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Reviews of Baby Animal Mic Pre
Got back from London at the weekend to find my kits waiting for me :-)
Built them all now and realise that I'm liking the "baby animal" so much
that I need to get another one and put two of them in a rack. So with
that in mind I'd like to buy another BAD
all the best
Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) Glasgow
The recording session went really well. We ended up
using the BAD to record Annie Whitehead's trombone. Signal path was
Royer 121-BAD-Apogee AD-16x for conversion on to the drive of an Alesis
HD24 for storage and ease of use (it has familiar transport buttons :-)
I'm happy to say that she "loved" the sound that we got for her :-) We
had the option of a few different pre's including pairs of V72's, V672's
and API 512c's. So it's great that the BAD won out over those guys.
I'll send some photo's and audio when I have some.
all the best
Norman" Blake (Teenage Fanclub) Glasgow
Hi there Joe,
Thanx for your quick reply. Just wanted to know if I
did everything right.
For our album we used the BA2 for:
- guitar: 2 room mics (akg 414TLII + 414ULS);
- bass guitar: straight into the DI; and
and backing vocals.
Everything sits very nice in the mix, without pushing
stuff away in the frequencies.
It's a very very useful and good sounding unit and am
very happy I bought it.
I realised your correct that
these voltages were not showing because I did not have the op amp
fitted. So I plugged it in and it works fine and sounds superb. I would
describe the sound as "intimate" - it's that sound when a vocalist
sounds like he/she is a few centimetres from you.
When you plug into a f*#kusrite it has that
generic sound which sounds distanced from the mic regardless of the eq
The BA however is the antithesis.
This kind of "intimacy" in a vocal sound is
something I have been trying to find for a long time. Also the preamp
has a sort of de-essing effect naturally which I am really pleased with.
Thanks for such a great pre. My search for a vintage quality pre is over
and I spent about 1/10 of the money I expected.
getting some fantastic drum sounds with these preís and my
dual 99vís. The cinemagís sound fantastic in the Baby Aís!!
loving the sounds I got from a dw kit
(well the dw kit wont hurt
it at all) on a session I did on wed night.
Awesome!! Such a change from my old recordings!!
And I love
the fact that I can build these things for the same price I
sell off my old joe meek/studio projects preís.
recordings no longer sound like theyíre done in a home
Stephen Sheath New Zealand
Joe, just wanted to let
you know that I compared the 99v to my John Hardy this weekend. I
used a KSM44 mic and had my friend demo his mandolin. The 99v blew
the JH away I mean bad, the 99v replicated the woody tone and the
thump on the low end. The John Hardy seemed thin in comparison.
Anyway just wanted to let you know I'm very happy with it.
Thanks for sending out those pins, finally
got the preamp done and it sounds fantastic. It utterly destroys the
preamps on my MOTU interface.
Joseph Strevens, New Zealand
couple of months back I ordered some baby animal mic pres from you,
just wanted to let you know that having used them on a variety of
projects now Iím really happy with their performance. Iím hearing
the true potential of my mics for the first time, and I canít get
over how smooth they sound. Things just sit in the mix so much more
easily and my recordings seem sweeter and more transparent than Iíve
ever been able to achieve before. Thanks for designing such a great
product! Iíll definitely be back for moreÖ
Cheers, Peter Delahunty. Australia
- Hey Joe! couple of things...I
finished my baby animals and they sound FANTASTIC. The 1:4+99V is one
of the best pres I've ever heard. Sounds great on pretty much
everything I've tried. Next to the melcors I racked up they are way
BIGGER and smoother sounding.
- Hi Joe,
thank you very much for outstanding support and an outstanding preamp!
Resoldering those pads did the trick. Plugged it in, the thing really
rocks! Not only on vocals but on everything I tried it on. Great overall
smoothness yet transients get through very well, definition in the bass
and a shiny high end. No flaws. I love what it does to my Shakuhachi.
And had a lot of fun building the pre (and learned a ton as well :-)).
Will post a review as soon as I get my prodigy-pro account activated.
Now I'm thinking about getting another pair... and I read something
about a compressor kit your planning... :-)
- This thing sounds
fantastic. Some of my mics that I previously didn't like at all now
sound very usable. I've only tried it on a couple things, and my
listening environment was a little tainted as I just temporarily plugged
the output into a line in on my mackie, but even still- it's obvious
that this is a terrific mic pre. The sound is very smooth, but without
sounding "fuzzy" like some smooth pres often sound to my ears. The DI
also sounds awesome. My P-Bass sounded spectacular and was the best
sound I've got out of that bass, and my strat sounded great as well. My
wife's lapsteel sounded really clear, and I'm looking forward to getting
my brother in law in here to try his lapsteel through it. He's also a
great guitar player and songwriter, so we'll be recording some of his
stuff with this very soon.
I'm really stoked! This pre is a great value. I'm really shocked at how
good they sound, and would reccomend them highly. I can't wait to do
some real recording with them. I'll definitely report back when I've put
them through their paces a little more. Now I'm going to have to get
another kit for this Jensen JT-115k-E I have sitting here and try the
- Before I talk about the
sound, let me say that my preamp experience is with a Behringer rack
unit, my Mackie mixer, Presonus Firebox, and an MBox. That said, this
thing blows the pants off any of those. It is pants-blowingly awesome.
Everything I've put through it has automatically turned into the best
sound I've gotten out of that instrument. Guitar and bass through the DI
are especially awesome, very smooth. After about an hour of playing
guitar through the Baby Animal and then into a Marshall patch in Guitar
Rig 2, I switched over to the Presonus pre, and it was harsh! I had the
volume cranked, and at the same gain as the BA it was painful, whereas
the Baby Animal was quite pleasing. I'm very happy with this. After I
placed my order, I wondered if I'd notice enough of a difference to
justify the cost. Five minutes of testing erased any doubts I had. I
also realized how good a 57 can be, and...er...how bad my Studio
Projects C1 is.
like to stress how awesome this kit is. It is a cinch to build and
sounds great. Joe is a great guy and answered my questions very promptly
(while politely suggesting I come here and bug you guys.) Send him your
- OK, I just finished
building my second Baby Animal, this time with the Hybrid opamp instead
of the OPA2604. I plugged my guitar into the DI, thinking I'd test it
out for a few minutes to see if it worked. When I checked the time, an
hour had passed. This thing is a joy to play through--I've never heard
myself sound so good!!
I can't A/B it directly at the moment (because I unhooked my first
channel to test this one) but when I get them both wired into the rack,
I'll do a more comprehensive test. It definetely sounds different...the
JLM hybrid page says it has a super tight low-end, and it definetely
does--the 2604 sounds a bit muddy in comparison. I have to play with it
some more, but I think I may order another hybrid kit and replace the
2604 in my first channel with it. It's also worth noting that so far I'm
not having the oscillation problem I'm having with my 2604 pre. I'm
going to check all my joints and resolder some parts and see if it
corrects the problem.
I think my favorite thing about the hybrid is that Joe seemingly laid
out the parts on the PCB so it looks like a one-eyed robot pirate
grimacing at you. You may notice there's no smiley on the PCB unlike
most of Joe's products, but it's OK. Why silkscreen a smiley face when
the components can form a robot pirate instead? I don't know either.
The larger point I want to make is that with either a 2604 or the
hybrid, the Baby Animal sounds fantastic. You cannot go wrong buying
this kit. If you're on the fence, hop on over, because over here on
Joe's side, it sounds great. Thanks to Joe for making such an awesome
- After some really
stupid mistakes and corrective measures I've got all 4 of my pre's up
and running. Instead of testing the sound here at home I brought them to
my real studio (not my crappy home studio with the M-audio FW410 and
Alesis M-1 mII speakers )
and hot damn if they don't kick ass all over the Focusrite pre's we have
used for years. We spent a lot of money setting this studio up and have
actually got some of the best (Rock) guitar sounds in Minneapolis. I
know this is presumptous but we are usually booked solid with work from
musicians wanting to do their guitar overdubs with us. Now the guitars
are even better. Our first paying customers since finishing the pre's
are in studio this week and we'll see how they respond, but I think
they'll love them. Thanks Joe for your help. You too Matt. I'm surely
gonna be buying the dual 99v and the micro 1290 to flesh out the arsenal
as soon as a few more jobs come in.
p.s. The pre's I bought are: 2 99v/JLM14; 1 99v/OEP; Hybrid(A/B)/OEP.
I'm gonna do at least one more BA with a lundahl/oep combo in addition
to the micro and dual 99v.
- Now I only had a quick
muck around with some bongo's & percussion in my room with a couple of
different mics, so I didn't get too much of a chance to form on opinion
on this combo..............but so far to my ears, it sounds very quick
and snappy, and It's gonna end up on snare when I do some drum
recordings later this week.
It's got stacks of gain too. Way more than i expected!!
As for the different parts I kinda went with similar stuff to what is on
Joes page, but for the Lundahl 1578 as they're both a 10:1 ratio.
Not exactly a scientific approach, but hey it works, and it works well
Only prob I found with the cinemag, is when I tried swapping out the IC
for my 99v op-amp out of my other pre. Too tight a fit for a cinmeag & a
99v without bending the board too much.
Otherwise, another happy camper round here.
- In my previous post I
promised a review of the session from last week...
We actually had the chance to record with all of the pre's I built. As a
recap here is what I built: 2x jlm14/99v; oep/99v; oep/hybrid. The
results were pretty straight forward against our commercial fucusrites.
The guitars used were a Yamaha Aes800(my favorite guitar) and a Gretsch
(forgot the model). These were run through either a Marshall TSL100
and/or a Peavey 5150 using the Marshall cabs for both. We then mic'd
both amps with a Crowley and Tripp ribbon mic(Awesome! And loud enough
with the BA's available gain) and believe it or not a shure Beta Green
2.0 vocal mic. The First pre I tried on this setup was the jlm14/99v's
combo. Holy crap! Is all I heard from the band and my studio engineer.
Funny thing is I showed up late to the session so they started using the
fucusrites and had comp tracks to a/b them with. The guitars went from
indistinct to open and sat right in the mix where it was needed. Very
little eq was used(mic placement being a major factor) but we always had
to fidget a little with the FR's. For shit's and giggles we tried the
oep pre's but weren't as happy with them as we were with the jlm14's.
The funny thing is that the FR's sounded great before we had these BA's.
Now I don't know if we'll use them again. My engineer wants to order a
stereo pair of a bunch of the combo's listed on this thread.
Bass on the otherhand was all about the oep/99v combo. We used a Spector
bass the the BA, to the drawmer comp direct to the computer. This was
the best sounding signal path we could come up with. There is also ton's
of gain on this pre. I think the Spector bass has some odd tonality and
just didn't get enough thickness out of the jlm14/99v. The hybrid loaded
pre was great but didn't give quite the definition as the oep/99v. All
of these differences were very audible. We never once had to second
guess the tones as being too close to tell.
Vocals. This is one of the complaints i have about our studio. Our two
vocal mic's aren't the typical Hi-End studio mic's. But The one we use
on the right people with the right pre can sound amazing. It's a B.L.U.E.
Dragonfly special edition. We get very mixed results with this mic. On
certain people it's very bright and thin and on others it's perfect.
Lot's o'eq'ing and stuff. Well luckily the 3 guys in the band that sang
sounded good through this mic and with the oep loaded pre's we found the
right sounds. The jlm14/99v's sounded a little "honky" on vox. Don't
know if this is the Vocalists, the mic, the pre(my assembly) or a combo
of any of those things. But needless to say the mic wasn't as brittle as
it was previously and turned out quite the recording. Oddly the real
telling point between the Hybrid and the 99v was in the top end. On
vocals at least. the mid's were pretty close and didn't sound all that
different but the top end on one vocalist would pop out at you while the
other pre would pull it back a little. Obviously the range and timbre of
the vocalist really dictated what pre would go where. I admit to messing
up one thing though. I forgot to right down which pre was giving which
tones while I was working on vocals. I am reciting my memories of the
vocal session. The guitar and bass sessions I had extensive notes but
not on vox.
So anyway, I hope this helps a little. I'm not a professional reviewer
so could not find all the right adjectives to describe everything(Silky
top end, smooth or fast transients and that sort of thing) but hope my
amuturish desciptions help a little.
- I had fun doin some
drums on the weekend. Got some very tight snappy sounds outta a Tama
superstar birch kit. I may get some clips up once I've finished off the
Couple of dual 99v's on the oh's while my Baby A's worked on the snare
top and bottom.
Very Nice............ Makes my job so much easier
- Lowfreq, New Zealand