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Pre of a different color

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by grega60438, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. grega60438

    grega60438 Guest

    I have been bouncing the idea around of getting a different pre for vocals.
    I think I like color.

    Present applicable Gear:
    Pre: Avaon 7373SP
    Pre: JLM Audio TMP8
    Pre: Presonus M80: Jensen Trans, swapped OP amps to the OPA627
    IMHO: OPA627 mod helped tremendously. Did not like IDSS.
    A-D: (2x) MOTU989HD's (External Lucid clock)
    FX: (4x) Powercore: MD3-mastering, VSS3-verb, Sony Ox-EQ, Dynamics
    Mic: I typically use the Neumann U89 for vocals.

    The Avalon 737SP has worked OK. IMHO I did not like the compressor.

    I did some comparisons between the TMP8, M80 and the Avalon. Yes the 737 sounded warmer, but something did not seem to be there for me.
    I really seemed to like the color the of the TMP8 and M80(after the mod). better than the 737SP in many cases. Maybe the Avalon is too clean for my taste and I prefer some of the color of the TMP8 or M80. Maybe I am just learning my taste?
    Therefore I have been considering getting another vocal pre.
    A trusted friend has been trying to talk me into a Focusrite Liquid Channel, stating that I could dial in the sound. A digital pre (Liquid Channel) makes me slightly nervous. I typically feel more comfortable with analog.
    What is your opinion on the suggestion to go with the Liquid Channel?

    Thank you for your assistance,
    Greg Alcorn
    Alcorn Studios
  2. eveaudio

    eveaudio Guest

    I'm curious about the Liquid as well... But I have steered clear of it for a few reasons:

    1) The first generation of anything like this always tends to be more hype than truth. I'll pay more attention to version 2 or 3.

    2) At the very least the mic will have to go through a mic pre and an A/D before it gets processed. So how do you "undo" the effect those have on the sound? EQ? If it's not phase linear, than the EQ cannot really get you back to "transparent" can it? (And considering the processing power - and the inevitable latency - I'm assuming the EQ at this critical stage is not phase linear...) ...And what about the effect of the input pre-amp on transients? As you can see, the basic concept has some flaws...and I imagine any engineer with good enough ears to hear subtle differences in pre-amps will be able to tell if something isn't quite there...which means...

    3) ...That Focusrite may be banking on the fact that most of us don't have the real thing(s) to compare it too. So what are we really getting?

    ...Can anyone address these questions?
  3. Mises

    Mises Guest

    The Slut'ies don't really approve of Liquid Channel. The ones that do like it, I think are looking at it properly. Although the box purports to do emulations... I think any person whos not a sucker knows that the emulations are going to be mediocre at best....

    No potential buyer can seriously expect that 200-thousand or more dollars worth of gear will get stuffed into $2,500 box. Maybe one day they will more or less perfect this technology.... but we're not there just yet.

    In theory, the math of how it works is cool. In practice, its promises are simply undelivered.

    The device is useful, whether the emulations are faithful to the original devices or not. The point of the box is to provide you with a broad palette of colors to choose from, figuratively speaking. That it does quite well. Though people who have used it report that many of the settings are subtle... but if you flip around enough.... you'll eventually find the sound your looking for.

    I dont think Focusrite is trying to intentionally deceive you. They know full well thatthere are people out there who do know the difference, and they will review the product and make it known whether it lives up to the claims. I think they did a good thing, even if the technology isnt quite there yet. Who knows when the technology may ever "be there" (to the point where the emulations are just fantastic). It could take 25, or 50 years.... and it just makes no sense to forstall a product for 80 years till its perfected. The product isnt just about producing perfect emulations... its also about providing choices at the flip of a button or turn of a knob. That promise it can delivery right now, so they were right to release the product. In time, the emulations will get better... not for a long time though.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I agree with mises on this. I have heard the LiquidChannel as well as vintage Neve, API and MCI pres. While emulation is probably Focusrites goal, I'm not sure its there as far as that aspect. Is it a quality box with a lot of variation? Without a doubt.Its quiet, clean, has a bunch of controls that all work and my firend who has one , has had zero problems in a years worth of work and uses it primarily while having lots of other choices. (Now if I could only snare that dual 512 API thingy.....)

    What I got out of it, was it could be a nice centerpiece for a small/ intermediate size studio that did a lot of single tracks at a time.

    If you are looking for that magic box that will replace ALL the vintage pieces you might have laying around, this isnt it.

    However, its new, it doesnt have noise issues like some vintage pieces develope, its got very good converters for the digital age, and its fairly intuitive to use.

    Perhaps a sound solution for Gregs studio coupled with the pieces already in place.
  5. grega60438

    grega60438 Guest

    Thank for all the help.

    I do not get caught up in emulation. I EQ and compress during the mix. So I am focusing on the quality and adjustable color of the pre.

    From what I am hearing it seems that LiquidChannel fits the bill pretty well. The computer control seeems very interesting too.
    I will have to try the LiquidChannel.

    Seems like a good thing, but before I jump, any other adjustable color analog versions you like? i.e. I have also been considering the Cranesong Flamingo.

    Thanks again!
    Greg Alcorn
    Alcorn Studios
  6. 8th_note

    8th_note Guest

    If you're looking for flexibility there are a couple pres I can think of that are designed to produce a range of colors. Look at the Millennia STT-1 and the Sebatron Maximus. Both of these allow you to direct the signal path through either solid state or tube and the Millennia even allows you to select a transformer or not.
  7. grega60438

    grega60438 Guest


    Thank for the help.
    Have been web searching and checking them out.

    Greg Alcorn
    Alcorn Studios
  8. backinthelab

    backinthelab Guest

    I'll second the STT-1, I've been eyeing that one for a while now.

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