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Old 01-05-2012, 08:25 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Here is a comparison of two high end preamps, all else being equal as close as I could make it. If you feel there is a volume difference then tweak the playback to compensate.

These are both very nice neutral (uncolored) preamps so the difference is small but evident.
This is a great comparison. Both of these sound very good, but the second one sounds a little more intimate and breathy to me and my ears prefer it. Some people may prefer the first sample. I would be quite happy with either sound.

I think there is a law of diminishing returns with pre-amps as with anything else. The pre-amps in my Tascam 2488 Neo are weak; they don't sound good at all when I crank up the gain. My Eureka and DMP3 handle that for me very well, so there is a very clear difference between my built-in pre-amps and these external units. To my ears these units are probably about 90% (+/-10%) as good as anything else out there. If I ever want that extra 10%, I'll have to pay for it.

Once you hear a difference you can never un-hear it, no matter how subtle. I think that is why some people are willing to pay a lot for premium mics and pre-amps. However, the law of diminishing returns applies. Also once you get into the higher end stuff you start to get into personal preferences more where some folks may prefer B and some may prefer A. There is no clear "best"; there is only what you feel works "best" for you. I know this not, because I have experience with a ton of high end pre-amps, but because that's how the law of diminishing returns works in other areas where I do have a lot of experience.

I respect the guy who gets twice as much out of his cheap pre as I do as well as the guy who hears subtle differences and must have a certain several thousand dollar model over another certain several thousand dollar model. It's all good.
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