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Germanium Vs UA LA-610
Old 4th April 2006
  #1
Germanium Vs UA LA-610

Hi ,

this is my first post on gearslutz, but im a long time lurker, please forgive this 'vs' thread, but ive been saving for a mic pre /di for ages(I currently use the pre and DIs on my mackie ONYX mixer -which btw are good, but very clean)
Im looking for something to give a bigger, more vinatge sound to vocals, guitars and various di'd synths and drum machines.

Ive been pretty set on the ua la610, as it seems like a good pre and throws in a good compresssor too. but the germanium looks damn fine, a nice vintagey sound, but obvously no compressor.
I will be tracking everything thru which ever box i buy, and i can only afford one or the other. If i buy the germ, it will leave no cash for a compressor.
I get the 610, i get both.

The most important factor i guess is how the tracks will stack up.


many thanks for your help on this,

mavertron
Old 4th April 2006
  #2
LA610 sucks

Please take this for what it's worth and no more... it's just one person's opinion, but:

The UA LA610 sucks. I bought one just as they came out, and I never got a good sound out of it. The preamp is poor, and the optical compressor is nothing compared to a real LA2A-type compressor. I more recently spent $250 and bought an ART PRO VLA compressor, which is 2 channels of optical compression and a tube gain stage, switched the tubes out w/a pair of GE NOS tubes, and it works beautifully. Not the world's greatest compressor by any means, but it does an admirable job and doesn't screw up your signal path.

I have 2 Germanium preamps on the way, and will give you my impressions of how they behave with the PRO VLA, and other comps, when I've had a chance to do some tests.

If anyone has had better luck with the LA610, please say so, but I think a Germanium + any compressor in the known universe would have to be a far better choice than the LA610 (IMHO).

Allan
Old 4th April 2006
  #3
BTW

By the way,

If you can find a used M-Audio TAMPA (not a high-end piece by any stretch) for ~$300, you'll probably get a great bang-for-buck experience. It's really not a bad preamp at all, has a nice optical compressor, and also has a decent digital out.

Allan
Old 4th April 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 
AtlantaPowerPop's Avatar
 

Well, you could have bought the Germanium at the introductory price and sold it for what you paid, if not more...but it's too late for that now. The thing is, you stand the chance of not being happy with any purchase, unless you try it out. The Germanium at the introductory price would have you given you a risk-free way of checking it out. Anyway, if you just had to have a compressory, which I'd sure want, I'd buy something cheaper than the $1,200 Germ. For the same price, you could get a Chameleon Labs 7602, and have money left over for a compressor. I have the Drawmer DL 241, and these can be had for $400 or so on Ebay, used. It would be a great combination. I have them both and I love them. Guitar Center carries the 7602, so take in your mic and try it out. You also get an awesome eq with it. Of course, I ordered a Germanium and am waiting on it to arrive....
Old 4th April 2006
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I totally disagree with the comment of the LA-610 sucks!

I swapped the tubes in mine for telefunken tubes from Brent Jesse and it sound great! The key hear is that it sounds great on what it sounds great on. It is definately not a "track everything" kind of mic pre. The compressor is more than decent and will do a more than decent job as a bass DI. I have had great success tracking bass guitars. I am the first one to tell you that this mic pre will sound awsome on some apps. and sound just as horibble on others. I would not dare to stack more that 6 channels of this monster in any mix because it is a very coloured and fat sounding pre.
I suggest that i you want something fat then get th UA LA-610 and use your clean onyx pres for the rest of your tracking.

I have an ISA 220, trident s20 x2, telefunken v-672 x2, and an art VLA pro along with my LA-610. I just pick and choose when to use it.
Javier
Old 4th April 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 
chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Could not agree more...

TRUST ME ON THIS ONE...the LA-610 blows on just about everything except for Vocals.

I own two Chandler Germaniums and a Great River ME-1NV...both options would be far superior to the LA-610 in my opinion. The LA-610 was my first nice preamp and I struggled with it for a few months before I sold it off for my Great River.

Regarding the compressor, the FMR RNC 1773 sounds great, is infinitely more flexible, and can be had for about $175 for 2 channels. You can patch it into the ME-1NV or better yet, get the FMR RNLA compressor with the balanced outs and run it after the Chandler.

Back away slowly from the LA-610 with your hands up...
Old 4th April 2006
  #7
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
If I had to choose..I'd go with the Germ ,then start saving for a purple audio MC77..
then eventually get a decent EQ..that combo will do ya very well.
Yes, I have a Germ alongside vintage Neves,dakings,ETC,ETC.. and for the Vintage vibe, it's great..
The LA610 i'd pass on completely,the pre is alright..nothing great....Ive used the original UA console tube pre's and the reissues didn't do it for me..and the comp is plain
Old 4th April 2006
  #8
Thanks for your replies

Hi there,

thanks for your replies, ive really been put off the la-610 now as my only strip,
im sure its great for certain things, but i pretty much want something i can track everything thru, and get varied sounds from.
these arent the first bad reviews ive read of it, it would be great if i could try them out, but im in the uk and this doesnt seem as easy here (no mercenary!)
Im thinking that a germanium and the fmr levelling amp would be a good vintage style combo, and this comes in on budget.
Has anyone used the levelling amp ? does it add much to the sound ?

Has anyone tried tracking everything thru a germanium, for example
drum machine / bass / guitar/ synths /vocals

my recordings sound ok at the moment, i just want something to take them to the next 'level'

many thanks,

mavertron.
Old 5th April 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Pohaku's Avatar
 

Just be aware that the RNC and the RNLA are stereo units, but not dual mono units. They will not provide you with 2 independent channels of compression.
Old 5th April 2006
  #10
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uptheoctave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pohaku
Just be aware that the RNC and the RNLA are stereo units, but not dual mono units. They will not provide you with 2 independent channels of compression.
Yup- but at the price they go for you can easily afford to buy two of them.
I've had my RNLA for a month or so now- I bought it on a whim and it is just great.
Best $200 I've spent in years.
Old 5th April 2006
  #11
RNC/RNLA

I second the recommendation of the RNC. It's a very (really) nice piece. I've never tried the RNLA, but I hear good things.

Point well made a few posts back re: the LA610 with better tubes, but for a single preamp/comp at $1400... Come on, UA! Put some decent parts in the mofo!

Wasn't worth my $$$.
Old 5th April 2006
  #12
Gear Nut
 

My LA-610 sounds great, and that's with the stock tubes no less?

It's my guess that most people hit the input too hard, get distortion and end up trashing the LA-610 when all they need to do is be careful of their levels (operator error in other words).

If you're careful with the levels the LA-610 can be very clean and detailed, though it is always slow and colored etc (in a good tubey way of course).

I have one in my home studio and I use it every day on vox, bass, and gtr's mostly, and I've never been disappointed.

As for the Comp side, it's fabulous at 2-3 db max GR, but a bit flat if you smash things more than that etc.

The EQ is very smooth and musical as well...

Doug



Quote:
Originally Posted by conguero
I totally disagree with the comment of the LA-610 sucks!

I swapped the tubes in mine for telefunken tubes from Brent Jesse and it sound great! The key hear is that it sounds great on what it sounds great on. It is definately not a "track everything" kind of mic pre. The compressor is more than decent and will do a more than decent job as a bass DI. I have had great success tracking bass guitars. I am the first one to tell you that this mic pre will sound awsome on some apps. and sound just as horibble on others. I would not dare to stack more that 6 channels of this monster in any mix because it is a very coloured and fat sounding pre.
I suggest that i you want something fat then get th UA LA-610 and use your clean onyx pres for the rest of your tracking.

I have an ISA 220, trident s20 x2, telefunken v-672 x2, and an art VLA pro along with my LA-610. I just pick and choose when to use it.
Javier
Old 5th April 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

GERMANIUM

I bought one at the intro price...I wish I had 8 of them~!
Old 5th April 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djdayson
My LA-610 sounds great, and that's with the stock tubes no less?

It's my guess that most people hit the input too hard, get distortion and end up trashing the LA-610 when all they need to do is be careful of their levels (operator error in other words).

If you're careful with the levels the LA-610 can be very clean and detailed, though it is always slow and colored etc (in a good tubey way of course).

I have one in my home studio and I use it every day on vox, bass, and gtr's mostly, and I've never been disappointed.

As for the Comp side, it's fabulous at 2-3 db max GR, but a bit flat if you smash things more than that etc.

The EQ is very smooth and musical as well...

Doug
That's the difference with the Germ and LA-610, the harder you hit the gain the better it sounds. The LA-610 is a no contest up against the GERMANIUM, the 610 pre can get pretty nasty when you drive the input stage. You really don't have to drive it too hard before it gets too ugly.

Nick
Old 5th April 2006
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdayson
... all they need to do is be careful of their levels (operator error in other words)..Doug
I wouldn't call it operator error, thank you very much. I just think a piece of gear should be less finicky than the LA610, plain and simple. I was perfectly capable of getting a clean sound out of it, but that sound really just sat there. And stacking multiple vocal takes in to a mix was a near disaster.

I'm glad you like using the LA610, don't get me wrong.

Best Wishes,

Allan
Old 5th April 2006
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Well, the LA-610 is a "color" box, and as such has some uses it's better suited for than others (solo inst's and vox vs stacking stuff etc). You'll find the same problem stacking stuff with a Neve 1073.

It's certainly not the perfect piece for everything, but it's very good at what it does (which is good old fashioned vintage tubey goodness).

Regards...

Doug


Quote:
Originally Posted by allanploth
I wouldn't call it operator error, thank you very much. I just think a piece of gear should be less finicky than the LA610, plain and simple. I was perfectly capable of getting a clean sound out of it, but that sound really just sat there. And stacking multiple vocal takes in to a mix was a near disaster.

I'm glad you like using the LA610, don't get me wrong.

Best Wishes,

Allan
Old 5th April 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdayson
Well, the LA-610 is a "color" box, and as such has some uses it's better suited for than others (solo inst's and vox vs stacking stuff etc). You'll find the same problem stacking stuff with a Neve 1073.

It's certainly not the perfect piece for everything, but it's very good at what it does (which is good old fashioned vintage tubey goodness).

Regards...

Doug
I'm not sure I agree here...

Just because a preamp colors the sound, does not necessarily mean it colors it in a good way. Both of the preamps in question are considered colorful, but having owned both I can say, to my ears, the LA-610 did not impart a pleasing coloration. The headroom is atrocious and you can't overdrive it...at all.

I'm also highly skeptical as to the myth that tracking an entire song through a Neve 1073 is problematic. How many famous records were tracked entirely through Neve, or EMI, or API consoles that are considered the benchmark of fidelity even today?

Not to say it isn't true, it's just that I've never seen anyone on this site actually offer up a remotely objective or empirical argument as to why this is the case.
Old 5th April 2006
  #18
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdayson
You'll find the same problem stacking stuff with a Neve 1073.
Not in my experience at all..sounds like the Great River MPNV marketing blurbtutt
Ive tracked/mixed entire records through Neve consoles/10XX modules ..
as were many GREAT records.. recorded through these consoles for 30 plus years
"Stacking" tracks were NEVER a problem..
Now Tracking a whole record with the UA box which in comparison to a good ol classic Neve mic amp is just plain dissapointing...
But Obviously YMMV
Old 5th April 2006
  #19
So do you think the germanium would stack up well, if your recording one trackat a time..i suppose the idea is that im tracking thru a germanium console (sort of) ?

people seem to think the 610 is too muddy / fat / whatever.
what about the germ ?

anyone got any samples of tracking multiple things thru this ?

matt.
Old 6th April 2006
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Booda's Avatar
La-610

Hi,

I think the La-610 is a great sounding pre - easy to use on almost everything.
Vox and Bass sound amazing through this preamp.
For Vox I hit the input very hard and thus get it to sound wonderfully tubey warm.

No bad distortion at all!

Cheers!
Booda
Old 6th April 2006
  #21
11413
Guest
if I was forced to have 1 high end box to run everything thru I can think of none better than the Germanium... to me it's the Holy Grail for breathing life into digital.

Old 6th April 2006
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Just to chime in on the UA LA610. I also was not a fan of the 610 pre, but for the heck of it, I tried the LA610. It has not left my studio ever since. You had to replace the stock tubes, but man.... it really does justice in several applications. I have been around a TON of high end gear, and own quite a bit as well, and I must say that the LA610 is a worthy piece.... that is.... when you replace the tubes!
Old 7th April 2006
  #23
confused

well it seems now im horribly confused..

my choices are la-610
or germ and art pro vla compressor.

ive no idea any more.
but i reckon either will be nicer than what ive got (nothing)

so i might just flip a coin and be done.

thanks for everyone who chipped in so far..
seems that people are real divided on the la-610.

mavertron
Old 7th April 2006
  #24
7om
Gear Maniac
 
7om's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mavertron
i might just flip a coin and be done.
Put them all on a credit card and return the ones you don't want to keep.
Old 7th April 2006
  #25
Rep
Lives for gear
 
Rep's Avatar
I was not Impressed with the LA-610 , I think the germ are here to stay though ...
Old 7th April 2006
  #26
Rep
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Rep's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7om
Put them all on a credit card and return the ones you don't want to keep.
Yes ... a good dealer will let you place them on order / try / and keep the one that works for you ...
Old 7th April 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep
Yes ... a good dealer will let you place them on order / try / and keep the one that works for you ...

Did you get yours? How do you like it?
Old 7th April 2006
  #28
7om
Gear Maniac
 
7om's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep
Yes ... a good dealer will let you place them on order / try / and keep the one that works for you ...
It only makes sense. Last time I ordered 2 items to A/B, I ended up keeping both.
Old 7th April 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 

When you try out some of these pres, comps what ever, record the demos so you can reference them on playback. All sounds different after a few listens and then you can make a good comparison with the equipment you want to buy (or not).
But really man get the GERMANIUM....you won't regret it, and if you don't like it you can sell it to some here on SLUTZ. Try selling the LA-610....good luck.


Nick
Old 7th April 2006
  #30
Rep
Lives for gear
 
Rep's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm
Did you get yours? How do you like it?

"think the germ are here to stay though"
...... tomorrow i think , just heaing your diffarance I ordered More !!
Got to get them busses covered !
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