2 Schools of Thought.

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by realdynamix, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    :) Hi, tough one to explain, but a realization has occurred to me of late. I’ll try.

    I grew up with an audiophile friend. His Dad had nice gear, for those who remember the corner Klipches, and Roberts modular tube 2 channel recorders, Phase Linear Amps, fancy tables, arms, and cartridges and the like. Our early recordings sounded very good. We used EV mics, some kind of moding for extra channel ability, no effects of any kind, except for guitar tremolo and reverb, but got good results just the same. I realize now it was the tubes in the recorder pre’s combined with tubes in the recorder itself and tape saturation.

    Through the years, my quest in gear purchases was based on specs, like low distortion, low noise, headroom, response, and clean power from amps. Speakers had to have very flat response and specs that could handle dynamics at high power levels. Boy, was I wrong. Except for speakers and amps, this is the stuff of a listener, not a recording engineer.

    The products I should have been after were the one’s that have a musical quality, equipment that added a certain flavor and color to sounds. I was so wrapped up in spec sheet BS, that this escaped me. Now I believe I fully understand why there is so much confusion in gear selection. Like when Sebatron talks about working with his scope and watching what effects the designs have on the sound itself has only confirmed my misdirection in my gear selections. He is looking for desireable musical qualities.

    The gear of the listener has improved, the perfect specs would be fine here (I am talking about people who have really good listening systems and gear) because it will not alter the sound and creative use of gear that the engineers used to get that sound. Even though it may contain IRON, the use is quite within spec accurately reproducing what the engineers intended with the mics, pre's, the EQ the console buses and compressors. Also, I must mention master engineering and their gear with it's added spice.

    Though this IRON gear can have specs that reflect very well, the gear itself allows for a driving performance that is thrilling, hugging the road, yet still giving a sweet ride. Like colors on a painter’s palette, the mixture of this and that creates what we have come to know as outstanding creative reproduction. This of course should be enjoyed on a system that is as accurate as possible.


  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Truly you are one of The Ones. My experiences parallels your own.The friend who had the Marantz Model 9's hooked up to the 1940's vintage corner horns in the big room and the vintage Heresys in the other...the Empire table with the Mac pre..and no scratches on the LPs ...yeah this'll get you 'hearing' in a hurry.Its why I bought a Sony SoS recorder FIRST! Tubes.Always tubes.Tubes have character and translate so musically.My Bassist has built a stereo class A tube amp out of junk parts...because"he can"...it sounds like an old Mac 15 watter..Is this truly Hi-Fi...Damn straight.Guys like Sebatron who are truly 'tube gods' understand the musicality in this sort of hi-fidelity.Specs lie to the ear so often.Large industrial components do not.Why is the most popular bass amp of the late 60's and 70's now the most popular bass amp of today?(SVT)...some things have never gotten better...only different.
  3. M Brane

    M Brane Guest

    -Dick Rosmini

  4. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    100% with you Rick!

    In a studio it is really nice to have a selection of crayons to play with. I have :

    Earthworks 1022 razor flat 0 distortion pre which captures acoustic material with wonderful detail (no tubes)

    Focusrite Red 1: which imparts a dynamic (transistor) quality with a healthy dose of the iron in the transformers for thickening

    UA M610: which is full of natural tube thickener

    Sebatron vmp-2000e: which sings with just a beautifully harmonic edge

    None of these works for everything, but they all are great.

  5. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Hey Rick-

    I guess that we all fall prey to specno/techno lust on occasion. My problem has always been budget and usage. I never seemed to have the money to purchase what I wanted. So I would shop very hard, grill my engineer friends and salesmen used to run and hide when I walked into the local music stores. The decisions I made were, most of the time, entirely based on what pleased my ears in my price range.

    The "digital revolution" spawned a new analog revolution. We went from tubes to transistors to digital, but digital was "thin," "brittle," "soul-less." Re-enter the tube which imparts "warmth," "color," and "personality." More than ever I try to get the perfect sound into the DAW so I don't have to fool with it later.

    All we have been after for all these years is that wonderful, warm tone that we got with tubes and tape but without all the extraneous noise. One of my favorite tricks is to slam drums and heavy basses & guitars from the DAW to analog tape and then bounce it back into the DAW. These loud rockin' sounds just come to life with real tape saturation that no plug-in could ever match.

    The only place that "specs" belong is in your listening environment and playback system, so you can be sure that all your creativity translates well.

    I could go on but you get the idea, probably better than I do myself.

    Peace to all,

    Uncle Bob

  6. Steve,
    That is an excellent selection of preamps you have there. Would you have the time to post a comparison of the UA 610 and the Seb? I love the 610 and would like to hear your thoughts. David

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