There's not much around at that price that could match the sonics of what you already possess.

    However, have you considered a kit? Take a look at the Seventh Circle Audio C84. This comes in at around USD400 including chassis, PSU and cable harness. If you are not into electronic construction, I'd be happy to build and test it for you.
  12. BusterMudd

    BusterMudd Active Member

    fwiw, to my mind there's a difference between "uncolored" and "transparent". And in my experience the Grace 101 is the former, not the latter.
    (Note that I'm referring to the original 101, not the newer M101.)

    Which is kind of a polite way of saying it's "boring".

    It's neither overtly "honest" nor overtly "dishonest", it adds nothing...which you would think is a good thing, except that it also seems to subtract a certain degree of tangible realism. Like it's not really capturing 100% of what's there. It's a "neutral" preamp, but in the most perjorative sense of that word you can imagine.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Buster's point is well taken in that there is the school of thought that the preamp HAS to be the part of the process that adds something to the capture that you cant get through placement, mic choice, and manipulation of the gain. Grace makes fine high-fidelity equipment that is audiofile in level. Lots of gain for whatever mic you choose. It will sound different than all you already have and at this point, since you arent looking to replace anything, its a fair cop to gain another channel to use at your discretion at a decent price.

    BTW. I like mics to be tonal generators at the source, which is in ALL CASES, the reason we even push the button for the red light to come on.......but thats just me.

    For discussion purposes, I have no qualms at all in using pres that have a LOT of color on certain sources. But, for some things, a mic with the color built in on a colorful source calls for plain old boring pres with high-gain low-noisefloor character.

    Your SM7-B will like the Grace very much.

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