Seriously, who doesn’t likes Millennia Media mic preamps? For clean, reference-style preamplification there arguably may be equals, but there are none better. These fine mic amps are found in racked configurations, the 500 Series format, remote controlled multi-channel rack units, and even the semi-portable TD-1.
Now we have the HV-32P and HV-35P, both based on the iconic HV-3, which are full featured, eminently portable and AC or DC powered, with classic Millennia Media sound. Both are affordable, too—at $1,079 and $719 street, respectively.
You'll find the feature set to be nearly identical between the two-channel HV-32P and mono HV-35P. Click here for complete spec info: http://www.mil-media.com/HV-32P.html and http://www.mil-media.com/HV-35P.html.
Please note the broader per-channel feature set of the single-channel HV-35P; its high-pass filter, polarity flip and a quarter-inch DI are all very useful features for music recording. The dual channel 32P is ideally suited for ENG and mobile recording work.
I started by tracking what may be the world’s quietest folk-duo with this HV-35P/HV-32P combo and got fine results. Yes, I needed the Ribbon feature and its extra 10 dB of gain, but noise wasn't bad at all. Compared to my standard-bearer Millennia Media STT-1 channel strip, the HV-35P/HV-32P combo sounded thinner through the low-mids and more forward in their high frequencies, but exhibited the same clarity, depth of soundstage and easy articulation.
Next, I set about making my own ENG rig with both preamps, a Sony lavalier, a handheld condenser and my portable 2-track. I recorded outdoors, exterior scenes, indoors and in various-sized rooms powered only by a prototype 10 x AA power supply with great results. After a brief noisy “warm-up” period when applying phantom power, the 32P settled in for trouble-free operation with excellent detail and trademark clarity. The recessed controls and ergonomic I/O labeling proved to be lifesaving features. The HV-35P behaved equally well on a cold, blustery winter's day. Here's a silly little “interview” I grabbed on-the-run with the HV-32P, showing some nice low-level detail as traffic and background music animate the scene: https://soundcloud.com/pro-audio-review-magazine
The gain pots are a little loose for my taste but the switches are ideal: firm, illuminated, color-coded and relay-switched (the slightly delayed pause is well worth the satisfying click). The chassis is perfect; three units will neatly attach to a Middle Atlantic Products (http://www.middleatlantic.com) rack shelf and the power supplies are ample. My only criticisms are features that I miss; I wish the DC power connector was locking and that the HV-32P had polarity flip.
To My Ears
Millennia reports that there are 35,000 channels HV-3 in the field, in numerous configurations already. So now ENG gunners, on-location lap-toppers and FOH engineers who need a lightweight “money channel” or two can easily hop on the Millennia bandwagon.
Millennia Media | http://www.mil-media.com/products.html