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what to get... preamp or channel strip???

Discussion in 'Preamps & Processing' started by WDavidW, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Hey guys. This is my first post. I’ve read a lot of your posts and you guys are all great. I hope to get some good advice. I’ve been doing some home recording for the past couple of years and decided to upgrade my equipment. My path was Octava mk319 mic to a Mackie 1202vlz pro to dbx266xl to maudio sound card to the UAD1. I recently bought a Blueberry mic and now I’d like to improve my whole front end by upgrading my mic pre and compressor and avoid all my old junk altogether. The more I read the more confused I get! Should I get a channel strip such as the Universal audio 6176, the Avalon 737, the Langevin Dual Vocal, Millenium Origin or any other channel strip? Or am I better off getting a mic pre such as the John Hardy, Manley, Brent Averill, Great River, API, Pheonix, Vintech etc. etc. etc. and then a compressor such as the Empirical Labs Distressor? I have no idea which one to get because I haven’t heard them. Can you guys suggest something to me? I’d really appreciate it! I’d like to stick with all discrete class A stuff. My priorities are 1)male vocals (that’s me) 2)guitar acoustic and electric 3) base 4)keyboard. No drums. My style ranges from Pink Floyd, Larry Norman, Simon and Garfunkel, to Matchbox 20 sounding stuff. I’d like to keep everything as close to $2300 as possible. Thanks a lot for the advice!
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    If you are recording one track at a time a channel strip just may be the answer. There are so many nice ones available the best thing I can recomend is to see if you can find a rental place there in Cleveland to rent one for a few days to try out.

    I have an Origin here and I like it very much. Mic pre, DI, EQ and compressor section all in one... very smooth and uncolored. You can add some color and attitude by useing the transformer across the input and the tube topology on the mic pre, eq and compressor section. I find the STT-1 to be very versitile.

    Sebatron has the "Thorax", at considerably less than the "Origin" and another to consider is the API channel strip, which is a real winner! All three are very different from the others ...

    If I could swing the cash, right now I would love a rack full (16 channels) of Great River MP2NVs and the EQ2NVs ... very good sounding stuff!
     
  3. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Another to consider is the SSL XLogic channel. Very nice compressor and excellent EQ.

    I am getting 6 channels of this very soon plus another 6 of API. :)

    steve
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Wow! Steve! That's going to be some serious front end... just what you need for the PT rig! I'm drooling!
     
  5. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Boy you guys answer fast! And with great advice. I almost alway record just one track at a time. So the channel strip does sound like a good consideration. I've never heard of the SSL Logic nor the Thorax. I have read a lot of posts where people seem to say a lot of positive things about the great river stuff. Kurt, you said that the Origin, the Thorax and the API all sound so different. How is that? Also, is there any benifit to having a rack full of stuff rather than a channel strip? Lastly, I mentioned before that I read a lot of great things about the Distresser. Everyone seems to say that it's a must have piece because they like it so much. How much weight should I give this in my decision making process?
     
  6. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Kurt, by the way I really enjoyed listening to your mic preamp comparisons. I liked the first 2 which happened to be the Speck. I listened to the mic comparisons too. I've always read about how legendary the Neumann U87 is but i never knowingly heard it until I listened to your demo. It sounds amazing!
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    They all sound different because they do what they do in different ways.. and because they are different designs. The Origin is a "twin topology" pre that offers both solid state and tube circuts, as well as transformer in or out, the API uses transformers and an OP AMP and the Thorax is an all tube, transformer discreet type. You will find that almost all gear sounds different from each other even if the design philosiphy is similar.
     
  8. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Hey Kurt. I've been looking at gear still and I checked out the channel strips that you had mentioned. I can't find any place around here that rents gear so that I can hear the difference. I'm thinking about getting either the great river pre or an api. Phoenix and John Hardy also have my curiosity. My question to you is this. How would having a good pre an empirical labs distresser, and an outboard eq such as the speck compare to having the Millennia Origion that you had mentioned? Which would give me a better sound or be more versatile?

    [ January 04, 2004, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: WDavidW ]
     
  9. You might be able to open a relationship with one of the highend audio dealers that can ship you stuff to try out, especially if you can leave a hefty deposit.
    I would look at Millennia, Sebatron, Phoenix, Universal Audio, and OSA.
    David
     
  10. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Put the Pendulum Quartet on your list to check out.
     
  11. I start to drool when I see the Quartet... (We need a gremlin that drools). David
     
  12. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    I checked out the Pendulum Quartet, on the internet, that you mentioned to me. When i read about it, it sounds realy good. Now I'm moe confused. Did you see the Quartet II that's coming out? Wow! It sounds like it's going to be smokin'. I'm still undecided. How does the Pendulums sound compare with the Millenium? There both about $2650 a pop. And how does this setup compare to the setup I mentioned above using all seperate pieces of gear? eg. great river pre + Distresser?
     
  13. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I've never compared the Millennia Origin to the Pendulum Quartet. Theoretically, the Origin should be more versatile, given the separate solid state and tube circuits. Nonetheless, virtually all of the anecdotal reviews of the Quartet on the web mention that the Quartet is very versatile. All state it's an incredible piece. Indeed, of all the reviews and comments I've ever seen on any Pendulum product (there are several), there was only one negative review, that of the SPS-1, stating that its eq circuit was below par (I disagree, as I have an SPS-1 and the eq is great).

    I believe Fletcher has compared the Origin and the Quartet, at least he has offered opinions comparing the two. He quite clearly prefers the Pendulum Quartet.

    The Quartet II is not an upgrade of the original Quartet, nor is it a replacement. According to Greg, it's a complementary piece. The Quartet II is not $2,650, the street price wil be more in the $4,000-$5,000 range.

    A suggestion: call Greg at Pendulum. He's one of the masters of audio design. He's also a great guy, and will take the time to speak at length with you.
     
  14. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Ok-still... Pendulum Quartet -vs- Great River ME1-NV + Distresser + Eq ?

    Who wins?
     
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2001
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    First off, you have to be skeptic when you hear words from a salesman, even Fletcher. He sells the Quartet and none of Millennia's products. He also has vested interest as he was deeply involved in the design development of the Quartet-II unit. If you read the internet you'll find that Fletcher has had, and continues to have deep conflict with Millennia.

    Second, I am doubtful that there has been that many Quartets sold, and not as many Quartets as Origins. You have to keep in mind that the reviews you read on the net as well as how many of them there are, are only a very small fraction of the total opinions and owners of those that really use those type of hi-end products. They both are great hi-end products that will serve you well with very little to complain about.
     
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2001
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Everybody wins! Don't think of it as one being better than another as you should that what is best is what is best for you and that will depend on your needs, wants, working style and what other gear you already own. Hi-end all-in-one units are flexable but are often not as flexable as having seperate units. They are only of true value to you if you like and use all the sections and features. They can be of great value in cost savings over what you would pay for seperate units. They are ideal for DAW front ends and those that take gear for remote use that also like to save rack space.

    You can't really do a direct compare of the Pendulum Quartet -vs- Great River ME1-NV + Distresser + Eq because they all are very different sounding with different feature sets as well as one being a tube unit and the others not.
     
  17. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    hmmm....very insightful
     
  18. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Another thing. I understand that Fletcher might have his own biased opinion, but I wonder why sdelsolray and David Doc Herbert seem to be so high on the Pendulum?
     
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    because they are gear-slut-pigs!

    They just love great gear and they can see that the Pendulum is a great piece.

    I reviewed the Origin and I liked it so much I purchased the review unit.

    You keep asking about the Distressor and so you don't feel like I am ignoring you I will say this, I personally don't like it. I am not saying it's junk, a lot of people seem to like it a lot and you will hear of many people getting great results with it, but myself, I don't like stuff that distorts on purpose ... just my 2 cents on that.
     
  20. WDavidW

    WDavidW Guest

    Originally posted by Kurt Foster:
    That's funny!
    Kurt, I know that you recently purchased the Millenium. Have you heard the pendulum Quartet and if so what do you think? I'm sure that you are very happy with your new Millenium gear. Sorry I keep rehashing the same questions but I'm trying to get as many opinions as possible before I make a purchase. I can't find anyone around that rents gear so I'll probably have to go out and rack up a purchase of 4 or 5 pieces of gear on my credit card, play with them for about a week or two and then make a final desision and return the gear that I don't want. Because of this method I want to make my list as narrow as possible.
     

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