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Old 06-10-2021, 06:56 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Default John Hardy versus Audient pre's

I have been a late bloomer as far as recording goes.
One of the main reasons is I have never been even remotely happy with any of my recorded signals. O.K Call me a snob..haha....but I just wanted something that really captured all of the tone I am getting my acoustic guitar.
Because of this, I have barely touched my recording gear(and I had a pair of Schoeps and AT4050's as well)
I got my John Hardy M-2 about a month ago(3 channels), but had no time to even plug it in. As I was leaving on vacation to Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Got Back last Friday but still no time. Finally on Tuesday My new- first of its kind- Buzz Audio Velox compressor came in the mail. Now it was absolutely time to get over my fears and start plugging in. Can't let all the gear sit around.
So here is the low down; I know everyone says that preamps make the least difference.
But OH MY! night and day difference between my Audient Pres and the John Hardy pres. In this case, it is like a veil has been lifted. There was a hollowness with the Audient Pres(and everyone says the Audient pres are good?)
Thank goodness the ID44 has a complete bypass of the pre's for two channels.
Now My guitar sounds like it should, deep, rich, smooth & full. I have one last criticism of my acoustic guitar sound, and that is when I power strum. I seem to be missing the initial treble harmonics when I strike. I call it Bite? When I hit the Chord hard, I am missing that solid bite of the treble harmonics. No problems when playing at normal level...just those power chords. And I hit hard.
My plans still include using a third mic. Kind of a real time Mid-side, only not spliting and inverting a channel...just using a true stereo signal with matched mics- and a third for center channel.
But Now, I am wondering if it is my Headphones that are the real problem. Don't have my speakers plugged in at the moment. Maybe my headphones can not pick up that quick response times of a power chord? Regardless I still plan to experiment with a center channel. But that will be another story. And so far the Buzz Audio Velox stereo optical compressor? A Big, Big plus. wow, so smooth and musical. A lot to explore with the Velox(But again, that will be another story)
Today I just wish to Thank ChuckS for his suggestion for me to investigate John Hardy. And to Guitarman68 for confirming that JH was a great premap. And to Doug Young who's Early Great River has the very same Jensen High Nickle Transformers=and from his recordings and test, I recognized a sound from those trannies, that I liked. Really Grateful to Doug for all the tests he presents on the AGF. Actually really grateful to everyone on the recording side of AGF. So much knowledge and so many willing to lend, sound, kind advice(not always the the other side of the forum...ha ha)
So just for the record, you can count me out of the camp that says that preamps don't make that much difference. Maybe they don't among high quality preamps. Maybe when you get to a certain grade there is little difference? But sure makes a big difference between my Audient pre's and my John Hardy pre's.

Last edited by Knives&Guitars; 06-11-2021 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:20 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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And with a little further experimentation...I believe I am now getting that bite that I was missing.
One, two or three inches of mic placement... can make all the difference.
Starting to get really excited. I have waited for a good sound for so long.
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:32 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
And with a little further experimentation...I believe I am now getting that bite that I was missing.
One, two or three inches of mic placement... can make all the difference.
Starting to get really excited. I have waited for a good sound for so long.
Congrats. I felt the same way when I got my mikes, preamps, and my A/D converter. Of course room acoustics is a big one also.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:20 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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...I know everyone says that preamps make the least difference...
The people who say that do not know what they are talking about.
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Old 06-11-2021, 06:20 AM
hiddenmickey hiddenmickey is offline
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The people who say that do not know what they are talking about.
You got that right! Even the pres in my humble Presonus channel strip sounds so much better than the pres in my Scarlett and Bose T4s.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:56 AM
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We on AGF are a funny lot sometimes .....

While most here at AGF either understand readily or begrudgingly acknowledge the adage "You get what you pay for" when comes to guitars.

But in electronics some people think or wish that is not the case (no doubt reenforced by the fact that in electronics there is the fact that better performance per dollar tends continually occur ). Which applies across the price spectrum albeit perhaps more noticeable at the lower price points . But that concept still does not completely negate the "you tend to get what you pay for" concept. Jusss sayin'
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:33 AM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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While most here at AGF either understand readily or begrudgingly acknowledge the adage "You get what you pay for" when comes to guitars.

But in electronics some people think or wish that is not the case :
So much marketing has been devoted to trying to tell us that you can now own quality recording gear at a fraction of what it cost us in the old days.
And mathematically you would think it makes perfect sense. After all, it has been nearly 50 years since the start of high quality recording gear that produced pleasing sounding records. 50 more years of electronic advancements.
Unfortunately, it is just not true that you can get the same high quality for 1/10 the price of what it once cost. High quality still demands higher price. Of course we have better noise levels and higher frequency response retention...but quality still comes at a price. I think the bulk of the reason why high quality electronics can not be made at low cost is quality of materials. Even in this age of Digital domains, Quality of Materials are a key factor.
However, this is no question that manipulation of sound in the digital world is easier and less expensive. Digital certainly has changed photography. Working as a commercial photographer in the 80's and 90's we had to get every detail correct. I would spend hours working on just one picture to get the lighting 100% perfect. Now, with digital manipulation, I can take a poor snap shot picture and make it pretty darn good in minutes. I do it all the time now. Yet, the important thing to remember...it is still not perfect. In order to take a perfect picture it takes time and good lighting. And while I am not at the level to digitally manipulate sound as of yet, I certainly see many examples of digitally altered-corrected sound that is super pleasing.
Regardless, the better the input, the better the output. Higher quality input makes a difference.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:57 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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But in electronics some people think or wish that is not the case (no doubt reenforced by the fact that in electronics there is the fact that better performance per dollar tends continually occur ).
I think it comes down to one of two things... either a person doesn't have the ears to hear the difference, or they are hearing what they want to hear.

On the first point, learning how to listen to gear in order evaluate gear takes a bit of ear training. For the vast majority of humans, unless there is some glaringly obvious discontinuity between, for the sake of example, a Warm WA73 and a Neve 1073, they're not going to hear a difference. That doesn't mean they cannot learn to hear that difference, just that they haven't put in the time to learn how to tell the difference (provided hearing loss isn't an issue).

On the second point, most people would rather shell out $50 for a mic than $5000, so they become susceptible to those who claim a $50 mic sounds as good as a $5000 mic. It doesn't matter to them if that person's ear is no better trained than their own, nor does it matter that the person may be hawking wares in exchange for some consideration. What matters is that they see an opportunity to get $5K quality for $50. They go into it believing that and because they believe it, they hear it.
(Note - I'm using the $5K and $50 numbers as examples. I'm not saying one needs to spend $5K on a mic)

The flip side to this argument is that "better" is subjective, and there's truth to that, so unless someone is, directly or indirectly, asking for an opinion, I mostly keep my thoughts to myself so as not to discourage people from their own journey.

As a general rule of thumb, my advice is to buy as much quality as you can afford. That's not a philosophy I only apply to recording gear; I apply it to just about every purchase I make. The purchases I've come to regret in life have always been the times I've cheaped out. And those usually end up costing me more in the end because I almost always wind up replacing the cheap thing with the thing I should have bought in the first place.
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:26 AM
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I think it comes down to one of two things... either a person doesn't have the ears to hear the difference, or they are hearing what they want to hear.

On the first point, learning how to listen to gear in order evaluate gear takes a bit of ear training. For the vast majority of humans, unless there is some glaringly obvious discontinuity between, for the sake of example, a Warm WA73 and a Neve 1073, they're not going to hear a difference. That doesn't mean they cannot learn to hear that difference, just that they haven't put in the time to learn how to tell the difference (provided hearing loss isn't an issue).

On the second point, most people would rather shell out $50 for a mic than $5000, so they become susceptible to those who claim a $50 mic sounds as good as a $5000 mic. It doesn't matter to them if that person's ear is no better trained than their own, nor does it matter that the person may be hawking wares in exchange for some consideration. What matters is that they see an opportunity to get $5K quality for $50. They go into it believing that and because they believe it, they hear it.
(Note - I'm using the $5K and $50 numbers as examples. I'm not saying one needs to spend $5K on a mic)

The flip side to this argument is that "better" is subjective, and there's truth to that, so unless someone is, directly or indirectly, asking for an opinion, I mostly keep my thoughts to myself so as not to discourage people from their own journey.

As a general rule of thumb, my advice is to buy as much quality as you can afford. That's not a philosophy I only apply to recording gear; I apply it to just about every purchase I make. The purchases I've come to regret in life have always been the times I've cheaped out. And those usually end up costing me more in the end because I almost always wind up replacing the cheap thing with the thing I should have bought in the first place.
I agree , and yes "Critical Listening" is a learned skill, one that takes concentrated intentional practice. And I would add there is a common misconception that simply being an experienced musician equals having the critical listening skills in question by virtue of that experience in music..
I would argue that is not really always or maybe not even mostly true. Because simply knowing what kind of tone you like from your guitar and how to play it to get that,,,,,, is not the same as being able to detect subtle difference in recording gear
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:43 AM
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So much marketing has been devoted to trying to tell us that you can now own quality recording gear at a fraction of what it cost us in the old days.
Except that is absolutely true on the "back end". A Tascam Portastudio would have cost you a couple hundred dollars (in the 1980s!). For less than that in 2021 money, you can get an interface and free DAW SW that will give you far, far better recordings than you'd have gotten on 4-track cassette, with far more capability to EQ, process and otherwise edit.

At the analog end, a top-end mic or preamp will still cost decent money. But the amount of good stuff in the middle--between a Radio Shack mic and a Neumann--has increased markedly. What usable LDC mics were available for $200-400 30 years ago? And tbh, I dare say the preamps in a Focusrite Scarlett are a tad better than the ones that were in that Tascam.

Bottom line: if you want the top end, you still need to invest. But at the lower end, you can get a lot better audio in your bedroom with a minimal outlay than you used to. The ceiling is the same, but the floor has been raised.

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Regardless, the better the input, the better the output. Higher quality input makes a difference.
No argument from me on that! Though I think when people talk about how much better it is now, they are mostly talking about the lower end of things.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:51 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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And I would add there is a common misconception that simply being an experienced musician equals having the critical listening skills in question by virtue of that experience in music..
I would argue that is not really always or maybe not even mostly true. Because simply knowing what kind of tone you like from your guitar and how to play it to get that,,,,,, is not the same as being able to detect subtle difference in recording gear
Very true. And it becomes more evident when dealing with a band where it's very common for members to mostly be concerned with how their instrument sounds and less concerned for how the entire project sounds. My friends who are in the business of recording bands tell those stories all the time.

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The ceiling is the same, but the floor has been raised.
That's true. There are better choices at the "economical" end of the spectrum than there were 20 years ago, so I won't argue if someone says the gap has closed a bit. But the gap is still there and as has already been said, you get what you pay for.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my dad probably going back 12-15 years. My dad has had some success in retirement as a playwright. He has also done some directing and, on occasion, some stage acting. His personnel involvement is in his community theater in San Diego but his plays have won awards at numerous festivals all over the country. I even got to see one performed in a small theater in Manhattan on year.

So, I was telling him about some microphone I had just bought. I don't remember which one exactly but maybe my 414 or my Earthworks ...something in the $600-$800 dollar range at the time. He was astonished that microphones could be so expensive and he suddenly felt some embarrassment at a conversation he recently had with someone. Dad had recently tried to film one of his plays by setting up a video camera in the back of the theater. The camera mic wasn't giving him great results so he decided to buy an external microphone. He took a ride over to Radio Shack and plunked down $60 on a microphone.

The results were still bad. He told me that he had been speaking about it with someone in the cast to whom he said, "I don't understand why it sounds so bad. It can't be the mic. It cost sixty dollars."

We had a good laugh about that, after which I gave him a brief education on microphones and recording. In the end, he decided it wasn't that important to him to record his plays.
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:03 PM
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Let's see.

Audient iD44 - $500 (i'm happy w/ my iD14)

JOHN HARDY CO. M-1 MIC PREAMP 2 CHANNEL - $1715

I'd hope the Hardy M-1 would out perform the Audient as a mic pre.
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Old 06-11-2021, 01:28 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Let's see.

Audient iD44 - $500 (i'm happy w/ my iD14)

JOHN HARDY CO. M-1 MIC PREAMP 2 CHANNEL - $1715

I'd hope the Hardy M-1 would out perform the Audient as a mic pre.
I hope I did not offend my friend. Audient is good...I was just so overwhelmed with happiness that my John Hardy made such a difference. I have been wanting my recording set up to represent my guitar to its fullest. And the JH did not disappoint.
I took a big gamble not hearing this preamp first. But there was no way for me to audition it. There were just so many high recommendations as to its high quality that I decided to take a chance on it. A Big jump for me to spend money on something like this.
What is really crazy? That I have four times more money invested in recording gear to capture my guitars tone, that what my guitar costs!
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Old 06-11-2021, 01:40 PM
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What is really crazy? That I have four times more money invested in recording gear to capture my guitars tone, that what my guitar costs!
Not crazy at all IMO
What I think is really funny,,,, is how many people have 5 , or 10 or 20 + times more money invested in guitars than recording gear But hey it's all just personal priorities .
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Last edited by KevWind; 06-11-2021 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 06-11-2021, 01:54 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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A Big jump for me to spend money on something like this.
And so it begins.
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