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Looking at UA 610 Solo and older M610 - Urgent questions!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by JesterMasque, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Could someone please contrast between the Universal Audio 610 Solo and the old version of the M610? Other than the number of inputs and price, what is the major difference between the two? Time is of the essence due to eBay auctions where the M610 is located.

    I will need to buy the piece by next Saturday when I start recording guitar for my latest client.

    Any questions? Please ask. Need to be rude about something? I do not take things personally, especially from mods and revered members.

    Thank you very much!
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Why Tubes? Are you looking to color things up? Are you looking for a better preamp?

    I worry about the perceived concept that 'tubes' make for more 'distortion' or a 'warmer' sound in recording gear.

    Its not just the fact that there are tubes present in a piece of gear, its how its wired up inside. The advent of vacuum tube technology must have been very frustrating for audio engineers who were always searching for CLEAN and CLEAR. They certainly werent looking for ANY type of distortion in their gear...tube or no........

    A huge majority of those great hige sounding records from the 70's and 80's didnt have a single tube in the recording chain.

    So what exactly are you trying to get?
  3. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Sorry I did not specify. I merely made an assumption that a tube preamp would be THE way to go.

    Yes, I am looking to color things up a bit. I really need a great preamp for use with certain applications such as guitar, bass, and vocals. Thus far, the weakest link in my chain is lack of "great" preamp (the XMAX ones in the FS are not bad, but you all know what I mean). I will not be making any other upgrades to the studio in the near future other than this because I am actually quite satisfied with everything that I am doing right now, with the exception of this of course.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Your budget, unfortunately, limits you to somethings that may or may not be 'great'.....while they may be 'better' than what you currently have and therefore 'great' in your application, they may not quite reach 'great' status in someone elses domain.

    For color, I think that Joe Meek has that end of the midpriced spectrum of things fairly well covered. I personally do not have very much experience with these units, but I know they have a reputation of being solid, fairly colored, performers and have some quality to their build.

    What my concern for you is, you arent going to find anything in your budget range that is going to blow you away at first listen.

    Research as much as possible.....look used all the way...perhaps by the time you make a decision (I know you need it now!) you will have found that perfect piece.

    Look to dbx 586 for a strip. Perhaps a single channel will be enough for your work flow. Single channels make it much more resonable and easier to find something in that range pricewise.

    One other pre might be the ART Pro MPA. Not really a 'colored' pre per se, but a decent sound at a very resonable price. Try to find the USA made ones.....a bit darker and more attitude.

    For that price, perhaps a pair of Symetrix 528 strips...Nothing fancy here...basic basic and great sounding....

    And the Joe Meek stuff. Older is better there too.

  5. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Also check out the Blue Robbie! This has had excellent reviews and favourable comparisons to Avalon pres! It is meant to be exceptional for bass and great on vocals! You can pick these up for as little as $599 now!!
    If you need 2 channels you could also look at the ART MPA Gold and upgrade the tubes! This would be a slightly cheaper option and it is a 2 channel pre!
  6. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    .....or an ART Pro MPA (ebay) and roll the tubes. I have 3 with different tube models in each, very distinct in their sounds. I do agree with davedog, though. Ain't nothing wrong with solid state, transformer based stuff. I hope to nail a piece like that fairly soon.
  7. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Thanks so much for everything guys! What about the GT Brick? I found one on eBay that is sealed new in the package for $400 and free shipping.

    I found a Joe Meek TwinQ on eBay for $650 BIN and free shipping. How would I go about connecting this thing to my setup? Would I run the XLR or 1/4" outputs into my FS? Or would run the optical S/PDIF? Also, does anyone have any other input on the Joe Meek stuff?

    I don't know about the ART. I really want something of higher quality than that... And dave, great in relation to my setup is what I'm looking for. I realize how my budget limits me and I really appreciate all of the choices you gave me. I am doing research on all of them as we speak.
  8. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    I also just found a Universal Audio M610 (older version) for sale for $750. Would a piece like this be worth the extra chunk of change? It is only one input however... I am worried about having two inputs beacuse when I record guitar I use a combination of an LDC and either a 57 or I5. If I were to buy a single input pre could I swing that and have it sound decent still? Which mic would I run where? This really sucks that I have to deal with all of this on such short notice, but these auctions will not last forever. Thanks everyone!

    Edit: At that rate, could someone contrast between the M610 and the 610 Solo? The Solo would give me dual inputs that I need and I could buy it brand new at the local GC for at least 15% off the asking price.
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    It's like Dave said-the older Joe Meek stuff is better than the new models. Why? Because originally they were made in the UK by Joe's engineer, Ted Fletcher. He still has design input, but now it's made in China. Only in name are they the same (hey, that rhymes!).
    The ART stuff is OK, I just bought a used Pro Channel for $150, and even then, only because I knew it's history and could thoroughly test it out. It's no worse, maybe a bit better than the new JM. Dave actually recommended it for bass, and he was right about that. I'm used to stuff that's better built, but beggars can't be choosey, and it's just another paintbrush, so to speak.
    I've owned a couple of The Bricks, they're great, but a bit limited in their control functions and interfacing. I sold them to get a Summit 2BA-211, outta your price range for a couple of those.
    And another 'channel strip' that's in the Symetrix 528 realm, but a real bargain, is the dbx 286a Mic Processor. Definitely a contender for its' dynamics alone.
    Edit: Are you sure that the 610 Solo can do 2 simultaneous inputs? It IS a single channel unit, better be careful. Also, you might do a search on the 610 models, I believe that there have been some complaints...
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Vinnie -

    I would strongly recommend at that price point to find a single preamp which works well. I can assure you, there are no strong pre's in that price range that include a solid tube stage and certainly none that have multiple inputs. (The Summit 2BA-221 is one of my favorite "cheap" tube pres though and it fits the price. It works on a variable tube input stage - in other words, it has a fully solid state input with gain also driving a tube input stage. You can increase the gain to the tube input stage to get greater saturation, but it's by no means a PURE tube input device.)

    The 610 for $750 would be a good bet. Don't worry about running the two mics from guitar cabs through the same input strip. I would suggest patching one of the mics to your "nice" channel (perhaps the dynamic since 1 - it requires more gain at the pre and likely will drive the tubes and/or transformers to a little distortion and 2 - dynamics are far more fussy when it comes to loading and a well designed pre will load your dynamic much nicer than the Presonus.)

    Pres to consider in this range -
    The 610
    Grace 101 (not colored at all, but sounds great on everything!)
    Blue Robbie (I picked up a pair of them from Guitar Center for about $650. Others have tried and failed though, so if you know your GC employee well, give it a shot!)
    UA Solo (either model will work well)

    Something else you might want to consider - think about spending a little more money and getting an OSA API rack and filling it with a single good pre now. You'll have plenty of room for other pres down the line and you'll be very pleased in the future at your ability to add a PHENOMENAL pre from API, OSA, Brent Averill, Shadow Hills, A Designs, Purple Audio, Buzz, etc. for a VERY good price.

    Cheers -

  11. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    After the past hour or so of research I have narrowed it to either a 610 Solo at the local GC (I do have actually a few guys that are all dept. managers that do what I want since I give them all of my business) or this M610 on eBay. Could either of you guys contrast them please?

    Cucco, thanks for the explaination of running the mics. Also, I am going to research that OSA API and see what I can see.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Check it out at:

    Talk to Nate (a pretty regular if not recent contributor to these here boards).
  13. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    I just did some research and I think going with an API rack and filling it would be quite out of my league right now, or I may just be foolish. But the rack would be about $400+ and then each unit averages at least $500 (on the cheaper side).
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    So that would put you at $900 or so to start which isn't much outside the range you've specified. You'd only need to start with one unit and then you can add more as you go along.

    If I were doing a lot of rock bands, I would consider this to be probably the only way to go as it's the most versatile and certainly one of the most affordable to get started.

    Although, I would go with the slightly more costly rackable powering unit over the "lunch box." These can also be found on Ebay from time to time at a very good price.

  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Check it out.

    This plus an OSA preamp would be a VERY good investment.
  16. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Well, let us remember that I wanted to keep it around $600 in the first place so $750 is already quite outside and to add another $150 to that is pretty far outside my budget.

    However, looking at that lunch box intrigues me a bit. I looked at Atlas and quite honestly I was overwhelmed. What piece do you think would be best for my needs? There are about 3-4 different ones that are all in the $500-600 range.

    Then again, while I really do appreciate the expandability of this way, I will not be doing any other upgrades to my studio for a VERY long time after this, if at all. The only thing I will be doing is upgrading from the E-MU to the Firestudio after this project.
    So in all honesty I must be able to afford the Firestudio (before selling off my E-MU pieces) AND this preamp. Seriously, I do not forsee myself being able to afford this kind of setup at this time. Remember that this lunch box still has five days left in its auction. At that rate I may not even have enough time to get the pieces I need by the time I need them.

    I feel so stressed about this whole deal, but I need to get it done.
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    what emu do you have and what don't you like about it?

    as for which OSA, I'd talk to Nate. I don't know them all.
  18. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    I have the 1820m (as well as the 0404 and 1212m). I do not like that it only has one ADAT input and that I only have ten XLR inputs at 48k. When I buy the Firestudio I will have sixteen XLR inputs at 96k (when I run my FS into it via the S/MUX ADAT inputs) and the ability to use my new laptop for TRULY portable recording.

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