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UA 2-610 In Depth Condenser Microphones
Old 5th April 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

UA 2-610 In Depth

I recently picked up a UA 2-610 preamp and I'm absolutely loving it.

I am farily new to this piece of gear and would like to learn about it a little more. If any of you have any experience with this pre, this is the place to get into all it has to offer - or what it doesn't have to offer.

I'll get into a scenario I was in recently:

My good friends are in a 'not so serious' rock band that gets together once a week to just 'jam'. The gear they use is decent. So I set up a two mic stereo set up with a DIY Jecklyn's disk in-between 2 Advanced Audio CM67se set to omni about 40 cm apart (quite wide, done purposely) into the 2-610 and then into an Mbox mini (I know, I know, but I didn't have a better interface to work with!). I tried a few different levels on the pre (everywhere from 2.5 - 8) on the huge level knob. 8 was definitely a more overdriven sound with perhaps just a little bit more punch. Clarity seemed to be affected the hotter the level, but the fullness was in some cases a welcome characteristic. I think the best sounds for this application were around 5.5 - 6 in general.

The sounds achieved are great. Sparklingly clear (dangerously clear actually - you really do hear everything), tight bottom end, lush (the mics are super lush as well), great dimension/depth. But If I must say there is one thing I wish I had a l
ittle more of: PUNCH.

I know. I don't have a solid state pre to get that punch, and I'm actually swapping my stereo pair (of not so punchy mics) for a little more punchy flavour (I have 2 CM87se also from AA coming) - similar to U87.

The previous week, I had the exact same set-up with the only difference being the pre. I don't remember the exact model but it is a 2-track, 1/4" thick, 7" reel to reel tape machine from probably late 70s - early 80s (just a guess!). The sound from those pres was decently punchy, but (unsurprisingly) failed miserably in articulation and bass tightness compared to the 610.

Now, my question is, what can be done to achieve a punchier sound thru the 610? Is there some sort of gain staging that I missed that can help? Or am I just wrong in trying to attain a punchier sound with this pre/mic combo? Can I put a compressor somewhere in my tracking chain to help out? Is it possible to get all the goodness from the 610 plus more punch?? Or am I just dreaming?

Thanks
Old 5th April 2017
  #2
I haven't owned one in years but I used to use it a ton. I remember it always being a little rounded off in a cool way. It doesn't - and can't - have the wallop of an API or something like that.

GREAT preamp though. I dig the EQ on it and I REALLY dig it for bass DI.
Old 6th April 2017
  #3
Gear Nut
 

The key to unlocking the 610's versatility (or hacking its lack thereof, depending on how you look at it) is gain staging in my experience. To get more punch you'll want to open up the output stage (I'd just go to 10) and use less of the input gain knob. Throw another gain stage after it (I like an 1176 with the compression disengaged, just using the transformers) and it gives you more freedom to play with the 610's two gain stages. It can get punchier, but you have to run it cleaner, which gives you not much gain to work with.

All of that said, I'll bet there's a dozen other ways to skin this cat.
Old 6th April 2017
  #4
Gear Addict
610 has headroom issues do to its design intent. It def will take the digital edge off.....cant hit it to hard or it will bark.....start with volume about maxed and use the lowest input gain and start there for clean as that unit gets...adjst the input gain for more drive on the tubes. Dirext input is great for bass...ive had one since the beginning (old greenface color) i love it...ive changed the input and output tubes to tetelefunken and i think mullaeds and it gives diff tones...still hve my old tubes....hope u will enjoy...it never got a ton of love around here but i sure love it
Old 6th April 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
 
AlexK's Avatar
 

As others have said, lower the input stage and turn up the output.

Ultimately if you want punch, you're better off with most good solid state preamps. I never really think of the 610s as super versatile for exactly this reason, they're pretty dynamically in-interesting...
Old 6th April 2017
  #6
Deleted User
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Upgrading the tubes to NOS will be a big upgrade in overall sound, not that the stock tubes sound bad.
Old 7th April 2017
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thanks guys, all good answers.

I will try out some more gain staging and see what I can come up with.

What kind of pre amp should I be looking into if I want more or less the character of the 610 with the added punch? I'm really enjoying the depth and warmth of the 610!

Forgive my newbie-ish questions, but this is the only good pre amp I've ever had a chance to work with.

I'm actually looking into getting a solid state pre. Any good ones out there that will provide me with more versatility? Ideally, I'd like a pre that can kind of do it all: transparent-ish and flattering/musical colour (I know some pres nowadays have transformer switches and what not), depth, clarity, and you got it: punch.

I know I'm asking for paradise, but what's the closest I can get to those requests? And of course, since I have the 610, what are some options that you think would compliment my existing unit?
Old 7th April 2017
  #8
Just be careful not to be mislead by the common "wisdom" of some that disparage the sound of the modern 610. It sounds great and it is useful in many situations, even as your only preamp if you have the mics and the knowledge about how to gain stage it to be more clean or more congested sounding.

What you have is fine. If you simply must have another preamp you should know that with preamps it's really not that big a deal so long as what you have is of high quality. It's more of a matter of the tone you like, not one that is absolutely better than another.
Old 8th April 2017
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Just be careful not to be mislead by the common "wisdom" of some that disparage the sound of the modern 610. It sounds great and it is useful in many situations, even as your only preamp if you have the mics and the knowledge about how to gain stage it to be more clean or more congested sounding.

What you have is fine. If you simply must have another preamp you should know that with preamps it's really not that big a deal so long as what you have is of high quality. It's more of a matter of the tone you like, not one that is absolutely better than another.
Absolutely! I don't feel the need for a 'better' pre, but just one that will be able to suit some other types of music. I'm learning a lot from the 610 and my mics and my room and I'm far from disappointed.
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