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Thickest tube preamp among those?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Sybille's Avatar
 

Thickest tube preamp among those?

Hello guys,

I'm a little lost trying to compare the sonic properties of different tube preamps because where I live I can't compare anything.

Could you help me identify among the following tube preamps the ones that sound the thickest/creamiest (more like 60s 'less detailed' bloomy kind of tube sound and less like detailed clean high fi type of tube sound with sheen), something that's soft, velvety, vintage sounding.

(I've already refined the list, so everything that's pretty clean like fearn etc is not here, also some preamps are not tube preamps but they sound like it so I included them)


Uad 610
Vintech 72
TAB v72s
TAB v76
Avedis MA-5
Coil audio ca-70
Drawmer 1960
Chandler germanium
Ampex 350
Ampex 351
Ampex mx 10
GT Vipre
Mercury 72/76
SF Creamer Plus
Rca op 6
RI Powerstrip

Also if you have other suggestions let me know (whether it's old or still manufactured and no matter the price) I'll add to the list, thank you!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
axisdreamer's Avatar
I have had a number of pres over the years but for thickness I use Electrodyne pres...I never tried their 500 series but I would bet they are thick if they are anything like the original pres from their consoles.. they are my go to pres and I have tube and solid state console versions of them..I had a germanium pre, still have numerous api style pres..had ampex 600 series tube pres and a hybrid summit tube pre..

Electrodyne was hands down the thickest of the pres that I have owned..I also use transformer consoles for mixing back through and I know that adds some more weight as well..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

I have a Sebatron VMP-2000evu that I like a ton. At lower gain settings it is quite transparent and has a nice switchable EQ which can add air or fatness. Crank the gain and it gets VERY tubey. Super flexible piece, built like a freaking tank and not crazy $$$.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

vintage mic preamps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
I'm a little lost trying to compare the sonic properties of different tube preamps because where I live I can't compare anything.
there is a way to get an "idea" how some preamps sound.
not a conclusive method but you can observe some of their sonic properties.
do some research and equate preamps with time tested recordings.

first, lets add to your list:
Langevin 5116.
RCA Studio B, Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight",
Jim Reeves "Adios Amigo".
add to that equation the recording device was with some certainty an Ampex 351 type machine. Studio B did have an mono RT-11a.

RCA BA-21a.
Nearly all RCA Living Stereo recordings of the mid to late 1950's.
Including some of those Perry Como vocals,
Boston Pops "Sleigh Ride",
Hugo Winterhalter "Canadian Sunset",
the recording device early on was a RCA RT-11a (some were modified for stereo), later 50's recordings were Ampex 300 (351 type electronics).

Columbia recordings from mid 50's to 1962.
cannot disclose the preamp maker but it wasn't Langevin, and considering how professional Columbia was, it should be easy to figure out the brand.
legendary Miles Davis records, Jerry Vale vocals, Mitch's choir, etc.
Columbia was an Ampex shop, model 300 recorders with 351 type electronics.


Some of the preamps you listed are noisy clones of old solid state circuits.

Lastly,
to get an idea of the sonics of the OP-6, find a announcer radio check of WMGM broadcasting the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
Could you help me identify among the following tube preamps the ones that sound the thickest/creamiest (more like 60s 'less detailed' bloomy kind of tube sound and less like detailed clean high fi type of tube sound with sheen), something that's soft, velvety, vintage sounding.

(I've already refined the list, so everything that's pretty clean like fearn etc is not here, also some preamps are not tube preamps but they sound like it so I included them)


Uad 610
Vintech 72
TAB v72s
TAB v76
Avedis MA-5
Coil audio ca-70
Drawmer 1960
Chandler germanium
Ampex 350
Ampex 351
Ampex mx 10
GT Vipre
Mercury 72/76
SF Creamer Plus
Rca op 6
RI Powerstrip

Also if you have other suggestions let me know (whether it's old or still manufactured and no matter the price) I'll add to the list, thank you!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Sybille's Avatar
 

Thanks guys for sharing your experience.

Is there a way to hear the sound of Electrodyine or sebatron somewhere online ?

On samples or entire songs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
there is a way to get an "idea" how some preamps sound.
Wow thanks a lot.

I listened to everything, the difference is hard to pick in the middle of the whole song but I can get the different feelings, it's subtle though.


Here's what I hear (FWIW) :


Langevin 5116 : Sounds wider than most (like a space is around the sound) and rather bloomy. I like it.

RCA BA-21a : Seems clearer, closer to a modern clean tube sound I would say, more focused and respective of the source and details. Less appealing to me.

Columbia (wasn't it rca/langevin too? Ua maybe?) : Incredible sound, sounds so natural and soft/extremely polished (typical records sound) but while remaining focused, wtf is going on with jerry vale vocals, this is black magic ?!! My favorite of the bunch for sure.

RCA Op-6 : Listening to announcers, the sound is really degraded but it seems to me it sounds a little wider/bloomy but darker than others. Harder to judge based on that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
thismercifulfate's Avatar
I love my MA5’s but they don’t sound even remotely like a tube preamp nor are they particularly thick. I do like them for drums and bass, but moreso for how well they make the low-end sit and are faster than Neves than for any kind of “thickening”. My Neve 1272’s are much thicker and creamier. I find UA 610’s to have a dark thick sound that isn’t versatile but when it works is really brilliant.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Add Locomotive to the list
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Acme Audio MTP 66.

Cheers
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Sybille, could you remind us of your main vocal mic(s)? And a leave at least one
vocal clip for us?
Thanks, Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
lucasanything's Avatar
I'd probably check out the Coil/Gates CA70.

I have some Collins preamps that share their topology with the Langevin 5116. They're not particularly thick. They sound clear and a little round, with a frequency curve that complements dynamic mics brilliantly. Condensers, less so.

Also have some Gates SA preamps from the 1940s. Those are much thicker. A more velvet-y, smokey sound than the Collins.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Skip Burrows's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
Hello guys,

I'm a little lost trying to compare the sonic properties of different tube preamps because where I live I can't compare anything.

Could you help me identify among the following tube preamps the ones that sound the thickest/creamiest (more like 60s 'less detailed' bloomy kind of tube sound and less like detailed clean high fi type of tube sound with sheen), something that's soft, velvety, vintage sounding.

(I've already refined the list, so everything that's pretty clean like fearn etc is not here, also some preamps are not tube preamps but they sound like it so I included them)


Uad 610
Vintech 72
TAB v72s
TAB v76
Avedis MA-5
Coil audio ca-70
Drawmer 1960
Chandler germanium
Ampex 350
Ampex 351
Ampex mx 10
GT Vipre
Mercury 72/76
SF Creamer Plus
Rca op 6
RI Powerstrip

Also if you have other suggestions let me know (whether it's old or still manufactured and no matter the price) I'll add to the list, thank you!
VIPRE. That thing is re-freaking-diculas!
Just a pain to keep working.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
THIS.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
there is a way to get an "idea" how some preamps sound.
not a conclusive method but you can observe some of their sonic properties.
do some research and equate preamps with time tested recordings.

first, lets add to your list:
Langevin 5116.
RCA Studio B, Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight",
Jim Reeves "Adios Amigo".
add to that equation the recording device was with some certainty an Ampex 351 type machine. Studio B did have an mono RT-11a.

RCA BA-21a.
Nearly all RCA Living Stereo recordings of the mid to late 1950's.
Including some of those Perry Como vocals,
Boston Pops "Sleigh Ride",
Hugo Winterhalter "Canadian Sunset",
the recording device early on was a RCA RT-11a (some were modified for stereo), later 50's recordings were Ampex 300 (351 type electronics).

Columbia recordings from mid 50's to 1962.
cannot disclose the preamp maker but it wasn't Langevin, and considering how professional Columbia was, it should be easy to figure out the brand.
legendary Miles Davis records, Jerry Vale vocals, Mitch's choir, etc.
Columbia was an Ampex shop, model 300 recorders with 351 type electronics.


Some of the preamps you listed are noisy clones of old solid state circuits.

Lastly,
to get an idea of the sonics of the OP-6, find a announcer radio check of WMGM broadcasting the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Head
 
Locomotive Audio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Add Locomotive to the list
Hi! The Locomotive 286A is now discontinued and will be replaced by another two channel unit with the exact same circuit design, but with more input options (2 XLRs - Mic and Line level). It will also be designed to make manufacturing a bit less taxing, which will lead you all to enjoy the final cost a bit more as well!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 
Lunar Attic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post


Also if you have other suggestions let me know
Tegeler Audio Manufaktur VTRC (Vari Tube Recording Channel) Best of both worlds analog audio path & digital SC control.

Tube Pre + Pultec style EQ + Mu/Opto Compressor. Handmade in Berlin Germany.

Clean & open if you need it. Full & dense if you want.

TAM will happily send you a unit for a free, two week trial period. Anywhere in France!



(Not cheap but still quite affordable)

T
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Mercury M72 and UA 610.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
Ampex 350
Ampex 351
Ampex mx 10
For Ampex units check out: https://reverb.com/shop/electricandcompany

https://www.electricandcompany.com/pages/ec7-preamp

The EC7 is based off the 351.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Thermionic HG-15 is real lovely, if you can find one.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 
Sybille's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Sybille, could you remind us of your main vocal mic(s)? And a leave at least one
vocal clip for us?
Thanks, Chris

Sorry I'm a little late, been busy lately, my mic is the Ev-2 ribbon microphone and atm I can't post anything because my computer is at the repair shop (tadaaaam Imac for the win), I'm in the process of switching to windows anyways.


On a sidenote, THANKS everyone for the suggestions. Greatly appreciated!
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Sybille's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Thermionic HG-15 is real lovely, if you can find one.
I don't hear much talk about this one, interesting, looks great anyway.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Thermionic definitely makes some of the best gear around IMHO
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Nut
 
peter sikking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
Columbia recordings from mid 50's to 1962.
cannot disclose the preamp maker but it wasn't Langevin, and considering how professional Columbia was, it should be easy to figure out the brand.
somehow the secrecy is making me 40dB more interested in what model
this preamp was. is there is a reason it must remain secret?
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

He could only mean the $69.99 Art Tube MP. The one that aced a Great River, in the infamous GS shootout Thread.
It's "The Pre Which Shant Be Named By Name" in High End.

Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #23
All the research I’ve done into the Columbia console preamps say it was a custom design and it’s a dead end from there. But the magic there was also in the musicians/writers/arrangers/engineers and tape machines too.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Maybe an old Columbian Dealer might know then.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Siemens/Telefunken V72 sounds thick, smooth and vintage to me. They are hi-fi too, but not at all sterile. Anything recorded at Abbey Road before around 1964 would have gone through them as well as V76s.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
AB3
Lives for gear
 

Thickest I have used - and I have tried a ton of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Add Locomotive to the list
Old 1 day ago
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Thickest I have used - and I have tried a ton of them.
I'll second this. The Locomotive 286a, with its output and gain knob, can go from clean and open to thick and syrupy to overdriven tube madness. I was going direct with a p bass today and was able to conjure put some awesome growl. If you read above it looks like there is going to be a different version of the pre released soon. They're great.
Old 1 day ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Thermionic HG-15 is real lovely, if you can find one.
+1

Pre and 1 channel of a Phoenix, it's a great unit.

I've found the Phoenix is not only a fantastic stereo compressor it's also a favourite for tracking bass and vocals.
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