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Coil Audio
Old 9th April 2019
  #1
Coil Audio

My favourite and fattest tube pre amps are made by Coil. I just wondered why people don't rave about them more.
I've never heard drums sound they way they do through Coil's. Bass drums induce earthquakes with their beefiness.
If your in the U.S. they are such better value than many lesser varieties that sound weak by comparison. The CA-70's will be buried with me.
Old 9th April 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I’ve still never even heard them, but Coil and Stager are first on my list once I get done with all the mics I’ve been having built for the last few years! It doesn’t help that I’ve gotten sidetracked way too many times with less costly toys here and there that are way too much when adding them up!
Old 10th April 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Ready to fill the last two slots in my PS6 and will start a second PS6.

I have run 2 286s and 2 70s for a year and still get excited finding just the right settings for any source.

Negative Feedback gives a lot of options and the 286 ups the options with transformer swaps.

My favorite for most vocals is 286 110 in and 40HN out, NF to taste.

On instruments, I almost always prefer the 70.

Lots of nice sounds on acoustic guitar with a spaced pair, 70 left, 286 right.
Old 10th April 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
Ready to fill the last two slots in my PS6 and will start a second PS6.

I have run 2 286s and 2 70s for a year and still get excited finding just the right settings for any source.

Negative Feedback gives a lot of options and the 286 ups the options with transformer swaps.

My favorite for most vocals is 286 110 in and 40HN out, NF to taste.

On instruments, I almost always prefer the 70.

Lots of nice sounds on acoustic guitar with a spaced pair, 70 left, 286 right.
I am so jealous. I have a double pair of the old style CA-70 I got lucky in Europe with. I'm planning on getting my first PS6 with anther 4 70's and 2 286's.
Even on the Zen clipilator they slay the competition some of which costs way more.
Old 10th April 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

these are the bomb
Old 10th April 2019
  #6
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I have a rack with 4 70’s and 2 286’s.
The best.
The coil gang came over with the rack to demo and first thing compared to my vintage 1084’s
They were laughing at my response.
Omg.
Old 10th April 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

My only problem with my single Coil CA-70 is I don't have 7 more.
Old 10th April 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I have a rack with 4 70’s and 2 286’s.
The best.
The coil gang came over with the rack to demo and first thing compared to my vintage 1084’s
They were laughing at my response.
Omg.
Ha Ha. I hardly ever use Neve pre's these days. Mostly tube.
I wanted all 70's but felt I should mix it up a little, to later find that it's the most common choice. I.Can't.Wait.
Old 10th April 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Ha Ha. I hardly ever use Neve pre's these days. Mostly tube.
I wanted all 70's but felt I should mix it up a little, to later find that it's the most common choice. I.Can't.Wait.
I’d be happy with all tube chains too.
The neve stuff does cover a certain thing though.recently had to punch in on some vx recorded elsewhere(vintage neve console)
The 286’s are great.
A little more sparkle.but still have that large footprint.
Old 10th April 2019
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I’d be happy with all tube chains too.
The neve stuff does cover a certain thing though.recently had to punch in on some vx recorded elsewhere(vintage neve console)
The 286’s are great.
A little more sparkle.but still have that large footprint.
What a footprint. 70's Kicks are like Hip Hop with an octave below.
Old 10th April 2019
  #11
Gear Addict
 
daaronhoffman's Avatar
If you only could get one for vocal/acoustic guitar work...which would you choose?
Old 10th April 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daaronhoffman View Post
If you only could get one for vocal/acoustic guitar work...which would you choose?
I can't speak to the 286s as I've not heard it, but I adore the CA-70. I do a lot of single mic demo stuff as I'm working songs up and it shines with a big ribbon about 3 feet away at mouth level. On vocal alone, I has loved every mic I've put in front of it and the NFB circuit gives you some leeway in how heavy you want the sound to be. Most of the acoustics I've done for this latest project I've used the Metric Halo ULN8 pres as the sound needs to sit way back in a mix and be the kind of sound that's only heard when it's not there. When I auditioned the Ca-70 for those songs it was to huge and fat and euphonic and wanted to be upfront or not at all. However, I'm wrapping up overdubs for those drum and band songs and moving into just vocal/guitar/violin/piano for the next batch and am really stoked as the guitar needs to be huge and seductive and I'm pretty sure the Ca-70 will give me all that.

For all the other overdubs I've done on this project - electric guitar, violin, re-amping bass, BGV, the Ca-70 has been fantastic. Kills on bass. Dialing in some NFB on violin makes it settle right down and sit with everything else.

On vocals, lately I've been using a Beesneez T3 (as my fave mic for this stuff was in repair hell, but soon to be, shall we say, raptured and back in my hands) into a cranked RCA BA31a into the line in of the Coil and it just sounds amazing. Straight in with an AEA44 with the NFB wide open sounds amazing. I can't wait to get my Horch back as I know it will make me sh!t my pants.

But, um, you probably can't go wrong with either!
Old 11th April 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
I can't wait to get my Horch back as I know it will make me sh!t my pants.

But, um, you probably can't go wrong with either!
So you usually record with a Horch? I'll have to try pairing those as the Horch is one of my favourite microphones. I haven't heard a Neumann soundalike come close.
Old 11th April 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
So you usually record with a Horch? I'll have to try pairing those as the Horch is one of my favourite microphones. I haven't heard a Neumann soundalike come close.
Sort of...no. I bought the Horch looking for a 47/49sh feel after going through a lot of cheaper alternatives. Had it for a couple weeks and really loved it, but it was a few months before I got the CA-70. The Horch was the initial run with a noisy soldered in minitube (I knew this when I bought it, but the mod to the 6AK7 look pretty straight forward and it was the reason it was priced low.)

Anyway, sent it to a mic guy in Nashville who totally dropped the ball, finally had a local contact go over and rescue it and in now it's in someone elses capable hands and should be back in the next week.

I guess the slver lining is I really got a feel over those 5 months (!) of how to use the CA-70 and I'm pretty confident the combo is going to give me the sound I hear in my head.
Old 11th April 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
Sort of...no. I bought the Horch looking for a 47/49sh feel after going through a lot of cheaper alternatives. Had it for a couple weeks and really loved it, but it was a few months before I got the CA-70. The Horch was the initial run with a noisy soldered in minitube (I knew this when I bought it, but the mod to the 6AK7 look pretty straight forward and it was the reason it was priced low.)

Anyway, sent it to a mic guy in Nashville who totally dropped the ball, finally had a local contact go over and rescue it and in now it's in someone elses capable hands and should be back in the next week.

I guess the slver lining is I really got a feel over those 5 months (!) of how to use the CA-70 and I'm pretty confident the combo is going to give me the sound I hear in my head.
That's a bitter sweet tale. I have the mk2 which has no end of soviet mini tubes, Philips and Mullards that just pop in and if you want the original MK1 sound there is a jumper, which is cool. I was heartbroken after selling the greatest U47 for legal fees but the Horch has the depth and clarity of my late KK47 perfect V14M U47. Win/Win. It's good these things work out.
Old 11th April 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
My favourite and fattest tube pre amps are made by Coil. I just wondered why people don't rave about them more.
I've never heard drums sound they way they do through Coil's. Bass drums induce earthquakes with their beefiness.
If your in the U.S. they are such better value than many lesser varieties that sound weak by comparison. The CA-70's will be buried with me.
+1. My pair of CA-70's get used everywhere. First choice on electric guitars. Take it to every session I can.

For mixing I have it on a slot of my Dangerous Liaison and most mixes go through it. Usually followed by the BAX and RND MBP.
Old 11th April 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattct View Post
+1. My pair of CA-70's get used everywhere. First choice on electric guitars. Take it to every session I can.

For mixing I have it on a slot of my Dangerous Liaison and most mixes go through it. Usually followed by the BAX and RND MBP.
Ooh mixing. Must try that. How do you pad them down?
Old 12th April 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Ooh mixing. Must try that. How do you pad them down?
Nothing fancy, I have the old 2 channel (3RU) version w the CA-70 and it has a Line setting. I thought they all had that. I typically am pulling back the output to about 50-60%.

I can't stand trite audio words, but glue is the best word I can come up with.
Old 12th April 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattct View Post
Nothing fancy, I have the old 2 channel (3RU) version w the CA-70 and it has a Line setting. I thought they all had that. I typically am pulling back the output to about 50-60%.

I can't stand trite audio words, but glue is the best word I can come up with.
The single version has the line/mic switch on the front also. One (of many many many) reasons I want a pair is to also use them on final mix/masters.
Old 12th April 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
I currently run 16 channels of vintage tube preamps... they are truly my favorite sounding preamps. I have 8 channels of various vintage SS preamps as well. All are very useful... love the old iron as well.

There is something about recording acoustic based instruments, like drums (and vocals, upright bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, etc...) that work so much better with tubes. Something about the harmonic overtones that just work in a natural sense to our ears. Hard to describe but easy to hear.

Once you go valve, you never go back... lol

Coil is some of the best I’ve seen, haven’t had the pleasure to hear them yet but judging by the people giving them high praise I don’t think you could go wrong.
Old 14th April 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
I currently run 16 channels of vintage tube preamps... they are truly my favorite sounding preamps. I have 8 channels of various vintage SS preamps as well. All are very useful... love the old iron as well.

There is something about recording acoustic based instruments, like drums (and vocals, upright bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, etc...) that work so much better with tubes. Something about the harmonic overtones that just work in a natural sense to our ears. Hard to describe but easy to hear.

Once you go valve, you never go back... lol

Coil is some of the best I’ve seen, haven’t had the pleasure to hear them yet but judging by the people giving them high praise I don’t think you could go wrong.
I think you'd be right. It has the largesse modern tastes need but also the sparse gift of an old timeless feel. Love the big chunky design too.
Old 14th April 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Through my own error, twice now, I have found something interesting with Coil.

I accidentally left a Pueblo Audio P4 Phantom connected, but not switched on, between mic and Coil. The mics, a Beyer M160 a few weeks or so back and Chandler TG mic today, sounded fantastic.

Once I recalled that I had left the phantom circuit inline, I immediately took it out of the circuit.

Expecting an improvement, I was surprised to hear neither mic sounded as good without the P4 Phantom circuit in place.

I contacted Scott from Pueblo, asked about impedance, and he pointed out Coil Impedance is 150 which is quite low. He has a theory that the P4 circuit resolved the mismatch; both mics are 200 and the Coil 150.

All I know is that the P4 circuit really changes the mic voicing, for the better.

Ran a few searches and am finding interesting impedance differences among top shelf preamps:

Impedance:

TG Mic 200

Coil 150

REDD Preamp 200
TG Cassette 300

Pueblo 3000

Mercury 2000

D.W. Fearn 150
Old 14th April 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
Coil Impedance is 150 which is quite low.
It isn't 150. It's a bridging input Z, transformer secondary to grid with no secondary load resistance. It's DESIGNED for a 150 ohm source. Very common interpretive mistake to make.
Old 14th April 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Thank you Doug, no argument from me however the Coil website specs call out 150 mic. Perhaps other brand preamp specs are also publishing partial data.

Specifications
CA-70 Amplifier:
Two-stage 6J7/6C5 vacuum tube circuit
Negative Feedback tone adjustment with HIGH/LOW filters
42db-54db of available gain
Flexible input pad section for mic or line level operation
150 Ohm Mic, 20k Line input, 600 Ohm output
Interchangeable/Optional input and output transformers
NOS tubes, signal caps & resistors, PEC 2W carbon pots
Up to Six CA Series Amplifiers mount into our PS6 Rack
Hand Built and Tested in the USA

Nevertheless, the theory was in response to my own listening dozens of times for each error I made in leaving the P4 in the circuit but not turned on.

I am hearing an excellent difference in the sound with P4 circuit in and interested in the why. When I heard this with the 160, I chalked it up to being something specific to the mic. (and ordered a second 160 as now, with the P4 in circuit, it is transformed to an excellent vocal mic for me). When I made the same error with the TG Mic (left the P4 circuit in with phantom off) and noticed the same excellent difference (when I “corrected” the error, the excellent TG Mic sound changed very noticeably) , I was intrigued enough to post my experience. OT: I am really enjoying the TG mic with Coil preamps whether P4 is in, or out, of circuit, merely noting the difference.

When I have vocalists in next Saturday I will ask if they will humor me and record examples of each I can post. If we are able to do this, they will be separate takes. Not ideal for comparison but I am a strong believer that mic voicing affects performance.

This GS thread and post aligns with Scott's best guess when I requested an explanation based on his Pueblo P4 design:

Mic/preamp impedance matching

"And all this is before we even consider the effects of the mic pre input. Most modern mic pres are electronically balanced so as long as the phantom power blocking caps are large enough in value, the input impedance across the audio spectrum will be almost a flat line. In other words they are source agnostic. Transformer input mic pres on the other hand have the flattest response when fed from a specific source impedance (Typically 150 ohms these days). If fed from a lower source impedance they also exhibit a rising response at the top end of the audio spectrum. So combine any low impedance source like an electronically balanced output condenser with a transformer input mic pre and you either get air or shrillness depending on if you like the result or not."

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
It isn't 150. It's a bridging input Z, transformer secondary to grid with no secondary load resistance. It's DESIGNED for a 150 ohm source. Very common interpretive mistake to make.

Last edited by StevenLMorgan; 14th April 2019 at 12:28 PM..
Old 14th April 2019
  #25
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
Thank you Doug, no argument from me however the Coil website specs call out 150 mic. Perhaps other brand preamp specs are also publishing partial data.

Specifications
CA-70 Amplifier:
150 Ohm Mic, 20k Line input, 600 Ohm output
Read it differently: Source is expected to be a 150Ω mic, which is a typical average value. It does not say the input is 150Ω.

An accurate spec with a transformer input would require a graph charting input impedance deviation with response to frequency, as it will be a curve. Lots of vintage circuits like this have extremely high input Z at mid frequencies and extremely low impedance near the cutoff frequencies. So it may be 150Ω at 50Hz and 17kHz, and 25KΩ at 5kHz. You cannot compare published specs with a transformerless amplifier at all, without having the test equipment to produce the chart.
Old 15th April 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 

If a mic isn't the expected 150, in your experience, is the sound impacted?

Limited to my specific tests with the 160 and TG, which are both 200, to my ears, the sound is different when the P4 precedes the Coil.

The current consideration is blocking caps are mitigating an impedance mismatch.

I couldn't be happier with Coil preamps and expect their own phantom circuit will also yield the difference I am hearing from the P4. I'll get one of the Coil phantom units to check out.

Regarding Coil, I am also beginning to think through 2019/2020 priorities to allow for some of the new gear they are designing. The passive LCR mention has re-prioritized my gear budgeting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
Read it differently: Source is expected to be a 150Ω mic, which is a typical average value. It does not say the input is 150Ω.

An accurate spec with a transformer input would require a graph charting input impedance deviation with response to frequency, as it will be a curve. Lots of vintage circuits like this have extremely high input Z at mid frequencies and extremely low impedance near the cutoff frequencies. So it may be 150Ω at 50Hz and 17kHz, and 25KΩ at 5kHz. You cannot compare published specs with a transformerless amplifier at all, without having the test equipment to produce the chart.
Old 15th April 2019
  #27
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roger's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
Read it differently: Source is expected to be a 150Ω mic, which is a typical average value. It does not say the input is 150Ω.

An accurate spec with a transformer input would require a graph charting input impedance deviation with response to frequency, as it will be a curve. Lots of vintage circuits like this have extremely high input Z at mid frequencies and extremely low impedance near the cutoff frequencies. So it may be 150Ω at 50Hz and 17kHz, and 25KΩ at 5kHz. You cannot compare published specs with a transformerless amplifier at all, without having the test equipment to produce the chart.
Doug, you helped me discover the sonic joys of UTC iron & octal valves (RCA etc). All I can say is thank you!
Simple circuits but bravo Coil for bringing them to market. I’ve no doubt they sound beautiful. I’m drunk in Valencia and felt compelled to give Doug some props. Carry on.
Old 15th April 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 
myles's Avatar
 

I have a set of five of the original Gates SA-70 channels the Coils were based on (at least I think that's the case). They're soooo nice. I don't get to have the two different versions, though... or the negative feedback control... Maybe sometime.
Old 15th April 2019
  #29
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I used a 47 through 286 on vocals this week.sounded perfect.
The 70 was a little too dark for this particular singer.
Old 17th April 2019
  #30
The great thing about the new Fet TG self powered Chandler mic is that Coil's will work immediately!
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