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How to dial in a Sebatron 4000e?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by DerGoetz, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. DerGoetz

    DerGoetz Guest

    Excuse my blunt question, I am fairly new to this.
    I just ordered the 4000e and although I have worked with preamps before (HHB Radius 10s) I have a few questions regrading the Sebatron.

    - There are no VU Meters for the signal. So, then HOW do I dial it in? On other preamps I set the gain according to the meter readouts...but in this case there is nothing. Please give me some advice on this issue.

    - Should I (just like I do it with new guitar amps) let it INITIALLY sit for 12 hours while switched on in order to break in the tubes before recording for the first time? It sure helps with guitar amps and is recommended by many manufacturers (Engl being one of them)

    - I will record using my FW-1884. Should I run the Sebatron into the line in? I hope I can avoid the Tascam's preamp section this way? And if so, what should my settings on the 4000e be in order to get the best results out of it? (level wise....again..this time output. Should I drive hard or...)

    Thank you for your help!


  2. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Order the four eyes. Or, start with your (input) gain knob at zero. Slowly turn up the gain until it starts to slightly distort. NOW, turn down the gain knob just under the spot where the unwanted distortion accured.

    Lets say... it sounds great at appox 1 o'clock (on the gain knob) ,but starts to sound "not so good" at about 2 o'clock (on the gain knob). Back it down to 1 o'clock or 12 o'clock. A little less will not hurt the sound. Or leave the gain knob at 1:30ish for a fully saturated sound.
    Lastly adjust the output gain knob to your recorders meter lights. So it will not clip your recorder inputs.
  3. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    There are two ways to do this:

    Either run the output of the Seb to the line in on the FW1884 and use the clip indicator on the FW1884 to let you know if you are running the output on the Seb too hot.


    Buy a Y-Splitter and run the Seb into the insert of the FW1884 through the "ring" side of the splitter. If you plug directly into the insert on the FW1884 the phase flips....you don't want that. Then you can still use the clip light on the FW1884 to monitor the signal.

    The benefit of doing the second way is that you are bypassing the preamp gain on the FW1884.

    I hope I've helped.
  4. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    It doesn’t have to be twelve hours. We already burn them in around two to four hours.
    Generally the valves will settle themselves within twenty or thirty minutes of power up but that doesn’t mean you can’t do an inspired take after three minutes …..

  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    You plug it in and you start tweaking...while listening. This isn't a painting, it's not a magazine. The only thing you need your eyes for is to find the knobs, switches and faders. How those knobs, switches and faders should be moved should be dictated by your ears. Let your ears be your guide. Forget all you see, or think you see.

    I thought that the answer to this would be obvious but I guess it isn't.
  6. DerGoetz

    DerGoetz Guest

    Thank you guys for this awesome advice!
    I'll get cracking as soon as the Preamp is here. Bets bet will be next weekend. We can hardly wait, and all your advice is appreciated!


  7. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    Forget all that, overdrive the channels thru each other!!!!
  8. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Hold the bus!
    Steven, have you even SEEN a Sebatron? There is NO input gain dial on the VMP series, only output. Input is controlled only by the 3 position pad switch.
  9. DerGoetz

    DerGoetz Guest

    That was my question exactly.

    It has a transformer balanced microphone Input which is Direct and then I can pad it at 0, -15 and -25.

    Soooooo...any advice? "by Ear"..I know. Hahha....but again, since there is no meter, "by ear" is obvioulsy all I have, right?
  10. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    what else is there?
    meters all lie to varying degrees.
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Repeating what's been said, do some extent - for recording I run the output of my SEB straight into my MOTU 24i. The 24i has LED meters as well as my tracking software - I use those meters to set levels.

    The 4000 is a very versatile rig - have fun with it!
  12. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Basically, the harder you hit the valve, the more of its colour you impart on the sound. Basically I start in the -25 position and then adjust to a point where it gives me the tone I'm after and also enough play on the output dial.

    Experiment. The Seb input can take a pounding so I doubt you'll overload it.
  13. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Also, the models with VUs only measure output anyway, which is really pointless as you can monitor that on your DAW or whatever else you are pluging it into.

    The only reasons to use a VU in this case is to impress clients, or maybe in a live situation it's handy just to confirm that a signal is present.

  14. miroslav

    miroslav Active Member

    I've had my 4000e for about 6-7 months now...and have been using it quite a lot on vocals, electric guitars, piano...

    I set the I/O on the 4000e based on two things:

    1. How much "color" I want from the preamp.
    2. How much signal I want to hit the next stage with.

    I usually start at -30...adjust my filters, and then I turn up the Output 'til I get the desired level at the Input of my next stage (Comp, EQ, Mixer, deck, DAW...).
    When I get the right amount of Output level...I listen to the sound...if I want it a bit fatter/fuzzier...I may go to -15 on the 4000e...and the re-adjust my Output to suit the next stage.
    Sometimes I'll take it to 0dB...but that's rare, as the signal is quite hot...though if I'm trying to "drive" a compressor hard, for a particular amount of crunch...I may not want to just set the Comps Threshold to -40 in order to get more reaction from the Comp.
    Instead...I may raise the Output on the Sebatron...and that way I can lower my Threshold on the Comp.

    It's a lot of twiddling of knobs back and forth 'til you find settings you like.
    After working with the 4000e the last several months...I can do a very quick “flip & turn” and I'm good to go.
    Also, as I track different things in my studio...I always keep notes of the signal chain and the settings for all devices in the chain.
    That way...I can easily review my notes in case I'm not sure how I want to set things...but I remember that on a particular track I did, I really liked the sound I got.

    On many things...I've got it down to basics.
    Like if I set the Sebatron to -30 and the Output to "7"...and then decide I want to a bit more grit...I flip to -15 and turn the dial down to "4"...then I fine tune.

    If you use any other gear (Comp, EQ...) in between the 4000e and your recording device...you will find that there is a lot of room for twisting those knobs and still getting a lot of useable results.
    It's not about surgical precision.
  15. DerGoetz

    DerGoetz Guest

    Thank you guys, all of you, this is amazing advice and I dont even know what to say!


    Now I cannot wait till Saturday when I get my Sebatron. I feel prepared, haha!

    One last question, the line in's on my FW-1884, they say (balanced).
    Can I run the preamp in there or should I go through the regular inputs?
    I know the whole y-tip thing was explained earlier, but that was chinese to me, haha. Sorry, I am new to this.


  16. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    plug it in.
    The Seb has 1/4" and XLR outputs - so you can use whichever suits you.
  17. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    The Bus retired, after winning the superbowl
    Ohhh, snap. Your right Markd102. Thanks for setting me straight. I should have googled a picture prior to posting. Sorry for the bad info DerGoetz. In my defense, ALL my preamps have input gain knobs, every single one. But I haven't bought a Sebatron, yet.
    Anyday now
  18. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    ..... looks like Gotz got the problem sorted out with ease..... :cool:


    "Heya Sebastian.
    I never have the urge to write anyone to thank him after I have dropped $$$$ , hahha, but this time around it’s due.
    Thank you for making such a killer pre-amp. You pretty much have saved our band, we had no clue of how to capture our REAL band sound on DAW, until now.
    We hooked the preamp up, dialed it in for 60 seconds (nothing but levels) and next thing you know we hear, for the very first time, OUR band over the monitors.
    We are running an Engl Powerball and a Peavy 5150mkII and so far they always sounded “solidstaty” over the DAW. Not anymore, thanks to you and your products!
    Cheers and regards,


    Thanks Gotz , and everyone reading this ,
    and Happy Easter !!! :lol:


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