Skip to main content
Community forums, blogs, song critique, press & more...

The Brick vs. Aphex 107 with 12AT7 Tubes

It's time for me to invest in a decent mic preamp. I'm looking at The Brick and the Aphex 107 with 12AT7 Tubes installed. I've been reading praise about both around here.

So, to help me out in my decision, I'd like to hear from any of you that have experience with either one (preferably both). I know there are some guys on here that are EXTREMELY knowledgeable on this stuff, and I'm sure I could use their help.

Thanks in advance



Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 18:30

Sounds great! Clean sound for 4 feet away! My current room setup probably couldn't achieve that. :roll:

That definitely helped in my decision, anyone with a brick sample? With 2 channels and at $100, I'm leaning towards the 107.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 18:59

I understand that. Just complimenting a great sound. :D

So would you say that this pre makes a noticeable difference? Lets say compared to going completely digital. If you add this pre to a digital setup, how much difference will you really hear?

Maybe someone could record a straight through digital track then add the pre and post the two as a comparison. I'm sure it would help a lot of people in the future too. :D

I'll keep searching for something similar on the boards too.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 19:19

Another question, but is it worth it to get a couple 107's or Bricks, or should I just save up and get a better pre, or even something else (EQ, Saturation, etc)? The problem with getting a spendy 2 channel for instance, is how do i lay drums through it?

Thanks again!

Profile picture for user Link555

Link555 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 20:42

Thanks. I am sorry but when you say go completely digital, do you mean use a "transparent" pre-amp? The Aphex unit does add subtle harmonics. On one track alone it would not be very obvious but if all tracks went through it might become too much.

Again the main problem with this pre is the noise level, across to many tracks it might raise your noise floor.

Would I buy a second one? Sure its a decent pre.

I am not one to buy into the price indicates the quality. However usually a higher price means they spent longer hours perfecting a unit and want to get paid for their time.
Aphex may be a bit of an exception to this rule.

How you record and what you record should dictate the type of pre's to buy.

If you record only Rock, the API 3124+ is for you. If you want a more transparent pre, maybe Buzz is a better choice.

Personally I want more transparent Pre's at this point.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 21:04

I record a lot of acoustic stuff, and some rock. I find I want a little more warmth and coloration in my sound. There were threads around here on the Brick that claimed it accomplished this, which is what got me looking into pre's. I don't want something that has too much noise, but I do want some warmth.

I'm using the presonus firepod's pre's, which aren't bad. I may end up sticking with them till i find exactly what i want.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Thu, 10/15/2009 - 00:21

I picked up an Aphex 107 for $100 and put a Groove Tubes 12AT7 into it. It definitely warmed everything up. Sounds a lot more full. I'll have to play with EQ a bit cause I'm getting quite a bit of low end.

Thanks for all the help guys. Can't wait to get some stuff laid down with it!

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Mon, 01/25/2010 - 12:43

For reference to those looking for info on the Aphex 107 mic pre, I found the cause of the extremely high levels of low and mid range. There was a large absence of treble and it sounded almost muted. The problem wasn't with the 107. In fact, It SEEMS i have a problem with one of my direct inputs on my recently purchased used Firepod. I swapped the preamp to the 3rd and 4th channels in the Firepod and it sounds much cleaner.

I still haven't had much time to play around with the preamp, try everything out, and listen to the differences. I recently moved and unfortunately my gear isn't here yet! So far though, I like the 107. I'm sure the more I use it and get to know it, the more I'll like it.

Profile picture for user CoyoteTrax

CoyoteTrax Tue, 01/26/2010 - 06:32

Mauisnow13, post: 298458 wrote: I swapped the preamp to the 3rd and 4th channels in the Firepod and it sounds much cleaner.

Funny how this happens, and more often than we read in the forums. I've had the same experience (with a different box) where I swapped the input channels on my interface and got a much higher quality input signal from the outboard pre's. It's not always the pre's.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Tue, 10/13/2009 - 11:14

That's a bit spendy for me at the moment. I went ahead and ordered a 107 that i found for $100. Figured if I don't like it or want to upgrade, I'll just sell it.

That UA 710 Twin may be one to look into for an upgrade though.

Profile picture for user moonbaby

moonbaby Fri, 10/09/2009 - 04:34

I own both of these. They are 2 very different beasts. Both have tubes in their circuit, but beyond that...
What type of material and sources are you going to be dealing with? The Brick makes a great DI for bass and some keys, and offers some coloration when used with used with dynamic and some ribbon mics. It is a "true" high-voltage tube pre, but its' lack of output level control can make for problems down the line when connected to an interface or mixer.
All that gain-GOBS of it- can be a problem sometimes.
The 107 is much more refined. Less raunch, a smoother sheen, maybe a bit quieter. 2 channels vs. single, with polarity reversing and better gain and level control. Not a "true" high-voltage tube circuit, let the techies work that out (eh, Link?). And I've even found a use for the remote muting feature. The negatives? A wall wart power supply, no DI provisions, and of course, it is out of production. You can still find these at a bargain price on CL and e-Bay, many times around $100...

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 04:55

Does the 107 still offer the warmth and coloration that so many claim the brick offers?

The 107 is cheaper, and I'd rather have 2 channels anyway. I'm running them into a firepod, bypassing the presonus pre's. Using condenser and dynamic mics. SM57's, C414, Audix D6, etc.

Profile picture for user Link555

Link555 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 06:22

The Aphex 107 used a new(at the time) idea, they called tubessence or RPA (Reflected Plate Amplifier).

Basically its a circuit that operates tubes plate at a constant low DC potential. However they use a current mirror to extract the proper plate current. This way there is very little plate voltage swing, so they can operate from a low DC plate voltage.

This is not extactly a starved plate amp though. Typically a starved plate amp limits the current though a large value dropping ressitor (5-10 meg or so). This causes a big voltage drop at the plate, and little current. The 107 doesn't do that.

This starved plate idea is what you find the Tubedriver distortion least the smaller version seen at the link below:

Anyway, they are as Moonbaby said- different.

What you you mainly using it for?

Profile picture for user Link555

Link555 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 10:30

I don't have a brick. But the aphex 107 will be able to handle all of those applications and add some warmth, its subtle though...The problem with 107 are noise at high gain settings. Its a bit noisy but the construction is decent and the parts selection for the time was also very good. For $100 bucks you can't go wrong.

Profile picture for user Mauisnow13

Mauisnow13 Fri, 10/09/2009 - 11:38

I just want a noticeably warmer sound. I've heard great reviews on the Brick accomplishing this. Is the 107 comparable?

Would upgrading the tube to anything make the 107 even better? I'm sure you guys have experimented a bit.

Thanks again guys