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Anyone tested the Aphex 207 or the Pre-73 ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pcrecord, May 28, 2013.

  1. pcrecord

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

    I was looking for used gear in my area and found :
    An Aphex 207 dual pre for 300$ and a Golden Age Project Pre 73 for 200$

    I own a dbx 576 (tube pre and tube compressor combo) and while it's being bashed alot on forums, it served me ok for years. But I'm looking for little update and have some options. (mainly for vocals, guitars etc...)

    I like the idea of the 207 for stereo recording (guitars - overhead) and I wonder how it sounds.. even on vocals...
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The Aphex is a decent unit. Not sure if its "better" than the DBX but it has some quality if used well. By this I mean you can't ask it to do things its not designed to do. It will work as a stereo pre quite well. Not a lot of 'character' but good gain and clarity. The Golden Age is a circuit design that is a classic but it has cheap components in it. Its one of those newer generation things that has the capability for upgrading with better parts.
  3. pcrecord

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

    I guess not adding a lot of colour is not a bad thing when you want an all purpose preamp. Lot of character is a waste when it's bad character :wink:
    I'm planning for a more high-end preamp in the future. But I don't want to spend 1000-3000$ just now. I'd like to buy a 2-610 Dual Channel Tube Preamplifier or a Avalon eventually...

    So as long as it's better than my soundcraft's preamps, I'll be happy !
  4. pcrecord

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

    Should I spend a bit more for a focusrite isa one ?
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Spend an even bit more and get the ISA two. Its worth every penny. Absolutely one of the best values.
  6. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I can't say I've ever like anything from Aphex that I've ever bought, including the 460 tube mic modded by Dave Thomas. Personal taste I guess. And of course so many people love their Pre73. But the pre's on my ZED14 have slaked my lust for outboard pre's for going on 6 years now, seriously.

    Keeping in mind the instruments I track are AC guitars, vocals, hand percussion, native american flutes, guitar amps, and the occasional exotic instrument like tanpura and berimbau. ZED pre's give me enough headroom, plenty of gain, they're very clean with a hint of sweet; never harsh in the high's, very solid lows, and an accurate midrange.

    ZED pre's are very fast (slew rate) and power my AT mics very well to spec. They also play nice with my 012's and my Alice mic. The EQ section is quite usable as well but I rarely EQ when tracking and EQ mostly ITB these days. One thing I don't like is the pre's are designed for low impedance mics. If you have any high impedance mics, forget about it. This is where the difference is between ZED pre's and high $$ pre's.

    If you can audition one at your local pro audio shop they're worth a listen. Grab a 4033, plug it in and see what you think.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i second the motion for the isa's. can't speak to the pres in the Zed but if they are at all typical to most table top mixers the sound may be sweet and solid but they probably lack the sense of depth and dimension a better mic pre like the isa offers.

    you have to hear it first before you can notice the lack of it in the more "budget minded" pres. it takes robust power supplies and premium build characteristics to get that dimension effect, which is like hearing a front to rear element. get that happening in stereo and you really have something. i really doubt the Zed pres do that. the isa's will.
  8. pcrecord

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

    I currently own a A&H mixwizzard 16.2 and a soundcraft with 32 lines ( the one I use for recording ). The A&H preamps are very clean but a bit harsh in the hi frequencies to record (to my taste of course) My old Soundcraft preamps lack a bit of precision for vocals and acoustic instruments, but for the rest, they're ok.

    So the Isa One, is taking a hold of me, but I also consider the ART pro MPAII ( for it to be stereo and lower price)

    Any comments on the MPAII vs the aphex 207 vs the Isa One ?
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i have an mpaII, it's decent. i wouldn't say it really has much of a "sound", certainly not 'tubey'. it's clean, quiet, and 'fuller' than most stock interface type pres. having not used the isa, i can't compare them, but the mpa is a step up from stock pres, and likely better than what ya got in the board. I've used the mpa on all the usual stuff and it does decent. It's curently the drum overhead pre down at the studio, cuz my boss took the Manely dual tube over to the new one. ugh, lol.

    It's no manley, but, using it has not made us use the OH's any less. it's a little less smooth, overall, and doesn't have that little "thing' that the high end stuff does but, it's okay. i wouldn't buy 12 of them... but 2 or for channels of it is money well spent. you can get 'em used pretty cheap, and the digital one allows you to make use of your spdif if ya got it. also many people say that swapping out the cheapo stock tubes, makes a significan't improvement, for pretty low cash.

    the coolest thing i've done w/ the mpaII is run the input gain really hot, w/ a guitar plugged in direct, and feed that to an amp sim. it actually made the distortion in amplutube 3 (or 4, what ever the newest one is) acceptable. made a huge difference. it doesn't overdrive pleasantly otherwise, but really breathes good life into amp sims.

    if you want something w/ a "sound" in your 300 price range, the presonus eureka kills. if it was made in the USA, and didn't say presonus, it would sell for over a grand. the pre or compressor alone beat anything in the 300 price range, you get both, plus a decent eq. this is a 'real' channel strip, it's beat out neve and api stuff, in blind tests of some very experienced people i trust.(in they're studio, and they owned all the gear already, so it wasn't them just being 'cheap' or price biased) i have favored it over the manley on some things as well. the studio channel, is not the same. the eureka is the magic one, and used it's right in your range, and has a digital out option. Def worth i try vs the MPAII, and the ISA one. wouldn't be surprised if you found the eureka more useful, given that you can patch right into the eq, and compressor circuits.
  10. pcrecord

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

    I decided to invest and bought a new Focusrite ISA two !
    I just had time to install it and make some speech tests + instrument input test. So far I can tell, there's an obvious difference in the frequency response and the noise floor is very low.
    I'll let you know the results when I get time to do A B tests...
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The 'magic' knob is the hpf filter used in conjunction with the impedance selector. I usually run mine on the ISA110 setting. It makes some mics extra special.
  12. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Coyotetrax:"I can't say I've ever like anything from Aphex that I've ever bought, including the 460 tube mic"
    APEX made that -err, imported - that mic...
    APHEX makes broadcast/studio gear, most notably the Aural Exciter and the Compellor. Different companies.
    Too bad Aphex is no longer Marvin Caesar's company, now it's some dude who hypes the fact that he designed a stereo for Ferrari's...
  13. OtherExacerbater

    OtherExacerbater Active Member

    I like my 2 GAP-73's, some slight mods in them and have never been a big fan of anything Aphex. If you want a nice clean and transparent 2 channel pre i'd splurge a little more on an FMR RNP $475 new(also a rnp and rnc in funk logic rack on ebay for 400) or wait til August when Line Audio sends out more stock of there 2MP $437 but shipped from overseas. Both are fantastic for the price
  14. pcrecord

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

    Just a reminder that I bought a Focusrite ISA 2 and I'm really happy about it.
    Of course the thread can live on for others to read the comments ;)
  15. Matt Hepworth

    Matt Hepworth Active Member

    For those that still care:

    The dbx 576 is a very boring pre, but has just a touch of tubey sound. The ISA is the solid state equivalent of it and has a bit better transient reproduction. I do like the ISA on snare bottom, though.

    Because those pres above are so boring, they can be used on just about anything with reasonable results.

    The Avalon 737 is a honky version of the dbx. Definitely on the not so good side of the more expensive preamps. It is a great bass DI, however, which is pretty much the only thing mine gets used for. Of course, I don't do much hip hop, which is the one place people like the boring, but honky pre sound.

    The UA 2-610 is a nice, full tube pre. The original version (grey face) clips easily. The later ones offer a pad. Sound is a bit dark, but fairly smooth and definitely tube. Mine gets a lot of use. The EQ easily makes it not so dark.

    The Aphex is fine and difficult to clip. A good budget piece that's a step up from the pre on a typical interface.

    Haven't used the Golden Age stuff, as I have the real deals, but people seem to concur that it's definitely in the same ocean as the Neve sound.
  16. dortego

    dortego Active Member

    Perhaps I'm too green to all of this but I personally like the Aphex J-Pre 500 for the price. Still, it's far from entry level but I primarily use it for vocals in broadcast.
  17. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I didn't see this reply from Moonbaby until now. Totally my bad, sorry; you're right. And pretty sad actually since I have one of the original Compellor's. I don't use it much and typically favor my RNC over it when tracking with compression. Mostly because the RNC is so quiet and I like the sound sound of it. But the Compellor is great for hand percussion when I need it. Anyway, I apologize for the erroneous post.

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