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Ranking Tube Preamps Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 6th July 2011
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
Hi Everyone. I think this is actually my first post to Gearslutz! Nice to see the same familiar "faces" from the other forums.

Actually, I'd put my old tube pres up against anything out there. The result? Different. RCA Ba-21's, Altec 458's, Langevins and say a BA6C all sound really funky and cool in their own way -like old guitar amps. For the most part they do not have that really crisp high end that everyone thinks they want but then complain about later when their digital tracks sound too shrill. They definitely give you a thick tubey middle. These units are one trick ponies so when you put something through them it either sounds great and suddenly your that cool hip guy with the esoteric gear or you just crash and burn.

I just recorded a female rock vocal with Mike and we initially put the girl through a BA6C using it as a mic pre and compressor on the way to Pro Tools. The mic was a Soundeluxe U99. We then tried a Langevin AM16 solid state pre moded for a more extended frequency response through a DBX 160. The differences were night and day but ultimately because the melody was quick and percussive we liked the bite of the AM16 over the big warm tubiness of the BA6C. Were it a slower song we'd have used the BA6C. Everything has it's purpose. Once you've got some standby's like a Neve or whatever then it's fun to go for the fringe.


AM16s are cool very similar to the solids state altec 9475a i hear. and the 9470a. i also heard the mm201 edyne/langevin was similar to the 116/117 funny.
Old 26th July 2011
Gear Addict

Old 26th July 2011
Lives for gear

v72, v76, lorenz or wsw to me. those reperesent the high peak in tube audio engineering and i doubt that any other piece of gear will ever reach that kind of level. any "boutique" tube preamp i saw was build like a joke compared to those. we all use them although they are more than 60 yearsof age. i'll take them over any manley, thermionic, dw fearn etc...(those are still great...just not the same level to me)
Old 24th January 2014
Lives for gear

Soooo true!

Of modern stuff only Thermionic Culture : THE EARLYBIRD raised my eyebrow...
Old 26th April 2014
Gear Maniac
ztjangle's Avatar
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
v72, v76, lorenz or wsw to me. those reperesent the high peak in tube audio engineering and i doubt that any other piece of gear will ever reach that kind of level. any "boutique" tube preamp i saw was build like a joke compared to those.
Maybe you should chose your words in a slightly more open fashion. As is, it reminds me of the inquisition court that Galileo was tried at.
You would have to have tried ALL of the preamps available worldwide.
Old 27th April 2014
Gear Nut
Adkins's Avatar
Wow factor

To me, a recent production tube preamp that really brought that Wow factor into my working, has been the QES Labs SMP-2 stereo preamp.
What I first loved about this unit is it's incredible low-noise operation.
Man, this unit is dead quiet for a tube gear.
Paired with DPA or Schoeps microphones, the sound is rich and full of details.
Some time ago I posted a review.

Don't get me wrong, I love the V72/76 stuff, but noise floor is too high for my tastes.
Simply the CMC6 / SMP-2 pair was a lot more refined and detailed in the recordings.
Old 27th April 2014
Lives for gear
Piedpiper's Avatar
Agreed... The comparison I heard was impressive... made the Fearn sound veiled...
Old 28th April 2014
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