Millennia Origin STT-1
Anyone had experience with a the Millennia Origin STT-1? Thinking of checking one out as I'm in the market for a new outboard channel.
For what it's worth...I found it to be one of the most boring things I've ever heard. It's clean, it's clear, but most of all it's 'sterile'. I've kind of equated it to having a date with the most beautiful woman you can imagine, then getting her home...and one thing leads to another...and the next thing you know you are engaged in conjugal relations...and she's lying there like a dead fish...that kind of boring. Like it's supposed to be a great time, and it turns into a chore kind of boring.
I did find it ironic that when I went to type this the ad for the unit popped up on the top of the page. I guess free advertising is even better than the full page ads they buy in the magazines...reckon they'll do anything to get the word out that this thing looks really good...though I really do think they should add a warning sticker that says something like:" Caution: the tone of this unit may induce a narcoleptic like reaction or coma "
Originally posted by Fletcher:
[QB]For what it's worth...I found it to be one of the most boring things I've ever heard.
Gosh, I've heard the Origin called lots of things, but never "boring!"
Granted, the HV-3 mic preamp section has been called "boring." Perhaps that's why the HV-3 has become a standard in classical and critical acoustic music recording - the same preamp used by Streisand, Celine Dion, and Pavarotti,
the same preamp used to score a predominance of Hollywood feature films,
OK, so the HV-3 is inside the Origin. But there are eight other functional sections in the Origin. Indeed, the Origin was designed to offer an exceptionally broad and versatile tonal range, from sonic purity to rich euphonic tube color (especially with the optional Telefunken ECC-83 valves), and many places in between. There's also a front-end transformer that can be switched in for a beefier punch, often used on kicks, toms, basses, and male vocalists. This specially designed transformer offers an additional "coloration" that EQ simply cannot.
So here's a challenge to everyone - get an Origin demo from one of Millennia's 80+ dealers. If you can't find a demo near you, call us at the factory and we'll send you a demo for a week. Switch in any one of Origin's 134 product combinations. If you think it's boring, tell me why. I want to know.
John La Grou
Millennia Media, Inc.
P.S., Millennia is professionally represented in the Boston / New England area by a number of fine pro audio firms, including:
and one of our best (top 10) dealers worldwide -- Mark Parsons, Rick Scott, and Les Arnold at Parsons Audio - three of the absolute finest individuals in the business.
Let me state that I own an STT-1. When it works, it's great. I find I use it mostly for DI bass, simply because the low end is fantastic on it. Where a lot of other units seem to strip some bottom off, I can count on the STT-1 to pass it through. However, I rely on outstanding players for the tone, as the STT-1 really isn't capable of serious tonal shaping.
I record primarily rock and pop material, and find the EQ section on the STT-1 is nice to fix little problem frequencies, but doesn't really make anything "pop", if that makes any sense. Very, very vanilla. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The compressor is a nice thing, but, again, it does what it does in a very vanilla way. Perhaps this is do to rock and pop's heavy reliance on the serious footprints of other pieces of gear, but when you get something that is so neutral, it does come off as lackluster.
And again, all of these things might be exactly the reason to buy an STT-1, or precisely the reasons to liken it to necrophilia.
In all fairness to the STT-1, John, Fletcher isn't too far off the mark with the "boring" label. The piece is, as noted, very uncolored, very neutral, ect. -Rich
Fair enough. Have you tried any of the alternative tubes that we tested a while back?
The Origin comes stock with new Russian tubes. These stock tubes (12AX7 and 12AU7) lean towards neutrality and offer only modest "tube euphony" to audio signals. Mastering engineers typically consider the difference significant while pop tracking engineers (perhaps like yourself?) sometimes find the difference subtle. This is why we tested a number of different old production tubes - to see if any valves offered more "color" than our stock Russian varieties.
We indeed found that a number of old stock tubes offered a very colorful addition to the signal path. Notably, we really liked the Telefunken ECC-83 (12AX7) smooth plate and the Mullard CV4004 (12AX7) box plate for providing a very enhanced sense of musicality. On the 12AU7 side, a tube made in France by RT Production the 1960's really caught our attention. We've been out scouring up these "colorful" tubes wherever we can find them and now offer them optionally from stock.
You are correct - Millennia's philosophy has always been to provide an invisible signal path, irrespective of product. The Origin starts with a pristine collection of circuits, and then allows an engineer to add vacuum tubes and transformer when more color is required. The EQ and opto-compressor are also notably free from artifacts, unlike other dyn's / EQ's that one might select for adding "pop" (as you say) to a signal.
Have you tried the transformer with mics on LF sources? Certainly you've experienced a significant "musical thickening" of kicks, toms, and bass signals, no? Let me know via e-mail if you want to try some of the NOS and old-tested tubes - I would be happy to send some out for demo. Thanks for writing.