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Neve 1073 vs ISA/trident

Member for

12 years 1 month
Hey yall. Im trying to narrow down what makes sense for a channel strip for general purpose usage. Vocals, voice over, acoustic and electric guitar, and ambient mic.

The neve 1073 pre/eq and the focusrite isa 2 with the trident 80b 500 series eq, both have my interest. They are similarly priced, with the isa/80b being a stereo setup, neve would be mono.

In one way i like the simplicity and timelessness of the neve, in another i like the ISA/80b combo as something a little more unique. Seems like everything these days is done on a neve. Ive used a classic calrec at the studio, and heard an ISA at GC and via marcos videos. I loved the oomph of the trident eq on a trident 24, but i am unsure how similar it is to the 80b.

I am likely going to get 1 or 2, dbx 160 500 series modules, since they are very low priced, and the 160a rack unit is discontinued!! This should round things out for a solid pro level channel path, without boutique pricing, or 'project studio' level stuff. Tho the black lion audio bluey 1176 clone seems interesting.

Ideally id get both the neve and focusrite/trident, but i think im going to wait until i move and have a true studio room before i aquire much OB gear. Just need one good channel strip for now.

Im open to any alternatives too.

Thanks.

Comments

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Thu, 08/08/2019 - 17:39
Ive been doing some digging and a couple questions cropped up.

@Kurt Foster

Did you get the unit with the stock (sovtek) tubes, and non-stepped Q knobs on the eq?

@pcrecord

What are your thoughts on the eq on the la-610 pre amp section?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Thu, 08/08/2019 - 20:07
Kurt Foster, post: 461863, member: 7836 wrote: i received it with extra tubes including some Mullards if i recall correctly. the differences were minor.

i have never heard la-610.

Interesting ive heard some people get telefunkin tubes. Its worth contacting millenia to see what they are offering now.

What about the bandwidth knobs? Did you get the stepped ones?

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Thu, 08/08/2019 - 21:38
kmetal, post: 461864, member: 37533 wrote: Interesting ive heard some people get telefunkin tubes. Its worth contacting millenia to see what they are offering now.

What about the bandwidth knobs? Did you get the stepped ones?

they might have been Telefunkins, i had an EL OP at the same time and i had a lot of extra tubes for both of them. it was quite a while ago.

"PARAMETRIC EQUALIZER SECTION (9) BAND IN/OUT SWITCH "IN"Pushbutton switch which places its associated EQ band in circuit or out of circuit. There are four bands of equalization on the STT-1 Origin. The four frequency bands are labeled LF (low frequencies), LM (low-mid frequencies [20 Hz - 2.5 kHz]), HM (high-mid frequencies [250 Hz - 25 kHz]), and HF (high frequencies). An EQ band is in circuit when its associated band switch is depressed and LED is illuminated. Because of the equalizer's unique network-shunt design, EQ bands should have no detectable sonic signature when they are in circuit as long as the boost/cut control is set at zero. Band In/Out switches are provided both for comparing a single EQ band setting versus flat-band response, and for bypassing the EQ entirely.

(10) FREQUENCY SELECT SWITCH Rotary switch (Grayhill, gold contacts, military spec) which selects fixed high and low band fre-quencies. LF control center frequencies are set to 20, 34, 56, 100, 180, and 270 Hz. HF control center frequencies are set to 4.8k, 5.8k, 8.0k, 10k, 16k, and 21 kHz.

(11) PEAK/SHELF SELECT SWITCHPushbutton switch which selects LF band and HF band curve shape. When switch is depressed and LED is illuminated, EQ is shelving at 6 dB per octave. When switch is not depressed, EQ is peaking with a fixed "Q" of 1.0.

(12) BOOST/CUT CONTROLConductive plastic rotary potentiometer offering up to +15 dB of boost and -15 dB of cut. Boost/Cut potentiometer has 21 detented positions for accurate repeatability and session log-ging.

(13) PARAMETRIC FREQUENCY CONTROLConductive plastic rotary potentiometers (2) which sweep all center frequencies from 20 Hz to 25 kHz. The low-mid band ("LM") sweeps 20 Hz to 220 Hz -or- 200 Hz to 2.2 kHz, depend-ing on the status of Frequency Range Switch (below). The high-mid band sweeps 250 Hz to 2.5 kHz -or- 2.5 kHz to 25 kHz, depending on the status of Frequency Range Switch (below). This control is optionally available with 21-step detents for accurate repeatability and logging.

(14) PARAMETRIC FREQUENCY RANGE SELECT SWITCH "10X"Pushbutton switch which selects 1X or 10X parametric frequency range. When switch is de-pressed and corresponding LED is illuminated, frequencies as shown on front panel legend are multiplied by 10X. When switch is not depressed and LED is not illuminated, frequencies are as shown on front panel legend.

(15) PARAMETRIC QUALITY CONTROL "Q"Conductive plastic rotary potentiometer which sweeps "Q" (Quality factor) from 0.4 to 4.0. "Q" is defined as the ratio of the center frequency to the bandwidth. For example, a filter boost setting with "3 dB down points" near 100 Hz and 1000 Hz exhibits a "Q" of approximately 0.4. This control is optionally available with 21-step detents for accurate repeatability and session logging."

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Fri, 08/09/2019 - 04:49
kmetal, post: 461861, member: 37533 wrote: What are your thoughts on the eq on the la-610 pre amp section?
the eq on the LA-610 has very little settings available.. choose 2 freq to boost or cut.. The Q is a bit wide so I wouldn't use it to remove unwanted frequencies since it would cut too much.
But a bit of lowend refinement and some clarity if needed is a good option to have..

One of my LA-610 was not used very often, but after changing the tubes recently, it's back on the game !!

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Sun, 08/11/2019 - 05:54
kmetal, post: 461877, member: 37533 wrote: Do you find yourself using it much?

What type of difference did the tube swap make?
Yes on one of my LA-610, I often push +1.5db at 7k for vocal clarity and sometime cut 1.5db at 200hz.

The one that needed the tubes change, it was sounding a bit nazal before I did it. Now I rarely use eq.. and on some vocals, even in the mix, there isn't need for an eq..
The thing is with the tube swap, it's a bit a thing of chance.. I can't afford buying 50 different tubes and trying combinaison until I get it perfect..
But what I ordered did the job nicely.. Maybe the same tubes on another unit wouldn't be a good match at all.. My 610 were made in 2001 and I suspect they ran 24/7 for years before I bought them...

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Tue, 07/30/2019 - 14:25
the Trident 24 is not an 80, 80b or a 70 series but rather a 24 channel version of the 65 series consoles. i know what you are talking about when you speak of the oomph in the eq on the Trident though. i'm pretty sure that's an inductor eq we both hear. a 65 was the first large console i ever got my grubs on and for me it was an epiphany. a real "oh! that's what everyone means" moment.

if you want a "do it" all strip, i would lean towards the ISA. it can be clean / accurate or over-driven for some "hair".

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Tue, 07/30/2019 - 14:34
Appreciate your insight Kurt. Never heard another eq do what that trident did. The '65 was first 'real' console i ever got to use as well. For $400 the eq module seems like quite a good value in the 500 series stuff.

The isa is so pretty sounding, i think the trident and 160 would compliment it well, giving some tonal variety.

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Wed, 07/31/2019 - 06:12
Hey K,
I would go for a ISA 430 or a used 220. They are very versatile. I'm thinking of changing one of my LA-610 for one of those..

Of course if you want to go further into the budget, the Millennia STT1 seems like a fantastic alternative. The vacuum and solidstate independent gains can give so many different sounds and you get EQ, Dynamics, Deesser...
But it's 1K more expensive than the ISA 430..

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 07:34
Marco, i would try to keep the LA-610 and just get more pres/ strips. if i could, i would never sell anything. :LOL:

i had an STT1 and i found it's a totally different beast than either the ISA or a 1073. at the time i had it i also had a pair of Neve /AMEK 9098's and a GR MP-2NV on hand as well to compare it with.

i found the ORIGIN to be super clean / accurate in any of the offered topologies. the differences are so subtle that imo, it really is a one trick pony. it's a really GOOD trick but not as "versatile" as i would have thought. i never really heard that much of a difference between how it sounds in solid state or tube topology or with or without the transformer switched in. Millennia is sooooo obsessed constructing a high quality signal path that what you wind up with is a very accurate signal path in any of the topologies offered. where the ORIGIN really shines is as a complete channel strip. i found the compressor de-esser section to be stellar, really one of the best compressor sections offered in any channel strip available. the one bad thing about the ORIGIN is if you get one, you will soon decide you want a pair. one is not enough. a pair would be a great solution as a master section for a passive summing box like the FOLCROM.

did i say i LOVE the comp section in the ORIGIN? well. i do!

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Wed, 07/31/2019 - 07:43
Kurt Foster, post: 461688, member: 7836 wrote: Marco, i would try to keep the LA-610 and just get more pres/ strips. if i could, i would never sell anything. :LOL:
I've been hesitant for more than a year about this, so any of my 2x LA-610 are not soon to depart my studio...
With that said, all my inputs (analog, spdif and Adats) are used on my FF800.. unless I sacrifice the reverb return I use only for headphones.
Anyway, I should just put that aside and think of upgrading my interface.. The RME FF800 is kinda of an old brick. but it still works and sound fine.. ;)

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 07:45
pcrecord, post: 461689, member: 46460 wrote: I've been hesitant for more than a year about this, so any of my 2x LA-610 are not soon to depart my studio...
With that said, all my inputs (analog, spdif and Adats) are used on my FF800.. unless I sacrifice the reverb return I use only for headphones.
Anyway, I should just put that aside and think of upgrading my interface.. The RME FF800 is kinda of an old brick. but it still works and sound fine.. ;)

that's why gawd made patch bays.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Wed, 07/31/2019 - 12:33
pcrecord, post: 461687, member: 46460 wrote: Hey K,
I would go for a ISA 430 or a used 220. They are very versatile. I'm thinking of changing one of my LA-610 for one of those..

Of course if you want to go further into the budget, the Millennia STT1 seems like a fantastic alternative. The vacuum and solidstate independent gains can give so many different sounds and you get EQ, Dynamics, Deesser...
But it's 1K more expensive than the ISA 430..

Ive been considering the 430. I don't like the idea of selectable tube or solid state units. I dont doubt the quality of millenia. I have have been considering the Manley core, since its in the price range im looking at and i really like the manley tube pre.

With the isa i am not sure that the 430 would be 2x as 'good' or useful as the isa/trident/dbx setup, which gives me two channels for the same price as the 430.

They are interesting options tho. I think ive ruled out the neve for now, but the 430, and core are going to get more research. Once i start getting stuff in the millenia level i really want to have a more proper room to put it in, and also be able to get individual sections rather than a channel strip, so i can have 2x of everything with max versatility.

I feel like sometimes channel strips are compromised to squeeze stuff into a single unit. Transformers, tube sections, make up gains, sometimes get ommited. The LA-610 is an example of this. It sounds great, just is modified relative to the 2 units individually.

With the isa 430, and trident, i worry less since they were originially in a console channel strip anyway.

I tend to buy stuff new and keep it a while, so i rareley go used, after several bad experiences with used gear.

I did notice that the isa 2, goes for half the price used on reverb, which re-asserts my concern of resale value vs a neve or manley. I feel like the isa/trident/dbx will lose 50% of its value, vs the others losing 30% or appreciating back to what i paid new.

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Wed, 07/31/2019 - 12:57
kmetal, post: 461695, member: 37533 wrote: I have have been considering the Manley core, since its in the price range im looking at and i really like the manley tube pre.
Yes, this is a nice idea Manley also got my curiosity. I wish I can use one some day.. A compressor and a limiter with seperate controls.. that's nice.. Less expensive than the VoxBox..
Another that caught my eyes and I don't know much about is the SPL Frontliner, funny how they wrote the sections in two orientation on the back..

So the 430 vs isa/trident/dbx ?? I guess you have to try them before you buy.. Althought having one team working and teaking everything in 1 unit should have positive impact, if only for impedance consistancy etc...

I remember Chris saying he'll never get a better combinaison than a millennia and a LA2A.. Man those are expensive !!

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Wed, 07/31/2019 - 13:25
pcrecord, post: 461697, member: 46460 wrote: Yes, this is a nice idea Manley also got my curiosity. I wish I can use one some day.. A compressor and a limiter with seperate controls.. that's nice.. Less expensive than the VoxBox..
Another that caught my eyes and I don't know much about is the SPL Frontliner, funny how they wrote the sections in two orientation on the back..

So the 430 vs isa/trident/dbx ?? I guess you have to try them before you buy.. Althought having one team working and teaking everything in 1 unit should have positive impact, if only for impedance consistancy etc...

I remember Chris saying he'll never get a better combinaison than a millennia and a LA2A.. Man those are expensive !!

Yeah the la2a are on the eventual hitlist. Im looking at the millenia origin, i didnt realize you had a tube path for the EQ and compressor sections! That really makes a diff as far as the pricing goes, 3k seems very reasonable. It seems comparable to the vox box. At 4k id rather just go all out spend the extra and go with a pultec or massive passive.

Its a bummer they discontinued the manley mono pre. Its a real gem. They have the dual mono anniversary edition right now. I just cant justify it along with an eq and compressor, since i intend to move in a year or so and this house is getting worked on, so ill be bouncing this gear around room to room.

Ive never used a tube eq, but loved the tla-100 compressor with bright mics and vocals. Just dark silk.

Ya know, trying this stuff is really difficult. Id literally have to fly or drive to vintage king. That's super annoying. I have some confidence having heard and immediately loved the isa and the trident eq, and owned 2 different dbx units.

But hot damn, the 430, core, and origin just seem more "elite", and with the 430 i like how its a complete section of the great console designed by Mr. Neve.

Im also concerned about diving into 500 series with so much varying crap about chassis performance. And while the patching options with the isa 2 inserts and the 500 modules is cool, i also love the idea of no cables, simply pluggin in and out of the converters. I kinda want set and forget.

Gonna look at the front liner.

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 14:27
Kyle, you should try to establish a good relationship with a salesperson at Vintage King or Sweetwater or some other gear retailer and talk them into letting you try things before you purchase. all it really takes is proving to them you are serious about purchasing and not just yanking their chain. once they see you as a cash cow, they will bend over backwards to accommodate you. at least that was my experience.

My impression on Millennia vs. Manley. Millennia stuff is a much better build quality (absolutely military spec), like a tank and well finished where the EL OP i had (and other Manley gear i have used) was not quite as elegant in design execution. don't get me wrong, i loved the EL OP and i would buy another in a heart beat but the Millennia stood the test of time and never missed a beat while my EL OP had to see service from time to time for dumb things like getting the tube sockets tightened up. i suspect Millennia uses better parts from the start. truly a no compromise design.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Wed, 07/31/2019 - 16:09
Kurt Foster, post: 461702, member: 7836 wrote: Kyle, you should try to establish a good relationship with a salesperson at Vintage King or Sweetwater

That's great advice. I have had the same Sweetwater guy since '06, i will have to ask him about a demo unit when i have cash in hand. Good call.

Kurt Foster, post: 461702, member: 7836 wrote: My impression on Millennia vs. Manley. Millennia stuff is a much better build quality (absolutely military spec), like a tank and well finished where the EL OP i had (and other Manley gear i have used) was not quite as elegant in design execution. don't get me wrong, i loved the EL OP and i would buy another in a heart beat but the Millennia stood the test of time and never missed a beat while my EL OP had to see service from time to time for dumb things like getting the tube sockets tightened up. i suspect Millennia uses better parts from the start. truly a no compromise design.

This is an intersting observation that only comes from experience. Ive been down the manly rabbit hole today, and while the core sounds good, its control set is sorta limited, as is the routing. I think its aimed more at recording musicians vs recording engineers.

I love the manley dual tube pre and spent years with one at the studio. I think i can due without the rest of the core signal path in favour of something else.

I like the millenia not being a sort of compromised unit, but a true offering. And the build quality and resale are excellent by all accounts.

So its coming down to the millenia, 430, and isa/trident.

Ive got to listen to the trident eq demo on full range speakers, the phone demos were just "ok". It really is amazing how good the 430/isa sound. Although the china manufacturing is not up to millennia standards by any means.
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