Millennia HV-35 Reviews5.0/5.0 based on 1 customer review
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from San Diego, CA
November 30, 2012Music Background:
Home studio recordist, singer, guitarist, songwriter
Really Impressive PreampI recently purchased the HV-35 primarily because I wanted a clean preamp with which to record acoustic guitars. I was hoping it would help me capture my acoustic guitar as it really sounds in the room. In order to decide on the setup I liked best, I did an unscientific shootout. I set up a Miktek CV4 and a Shure SM81 in a spaced pair arrangement and ran each mic through either the HV-35, an A Designs P-1, an A Designs Electrodyne 501, or an Electro Harmonix 12AY7. I rotated the preamps and then swapped the mic positions, recording the same simple rhythm strumming pattern with each setup. I also recorded each mic and preamp combination in a mono mic setup.
The results were interesting. The P-1 is a fantastic preamp on almost everything and sounded great wherever it was used. The Electrodyne sounded a bit boxy to my ears in this application. The surprise of the bunch was the 12AY7 – when gain was compensated it sounded very close to the HV-35. But the HV-35 was the clear winner in my mind. The image it gave was so clean and came across as so accurate to what was really in the room. And it seemed to capture some harmonic overtones in such a flattering, sweet way that I just kept coming back to it. The arrangement I finally decided on was the CV4/HV-35 off the picking hand and the SM81/P-1 combo aimed at the 12th fret. I felt like the richness of the CV4 rounded out the cleanness of the HV-35 and the P-1 gave a little bit of heft to the SM81.
The differences were very subtle. I would’ve been pretty happy recording with any of the HV-35, the P-1, or the 12AY7 (which says a lot about the $200 12AY7). But given the choice, I would choose the HV-35. And if something happened to the one I have, I would definitely buy another one. Or five.
Side note – I also shot out bass through the DI on these preamps (except the 12AY7, it doesn’t have one). I liked the Electrodyne the best there and the P-1 and HV-35 were tied at a very close second with my P-Bass, at least.