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Transformer sounds Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 26th March 2010
  #1
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VT-MHE's Avatar
Transformer sounds

Hey there gang I wanted to hear some your thoughts on this
Now in most cases we know that the sound of a transformer in some cases can vary depending on what circuit its in. But the transformer alone has a sound without any circuit. So my question is, is what tranny will give you what sound? For example how would you describe the tone, qualities and characteristic that a specific transformer yields? Which tranny gives you warm fat but clear sound? Which one gives you adark sound? Which gives you a dirty gritty sound? Which one or one's would you fill your console with? Let hear your thoughts have at it!
Old 27th March 2010
  #2
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Listen hear to the different sounds. The st. Ives IRON is a neve sound, the STEEL is an API sound, the nickel is a more common sound!!

Shadow Hills Equinox Audio Samples | VintageKing.com
Old 27th March 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-MHE View Post
Hey there gang I wanted to hear some your thoughts on this
Now in most cases we know that the sound of a transformer in some cases can vary depending on what circuit its in. But the transformer alone has a sound without any circuit. So my question is, is what tranny will give you what sound? For example how would you describe the tone, qualities and characteristic that a specific transformer yields? Which tranny gives you warm fat but clear sound? Which one gives you adark sound? Which gives you a dirty gritty sound? Which one or one's would you fill your console with? Let hear your thoughts have at it!
sheen, color, texture, fatness

what is the neve saying? 'The sound is isn the iron'?

some people like transformer-less? I think clean is cool
but transformer distortion or whatever is cooler
Old 27th March 2010
  #4
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-MHE View Post
Which gives you a dirty gritty sound?

Beyer peanuts from the 70's, the king of dirt!


Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-MHE View Post
Which one or one's would you fill your console with?

Marinair or UTC.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 27th March 2010
  #5
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VT-MHE's Avatar
Gregory Scott! The legend! Are those some of your favorite trannies?
Old 27th March 2010
  #6
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Nice article on just this idea in the latest Tape Op.



Cheers.

Old 27th March 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
Listen hear to the different sounds. The st. Ives IRON is a neve sound, the STEEL is an API sound, the nickel is a more common sound!!

Shadow Hills Equinox Audio Samples | VintageKing.com
I find that I use Nickel a lot on my SHMC on the main SSL buss. Good stuff! heh
Old 27th March 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
I find that I use Nickel a lot on my SHMC on the main SSL buss. Good stuff! heh
I have a hard time moving away from Nickel as well on my SHMC.
Old 27th March 2010
  #9
Old 27th March 2010
  #10
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foldback's Avatar
The API output transformers are silicon steel and they definitely color the sound in a unique way.

Transformers made with 80% Nickel have a very clean and smooth frequency response with low distortion, these are the way the finest Jensens are made, not much color.

Transformers can be 50% Nickel mixed with cobalt, has some color but some smoothness and less distortion than silicon steel.

Nickel in the laminations produces a transformer with the lowest distortion at 20Hz. There's a reason API specs are from 30Hz to 20K, the silicon steel distorts more in the 20 to 30 Hz region, that's the hardest area for a transformer to reproduce without distortion.

If you want to experiment with transformer color I'd get an API 2503 (or clone), it's quad filar so you've got several hookup options for tone and level, also they're relatively inexpensive compared to the 80% Nickel which is a very expensive metal these days.

Have fun, happy listening.
Old 27th March 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
@ Sameal

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Old 27th March 2010
  #12
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I haven't heard every transformer. I do know that the Jensen JT115 has a very clean open sound. Captures everything. The Cmmi10c Cinemag is similar but kinda smoother. But both are awesome input transformers. Both have a BIG sound. I like the Cinemag on tube pre's and the Jensen on 2520 style pre's.

I think the input transformer is the most important. Cause everything else is judged after it sound wise. If using an API style pre you need an attenuator of some sort after the out tranny to even overload it at all to see what it sounds like...

I have built some 1176's too and is harder to judge the transformers as a secondary set after the pres.

Anyway just my 2 cents.

John
Old 28th March 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post


Did you have to?
Old 28th March 2010
  #14
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Its funny, everytime I type in "Vintage Transformers" on ebay, I get a bunch of dirty toys!!!!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post
Old 28th March 2010
  #15
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LOL
Old 28th March 2010
  #16
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DONNX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post

Nickel in the laminations produces a transformer with the lowest distortion at 20Hz. There's a reason API specs are from 30Hz to 20K, the silicon steel distorts more in the 20 to 30 Hz region, that's the hardest area for a transformer to reproduce without distortion.

If you want to experiment with transformer color I'd get an API 2503 (or clone), it's quad filar so you've got several hookup options for tone and level, also they're relatively inexpensive compared to the 80% Nickel which is a very expensive metal these days.

Have fun, happy listening.
Do you know what metal type for lamination would give me specs of 5hz to 85khz in a transformer? I have a pair of transformers with those specs. The best I have ever seen. And the best I ever heard.



Quote:
Originally Posted by stagefright13 View Post
I think the input transformer is the most important. Cause everything else is judged after it sound wise. If using an API style pre you need an attenuator of some sort after the out tranny to even overload it at all to see what it sounds like...


John

I can tell you from personal test and experience, that the output transformer has a slight play in the tone of a box. Especially in the low end area. Maybe not the majority. But still influences the overall sound.
Old 28th March 2010
  #17
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Thats what most people dont realize, is the "age" of a tranny that is responsible for a lot of that sound. A neve 8078 sounded very different straight out the factory than it does today!!! A tranny adds distortion, the same way a neve preamp does or any of the vintage products that are re-made today. Eq (even clean ones) is a controlled distortion. The thing that I love about trannies is it takes away the ear fatigue. Transformerless gear (the earth,wind,and fire sound) sounds great right away, but you cant listen to it for very long. Compared to Beatles , Nirvana and so on!!! My goal is to have such great mics with such clarity and presence, then run them through a vintage tranny for the best of both worlds!!!! IMO
Old 28th March 2010
  #18
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Tim Abraham's Avatar
 

Seems to me that as "tubes" were to the 90's, "transformers" are to the 10's. Does it have transformers? Then it must be good.....

(mind you, every pre/eq/comp in my rack has xformers...except for the Hammer)
Old 28th March 2010
  #19
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OF COURSE the output tranny has a sound. I didn't mean to downplay that. But everything after the input is colored by it.

Like I said I don't have every transformer but the Cinemag cmoq2s sound great in my 2520 pres and the Lundahls sound great in my G9 DIY. As outputs. I just feel the steel ones sound better when on the hot side. And the Lundhals sound best at normal voltages.

John
Old 28th March 2010
  #20
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norman_nomad's Avatar
There are a lot of factors that play into the 'sound' of a transformer... the type/s of metals used, the turns ratio, the age, the size, etc...

From experience older transformers do sound slightly different than modern reproductions using the same materials...as strange as this may sound it may have something to do with the purity and quality of the metals being used as well as the manufacturing process...

With modern transformers, cleaner will usually cost you... nickel transformers are fairly transparent up until the saturation point at which they distort rather quickly and sometimes unpleasantly... high quality nickel transformers mate up well with fast discrete opamps like 990's.... and those pairings can be found in some of the more popular 'clean' pres talked about here.

Steel is generally dirtier with a different saturation curve and sound...can be found in API and others...

The best thing to do if you're tinkering with a circuit is to buy a few transformers and experiment... Some modern stuff to check out would be anything by Sowter, Jensen, Cinemag, Lundahl, JLM on the pricier side... OEP, Edcor, Hammond, Altronics on the cheap side (some of these can sound really good!)... and UTC, Peerless, Beyer, Marinair, Haufe for vintage.

Old 28th March 2010
  #21
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Stu Gutz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
Thats what most people dont realize, is the "age" of a tranny that is responsible for a lot of that sound. A neve 8078 sounded very different straight out the factory than it does today!!!
I don't buy that the change in a console's sound over the years is because of a transformer. What exactly would age in a transformer?
Old 28th March 2010
  #22
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STU has a valid point. Why would I want an "Aged" transformer? Realistically aging transformers would mean the insulation is breaking down? Wouldn't you want a new transformer where the thing is new?

Obviously the trannies were new when the famous recordings some people want to replicate were recorded.

John
Old 28th March 2010
  #23
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I'm going to use the original Triad input transformers, but what are some recommendations for 1:1 output transformers for racking up Spectra Sonics 110 cards?
Old 28th March 2010
  #24
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Bubbakron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stagefright13 View Post
STU has a valid point. Why would I want an "Aged" transformer? Realistically aging transformers would mean the insulation is breaking down? Wouldn't you want a new transformer where the thing is new?

Obviously the trannies were new when the famous recordings some people want to replicate were recorded.

John
For the distortion and color!!!! Why dont you try and convince all the Recording Studios with vintage neve boards to switch out with new Jensens!?!?!?!? C what they say!!!
Old 28th March 2010
  #25
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DONNX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Gutz View Post
I don't buy that the change in a console's sound over the years is because of a transformer. What exactly would age in a transformer?

+2. How does a sealed transformer age? Like a peerless or triad gets aged? Anyone who claimed on this post that aging effects the sound quality of metal, please give us some facts, hard evidence that aging effects the sound of metal? If its clean, not corroded or rusted, oxidized, it should sound the same as it did when it was made. Peerless transformers were used by the military and are sealed tight for high attitude requirements. Some are at 70,000ft specs and most are at 10,000 feet altitude. Ala Pultec Eq. Every Marinair neve transformers I own have no sign of corrosion and the output trannies are caked with red candy apple protective goop.

I am not buying that either. I buy alot of vintage transformers. Never had an issue with any of them.

I believe that vintage trannies sound better because the metal was not as recycled as much as the metal we use today. And vintage trannies are composed of materials that won't pass government safety standards anymore. Like mercury, lead, and all the other toxic cancer causing stuff they used back in the days. But it sure sounds good!!! hehthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

My feeling is, You ask for iron today. It isn't as pure as it was back in the 50s thru the 70s for example. Or nickel or steel. Stuff today is just not as pure.
Old 28th March 2010
  #26
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transformers

Not sure about aging but the EPA requires more and more that equipment contain less and less of materials deemed hazardous to the environment. I have many different old trannies in my gear and would have it no other way.
Old 28th March 2010
  #27
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First off, the vintage ones are better just because of the type of "iron" back then was way higher quality!!!! As for aging, this what a top Engineer who builds and designs German Broadcast Consoles told me, take for what its worth!!!
Old 28th March 2010
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-MHE View Post
Did you have to?
well I'm sick today and can't hardly think of anything better unfortunately. it's a great episode! it's the dino-bots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
Its funny, everytime I type in "Vintage Transformers" on ebay, I get a bunch of dirty toys!!!!!
happens everytime. they ought separate them. there really messing with us e-junkies trying to get our smack.
Old 28th March 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post

happens everytime. they ought separate them. there really messing with us e-junkies trying to get our smack.
haahahahaah
Old 28th March 2010
  #30
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antoniosolo's Avatar
 

trannies

Fostex and Tascam transformers are the best, hands down!
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