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  • #31
    Guys, great forum! I have been a Presonus user for quite some time, and I was very pleased to score one early to use in a preamp shootout back in the fall 0f 2005, and then I bought it! By the way, I am very utilitarian, not rich, and if I buy an expensive piece of gear it has to seriously contribute to the core of my work as a producer/artist.

    I had some great companies like Front End Audio and Mercenary help me with preamps for testing, along with Rick Naqvi from Presonus. I tested the Langevin Dual Vocal, Presonus ADL, Great River MP-2, and Phoenix DRS-2. A lot of variety here, but excellent all, and I wanted to invest in a few channels of "work specific" preamps to help my productions move to the next level...after hearing them for myself. For clarity on "work specific": I record a lot of vocals, acoustic guitars, and deep and dynamically challenging world drums. I also record electric guitar and kits, but they are not central to my work.

    In summary: I though each pre had an excellent place in studio applications. For my work the transformer-thick Great River and Phoenix pieces were a bit too colored through the midrange for my multi-purpose preamp goals. I chose the ADL hands down as the best all purpose pre of the bunch. It was extremely responsive to the dynamic content (even with a mild tubey compression at higher gain settings) and really allowed a wide variety of instruments to live in a very 3-dimensional space. It was also so absurdly quiet I couldn't believe it was tubulated. The velvety sheen it imparts to material which is intensified at high gain settings is very musical, not hyped, and extremely desirable on vocals and melodic instruments. At low gain settings it was suprisingly articulate even on the challeging percussion-meets-tone of the acoustic guitar--unlike any tube pre I had ever heard.

    As a note, I also bought a used Langevin Vocal Combo--not for vocals--but because the depth and impact of the low end on the Langevin piece was incredible, fast, and extended. I believe that for better low end impact that the fast, tight Langevin is better on kick and djembe, etc. though I do understand that some people like the kick to be harmonically enriched and not necessarily extended into the below 50Hz range...I did use the ADL on kick and snare in a progressive rock session in the fall and the results were awesome. In hindsight, after listening to the recording, next time I would use the ADL on overhead/stereo room mics and the Langevin on the up close mics because what the ADL does to "sexify" the sound would be best used in my 3 to 5 drum mic preference (jazz/natural) as the primary sound of the kit in the room.

    Yesterday, I wrapped a three day recording session with a singer-songwriter working on Chair and Microphone, Volume 2 which is a stripped down, natural sounding record featuring guitar and solo vocal only--recorded in one pass, no overdubs, four mics. I set a tube mic and a 4050 to figure-8 pattern for near miking the vocal and guitar, respectively, (great off-axis rejection in those patterns) and I set two 4047's at wide stereo position for capturing the big, wooden retreat lodge we tracked in. I used the ADL on the near mics and the sound was freaking amazing. Because the ADL is so "lively" I decided to apply compression using a cheap but very handy ART Pro VLA which is a slow opto-compressor (very sparingly), but the combination allowed for lots of breathing room without fear of killing the inputs when Aaron Strumpel, the artist, went from whisper to scream. I drove the ADL pretty hard on the vocals, which in my experience means if you push over the midway point on the LED metering you are into the "thickening" tube saturation, and I kept the kept the guitar gain way down so the meters moved barely beyond 25%. The ADL is so quiet you can get away with this kind of setting, and the articulation and clarity is greatly increased at low input levels. This recording is the best stripped down thing I have ever done, and most of the credit goes to the ADL-600 for giving me what I have never really had--an esoterically beautiful sounding preamp--it really has made my modest microphone cabinet sound like a million bucks. I will use very little EQ or post-mods on this recording and it will be out in about 60 days.

    I look forward to providing any feedback you folks in the forum might have...happy recording!

    Ben Pasley

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    • #32
      Wow, these are some fantastic comments, very useful and educational. Thanks for contributing to the thread, it's giving me a chance to dig in a little further on my own without feeling like I HAVE to post something.

      That's one thing I really like about this review format -- it develops its own personality and can unfold over time. Sort of like peeling off the layers of the onion
      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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      • #33
        I am glad my last post was helpful. I don't want to crash in here with too much info, but I did notice someone was curious about ADL-600 over the mix bus...

        During the aforementioned "preamp shoot out" I was weighing the investment/return ratio on spending money on an analog summing bus or other neato-magic-analog gear that might impart some textures to my DAW output. I use DP and the Motu 828 Firewire I/O for recording to final product. With that in mind I decided to put the ADL-600 across the stereo bus. For caveman testing I even put a Presonus M-80 across all 8 Motu outputs (stemmed mix) just to listen for actual analog summing effect even though this unit was not specifically designed for that application. I pulled up some southern roots-rock mixes I had on the hard drive that had lots of bam, biff, and sock...and I was familiar with the mix and mastering that I had done earlier.

        My impressions: My ears did not hear any significant contribution to the final audio via either of these analog experiments that would assist me, under normal conditions, in mix/mastering. The M-80 did nothing really that I could tell that could be called magical. The ADL did impart a noticable thickening of the midrange sound as you would expect and some softening of the peaks...the more you pushed it, the more of this effect you could acheive. It was definitely quiet enough for this application, and it also has well put together balanced XLR line inputs on the back to make it easy. I though it might be cool on some very unique mixes, though I can't think of what they might be, but probably best used to "reamp" a signal like a dry keyboard input or a flat bass guitar track to impart the much desired harmonic textures.

        Bottom line: I have banned personal thoughts about analog summing altogether since that experiment, and I chose to go the route of spending money on excellent preamps for the front end. So, at risk of sounding like a salesman: go buy an ADL-600 for your "go to" mic preamp!

        (Bonus note: For those of you on extremely tight budgets, like me, I have found the single most magical piece of gear across a stereo bus at mixdown is the $400 ART Pro VLA. Run with the lowest compression ratio, fast attack and release, with almost no visible impression on the meters at all...that thing makes flat tracks really come alive and gives digital mixes a sizable boost in the width of stereo image, shape of instruments, and girth in bass content...for what it's worth.)

        Ben Pasley

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        • #34
          This weekend I was supposed to track B3, but I ended up recording guitars and here is my experience.

          For a majority of my recording these days, I "reamp" direct guitar tracks to regular amps during the mixdown process. Without going into the pros and cons of this, it really has its advantages because I can always change or tweak the sound later.

          In any case, I have been using Guitar Rig 2 a lot lately and really loving it. Normally, my guitar would go into the first mic pre on my Digi 002R in GR2 and that would be the end of it. I never needed or wanted "tube tone". I just wanted a dry guitar ready for reamping later.

          Today, I ran my guitar into the ADl (instrument input) and then into the 002. What a difference! Obviously, the mic pres in a 002 can never compare to something along the lines of the ADL, but the difference was amazing. The sound was bigger, yet more defined as I would A/B different presets.

          All the bells and whistles were off. No HP filter...

          I was just amazed that the ADL made the sound right off the pickups sonically more pleasing.

          Thankfully, I caught this way of tracking guitars before I got too far. When I eventually reamp them at mixdown (if I even do as the tone I am getting is killer) I will report that as well.

          More to come...

          Neil

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          • #35
            I just want to know who won the ADL 600 Giveaway!


            Hi CHRISMERAZ and ROGUESCOUT,

            The winner of the ADL600 was Charlie Woolford who lives in Kansas. We actually did the drawing but were delayed in posting the results due to the NAMM show which fell at the end of January. Sorry for confusion.

            Here's the link on our site: http://www.presonus.com/contestwinners.html


            Kind Regards,
            Rick Naqvi
            www.presonus.com
            800.750.0323 x0641

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            • #36
              Welcome Rick, good to see you here checking up on your "baby." It's doing a great job in the studio here...let's see, how long can I stretch out this review...let me look at my list of upcoming projects

              Seriously, one thing I want to talk about some more is the build quality. I assume you won't mind if I take it apart so I can take some close-up photos, right?
              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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              • #37
                No problem Craig. Feel free to take it apart.

                BTW, (I assume you know this but) just be careful because the powersupply still holds current after the unit is turned off. I'd hate to taint your opinion of 'high voltage' mic preamps so soon!! :-)

                Cheers,
                Rick Naqvi
                www.presonus.com
                800.750.0323 x0641

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                • #38
                  Thanks Craig for starting a great review!!!

                  I have been using the ADL600 for about 4-5 months now. I have been very impressed with the amount of detail this unit protrays. The depth of lowend is very impressive and this has become my goto mic pre for kick. I am also in the middle of tracking vocals on a project and the tracks have turned out very warm, detailed, and present. Sonicly, this unit completely delivers!!! This has been a great complement to my API 3124+.

                  I have also been very impressed with the detail of the acoustic guitar tracks I've recorded. It sounds like I'm sitting in the room with the guitar. I absolutly love it!!!
                  www.theglassjarstudio.com

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                  • #39
                    Today I cut vocals for a tune where the recording process had been interrupted by NAMM. I had already cut one vocal prior to opening up the ADL 600, so I used the ADL to double-track a backing vocal. I was curious how the two would mesh.

                    The ADL 600 ended up having a more "dominant" sound, which was not my intention. I tried to tame it a bit in the mix by reducing the level somewhat, and rolling off some highs. But then it just sounded like a lower-level vocal with less highs That wasn't my intention either!

                    I decided why fight it. The ADL 600 vocal sounded better as the lead vocal, and the original vocal sounded better as a backing vocal. Unfortunately, though, the performance of the backing vocal was better. As I had a lot of other Harmony Central things to do today, I put doing a finished vocal on the back burner. But when a few minutes open up, I'll re-record the lead vocal through the ADL 600 until I get a better performance.

                    However, I will keep the other vocal as the second backing vocal, and not re-record it through the ADL 600. This is a useful lesson about when and when not to use "character" in a preamp; the background vocal seems to work better when it has a "flatter" character, as it doesn't draw attention away from the lead. Perhaps I could tweak the ADL 600 controls to give a flatter, more neutral sound; I'll have to try that at some point. I've been sorta seduced by the sound I get from pushing it a bit, but in the interest of completeness, I also need to try out some more conservative settings.

                    So now I'm starting to see the ADL 600 as not just a preamp, but as something to pull out when a track needs a little more emphasis or character. It's different from boosting the level or changing the EQ; it can add a certain "vibe" to a track and by doing so, lets you have a little more control over the soundstage, and provide a bit of a variation compared to other tracks. To be fair, this is not unique to the ADL 600; different preamps do sound different. I've found, though, that the ADL 600 has a broad pallette of sounds, so it's much more than a "one-trick pony."

                    Bottom line: Choose the right tool for the right job. The background vocal definitely worked better when it sat back in the track, and the lead vocal definitely worked better through the ADL 600.
                    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                    • #40
                      Cool observations. I read an article about a producer who said he mostly used Neve channels for lead vocal and Avalons for backups. I can see how different textures could blend well.

                      Another thing I wish you'd try (time permitting) is to run some stereo synths and drum machines through that ADL to recorder and see if they sound bigger or more life like.

                      Thanks!

                      -David

                      (the artist formally known as DC before the move to HC)

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                      • #41
                        <<Another thing I wish you'd try (time permitting) is to run some stereo synths and drum machines through that ADL to recorder and see if they sound bigger or more life like. >>

                        Absolutely! I've pretty much found out all I need to know about vocals. Guitars are next, then synths and such. I've also booked some time at Maricam studios to check out acoustic guitar.
                        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                        • #42
                          Hey Guys,
                          Couldn't take it any longer... ordered a 'B' stock from Sweetwater! Can't wait!

                          Craig, cool format for the review... appreciating your comments as well as hearing what other folks are up to. Wondering if Anthony DeMaria would like to offer his "input" as well... maybe hear how the prototype evolved into its present incarnation... using different tubes (what type are in there now?), getting his side of the story shooting hoops with magpel. Anyway, always cool to hear what the designers have to say.
                          Thanx,
                          Torry

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by dr_chopz
                            Wondering if Anthony DeMaria would like to offer his "input" as well... getting his side of the story shooting hoops with magpel. Anyway, always cool to hear what the designers have to say.
                            Thanx,
                            Torry


                            lol. I wonder if Anthony would even remember that. He wouldn't recognize me by the name "Magpel,"but the bit about him leaving one of his mono compressors in my humble composer's studio for 2 years would be the giveaway.

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                            • #44
                              Craig,
                              Great review. I had an oppurunity to check one out about a month ago and was quite pleased with it. For those of you paying $1800 at Sweetwater for B-stock, check around. You can pick them up new for a bit less than that.

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                              • #45
                                zZounds - $1999.99
                                digitalproaudio - $1999.99
                                Dale Proaudioshop - $1999.99
                                Sam Ash $1995.95
                                ProAudioAmerica $1999.99
                                BSW $1995.00
                                musiciansfriend $1999.99
                                americanmusicalsupply $1999.99
                                samedaymusic $1999.99
                                musiciansbuy $1999.95
                                amazon $1995.95
                                nothing on eBay

                                OK, I give up! Where?

                                My sweetwater B-Stock item was essentially new. A single 1/2" scratch on the top, probably from when it was first removed from the box. Everything else perfect, original shipping carton, the works. $1800 was a sweet deal for this!
                                -- Barn Jazz - music from the transition zone --

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