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Author Topic: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?  (Read 7268 times)

oldtimeblues

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I'm trying to decide on a preamp for "SOLO" acoustic/vox blues and narrowed down my choice to the A Designs MP-2 or the Pendulum MDP-1 and now the Fearn.

I'd like to save some money and go with the A Designs. The Pendulum seems to offer some cool features. I don't mind a AD MP-2 basic unit. My main interest is the right sound for my application. I'm looking for more of a 1960's solo acoustic blues revival type of sound.

Which would you choose for this application?

I'm also looking into a Neumann U-47 type mic (on a budget) and either the AEA R44 or a Coles 4038.
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sdelsolray

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2004, 02:29:16 pm »

Haven't heard the A Designs MP-2, but I do have the Pendulum, and I use it for recording solo fingerstyle acoustic guitar, including some blues and ragtime.  It's a magnificent pre, perhaps too nice for your application.  Feltcher has heard both, so listen to his comments.  The Pendulum is hi-fi, quite euphonic, that's what I mean by being perhaps "too nice".

You may wish to consider the DW Fearn pre.  It's a little more faithful to '60's tube designs (whatever that means).  Note there's a price increase coming up May 1st for the DW Fearn stuff.  There's a used single channel DW Fearn at Tidepoolaudio.com for $1,600.

Manley might be considered too.

Nonetheless, the Pendulum MDP-1A is an incredible piece.  You might want to talk to Greg at Pendulum about the MDP-1B, which uses a different input transformer with a more forward midrange.
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oldtimeblues

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2004, 10:09:45 am »

Thanks for the tips! I just checked the Fearn at Mercenary and the specs are impresive.

I'd be interest in Fletcher's and others ideas on this subject and which preamp may be best for me.

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mardyk

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2004, 03:58:45 pm »

Hi,
I have the A-Designs MP2 and I have to say that it's great on acoustic guitars and vocals. It's quite clean with some warmth. Not really down and dirty but rather full and in your face. Amazing value IMO.
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lucey

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2004, 05:29:01 pm »

mardyk wrote on Mon, 26 April 2004 14:58

Hi,
I have the A-Designs MP2 and I have to say that it's great on acoustic guitars and vocals. It's quite clean with some warmth. Not really down and dirty but rather full and in your face. Amazing value IMO.


I agree with 'clean and warm', yet not 'in your face'.  That would be one of many transformer pres in my book

I use the A-designs on OH and clean acoustic, some vocal.

Great pre, in the tube world it's clean but not as thin and fast as Manley, not as much color as a Fearn or as toob-ey nasty as a UA.


Yet are you sure you want a "tube" sound?  I prefer the GTQ2 for fingerstyle, more in your face and an older sound that makes the attacks jump out.  

I can post a link to a National Steel 2 mic (R84, 609Silver) tune throug the GTQ2 if you want?
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Brian Lucey
Magic Garden Mastering

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oldtimeblues

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2004, 08:32:34 pm »

I'm pretty sure I want the tube sound. That is, if most early 60's recordings were done that way. I do howerer want in your face especially being it will be used for a solo guitar and voice.
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lucey

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2004, 12:31:18 am »

oldtimeblues wrote on Mon, 26 April 2004 19:32

I'm pretty sure I want the tube sound. That is, if most early 60's recordings were done that way. I do howerer want in your face especially being it will be used for a solo guitar and voice.


seems like 'in your face' is hard to quantify, probably just do some shoot outs


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Brian Lucey
Magic Garden Mastering

"the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ecology" - unknown

mardyk

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2004, 04:00:34 am »

lucey wrote on Tue, 27 April 2004 06:31

oldtimeblues wrote on Mon, 26 April 2004 19:32

I'm pretty sure I want the tube sound. That is, if most early 60's recordings were done that way. I do howerer want in your face especially being it will be used for a solo guitar and voice.


seems like 'in your face' is hard to quantify, probably just do some shoot outs





When I said that I thought the sound was in your face I meant that the tracks really stand out. They have good bite and zero mush.
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Fletcher

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2004, 06:31:14 am »

Good design is good design, is good design.  The 'tube' sound is so many things from so many different tubes that it is as definable as the female form... yeah, they've all got tits [+/- 3db]... but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Both of the items you've mentioned, the A-Designs and the Pendulum are excellent sounding units... they sound quite different, and according to your sense of aesthetic, one may be better than the other for your applications... but frankly I'll be damned if I could say which one on an internet forum... especially having never met you nor heard your music.

That "60's upfront sound" is a combination of many, many, many factors.  First... you had for the most part, great microphones.  The PRC didn't realize that the music business existed at that time... and Banjo Mart was a single store on Sunset Blvd. in Hell-A... things like the A-Design and Pendulum type products were the norm rather than the exception.

Except... that the only "stand alone" mic pre's were like the RCA stuff which was built and distributed for broadcast applications... in other words, what we have now is still different from what was available then... no matter how you modify your dead dad's original drawings, nor model number you put on the face plate... he's still dead, and the product isn't sitting in the rest of the infastructure that helped achieve it's somewhat signature tone.

The point of this is that you're going to get a myriad of opinions here... some will be worth looking at for your application, some will not.  How can you tell the wheat from the chaff?  Hell if I know... perhaps you kinda sit back and watch how the people debating this subject debate... watch how they post on other thread to determine if you're of similar or disimilar tastes [as much as one can make that determination on an internet forum], then move on from there.

Personally, I think damn near any well designed pre-amp, from a GML to a D.W. Fearn to 20-30 points in between will probably satisfy your requirements... but that one "perfect" pre, like that one "special" woman will always be a personal decision that you will have to experience to understand.

With that said, let's also remember that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link... which means that microphone selection and placement, A/D-D/A conversion, as well as the mix and balance of the sounds that comprise the final presentation will be as important as any other element in the recording process... and that the performance capabilities of those recorded will be of far more importance than any of the recording tools.... but you do have to start somewhere... so you might as well start with a good pre.

Best of luck with the search.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

oldtimeblues

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Re: A Designs MP-2 or Pendulum MDP-1 for 60's solo acoustic blues? Mics?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2004, 09:33:08 am »

Excellent analogy!

I'm a much better guitarist than an audio engineer, not to say I'm a bad engineer.
Back in my day (70's) I owned some really great preamps such a the Telefunken V-76, Neve 1066's
and something I never quite knew the name of that was the most amazing piece of work. It was a military piece, combo preamp and attenuator.

When I used it people fell in love and were amazed! If was a 4 space blackface with a VU and 1 large knob and I think a toggle switch.
Like an idiot I sold it. Maybe the Fearn falls into this category. It also had a WWII military manual. In the back it had instructions on how to destroy the unit if the enemy was taking over. It said to use rocks, grenades or anything you could get your hands on or drop in water if nearby or any method not to leave any parts functioning. I guess they didn't want the enemy to have the design.

Id like to experiment with preamps but I'm not in an experimenting mood. I'm in a creative mood and want to capture the moment.
My fingers are itching. Maybe I'll start with the MP-2 and a U47 type mic.
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