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Suggestions on GREAT pre for voice work. Voxbox/Focusrite 7?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by ISDNguy, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Hello, anybody out there have an opinion on either a Manley Voxbox or Focusrite 7? I've worked with the Manley Dual before, I loved how it sounded. Since I have a very low register, I was looking for a preamp, that can add that certain sparkle/sizzle to my voice...


    BTW - I currently use a U67, AT 4050, AKG 414EB... and thinking of picking up a Charter Oak SA-538, oh yeah, any feedback on this too?
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I got the Langevin DVC recently and I have to say I absolutely LOVE it. It's an amazing pre and a great limiter for vox. It will likely be my go to pre on MANY sources, including vox, acoustic guitar and overheads (probably toms and hand percussion too!)

    As for the Charter Oak, I will be reviewing that for this site soon. I have spoken with the owner and I'm next on the list to get his review sample.


    I also recently purchased the Soundelux U195 after hearing it once and WOW!! What a microphone. I think this has got to be one of the most versatile sounding cardioid LDCs on the market. It sounds absolutely huge and lovely!!

  3. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Thank you for the input. How do you think the DVC stacks up to the Voxbox?

    Looking forward to your review of the Charter Oak...
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    In truth, I've never used the voxbox. I have used Manley's pres before and they have a tendancy to be quite BIG sounding. The DVC does an admirable job of creating a huge, open sound very similar to the Manley but with more "grip" to the sound. The circuitry is similar in both, one has a transformer (Lang) the other has a tube.

    BTW - I didn't catch it before that you are new...

    Welcome to RO!

    Jeremy (y) (y)
  5. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Thank you for the warm welcome & the advice. The Lange DVC is wonderful, I was all set to pick one up, and the sales rep @ Sweetwater made a point of how much more versitile the Voxbox was for voice production. I love the BIG sound, yet I also love the shimmering high end... Does that make any sense?
  6. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    How about the Focusrite 7 or Liquid Preamp? Before I plunk down a few thousand bucks, I NEED to make sure, it'll be a reliable & great sounding unit...

    I only allow myself to splurge once a year, It's my Valentine's gift to myself.

    Scenario: $3500 to spend.

    1. Buy a Manley VoxBox or Vari-Mu?
    2. Buy Manley/Langevin DVC & New $1000. Mic?
    3. Buy Focusrite 7 & New $1000 Mic?
    4. Buy Focusrite Liquid Preamp?
    5. Spend it on a great carribean vacation complete w/ frozen Margaritas?
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    5. No doubt!! (y)

    I think you'd be VERY happy with either of the Manley or Langevin products (although the VariMu is a compressor only - unless you have a VERY hot microphone...)

    The focusrite 7 is a great pre, but if you're looking for HUGE big sound, that's not the pre you want. It sounds amazingly clear, but not huge.

    My money would be on the Manleys/Langevins, no doubt. As for the Liquid Channel - I've only played with it for a limited time at a convention but I was NOT that impressed. It sounded fine, but certainly it wasn't the silver bullet preamp that they (and others) pitch it to be.

    As for the mics - for a clean, big sound without ANY hype on the top end, the Soundelux U195 or the iFET 7 are great. For a big mic that has a bit of hype, the Rode K2. For a dark but silky mic, Beyer M130 or M160.

    Any of the above combinations would yield excellent results.

    I'm really pleased with the DVC/Soundelux combo though...

  8. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    To summerize:

    1. Manley/Lang DVC w/ a Great Tube mic ie, Neumann, Charter Oak or Rode might be the best solution for me.

    2. Voxbox is good not great. Forget focusrite.

    I thank you for taking the time... Perhaps if I can find a great deal on the DVC, spend less than $1000 on a new mic (Charter or Rode). I might still have enough for a quick weekend in the sun!
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Oh No.... I hope I didn't give that impression. The Voxbox IS great. Granted, the cost is up there, but it's worth it.

    I would say, don't skimp. If you want quality, you definitely gotta pay.

    You're looking in the right direction for gear though. I'm not familiar with the Charter oaks yet, but I will be soon. The Rode is a GREAT mic - it does have a sheen on the top end - hard to say if this is positive or negative for VOs.

    Who's your sweetwater dude??


    PS - I just can't say enough positive stuff about the K2 OR the U195, but they are completely different mics. For $4K you could get the DVC and both mics and you would still have a little cash left over....
  10. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest


    I actually had been speaking with an engineer in NYC today who I patch into ISDN @ 3 x a month. His thinking for my tone was: 1st choice - use a great warm & full tube mic w/ a solid state preamp (DVC or alike) or 2nd - stay with my AT4050 or AKG 414 w/ a tube preamp (Avalon 737 or Voxbox) but not to use tube w/ tube or SS with SS.

    What's your feeling on this, and what do you think about the Avalon instead of the VoxBox? I know the Avalon costs about 1/2 as much...
  11. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Check out the Mercury m72 and a Charter Oak SA538. We carry Charter Oak mics, we can let you try out the SA538. Mercury also makes vintage Langevin preamp reproduction the AM16. The Mercury m72 is a classic reproduction of the Telefunken V72 as used by the Beatles on Sgt. Pepper, Rubber Soul, and Revolver. The m72 pre and the Charter Oak is an incredible combination. If you want less tube warmth, then go for the Langevin AM 16, slightly warmer than the current Langevin. The Mercury AM16 is little airier and cleaner than the Mercury m72.

    I've owned 2 Vox Boxes for more than 4 years and I'd have to say that I favored the EQ more than the pre or compressor.

    Hey Jeremy, which mic are you reviewing, the SA538 or SA538B?
  12. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Thanks Nathan,

    For strictly Voice over announcing, would you recommend the VoxBox as an alternative to the Mercury? I've heard great things about the Charter Oak 538, but now I'm almost convinced it might sound crisper with a SS preamp like the DVC.

    How do feel about having a tube mic with a tube preamp? Again I have a deep register (more promo type work), I'm looking to keep a fat bottom in conjuntion with spacious, sizzling highs...

    Yes, I want it all!
  13. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Oh, one last contender... Any feedback on the Avalon 737?
  14. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Millennia Media-- tube or SS(Check-out the Origin - for both +++!).

    My "best VO sound" ever through a Brauner Valvet/Millennia SS(You said the good stuff...).

  15. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    IMHO the Manley and Avalons are overpriced for what you get. If you need brands the get customers, then sure, go for it. But that's a lot of what you are paying for... a brand.
    Don't get me wrong, they are still quality units. But I'd go with the Manley over the 737.

    Otherwise, for a great solid state unit, check out the Buzz Audio ARC Channel Strip.
  16. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Which Manley, VoxBox or Langevin DVC or either?

    Read some great reviews about the Avalon 737, seems like many people here do not agree. Great River seems to be the preamp of choice here, but I'm looking for more of a combo unit...
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Some good advice.

    The Millennia is a VERY versatile beast.

    I will also agree that both the Manley and the Avalon are overpriced. However, the Manley has a beautiful sound, the avalon simply doesn't impress me. I don't mind paying a price for a good piece of gear. Hell, that just indebts the manufacturer to me to provide me good service over the life of the product. (which is another whole aspect - call Evanna and talk to her - she'll help you with your decision. The one GREAT thing of many about Manley is, if they don't think their product is the best for your needs, they will tell you that. Of course, they'll be sure to find something in their product line that is great for you... :wink: )

    I will say, the Buzz looks about as sexy as any solid state gear I've ever seen (the Langevin ranks up there in the looks department too) but I've not heard it except on one recording (classical - I was impressed).

    As for the solid-state vs tube thing - I don't look. Meaning, I could care less what is inside (well, I do care, but I never use it as a purchasing determiner), as long as I can get the sound I want. I never hesitate to pair SS and SS together nor do I hesitate to pair tube and tube together. First of all, bear in mind that, how each device uses the tube is in fact different. But also, both of these devices are intended to play well with any combination of each other.

    Hell, I can't think of much coooler of a sound than Manley's Gold Reference mic through their tube pre...Tube + Tube = COOOOOL sound - not bad, not dull, not lifeless, not "too warm" just big, present, and there.

    Your best bet would be to contact a GOOD reputable dealer and have them send you a few pieces and let them know up front that you are trying out gear and to expect some back. I do this with most of my purchases BUT I remain loyal. So, if my dude at Sweetwater understands I may send back 2 of the 3 mics that he sent me he's cool with that. He's even more cool with the fact that I'm sure to keep sending business his way. What he wouldn't be cool with would be me constantly "borrowing" equipment and only ever making the occassional cable or blank-media purchase.

    Nathan chimed in here - he's a pretty reputable guy. I've dealt with him a couple of times and always been happy. I'm sure if you contact him off-line, he'll hook you up. (By the way, he owns ALMOST every microphone and preamp ever made, so he can probably help you with what sounds good together and what doesn't...just don't get him bragging about his mic collection or your computer will crash with the size of the list he sends you... :wink: )

  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    We must have been typing at the same time...

    Avalon 737???? It's a shame there isn't an emoticon of a smiley-dude puking or with smoking barrel against his temple.

    I truly think that a lot of people like it because it's built like a brick sh*t-house and cuz it's gold. If they packaged it in something that looked like my new DAVs, no one would own one. (Just look at ART's new Digital MPA. They can't keep that on the shelves....why? It's gold....)

    Great Rivers are AWESOME pres. One pre and an EQ and you're set. Don't overlook Hardy's stuff either. The M1 is as clean of a pre as you could ever want. It's huge, open, clear and clean. Dude, you've got so many choices....Isn't it great, I mean awful, I mean great having the luxury of money and choice!!!

  19. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest


    AWESOME advice!!! That's gonna be my plan, I'll buy 3 and work it out to send the other 2 back... or maybe keep 2

    Thanks again,
    Dean :D
  20. ISDNguy

    ISDNguy Guest

    Been looking @ the Millennia SST-1, looks interesting. Is this the one you were taliking about? Tube AND SS in one tasty little package?

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