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New CLEAN mic pre addition to my UA 2108

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Bhennies, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    Hi all, well, I've done a TON of reading of old threads, and need to ask this last question before I swipe the plastic.

    I've been using my 2108 pre as my only pre for quite sometime, and while I really love it for certain things, when I get 24-36 tracks stacked (with 10-12 recorded through the 2108), I start to wish I had something with a different tone- not so dark. I posted a few weeks ago about the ISA428 and got great responses about that unit, but I have not been able to find a demo unit around that I can try out.

    The new pre will probably be used mostly for Drum OH's (2108 on kick and snare- nice!) as well as vox (some versatility from 2108 which is good on certain people but not on others) and keys (Rhodes piano). The 2108 sounds great miking my Fender Blues Junior for guitar so that will remain a job for the 2108.

    I keep hearing that the ISA428 is musical, if not slighly colored, so I'm wondering if it is a smart decision for the longterm to go with the ISA (this will be my primary fornt end, with the 2108 as my "character pre"). Or should I go with something super-clean (I've heard that the Grace's are sick). Once again, this is to provide some versatility and not to layer too much 2108 sound in the mix.

    Thanks again everyone and sorry if this post seems redundant.

    EDIT: for budget, let's just say I like the 1500 dollar price tag on the ISA.
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    A Sytek will give you a clean sound and 4ch for about 900 bucks or so... (If you buy it straight from Mike Stoica on e-bay) I also have a Grace and its a little cleaner but not by much....
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The ISA is a transformer balanced mic pre and as such it will add some color. Also, the harder you drive it, the more character it will impart. But I really don't think it will ever be as dark as the UA 2108 ...

    I have found the Sebatrons to be a great middle ground. Picture the sound of an old '55 Fender "Narrow Panel" Deluxe, you know the tweed ones? If you were to plug a mic into that, you would have the sound of the Sebatron vmp pres...

    Tubes can add a lot of low harmonic content but the can also add a great edge on the top end. Aural exciters have used high freq distortion to impart a sense of "clarity" to a signal for years ... it's the same principal.
  4. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    Thanks guys. Kurt, have you heard the ISA? I guess I just want something that will be varied enough from the 2108 to sit well in the mix. As for the Sytek...that looks very interesting.

    EDIT: Would you describe the ISA as a relatively clean pre-amp? I guess I don't want two "colored" pres in my rack if you know what I mean. In other words, would you be comfortable if the only pre you had in your rack was the ISA??
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    of course you could always get a great river 2ch mp2 for about $1600, slightly over your budget but sweet...
  6. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    I've got the 428, and I would describe it as "clean", but certainly not "pristine". It is much, much, much cleaner than your UA pre, and will compliment it nicely.

    I cannot say enough good things about the 428 for the price. Great setup. You'll be happy! :D
  7. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    Hi doublehelix, thanks a lot...I remember reading your response on an earlier post of mine about the ISA428. Anyway, I think that's what I'm leaning towards, although the sytek certainly looks great.

    While I consider myself a decent engineer, I haven't experimented with lots of different pres, and thus may be so used to the 2108 that I think i NEED a completely clean pre, when in essence I just need something a little bit less colored than the 2108. BTW, I've heard my friend's ISA 110 with the BLUE berry, which I must say was one of the silkiest most luscious sounds I've ever heard (on vox). Anyway, thanks so much for everyone's help...

    If anyone has any other suggestions, please feel free....
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I like pres that "sound good" .. The ISA 428 absolutely falls into that category. However it will sound significantly different that the UA 2108, which really has a lot of "attitude", even more that the 2-610 pre. This comes from the fact that the 2108 borrows a lot of its heritage from the FET 1176 limiter.

    But I would never call any pre that uses transformers on the inputs and outputs as "colorless" or "transparent".

    I personally don't like pres that don't have a sound ... transparent and colorless. I have one pre like that in my collection, just in case ... (a Millennia HV3 type in my STT-1) but it almost never gets any use. I almost always kick in the "iron" and the "fire bottles" when I use the ORIGIN. The next closest thing that I have are the AMEK / Neve 9098's ... and then we are in "Sebatron" and "Great River" territory ... which are my all around faves.. If I could have another 4 channels of vmp 4000s and 6 more channels of MP2NVs, I would die happy, happy, joy! joy!
  9. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    That's what I was thinking as well after researching some more. I mean, honestly, for what I'm doing I should probably go with the Sebatron from what you've said (big dubbed out drum tracks and really fat j-bass with flatwounds) but I really don't record drums too much and what I really want in this pre is mainly for my Rhodes piano, keys, and overheads...because nothing sounds better than a properly recorded Mark I. Oh Man!

    The 2108 really surprises me because even though it is dark and somewhat thick when overdriven, it still has a pretty nice high end- not muffled or choky. Either way, I'm beginning to notice as I advance in my engineering skills and listen to my old recordings, that when I listen carefully, too many layers of the 2108 really start to rub me a little wrong. I think that a varying degree of ISA with the 2108 will fill out the tracks nicely.

    Anyway, once again, all of your advice is wonderful.
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    From what you're describing it seems that the John Hardy 2 channel M-1 or the Sytek will be your best bets. Over the years I've had two problems with the Focusrite stuff... the first being that their initial build quality has "issues"... like when you go to change a component the traces lift off the circuit board... the second problem I've experienced is that the units run hot... which dries out the electrolytic capacitors which will lead to a pretty crappy sound over time... which will lead to you having to change the electrolytics in the audio path every 5 or so years, which brings us right back to problem #1... they're a bitch to work on.

    I've not tried the Sebatron, both Kurt and the manufacturer said they would send a unit for evaluation to our shop, neither have [nor do I think they ever will]... which as I've stated before, makes me rather suspect of the product, and the people behind the product... neither here nor there as there are several folks who've said positive things about the Sebatron units [and there are several folks who've said positive things about Behringer units... so I reckon it might be pragmatic to not listen to anything anyone has to say about anything... myself included].

    The best way for you to figure out what will be best for your style of working will be to grab a few of these items and try them in your studio on the music you record. This will lead you to an intelligent, well informed decision about the unit you add to your arsenal as well as what might be a good "next addition" to your arsenal.

    Best of luck with the hunt...

  11. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    I'd love to hear Fletcher's opinion on the Sebatron pres. Please send him one!
  12. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    IF he WASn't sUCH a ruDE fucING BarsTaff
    I miGHT ConSider IT :arrow: :lol:
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    What does Fletcher being rude or not really have to do with him giving his honest opinion on sebatron gear? I think he is man enough to let his professional opinion on the gear and it's performance be seperated from his other side.
  14. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    Politics....companies run on it.

    Schmoozing......apparentely either sebratron didn't schmooze Fletcher like they should have...or there was blood spilled at some event, either at a convention or some kinda "party"......

    I agree that it's bad marketing not to send you gear to everyone who could possibly bring you much needed business...but some people just refuse to work together for one reason or another....it happens.
  15. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I agree. Seb, send him one!
  16. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Come on Seb.
    As an Australian, I'd love to have some or your gear in my rack, but the only person here with any 'clout' who is recommending them is Kurt. And while I respect Kurt's opinion (although I don't agree with all of them) I never buy gear on one person's recommendation alone.
    The thing about Fletcher is that even though he craps us all off at times, he is a pro, and he calls a spade a spade. An above average verdict from him would probably put one in my rack.
  17. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    ok ,, ok

    Actually i was really kidding about the FucIng rUDE Barstaff bit.
    He's only a rude barstard.
    ...anyway ,, what's wrong with being a ' rude barstard '?
    I think Chris is doing a great job running R.O.
    HiString seems to have picked up a bit of respect as well.
    Good on 'em. :arrow: :wink:

    A review unit shall be delivered within two lunar cycles.
  18. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    I don't always agree with Fletcher's approach to forum "interchange" but I have to say I agree 100% with his business methodologies based on my own experiences with him.

    I have offered to send him my Sebatron VME2000 for eval but at the time I did his studio was in pieces so it was unlikely to get the playing time it needed for a realistic eval.

    If Seb is sending him a unit that would be great. I have

    Great River, UA, Focusrite, API, Earthworks and Sebatron Mic pres.

    The Seb is my favorite tube pre (out of 2). Because it has a unique sound that is for lack of any better description shimmery. It puts a very gentle tube touch with a really nice high freq air to it. It is great for certain vocals and can provide a nice snare sound when used just right.

    Unlike Kurt I DO use my ultra clean Earthworks pre on almost every project. Probably because I have really amazingly good SD omni's to go with them. I find I can get the biggest, fullest hard rockenist sound possible on an acoustic guitar or on drum overheads by recording them with stunningly clean gear and by very careful mic placement. I have no formulas other than to put the mics where they sound amazing.


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