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Neve 1073 vs ISA/trident

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

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".

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.

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..

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!

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.. ;)

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.

pcrecord Wed, 07/31/2019 - 09:41

Kurt Foster, post: 461690, member: 7836 wrote: that's why gawd made patch bays.

I have one which I used in my old studio with a mixer.. now.. I wanted to save space and the hanging cables.. but Yeah.. could come back to the action some day.. ;)

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.

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 !!

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.

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.

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.

kmetal Wed, 07/31/2019 - 16:29

@Kurt Foster when you described the Origin as a bit of a "one trick pony" were you referring to it sounding similar in various modes (solid state, xformer), or were you saying you liked it only on certain sources like vocals or whatever?

Did you pair its sections with others, like use the eq section or compressor with other pre amps, or the pre with other eqs ect? If so did they play nice with other units?

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 16:48

kmetal, post: 461708, member: 37533 wrote: @Kurt Foster when you described the Origin as a bit of a "one trick pony" were you referring to it sounding similar in various modes (solid state, xformer), or were you saying you liked it only on certain sources like vocals or whatever?

Did you pair its sections with others, like use the eq section or compressor with other pre amps, or the pre with other eqs ect? If so did they play nice with other units?

i liked it a lot on bass but i never found anything it didn't sound great on. imo it's a real desert island piece. like i said you will want 2.

i meant it sounds very similar in any of the topologies. with or without the transformer or between tube or solid state mode the differences are very, very subtle. you can hear it but it is not a drastic change so if you want something that is night and day different it's probably not what you want. however if what you want is a slight nudge in a different direction it would be perfect. i have nothing to say but good things about my time with the ORIGIN. a stellar piece that holds it's value.

pcrecord Thu, 08/01/2019 - 05:07

kmetal, post: 461700, member: 37533 wrote: Ya know, trying this stuff is really difficult. Id literally have to fly or drive to vintage king. That's super annoying.

Or you could find a studio near you and book an hour...

kmetal, post: 461707, member: 37533 wrote: So its coming down to the millenia, 430, and isa/trident.

This is exciting, I wish I could be in your position ;)

kmetal Thu, 08/01/2019 - 16:02

pcrecord, post: 461715, member: 46460 wrote: Or you could find a studio near you and book an hour...

Yeah true, id have too see if anyone has the stuff in consideration. Im fortunate to still have access to the studios i built, which are actually the some of the nicest around. That said theres an isa and trident there, so the millenia is really the big question. I have a fair confidence that the isa eq and compressor is good, so id be comfortable without trying it.

Definitely worth hunting around on the millenia, good idea. I sometimes forget theres other studios around lol.

pcrecord, post: 461715, member: 46460 wrote: This is exciting, I wish I could be in your position ;)

Yeah man i am excited too, its one of the few things im actually in a good position for.

I think ive decided against the trident eqs, in favor of JDK audio r24 eq. I had been eyeing it a couple years back, and was reminded when i watched a jaquire king studio tour and he had the modules. The eq is made by an API sub branch, JDK, and is based on a 70s-80s apsi console. Its priced at 500/channel so cheaper than neve, maag, and ssl, and just a bit more than the trident. Its got an xformer output which could compliment the isa very well, with just a subtle color. Even the people on GS dont have hate for it, which is rare.

Also interesting is the undertone audio mpeq-1. Made by Eric Valentines company, its got this crazy shape knob which changes the shape of the eq, emulating pultec, api, and more. It looks very interesting. You can use the the eq and pre seperately at the same time, so its truly a 2 in 1 unit.

http://www.undertoneaudio.com/products/mpeq-1

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.