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Vintech X73,X73i,X81

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by shanabit, Aug 14, 2006.

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  1. shanabit

    shanabit Active Member

    I know the main diff on these is the EQ section. Do you guys think the X73 and specifically the X81 warrant the extra dough? Or could I get by with the X73i?? Would I feel like Im missing something with the X73i and wish I had gotten the X81?

    Would I use all the extra Q points and such to warrant the extra cost?

    thanks fro your thoughts

    Shane 8)
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It all depends on how you intend to use the devices? If you feel that you need much more sophisticated equalization, then you probably want the 81 version device? The 73 version devices do not have as versatile an equalization section when it comes to frequency selections and peaking versus shelving capabilities. My Old Neve consoles have the 3115 modules which are very similar to the 1073 but with a class "AB" output instead of the pure class A output sections of the 73/81 type devices. There is nothing wrong with a class AB output until they begin to clip, which is symmetrical unlike the asymmetrical clipping of the pure class A outputs, which is more similar to how a tube overloads. The input sections are all class A. I have never been disappointed with my more limited capability equalizers as the sound of the microphone preamplifiers are so wonderful sounding. If it doesn't sound right going in, change the microphone before you start playing with the equalizers.

    You are only as good as your technique
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. shanabit

    shanabit Active Member

    Thanks Remy :D

    "If it doesn't sound right going in, change the microphone before you start playing with the equalizers. "

    Thats what I was thinking, get it sounding right going in with the mic and pre without EQ. Hence my other posts on mics.

    Just confusing a little bit when the pres have EQ for taloring the sound as its going in. :-?

    the X73i uses one amp twice in its path instead of having 2 separate amps like the X73 and X81 . Is this an issue?
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I spent the extra money and got a pair of X81's and am very glad that I did. I often don't use the eq when recording, but am glad I have it for mixing.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well you purchase the Vintech and Neve stuff for the color it creates. Not for its sonic integrity even though it has much.

    It doesn't matter how many "Op-Amps" or transformers are in the signal path, that are contained within since they all add to the coloration. It's only an issue if you want to make it an issue or somebody wants to tell you that it is an issue that doesn't know Jack.

    Of course the equalizers are there so that you can tailor the sound while tracking if you should so desire. I usually add or subtract some frequencies, most of the time, when tracking. I don't just reserve the equalizers for mixing. Although many people do. I love to live dangerously and take risks! Wow! What a concept!

    Dangerous engineer with big OP-AMPS!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    "the X73i uses one amp twice in its path instead of having 2 separate amps like the X73 and X81 . Is this an issue?"

    THis is very incorrect information. The X73i has one less TRANSFORMER not amp. THe input transformer for mic pre acts as the input tranformer for the line input (but in reverse) when in line mode. When using as a mic pre, any of them only use 2 transformers, and input and an output, and they are identical transformers. The only difference is when you are using it in Line mode because the X73-81 use a different transformer for the input than the mic transformer in reverse. So in line mode on the X73-81, the mic transformer is totally out of the circuit. I have used all of them, and sound wise actually prefere the X73i. It is the only one that has a ohm switch which gives you more tonal options and it just sounds smoother to me.
  7. shanabit

    shanabit Active Member


    thanks for the correction. I meant transformer, dont know why I typed op amp LOL :oops:
  8. dirtynbl

    dirtynbl Guest

    so lets say I was mainly going to be using either an X73 or X73i with an AKG 414 for hip hop vocals with my MOTU 896 HD.

    I'll be using plugins and stuff in my DAW too, but which would be a smarter buy the X73 or the 73i. Money is tight and I don't want to buy the i and find out its a cheap rip off, but it seems like its better at some things and worse at some things.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There are no 'rip-offs' at this point and level of equipment...only which is 'right' for the use.

    All of the Vintech units are really good. Its when people start trying to compare them to 25 year old pieces and assume that these are supposed to be clones. They are based on the designs but have a voice of their own...one thats very usable BTW.
  10. dirtynbl

    dirtynbl Guest

    right, i agree. but still for the use of hip hop vocals mainly what are the pros / cons of the X73 vs. x73i for this purpose?
  11. i would have to say that there is a difference between transparency and integrity. tube, transformer, and op-amp based devices all can have potential integrity depending on how well they are designed. but from a technical standpoint tubes have higher EIN, THD, and in essence SNR, therefore making them less transparent and more coloured. im sure this is obvious information to you.

    it is correct that you essentially get preamps for colouration at the end of the day, but that is not to say you don't get them for transparency either, afterall i think that is at least half of the reason why transistor and well designed op-amp based circuits were designed.

    if you wanted only transparency, you would use digital not analog
  12. dirtynbl

    dirtynbl Guest

    ok then what do you suggest as far as to compare the X73, and X73i
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    x73 or x73i. One is not clearly better than the other for any type of work. Just different. Pick the one that comes closer to having the features you want or need. If you don't know what your exact needs are for hip hop, than either one will work and you will never know the difference anyway.
  14. ok well on the contrary to what davedog said i do believe that most of these pieces like the vintech, amek, maybe API, i dont know theres a bunch, but the point is they all are known for being the nice neve clones. theres nothing wrong with them, they are awesome. the only vintech ive looked at is the 1272 based straight off the neve 1272, and thats why i looked at it. if you are anal about channel strips, then don't get the 73i meaning if you don't want multiple things running through the same circuitry because you believe it adds to noise and you lose bells and whistles as opposed having seperate rack mount units. i don't know if i believe that, and i assume it would be kind of hard to find a Neve EQ that isn't in a channel strip. that EQ section is going to be small though, you know kind of like on the 610's. it's not like you would use this particular EQ section for an outboard component during mastering (i don't do any dynamic processing on the input signal i see it as being useless)
  15. dirtynbl

    dirtynbl Guest

    mostly vocals. almost entirely vocals is what it will be used for. occasional acoustic guitar.
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Like I said, theres going to be very little difference sonically in the two units. One , the 73i, has a bit more EQ and one less transformer, and this deals only with the path for the DI. And as I said before, though BASED on a classic circuit, the Vintech has managed to come up with a sound of its own, and while SUGGESTIVE of a classic preamp...ala Neve, its still going to sound somewhat different for many reasons...a lot of which are age related. Perhaps when a Vintech gets to be 25 years old or so, it'll be a fair comparison to other elderly gear. But with new everything, its never going to be exactly the same....MY POINT originally as a lot of people seem to think that all clones or devices built with a similar theory in mind are going to reproduce exact tones and act the same in use..... I think they sound great. If you need a mid-range EQ for your voice then get the 73i. If you dont then get the 73. Either way, as my friend Audio Gaffster said, you cant go wrong and if you're unsure of the difference at this point then you'll never know what you're missing. Its gonna sound great regardless. And also to echo the Gaff, he likes his Vintech stuff whilst having access to real Neve etc.....Should tell ya something.
  17. what does age have to do with it? i mean it's definently true that just because you use such and such components you aren't going to achieve a good sound, rather it is crucial that you have a great design implemented with the chasis. obviously Neve has the high class engineered circuit design down, but given the circumstances that it is rather difficult to find an old neve let alone an old vintech. if you could possibly give an accurate explination of why these two pieces might have a different sound technically speaking that is. i mean i realize the judging by the ears is definently a great thing, but i personally wouldn't base my entire judgement on it. when you do, inadvertently, you get into the psycho-acoustic realm and as we all know our ears play tricks on us all the time. not to mention if everyone judged completely by the ears, there would be infinite different possibilites and there would be no need to base anything on accurate factual technical specifications.

    on the contrary, i realize that specs are achieved in numerous different ways, some of which for marketing purposes, but some of which developed by engineers. i'm bisexual in my basis for listening and specific evidence.
  18. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Age of components has more to with sound character than most people realize. As caps, resisters, transfromers ect... age, they have an overall inpact on the sound or sound character of the unit. This is one big and main reasons why older vintage units with the exact same components can sound drasticly different from one to another. Since the overall enviornment the unit is subjected to over the years has much to do with how components age, you get variance of sound from one unit to another. Even the type of switches, solder, wire, wire length or PC board trace width and/or length can all have impact on sound character.

    In addition, components made today are not made like they were in yesteryear, so even with all things being exactly equal as far as components and their values, they are just going to sound different.

    I sold my original Neve 1073 and 1081 for a lot of money several years ago. I still have access to them when I really need to use them but in general, I prefer the sound of the pair of X81's. Many of my clients are completely unable to hear any difference. I like and prefer the subtle more modern/newer/tighter sound of the X81's. And I got to buy a whole lot of other killer gear with the money (ViPre, 2nd API 512C and 525, 2nd 1176, AT4060, spare modules for my console, RAM and external HD for my DAW) that I sold the real Neve stuff for. Now I admit that I sometimes regret selling the 1081 as the Class AB thing was unique in tone, but the 1073 I don't miss at all.
  19. haha well yeah the 1081 and the 1272 were better than the 1073 i'd say. and i realize what you are talking about, similar to on drivers glue formulations are important and dust covers add to the sound. older stuff often used generally better small components wheras today they flake out a little bit. a lot of that definently rings true. i just think your concluding point is more valid, because it really is a land of minutia. i like to have sort of an extremist attitude on a lot of that stuff especially when it comes to quality workmanship, but at the end of the day i use my ears just as much as i use the specs. i still don't think that quality components have much to do with age though. like with a driver speaker its a little different. with an old ampex 350 most of the insides are rotten and people restore them with high quality but new chasis components.

    your arguement would carry on to saying that a reissue given the exact same circuitry and components with the methods that they were established, would not be as quality sounding as the original. and that is just really hard to stand up to. that is like the giving the marketing term "vintage" a stage to prance around on with your money as the paying audience.

    i'm not really discrediting you completely i just don't think it makes much of a difference. a good component is a good component and thats one thing. but that same component "aged" like a fine wine, compared to the same thing just out of the factory (or even handwired in some cases.) hell maybe even your ears are fooling you because technically speaking warmth is caused by noise.

    i don't think aged solder means much, aged caps you usually want replaced. but as long as it's the same material and what not.
  20. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Components have much to do with it
    and age is a factor as AudioGaff said

    it's not just about condition and straight up quality but about what component was placed in a circuit and why.

    A 20 percent resistor or cap could have be used in an old circuit to give just the right bias point.

    A 20% resistor works just as well as 1% resistor
    a 1k 20% could be 800 ohms or 1200 ohms and either could have been chosen for the above reason ... and you would'nt know unles you had some inside info.
    ... a new 1K 1% is very close to 1K and so with give a different bias current
    this type of situation could come up when refurbishing a ClassA output like that of the BA283.
    then comes all the Fake 2055 transitors out there and they do sound very different.

    Dan K of Great River chose to change this to a TIP modern styled components.
    As Dan says the magic is in the detail

    At this level and this price the Boutique gear is all about details, and the above is only the begining.
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