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Gyraf Audio Gyratec XIV or Thermionic The Swift ? Equalisers (HW)
Old 28th February 2017
  #1
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Gyraf Audio Gyratec XIV or Thermionic The Swift ?

Opinions welcome...
For Mix Buss tonal scultpting primarily...or occasional electronic instrument tracking too

Last edited by insect1; 28th February 2017 at 10:49 PM..
Old 28th February 2017
  #2
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bump bump
Old 3rd March 2017
  #3
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They are very different beasts really - the swift is good, and the choice if you want dual-mono for tracking or M/S, the G14 gives you a higher degree of control and a simpler user interface.

Jakob E.
(who has clear commercial interests in this.)
Old 4th March 2017
  #4
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Lol

M/S ??? Sorry if im bein dense....

So the Gyratec isnt good for tracking ?

U think your product or the Swift is better for tonal/textural amplification and colour, Jakob ?
Old 14th March 2017
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Not trying to ignore your question, but such information is very, very hard to convey.

I don't think there is any way around just trying the units first-hand, on relevant material, and only then deciding what works for you...

Jakob E.
Old 14th March 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insect1 View Post
M/S ??? Sorry if im bein dense....

So the Gyratec isnt good for tracking ?
I think what he meant is that since there's only one set of controls for both channels you won't be able to control M and S separately. Same for tracking, you wouldn't be able to eq two mics at the same time, but if you're only tracking one mic then it's great.

I can't comment on the Swift, but I do have a Gyraf G14 and it's gorgeous.. Perfect eq for a little color on the mix buss if that's what you're looking for.
Old 1 week ago
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bump
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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..bump because of...?

Jakob E.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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I'd like to hear user reports of both units. Maybe someone has even compared them or had them side by side.
They are both passive stereo EQs.. but I'd like to hear about their sonic qualitys and differences.
Old 6 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
I'd like to hear user reports of both units. Maybe someone has even compared them or had them side by side.
They are both passive stereo EQs.. but I'd like to hear about their sonic qualitys and differences.
I want to state upfront that I do not own a G14. I do however own a G23-S and a The Swift, so I can say something about the two different house-sounds. The TC has more articulation than the G23-S (in either setting). The Gyraf sound is smooth and a little veiled. When you have an overly articulated mix and it needs some smoothing, this is the sound that will help. There are a few bands on the G23-S that I absolutely love. However, I am often as much fighting the Gyraf sound as I am able to use it. The Swift is a very different beast because you can push highs and mangle mids endlessly for more articulation and texture without it ever getting harsh. It is a sound that fits my personal character more than the Gyraf, even though I can not call it ultimately transparent either.

I was recently mixing some early music played on original instruments with gut strings and there was no way I could please the musicians with the sound of the Gyraf or the sound of the TC (or the sound of the Knif Vari Mu II for that matter...). The comment I got in both cases was: "We find our new sound dark, as if going through a very sophisticated filter that shades it and makes it fake. A bit inside a bubble or under water, far and hidden." Personally I liked what I had done, especially in the mix with the TC, but as you can see the experts did not fall for anything "added". The mix that they did like was extremely open, upfront and strident, to my dismay. I thought the stridency could be perfectly controlled with the TC, without losing freshness in the highs. It is probably a stellar EQ for anything other than the ultra critical naturalistic demands from gut string players.

The chain that generated acceptable results in the above example contained RND MBP, SPL Passeq, Elysia Xfilter. No Gyraf, no TC, no Knif. FWIW.
Old 6 days ago
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That makes entirely sense - as there is no such thing as a "universally nice" coloring covering all audio, you will very often find that neutral/uncolored is the best way to go by far.

Traditionally, coloring was a side-effect of trying to do processing as neutral as at all possible with the technology at hand, and failing because of technological limitations. Nowadays, with mature audio electronics, neutral is really easy - and actually the easiest itb - so aiming for desired coloring is now a different game. Don't be led to believe that all coloring from old-fashioned electronics is good per-se - it just so happens that we forget, forgive and long since discard the thousands of horrible-sounding devices from yesteryear. Only the really good sounding tends to survive over time, which can lead to the misconception that all old stuff was great. It wasn't..


What we try to do with the Gyraf units is to offer a well-controlled coloring in a direction that is least available (i.e. hardest to do) itb.

Jakob E.
(who builds the Gyraf's)

Last edited by gyraf; 6 days ago at 08:31 AM.. Reason: sp, exch
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
That makes entirely sense - as there is no such thing as a "universally nice" coloring in audio, you will very often find that neutral/uncolored is the way to go.

What we try to do with the Gyraf units is to offer a well-controlled coloring in a direction that is not available itb.

Jakob E.
(who builds these)
My problem with the Gyraf colour is that it is very quickly too much, or just plain wrong. Two units in a row is definitely a "nono" here. I am hoping to acquire a G24 in the forseeable future, but I am very afraid of the possible box tone. Dynamically I expect it to be great, but if it adds colour of its own I will get very little use out of it. I wish Gyraf would create a more neutral box tone, so the colour will only be in the use of the functions.

Since I am working with exceptional monitoring (well-calibrated D&D 8c's for one year now) I have noticed that many boxes (also very expensive ones) are way too coloured. Something I was not able to hear so clear in the past. It is pretty frustrating that you can spend huge amounts of money on the best equipment available in the market and find that it has only very limited usefulness.

And to get back to the TC The Swift: it has a much more neutral box tone than my Gyraf unit. Also, the fact that it has separate channel knobs has already proven extremely useful for me, particularly in the context of balancing small ensembles where the whole "image" has been recorded with a main array and you need to make some specific corrections to the presence of someone on the left or right. A linked stereo unit is of course much faster in use, but sometimes unlinked channel operation may be mandatory. So the least you can do is buy EQ's of both types.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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I wonder what levels you are working at, if even the G23-S gets "too much, too quick"? Do you have a rough estimate of your analogue level for 0dBfs?

Jakob E.
Old 5 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
I wonder what levels you are working at, if even the G23-S gets "too much, too quick"? Do you have a rough estimate of your analogue level for 0dBfs?

Jakob E.
I'm running my chain at a very moderate level: +11dBU = clipping point at the AD-converter at the end of the chain. In between I do very careful gain staging. The box tone of the G23-S is simply there at any level and for my mixes it is quickly too much of a tonal change to the signal. When it's the right colour by coincidence then there is no problem, but when it's the wrong one you are out of luck and you cannot use the unit for what you wanted to use it for. Unfortunately I cannot afford to have a number of different tilt EQ's with different boxtones. The G23-S has two boxtones in one, but they are both pretty obvious, so there is quite a chance that they are not the right tones.

I want to emphasize that this boxtone problem is not limited to Gyraf. As mentioned I also had a problem with the boxtone of the Knif Vari-Mu II, which is a very expensive box. The colour of it also has an "expensive" sheen to it, but what if you don't want a sheen and just need a compressor? The make-up gain of the RND MBP can only be used by a few dB's before the boxtone becomes overbearing. Not a cheap unit by any means. I could discuss a lot more very expensive units that can become useless at some point because of the basic alteration of the signal, without doing anyting functional yet.

Once you have really good monitoring you will discover that there is a world of possible improvement of high end equipment out there.
Old 4 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
Once you have really good monitoring you will discover that there is a world of possible improvement of high end equipment out there.
I wonder if mods are possible anywhere, what is the greatest contributor to the boxtone in these boxes? If it's circuit design then it's tough to change. Components and wiring could be replaced. Lundahls could be replaced for cinemag, haufe, etc.
Old 4 days ago
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Something is obviously wrong if the complaint is that the RND MBP quickly offers an "over-bearing" sound. Also your statement about your levels shows a very low level or mis-calibrated a/d. The minimum level for full scale on an a/d converter should be no lower than +18 dBu. If it is as low as +11, then it will quickly distort on moderate peaks.

I wonder what is really going on?

And no, to my expericence, most of the Gyraf gear is very neutral and not so colored. In fact, most tube gear, run within reasonable levels, is super clean.
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Something is obviously wrong if the complaint is that the RND MBP quickly offers an "over-bearing" sound. Also your statement about your levels shows a very low level or mis-calibrated a/d. The minimum level for full scale on an a/d converter should be no lower than +18 dBu. If it is as low as +11, then it will quickly distort on moderate peaks.
I used to have my A/D-converter calibrated to much higher levels (my ADT mixer has huge headroom), but some parts of the chain did not like +18dBu, Kush Clariphonic in particular. I have ran the RND MBP at all those levels, and the conclusion was the same everytime: the gain knob simply starts colouring very quickly. I have calibrated my A/D-converter so low because most boxes sound best when not pushed at all. What may be "wrong" is that I have very critical hearing, just like the musicians I work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I wonder what is really going on?

And no, to my expericence, most of the Gyraf gear is very neutral and not so colored. In fact, most tube gear, run within reasonable levels, is super clean.
Gyraf's valve circuits are very coloured in my book and their solid state circuit is "coloured". TC EB4 and The Swift much less so, at least when ran at moderate levels and with fitting impedances. RND MBP is pretty neutral when not pushed at all, but gets coloured obviously beyond +4dB of added (internal) gain. This is all regardless of A/D calibration or even the type of A/D-chip used. I should repeat that the improved quality of my monitoring has added greatly to the revealing of all these colourations. Other users of D&D 8c als mention much more restraint in the use of EQ (especially in a mastering context) as they are so much better able to hear the effects and the side-effects with these speakers.
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Also your statement about your levels shows a very low level or mis-calibrated a/d. The minimum level for full scale on an a/d converter should be no lower than +18 dBu. If it is as low as +11, then it will quickly distort on moderate peaks.

I wonder what is really going on?
Plush, I have a question for you.

Some explanation first: one of my AD-converters, Mytek Stereo192 ADC, has different ways to set the maximum input level. There's the option of a precision pot meter per channel that can be switched in and set with a screwdriver, there's the option of a stereo "ballpark" pot meter that can be operated by hand and there's the option of switching out the attenuating pot meters entirely. In this last setting the native clipping point is at + 11 dBu. At that setting the converter actually sounds best, probably because by switching the pot meters into the signal chain you only lose level and make the path longer. For ease of use this is the level that I have chosen to calibrate my other AD-converter to as well, since that one also only uses a resistor (a pot meter) in front of a fixed amplification circuit. Basically just like the Mytek, but it cannot be switched out of the signal path. I checked that with the manufacturer. So, the lower you set the resistor, the closer you are to the native clipping point of the AD-converter. It is not that the amount of internal amplification changes.

Now to my question: why would it be a good idea to push the level of a signal up first, let's say to + 18 dBu and then bring it down again to match the native level of the converter? For my recording chain I can actually answer this question myself, because exhaustive tests have shown that my most important microphone amplifiers sound better at amplification levels around + 40dB. So for tracking purposes I always calibrate my AD-converters to +18dBu as clipping point because otherwise I need to lower the amplification level to stay within the maximum allowed signal level and the sound will be less nice. But I have not found such advantage for the boxes of my OTB mixing chain. On the contrary, as mentioned about the Kush Clariphonic in my previous post. So, can you please explain why running the chain cool would be disadvantageous for the sound? This is a serious question, not some sort of mind trick, in case you wonder. Of course I make sure my converters never distort, whether they are calibrated to +11dBu, +18dBu, or sometimes even +24dBu. I just run the mix as hot as allowed within the subsequent boundaries. There are particular situations that need a higher level, for example because otherwise I am operating outside the reach of a limiter and it will never kick in. But when I don't need that limiter (I seldomly do) I would not know why I would need to calibrate to at least + 18dBu.
Old 4 days ago
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Im with Earcatcher here, most transformer based gear sounds better at low levels.
Obvious analog colour might be a cool thing when processing pop/rock/edm music, but especially comes to a limit with puristic classical music. A reason why most classical producers I know are very careful with any kind of processing in post especially with leaving the box for this.
But I also would say solid state circuits arent necessarily "cleaner" sounding than tube based circuits. In the end theres a colour in all and we just have to decide here.

The only dissadvantages with low level feeded analog gear might be higher self noise, but to me the advantages overcomes these with ease (might not work with vintage stuff of course).

Experimentation with high quality tubes is a must to me with modern tube equipment, especially when one is rather picky with tone. Cheaper stock tubes are often sounding smeary and vague, unfortunately.
Transformers are another option, I have some Lundahl Amorpheus Cores which are beauty (but very picky with levels) I bet they would work very well with puristic classical stuff.
Old 4 days ago
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It worries me slightly that you think even the -S mode is too colored at times. This does not align with any other feedback report we've had on the unit.

Off course it may just indicate that you are more sensitive than most, but if you want (and can do without the unit for a handful of days), I would be happy to take a very-close look at it and verify that everything is right about it.

Jakob E.
Old 3 days ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
It worries me slightly that you think even the -S mode is too colored at times. This does not align with any other feedback report we've had on the unit.

Off course it may just indicate that you are more sensitive than most, but if you want (and can do without the unit for a handful of days), I would be happy to take a very-close look at it and verify that everything is right about it.

Jakob E.
Thank you for the offer. If I can do without the unit for a while I may send it to you, but right now I have too many things to work on that may be in need of its availability. I have no reason to think that anything is fundamentally wrong with the unit. The basic box tone in SS-mode might even come from the filters: even when they are in zero position I can hear a tonal change when I select another band. In his review of the G23-S Bob Macc compared the two modes with a red wine for the valve section and some white wine for the solid state section. If the SS section would be closer to neutral one would expect a comparision with clean water, I think. But now I can only say that about the bypass function.

Can you comment on the level that I run my chain at? I understand that you are a propagator of running mixing/mastering chains cool, so my level should please you, no? Below +13dBu seems quite normal in mastering studios it seems.
Old 3 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Experimentation with high quality tubes is a must to me with modern tube equipment, especially when one is rather picky with tone. Cheaper stock tubes are often sounding smeary and vague, unfortunately.
Transformers are another option, I have some Lundahl Amorpheus Cores which are beauty (but very picky with levels) I bet they would work very well with puristic classical stuff.
My Knif Vari Mu II has the amorphous core Lundahls and even there: very obvious colouration, albeit very beautiful. Now, that unit has a lot of tubes inside, so it is pretty inavoidable to have an effect on the box tone.

I know several classical recordists who keep the mixing of puristic classical stuff inside the box, but it is also the much more natural character of analogue mixing that makes me bring the raw tracks outside the box for forging them together. I have a very elaborate setup that allows me to mix and master in one single go, in order to avoid more than one AD/DA conversion. Since mixing and mastering are such different processes, mentally, I always take a lot of time (including hands-off time) to find the final balance. I can easily make a dozen of different versions, fully finished, so I can compare them directly in playback to make the final choice. I certainly do care about tone.
Old 3 days ago
  #23
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On a similar note, you don't want to run transformers at too low levels either, as you at some point will run into Barkhausen distortion (magnetic quantisazion distortion and noise) especially in outer ends of reverb tails etc., where it can impact perceived "detailedness" significantly. And then there's always the noise floor to avoid..

But yes, levels such as your +13dBu for 0dBfs are very much what I'd recommend anyway - so that won't be the issue in your case.

Just let me know if/when you decide for a checkup, I'd be happy to..

Jakob E.
Old 3 days ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
My Knif Vari Mu II has the amorphous core Lundahls and even there: very obvious colouration, albeit very beautiful. Now, that unit has a lot of tubes inside, so it is pretty inavoidable to have an effect on the box tone.

I know several classical recordists who keep the mixing of puristic classical stuff inside the box, but it is also the much more natural character of analogue mixing that makes me bring the raw tracks outside the box for forging them together. I have a very elaborate setup that allows me to mix and master in one single go, in order to avoid more than one AD/DA conversion. Since mixing and mastering are such different processes, mentally, I always take a lot of time (including hands-off time) to find the final balance. I can easily make a dozen of different versions, fully finished, so I can compare them directly in playback to make the final choice. I certainly do care about tone.
Yes, you are right. I find the Knif Vari Mu a bit too colored. Did you tried the Pure Mu, which is cleaner/better sounding to my ears?
To be clear: When Im talking the Lundahl AC here I meant the 1:1 version, every other type should be obviously more colored. But still Pure Mu and Vari sharing the same transformers afaik, but might sound rather different.
Old 2 days ago
  #25
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For Earcatcher--

If you like your system as it is, then run at that +11dBu level. It is a low level somewhat between a pro +4 and a -10 hi-fi level.

By the way, +18dBu is not a particularly high level when pro equipment does not clip until +29 or so.

If you run your mic amps at a gain of 40dB (the sweet spot your describe), then your peaks will be somewhere in the region of -10dBFS to -6dBFS when your a/d is calibrated at +18dBu. That is a conservative and proper level that offers you the full resolution of your a/d converter. For example, you would have to turn your level down 45dB in order to be recording at 16 bit!

The argument for setting 0dBFS at around +18dBu is that you optimize noise of the system without over driving your analog chain in front of the converter. Your converter has around 116 dB dynamic range which is quite a large dynamic range. Some modern converters offer even higher dynamic range.

When running at a low level, you do not obtain the best signal to noise ratio that your equipment is capable of making.

I arrived at the +18dBu level here after extensive talks with PrismSound engineers.
Old 2 days ago
  #26
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Aah, but it's not about how loud a given unit will play without clipping, but about at what levels it sounds really good. There's quite a lot of pro equipment out there that will do +26 all day, but that simply doesnt sound good doing so.

Years back, when we selected our operating levels, we ended up with the range between +12 and +14 for 0dBfs. This after extensive testing of just about all analogue equipment we could find or borrow to our studios - because we wanted to be able to have an extended range of gradually "hotter" boxtone - placed in the range where all the other units still sounded stellar.

The only two units we tested that sounded as (subjectively) good at +22 as at +12 were IIRC the Massenburg 8200 and the K&H UE100's

So IMO, there is very good reason to run at reasonable levels.

Jakob E.

(edit: yes, agree that the prism sounds really good around 18. But not everything else does..)

Last edited by gyraf; 2 days ago at 04:58 PM.. Reason: prism
Old 2 days ago
  #27
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Of course you're right to state your preferences. But I am not advocating either pushing the equipment to near its maximum output or modulating to 0dBFS!

With an a/d converter set at +18dBu=0dBFS, peak modulation will (should!) be recording at -10 to -6 dBFS. That is no where near max output of either a mic pre, your compressor, or other equipment.

In no way do I advocate operating at slamming levels!

However, your proposed levels are extremely conservative. I have not heard of others advocating for levels of +12 to +14.
Old 2 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
On a similar note, you don't want to run transformers at too low levels either, as you at some point will run into Barkhausen distortion (magnetic quantisazion distortion and noise) especially in outer ends of reverb tails etc., where it can impact perceived "detailedness" significantly. And then there's always the noise floor to avoid..
Precisely because of that reason I always keep my reverb and room channels outside any transformers in the signal path. Spot channels I run at healthy levels though all kinds of equipment without restrain, only to lower them in level when finally mixed into the main signal. Some units have gain before and after their core workings, so you can always operate them at their own optimum level to make them individually sound good. But to serve all these masters in a mixing chain can indeed be a headache sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
But yes, levels such as your +13dBu for 0dBfs are very much what I'd recommend anyway - so that won't be the issue in your case.
Good to know that we understand each other at this point, and agree about the theory behind it. Sometimes I start at much higher levels at the beginning of the chain, but being able not to use make-up gain, for example for a compressor or a passively cutting EQ halfway the chain, is very beneficial also for the final noise floor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf View Post
Just let me know if/when you decide for a checkup, I'd be happy to..

Jakob E.
Old 2 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Yes, you are right. I find the Knif Vari Mu a bit too colored. Did you tried the Pure Mu, which is cleaner/better sounding to my ears?
To be clear: When Im talking the Lundahl AC here I meant the 1:1 version, every other type should be obviously more colored. But still Pure Mu and Vari sharing the same transformers afaik, but might sound rather different.
According to Jonte Knif the Vari Mu II sounds exactly the same as the Pure Mu when it operates in the same functionality as the Pure Mu does by limitation. I have not personally checked this by putting them side by side. Knif stuff is not easy to find where I am, to put it mildly. I know more of his instruments from the time he built fortepianos and harpsichords than of his electronic boxes.
Old 2 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Of course you're right to state your preferences. But I am not advocating either pushing the equipment to near its maximum output or modulating to 0dBFS!

With an a/d converter set at +18dBu=0dBFS, peak modulation will (should!) be recording at -10 to -6 dBFS. That is no where near max output of either a mic pre, your compressor, or other equipment.

In no way do I advocate operating at slamming levels!

However, your proposed levels are extremely conservative. I have not heard of others advocating for levels of +12 to +14.
Plush, as Jakob says it is about the level at which the boxes sound their best. If you go to the mastering forum you will find many people that won't go over +14dBu. My ADT mixers have +30dBu headroom and a dynamic range of 120dB, so clearly those things are not the limiting factor. I think this is a very fruitful discussion, as we are all triggered into rethinking our workflows and why we do what we do.

For German broadcast installations a value of + 15 dBu is calibrated on the AD-converters, as I learned from Fried Reim, the maker of the Lake People F444 converter that I use as my main A/D-converter. Since I have a four channel version I often have two different values calibrated next to each other, so I can easily switch to a higher (calibrated) level if I want to hear how that sounds, or when my gain staging does not allow to go low enough for the lowest calibration in use. I have found it very informative to experiment with all these different settings of my ADC.
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