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Recommendations for first pro channel strip.

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by nehpyh, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. nehpyh

    nehpyh Active Member

    Hi folks,

    I would like to get my first pro channel strip that has mic pre, comp, EQ and etc...I am considering Sebatron Thorax, or to save some cash, a Focusrite Voice Master Pro. I'm using it mainly for demo making and small projects. I am open to other options as long as it is a quality gear.

    My current preamp is the standard digi 002R pres and plug-in comp. All comments are welcome.
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have had very bad experiences with the Platinum Series from Focusrite.
    Power supply issues, weak headroom, just not up to snuff considering its namesake. I'm sure that there are fans, but compared to what? I own several "strip" type processors, and some of the better less expensive ones have been the dbx 286a, a Valley Audio Air Force One, a Drawmer Front End One, and the Safesound P1 ( my partner has 2 of these). All of them out-performed the Voice Master I had. The dbx is obscenely affordable on e-Bay, and has a great downward expander section that helps to remove "the room" from being picked up when using a LDC mic.
    The Valley unit is not so variable, but is "voiced for the voice", very solid.
    The Drawmer is great on lots of stuff, and while the MX series isn't their top of the line, it is a very good value....certainly mucho better than the Voice Master Pro, and not that much more money. Great de-esser, too.
    The Safesound is super-transparent dynamics and a Burr-Brown pre.
    There is also the new Toft Audio line...the EC-1 is a single-channel version of the ATC-2, which I have. Very good EQ (VERY GOOD!), a decent pre, and a squishy compressor..(I didn't mean that in a bad way).Street price for the ATC-2 was $1K, the EC-1 is around the same as the others I listed ($600-700). I bought my 286a for a song...
    The Thorax is a nice unit. I don't have one but I have done some VO work with a guy who does, and it beats the Avalon 737 that he and I have both owned in the past.. There is a sizeable amount of $$$ difference between the Thorax and the others I listed, so you can kind of select based on your budget....don't forget a good mic!!!
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    If still available(?), the DBX 376 Tube channel Strip, is not bad, for the price(They have a 2 channel version, as well. 476? I forget...).

  4. nehpyh

    nehpyh Active Member

    Thanks moonbaby and TeddyG,

    I'll check out DBX tomorow! It think it's quite affordable in Asia.

    I'm using Rode NTK, AT2020 and a couple of SM58s at the moment. My outboard effect processor is TC M300, and I record into a noisy G4 powerbook! Nothing quite spectacular yet.

    I like the idea of having a 'room-removal'!!!! My mac and aircon is driving me crazy!
  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Best "room removal" is turning down the mic and getting closer to it. Also, try, somehow, to get the "noise-makers" farther from the mic, or even out of the room, entirely! I put my computer in the other room by just banging a hole in the wall, running the needed cables through the wall and stuffing the hole with an old beachtowel(Yes, I'm cheap). Maybe you could put your "stuff" in the other room and just run the mic cable to another room? Do what you gotta' do - even if it means running back and forth(Good exercise!). Also, almost anything "dense" hung, stuck to or whatever on the walls - ceiling tile, books, clothes, "moving blankets", can help deaden the room considerably.

  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    First off, the downward expander isn't a "cure-all" for background noises or room reflections, but used judiciously, will certainly help.
    Secondly, Teddy G: Is there a formula for properly "banging a hole in the wall"? Like:
    For a 2" opening, chug down a couple of Bud Lights within 10 minutes of each other...
    For a 3" opening, it takes 3 Bud Lights in a 15-minute span...
    And for a 6" opening, plan on a 12-pack and a steel-toed boot...
  7. nehpyh

    nehpyh Active Member

    Umm....some nice thinking there :lol:

    I tried recording from another room but that means I have no access to the mouse and all...i.e. I have to let it record until I'm satisfy with the take...I think it's gonna eat up lots of hard disks! Anyway, I'll try just that if I'm really desperate.... :?

    One problem is also that I'm using a laptop to record - there is no way to isolote the sound unlike a desktop where I can just chunk it in a iso-box or something.....

    Back to the DBX recommendations, I'm not too sure about it's fidelity as a 'pro audio gear'. It seems to have quite a hi level of self-noise (it can sing by itself!?)

    Any other recommendations? I'm bending towards Sebatron or Toft Audio...
  8. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    1. Want a good strip? Check out the Millennia Media Origin - 3 grand(US) - that's the one I want to replace the DBX(Along with the Brauner Valvet - also 3 grand). Problem with reasonably good stuff is, that you have to go MUCH HIGHER to hear almost any difference. Can be worth it, but, I wouldn't even consider replacing my 500 dollar strip with a 1000 dollar strip, it would be a complete waste.

    2. That said, The DBX 376 has never been the subject of any complaints -- no one ever said "We'd use you more often Teddy, if you'd just replace your crappy mic preamp." And, the DBX does, indeed, "have it all" - cute little tube - 12AU7A(The DBX TS guy says he "subbed' a nice 12AX7, in his for better results. I did too, but I hear no difference?), pads, insert ability, 48v, EQ, DBX compression, de-ess, and AES/EBU digital out. When I bought it NO other preamp had all this, at any price. If there is a better one now, with all this stuff(Or all the stuff YOU need), buy it!

    2a. ANY "tube stuff" is very likely to be "noisier", but that won't keep me from buying fine tube gear.

    3. I really don't remember how the hole got in the wall? Is that a sign of something? Should I be worried about this??? The hole is, like, 12"x10" -- must have been quite a night!?!?

    3. Computer on one side of wall, sitting right "at" the hole - mine's sitting on an old military wooden box to get it off the ground a bit and on a closer "level" with the stuff on the other side of the wall. Run all the cables for your other stuff through the wall and have your computer table "just" on "this side", as it were. Some cables are shorter and not "lengthenable", like my printer cable. So, the printer gets moved closer to the wall on the interior table, just so it reaches ncely, etc. I got a wireless mouse and keyboard, so the "receivers" get plugged into the box run through the hole and hung under the computer table. See what I'm getting at??? You sorta' gotta' wanna' do it. For instance, if your printer cable just doesn't reach, leave it, too, in the other room. But you've GOT TO make your monitor, mouse, keyboard, what you need in the room with you, reach - period.

    My video monitor, mouse and keyboard are in the recording room, right on my "usual" computer desk, along with my printer, photo scanner, USB DVD drive, speakers, Mackie mixer, Mic pre(In a "home-made" rack, under the table) AND my UPS and internet "box"(Under the table). All the cabling is "positioned" as it must be to make it work - with only the computer "box" JUST on the other side of the wall. Any cables I needed to(And could, with a trip to the store) I lengthened. Takes a bit of head-scratching and a hammer(OK, I probably used a saw of some kind?), that's all.

    Be careful cutting the hole through the wall, contact between saw and AC lines running inside the wall could be a shocking experience... Maybe that's why I don't remember?

  9. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    There is a Sebatron on ebay at the moment starting at $1200. If you didn't already know.
    Also a Millennia ST-1 would be quite a nice choice as well.
    Last, but certainly not least a Groove Tubes Vipre, would be an exellent choice too.
    Or get a single channel Great River mic pre (if you dont need EQ) and an Eventide Harmonizer.
    Then you will really have some incredible sounds at your finger tips.
    The Eventides have reverbs, delays, harmonies, and EQ in them, they also will add a lot of high end studio quality to your mixes. That plug in's can't come close to.
  10. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    if you can't bust holes in your walls, try getting a wireless keyboard, works wonders when doing solo recording in the studio.

  11. HAH :p that made me laugh...
  12. JoshuaB

    JoshuaB Guest

    Any response problems with the wireless keyboard and mouse / wall / USB receiver? Basically I'm asking, does the USB receiver pick up the mouse & keyboard signals through the wall? Or does your USB receiver come with a corded extension?
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    For channel strips, I simply cannot recommend strongly enough the Langevin DVC. IMO, one of the finest mic pres availabled coupled with a great vocal limiter and the perfect eq!
  14. eldona

    eldona Guest

    Hello" What about the *new* Neve stuff, did it work well?

  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I can't personally speak to the Neve Portico line. I know some folks that use them and like them (Plush - AKA Hudson Fair reports positive results if I remember correctly and I would trust him and his ears!)
  16. aqualand666

    aqualand666 Guest

    best suggestion goes to steven colbert with the great river.

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