Sytek mic pre

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by robchittum, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    I've seen a couple of posts on this forum from people who like the four channel Sytek mic pre, but not much else about it anywhere else. The couple of people that did post short messages about it have not responded to my efforts to get more info on them - so I'll ask the larger group. Has anyone used this mic pre, and if so, what are your general observations, what is it good for, how might it stack up the grace 101, Great River, etc. I like the idea of the Sytek for the fact that it offers two clean channels and two channels that are supposed to be better for vocals. I'm not really savvy when it comes to details of mic pres and would really like input on whether this would be a good 4 channel option. I like the Grace 101, but for $200 more I can have 4 channels. However, if the Sytek is not clean and transparent in the opinions of those on this forum, I'll save my money for something else. I should mention that i will be using Oktava MC102's for acoustic instuments, as well as a AKG1000, and a SP T3 for vocals. Hope I've provided enough info for people to help me. Thanks.

  2. tmix

    tmix Guest

    I am equally interested in the Sytek. I have been looking at it, the Davisound pre and the upcoming Malcom Toft pre ACT-2.So I am going to ride your post as well.
    By the way...
    How do you like your T3? I just ordered one after a lot of research and I'm looking for some input from someone who has actually used one for a while.
  3. jazzgitter

    jazzgitter Guest

    We used the Sytek borrowed from a friend for OH drums, Hammond B3, and synth, and we were thrilled with the results.Big clean, open on one side, warm and open on the other side with the Burr Brown chip. We had a Phoenix DRS-2 on the kick and snare and the sound quality of the Sytek was fairly close which says a lot.The fact that you can get a Sytek for less than $800 makes it a must have for any studio on a budget. Haven't compared it to the Grace but remember someone mentioning that the Grace is a little more squeeky clean on top. For digital recording not a priority IMHO. If it were me I'd get a Sytek, which I am in the process of doing.
  4. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    Thanks for the replys guys. Tom, I just got the T3 a week ago, so my experience is limited. My only comment so far is that it sounds fantastic - very rich and "warm" on my vocals. I am curious how it will sound on acoustic instruments (upright bass, acoustic guitar...) I think that the true color of the T3 will be more apparent with a good solid (non-colored) mic pre, which is why I am looking. I think you will be thrilled with it. I know that I am already. Jazzgitter, I have been watching ebay for a new one, and they are going for roughly $800. I have tried to call Mike at the Sytek place, but can't ever get them to pick up the phone. Good luck. If you get one, let me know more of what you think.

  5. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Sytek's are awesome. They are "based" on the Neotek mic pre's, similar to the Neotek Mic Max (which is 2 channel, but has more bells and whistles).
    The Sytek is a great mic pre, easily worth $2,500 IMO (although you can track one down less that a grand easily)... The non-Burr Brown version sounds great, with a lot of clarity on rap vocals. The BB mod (I believe the buzz word is that is sounds "silkeyer") sounds killer on female vocals, OH's, steel string guitar, brass horns, viola (not so much violin for some reason), and any cymbal micing. They have more detail than a 1073, but I can't compare them to the Great River or other Neve "knock off's" (yeah, I know, they aren't 'knock offs', they are enhanced) One of the things I base this conclusion mainly on vocals, but also on when a/b ing them on overheads and hearing a more solid center AND width at the same time.
    The main gripe I have with them is that they don't seem to be calibrated and are very sensitive, if you consider that a gripe. There's also no meter other than an overload light so if you engineer with your eyes ( :roll: ) this will present a problem. If you don't own one, I believe you are missing out on one of the better deals out there. They are also great for ribbons because they not only have a lot of gain, but they don't get super noisy when they are cranked up.

    [edited for typos]
  6. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    Thanks e-cue. Got one with the JFET on channels 3 and 4 ordered. They don't make the Brown-Burr anymore for some reason, but Mike at Sytek assures me that there is no audible difference between the BB and the JFET. They certainly aren't the most talked about pre out there, and it may not be the best, but your comments make me feel confident that it will at the very least be a step up from the pres on my Yamaha AW4416 in a price range I can deal with for 4 channels. Thanks for the comments.

  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    There is a Burr Brown unit for sale on EBay (MPX-4Aii) for about $700...
  8. Katiedawg

    Katiedawg Active Member

    Mar 14, 2001
    Birmingham, Alabama
    I own a pair of them...they're the front end for my DA78-HR. For the money, they are impossible to beat. Are there better preamps out there? Sure...I've just ordered an eight channel one to replace the Syteks. But...again...for the money, nothing else will touch 'em.

    I'll probably put mine on eBay when my new gear comes in. They're identical units, and in mint condition. I'm the original owner.
  9. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Yeah... Mike is the man. The BB's stopped becoming available around a year ago. I wonder if Drawmer is swtiching to J fet's for the MerC Edition of 1969 unit... I look at my Syteks like "The Antitubes"... ^#$% warmth, sometimes you wanna consentrate on clarity.
  10. Twist Turner

    Twist Turner Guest

    I have two of these. One I will be selling in a month or two. I think Mike quit using the Burr Brown because the chip is no longer made.

    I think these pres are a good value for the money and like a Sm57 they never suck on anything. I've also had 2 channels go down since I've owned them. No big deal, just a chip replacement but still a pain and if a Burr Brown goes down then I have to replace it with the stock NE5532.

    As far as being as good as this or that. I think they sound kind of like the little baby brother to an API(that would be the channels with the Burr Browns) As far as the stock ones being as clean and clear as say the Great River, no they aren't again kind of a baby brother.

    If you are moving up from a Mackie, they will be just what the doctor ordered. If you have Neves, Dakings, UA's, Langevins, Api's, RCA's as I do then they are a small step down.

    They may or may not be designed after the Neotek channel strips. I have a Neotek series 2 and wish my stock channel strip pres sounded as good as the syteks.
  11. Twist Turner

    Twist Turner Guest

    You know now I"m really pissed at Sytek.

    As i said in the previous post, I have 2 of them. I got them directly from Mike, at his little store front he was working out of 5-7 years ago.

    I had him custom make me one with the Burr Brown chips which he said would make it sound much better. Turns out I much prefered the Burr Brown's it was fuller warmer etc. I liked them so much I recapped all the inputs on my the console a Trident Series 65, and it sounded great.

    As I said in a previous post I have had 2 channels go out over the years. One has been down for about 2 years, and I finally got around to ordering a NE5532 chip for it. This is the chip used in the stock channel, I got that as it was a Burr Brown channel that had blown, and that chip is no longer made in DIP format, only for soldering to a circuit board. I wanted 2 of stock and 2 BB anyway.

    I finally got around to popping the Sytek open today and boy was I suprised! No damn Burr Brown chips in there any where! What an asshole. Mike told me himself to my face that he installed 3 channels of Burr Browns (i believe at $20 per channel) What I found on all 4 channels is 2 TL072's, a Maylasian chip labeled C4072C(which I can't find a reference to over the net so dont' know what it is)and eaching mic in has a 5532 on it.

    If theres one thing I can't stand it is someone lying to me right to may face. Now I"m really wondering whether he really installed Jenson input transformers in my other pre. I paid $300 extra for 2 channels of Jensons. I think I"m gonna have to pop that out of the rack and have a look.

    I do have to say that what ever he did, the channels he sold me as being "Burr Browns" do sound much better than the Stock channels for my purposes. The thing that really pisses me off is him lying to me, just tell me, oh I did this, but don't piss in my face and tell me it's rain.

    All that said, I'm opening a new business around March 1st. selling vintage mic's, pre's etc,and this one is definately up for sale, and now most likely the other too, I just don't even want to look at them anymore. I think my Langevin AM16 would look pretty good in that gapping hole left by the syteks being tossed in the trash(if I could afford to toss them I would, but i"m gonna have to sell them)

    I can't tell you how many times I have recomneded sytek pre's in the past, but those days are over for my.
  12. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    Man I hate to hear that you got treated like $*^t. That sucks. Burns my ass to get lied to as well. I just got my Sytek with JFETs on channels 3 and 4 today, so I'm sorta stuck with my decision at this point. Seems like every time I research the $*^t out of something and decide on an item in my price range that is recommended by a bunch of people eventually turns out to be a mistake. Some examples: 1. Bought an AW4416 after reading numerous reviews that it is the best thing since sliced bread - later find that computers are the way to go. 2. Order some Mackie 824's after hearing that they are great from all kinds of sources - read the posts from the gurus on this site to discover that they are sub par - return them to upgrade to Dynaudio BM6a's. 3. Told by several employees of Guitar Center that the AKG C4000B is the mic of choice for a LDC only to find out from many pros that they wouldn't own one if given to them - sold it for 1/3 of what I paid to buy a Studio Projects T3 (someone will eventually dawg it I'm sure!). And now I find out that the Sytek is a big lie. Oh well, I'll use it till it blows up! Thanks for the warning.

  13. Tungstengruvsten

    Tungstengruvsten Active Member

    Sep 10, 2001
    Guelph, Ontario
    my guess would be your mystery chip is a NEC4072C - a high bandwidth 8pin opamp, i believe it's a direct replacement for the 5532(8pin dip)
  14. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    There's an explanation to this. Contact Mike.

  15. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    This is a response that I received from Mike relating to the comments:

    "... I got Mr. Twist Turner the best preamp I can do for half the price and full options and I full service his preamp when he damage the unit without charge him a penny for my time and parts, now 7 years later he claim he have better preamps and he call me ***** because he can't find the name of Burr Brown printed on his IC's. What can I say? He didn't even try to contact us to get our side of the story.

    One day chatting with some others audio designer I got across to this excellent JFET Ultra Low Noise Ic's made by NEC under the name C4072C and to our amazing those JFET was mach better Ic's compare to Burr Brown. Some IC's may work better in some configuration and in my design was extremely hard to find the best combination to get the JFET sound without JFET noise.

    Several recording audio engineers love those IC's and we obtain better results from those IC's then we ever hope. We try to get more of those but too late this parts was out from production. Neotek in those days sold several console with this good amazing IC.

    Those day and even today we use some combination of IC's to create different loading in order to get ultra low noise.

    The standard IC's we use is NE5532 are made by Phillips and have some characteristic we look in our selection, we select the best with our in
    house Audio Precision Spectrum analyzer for low noise and bandwidth but we like this brand for some other reasons like the fact use less power in class A and generate less heat inside. If this parts is back order and we can't get it in time we have several options in order to keep the production running. We try to avoid to get stuck with some customer part and one vendor. We select this parts manually and we put great effort and time to get the best IC's for this superior mic-preamp.

    We make this units for 11 years and this is the first time to have a customer with this reaction because the brand of IC's we use.

    Perhaps in my excitement I forgot those IC's inside of this preamp and sold it to Mr. Twist Turner. So what? Again he got much better preamp for excellent price. I didn't even realize that may be a problem. Perhaps he should open his new preamps to check where the IC's are made.

    Just in case Mr. Twist Turner was out of this country in the last 25 years he should know is no Analog IC's made in USA anymore so his complain those parts are made in Malaysia is not valid. Actually the Burr Brown IC's never was made in USA and is made all around ASIA including Malaysia.

    At Sytek we substitute some IC's to obtain the performance and we use different brands in order to get best results. We educate potential customers in order to try new combination and perhaps Burr Brown was over say it in my conversation with too many people. I use the expression like the Burr Brown IC's because over the years this IC's because well known as low noise JFET and I used several times in different combination in Sytek mic-preamps.

    Several brands was used over the years in combination with or with-out Burr Brown IC's.

    I do not like Burr Brown IC's because is very difficult to bias and to remain stabile and to select the best one is very big challenge and we
    always use some combination of JFET IC's to get the need it performance together with soft sound.

    Is no conspiracy to deceive anyone.


    Mike Stoica

    Some people refers to Byer as aspirin or IBUPROFEN and MOTRIN, Motrin is Ibuprofen but Ibuprofen is made by many other companies."

  16. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    Thanks for the response from Mike. He sounds like an honest and knowledgable guy.

  17. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Mike has been awesome to me. He's taken time out of his schedule to fully answer questions in words than I can understand. I mentioned to him that I was looking for the discountined Neotek Mic Max and he was cool enough to track (make I believe) 2 down for me in a very short time.

    When you break it down, the Sytek is cheaper than even the RNP. It's a value I often wonder if I should buy even more of them.
  18. Twist Turner

    Twist Turner Guest

    I think they are a good value for the money. I was never unhappy with the sound of mine, just shocked that I was sold something other than what I paid for.

    As far as getting them cheap, Mike had them advertized in a local music paper for a specific price,(i think $750), I paid his asking price, if I got it for 1/2 price then that is the price he was asking, I didn't hit him over the head and make me give me a deal nor did I ask for one.
  19. Axeman32

    Axeman32 Guest

    As far as integrity goes I'd say that the folks at SYTEK are very high integrity. Mike takes a lot of pride in his product and cares about the people that use them. This guy knows what the hell he's doing.

    This pre is of good quality. You can get a lot of gain without noise. I now can experiment with the host of dynamic mikes for vocals that I had to boost quite a bit but there was too much noise. I have condeser mics but now I have more options.

    I've read that many studios in the states use to use dynamics more the condenser mics due to the expense and the availability of quality condernser mics. Now of course they are quite available all over the place at any price.

    You can get a SYTEK on EBAY for the going rate. I believe the seller is Mike from SYTEK but can't confirm that.
  20. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    finally got my Sytek a couple of weeks ago, and had a chance to try it last night with my new Studio Projects T3. Major thumbs up on both of these products. I could not be happier with purchases. Clean and rich!!!


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