Sytek 4 Channel preamp opnions needed.

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Antho, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Antho

    Antho Guest

    What do people think of the Sytek MPX-4Aii ?

    What design does it use? And is it in a league above small console pre's? Would it considerably improve my sound if I was currently using the latter?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Why don't you do the smart thing and search the archives and find out what people think and have thought about on the sytek. There has to be over hundred posts on that subject by now.
  3. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Righteo.. I have already done that!

    If you can show me a direct conversation within the archives when one types 'Sytek MPX-4Aii' or even Sytek, then I'll be a happy chappy... but it links to many conversations that seem quite irrelevent to my questions about the unit.

    Besides, the Brick must have two new posts a day, and people seem quite happy to jump into those coversations without this kind of offense intended..

    Really, I have done the search. I know how to search. I'm just interested in direct opinions in relation to the factors I listed...
  4. itchy

    itchy Guest

    I'll jump in on this one.

    I've owned my sytek for a little over a year now, and have had great results with it. The best application I've found for it is putting my fender twin amp in the bathroom (yes, i said bathroom), micing it with an oktava ml-52, and running through the burr brown channels. This setup gave me great results in trying to record some Jonny Greenwood-esque style clean leads with my univox. Absolutely incredible.

    When you ask if its a league above "small console pre's", I'm assuming you mean mackie/behringer/nady. Well, this was my first upgrade over my stock presonus firestation pre's, and they were a significant improvement. Nowhere near as much noise, very clean signal, and a depth that lacks in the cheaper range of pre's.

    Also, Mike is very quick at returning email, which is very nice too.

    hope this helps,
  5. Antho

    Antho Guest

    It certainly helps. Thanks aplenty ;)

    How would you describe the depth subjectively? Also, how different do you find the burr brown channels to the normal ones on some different sources? And in what way?

    Many thanks
  6. tonystl

    tonystl Guest

    this doesn't directly answer your above questions, but heres some info. I love the sytek for drums. It is the most uncolored pre I use. Great for revealing an already great sound at source without lending a lot of artifacts. i usually record with lots of coloration on the guitars, vocals and bass.... having a very clean crisp drum attack behind that seems to keep some of that in check. I believe it is transformerless...?...and therefore faster than most...?... getting out of my league here.
    I've used it for recording loud crunchy electric guitars and found that a 57 sounds great with the sytek when you want a little bit more of a grip/attack than a saturated cushy sound...great for a track where you might have a smoother sounding tube mic on a lead and want a tighter sound on rhythm..
    I usually use the burr brown channels for snare and ovr...I haven't really had time to a/b them. Both channels sound great.
    Great bang for the buck if you want something clean and accurate, and definitely an upgrade from a semi-pro mixer channel.
  7. pegleg

    pegleg Guest

    The Sytek mic pres were (more or less) originally designed as an upgrade for the Neotek Elite pres. So, that's the general quality range they're in. They'll certainly KILL any Mackie-Tascam-Octo (and in my tests were quite a bit better than the Audient racks). Quieter, more dimensional, better tone overall. IMO, best mic pres at that price by far.

    I find the Burr Browns to have a very slight coloration in comparison, but it's not a vast difference at all. I have four channels of each.

    If you use high output condensors on loud sources, you may want to buy a few Shure in-line pads, as the pres have no pad (!).

    Quality stuff, and if you're not going to spend significantly more, a great choice.
  8. Antho

    Antho Guest

    This is just waht I was after pretty much. Tony, that does help with some of my above Q's and goes one further...I'd be needing it for drums as well, I was hoping to be able to run some of the main the main drum parts (and other parts like VOX) thru it and relegate toms etc to my Firepods pre's in a location recording situation, and then bring it into the studio to track further parts later.

    I need something light, but good quality and innexpensive that just goes one or three up on my other pre's, so this may be the ideal choice. It is sounding more and more like it.

    Pegleg, thanks too for the tips...particularly the pad tip. I was thinking of four chan of each too! There is one on Ebay at the moment with four chan of Burr Brown...I thought possibly get that or wait for another, and then buy a stock one with all original channels later, for four of each.

    Thanks guys, I feel my questions have pretty much been covered. Of course, if anyone else offers further insights, I'm not going to complain 8)
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I don't care much for transformerless, chip based, SMT construction type pres ... but if you like that sort of thing, you might check out the Studio Projects SP828, an 8 channel mic pre that uses the same Burr Brown chip. It is twice as many channels and costs less than the Syteks and I have heard people say it sounds just as good ... if you like that sort of thing.

    HERE'S A LINK TO the SP828
  10. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Thanks Kurt for the link. I'm well aware by now of your preferences for a pre and why you have have helped people here to look well past the packaging and instead to look into the guts of a preamp. I'm very much the same with synthesisers over at Sonic State synth site...looking beyond the marketing hype and into the nitty gritty of how a synth is built and whether what it offers is anything new, or the same old design in a new packet, and whether that same old design can't be had for less in an older packet or in plugin form etc. Sort of similar anyway...

    I read in another thread that you noted to SP 828 uses the same basic build as the Sytek, but that the power supply is considerably less well endowed than the Sytek's power supply. In yet another thread, you mentioned the importance of the power supply in the end sound of a preamp (I also read this in the John Hardy article you linked to that explains the build of a good pre and why you need certain aspects to be present to create a good sounding pre).

    In this light, could the 828 still be considered inferior in at least build method, if not sound?
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I have no direct expierence with either pre so anything I say is an assumption. I have been told the Sytek uses an iternal power supply and I know the SP has a wall wart. Errr, ummmmm wall warts (for the most part) no good.

    A lot of peope have told me however that the SP828 sounds just like the Sytek ...

    If you want to go by my "gut feeling" that's your call ... I have a hunch the Sytrek is overpriced for what it is. The SP 828 streets for about $600 for an 8 channel unit ... and that includes the ability to mix any or all 8 channels to a 2-bus. More channels, more features, same sound, a no brainer for me. SP828 (if you like that sort of thing)
  12. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Well, given your level of experience & ear...I'd certainly at the bare minimum take your 'gut feeling' into hefty account!

    I was looking for an improvement over at least four of the Firepod pre's for location recording, and for the studio. I really can't see how the SP 828 is going to provide me with anything I don't already have in the Firepod pre's.

    I was hoping the Sytek would and could provide that jump in quality. But from your observations...I'm not sure. How about that power supply thing? I'm not sure you delved into that as much as you could...(but I'm not being ungrateful, I really appreciate you insights thus far to be sure!)

    The next options are the Brick, which is a big, cumbersome and bulky mofo thus disables me from carting my setup around on my bike in a backpack (yes...that;s what I do :). The Next option is the Sebatron, which again is a big heavy mofo too...same deal.

    I'm just not sure if what I'm after exists yet...perhaps I'll have to hit the gym so I can kart a coupla bricks or a Seb around LOL!!
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Well if you're looking for portable ... the JLM TMP8 is very small. One rack space, about four inches deep and it doesn't weigh a lot. Joe Malone has these cute little one space racks that are just deep enough to hold the TMP8. Again, that gives you 8 high quality solid state pres for not much more than what a ~Sebatron~ 4000e costs.
  14. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Nice... good recordings done with them...I just wish I knew what mics were used in those grabs aswell for comparative purposes. FYI, it is unfortunate that your links to your recordings do not work. Perhaps you could contact JLM to let them know? I'd love to hear them but not only that, I'm sure they would appreciate it :)

    So is this the kind of design you prefer? It is very portable in size and weight... it might be ideal tho it is quite a bit over budget. This time next year no worries....but for now, I might have to settle for less...

    I'm seriously considering just sticking to the Firepod pre's for now...and perhaps adding one brick for's a toughy.

    Thanks for your help everyone, greatly appreciated here...
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I do not prefer any one design type when it comes to mic pres. I do favor Class A and transformer balanced... I just think they sound good. I like solid state pres like APIs and the TMP8, I also like tube pres like the Sebatrons.

    My rack has pres from Amek Neve (system 9098s) a Great River MP2NV a Sebatron vmp 4000e and THORAX, a JLM TMP8, and a Millennia ORIGIN.

    Now that I have completed my mic pre acquisitions, I am drooling for killer converters like the Apogee AD16 / DA 16's. I am hoping I can find these pieces used as Apogee has discontinued them for the new AD16x and DA16x. I don't want or need 196k sampling. 44.1 at 24 bit is fine for meeeeee!

    Here are the links for the TMP sound clips. I'll let Joe at JLM know he should update them. Things went caddywumpus when the RO board changed over to new software.

    Drum Tracks demonstration

    TMP8 on drums and vocals a complete song, "Patio Dance", by Oregons favorite Parrot Head band "The Cheeseburgers" ....

    (These guys got to open for Jimmy Buffet in Las Vegas last year).
  16. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Kurt. Thanks for all that...quite helpful.

    I'm the same with converters...hanging to go some really great ones and was considering the Lynx aurora 16, but found out the cables will cost me $900 :) Holy cow. I'm sure I can get great converters without having to spend that much on cables to 16 analog I/O! Parhapes these apogees you speak of can provide..

    Might go some older ones like the Ap. Rosetta or RME something or other... all in good time. I feel I need to get the pre side of things sorted first...

    Many thanks for all your help.

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