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Sytek -vs- Sebatron

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by tripnek, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I can buy a Four channel Sytek or a two Channel Sebatron for around the same price. Obviosly these are two different animals with different flavors. And I alredy have one Sytek.
    But my question is: In your opinion, is the added versitility and the difference in quality from the Sytek to the Sebatron big enough to justify the price difference? I don't mind paying the higher price if it's worth it, but if the difference in sound quality and any added versitility by having one of each amp is small, I could use the extra two amps the Sytek offers at this time.
    The preamp would not really be used for any specific purpose. It will most likely be used for any number of different situations including Drums, Guitar, Acoustic instruments, Vocals, ect... And used with a wide array of different mics.
    I'm hoping to find someone who has actually used both amps and can give an opinion from experience.
  2. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Nevermind. I got too good of a deal to pass it up, so I guess I'll be doing my own comparisons in a few days.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What did you get? In your position, I would get 4 more Syteks and then save up for a Sebatron vmp. While the vmp is a wonderful pre, imo, it would be more useful to have 8 channels of matching pres to do drums and things that might need a bunch of inputs. I say go for that first, then go for the color with a vmp.
  4. Sebatron NYC

    Sebatron NYC Active Member

    Yes another four matching pres would be a very good idea for the drum kit ...

    However ,for drums , if you go for the Seb either use it in a stereo symmetrical format (i.e overheads) ...or exclusively for kick and snare.

    ..but hey , there are no rules. :D

  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yes, if tripnek had said he already had Sebatrons, I would have leaned in that direction. I personally think the Sebatron gear is better sounding it being a valve design and is a much better investment. But there's a saying about "don't change horses in the middle of a stream".

    I use a lot of channels for drums. Usually at least 10. kick snare top and bottom, 4 toms, hat and overheads. Having at least 8 channels of consistent mic pres, as long as they are decent ones, to me is a good thing.

    I encourage tripnek to look into the vmp series of pres. they are quite unique and are the best sounding pres I have ever come across at any price. A U87 into a vmp is a beautiful thing.
  6. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I picked up a dual Sebatron on eBay for a good price. I figure for what I paid for it, if it doesn't work well in my setup I can always sell it and probably make a few bucks. I think it will fit right in though. I have the Sytek quad, a Dual Langevin,and now the Dual Sebatron. I also have a quad HHB Radius amp also. It's certainly a step down from the rest, but I have to admit it does sound pretty good on Tom Toms and a few other things. Certainly a bigger step up from the average budget mixer pre than I had hoped for when I bought it. Hopefully I should be good for now, or atleast until the credit card stops smokin. :d:
  7. white swan

    white swan Guest

    There's nothing wrong with matching pres, especially two channels at a time for stereo recording. But someone is going to have to explain why having eight matching pres is any advantage at all in drum miking.

    Are you using eight matching mics too? (I've heard of a matched pair, but never a matched octet!)

    Anyway, I'd say there are as many (if not more) engineers using different mic preamps (and different mics too) on their kick, snare, toms, overheads, and room mics. I can think of a lot of reasons why one might want a different preamp on the kick as opposed to the overheads,for example. I can't think of any particular reasons why having eight identical preamps is an advantage in drum miking.

    But I am confident that I will be enlightened shortly. That's what is great about this place!
  8. Unfortunately, having goog gear allows you to hear the defficiencies in other gear in the signal path, thus you will probably next be looking for good outboard comps, eqs, etc. :D David
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I'm not the only person that thinks matching pres is a good thing. Will Wittman likes this approach also. In fact many records are done in studios with large format consoles, Neves, SSL etc, and in that situation all the pres are matched.

    I recomended the 8 matching pres because it offers a lot of flexibility for all the different drums sets you might encounter. One day you might get a kit with one rack and one floor tom. The next day it could be 4 racks and 2 floors and so on. So having 8 that match gives you the flexibility to do just about as many toms as a drummer can bring in.

    I am currently using the JLM TMP8, which is 8 channels of API / Focusrite Red type pres. Lots of attitude, just what is needed for drums. These things kick ass. They go for $1850. JLM Audio

    I use a pair of Amek Neve 9098s for the overheads. Yes, I do have a few sets of matching mics for toms and snare. Depending on the kit I can put up 57s, ATM Pro 35s, 421s etc.

    In addition to the JLM and the Amek Neves, I also have my trusty Sebatron vmp-4000. Between these I have 14 channels of nice front end pres, with 8 matching, 4 matching and 2 matching. It's a nice combo...
  10. white swan

    white swan Guest

    OK, thanks Kurt!

    I misunderstood -I thought you were saying 8 matching pres were an advantage for miking a whole kit. It makes more sense when you say it is for just in case you ever get a drummer with eight toms.

    Fortunately, I've never recorded a drummer with eight toms. (I'm not even sure I'd ever want to!)

    I think for most of us, anywhere from two to four toms is the norm. So the four channels of matched pres should be just fine.

    And if someday that drummer DOES come in with eight toms, I'm sure you'll be able to still get a wonderful sound with eight unmatched pres too!

    For me, I actually enjoy having the variety and options from having different preamps. But if someone wanted to give me a great classic analog board for tracking (Neve, API, Helios, etc.) I'm sure I'd be singing a different tune. (You know, that famous one by Kurt and Will Wittman!)

    By the way, is it a generally held opinion that API and Focusrite Red sound alike? I hadn't ever heard that before (which means little, as I haven't heard a lot of things...) I have met a number of people who absolutely love API but are lukewarm about about Focusrite Red (except, of course, that EVERYONE loves the way they look!) So that's why it was interesting that you lumped them together. (I've never seen a JLM anywhere, nor have I heard much about them.)

    As always, it is great privilege to be able to exchange ideas with my betters! Thanks for providing the opportunity to educate myself.
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Well my drum kit has four toms, 3 racks and one floor. But I am working right now on a project with clients that have 4 racks and a floor tom. That leaves 3 pres for the snare top and bottom (nice to have matched pres for that also) and the hat. Then as I said before, I use the 9098s for the overheads. It is becoming more common to encounter drum kits with more than 3 or 4 toms. I also like having the same pres for the snare and kick. Think about it, when you listen to a drumset in a room are you listenig with more than one type of ear? It makes sense to me to want to use matching pres across the whole kit.

    The reference to the Foucusrite API type comment is directly from the JLM website. Check the link. It's how the company discribes them. The unit I got for review didn't come with a owners manual, so I really don't know what the topology of them is. You really should go and look at the JLM link, it's very cool. Check out these pres sometime if you get a chance. I think they are killer for drums. Davedog heard them the other day and agreed they are very API like, in terms of aggressiveness.
  12. white swan

    white swan Guest

    There is an appealing logic to that analogy, but wouldn't that analogy argue even more strongly to use eight of the same mics? After all, the mics are even more analogous to the ear than the preamps. I don't know of anyone who does that, although someone might. But I just don't think the "listening with one type of ear" arguement works too well in general. You could extend that argument to having to EQ all the mics with the same EQ (and settings) and all would have to go through the same compressor.

    That's not to say you can't easily do that - by setting up a drum submix. But still a lot of engineers will use specific dedicated comps and EQ's on just the kick or just the snare, etc.

    Interesting debate though - you certainly provide some food for thought.

    I certainly will, and thanks for the link. But, like you (I'm sure), I hardly take a company's own ad copy as objective gospel. What I was curious about is do you and Dave find focusrite and API to be sonically similar, or was that comment just a quote from the JLM ad copy? I know it would be useful for me (and I'm sure others) to know which part of your JLM comments are based on your own personal tests and conclusions, and which parts are quotes from the website. I would normally assume that when you are talking about gear you are relating your own findings, unless you indicate you are quoting someone else. At least, that would be the way that would cause the least confusion!
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I submit some of the most popular recordings ever done were with one mic overhead and sometimes a kick mic, perhaps a distance room mic, all the same pres ... early Led Zep and Beatles comes to mind.

    I have a JLM here and I think the JLMs are very much like the API pres, which I have used, in terms of sound quality. Dave said the same thing. However the JLM does not use the 2520 op amp. The design topology is more Neve like (like the Focusrite Red Range stuff) with transformers on the ins and outs, etc. This is what the info on the site relates. Once again, look at the link.

    I am however capable of drawing my own conclusions. I am simply trying to put over what the designer, Joe Malone, is saying about this great design.

    I edited my comments. I decided I got a bit too personal and I apologise to White Swan for this. I must be coming down with a case of "assholiness" (what Treena calls me when I get out of line, "Yes, your assholiness").

    I am feeling a bit sensitive to critque because I have been a bit "under the gun the past few days". I don't think W.S. has anything to do with this and I feel W.S. is simply asking questions she wants answered. Sorry for flying off the handle.

    [ October 13, 2003, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
  14. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Fortunately I missed getting yelled at. I'm really glad I didn't see it, because I cry easily.

    I do have some other questions to discuss, but I think I'll wait until you tell me it's safe to go back in the water! :(
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    NO! They have in much in common as they do being different. I would hesitate to trust or buy anything from a company that touts their product as sounding like Focusrite and API in the same sentance. If you like or want API, buy the damn API. The same with the Focusrite. Although the ISA is the same pre as in the Red range. Nobody has any style or couth anymore. All this fricken cloned and copied stuff. Design and make your own unique sound, or admit defeat and go start flippin burgers...
  16. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I could just kiss you A.G. That's all I was trying to ask. And you gave me a great answer!

    I was beginning to think I was incapable of expressing a simple question that anyone else could understand!

    A.G. is my hero! :h: :h: :h:
  17. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I read that several times and kept asking myself, Who the hell is A.G.? Oh, that's me!.

    I blush when when people get all sweet on me.... :eek: :s:
  18. No, no, no, don't encourage the cloners to go to work flippin' burgs, cuz next thing we will have Jack-in-tha-Box come out with the "Ultimate Burger", that can mimic a Big Mac, a Quarter Pounder, or a Whopper at the trun of a dial. Burger modelling- the wave of the future. :D David
    PS, can I get some Focusrite Liquid on that?
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think the best person to ask about this is Joe Malone, who owns JLM and hangs out a lot in the tech forum with the diyers and designers. I really encourage you to hear the JLM pres if you can. Everyone is misunderstanding my comments a bit. :confused: These pres are of a design type that is much like the Focusrite with transistors and transformers on the in and outs but have a more agressive sound much like the API. They sound great on drums guitars, vocals and bass. I have been using them for a project the past week in my home studio, the clients are very happy and say I am getting a much better sound than one of the local pro studios in spite of the fact that the studio has isos and a lot of room. AudioGaff, I know if you heard these pres you would like them ....

    And White Swan, the waters fine ... it was my problem not yours, again sorry... Kurt
  20. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, I might. One day I may get to hear them. As for the API, you do know that the mic pre has both in and out custom transformers? The API pre circuit is very compact and a simple design with a custom made VCA. The Focusrite Red/ISA is much more complicated and spread out using common off the self components. Thus, much different sounding.

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