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101 vs the brick (Help!)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Ashtronaut, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. Ashtronaut

    Ashtronaut Guest

    Hi everyone,

    I need help!

    I want to buy a preamp and mic, and after reading all the threads, posts, comments by Kurt, Davedog, Maintiger, etc etc I've shortlisted the Rode k2 (erm...or the NTK - it's soo much cheaper). And for pre's it's the 101 or the brick.

    My predicament is that i live in India and while most of you will recommend that I A/B the equipment to find which suits my voice, i'm afraid that's impossible here.

    So here goes.

    At the moment i have a Delta omni/Delta 66 card and a CAD M177 microphone. I do a little work few radio jingles, website scoring for quick change. So far i've steered clear of too much vocal work since my vocal recording technique/equipment(?) sucks.

    My voice sounds boxy, harsh/raspy in the upper-mids and nothing like my voice sounds like in real life. So instead of blaming my voice (i am a singer in a rock band!) or my room acoustics (done the basstrap/live end/dead end/diffuser/fibreglass thingamajigs) I've decided to invest in a better vocal mic and preamp.

    My first choice was the Focusrite trakmaster (woo look at the sexy figure on that price tag!) but THEN decided against it after checking out the 'I-can't-live-without-one' fan-following in here.

    Then I read up a lot and decided on the Grace Model 101 - great reviews etc. And i presumed that because of its clarity and lack of colour I could get my vocals in and then add the grit via plugins or with my Fat 1. (Is there any merit in that line of thinking?)

    THEN!!!....I read about the brick. 3 tubes etc, etc, and Kurt's 'she's tha-one!'

    Now I'm just about to jump off the building.

    Need to make an educated decision and just go for it...that's where you guys come in. You got me thinking (thanks!) now help me STOP and buy one of the damn things. Did I say please?

    Oh, and i'm sure you never heard this one before - I'm broke (600$ only for the preamp)


    (PS This is my first post ...err sorry for being too verbose.)
  2. Nika

    Nika Guest

    The 101 is the best value in transparent, linear, clean preamps I have been exposed to. It is essentially the same circuitry as their flagship 801, but with a few cost reductions where it matters least - number of clicks on the potentiometer, wall wart instead of internal power supply, etc.

    I highly recommend this box and always have.

  3. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    dude ? Where do you plan to import the pres from ? I dont think we have a GT dealer here...
  4. Ashtronaut

    Ashtronaut Guest

    Make that 1:0 for the Grace - thx Nika.

    Hey Sidhu, i've got a friend ready to smuggle one into bombay for me. He's just waiting for me to tell him which one to buy 'cos he's coming back soon!

    BTW what's your take on my plight if you know something about these pre's?
  5. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    the brick is verry smooth for vox if that is its primarry use i would go with the brick. also i would recomend the brick for anything over the 101, unless you can affourd the 201 GET THE BRICK.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    A lot of people make the mistake of thinking the Grace 101 is a single channel 201 with a "few" cost savings implemented.

    Power supply .... very different and makes a BIG difference in how the pre performs. My feeling is wall warts don't measure up for mic pres. They are fine on EQs, drum machines and other devices but mic pres often require a lot of current to bring very low signals up to line level without running out of headroom or bandwidth. For full bass extension, effortless high end response and lots of reserve headroom, I have not yet found anything in the wall wart category that measures up ...

    Different circuit boards ... more LSI (large scale integration) and SMT (surface mount technology) on the 101 than the 201. While this is no biggie with newer units as they age, future serviceability may become an issue especially if the model goes out of production and sub assemblies become unavailable.

    SMT circuit boards are very difficult to replace individual components on without the correct jigs. This is the main reason I don't like SFM technology. Another reason is the actual components used in SFM stuff are LSI chips, often with hundreds of parts stuffed into a single chip. While this is handy, up to this point chip to chip consistency has been an issue, although this situation is improving as technology advances.
  7. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Ashtronaut, I've had quite a bit of experience with the M177 and found that in the end it just doesn't seem to be a good (male) vocal mic for the very reason you're giving. The vocals come out boxy and almost "spitty" in the midrange. While I love that mic for acoustic guitar with certain preamps and background vocals (using the pad) you may find a little more joy with the new mics you're considering.
  8. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Sorry to stir your pot, but I might sneak in a recommendation for the Safesound P1. If I could only keep one <$600 preamp, it would probably be this one. So versatile and the sound is good. I still run my Brick and SCA stuff through it just for the expander, high-pass filter, (yeah I know big whoop, but it sounds better than the one on some mics), and the compressor if you don't have a LA2A or something for tracking vocals.

    BUT! The Brick sounds a little fatter or something.
  9. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    I only have experience with the brick, but I can say buying it will not be a mistake or money pissed away. Its a great sounding unit. How it compares with the other is a subjective thing that only you can decide.
  10. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    the 101 is smaller- probably easier to pass through customs.... :D
  11. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I've never used the Grace 101, but I hear it is nice and transparent. I have the Brick and absolutely love it on vocals and guitar! It's a flip of the coin on which you want to buy....a little color or really clean? So far the Brick has a permanent home with me because there is always going to be something to use it on no matter what upgrades I make.
  12. Ashtronaut

    Ashtronaut Guest

    Done! Brick it is...no more thinking for me on this. Thanks everyone on the inputs.

    Kurt - Yup i've heard the circuit argument before somewhere in this forum and i'd forgotten about it...thx for reminding me about that one again.

    Maintiger - Man! that last point is really a killer for consideration. No KIDDING! you don't know our Indian customs...but then again you haven't met my friend - Mr motormouth can drive himself through any situation :D . Thx again (oh and i must say i'm considering the K2 mic after having read all your recommendations.)

    Thanks everyone. My next post will be only after i get the gear - brick+K2.
  13. Ashtronaut

    Ashtronaut Guest

    And oh, reggie, sorry man I just can't research another pre (Safesound P1)

    Poof! Brain circuitry overload...you have to understand my problem - none of these units to see/hear, no access to a studio or friends who've got a unit, NOTHING! Just you guys and your experiences/reviews to base my decision on.

    err...And I have to say that it's the first time i'm hearing the name of this pre? (just shows how much i know on the subject.)

  14. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    thats the first ive heard of it as well any one else use this thing looks interesting.
  15. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    hey ashtronaut good luck with your pre. I am sure you are going to get very good use put of it. come back and let us know!
  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    and by the way, I just noticed that these are your first 4 posts, all in this thread- welcome to RO!
  17. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    by the way, what kind of music are you doing?
    I find the grace 101 work real good for more classical styles, including jazz. For rock and roll you would be better off with the brick. 8)
  18. Ashtronaut

    Ashtronaut Guest

    Rock...it is!
    (A mix of coldplay/floyd melacholic stuff with just a smidgeon of electronica ... well that's for my album... for the money, well, just about any kind of music , but mostly here in india, it's fusion kinda stuff...hint of tabla/sitar/indian classical singing on drum and bass/electronic stlye music.)

    And thanks for the welcome, maintiger! This site is quite something...
  19. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    hey astro check out my band, links in the sig. thats almost exactly the way i would describe them.
  20. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    goes to show you how the world is shrinking- frob in cali and astro in india playing basically the same music...

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