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Universal Audio "M610" VS Groove Tubes "The Brick"
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dntknowsht
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12th December 2004
Old 12th December 2004
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Universal Audio "M610" VS Groove Tubes "The Brick"

I'm interested in a high quality, single channel, tube, mic preamp and have narrowed it down to the UA M610 (about $750.00) or The Brick (about $400.00).
Opinions on either would be greatly appreciated.
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13th December 2004
Old 13th December 2004
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The "Brick" fits your stated criteria.
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13th December 2004
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Thanks for taking the time to reply!
Don't both units fit my stated criteria?
What are the sonic differences of the two?
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13th December 2004
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Isn't the M610 more than $750? I think the M610 excels as a bass DI. With my limited pres, and testing different configurations, I use them in these applications (for tracking myself):

Vintech x73i pre (no eq): Vox
TG2 -> x73i EQ: Guitars
UA M610 -> x73i EQ: Bass

I used to like my M610 best on vox, but I like the x73i better on vox once I got it. The M610 seems to take some highs off a voice which may or may not be good (depending on if the singer has good highs). In my application I didn't like that aspect of it on vox. But as a bass DI, the M610 is the best to my ears when compared to my other pres.

The M610 still does sound good on vox, but dam that x73i is perfect for my voice.

Sorry, don't know much about the brick. What application are you looking to use it for?

Cheers,
Lumen
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13th December 2004
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Thanks for the reply Lumen, I can get a deal on the M610 for $759.00 + tax.
I was looking to use it for the same applications as you, bass DI and vox. I already have some high quality preamps. A Great River ME1NV, dual Brent Averill 1272's and an old dual Dan Alexander 31105.
I would like to have a different flavor preamp around, to get that fat, warm, deep, floating down a river of bass, tube sound.
I suppose my main concern then, would be for a bass DI but, I still have not stumbled upon a perfect vocal chain yet, so I'm hopefull that a good tube preamp will breath new life into my mics also. (Beyer M160, Baby Bottle, Oktava ML52, SE H3500, Beta 57).
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13th December 2004
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I haven't used the brick...but, sat with the Great River and LA610 last night comparing DI for bass...and there's very little difference I hear. Little more dimension with the 610, slightly more bark with the NV1...but, that's seriously clicking A...B....A....B...I can't imagine someone would pay for the difference in the bass DI. At least on my two basses-A 62RI P and a Carvin 5 str fretless.

Have you tried the dedicated DIs like Radial or an Avalon U5? I don't really equate really deep lows with tubes...
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14th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by popmann
I don't really equate really deep lows with tubes...
I agree with this on the M610. To get the extra lows I need to EQ with my x73i. But, the tone of the M610 on bass is awesome to my ears. I use a warwick corvette 4 string.

I've heard numerous times that the Great River 1NV is supposed to be a really good bass di, so if they are about equal then that is a plus for both units.

I do agree with the extra dimension as well on the M610. I think that is a reason I like it so much for direct bass. It gives a little cab type sound to the bass di. This is also what I noticed with vocals which is why I thought it sounded too loose at times on vox, although a little 1176 tightens that right up. This is all splitting hairs as you know, but these things do matter to a lot of us.

Good luck, hopefully others will help you out as well. Try to get both to see if its worth it to you.

If you want me to, I can record some quick takes of my different pres as a direct bass bass box and post it in the MP3 section.

Cheers,
Lumen
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14th December 2004
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Re: Universal Audio "M610" VS Groove Tubes "The Brick"

Quote:
Originally posted by dntknowsht
high quality, single channel, tube, mic preamp
The "Brick" fits your stated criteria.
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14th December 2004
Old 14th December 2004
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Need he say more?
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14th December 2004
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The Brick will definitly fit your intentions. I've owned one since May and have used the UA610 and 6176 since April.
The UA stuff has bells and whistles and more knobs, but it also distorts incredibly easily even with the gain down and with the microphone padded. The 610 also sucks for most male voices if you're stacking up tracks. It looses focus and builds up alot in the low mid mudzone. The DI on the 610 is nice, but it also doesn't have the even focus of the Brick.
As a micpre the Brick is much more simply designed. Just set the gain knob. There's no real extra stuff to deal with, although it might not have enough gain for some lower output mics. But you said you've got pre's and are really looking for a bass DI.
I absolutly love what the brick does as a bass DI, you can leave the gain down and just use it as a normal DI going into a mic pre, or you can turn it up and take it into your recorder at line level. The sound is clear and will be a good representation of what your bass sounds like. Construction is incredible too, I had a 260lb bassist accidentally give it a stomp and it didn't even notice.

It'd be kinda hard for me to justify the extra money for the 610 with the difficulties it's given me. Another DI ya might wanna check out is that new TAB thing, it's right at 500 too, though I've yet to try it.

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14th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hiwatt
Need he say more?
No, he needn't...

Thanks djgout, for the descriptive opinions (void of politics) on both units!
Yesterday, I went ahead and got the M610 (assured I could return it if I didn't like it). I love it!
The M610 is exactly what I want. It brings out that deep, full, warm tone (not low end...but, depth) that was missing. The Brick may be great too, but I don't feel the need to keep looking. The M610 sounds amazing!
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14th December 2004
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Amen.

The 610 gets muddy stacking male voices? How often do you stack track after track of male vocalists? That's just funny. Generally when people say they're looking for a vocal preamp--it's for lead vocals. Which, if you're staking those, you NEED a bigger sounding mic/pre.

Also, I think it's misleading to say it distorts easily with the pad engaged. Counting the pad, there's -25db of attentuation available on the first gain stage. Even more if you've got a pad on the mic. What in the heck kinda mic you using that fuzzing out the first stage with -25db? Not that I've had to take it that low, but...

Also...pop/rock lead vocals=often "distorted"...though currently with more of a Neve'ish sizzle fuzz than tube break up, but...it's like claiming that Marshalls suck because when you put a sine wave through them with the gain on 7 it "distorts", and then using your Boogies...different break up-but, forest for the trees, not so different conceptually.

BTW...Guitar Center has the Brick/GT55 combo for $499 now...you can't argue with the deal that is...the Brick was a $400 pre until last week.
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15th December 2004
Old 15th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by popmann
Amen.

The 610 gets muddy stacking male voices? How often do you stack track after track of male vocalists? That's just funny. Generally when people say they're looking for a vocal preamp--it's for lead vocals. Which, if you're staking those, you NEED a bigger sounding mic/pre.

Also, I think it's misleading to say it distorts easily with the pad engaged. Counting the pad, there's -25db of attentuation available on the first gain stage. Even more if you've got a pad on the mic. What in the heck kinda mic you using that fuzzing out the first stage with -25db? Not that I've had to take it that low, but...

Also...pop/rock lead vocals=often "distorted"...though currently with more of a Neve'ish sizzle fuzz than tube break up, but...it's like claiming that Marshalls suck because when you put a sine wave through them with the gain on 7 it "distorts", and then using your Boogies...different break up-but, forest for the trees, not so different conceptually.

BTW...Guitar Center has the Brick/GT55 combo for $499 now...you can't argue with the deal that is...the Brick was a $400 pre until last week.

When am I not stacking male vocals is more like it. I work at a studio that does alot of hip hop. The verse will typically have atleast 3 stacked male voices, and depending on who the producer is on the session a chorus will have atleast 6-8 or more stacked male voices. And no, you don't NEED a bigger sounding pre if you're stacking, you need something that won't get muddy.

Mic is either a M149 with a Shure inline pad before the pre or a U87 with the pad engaged. Still both mics will crap out the input on the UA pres even with all pads engaged.

I wouldn't have responded to the post if I didn't have experiences with both pres on several sessions.

And as for the sine wave through a marshall on 7, it doesn't suck. try it out on your plexi, it'll be the coolest thing you've ever heard......
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15th December 2004
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Quote:
And no, you don't NEED a bigger sounding pre if you're stacking, you need something that won't get muddy.
Wasn't really my intended implication....

I'll trust that you have better ears for the distortion. I guess my point with the Marshall was, it's a cool sound...distorted or not. And, in the end, being distortion free isn't anywhere near having a groovy sound on my agenda.

But, it's certainly not free of character...nor would I call it transparent...so, we probably agree on results--just maybe not in how happy we are with said results.
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15th December 2004
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The subtle dynamic in this thread is kind of interesting. Someone once told me he thought Bob Hope was a fascist comedian. The reason was the way Mr. Hope would tell a bad, unfunny joke and then kind of hold his nose up waiting for the obligatory laugh.

Of course all comedians wait for the laugh but the manner in which it was done is what I think he meant. The idea being that it is Bob Hope and therefore you must laugh. In other words, the joke was immaterial, the comedian was more important.

You cannot, after all, disagree with Bob Hope. If he told the joke then he thinks it is funny. If he thinks it is funny then you better think its funny otherwise you are a stupid fool.

Eventually someone does come along and says, Hey! that shits not funny and I don't care what the F&%$ Bob Hope thinks.

Just a thought.
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15th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeroleen
Eventually someone does come along and says, Hey! that shits not funny and I don't care what the F&%$ Bob Hope thinks.

Just a thought.
Like my mommy used to say. If you can't tell a funny joke then don't tell a joke at all.
I usually think Bob Hope is funny... And though he does know more about jokes than anyone else, in this case he's just an ass with an axe to grind.
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15th December 2004
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Forums are for opinions. No one is required to laugh at anyone else's jokes and no one is required to heckle the comedian either. Take it or leave it.

One man's turd is another man's Baby Ruth.

Keep it about the gear, gentlemen.

The Brick sounds very nice and is a steal for the price. Have never heard the M610 but most everyone I know who has one likes it. Glad you are happy with your purchase.
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15th December 2004
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Quote:
If you want me to, I can record some quick takes of my different pres as a direct bass bass box and post it in the MP3 section.
I am all ears so to speak. I love hearing different stuff. Don't make a lot of difference in the end because it needs to be in the mix before I can make a good judgment but still nice to hear it....
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15th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeroleen
You cannot, after all, disagree with Bob Hope. If he told the joke then he thinks it is funny. If he thinks it is funny then you better think its funny otherwise you are a stupid fool.
I agree with you 100%.
Allen
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15th December 2004
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This is a little OT, but still related to the subject at hand...

A tech friend of mine was telling me that the original 610's had a different/better power supply, as well as some other different parts, which make the new ones sound not sound as good....

Does anyone know anything about this?
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19th December 2004
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I finally got to track with a Brick today, guitars with an R84. The Brick is surprisingly quiet, with very smooth gain bottom to top.

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19th December 2004
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What Djg says is absolutely correct....although I can't support Fletcher's tongue in cheek non endorsement of the 610.

I've also used The Brick and both I and the bassist loved it.

As to the 610 anyone doing R and B or hiphop might find himself stacking 16 or so male voices on the hook of a song. The 610 almost always needs to be padded either at the mic or with an external pad or you are asking for distortion when the singer starts to hit it.

I do a lot of gospel....and I was burn t more than once before I got the point.

Anyway...I love the 610 on a lot of things...and it can sound great on vocals, but you better have some in line pads handy if your vocalist has some juice.
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19th December 2004
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The Brick is just too awesome of a pre/di for the money. It has a really nice smooth top and great low mid. Kills on bass.

Does not kill the pocket.

Kelly
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19th December 2004
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Is the BRICK a true transformer/tube design ?

I've heard many budget tube pres are of the "starved plate" design where the tubes are run with very low voltages ...

js.
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19th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by jlsgear
Is the BRICK a true transformer/tube design ?

I've heard many budget tube pres are of the "starved plate" design where the tubes are run with very low voltages ...

js.
no, as far as i can tell it's not a starved plate design, the damn thing dims the lights in my apartment when i turn it on.
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20th December 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by djgout
no, as far as i can tell it's not a starved plate design, the damn thing dims the lights in my apartment when i turn it on.
Hell yeah!
Allen
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20th December 2004
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Just my 2 cents, I have used the 6176 for about 4 months now, and its a love hate relationship, when Im looking for some character, I can find the distortion in the 610 really pleasing, when doing something a bit more transparent, well thats a no holds bar fight to get the dam thing to stop being so loose, the needle just jumps all over the place. When tracking bass, its killer! When tracking drums out of my drum machine, well this thing is worth its weight in gold. Im doing all hip hop and r@b, so I can relate to what some folk have commented about the vocals getting kinda cloudy, especially in the low mids. You have to learn this beast, its good when you set it right for the vocalist, and with the 1176 after, tight, tight , tight, great for what I do.
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9th March 2007
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hmmm UA 2-610 Owner

AT GSS we have the usual garden variety of classic mics and pres (251s, 47s, 67, r-122s etc and neve, api, osa, ua, v72, ). I have been curious about the brick esp given the price range (now that Fletcher has blessed it I will buy). I just used the Avalon DI on a session and was very pleased with it but I still prefer the DI on the OSA-L3 for bass most of the time (gotta love the lundahl tranny) esp with the Les Paul bass.

I disagree with the idea that the 610 does not stack vox tracks well and distorts too easily. We love this pre for vox. It is a huge sounding pre and is not the "right" pre for everything. I will say the 2-610 on main vox and the v72a on backing vox has been a winning combo for several projects I have done recently. The EQ on the 2-610 can be magical with certain mic combos and performers.

As far as tube gear not having real "deep" bottom end I also disagree. The DI on the 2-610 is pretty darned deep in my opinion. Try putting a royer 122 a out in front of a nice kick (not in it) and through the pre and feel some thump. I am sure it lacks the slew rate of a solid state pre jacked up with crazy trannies (lundahl, richenbach or Bauer) but is not tubby or shallow to my ears. ok maybe a tad "hi-fi" ..god I hate having to use cliches like that..

In terms of track buildup residue I have not encountered any issues. I did track a recent project where we used the 2-610s on almost every track from acoustic guitars to vox to bass and even MS Matrix-ed the drums and had no issues. IMHO if anything exhibits this buildup characteristic it is often the older neve (include neve pretenders) and api stuff when it is pushed.

I find it helpful to run pre-recorded audio through the pres to get an idea of how they may color the sound. Many of my vintage pres really can sound great on mono sources and push them to the front but for the same reasons on stereo material they collapse the stereo image (distortion /phase/ demons / moons -planets in retrograde..are all factors).

respectfully,

kb
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10th March 2007
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And oooooh-weeeee, if you apply some of the low EQ on the 610, watch out! Made my Spector NS2j with the OBP-1 shake the foundation! The 6176 very well may be the definitive bass D.I. for active basses.
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10th March 2007
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I own The Brick. It's nice. I like the UA too, but I didn't bought it...

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