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UA 610 a good starter mic pre?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Jason James, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Hey guys, still debating which mic pre to get. I only have a Allen and Heath board and a little Joe Meek so I need one that will be the best all around going into Nuendo. I can get a new (open box) UA 610 for $999. Great deal but would this be a good starter pre. Would it build up too much if I use it for kick/snare (or room mics) then for bass, guitars, voxes etc? Would I do better spending a few hundered more and getting a Vintech Dual 72 or an Amek, Sebatron, JLM TMP 8. Also, I'm afraid my Hot TLM 103 will be too much for this UA. Please HELP!!! Thanks guys. Keep in mind I need something great all round. (drums, vox, bass, ac and elec gtrs.) But, I'll shortly pick up a neve clone etc after this, hopefully.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    mmm-kay. Some of the best sounding records ever recorded were done using those UA 610 pres. The designer, Bill Putnam owned United Recording in Chicago and then LA. This studio evolved ito what we now know as Ocean Way. Nat "King" Cole, recorded many of his hits with Putnam at United. That being said this pre has a LOT of color. An unmistakeable sonic signature. It could be a bit much to use it on everything. The Sebatron is a pre that can have a lot of color and attitude also but is more flexible for varied applications. For just a liitle more than what you are saying you are spending, you can get a vmp 4000 and have 4 channels of pres. A lot more bang for the buck! You can hear what a Sebatron sounds like across a whole song at the Audio Projects page. There is also an example of the JLM TMP8 posted there. Happy listening. Let me know what you decide after you hear the demos.. Kurt
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The UA 610 is a heavy colored mic pre, if that is the sound you want, then it should serve you well. The TLM-103 is a real hot mic, but you can you buy an in-line pad for it and all will be ok. The Vintech is also very colored but not as heavy. But they are really two different things. I think you need you both for variety and for the tone that you can't get in software.

    [ October 22, 2003, 02:52 AM: Message edited by: AudioGaff ]
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    AudioGaff brings up the pad and the TLM 103. The Sebatron vmp has a switchable 15dB / 30dB pad built in. Sounds like a match to meeeeeee.... :D

    You can also kick these pads in and then drive the pre harder to get a given gain, this adds more color the harder you drive the pre. Neumans through Sebatrons are wonderful.. that is a U87 in the demo I posted..
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    An in-line pad or two is just one of things that everybody should have in their accessary drawer.

    Kurt, you pitch that Sebatron stuff more and as hard as any salesman I've ever known. Fess up, what is your cut on the deals? It might be good stuff but the full time banner ad and you being a mod on the group, and the group owner being a dealer sure hints of a conflict of interest if your trying to be objective and be fair. You never seem to mention any other products that are in the same class or price range? Not trying to jump on ya, but it often appears fishy to me and others as well I'll bet.
  6. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Yes, I've heard a lot of good things about the seb and sure are interested. But, I only hear good things about them on this bbs. I went to check locally on the SEB and JLM and no one has heard of them around here. I know UA builds quality stuff. I'm sure I could sell it and get my money back and then some. Not sure about the JLM and SEB. I definitly don't need someting that is TOO colored esp since it will be across a bunch of tracks. How does the UA 2 610 sound on Voxes, Kick/SNare/ Ac gtr. etc? How would that sound differ if using a SEB. Sorry, but i dont have any experiance in nice mic pres and am trying to make a wise purchase. Perhaps I should save up some more and pick up the dual Grace or API Quad, Red 8, Vintech Dual etc. Please help steer this newbie in the right direction. Thanks so much.
  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    This could just be a "cause and effect" situation. They tried the mic pre, and liked it so much that they decided to add a forum, resell the product, etc. If they liked it that much, it makes sense that Kurt would recommend it whenever appropriate.

    So the question becomes, "Does Kurt recommend it because of the ties to RO?", or "Does RO have ties to Sebatron because Kurt likes it so much?".

    If it is half as good as Kurt professes it to be, then I would guess that RO got involved with SEB because it is so good, and is basically an unknown quantity here in the States. What a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

    but Audiogaff does have a point, it *can* look suspicious at times...RO needs to make sure that they look unbiased.

    From now on Kurt, I would recommend to folks that are trying out mic pres to compare the Sebatron to another high-end mic pre, like...say the ART tube mp, and then make their decision!!! :D Hahaha!!!

    Seriously now folks:

    I will admit that I hear nothing about the Sebatron mic pres except here on RO, and with RO involved in the resale, it can look a bit fishy. But I will also state without hesitation, that I trust Kurt's judgement and integrity, and I don't think that he would sell out like that. I am sure that RO got involved because the Seb was so good, rather then they RO got involved, and then tried to make it good.

    Sorry for rambling...
  8. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    I would agree with the comments saying the 610 is a very "colored" preamp. You're right that you wouldn't want that color on a whole lot of tracks but for the right track it may be magic.

    Inline pads from Shure are in the $10 - $20 range and always useful to have around.
  9. white swan

    white swan Guest

    The phrase "starter pre" is why I might vote against this idea. I agree with others here in thinking that the UA pre would be a great "second" (or maybe third) preamp, but for a first preamp you might want something more versatile.

    As far as the other issue raised, it is generally considered good form for anyone to disclose their financial connections with a particular company if they are making a recommendation to buy one of their products. Even if it is just a reference in the signature line. (e.g. Joe Shmo, Head Custodian at Sebatron, Inc.)

    I personally think Kurt's recommendations are sincere, as he recommends a lot of products and he can't possibly have a financial interest in all of them. But since avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest can be so easily handled with a disclaimer, one might as well do it.
  10. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    In defense of Kurt he's made that disclaimer here before. I think anyone that lurks here for any length of time knows that. I see no reason for him to change his recommendation as long as he's really excited about that pre.
  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Seeing as you already have the mic pre's in the mixer and the Joe Meek, something colored or very colored would be a nice option. What about mic's? Having great mics is a must. You might be better served to buy one or two really good mic's now. I guess I'm just stuck in the past as I always seem to prefer and recommend the older stuff like the John Hardy, UA, Focusrite ISA/Red, API, Neve. I think the API or Vintech would serve you well as being pretty colored but still multi-purpose. After all, many studios bought entire consoles with Neve and API for mic pre's and didn't use anything else. The UA 610 is not as flexable or universal, but it does have an old fasion phat tone not found too often in newer gear. If you knew you really liked it's sound and were planning on getting something else to add to it in the near future, then consider it as well as any other.

    Ahh, what do I know? You might just skip it all and concentrate on your existing gear and develop your skills using it before spending any money. That is how we used to do it in the old days...
  12. by

    by Guest

    (...oh guys, big deal!)

    I recently bought some API stuff. They're great for all purposes, they have a little attitude but the accumulated effects are not overbearing at all - just very plesent, especially for rock music.

    The six space lunch box for under 500, and a single channel pre for 650 - it's a little over a grand, but you'll have 5 spaces left over if you find you want more.
  13. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    I think API was having a "free lunch box" giveaway a couple of months ago. I thought I recently saw a dealer online that was still honoring that. Pretty good deal.
  14. by

    by Guest

    Yeah, Vintage King still does that, buy 4 modules, get 6 space lunch box free. (that's where I've gone before)
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I can understand your questioning my “chatting up” the Sebatron in view of all that you mentioned. I appreciate your being able to make this point without turning it into a personal attack on me or RO. Unlike others, you simply make the points without resorting to trolling tactics. This requires some intelligence and I respect that. I don't mind being contradicted or questioned but I won't stand for anyone being personally attacked on this forum. Those kinds of posts will be deleted, with no comment to dignify them.

    But you have been around long enough to remember that I did the review and began recommending Sebatron gear quite a while before RO accepted the banner ads from them and before Chris became a dealer for Sebatron in Canada. Sebatron pays the same rate as all other manufacturers do for his banner ads. Chris , as a dealer for Sebatron and as the owner of RO places the banners for Sebatron Canada. Seeing as he owns the forum, I think he's entitled to do this. I get nothing for suggesting Sebatron or any other companies gear. I have absolutly no finacial ties to Sebatron or any other manufacturer. I am a completly unbiased reviewer with no ties to any company. I don't write review for crap gear but that is as far as my bias plays into the equation. If anyone can prove otherwise, now is the time to step up to the plate.

    The reason I don't mention anything else in the price range of the Sebatron is there is nothing at the same price point I know of that sounds as good. Can you suggest anything that is $1750 or $437 per channel, that is as flexible as the Sebatron? I haven't seen anything in that price range that is worth mentioning. The only thing I can think of is used APIs that I have seen go for around $500. But then you still have to get the lunchbox.

    I think if you had a chance to hear a Sebatron, you would be talking it up too..

    I am hard core when it comes to front end. I think there is no substitute for it. The Sebatron represents a best value in this department.

    [ October 22, 2003, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
  16. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Cool this is a good thread. Well my "hookup" for the 2 610 fell thru, it'll be more like 1500 which is still a good deal. I'm thinking now about the Brent Averills Dual Neve 1272 then getting the Averill Dual API at $1659 and $1449 respectivly it sounds pretty good. Also the Langevin Dual Vocal w/EQ and Limiters for $1600 sounds pretty sweet too. Also there is the John Hardy M1 Dual for $1650, The Red 8, Vintech Dual 72 and of course the SEB JLM TMP8 AMEK and RNP. Oh then how about two Grace 101's for around a grand, man that sounds like a good way to go. Which of these would you pick to be your main dual pre. Then some months down the road pick up another flavor? CHOICES. :eek: Again I have NO experiance with pres and don't yet know what i like and dislike. My price range now is around $1500 but could go an eek more if I have to. Need something good all around. Eventually It'd be nice to have Neve, API and Tube sounds (I think).

    Thanks Guys..........J
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    At $1900 (the price recently went up due to the difference between the US and Austrailian dollar) The JLM is a great choice for an all around pre.. It is not as well known as some of these other pres you brought up but I feel that will change in the future. You get eight channels and this pre is based on time honered op amp class A transformer input designs. I discribe the sound as somewhere between the Focusrite Red and an API, but the TMP8 absolutly has its own sound. It can be very clean and uncolored at lower gains but the cool thing about it is, the TMP8 comes from the factory with pre set limiters, set for your DAWs inputs. The harder you drive these limiters, the fatter and more Neve like, these limiters cause the the pre to sound.

    Just about any of the pres you mentioned would be a fine addition and it would indeed be wonderful to have all of them in your arsenel. I personally don't "get it" as far as the 1272 thing goes. I have used the Avirills before and while they are not "rack crap" I didn't hear anything to write home about. I can't explaine this as these are supposedly basically the same thing as many other Neve pres I like quite a bit, but the ones I worked with were just real "ehhhhh". The RNP is a budget pre and IMO, by nature of it's design, power supply and construction methodology, does not fall into the same catagory as all these other pres you have mentioned.
  18. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Hey thanks Kurt. I emaild Joe at JLM a few days back and havnt heard from him. I with I could check one of these out. I just saw where you recommended a Dan Alexander Dual @ $1150 is pretty good. Have you used these guys? The review I read on them said they did great on Vox, bass, and drums. Perhaps I should walk away for a few days then come back and see what my gut tells me. $1000 buck or more is a lot of bones to drop, I want to make sure I get the best bang per buck. I wish I could find something used but only know to look on ebay. Don't see much there. Thanks guys.
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I was not able to get Dan to send me a unit to review, in spite of the fact that he knows well who I am and that he would get his gear returned. So I can't speak to the quality of his units. I also discovered that his pres are only 2 gain stage deveices with 60 dB of gain. While this is plenty , this approach is essentially the same as a 1272, which as I said previously, don't impress me. I also learned he is using a wall wart style power supply, which IMO is a compromise. Dan is a well known and respected person in the music scene in San Francisco but not being able to get a unit to review, I can no longer recommend his stuff.

    Check out http://www.proaudiomarketplace.com. You have to subscribe for a year (12 issues) and a sub runs $25. There is used gear from all over the world in this tabloid publication. You can get it in hard copy or on line. This is the best source I have ever found for used pro gear. Happy hunting! (where have I heard that before??? :D )
  20. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Kurt, I don't doubt or dis-believe your motives or good intentions, I was just being a little $*^t-head sarcastic and making an obsrevation in general that it seems to me that the sebatron gets mentioned at almost every chance and others don't get mentioned at all? And while flexability is always a good thing, it is often not as important as other criteria. Gear like the Neve 1272 clones usually offer little to no flexability but are no less of great value. Now you know as well as I do that there are many choices in the >$1500 <$2000 range single or dual channel and no matter how good or flexable the sebatran is, it is just one of many of those possible choices.

    I've got my pet gear I always tout over anything else as well. Manley, API, Focusrite Red/Blue series, LA2A. I own three Eventide's and they are the best sounding, most inspiring, wild, versatile, flexable effects processor and DSP tools that I have ever encountered, a true swiss army analog/digital processor tool, yet my pain in the ass to use and edit Lexicon PCM91 that does reverb only, and cost me 1/2 of one of my Eventides, is much better at reverb so it still holds great value as tool for me to use.

    I guess my point is that flexability and features don't always mean that something has superior value over something else that does not have as many or a lot of flexability and features no matter what someone says or what the price difference is.

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