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Avalon U5 overkill?

Discussion in 'Preamps & Processing' started by Zeppel, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Zeppel

    Zeppel Guest

    Hi, first post here... on to it:

    I'se used and listened to avalon U5 and since i'm getting my own studio together to record some stuff for a album (recording what i can at home to save studio time and $$) i was thinking about getting one for lectric guitar clean and bass...

    Bur i saw this second hand focusrite tonefactory much cheaper second hand (nobody is selling their U5's yet) and i can't listen before buy.. on the very subjective real of "what sounds best" as nyone listened to both? Will the U5 be overkill and i'll be well served with the focusrite? It was sort of very well spoken of some years ago...

    Any help is appreciated.. if i get the focusrite and i'm rite i'll sel it again, but i would just save time in case it's .. crap in comparison..

  2. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    the brick is a nice alternative and its cheaper and also gives you a quality pre
  3. Is GT and Kel paying for this website or something? "Get The Brick" and "Kel HM-1's rock" seem to be the only responses I'm seeing to questions about pro-audio gear. I think this is a terrific website, but this is bordering on ludicrous. Am I the only one that has noticed this? I'll retract this post if it's just me.
  4. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    It's not just you, but all pro-audio websites have a particular piece of gear that the regulars get a hard-on for. I think a lot of the KEL lovage here comes from Kurt's review, and the subsequent purchase by more people here. The Brick may hold true to that (or similar) argument as well.

    In addition to that, those are two products that really do stand out in the market in their respective price ranges. I personally like the KEL's a lot not because they're going to make my Lawson obsolete, but because they're a different sounding mic than every other $99 offering, and most mics upwards of that as well.
  5. Oh, I certainly didn't mean they weren't worthy products to own- whether they are or not- I just mean that this seems to be the obligatory response to any pro-audio thread. Instead of "yeah, the Avalon U5 is worth the money over the focusrite, IMHO" it's, (paraphrased) "buy a GT Brick instead." not to pick on anyone specificially, it just happened to be the scenario this time.
  6. Zeppel

    Zeppel Guest

    Actually, being new to this forum i did check out older posts regarding "the brick" after maintiger (thanks for the reply) suggested it... it's incredible how much has been said about this DI in the past, and the curious thing is that i've actually never heard of it before... must be because i'm in europe, here we get different gear because of geographical proximity to germany (lot's of manufacturer's there).. things like the Radial JDV and Manley gear are almost impossible to get around here... it's like only one store in the whole country carries it.. but i'm digressing.. back to the point: i did check the "the brick" thing, and it's interesting... BUT: i never go by the media talk, i've only seen GOOD publicity about this Pre, and that makes me doubt it, even Radial says on their page, without shame, that the U5 is better than their products, Groove Tubes short of claims the brick to be jesus reincarnated... anyway i'll check it out.. if it's that good then they're intitled to advertise it, if not, well, just another myth shattered... just don't know where to listen to one... the fact is that i would not buy one new without hearing it over a Avalon U5... not for all the publicity in the world.. it's not that cheap just-to-see-if-it-works!

    What i'm looking for is a professional class-a pre.. it would be nice having a tube, but it's not a must.. and if i was going tube i would get a Manley Mono Tube Direct, maybe the Summit B-something if i could find it in Europe... hence my question about the Focusrite.. since their gear is pro gear, i wonder if this Tonefactory thing, being of their cheaper Platinum line, is up to standards..

    the sounds i'll record with the pre will be present on a actual commercial record, so i can't skimp on quality of the DI, flatness, noise floor, electric interferences, magnetic shielding and whatever you may think is important.. i need a really PRO di box.. i know the Avalon U5 is such a unit.. are the Focusrite and Groove Tubes units also top notch gear? It's rather stupid to record one of the best 7-strings in the world (in my opinion) -the ibanez universe- through Lynx converters, on to 500$ sofware (guess wich?) processing the sound, renting studio time to record drums, and destroy all that because the DI is noisy and not-that-good :)

    The guy with the second hand Focusrite Tonefactory is waiting for my reply.. so, anybody listened to it yet?


  7. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Guess what? It's probably going to make about 2% of difference in the overall sound anyway, and I'd bet you the price of the unit that the BEST thing anyone posting here can do to improve their sound is to go home and PRACTICE.

    I swear, if I had a nickle for every one of these posts about "which preamp should I buy?" - as if it makes a damn bit of difference at the bedroom studio level - I'd be a rich man.

    Serously, sure, there's a lot of great preamps out there, if you've got the bucks to blow. But aside from pushing them to their extremes to get that odd and unusual characteristic you might need for this screaming guitar solo or that overly crunched bass track, most of them are going to give you the about the same thing when running at the midline/idling level. Most of the time the percieved difference is level anyway. Yes, LEVEL, that's often the only difference, but most don't want to believe that, esp after spending so much money on these holy-grail pre's.

    Assuming it works up to spec, just how BAD would the focusrite sound, anyway? And what's wrong with recommending the brick?

    Both are great boxes. Take chance! ;-) I'll bet you you'll get the same results out for your recordings with either of those, or a Mackie Onyx pre. Yeah, that's right: An ONYX pre.

    But hey, it's your $$$, spend it any way you like. :cool:
  8. Zeppel

    Zeppel Guest

    Well, that was a good reply, and for me there's nothing wrong by recommending the brick, i thanked it.... i'll just try the focusrite thing, whatever, it's obvious nobody actually listened to both, i can sell it at the same price again if it's no good for guitars (hope those pinch harmonics ring out), and i'll even post somewhere on this forum about the difference between it and a Avalon U5 for the record, in case someone one day has a similar problem.. ditto

    for the record, i would like to say, seeing i've heard them recording guitar parts on a studio for a band around here (i'm a guitarist by trade, not a producer (whatever)) that high quality mic pres/DIs do have a different "feel" at any level, i really canĀ“t explain it, i'm not skilled enough to quite put my finger on it, but you "know" when a pre is right for a certain sound, even with the same part being played on the same instrument.. it's night and day.. of course i admit that the final consumer couldn't care less if the sound was 0.001% different, but in the studio .. well, one cares... it's our love child :)

    I'm done, thanks for the help!

  9. Makula

    Makula Guest

    To say something about the brick, if you might be considering it: I own it, and believe it is an awesome all around pre. Youve probably read alot of statements similar to this on RO, but I loved the brick before I heard of this site or before I read one good review about it. If you are looking for bass DI , this is the box. And it's cheap (300-400 used), and tube. I can't say much about the U5 or Focusrite cause Ive never heard 'em.
  10. SeniorFedup

    SeniorFedup Guest

    a good one for its money is the dbx 162sl. you can get it at best for around 2k U$ in total , now if your gonna have a home studio then most likely, your gonna want to rely on some plug ins once in a while, am i right?. URS makes a plugin called fulltec-eq. for about two hundred U$. thats about all you would need when it comes to the a good sounding pre setup like the studios ( assuming you have at least one decent mic ,some recording experience and money to spend 2.2k U$) to have a close to studio like sound but rather than paying two thousand for a 32 channel controller or a secoya software program thats in the 3k range, a decent cubase sx , or a logic express can solve that problem so that you can save up for stuff that matters like preamps and mics. i had a friend that used an onyx with i think a 002 setup and i wasn't a bit impressed
  11. vaibhs

    vaibhs Guest

    welll nuthin much for me to say
    actually am a newbie too and having a tough time finding the minor diffs
    but lets hope tht i come up to tht level one daY TOO
  12. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    your paraphrasing is definitely slanted to make your own point. Here is my actual complete quote:

    "the brick is a nice alternative and its cheaper and also gives you a quality pre"

    it was definitely NOT the scenario, contrary to what you suggest.
    The point was that in the brick you get a mic pre as well and its a nice alternative for the money- definitely not a 'buy a brick instead thing"

    But of course Joe H was definitely right when he said:

    "Both are great boxes. Take chance! I'll bet you you'll get the same results out for your recordings with either of those, or a Mackie Onyx pre. Yeah, that's right: An ONYX pre.

    But hey, it's your $$$, spend it any way you like. "

    Cheers 8)
  13. unguitar

    unguitar Active Member

    Apr 9, 2004
    Sorry to come late but I thought to report my thoughts about the same DI/Preamp search.
    I tested three boxes side by side with what I consider the most difficult instrument to DI: electric guitar.
    The boxes were: Avalon U5, Summit 2ba-221 and Spl Gainstation1.
    To make it short, all were great and very different but:
    The summit was very nice with the solid state circuit and more and more muddy (especially in the midrange) while you were adding more tube channel (while compensating the solid circuit).
    The Avalon was alive and very detailed but I found the 5 eq presets being very bass-tailored and making it a bass dedicated box.
    The Spl has been one of the best surprises of these last years for me.
    The sound was rich, detailed, very dynamic even with just the solid state path engaged. The attack was very fast and defined. Engagin the tube path allowed a lot of nuances, which I found be wider than the ones offered by the U5. It is one of the instruments that made me want to play while testing. I kept the Spl. At the end I find having an astonishing DI plus a very good mic preamp and a nice compressor all in one box that, even if it was the most expensive of the test, didn't took more than 10 seconds to make me go for it and never cry for the decision.
    I can consider myself being very boring when it comes to sound quality (sorry for all the ones who work with me) and this has been one of the very few boxes that made me happy with no reserve.
    Hope I didn't show up late....
    my best,
  14. redbort

    redbort Active Member

    Jun 15, 2005
    just like they recommend FMR RNC as a compressor
    and i've gotten the kel from comments on this site,
    and it was a great purchase i'd say....
    as is the RNC for anyone looking for a good compressor

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