Has anyone ever heard of Sytek (MPx-4Aii)

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Digger, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Digger

    Digger Guest

    Hi, I am in the market for some ultra clean/transparent mic pres. I currently own enough high end 'colored' mic pres and have been doing some research on some 'transparent' channels. The usual list of course applies i.e. Grace, John Hardy, Millennia, GML etc...

    I recently came across a brand called Sytek which appears to have a nice cross section of price and performance. The only problem is I don't know anyone that owns them and the stores in my area don't sell them (they appear to sell direct).

    So I am looking to all the gear snobs out there (yes you to Kurt) to let me know if I should bother trying to audtion one of these things (MPx-4Aii) or just stick with the names I have mentioned above. Also I would be happy to hear any other suggestions, based on what I am looking for, from the group, thanks.
  2. mikE@THECAVE

    mikE@THECAVE Guest

    well they are good in that price range 8) alot of people like thembut i dont think they are real high perfomance like the speck stuff
  3. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    There are a lot of people that like them...including Steve Albini. I will say that I was going to buy one and the main guy at Sytek, Mike, is a real pleasure to talk with. I'm not being sarcastic...he really is a nice guy, and that alone almost sold me. The reason I didn't buy one is because I want high end character pres first and then move to pristine preamps.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    You might want to see if you can hear one and compare it against your high end pres. That's really the best advice anyone can offer.

    I really can't say anything directly based on any personal experience about them. I've never used these exact pres.

    I know they are electronically balanced ... no transformer. Class A and they are chip based. There is a Burr brown replacement for this chip which is said to add some warmth. That in it's self is kinda weird to me.

    If I were asked to make an educated guess based on my own personal biases my answer would be, I suspect the Syteks are a pretty good pre for a demo home project studio that can't afford high end pres. They are probably not too dimensional. If you are looking for something that is uber clean and comparable to the Grace, John Hardy, Millennia, GML's in dimension and headroom, I would bet that the Syteks would not measure up. If it did you would see a lot more top rated classical and acoustic music engineers use them and not just rock guys like Steve Albini.
  5. Digger

    Digger Guest

    Thanks Kurt, I was asking myself the same question - who is using these pres and if the top jazz and classical people aren't using them that begs the question why? I suspect that some of your assumptions are correct. I am always looking to save a buck but I have found that if I am patient and wait for what I am looking for than that is usually the best course of action.

    Ideally, I would like to test one out and A/B them against some of the other pre's I mentioned but I don't know if it is possible given the nature of their distribution which is direct to consumers - I can't just nab one from my local retailer. I have my sights on a Grace 201, I think I am going to stick with a known as opposed to an unknown. Cheers!

    P.S. I heard someone mentione Speck. I know a little about them but are they what you would consider transparent/clean?
  6. freelight

    freelight Guest

    clean/transparent? solid state?

    forget Sytek...grab a Cranesong Flamingo.

    best preamp you'll ever use.

    pair a great solidstate like that with a high end tube pre (Sebatron VMP2000) and you'll have all that you'll need.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hmmm... Well, he did mention price - and considering the HUGE difference in price, I don't find this to be that logical of a statement. And, while I'm a big fan of Cranesong stuff - I certainly don't think the Flamingo is the best preamp (especially for transparent pres.)

    As for the Sytek - they are fantastic boxes. It's hard to find anything near as good for anywhere near the price (especially considering 4 pres.) I understand Kurt's hesitance based on the "chip" and the Burr Brown option, but Mike does a great job integrating it all into a good package.

    Is it as good as my favorite unit, the Grace 201? No. But at less than half the price per channel, it certainly isn't that far off. I wouldn't hesitate to mic an entire orchestra with nothing but the Sytek stuff.

    I don't think they would hesitate to send you a piece so you can try it out - of course, they'll want your CC # for collateral, but that shouldn't be an issue.

    Something else in that price range you might want to look at if you are looking for "transparent" would be the Benchmark 400/420. It's a great pre at a great price. I would put it (IMO) one small notch higher than the Sytek. The only problem with both of them is that they're both friggin ugly. I know, I shouldn't care about the looks, but the Grace, the True Systems, hell, even the Millennia stuff looks FAR better (IOW- sexier - more likely to land you some "babes" just on the looks of your pres)

    BTW... What are you recording with these? If you say classical music - my vote is - Sure, buy it. You won't be disappointed. But, if you're recording rock, jazz, country, etc. you might want to consider the Burr Brown option or go with something like the Grace. To me, the Grace is more transparent yet somehow manages to make just about anything sound fantastic. The Sytek is great on classical, good on jazz and everything else - I would opt for more. I don't mean to "dis" the Syteks - as I've stated, I think they're great - but to me, (a classical recording dude) I would use my Graces or Trues before I used the Syteks on vocals or guitars.

    Hope this helps...

    J :cool:
  8. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    If you're looking for clean/transparent, also check out the Buzz Audio MA2.2 or SSA1.1
  9. Digger

    Digger Guest

    I have been eyeing Grace preamps for quite some time. I currently have solid selection of 'Character' based preamps including; Vintech 1073, Avalon 737, Vipre, API 3124, ISA 428, Tube Tech MEC1A. I also own a Pure Path Amek strip which is fairly transparent but I was looking for multiple channels. I really wish Grace would make a 4 channel system.

    I don't mind paying top dollar for a preamp but I came across the Sytek brand and the reviews and pricing caught my eye. As I mentioned above I prefer to get exactly what I want as opposed to settling, I just needed to clarify that the Syteks were indeed 'settling'. Thanks for everyones opinion on this, it has been very helpful, cheers!
  10. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    Has anybody here heard the Davisound mic-all preamps? From the sparse posts I've read on the internet, those who have tried them liked them a lot, and they are supposed to be very transparent.
  11. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I have a sytek and use it all the time with good results. Check the stuff am working on at the bottom of my post- All the percussion is tracked with 2 rode k2's through syteks clean pres (no burr brown). The vocals are either K2 through sytek with burr brown or RCA D77 through a grace. Mind you the tracks are mp3's but you should get an idea of what's going on through these mics/pres
  12. richard.conrad

    richard.conrad Active Member

    Nov 28, 2004
    to Sytek or not to Sytek

    I purchased an MPX4aII almost a year ago, and opted to get the BB op amp upgrade on channels 3 and 4 (their more popular selling option). while the stock pre's are good in their own space, the BB's are what I tend to reach for first. for the cash they were great, and having two matching stereo mic pre's is great to have for tonal variety.. try em if you can, but i don't think you'd be disappointed if you bought them site unhead (as I did).

  13. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Tiger...I'd like to hear those tracks...but the links provides only html and whatnot. Can you possibly re-check the link? Cheers 8)

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