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Millenia Origin vs. ?????

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by moonbaby, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have an opportunity to purchase a used Millennia Origin from a local studio. I have lusted for one of those puppies for the longest time, the guy is asking $2200, which isn't too far out there from what I've seen on flea-Bay.
    I want to use it for VO work and have been looking at a used UA 6176 ($1800, same dude), as well.
    I have read that the 6176 seems to have a rep for being 'dark' on male voices, and at the same time
    I've read where VO folks LOVE the Avalon VT-737sp in that application. I used to have an early version of the 737 (with the purple knobs!) and was not happy with the reliability, the sloppy compressor, or the intermittent "spitting" that the box tended to generate, so out it went. But maybe that was premature.
    So my question is...what experience(s) have you had with these (3) boxes? Whichever one I choose, it will have to do double duty as a decent channel strip for tracking music -mainly singers, guitar amps, etc. Whatever I get will have to deal with different mics - I just acquired a lovely Sennheiser MD441 (I really like that mic on my voice), but I also have a U87, SM7b, RE-20, Beyer ribbons, and several others.
    Another option would be the Empirical Mic-E channel, but I can't find any user reviews or commentary on that box.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    hey moon, how ya doin'? ...

    the only problem i have with the Origin is i wish i had another one for a stereo pair. 2 Origins with a Fulcrum or a "Thing" would be an awesome summing rig. i could see you putting a pair to use in double duty all the time.

    the Origin does any and everything you could want in a channel strip. the compression and eq are stellar and the dee esser is very effective. i wish it would compress and dee ess at the same time but that's a small gripe. the front end loading with transformer in /out is a little iffy .. it really doesn't seem to have that much effect although i must admit i haven't pushed very hard in the past. again switching between tube and solid state pre amp doesn't yield as much of a flavor difference as i would expect to hear. the box is definitely designed with the typical Millennia approach to audio with transparency in mind. build quality is exceptional but if you want a lot of color this may not be the right choice. added bonus, with all the lights and that hugeoid meter the Origin looks great in the rack. I like the black ones better than the silver. the black gear always sounds better.

    i did a review on the Origin several years ago .. i'm not sure if it's still on the server ...but here's a link you might find interesting.

    p.s. 2200 is kind of at the top. i have been offered 1600 on a quick sale .. on the other hand i did laugh my ass off at the guy who made the offer.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm sure I'll probably get flamed for this but I was never a fan of Avalon gear. I've worked with both the 747 and the 737 (mic pre /compressor) and I found both to be "marginal" at best, especially for the price(s), and, like yourself, I also thought the compressor was "frumpy" sounding - on both models

    I've worked on other Class A, Tube and SS pres and compressors - some of which were half the price of The Avalon - that I liked better.

    Yeah, okay... flame suit is now on, do your worst.

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i'm with Donny on that ... i don't care much for Avalon stuff ... the top end sounds plastic to my ears especially the eqs. don't care much for the compressors either ... the Origin compressor is stellar. Comparable to a really good LA2 or a Manley EL OP ... plus the ability to run the Origins eq and comp sections as tube or solid state make it a real winner in my world.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    The Avalon is out. I was hearing from a guy Leon Flood - on GS how that box made him what he is in the VO biz, how it put his kids through college, blah blah blah. Then when he PMs me about it, he mentioned having to send it back to have repairs done to the p/s. The dude is more talented than he realizes, that box wasn't what made him sound good.
    Too many comments on the 6176 and how 'dark' it is for my tastes. Maybe if I was tracking a screamer into PT and needed to counteract that digi-fizz, but not for mois.
    At this point, I have a dead-mint U87 sitting in its wooden cradle not being used, so I will see if I can do a swap with this guy for the Origin. Then I can pop for a 49..LOL! I recently bought a 1985 ES-335 'Dot' with the original Tim Shaw PAFs (I am in love!), so the cash is a bit tight for what I'm trying to do, but not impossible...a trade would help this situation immensely.

    To Kurt: Hangin' in there, buddy, hope all is well for you these days. That Origin does look cool, and even cooler sitting with my ADL600 and its' lit meters. Then I can smash everything to bits with the VP Dynamite! Just kidding...

    To Donny: Yeah, I acquired a 737 when they were relatively new (in 2001) for a Christian music project. The lead singer was a cute chickie whose MARRIED boyfriend wanted to present her in the best light. Too bad she sucked (any way you want to take that..) and the project folded. I was never happy with that box,
    but it did look good- like my vintage Marantz 1070 stereo. The compressor was hateful, my little FMR RNC put it to shame! That says a lot about American ingenuity, doesn't it?
    I'm still considering the Empirical box, too, if I can't swing a deal with this guy for the Millennia. I was in contact with Dave Derr a while back and he assured me that the box was very capable of being transparent when desired. I like the control and the attitude it can provide on demand. Dave's a super-nice guy, I have no issues going with whatever he offers. I'll keep you posted.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't mind coloration at all, if it's the right coloration; and I was never very happy with the way the Avalon stuff sounded, and especially considering that their stuff isn't exactly cheap in price.

    My first experience with it, as I mentioned above, was with the 737 pre/compressor, and after using it for about a half hour or so on a vocal track, and trying to track down the "mud" I was dealing with, I finally removed it from the console insert and it was like a wet sack had been pulled off of the vocal track, resulting in far more clarity and definition than when I had it inserted.

    I thought that perhaps the unit I was using might have just been a "lemon", but then about 3 months after that, I was working in another studio that had the 747... and I felt the exact same way about that model as well.

    I recall even attempting to do the old trick of busing signal thru it at unity gain, as I ( and many other engineers had also done in the past ) with gear like LA's, 1176's, etc., just to pick up the pleasant nuances that those pieces had been known to offer in their coloration ...I found out pretty quickly that the Avalon was by no means an LA2 or a Urei....LOL.

  7. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Hey Moon. How ironic to be reading this from you as I've just decided to unload my LA-610 to get another/different channel strip...and I was looking at the 6176 and the Mike-E. The reviews for the Mike-E are good and the 6176 certainly has its pedigree, but honestly, I think I'm leaning toward the Mike-E.

    I owned the 737 a few years ago and while it was pretty good on most vocals and acoustic guitar, I do remember that I thought it was fantastic as a bass DI. I ended up selling it to fund something else, I forgot what. :)

    I also have a Drawmer 1968 that I'm about to put up for sale. Again, a good piece, I just rarely use it.

    Congrats on the 335 btw!
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Hi, Scott!
    I will know in a few days what will happen. If the Origin falls through, I will go with the Mike-E. What would be even better would be a Mike-E and a Li'l Freq :)
    Hope the Ramsa is still serving yu well, let me know if you'd want the other one...LOL!!
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Moon....Langevin DVC? Manley VoxBox? SPL Gold Channel?
  10. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Langevin is no more :( DVC went up in price so much 2 years ago before they discontinued it, it broke my heart.
    Voxbox is way more mula than I can do.
    No interest in SPL.
    The Origin happens to be used, in my area, and the owner was open to acquiring my U87 to add to his collection.
    But now, he's trying to push me towards a 6176 as an even trade for the Neumann.
    I have pretty much decided to go for the EL-9. I trust Dave Derr and his stuff, he swore to me that this box could be as transparent as I would ever want, plus the ability to "dial in" the color as needed. I love the Distressor, may as well give this a whirl.
    I still want the Origin, but I am not willing to bend over for someone telling me that they want it, but that the U87 is only worth $1600 to them. I'll keep it and do biz with someone else. I'll let you know if things change.
    Did I tell you that I bought another Ramsa 8-bus? I'm a glutten...LOL!!!!
  11. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Moon, Moon Moon....a glutten? Nah. :)

    I think the EL9 would be a fabulous choice, it gets great reviews and yeah, just about everything that Dave does seems to be excellent. However I made an even more 'interesting' choice yesterday. I took the original box and manual for my LA-610 to my local Pro Audio store since they have it on consignment for me and instead of letting him order the EL9 for me I decided to try out a new Miktek C7. I took it home, plugged it up and...uh oh...this thing is serious! I ran a couple tunes down with just an acoustic and some vocals and MAN is this thing nice.

    I may forego the EL9 now and just keep this thing as I have a feeling it would be more valuable to me at this point in time. I still need to try it out on some different sources, but this mic may end up just staying with me.

    Too many toys, not enough money. The RAMSA rocks though!
  12. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Nice mic! Last night I tried the 441 through a Grace 101 and that went through a Distressor. Then we substituted the 101 with a Great River pre ( no EQ), through the Distressor. Liked those 2 combinations the most (the GR had more "edge") over anything else I've tried so far. The GR combo gets up near $2500 (new), than I start to think API...LOL!!!!! The EL-9 still looks like a good bet...

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