ok, the disclaimer...

this is all subjective and completely opinionated, and bias according to my tastes, my speakers, my room acoustics,
the curvature of my ear lobes, the amount of sleep I had the night before, the humidity of my geographic location,
the tide changes, and the fact that we had a garage sale somewhere in between (house is less dense, more room
for frequencies to bounce around) and blah blah blah blah blah,...

if you haven't heard the comparison DVD Preamps in Paradise, go get it, otherewise it probably won't be worth your while to
read any further, unless you're bored and wish to humour yourself...
if you have the DVD, swallow huge grain of salt now,...
...and continue...

the following observations and thoughts were compiled from about 2 weeks worth of listening, some casual,
some very detailed with playoff-type shoot-outs where no preamp could advance until it had faced all the leaders.
Some listening was done with all instruments in the mix, some with individual tracks.

I was surprised at how differently all preamps sounded from each other. However in the long run I think you
could probably make a great sounding recording with most any of the preamps Lynn and company tested.
However, we all have our tastes, here's mine,

A - had a very clean, upfront sound for acoustic guitar, one of the acoustic guitar favourites. For the overall mixes I was
wanting just a bit more body for the sounds in general.
B - a consistant favourite, close intimate feel throughout mix listens and individual instrument listens. However it had a
very distinct signature sound which sometimes I really liked and other times seemed to displace frequencies by a small
margin.
C - good big sound, usually very clear and leaning towards bright. This one usually ranked tops or near tops when I would
put all my favourites up against each other in a very detailed shoot out. Tied with L for vocal fav. It was also a fav for OH's.
D - sounded good with snare, and smooth with piano. Overall nice warmth, perhaps could crave a little more air up top.
This one usually made into the detailed shoot outs, although was never a clincher.
E - got the "soft" and "big" comments alot. Won the detailed shoot out for both kick and snare, and was 3rd in vocal favs.
It was present sounding and revealed a nice distinction between the different instruments. Near tops on piano too.
F - started good but never seemed to "fill out." Seemd on the brighter-side of the bunch, and somehow lacked enough of
the warmth and punch down low to support all the highs once the band kicked in.
G - seemed to reveal more high frequency info than my tastes preferred. I wanted to hear a little more warmth and body
in the sound down low and in the mids.
H - another fairly consistant favourite. Ranked near the top for vocals, yielding a full warm liquid character, nice. Good on
snare, but perhaps a touch dark for the piano. Would have to re-evaluate for kick and OH's.
I - this one had a very distinct sound that wasn't really my thing.
J - tilted towards bass frequencies, which gave it a bit of a dry sound. Thought it did a good job on kick and snare.
K - good distinction between instruments in mixes. Nice rich bass tone. Ranked very well on all drum mics.
L - almost always chosen a favourite. Great on snare, vocal, piano, (ranked either as best or nearly best.) Had a very
distinct sound to it which made the instruments feel bigger and closer somehow.
M - Often was chosen as a favourite while listening to mixes. Sounds always felt big and warm, with the bass having a
very good punch to it.
N - Good full sound, nice eq representation. Nice roundness in bass. Somehow felt like a cousin of M, which is perhaps
a strange comment considering their identities. Was great on the piano.
O - clear and good distinction in sound, yet just didn't quite sweep me off my feet. Did turn up as a fav sometimes.
eq representation was probably among the better of the bunch.
P - smooth and dark. Sometime I liked it, other times, not as much. Ranked decent in the kick drum shoot out.
sometimes just wanted a bit more clarity up top.
Q - big and clear, were consistant comments and it was almost always chosen as a favourite. I like the focus it gave
to the bass guitar sound. I liked it alot on all the instruments, the only thing it didn't rank really high on for me was vox.
R - good sound with the high frequencies seemingly stretching beyond the solar system. This gave it a nice sparkle up top
which most others in the comparison lacked. Rarely a complaint about this one, except I sometimes longed for just a bit
more umph down low,(...but that's why we got them eq knobs, right.)
S - seemed to really bring out the wood in the acoustic guitar sound. However I often wanted more body out of the sound in general.
It had some strong leanings toward the low mids. It did pop up as a fav every now and then.
T - this one was ok, but I wanted to hear a bit more definition in the mids.
U - just craved more depth and body out of the sounds, and fuller eq representation.
V - very bright, wanted to hear a little more power down low. It reminded me a bit of my A&H board. Comments on this
one were a little all over the place. Perhaps needs a re-evaluation.
W - eq representation was a bit smiley with me craving some more fullness to the sound. It did catch my ear on a few mix
listens.
X - tilted eq, wanted to hear a little more depth in the sound for the mixes. Although I did think it matched fairly good for
the snare.

Although I did rank them at certain times, that was an extremely difficult task, because often 2 or more were the
best or were in the same range, but just for slightly different sonic characteristics.

In conclusion my ears more often preferred E, C, L, Q, H, B, K, N.
Honourable mention would go to M, R, D.

But that's just me, anyone else make any detailed conclusions yet?

~ mike
3D VIP