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Nos Preamp and Compression Tube advice

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Zee, May 10, 2015.

  1. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    I'm Looking for great choices of nos tubes for my pro vla and my mpa gold the cheap tubes i had sounded great until i got both units modded now all my different tubes like really really impact the sound of the recording and im coming to find out that my tube selection sucks lol ill list them below so ppl have a better understanding of what ive worked with tube wise...(Also Max Cap Of 200 for the Pair)

    The Tubes Ive Ran Thru it
    1950's Tung-sol tube
    Clean mid range but lacks high end

    1982 mullard cv4004
    Sounds Best But Not Really Exciting the midrange is alittle muffled

    2014 genelax gold lion Tube
    Used to love it super clean great highend but now it sounds thin and lacks punch...kinda nasally lol

    5751 Nos 5-star tube
    I hate these Tubes completely muddy af in the same league as cv4004 in presence but less highs and way mudder mids

    So now that Youve seen what ive used maybe ppl can guide me in a better direction.
    (Also My Pro Vla Is JJ Audio Modded & My Gold was Revive Audio Modded and For anyone with a pro mpa or mpa gold laying around MOD IT It was a seriously a night day difference on both. Hell I call my tube pre the art mpa gold 737sp now lmao.)
     
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I know what your getting at, but if you've tried that many tubes and your still not satisfied maybe it's time for a unit that's focused more towards what you want right out of the box. Looks like you haven't tried jjs lol.

    What exactly are you looking for the tube to do? Anything specific or just general improvement.?
     
  3. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    General improvement would be awesome but I do rap vocals mostly and I'd like present but clear mid range with a nice high end sheen without it being thin or nasally I can get certain aspects of the sound I what I want with my current tubes by using the Mullard and gold lion combo but it's not a to die for sound I just know it could be better so I'm Looking to find other combos to get the Max out of my tube set up
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    What mic are you using?

    It's not always just the tubes in a pre that can dictate the sound, but more often than not, the pre itself, and even more importantly - the mic you are using.

    I guess I'm suggesting that by swapping out tubes, you may be looking at the "wrong" link in the gain-chain, in relation to the sound you are after.

    I'm not saying that the type of tube doesn't play a part, but not as much as the mic and the preamp itself.
     
  5. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    I'm using a u87 build with a tskguy cap and cinemag transformer it sound amazing lol well atleast I love it
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Hmmm.... well, it sounds like you've got solid gear.

    (I'm kinda surprised that you find that you are lacking top end with the Cinemag XFO, as 'Mags have somewhat of a tendency to be a bit overly "bright" - but, there are other variables to that, too).

    Have you tried recording your vocal through a pre that doesn't have tubes? You're already likely getting a fair amount of coloration with the Cinemag XFO in the mic...

    Something with more "transparency" than what a tube (or transformer-based) pre would offer - and then working with the EQ in your DAW to get the sound that you are after?

    Don't get me wrong, I do like tube preamps, tube mics - and transformer based pre's, too - for many applications, I own several of each ... but, I don't always use them ...as they aren't necessarily always the best way to go.

    I'm only suggesting that if you aren't getting the sound that you are after with your current tube pre(s) - even after using a variety of different tubes - maybe it's not the tubes... maybe you need to change preamps.

    If you do, I would (personally speaking) not go for one with XFO's, as you are already using the one that is built-into your mic.

    FWIW

    d.
     
  7. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    Heres a sound sample just me talking into the combo raw no editing at all

     

    Attached Files:

  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm not really hearing anything bad about your sample. But, I do understand the wanting to shoot for "the best sound that you can get" mindset ... it's a pretty big club, we're thinking about having some gang jackets made. ;)

    I've tried Telefunken tubes, they didn't sound as good to me as I thought they would, given the infamous name and reputation... but then again, you have to do a lot more than just use a Telefunken tube in a mic to get the Telefunken "sound"...

    If it were that easy, we'd all have U47's for around $150. ;)

    What converters are you using? Are they built into the preamp that you are using, or is it a standalone model?

    What is it about that sample you recorded that specifically bothers you?

    Is there a particular "sound" that you are trying to get? Something you could post an example of, or post a YouTube link to?
     
  9. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    Im Running a souped up behringer ada8000 as my converters and i know my qualities okay but im just looking for any edge i can get and i hear nos tubes kill current tube runs and ive love studio quality sound ill post a link to ideal quality
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You don't have to have tubes to get a true pro sound.

    "Studio Quality" doesn't have to mean "tubes"... in fact, there are thousands of professional recordings/hits over the years - and that are being currently recorded - where vocals are tracked through consoles and preamps without tubes...

    In fact, Neve, SSL, Trident, Harrison, almost all the most popular consoles used - even today - are not tube driven. Most pro consoles are actually transformer driven, using XFO's like Jensen, Lundhal, Sowter, API, etc in their preamp stage, but very few modern consoles have tubes.

    What I'm saying, is that tubes aren't the only thing that determines "pro quality"... because in many cases of pro recordings, there is actually no tube staging at all.

    There are many solid state standalone preamps that sound as good - and very often better - than many tube pre's do. There are also many standalone preamps without transformers that sound fantastic, too.

    I can't even say for sure - one way or the other - if the sample you posted above even had any tube staging to it. It's possible of course, but it's just as possible that the vocals were tracked through an SSL or Neve console, or, through a standalone high-end solid state pre, and, using a tubeless mic.

    Keep in mind that at the pro studio level, very high quality conversion is also being implemented. I'm not saying that your Behringer is trash per se', but, you can be sure that it's not a model that is commonly used in pro studios.

    Here's the thing... I'm not knocking your gear, nor am I even saying that " tubes are bad". I'm saying that there are thousands of pro recordings/commercial releases, both classic and current, where there hasn't been a tube anywhere near the gain staging for the vocals.

    That being said, if you want, and if you can afford it, keep trying different tubes. But... if you get to a point where you've gone through all the different tube models you can think of, or get your hands on, and you're still not getting the sound you want?

    It's more than likely not because of the tubes you are using. ;)
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    So you are using a U87 with a ART MPA Gold and ART Pro vla then convert to digital with an ADA8000 ?
    Quiet honestly I think you are just messing the quality the U87 can offer. Art's and ada are honest units but far from the caliber of the u87, I'm not saying they don't work or sound good. But I get the feeling you realise there is something missing and my guess is that the pre, comp and convertions are at the source of your deception.

    If you could get your hands on a Focusrite ISA 430 or a Presonus ADL 700 or a UA LA-610 if you really want a tube sound, you would understand in a split of a second how your U87 is suppose to sound. (my exemples are all affordable ones, on top of those there is the Millennia, manley and many others)

    Also the conversion is quiet under rated, if the pre/comp you use doesn't have onboard convertion. You could use something like a Mytek AD96 if your audio interface has spdif inputs. Or go with a better interface, RME, Antelope, UA even some budget presonus may sound better than the ADA

    I was exactly where you are 2 years ago.. I had some good mic and preamps that I thought was ok. When I got my first high-end pre I just felt off my chair and realised I was fighting in the dark.

    Rent a few units if you can, or go to a big studio to book a few hours to try different preamps (bring your mic) it's well worth the investment !! ;)
     
  12. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    There a whole different beast then the stock units I Wish I still have the before and afters I bought a blue robbie and then got my art modded for kicks and giggles And I like the blue quiet a bit clean but lacked but a. Little lifeless but eq can fix that lol but after getting mt art back I ran to send the Robbie back to zounds it sounded that good and the ada8000 after the complete rebuild I sold my rme baby face the behringer is that much clearer more life the high just seemed to sparkle and it was half the price lol but again then there's a test out there where they blind test ppl and no one could pick out the modded Behringer from a Lynx and the best part I got all that quality for under 1500 bucks lol but enough about that someone blindly yell tubes you love at me damn it lmao
     
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    As an owner of an mpa, I don't think you're going to get it to sound much better than that man. I think if you're looking for something different that's anything more than subtle, your going to want a pre amp designed for more character.

    The mpa does have tubes in it, but it never claimed to be a unit with a particularly strong sonic footprint. Listen to a Manley to hear some reasonably transparent tube gear.
     
  14. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    i know but the mod makes it utilize the tubes more thats why i really started noticing huge differences in my tubes ie my dilemma lol i looking for great 12ax7 nos tubes for vox's also if you have a mpa gold get the mod it makes the preamp like 10x better
     
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I never used a MPA, I'd certainly be interested to put it side by side with a UA La-610 ;)
     
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I assume you are looking for pre amp tubes ; 12ax/12at/12au/etc. 7's...

    Here's a cross reference chart for tube models, although it doesn't specify brand...

    http://www.gini.com/index.php?id=176

    ...and I would absolutely check with your manufacturer first, to make sure the models you choose are okay to use with that pre.... before you start swapping tube models.

    What you are asking from us isn't an easy question to answer, because those of us who have responded to you don't have the MPA Gold. It really doesn't matter what tubes I prefer in my pres, because they are different from your pre; I also don't own a modded U87, ( I have a regular 87) and, my voice is different from yours...and, I don't do rap. So, there are far too many variables for me to simply say to you "Use a Telefunken ECC!" because what sounds good to me, with my gear in my studio on my voice, isn't necessarily going to be what you find acceptable for you and your gear and what you do.

    Why don't you contact the person who did the mod for you? They would likely know best.
     
  17. Zee

    Zee Active Member

    Honestly I wasn't expecting my question to broken down so deeply lol I also wasn't looking for anyone to tell me what would work best for my setup voice etc (even tho that would be awesome if some had everything I had and just has one answer lol). But I was simply curious in hearing what nos tubes to try maybe get some prime years to shoot for nothing to crazy and you might feel there are too many variables but ignore that feeling and shower me with tube ideas
     
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i say get a bunch and swap them out till you find ones you like. that's how everyone does it because each box will sound different with different tubes.

    Mullard, Telefunkun, GE, RCA, Siemens, ... all good. older the better. Some older Russian tubes are decent as well. try for nos tubes. don't buy anything with lots of hours on them already unless you can get them for cheapo cheapo.
     
    kmetal likes this.

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