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Anyone still use Sytek preamps ?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by pcrecord, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Hi !
    I've been in the market of a 4 preamps unit and been looking for ISA428 or Daking or something similar.
    Thing is my budget is limited (like everyone says) and I've came by the Sytek which is well priced and got good reviews.
    The problem is, I can't have any reviews or discussion about them since 2009'
    I went on their website, their review links are old, the site is also old and they use gmail addresses..
    I sent an email just to know the shipping delay and they answered within the hour.

    They seem to have a good product at an affordable price but, I kind of fear the seriousness of the company and the fact that they are kind of underground, unless it's just one guy that does it all..
     
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The Sytek is transformerless, the ISA has an input transformer, and the Daking uses transformers on in and out. This doesn't make one better than the other and in my experience, these all are similar in sound. The ISA has more features with the inclusion of the variable HPF and the impedance switching as well as the ability to house a digital card creating a possible 8X8 channel with conversion. If have you another 4 channels of something you can bus it into the 428 for this purpose. The card is very very good. The Sytek comes from a company known for their consoles and I believe these are the same mic pres in the Neotek boards. You can get them with a Burr-Brown Op-amp as an option. They are basic and have serious gain for days. The Daking has a separate power supply and is a keep-it-simple-stupid kind of box. I think it has a deeper sound field than the others. This choice would be based solely on need as the performance is going to similar in every case. I own the 428 and use it every session. I have a friend with a Daking and it sounds great. I have tracked on a Neotek and had no complaints.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I have 4 x ISA already so I know them well and wouldn't hesitate to buy more specially if I can find a used 428 at a good price..
    I find the Sytek clean side and low price appealling since I already have colored preamps.. Not sure how colored the burr brown option is tho...
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Correct, Dave. Well, at least that's correct for the Neotek Elan' desk that I had for awhile - just before I bit the bullet and went kicking and screaming into the digital age.

    When I had the Elan' ('92 - '94?) Sytek was actually the parent company for Neotek, so it would make sense that the stock XFO's would be Sytek. I don't know if there was a particular transformer that hey had in mind when they designed them - like some XFO's that are out there, that are meant to mimic the sonic character of certain well-known pre's - like API, Neve, etc.

    If I had to guess, and having worked on both, I'd probably put the Syteks into a somewhat similar sonic category as SSL's - which as we know were not used for their character, because there wasn't any real "character" to speak of, really; they were more often desired for their "fast" sound - very quick response, with a clear sound; much more on the transparent side than Neve's, Tridents, API's...

    The Syteks were really good pre's ... No real "color" to speak of, but they didn't sound "sterile" either... clean, open, very quiet, nice gain... great for tracks where a cleaner sound was desired - acoustic instruments, vocals, etc.

    I can neither confirm nor deny that Sytek pre's came stock with every Neotek Console, but they were in the Elan' desk that I had.

    As with any serious console manufacturer, Neotek did offer additionally priced "options" for factory mods, along with automation and other utility features (like phase scopes and such); they also offered optional preamps as well, if you wanted something
    custom-built.

    IIRC, for a while, on select console models, Neotek also offered factory installed options for input and output stages; Cinemag and Jensen for XFO's, and even Neve and API as OpAmps - if you could afford them.

    Of course that doesn't reflect what certain console owners would do on their own - "those" guys - the ones who are great at modding audio gear; which would then open up the possibilities to all sorts of gain combinations/options.

    @pcrecord ...

    All that being said, if you're looking for a really clean sound - big, open, and transparent - you already know that your best bet is to go with something that has no transformers.... Grace, Millennia, Great River, SPL ...

    You've already got plenty of color, pal. I'm in a similar boat. Like you, I've got plenty of preamps with character, ( XFO's, Tubes) so I've decide that my next mic pre is going to be as transparent, and as high gain, as I can afford - so far, all the arrows are pointing towards a Grace.

    Don't know if these would be of any interest to you, but I'll post the links anyway. ;)


    Mic Pre Shootout 1

    Mic Pre shootout 2



    FWIW
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Thanks Donny, I saw those video some time ago and saddly they don't includ the sytek.
    I woudn't hesitate about Sytek if it wasn't about their poor website with <2002 broken links, gmail emails and when you search the web, the youngest talks about it is in 2009...
    You should know that being an IT I value online representation and a website well done and up to date. For the email.. it costs nothing to make a dns redirection to have an email with your domain. To me it just demonstrate a lack of seriousness and a doubts about their services.. I know I know, I'm just aggravating for nothing ;)
    The positive side is that I got a fast answer to my email and they have Paypal

    The only video I get on youtube is this one and to me all the preamps sound like crap. Probably because of the room, the guitar, player or choice of mic or the bad conversion for youtube..


    Anyway, I still have a couple months to put money down. So I got time to think about it..
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yeah, I saw that one too, Marco... and felt the same way as you do, which is why I didn't shoot you the link. ;)
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    @pcrecord @audiokid

    Marco, Chris...

    Have you ever heard of LEV Mic pre's?

    I came across this while looking for transparent preamp shoot outs...

    This is the LEV Integrity II model, (which I'd actually never heard of before); it's a dual channel transformer-less pre; it's made in Israel, sports a healthy 65 db of gain, and is designed to be used when an ultra-clean/transparent reproduction is wanted.

    upload_2015-10-19_6-10-13.png

    I have no idea of the cost - as I said, I'd never even heard of them before - but the reviews I've read so far are all very positive:

    Soho Sonic Studios, London review
    Three months ago, Soho Sonic Studios was fortunate enough to be loaned a 'Lev Systems Integrity II' dual channel mic pre amp. The Lev is designed and hand made by one of Yoram Lev, Top recording and mixing engineer with 25 years of experience, Based in Israel. The Integrity II is a transformer-less design for a pristine and clear signal path; over the 3 months we had the "Integrity II", we used the pre amp in a wide variety of situations including tracking vocals, drums and acoustic instruments. We also held a blind pre amp 'shout out' where we compared it to the other pre amps available in our studio.
    We found the Lev to sound extremely transparent and clean. The mic amp has loads of gain, and was an appropriate choice whenever we wanted to capture a sound without noise or coloration. On drums, the Lev was very fast and snappy. The gain control offered low enough gain to be used without a pad on loud signals such as close micing kick and snare drums. In our shootout, we preferred the Lev on male vocals and softly picked acoustic guitar. It gave us a very clean and realistic representation of the sound source. We are happy to recommend this pre amp to any other studios looking for a clean and three dimensional sound.

    --------------------------------------
    MusicTech Magazine Review
    Many mic-pres available today are clones of, based upon or inspired by classic consoles such as Neve, Helios and the EMI -designed desks used in Abbey Road studios. It’s refreshing then to audition a high-quality preamplifier that has been designed from the ground up, making no claims to emulate equipment from the past, focusing purely on the best modern analog recording technology available today.
    The Integrity II is clearly a no-nonsense design; there are no tone controls or fancy devices to add saturation effects or vintage character. In fact, the LEV thrives on being
    devoid of obvious character, preferring to be faithful to the character of the microphones used with it. Initial impressions of the Integrity II were entirely positive. There was no detectable hiss or hum from the unit even when the gain was turned way up; the noise floor was vanishingly low. During our initial listening tests we used several different types of microphone, ranging from inexpensive dynamic types such as the Shure SM57 right up to our classic valve Neumann U67 condenser.
    What was immediately obvious was how
    incredibly transparent this unit is. Now this type of presentation can either be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view. Many respected mic preamps, both valve and solid-state, are loved precisely because of the character they impart onto audio signals. If you want a mic preamplifier to flatter your signal, sounding larger than life, rich and creamy or adding sparkle then look elsewhere. The Integrity II tells it like it is, offering an open window to your microphone collection with nothing added and nothing taken away. It’s this style of hear-through amplification that is perfect for presenting audio in an honest and accurate way; Integrity is the ideal name for this unit.

    Because this preamp gets out of the way and doesn’t try to impart its own sound on to your signals, you really get to hear the individual sound characteristics of microphones, so it was easy to hear the difference between our AGK C414 with its woody midrange and silky highs, and our U67 with its smooth, dark and expansive midrange with gently rolled-off upper frequencies.

    When using our lovely but insensitive Coles 4038 ribbon mic, we were impressed not only with how much headroom we had – the Integrity II offers 65dB of gain – but also how the sound remained consistent at all gain settings. Lesser preamps sometimes change in character as the level is increased, but not this one; as the gain was increased the sound simply got louder with no change is tone or scale.

    -John Pickford, MusicTech Magazine, June, 2015
    You can read the whole review here: http://www.musictech.net/2015/06/lev-solutions-integrity-ii-microphone-preamplifier/
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, there are some very nice samples HERE if you're interested.

    As I said, I have ZERO experience with this preamp - but it may be something for you to at least look into, if ultra clean / transparency is what you're into. ;)

    FWIW
    -d.
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    £1,499 for two channels (2300$USD). It way over my budget... The Sytek is 899USD for 4 channels.
    LEV have distributors in Germany and United kingdom only. That might be why we don't hear much of them in America...
    Altought it seems like a good product, it's their only product according to their website.
    We never know, they might expend rapidly and spread world wide in a few years.

    I still consider the Sytek but before I considered them, I was following the delivery status of the Audient ASP800 which seemed to never come.
    But what a surprise this morning, Audient started to ship !! I'll need to decide between the two when I get the money ! :)

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ASP800
    Audient says they use the same preamps in all their units and mixers.
    I think the ASP800 will be a step up from the Octopre which is what I'm aiming for.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have but its a distant memory. It looks to be a very good product. If I ever get a chance to get one, I'll be sure to follow up on it here.
     
    pcrecord likes this.

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