Millennia HV-3R Multichannel Mic Preamp Review

Apr 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Kevin Becka

QUALITY FRONT END WITH FLEXIBLE REMOTE CONTROL

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The Millennia HV-3R offers eight clean mic preamps that can be controlled remotely through MIDI, Ethernet or a wireless router.

The Millennia HV-3R offers eight clean mic preamps that can be controlled remotely through MIDI, Ethernet or a wireless router.

A manufacturer of no-compromise audio gear for nearly two decades, Millennia Media has previewed its HV-3R multichannel mic preamp at trade shows for the past 18 months; finally it's here. The unit offers eight of the company's acclaimed HV-3 preamps in a two-rackspace unit with remote control and companion Ælogic software, allowing for operation of up to 99 units from a computer (792 channels). Options are many, including high-voltage mic inputs (130V/190V, $200/channel), DC inputs for use with dynamic and ribbon microphones ($100/channel), HROE output expansion offering three active isolated outs per channel ($1,500) and the AD-R96 A/D converter card ($1,500). I tested a stock unit with no extras.

Front and Back

The unit is built on a sturdy 16-gauge aluminum chassis with internal power supply and glossy black front plate. There is a handy jog wheel and controls for local operation of the eight channels, with switches for link, mute, phantom power, pad and polarity. The wheel controls gain on any selected channel or linked channel group. The linking reflects any offset on the channels within, making it easy to first adjust these individually and then tweak overall level globally to maintain any gain difference between the channels. Up/down/left/right cursors, an Enter button and small display allow local or remote operation via Ethernet, TC/IP or MIDI. Other preferences (such as naming setups) can also be set here, but I preferred using the included software for this. Unfortunately, the jog wheel is not integrated into the data-entry side of the unit, making it a chore to single-click through upper- and lower-case alphabets and symbols. Millennia says this is intentional because the user may want to control gain while using the data-entry functions. I found it a bad trade-off. The rear panel has XLR I/O, ports for the options mentioned above, power switch and standard IEC power cable.

Remote Possibilities

One of the HV-3R's slickest features is its remote-control ability. This is accomplished using the Ælogic control software (PC-only) interfaced one of three ways: Ethernet from your computer, MIDI from Pro Tools, or wirelessly via a wireless router (not included). I also took the remote-control scenario up a notch by operating the computer's trackpad and Ælogic in turn from my iPhone using Snatch, a simple and free app from www.hoofien.com. In Ethernet and Pro Tools control modes, this worked especially well for controlling the HV-3R from anywhere within view of a screen showing Ælogic.

The HV-3R offers the best of all “clean signal” scenarios: placing preamps near the talent and then making long cable runs at line-level. The HV-3R's FET-based output stage has 32 dB of headroom, effortlessly driving 1,000-foot runs. I used the unit remotely with great results. The difference in quality between local and remote operation was not quantifiable for me because the cable runs I was making were under 50 feet, but I could see this being especially useful in a live or remote recording scenario. The Ælogic software offers control of the unit(s) from any PC or Intel Mac running Parallels or Windows. I used the PC side of a dual-boot Intel Macbook for all my remote applications and it worked without a hitch. From the software you can store as many setups as you'd like, name channels, link, mute, pad, flip polarity and set gain on up to 99 units.

The MIDI option on a Pro Tools TDM system provided equally good results. This was achieved by routing the HV-3R's MIDI I/Os into the DAW's MIDI interface I/O, then setting the HV-3R to MIDI remote operation and matching the MIDI channel numbers. I then went to IO/Peripherals in Pro Tools and chose PRE on my first slot, then to Setup/IO, then the Mic Preamp tab and assigned the preamps to an interface. It was that simple. No matter the Pro Tools channel size — 1, 2, 5 or more — the HV-3R assigned the correct number of preamps to the channel. I was able to mute, apply phantom power, swap polarity and adjust gain easily from Pro Tools' mic preamp section at the top of any IO.






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