My review of Groove Tubes "The Brick"

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by drewtimfan, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. drewtimfan

    drewtimfan Guest

    Comparison with avalon and ua

    I thought I might offer up my review of the brick. I first want to give you a bit of background as a reference point. I am mainly a session player. I have worked in great studios and not so great studios. So I know the difference between decent gear, good gear, and great gear. I bought four of these for my spontaneous inspiration studio in my house. My main studio is a short walk away from my house so I constantly interface the stuff i record at home with the stuff I record at the studio.

    At the studio, I use a u87 through a universal audio 410 for acoustic guitar. And a blue kiwi through an avalon ad202. For piano i use either blue ball or the u87.

    In my home studio i use studio projects t3 and blue kiwi for acoustic, vocals, piano.

    With that being said, here are my opinions.

    For acoustic guitar i use a martin hd-28. It sounds very full and dimensional. I can use a bit of preamp and get a nice sound. I can also open the preamp wide open and get a smooth dimensional sound. My recordings with both mics sound very lively and full.

    Vocals it is the same. For me the combination of the t3 and the brick is very forgiving to my voice. Sometimes I am harsh and raspy sometimes I am whispering. It transitions very well. It makes my voice sound better than it really is.

    Piano, cheap upright is virtually the same as acoustic guitar as far as sound goes. Very smooth. Also sounds superb on my hammond with the t3.

    Amps: It really shines through on guitar amps in my opinion. I use the blue ball for micing amps close. And sometimes I used a sp c1 for far micing. The midrange really shines. It makes a great image of what my amp really sounds like.

    Drums: I have only done a few drum tracks with my bricks, as i usually replace my drums with samples i made a while back. But it really does a great job at letting the t3 capture the room.

    Direct: I have not had a chance to use this on bass. But Ihave used it direct for guitar. I have never been a fan of plugging guitar direct, but my ideas have changed. It is obviously nothing special when plugged in without effects. We used an avalon direct box before that made a rickenbacker sound like a walmart guitar. That being said, I don't know if there is a point to using it without effects. But in my case, I used this as a di for guitar rig. I have never been into the whole digital guitar thing either. I have actualyy always been anti di electric guitar/digital effects.

    However I got a chance to use the brick with guitar rig and it changed my thinking totally. I was absolutely knocked off my feet when i listened to my jazzmaster with guitar rig. It really sounded as good as my dr.z... I am really impressed with how it handled my guitar. And i assume it would do the same with bass.

    With all this being said, the brick is wonderful. And for my last part of this review I will let you know that my t3/blue kiwi recordings with the brick interfaced wonderfully with what i do at the pro studio. Some tracks have half and half mix of the brick, avalon, and ua. Some tracks are one or the other.

    At this point, it really doesn't matter to me which combination I use. When sitting in a mix, they are both equal to my ears. Now out of convenience I record a majority of my stuff at home. And I do have 24 hour access to the studio and it is free for me to use when no one is there(there is never anyone there). That being said what it all comes down to for me is that it in the mix, it holds its own to avalon and ua. I like to smoke cigarrettes and record. I can't to that at the pro studio. So my trade off is cigs for avalon and ua. It doesn't bother me.

    The brick will definately be my main preamps for a while. I see no reason why to use anything else now. It is good to get a change and a bit of a different color for some songs, but all in all they are in the same league. Although the brick doesn't have as many options as the others. But I guess that is the trade off.

    So I know alot of people like the price/quality comparison. So 4 bricks cost me $1596. So that puts you in the same price range of the 4 channel sebatron unit. Since they compare well to the avalon and ua, I would assume they compare well to the sebatrons. But the downfall is the features. But all in all it doesn't get much better than these. And it is affordable if you just need one pre.
  2. giorgio

    giorgio Guest

    I have herd the bricks wil distort very badly on snare drumming and heavy or a loud source.Is this true? :cry: I am looking for a value preamp for drums and and loud guitars and sometimes violin and other stringed instruments.Please anyone any recommendations or advice greatly grateful. thankyou. :?
  3. perfectwave

    perfectwave Guest

    This firstly depends on the mic that your using with the brick. I purchased a brick about 3 months ago and attempted to use it on overheads and snare with a ksm 32 with the pad on, no compression in front of that (which i try to stay away from when tracking)and i was severely clipping my converter.
    The brick automatically adds 30db of gain that you can not attenuate. That was the only issue i had with the thing, other than that it sounded beautiful to my ears.
  4. drewtimfan

    drewtimfan Guest

    They do distort a little bit
  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Glad to see you've got your priorities right!
    Inspiration is the most important part of the recording chain. :cool:

    John Stafford
  6. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004

    Nah, it doesn't distort.........but your converters or whatever is next in line after the Brick might distort if you don't have some kind of pad (mic or in-line).
  7. Disper

    Disper Guest

    I also have the brick...
    I only use it direct in for now out of my amp out...
    It made a big difference compared to just a/d...

    You do have to be carefull of overloading because there is no clip overload indicator or pad on it... but unlike a digital or hybrid unit the clipping will be more of a tube compressed distortion than digital clip noise...

    The brick sounds nice to me, but im not an expert...

  8. Disper

    Disper Guest

    I just noticed Kurt did a good review of the brick here:

    (Dead Link Removed)

  9. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    Dude... 3 tubes for $350.

    What the hell can you complain about?!?!

    I'm going to be buried with my Bricks!!!

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