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Do I really still need my A Designs P1? Single-Channel Preamps
Old 14th May 2016
  #1
Do I really still need my A Designs P1?

So I recently began phasing out of the 500 series preamp game after purchasing a a Seventh Circle Audio rack complete with 4 A12 "api", 2 N72 "Neve", and 2 J99 "John Hardy". I have just one 500 series preamp left, an A Designs P1, and I am wondering if I will realy miss it considering my other preamp choices.

I was contemplating selling it and putting the cash towards another compressor, or mic choice, maybe something with a smokey m49 vibe.

What are your thoughts on the pre? Does anyone else find the A designs P1 beating their Neve/Api/Hardy flavors on various sources?

Cheers
Old 14th May 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Even though the P1 is fabulous I could easily be happy with an SCA rack alone. If thats all the channels you need than I would go for the mic or comp.

On the other hand, if you NEED more preamps, then that 500 rack is begging for some slutty attention.

Old 15th May 2016
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
Even though the P1 is fabulous I could easily be happy with an SCA rack alone. If thats all the channels you need than I would go for the mic or comp.

On the other hand, if you NEED more preamps, then that 500 rack is begging for some slutty attention.

Hmm, I like the way you think, I sold one of my 500 series racks, the one I currently have left is a 4 space aphex usb rack/interface. Pretty nice for routing to external compressors via the usb ins and outs. maybe I could turn my little 500 series rack into a little mastering unit by adding a couple Maag eq's and a Tk Audio bc501.
Old 22nd August 2016
  #4
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

late to the game but i am not out of nor plan to be out of the 500 format, having said that even if i had some of the Seventh Circle Audio 9 which i hear and believe is great ), i would not part with any of my P-1 press.: )
Old 24th August 2016
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Hendyamps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by underhillstudios View Post
So I recently began phasing out of the 500 series preamp game after purchasing a a Seventh Circle Audio rack complete with 4 A12 "api", 2 N72 "Neve", and 2 J99 "John Hardy". I have just one 500 series preamp left, an A Designs P1, and I am wondering if I will realy miss it considering my other preamp choices.

I was contemplating selling it and putting the cash towards another compressor, or mic choice, maybe something with a smokey m49 vibe.

What are your thoughts on the pre? Does anyone else find the A designs P1 beating their Neve/Api/Hardy flavors on various sources?

Cheers
I think you are technically in the better position than anyone else to answer this because, if I am reading correctly, you already have the SCA preamps as well as the P1. If I were you I would setup a full shootout of all your preamps on a variety of sources (blind testing is always best and make sure to level your recorded tracks before comparison or the louder one will ALWAYS win), and then figure out what your preferences happen to be.
It was only when I started to engage in ruthless, double blind shootouts that I began to understand preamp differences and what my style/preferences were. Up until that point I was simply relaying general trends and common reputations that often turned out to be very much not true.

I have actually owned a full SCA rack and a good number of 500 series preamps over the years (including the P1), and now have strong preferences, but only because I extensively shot out all of them.

The worst that could happen from this testing would be that you would know what types of preamps you like and you will be able to better predict which preamps will pair with what sources, saving time in frantic sessions.
Old 11th February 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendyamps View Post
I think you are technically in the better position than anyone else to answer this because, if I am reading correctly, you already have the SCA preamps as well as the P1. If I were you I would setup a full shootout of all your preamps on a variety of sources (blind testing is always best and make sure to level your recorded tracks before comparison or the louder one will ALWAYS win), and then figure out what your preferences happen to be.
It was only when I started to engage in ruthless, double blind shootouts that I began to understand preamp differences and what my style/preferences were. Up until that point I was simply relaying general trends and common reputations that often turned out to be very much not true.

I have actually owned a full SCA rack and a good number of 500 series preamps over the years (including the P1), and now have strong preferences, but only because I extensively shot out all of them.

The worst that could happen from this testing would be that you would know what types of preamps you like and you will be able to better predict which preamps will pair with what sources, saving time in frantic sessions.
Can I ask what your assessment of the SCA offerings were compared to some similar 500 series modules? I own an SCA rack, and how thought of moving on to some 500 series offerings, but I'm not so sure because of some reservations I have with the format.
Old 11th February 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Hendyamps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drywsef View Post
Can I ask what your assessment of the SCA offerings were compared to some similar 500 series modules? I own an SCA rack, and how thought of moving on to some 500 series offerings, but I'm not so sure because of some reservations I have with the format.

I found that the SCA's API preamp sounded significantly different than the 500 series API preamp, with my preference lying with the SCA by a long shot, though I am told that the SCA clone and the 500 series API preamps are different in some ways? I am not an API topology expert so I do not know the specifics, nor do I remember the opamps I installed in the SCA, I just know that whatever version of API the SCA cloned, I liked it better than the 500 series version.

With the neve clone, the SCA version was quite close to the vintage neves I have used consistently. Now there were some minor differences that probably boils down to the vintage Neves being tweaked/fixed over the years, and SCA is using modern electronic components, etc. Long story short....The N72 didn't make me consistently wish I had an old 1073 in the rack.
I have not actually used any Neve clones in the 500 series format, so I have nothing helpful to offer there, other than I do not know that they can do a more convincing representation of the Neve sound than the SCA preamps. I am open to being proven wrong through!

I never did get a chance to try their Jensen design (J99) but I always wanted to. I have a feeling it would have caused me to ultimately keep the SCA rack I had (I had Six N72's and Two A12's). As it turns out, I am not an API or Neve guy..they do not give me what I seek in the source material.


All that being said, the 500 series is far more than just comparables to the SCA offerings. The 500 series has a vast array of preamps, compressors, and EQ's (well, other stuff too now), so I'd suggest determining your needs first, and then look to the correct solution. For instance, here are a few recommendations:
1. If space is limited and all you want are preamps of the API, Neve, and Jensen based variety, then SCA seems to be the ticket for you.
2. If space is an issue and you want a wide variety of preamps, then a rack of SCA and a rack of 500 series is probably a good choice.
3. If space is not an issue, then a variety of SCA, 500 series, and original rack units is a good choice. Or maybe just original rack units (I'm a fan of using the power supply the design originally was intended for).
4. If you want a wide variety of preamps, comps, EQ's, etc, but space is limited, then go for SCA and 500 series.

Just a few suggestions from a guy that doesn't know your tastes or situation but I hope it is helpful nonetheless.
Old 16th March 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drywsef View Post
Can I ask what your assessment of the SCA offerings were compared to some similar 500 series modules? I own an SCA rack, and how thought of moving on to some 500 series offerings, but I'm not so sure because of some reservations I have with the format.
What I can tell you is that I have kept my SCA rack And sold the majority of my 500 series preamps and I am in the process of selling the rest which I kept in a small aphex travel rack that included AD/DA converters.

I have found that for my needs, which generally consists of rappers, singer songwriters and the occasional band, I have not needed anything outside of my SCA rack with the exception of DI inputs using my Kemper Profiler.

Having used many great 500 series preamps by Heritage Audio, BAE, and A Designs, I can tell you that I do not miss them, and cannot justify their cost for my uses and clientele.

Just my 2cents from a guy who runs a studio part time, and has been controlling my gearslut urges for 6 months now.

Cheers
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