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What's on your master bus? (analog only please)
Old 31st July 2020
  #1201
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
Parenthood is keeping you from trying gear, while trying and buying gear is keeping me from parenthood.
don't let it hold you back too long - it doesn't get any easier the longer you wait


Old 31st July 2020
  #1202
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
They're on sale atm too which is a bonus! Speaking to Dan right now about ordering a couple with the pads.

How do they react when driven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
Talking to Dan about them as well! We're going through the steps for me to order them. I hope they're as good as Bill says. I bet they are as his word is not to be taken lightly. Just what the doctor ordered indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
and as you say, when drBill and Paul both vouch for them you know they're going to be worth it.

I think I'll place them between the Silver Bullet and Zulu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
Heheh, put the blame on drBill!

Hey, hey - HEY!!!! Don't blame me....

I haven't really "driven" them hard. They have tremendous headroom, so you'll probably need something after them to pull the level down to reasonable levels if you want to push them that hard. Maybe a pad that's not as deep a cut instead of what Dan subscribes? Not sure bout that as Dan spent a LONG time designing the pad to get it "just right" - where he's happy with it - but he aims to please so he could probably get you there.

I'd been thinking about the Black Box or other tube device on the bus to try out. My coils are too colored for almost anything on the 2 bus, the WTank 72's worked well and I liked them, but I generally had them working in other areas. And I already had the Zod's - sitting there. Waiting for guitar or Bass overdubs - not getting used every day. One day I was talking with Dan and he mentioned that there's a guy who's essentially built a ZOD console with DI's. I think he has 8+ of them. I mentioned the interfacing issues, and Dan built me some pads, and I dropped them in, and they worked great and brought an extra dimension and complexity to the ambient guitar project I was mixing. Following that, they worked really great on a modular synth project that had a lot of ITB 2 dimensional sounds in it. Win! On to the hybrid orchestral project that I'm mixing now, and they MIGHT be a little too thick. I have to mess with the gain staging a bit to see. So.....what's not to like about that.?!?!?!!!! For me they have been an all around win, and I didn't even have to buy them cause I already had them.

I have used the ZODs in other "non" DI uses before, so I knew they were probably capable, even though not "designed" for 2 bus use. I've used them after microphones, and before mic pre's, as DI's, and inserted in other non traditional spots. Like INSTEAD of a mic pre, before an LA2a and straight to DAW.

They are great sounding boxes. I think you guys will like them. I love supporting guys like Dan and Eric @ Locomotive. Great guys building killer gear with a passion for audio and a respect and helpful attitude for their customers. Both guru's in my mind!
Old 31st July 2020
  #1203
Here for the gear
 

I recently just purchased a ZOD ID DI - Dan Deurloo is an a brilliant designer, but he's also and amazing producer and engineer. I can vouch that he's intimate with how technical aspects of a circuit relates to music, motion and emotion. Needless to say, I am blown away with this box.

The first 5 minutes I had, I ran my Moog through it and my jaw was on the floor. I attached 3 files to hear - Listen to the detail, the clarity, and the bottom end. Just beautiful.

The poly patch is a mono Model D Autosampled and played back poly. No efx. It has so much motion and color.

I bought the ZOD without even hearing it - and it exceeded my expectation.

My only complaint is now I want another - and looking forward to using on my 2 buss.

Highly Recommended. Should be twice the price he's charging!
Attached Files

Moog Filter Sweep.wav (4.07 MB, 2763 views)

Moog Reso Sweeps.wav (10.00 MB, 2789 views)

Polymoog - ZOD.wav (8.49 MB, 2805 views)

Old 31st July 2020
  #1204
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian_Cullen View Post
I recently just purchased a ZOD ID DI - Dan Deurloo is an a brilliant designer, but he's also and amazing producer and engineer. I can vouch that he's intimate with how technical aspects of a circuit relates to music, motion and emotion. Needless to say, I am blown away with this box.

The first 5 minutes I had, I ran my Moog through it and my jaw was on the floor. I attached 3 files to hear - Listen to the detail, the clarity, and the bottom end. Just beautiful.

The poly patch is a mono Model D Autosampled and played back poly. No efx. It has so much motion and color.

I bought the ZOD without even hearing it - and it exceeded my expectation.

My only complaint is now I want another - and looking forward to using on my 2 buss.

Highly Recommended. Should be twice the price she's charging!
Thanks for the info. Those sound great, especially the Poly. The order is in for my pair. Looking forward to getting them in a probably few weeks or so.
Old 31st July 2020
  #1205
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
At this point in time, I'd highly suggest looking into ZOD IDDI's. A strange choice perhaps from first glance, but I've added them after my Silver Bullet, and they have added a luxurious tubey complexity to the sound that I really dig. They are not coming off at this point for anything else that's currently on the market. I think you could get out for somewhere between $1200-1400 or thereabouts, and you'd have a killer set of tube DI's too. You need to ask Dan @ ZOD to make you a pair of input pads, and you're good to go. He has meticulously designed the pads to work with the SB output into the ZOD input.
That is an interesting idea, Bill

I think I’ll try this into the matched tube stuff I have here...
Old 31st July 2020
  #1206
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Kahayan Solid 4000 (rack 1U version) just arrived for mixbus duties, will install and test that this weekend. Liked what I heard of it over in the SB thread.
Definitely write back with your findings! My masterbus at the moment is the Vertigo VSM -> Overstayer MAS. I'm wondering if putting this unit BEFORE the VSM will actually sound good or if it's starting to become too much saturation. Although the MAS is more like tape saturation so in this case I'm wondering if it's more like: Solid 4000 (Console mixbus) -> VSM (Selective saturation, mix comp and EQ) -> MAS (Tape) and might actually work well as it's similar to an old school workflow.

I listened to the youtube examples and thought the Solid 4000 sounded really good but the struggle I'm in at the moment is that I really, really love the color scheme and look of the newer Vintage 80! But I liked the sound of the Solid 4000 better than the Vintage 80 sound which was a bit too thick for me in the youtube videos. But the Vintage 80 lets you take the transformer out of circuit which opened the sound a lot and I'm hoping makes it sound more like the Solid 4000.

Definitely curious about your opinions though - they always seem to be on point.
Old 31st July 2020
  #1207
Gear Maniac
Burl

What level do you have the burl set at on the way back in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnawara View Post
My Updated analog chain for the master bus:
Dangerous Convert-8 and Apollo 8-> Dangerous 2-Bus+ for 16 channels Summing-> Dangerous Liaison as an insert on the 2-Bus+ where i have these gear connected (Manley Massive Passive- SSL XLogic G Compressor- SSL Fusion (with Neve 8803 and Dangerous Compressor as inserts on the Fusion)- Manley Vari MU (with a pair of Warm Audio Pultecs EQPWA)- Dangerous BAX EQ- Maselec MPL-2 Limiter)->Then the processed signal goes back from the 2-Bus+ to Burl B2 ADC-> DAW-> Dangerous Convert-2 as my monitoring DAC
Old 1st August 2020
  #1208
Lives for gear
 

My master buss right now is a Manley Massive Passive going into a DBX 160S hitting only a couple DB of GR. I'd really like a vari mu or one of the SSL flavors to experiment with but so far the DBX seems to be holding the mix together so long as my settings aren't too extreme.

For you high enders out there, would a Manley SLAM be appropriate for after the DBX to really get the volume cranked up for a rock track or should I stick with my plugin limiters?
Old 1st August 2020
  #1209
Here for the gear
 
domycastellano's Avatar
Usually Warm audio Eqps > Tegeler Audio Creme > Ssl Fusion. I'm not necessarily using every part of them though.
Old 1st August 2020
  #1210
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Definitely write back with your findings! My masterbus at the moment is the Vertigo VSM -> Overstayer MAS. I'm wondering if putting this unit BEFORE the VSM will actually sound good or if it's starting to become too much saturation. Although the MAS is more like tape saturation so in this case I'm wondering if it's more like: Solid 4000 (Console mixbus) -> VSM (Selective saturation, mix comp and EQ) -> MAS (Tape) and might actually work well as it's similar to an old school workflow.

I listened to the youtube examples and thought the Solid 4000 sounded really good but the struggle I'm in at the moment is that I really, really love the color scheme and look of the newer Vintage 80! But I liked the sound of the Solid 4000 better than the Vintage 80 sound which was a bit too thick for me in the youtube videos. But the Vintage 80 lets you take the transformer out of circuit which opened the sound a lot and I'm hoping makes it sound more like the Solid 4000.

Definitely curious about your opinions though - they always seem to be on point.
Looks nice in the rack!



Currently testing it on a mix as a separate insert to the other HW so it's easy to toggle on/off, so the chain is:

Silver Bullet -> AudioScape SSL (3dB GR) -> Zulu (hitting at +6VU) -> DAW -> Kahayan 4K (hitting 0VU, drive at +6, 100% wet).

It took me about 10 seconds to decide that I'm keeping it.

As per the examples posted elsewhere (and the Silver Bullet thread), not only is it a glue machine, it's open and wide. I love the saturation it adds, it's a great compliment to the SB and works well with the clean AudioScape SSL. The extra RMS is a nice bonus, on top of what the SB + Zulu both provide.

I have no idea what's going on under the hood to achieve it all, but it's pretty significant, I miss it as soon as it's turned off (level matched). I can get quite close with a plugin chain but the less plugins I need, the happier I am nowadays. A hardware mixbus keeps things consistent, which is becoming more and more important to me. I like to combine that with well coded, clean plugins (Unisum, Weiss, Crave, Magpha etc). All mixing done ITB for this track, with zero saturation plugins running, bar those to specifically distort. I can't post a sample as it's something I plan to release once the vocals are finished. After that I can do so.

FWIW - all I'm using on the mixbus is a clipper—which I'm hitting hard with 5dB max—and getting -9 to -10 LUFS very easily (no limiter needed) and it sounds dynamic and open. OVC128 is damn amazing.

Kahayan 4K > VSM > MAS, I'd imagine, would sound fantastic. Yeah it would make sense to place the VSM post 4K for the granular control of the harmonics. I see why you'd want the blue of the Vintage 80, it would match that GAS inducing Vertigo rig of yours

Perhaps contact them directly and request they swap the faceplate? They look the same structurally, bar the Iron on/off button. Agree that the Solid 4K sounds better than the Vintage 80.

ITB/hybrid peeps - it's negated the need to emulate the console rounding/glue sound. Funny that, considering that's exactly what it's designed for

TL;DR - Solid 4K is a fantastic unit, I'm quite surprised there's not more talk of it around here!
Old 1st August 2020
  #1211
Gear Addict
 
___GLM___'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post

Kahayan 4K > VSM > MAS, I'd imagine, would sound fantastic.

TL;DR - Solid 4K is a fantastic unit, I'm quite surprised there's not more talk of it around here!
I try to decide between MAS and kayahan (80 or 4k). Which one would you get at first and why?
Old 1st August 2020
  #1212
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ___GLM___ View Post
I try to decide between MAS and kayahan (80 or 4k). Which one would you get at first and why?
Hey GLM. I have to mention first that I've not had my hands on a MAS personally—although I keep getting tempted by one—and have only heard what people have run through theirs for me, or examples posted online. Someone who owns the unit will have a much better idea of its full capabilities.

With that in mind, the MAS was more subtle; a finishing touch. 'Sheen' is used a fair bit to describe it and I'd agree. Reminds me in some ways how Weiss gear imparts a polished (albeit different) signature to things. I use EQ-1/DS-1 on every master for that reason.

The Solid is a mojo/glue box that makes things bigger. I would personally prefer to have this before the final touch of the MAS.

If I didn't already have the Zulu I'd be looking to add the MAS at the end of the chain. I still may demo one vs the Zulu to see which one suits me better. But I wouldn't consider replacing the Solid with either. The Solid (sans filters and EQ) is more competitive with the Silver Bullet.

If I had to choose between the Zulu and the Solid, the Solid would stay.
Old 1st August 2020
  #1213
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Looks nice in the rack!


Oh man, that Trinnov is so badass. I've been lusting for one from afar for the longest time. I know it's a bit OT, but I hear such good things about it - I assume it lives up to it?


Quote:
As per the examples posted elsewhere (and the Silver Bullet thread), not only is it a glue machine, it's open and wide. I love the saturation it adds, it's a great compliment to the SB and works well with the clean AudioScape SSL. The extra RMS is a nice bonus, on top of what the SB + Zulu both provide.

I have no idea what's going on under the hood to achieve it all, but it's pretty significant, I miss it as soon as it's turned off (level matched). I can get quite close with a plugin chain but the less plugins I need, the happier I am nowadays. A hardware mixbus keeps things consistent, which is becoming more and more important to me. I like to combine that with well coded, clean plugins (Unisum, Weiss, Crave, Magpha etc). All mixing done ITB for this track, with zero saturation plugins running, bar those to specifically distort. I can't post a sample as it's something I plan to release once the vocals are finished. After that I can do so.
Yeah, I hear you. The thing is, with all these saturators, is that a lot of them the saturation doesn't sound the same. I have the MAS and the black box HG2 and the VSM and none of them are interchangeable with each other. What they do is very distinct to each unit.

The solid 4000 brings a lot of "excitement" to the sound which is what I'm liking. Lol we also think alike - I had thought about reaching out to Kahayan and asking them to sell me a vintage 80 faceplate!

Also agreed about the plugins. I try to treat my computer like a tape machine - the less processing it's doing the happier I am. I just want it to focus on keeping everything in time and not dropping out. It's a big reason why I'm addicted to hardware delays and reverbs - I like being to use long and dense settings and not worrying in the slightest about CPU power.


Quote:
FWIW - all I'm using on the mixbus is a clipper—which I'm hitting hard with 5dB max—and getting -9 to -10 LUFS very easily (no limiter needed) and it sounds dynamic and open. OVC128 is damn amazing.
I haven't heard of this plug - I'm going to check it out!

Quote:
Kahayan 4K > VSM > MAS, I'd imagine, would sound fantastic. Yeah it would make sense to place the VSM post 4K for the granular control of the harmonics. I see why you'd want the blue of the Vintage 80, it would match that GAS inducing Vertigo rig of yours
Lol I'm starting to get addicted to bright colored gear! In the end I'll always go with the one that sounds better but I'll be sad if Kahayan never releases a version of the solid 4000 that's not in the color of the vintage 80, I'll be disappointed!

But yeah, I mean the vintage 80 doesn't sound bad at all - it sounds pretty good doing the sound that it's supposed to be doing but I'm more interested in excitement rather than thickness at the moment.

Quote:
TL;DR - Solid 4K is a fantastic unit, I'm quite surprised there's not more talk of it around here!
Lol I just found out about them very recently myself and I'm surprised. I always joke about how I hate it when I can't live without a piece of gear I didn't know existed 5 minutes ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ___GLM___ View Post
I try to decide between MAS and kayahan (80 or 4k). Which one would you get at first and why?
Oh don't you get involved, now. Ever since you posted the picture of your rack, I've been lusting non-stop for a Vertigo VSE! I don't need these headaches! haha

I don't have the Kahayan but the MAS has a very distinct sound to me. It's a little bit darker on top and very dimensional. It really does remind me more of tape than anything. It's great at smoothing out harshness and making a mix really gel. It's good at thickening up stuff and blowing up stuff if you push it but I never use it for that. It's really good on drums as well as mixbus. I tend to use it very subtly - I set it so that the first light barely blinks and I have mix at 50% and it sounds amazing.

It also has some other cool features - it has a high and low shelf set at I think 2 db at 100 hz and 10k hz (but don't quote me on that - I need to double check) and it does come in handy at times and sounds great. It can be used as a DI. It also has an alternate set of ins and outs that are switchable so you can leave it patched into your master bus and still use it for tracking without having to re patch anything (like how the SB does it). It has both a single stage distortion and a dual stage distortion which is more complex and sounds great on master bus. The emphasis button makes it less reactive to low frequencies (like a cut filter in a compressor sidechain) and also works great on masterbus or drum bus. It's also two channels so you can use them on two mono tracks when not using it in stereo.

Honestly not only does the MAS sound amazing, the bang for the buck with it is absolutely insane with all the included features and options.

Anyway, I can't really compare it to the Kahayan since I haven't used it but after watching the youtube demos the MAS sounds closer to the Vintage 80 with the transformer in than it does to the Solid 4000.

Old 1st August 2020
  #1214
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Oh man, that Trinnov is so badass. I've been lusting for one from afar for the longest time. I know it's a bit OT, but I hear such good things about it - I assume it lives up to it?
Butting in here but, yes. Clocking with high end converter in a nice room acoustic and used as sparingly as can be is totally amazing. When I set up I spent two weeks just listening to all the music I could remember as the experience was so addictive. But it also feels like getting into an F1 car, you have to get used to the performance before you can drive it well. Imagine how all that pile of analogue mix buss outboard will sound. (trying to stay OnT).

All I really want to add to my mixbuss these days is a mega analogue eq like a Soma, don't have the pennies for this but cant find an alternative. Any ideas for a more affordable box?

Note: ST2 lets you use two subs, D-Mon not.
Old 1st August 2020
  #1215
Gear Addict
I bought the MAAg EQ to finish off my mastering chain.
I didn't notice much of a difference from the hardware and the plug-in so I sent the MAAG back and kept the UA version of it.

Going to buy that Wes Audio NG compressor and use it as a 3rd compressor option on my mixes chain. Right now I have the Vandergraph and Dione as my compressor options.
Old 1st August 2020
  #1216
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Oh man, that Trinnov is so badass. I've been lusting for one from afar for the longest time. I know it's a bit OT, but I hear such good things about it - I assume it lives up to it?
100%, it's an incredible piece of gear. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Pairs with the Kii Three's so well. I have a fully treated/measured room now, yet it's asymmetrical (converted lounge) and the ST2 fixes the image and phase perfectly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
Butting in here but, yes. Clocking with high end converter in a nice room acoustic and used as sparingly as can be is totally amazing. When I set up I spent two weeks just listening to all the music I could remember as the experience was so addictive. But it also feels like getting into an F1 car, you have to get used to the performance before you can drive it well. Imagine how all that pile of analogue mix buss outboard will sound. (trying to stay OnT).

All I really want to add to my mixbuss these days is a mega analogue eq like a Soma, don't have the pennies for this but cant find an alternative. Any ideas for a more affordable box?

Note: ST2 lets you use two subs, D-Mon not.
I did the same, just listened for hours. Still do! Although fully AES now (LIO-8 > ST2 > Kii) I still clock it all via the Grimm.

Regarding the EQ, check out the MIAD 4040. I really regret selling mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Yeah, I hear you. The thing is, with all these saturators, is that a lot of them the saturation doesn't sound the same. I have the MAS and the black box HG2 and the VSM and none of them are interchangeable with each other. What they do is very distinct to each unit.

The solid 4000 brings a lot of "excitement" to the sound which is what I'm liking. Lol we also think alike - I had thought about reaching out to Kahayan and asking them to sell me a vintage 80 faceplate!

Also agreed about the plugins. I try to treat my computer like a tape machine - the less processing it's doing the happier I am. I just want it to focus on keeping everything in time and not dropping out. It's a big reason why I'm addicted to hardware delays and reverbs - I like being to use long and dense settings and not worrying in the slightest about CPU power.

Lol I'm starting to get addicted to bright colored gear! In the end I'll always go with the one that sounds better but I'll be sad if Kahayan never releases a version of the solid 4000 that's not in the color of the vintage 80, I'll be disappointed!

But yeah, I mean the vintage 80 doesn't sound bad at all - it sounds pretty good doing the sound that it's supposed to be doing but I'm more interested in excitement rather than thickness at the moment.

Lol I just found out about them very recently myself and I'm surprised. I always joke about how I hate it when I can't live without a piece of gear I didn't know existed 5 minutes ago.

I don't have the Kahayan but the MAS has a very distinct sound to me. It's a little bit darker on top and very dimensional. It really does remind me more of tape than anything. It's great at smoothing out harshness and making a mix really gel. It's good at thickening up stuff and blowing up stuff if you push it but I never use it for that. It's really good on drums as well as mixbus. I tend to use it very subtly - I set it so that the first light barely blinks and I have mix at 50% and it sounds amazing.

It also has some other cool features - it has a high and low shelf set at I think 2 db at 100 hz and 10k hz (but don't quote me on that - I need to double check) and it does come in handy at times and sounds great. It can be used as a DI. It also has an alternate set of ins and outs that are switchable so you can leave it patched into your master bus and still use it for tracking without having to re patch anything (like how the SB does it). It has both a single stage distortion and a dual stage distortion which is more complex and sounds great on master bus. The emphasis button makes it less reactive to low frequencies (like a cut filter in a compressor sidechain) and also works great on masterbus or drum bus. It's also two channels so you can use them on two mono tracks when not using it in stereo.

Honestly not only does the MAS sound amazing, the bang for the buck with it is absolutely insane with all the included features and options.

Anyway, I can't really compare it to the Kahayan since I haven't used it but after watching the youtube demos the MAS sounds closer to the Vintage 80 with the transformer in than it does to the Solid 4000.

That's great feedback about the MAS. Surprised you likened it to the Vintage 80, that wasn't my expectation. Just goes to show that there's nothing like testing gear for yourself. I'm going to have to demo one.

5 minute GAS: Haha! That happened to me literally yesterday, stumbled on the ZOD ID DI and ended up buying a pair blind. Looking to add some tube harmonics as I'm all solid state ATM.

Yeah the Solid adds excitement, nice mid/high saturation, can hear it in the width.

MAS vs HG2 vs VSM. How would you rank these in purchase priority?
Old 1st August 2020
  #1217
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
I can get quite close with a plugin chain but the less plugins I need, the happier I am nowadays. A hardware mixbus keeps things consistent, which is becoming more and more important to me. I like to combine that with well coded, clean plugins (Unisum, Weiss, Crave, Magpha etc).
This has become my philosophy too as funds have allowed me to finally invest in some quality hardware. Having the hardware makes a massive difference to me in the bigness and openness you get, plus the quality up-front while tracking. I'm also addicted to running certain hardware pieces on the verge of breakup while mixing, as many are.

With some recent additions to my hardware setup, I tthink I'll be able to fully mix out of the box, save for using some plugins like quality parametric EQs for quick ITB cuts and precise shaping, and some others like Unisum that just sound great and offer a ton of versatility. With this type of hybrid setup, I find I'm getting close to my sonic goals much, much faster than before.

The pieces I'm sorely missing in my hardware setup are one or two quality parametric EQs and a quality buss compressor suitable for the mix buss.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1218
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
100%, it's an incredible piece of gear. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Pairs with the Kii Three's so well. I have a fully treated/measured room now, yet it's asymmetrical (converted lounge) and the ST2 fixes the image and phase perfectly.



I did the same, just listened for hours. Still do! Although fully AES now (LIO-8 > ST2 > Kii) I still clock it all via the Grimm.

Regarding the EQ, check out the MIAD 4040. I really regret selling mine.
Lol great - more to lust after.
I heard audio demos of the MIAD and they were really impressive.

Quote:
That's great feedback about the MAS. Surprised you likened it to the Vintage 80, that wasn't my expectation. Just goes to show that there's nothing like testing gear for yourself. I'm going to have to demo one.
The thing about the MAS is that I even think the design idea was supposed to be closer to tape saturation than distortion, so when you hit the MAS harder and harder it doesn't get sizzly or bright, it tends to get darker and thicker. It doesn't really get smacky - it starts eating transients and getting thick. It was kind of the same sound I heard in the vintage 80 demo when they'd take it out of bypass (or when they took the transformer out and back in - when they put the transformer in, it got thick, darker, and ate the snare up. When the transformer was out, the Vintage 80 sounded very open.)

I love it but I find it best at the end of the chain because it acts like tape and smooths everything out instead of exciting it. On individual tracks it'd excel on anything harsh - it's great on harsh guitars to smooth them out.

Quote:
5 minute GAS: Haha! That happened to me literally yesterday, stumbled on the ZOD ID DI and ended up buying a pair blind. Looking to add some tube harmonics as I'm all solid state ATM.

Yeah the Solid adds excitement, nice mid/high saturation, can hear it in the width.
I've head good things about the ZOD so you should be happy with them! Yeah, I can hear the width from the solid 4000 in the online demos - there's also some mastering guy who did a good review of it and in his audio demos (he level matched them really good) you can instantly hear the openness and width. Nice stuff!

Quote:
MAS vs HG2 vs VSM. How would you rank these in purchase priority?
Lol this is a heck of a question!

Honestly, it's a high dollar item but the VSM is hands down one of the best purchases I've made and would be the first thing - but it's hard to compare because the VSM is more than just saturation, it's more of a mastering console and so has other features which obviously feature into the price. It has a parallel insert and a mid / side insert, both which I've ended up using a lot more than I expected.

The saturation circuits are insane. It's the complete opposite of the "twist a knob and it sounds good" circuits. You have to be the type to really enjoy that kind of complexity - not everyone does. Once you get a handle on it, it's not much harder to dial in than any other distortion or saturation but it does take a good week or two of constant use to get an understanding of what works best and where.

Obviously I could write a book on it because there's so many options between the different frequencies you can choose to distort and control the amount of 2nd and 3rd separately but in short, it's heavenly on the master bus and the ability to add very selective 2nd and 3rd distortion to the mix on the mid and sides does wonders for dimension.

I've also found the saturation circuit to be amazing on guitar. For me guitar tends to have already gone through an amp so running it through saturation again is almost like just running it through an amp again. With the VSM instead I can choose to selectively add saturation to the already distorted guitar and bring out elements. For example 2nd on the low mid and bring out the "chunk chunk" and some 3rd on the high and bring out the picking and get this really huge and articulate guitar sound. Between the amazing control over the saturation, the extremely high quality of the saturation, and the two inserts with parallel and mid side ability and this one is worth every single penny.

The Black Box HG2 is much closer to a line level guitar amp so it almost helps to think of it like that. Anything that would benefit going through an amp most likely would benefit going through the HG2. If I track synths or Rhodes direct, the HG2 sounds great on them. Same for DI'd bass - it can really add some growl and snarl and let a directly recorded bass get some attitude and cut through the mix. Not so much for amp recorded guitars since I'd rather use the VSM on that - sending electric guitars from a mic'd cabinet through it is just like running it through a guitar amp again BUT if you have guitars run through a plug in, it can work wonders on it. For example I got a mix recently where the person tracked the guitars direct through a scuffham amp plug in and the HG2 was perfect to add some real tube complexity and hair to the plug in amp sound and really bring the guitars to life. Or if you want to add some aggression to vocals and make them cut. Also sounds great on effect returns to add some character to hardware delays and reverbs and choruses.

It's sick on individual drums - it can turn a cardboard snare into a garbage can lid. But that's also where you have to watch out - it's so good at doing what it does that you can trade the "power" of a sound for hugeness instead and end up with a giant sounding snare drum that never hits you in the chest so you have to not get carried away. That's part of the problem with the HG2 is that it does what it does so well that it takes a minute to get a handle on it. It's got a tremendously huge sweet spot - you can keep pushing it and while it may be too much it will never be bad so you have to learn to police yourself.

While it sounds amazing it does have a slight ability to eat bass. Even when hitting lightly it still eats some bass, but I don't blame the HG2 as much as I blame tubes. It's just something that happens with tubes to my ears. When I've worked out of studios with pultecs I always opt for solid state over tube pultecs for that reason - tube pultecs eat some bottom to me. Or some might call it "softening". So while it's amazing on individual drums, it's not something I'd put on drum bus. Although if I want it's sound on a drum bus what I've done in the past is put it on the wet/dry insert of the VSM and run an EQ before it and roll off some of the bottom and mix it in parallel on drum bus and that works great to get some sizzle and fatness while not losing bottom.

The MAS - you can almost think of it like a you'd think of tape or a tape plug in - like anywhere you'd want tape. The MAS adds thickness to my ears, as opposed to the fatness of the HG2 (And to clarify since we all have our own terms, to me thickness happens in the lows and low mids and fatness happens in the mids). The MAS obviously sounds amazing when polishing the bus. Also it does sound amazing as well on drum bus acting as a soft limiter and adding thickness to the drum bus. And with the "emphasis" button in, it's like a low cut so the kick doesn't make the saturation go nuts.

It's also great on things that you want to add girth or thickness to, or to do away with harshness. It's great on kick drum. Can add serious girth to a wimpy bass. Great on tom bus to get the transients under control while making the toms sound huge. Can smooth over harsh guitars really amazingly. Also great on smoothing out harsh vocals.

In terms of priority - I mean, the VSM takes priority not only for the extreme control of the distortion but how useful the two inserts have turned out to be for me, which was something I didn't expect. If i didn't use the inserts then I'd consider it to be expensive but the whole thing is useful for me but I've used the inserts in so many different ways. For example I have a Bricasti which doesn't have a wet/dry control - just a wet volume and a dry volume which can be tricky because you're adjusting two volumes. Sometimes I'm working fast and don't want it on a send and just want to send something to it and adjust the wet / dry so I've patched the bricasti fully wet into insert 1 of the VSM and just use that insert as a wet / dry knob for the reverb! Or I've patched a reverb into insert two, the mid / side insert and then completely sucked out the mids of the reverb to get this really open sounding reverb which doesn't muddy up the mid. And then in both instances I've put some 3rd harmonic on the reverb to make it a bit more sizzly or open. Like I said, I ended up being more creative and using the inserts more than I expected.

If you're looking for just a flat out distortion / effect / exciter then I'd say the HG2 over the MAS in terms of buying order. The HG2 has a huge sweet spot and can work on mostly everything and more often than not I'm looking to add excitement to most stuff since so many things are virtual and plug ins rather than amped and mic'd. It's something you can put on every track and get a whole range of sounds out of between the two gain stages, the saturation stage, and the alternate set of tubes. When it comes to individual tracks I tend to use the HG2 more than the MAS. They're both very different sounding to my ears so the gearslut answer (and not entirely untrue) is to get both at some point because they fill different roles in my setup.

Whew! That's a lot of typing. I'm gonna go make dinner!

Last edited by ionian; 2nd August 2020 at 03:14 AM..
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1219
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Whew! That's a lot of typing. I'm gonna go make dinner!
That description of the MAS makes me drool .... I was heavily considering one but then also bit on the Zods like b0se as I really wanted to add quality tube pieces to my kit but couldn't afford something like the HG-2. I'm sure the Zods are top class but the thing that worries me is that they won't be as versatile/tweakable as the MAS considering how you can control something like the MAS or the HG-2. But I can't really make any assumptions before I try them. I'll be trying my best to control gainstaging in and out of the Zods, and hopefully this will yield some different sounds.

I'm sure I'll love the Zods for their detail and classy sound at the very, very least.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1220
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
That description of the MAS makes me drool .... I was heavily considering one but then also bit on the Zods like b0se as I really wanted to add quality tube pieces to my kit but couldn't afford something like the HG-2. I'm sure the Zods are top class but the thing that worries me is that they won't be as versatile/tweakable as the MAS considering how you can control something like the MAS or the HG-2. But I can't really make any assumptions before I try them. I'll be trying my best to control gainstaging in and out of the Zods, and hopefully this will yield some different sounds.

I'm sure I'll love the Zods for their detail and classy sound at the very, very least.
The ZODs are what they are - a killer, classy, luxuriously complex tube PRESET. You can buy other boxes with much move versatility, but IME, you can't buy that sound. Maybe on some old ancient tube gear that I'm unaware of, but I have not found it on any modern piece that's selling these days.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1221
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
The ZODs are what they are - a killer, classy, luxuriously complex tube PRESET. You can buy other boxes with much move versatility, but IME, you can't buy that sound. Maybe on some old ancient tube gear that I'm unaware of, but I have not found it on any modern piece that's selling these days.
Thanks for the reassurance, drBill. I can't argue with that description and, with every article or opinion of them that I came across, they were praised for being the highest level of luxurious and classy engineering and sound. I just over-analyze everything and constantly GAS for every piece of gear. I'm sure I'll love them and keep them forever. Can't wait until they come in.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1222
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
That description of the MAS makes me drool .... I was heavily considering one but then also bit on the Zods like b0se as I really wanted to add quality tube pieces to my kit but couldn't afford something like the HG-2. I'm sure the Zods are top class but the thing that worries me is that they won't be as versatile/tweakable as the MAS considering how you can control something like the MAS or the HG-2. But I can't really make any assumptions before I try them. I'll be trying my best to control gainstaging in and out of the Zods, and hopefully this will yield some different sounds.

I'm sure I'll love the Zods for their detail and classy sound at the very, very least.
I'm sure the Zods are fine but you won't know until you have them if they work with you. I've been in some of the best studios using some of the most killer gear and in the end, it's all just gear. It either works with you or it doesn't work with you regardless of its sound or its reputation. Don't try to get too hung up on it.

If you get them and you feel you're not getting what you want out of them after a few months, flip them and try something else! It's as simple as that. I've gone through a ton of gear to find stuff with a sound that works with me. No one can tell you what's the most all-powerful piece of gear - that's for yourself and your ears to decide.

Sure the HG and the MAS are top shelf and equal to any other top shelf audio gear out there but for all you know you can get them in your studio and feel like they're fighting you! Don't laugh - stuff like that has happened.

I was mixing out of a studio with a Fairchild 670 and I put it on the vocals for this particular artist expecting magic and no matter what, it just wouldn't work with the vocals. You know what worked? The channel compressors on the SSL board. In the end, it's all gear and it all either works or not. Just because something is hyped here doesn't mean it'll work with you. On the same token, just because something is hyped here doesn't mean it won't live up to the hype for you. You don't know until you have it in your studio and you're using it the way you use things.

Give them a few months - you'll know by then if you're digging what they're doing or not. It looks like the Zods have an output level so have fun - push them a bit and see what tones you get.

Last edited by ionian; 2nd August 2020 at 01:02 PM..
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1223
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
The thing about the MAS <snip> find it best at the end of the chain because it acts like tape and smooths everything out instead of exciting it. On individual tracks it'd excel on anything harsh - it's great on harsh guitars to smooth them out.

Lol this is a heck of a question!

<big snip!>

Whew! That's a lot of typing. I'm gonna go make dinner!
Blimey, thanks for that, wasn't expecting a reply of that magnitude! That's very helpful—and interesting!—but terrible for GAS/the wallet as I'll order a MAS to potentially replace the Zulu. Sounds like it's a great compliment to the Solid.

The VSM is a dream machine. Great tip on second/third order harmonics only on mid/side btw. Hadn't ever thought of that. Like many things, I'm sure :¬)

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
The ZODs are what they are - a killer, classy, luxuriously complex tube PRESET. You can buy other boxes with much move versatility, but IME, you can't buy that sound. Maybe on some old ancient tube gear that I'm unaware of, but I have not found it on any modern piece that's selling these days.
Sounds great, can't wait to hear them.

Cheers for the inspiration fellas!
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1224
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Blimey, thanks for that, wasn't expecting a reply of that magnitude! That's very helpful—and interesting!—but terrible for GAS/the wallet as I'll order a MAS to potentially replace the Zulu. Sounds like it's a great compliment to the Solid.

The VSM is a dream machine. Great tip on second/third order harmonics only on mid/side btw. Hadn't ever thought of that. Like many things, I'm sure :¬)
Definitely my GS brother! We're all on the same quest for information and good and interesting sound!
Old 3rd August 2020
  #1225
Been tracking all our bass with ZODS lately and with a little HG-2 they sound heavenly.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #1226
Gear Addict
 
Farm sounds's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Been tracking all our bass with ZODS lately and with a little HG-2 they sound heavenly.
That sounds like a killer combo! I love the ZOD bass di and have found it useful on pretty much everything...Dan may have to market it as more than just a “Bass di”...
Old 3rd August 2020
  #1227
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farm sounds View Post
That sounds like a killer combo! I love the ZOD bass di and have found it useful on pretty much everything...Dan may have to market it as more than just a “Bass di”...
He does mention that many people love it for its tone on the website and that it can be used in a number of areas/ways.

I think Dan also has a website selling custom rack cases. I may ask him to help my put mine in a rack down the road ... if they'll fit, that is.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #1228
Gear Addict
 
Farm sounds's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood123 View Post
He does mention that many people love it for its tone on the website and that it can be used in a number of areas/ways.

I think Dan also has a website selling custom rack cases. I may ask him to help my put mine in a rack down the road ... if they'll fit, that is.
A racked ZOD would be killer! I had great results just running dynamic mics thru it for tube mojo and transformer love.....sometime before a preamp or even after...or no pre at all.
Old 4th August 2020
  #1229
Lives for gear
 
Avantmidi's Avatar
Sigma
Fusion
Twintube
Hedd192
Old 13th August 2020
  #1230
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Been tracking all our bass with ZODS lately and with a little HG-2 they sound heavenly.
I don’t know if you have used the ZOD’s on the 2bus like I know Dr. Bill has, but at the risk of sounding silly, would you say there is some overlap in tone with the HG-2 if the ZOD’s were used as 2 bus processors? I do realize these are two very different pieces of kit with different topologies and functions. I’ve been trying to add some tubes in the chain for some time and thought perhaps I could achieve a somewhat similar vibe tonally (that tubey harmonically rich bigness). I’m not as concerned with shaving transients because I’m already printing most groups and running my 2bus through an Overstayer MAS, Silver Bullet, and Neve MBP, though it would be a plus for other purposes.
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