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Neve vs. Behringer



Preamps are the subject of audio engineer affection and lust.  You plug a microphone into a preamp to bring their signal up to a level that electronic devices can record.  Microphones leave a fingerprint on each recording by way of their frequency response.  The preamp seems to do the same, but with much more subtlety.  I recently acquired some nice preamps and was wondering how they compare to a behringer preamp.  I have been using presonus xmax preamps on the digimax preamp but decided to use the utility behringer since it would have the biggest difference from my new preamps. I may have a cheaper preamp (sm audio!), but everyone is familar with the Behringer - so affordable, but still a usable preamp.

I recently soldered together an SCA ( preamp kit with one of the modules being a Neve preamp - a favored microphone preamplifer in many studios.  I also had one other lower quality mic preamp, but still costing much more than the Behringer.

I recorded a drumset with separate takes plugged into the same mics and then adjusted to match levels as best as I could using the gain on the preamps and then Logic level meter.  I tried to make sure the level of the snare and kick channels peaked at the same measurement.  My first 'shootout', and by no means scientific or accurate.

Behringer on the left, SCA on the right.

The Behringer is the UB802 6 channel mixer with two preamps.  Retail $50 several years ago.

The 'Neve' is a Seventh Circle Audio kit with 1 N72 and 1 T15.  The N72 is plugged into the kick.  The T15 is plugged into the snare.  The N72 is a Neve replica and the T15 can be compared to the DAV preamp from what I hear.  So we'll say $500 and $250 for each of those equivalents.

Kick mic is a sennheiser e602 about 1.3 ft back from the kick.  S

Snare mic is sm57 3-4 inches from the rim, up one inch, angled downward a bit, trying to get a bit of hi-hat.

I can hear a difference - what about you?  My conclusion in the comments.