The HV3C (along with other Millennia products) are often misunderstood. When people think "transformerless" and "clean" and "high headroom' they think digital, harsh, sterile, lacking character. I think it's totally unreasonable to think of this preamp with such harsh terms!
I was a skeptic at first. Primarily working with API, Neve, and UA preamps, I've had my fair share of colored pre tone, which I love and still use all the time. However, there are instances when you don't want color, you don't want low-mid grit, you don't want warmth, but instead you have a higher goal - REALISM and CLARITY.
This preamp sounds so "real" it's like you're sitting there listening to the performance in the room. It's my new goto for acoustic instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, strings, even overheads) as well as keyboard DI's, and almost any stereo recording (room mics, etc). I am wanting to hear the beautiful pristine sound that I hear in the room, unaffected by anything! It blows my APIs out of the water on strings and acoustic guitars. Not because the API pres sound bad, they are just not transparent; they add their own color to the chain.
The HV3C is a MUST for anyone wanting beautifully clear, "as you hear it in the room" sounds. The top end on this thing is nuts - sounds so open and precise. Five stars, no question.