Phillip and Jaci

The life and times of Phillip and Jaclyn Jackson

About

Phillip and Jaclyn Jackson are musicians in West Palm Beach. They are Christian artists with a passion for music, life and the rhythms that interconnect both.

My favorite piece of gear right now would have to be the Rupert Neve Portico 517 that I got for my birthday in August. What an amazing piece of gear this microphone preamp is. It has two sonic characteristics - on one hand an ultra clean pre and on the other a silky 1073-ish mic preamp.

To complement this I recently picked up a Focusrite Saffire Liquid 56 Firewire Recording Interface – something I’ve had my eye on for a while. I sold a bunch of gear to finance the purchase and said goodbye to my old M-Audio FW1814 unit which served me well for nearly 5 years and an album or two.

As I looked around the web I couldn’t help but notice that nobody has done a mic pre shootout of the new Liquid Preamp technology to show off the emulation capability of the Saffire. The dual-channel microphone preamp models are one of the main selling points of this item, and the web needs a de-facto mic pre shootout of this piece of kit. Unfortunately I’m not the guy who can pull off a full-blown scientific test of this kind – and you’d want to hear it on many sources with many mic types to really get an idea of how it stands up.

Instead I thought I’d put together a really quick ribbon-mic on acoustic test… a challenge that not just any preamp can rise to; something that shows off the tonal characteristics of each preamp. You’ll notice the quick transient response on the preamps you’d expect it, and slower response – even a lower output – on something like the Solo 610 from Universal Audio.

 

This isn’t comprehensive, and it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to show you the ability of these preamps. They’re excellent bang for the buck – but while they’re stellar models I wouldn’t go throwing out my Portico just yet. Instead this will add to my arsenal and allow me to get the flavor of different pres without the investment. I look forward to being able to use the 3124 model on drum overheads or the Avalon 737 model for some rap vocals.

All of these tests were done with the gain on the Liquid Saffire 56 at approximately 52db. The waveforms have been normalized to 80%. The microphone is a Cascade Fathead  at about the 13th fret aiming away from the guitar body. I’m using Mogami cabling. The mp3′s are 320kbps @ 44.1kHz. Check out the shootout below.

Millenia HV-3D

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Manley SLAM!

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Avalon VT-737SP

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API 3124+ (hi gain setting)

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Neve 1073 (hi impedance setting)

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Universal Audio 610 (low impedance setting)

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4 Responses to “Focusrite Saffire Mic Pre Shootout Part 1: Acoustic Guitar”

  1. I like the Millenia HV-3D best… :)

    Daniel

  2. I agree – and I personally was very surprised by that. It also had a higher output so the SN ratio was quite a bit better compared to others. Some just gave too much coloration for my personal taste. Close runner-up was the Manley SLAM; again my personal opinion.

    Thanks for reading!

    Phillip

  3. The Millenia HV-3D was very natural and detailed, but the Manley really pulled something useful out of the guitar. I am predicting that you will have fun with this!

    Pat

  4. I am blown away that the Neve did not rise to the task here – not that it sounded bad, but the HV-3D is surprisingly “3 dimensional” from the top to the bottom and back again. It really pulls out the warmth of the low end and the crispness of the high end while maintaining the integrity of the mid-range.

    Great shoot out buddy!

    Michael

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