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Avalon U5 colour

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by unguitar, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    I would like to try one of these things to di my electric guitar.
    Can you please anticipate what would I have to expect ?
    I mean: which is ( if there is) the dominant colour character of the U5 ?
    Is the tone control a variable thing or is it a sort of "preset" eq curve selection ?
  2. Lonewalker

    Lonewalker Active Member

    It's got 5 tone "colours" you can choose from that are EQ curves (not variable) that are supposed to be "tailored" to certain instruments. I used it for bass a few times with great success! Kind of limited, but a nice tone, none-the-less! It's pretty clean to me.
  3. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    I have had the chance to try one today and finally understand about the tone presets.
    It is a great di for sure.
    I tested with my old tc electronic (pedal) preamp/booster ( I have been very happy to see that it kept the test very well, more than expected). Also, I was lucky to find another interesting box: Spl Gainstation... wow !
    This is a different beast as it is also a mic pre with two signal paths: one solid and one valve ( that you can mix together).
    I left the store's studio very confused and, while going out I have seen they also had the third thing I wanted to try: a Summit 2BA-221.
    I already planned to go back and give the Avalon and the Spl a deeper test, but now I am even more happy I can check all the 3 boxes together, side by side.
    If it happens you already know something about these other 2 boxes, please send me advices !
  4. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    I own a U5.
    It's great on bass, and I've had some real nice success with the U5 on acoustic guitar. I never tried it on electric guitar...But it's marketed more or less as a bass DI.
    As far as sound...I can only talk about what it will do to your bass guitar sound. Like I said, I don't use it much on guitar.
    It does add some sub-harmonics and between the 5 different settings, it's fairly easy to get a great sound real quick.
    I bought mine for use as a bass DI.
    Hope this helps

    FYI- I have seen Eric Clapton uses a U5 on his acoustic live setup.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    The Summit is nothing short of an AMAZING box. For DI, it's simply wonderful. As a mic pre, it's worth at least 4 times its price! Considering its flexibility, I would bump it up even a notch or two more.

    If you're looking for a DI that you can run through the gammut of colors and a preamp that is just so damn sweet, you can't live without it, the 2BA-221 IS the box for you!

    I should SELL these things!

  6. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    Hi Cucco,
    I was suspecting the Summit could be a nice thing to give a try to...
    The only thing that keeps me a little bit cold is that, between the 3 Di's, it's the only one not having a minimal tone shaping tool at the line in....
    What is the dominant colour/character you feel the 2BA-221 has ?

    thanks a lot and... funny, the label that produced a recording project I'm in is called "sublime-label"
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Luca -

    Yeah, I had to mis-spell sublime as sublyme b/c so many people have it trademarked in various fashions in the US.

    As for the inputs - the DI and the preamp are built on continuously variable gain stages. The solid state and the tube gain stages can be used as much or as little as possible.

    Therefore, the color can be varied infinitely. Only the line in is only solid state, the DI and the Preamp are both variable tube and solid state.

    So, in short, any color you want. Personally, I think the sound is sweet and accurate. If you want it to be fat, it can certainly be fat.

  8. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    I didn't find any information more than what is on Summit's website, but I see that it has a line in on the fron panel and I imagine it has a mic in on the back together with at least one output.
    I see that the line in ( where I thought I'd insert my guitar signal) is a just solid state path.
    Is there another input on the rear (what you call DI ) that can accpet instrument levels ?

    Happy to have found one that has one 2ba-221, I was excited by trying this box. Summit didn't reply to me even after the second request I sent them.

  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Luca -

    Yes, there is definitely a DI input on the back. The front truly is only a line input and stays on the solid state gain.

    As for contacting them - give them a call. E-mail can suck sometimes.

    Everytime I've called them, I've had nothing but positive experiences.

  10. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    Can this DI input be pushed to act a real preamplifier ?
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    All 70+ dB of gain.

  12. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    I finally had the chance to compare AVALON U5, SUMMIT 2BA-221 and SPL GAINSTATION1.
    I will give my humble consideration on the test I've done.
    Set up was: electric guitar ( Klein with Joe Barden) > tested preamp > Soundsculpture Switchblade > Allen & Heath Mixer > Genelec 1032.
    The Avalon was revealing, really clean. The setted eqs seemed to be tailored for bass really, I dind't find one good for my gtr and preferred to work flat.
    The Summit was really thick, especially when tube was engaged. The slow tube engaging was opening the sound and enriching it with harmonics, very nice in single notes playing. I found it a little too confused when playing chords.
    Spl was one of the biggest surprises I've found in the latest years.
    It is a more expensive unit and also offers more controls ( including a sort of compressor) and an output control.
    The full solid state sound was great for clean clean guitar, both single notes and chords and I found it perfect with my fretless guitars.
    Adding the tube slowly revealed a nice shifting in the sound, adding some crispness, while staying perfectly clean ( the output control helped to balance solid state/ tube).
    The sound with solid state at 9 o'clock and the tube at 12 was one of the best sounds I've heard: rich like an alembic F2-B and clean like an Avalon 737.
    The dynamic was absolutely the best of the trio and so was the detail and deepness, at the end it was the one which made me want to play, forgiving the test.
    It has been the first time in my life I felt I had to write my compliments to the building company, and I did it.

    I admit I am a unusual guitarist and I feel myself being more a musician than an instrumentalist, I use music to try to evoking emotions and I love the tools which make me feel in the best mood to achieve this and allow me to present a high quality musical result, deep and wide.

    If it happens you see one of those yellow bricks around, I suggest you to give it a try.

    My best,
  13. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    green and red are the colours i've gotten out of it! anyone got the blue note or the dreaded brown note out of this thing?


    ok, har har har. just recorded one of these things about 3 days ago. don't know what settings i used, cause i just twist the knob until it sounds good. but my entire point being, it did sound quite good. a lot better than most DI's that i've used. highly reccomend these things.


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