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A 'complementary' pre to Avedis MA5 500 Series Preamps
Old 7th October 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Monroe/Rampart's Avatar
 

A 'complementary' pre to Avedis MA5

So here's the deal...

After using MA5 on multiple sessions in studios where I've freelanced over the last two years, I decided to buy one for myself. Since I'm not getting a 4 or 6-slot lunchbox to host it, rather a 2-slot chassis, I'd like to buy a second preamp, too.

Now, I don't really like to complicate or obsess over preamps, I categorize all the pres in, like, 4 main flavours. Neve-ish, Api-ish, clean and tube (with obvious tube coloration, not with a clean tube sound like ADL etc.).

As far as my experience goes, MA5 covers the Neve area (yeah, yeah, I know, it's not supposed to be a Neve clone). Api has never interested me all that much. I usually record vocals, smaller percussions, acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments, while I track drums at a proper studio. Since I liked Api the most on el. guitars and drums, I don't really have the need for it at home.

That leaves us with clean and tube. Honestly, I'd like something along the lines of UA's 610 pres. It's not the most versatile pre, but for a lot stuff it's just lovely. LaChappell, maybe?

My other pres are Liquid Channel (that I actually really like...I thought it would be more of a gimmick unit and sound a lot smaller...it's not and it didn't), Joemeek SixQ (I use it for coloring and comping synths almost exclusively) and stock pres on an RME FF800. As far as mics go, my setup is pretty basic - U87Ai, C414 Xl-II, Se Titan, MD441, MD421, a couple of Sm57s and a matched pair od Mk 012 Oktavas.

So, I'd like to get a pre that would complement MA5, while being different enough. I have a reasonable amount of experience with higher end pres and I have my preferences in pres, too. It's just that I'm new to the 500 series and it's next to impossible to audition them where I live, so I'd like some input.

Thanks in advance, guys.
Old 7th October 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
We have and love MA5s. They sit alongside API, BAE, Daking, LaChappell, Great River.

If you're not into API for home use, the BAE 312As (which are a bit more open but largely in the same vein, to my ears) likely won't impress, either. Daking is different still, but perhaps not different enough.

My quick thoughts:

• LaChappel 500 series (robust and "tube-y")
• Buzz Elixir (I've only used it once, but it was "clean")
• Helios (different, and you get a great EQ)
• Shadow Hills (different sounds in one box)
• Atlas Juggernaut (also different sounds in one box)
• Roll Music Tubule (more tube)

I've omitted the Grace, True, and Millennia, since I haven't used them, but they would be on the "cleaner" side of the spectrum, me thinks. Likewise the Lipinski and Maag are well-regarded, but I've not used them, either. Same with the new Radial offerings and the Inward Connections piece.

I have used and liked the Purple Biz (probably too much like API for you, but it is different) and the Chandler unit (REALLY cool, but maybe too "Neve-y"?).

I guess I'm rambling. Sorry. Given your description, I think I'd go for the LaChappell. But it's really a toss up. The great thing about all the 500-series gear: audition and return or sell as you see fit.

Best of luck.
Old 8th October 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
I'd suggest a Forssell SMP-500 heh (very clean but so musical, nice piece to complement the excellent MA5)

Since you don't dig the API sound, I'd avoid other preamps based on opamp circuit designs.. But you might want to check:

the Juggernaut (I'd get it with the nickel-nickel xformers, I have a twin and like it more that way, but that's very personal I guess) you'll be able to create many different "flavours" with the Juggernaut..

If John Hardy comes out with his 500 series modules, I'd seriously check them out.. maybe AES 2012?

And if you want/need a tube try a Tubule as suggested above..

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 8th October 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Forsell

I was going to suggest the same with the Forsell.
Old 9th October 2012
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Monroe/Rampart's Avatar
 

Well, you have pretty much reiterated what I've already known.

LaChapell and Tubule were atop of my list since, obviously, they're amongst the only 500 series tube modules (at least as far as pres go). Also, the Juggernaut is quite appealing to me since I'm a sucker for multiple-in-one options.

But after all, I kinda lean toward the Germanium. It's a pre that I've wanted to try for the longest time and it seems that it's, actually, flexible if you fiddle with feedback and thick button enough. My only concern is if it would be close enough to Neve theritory that owning MA5 wouldn't justify its' purchase.

Now, if only Cheu didn't mention Forsell...
Old 9th October 2012
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I've got a few different and original mic pres, 1066, V72, TG2, Vipre, API, and I have a pair of old BAE 312 on my lunchbox, and variety would be a plus for my lunchbox, since they would be my only mobile mic pres. After getting a MA5 for a different flavor than the BAE 312, I've decided I'm getting seven more MA5s to get the job done, and already bought three more. Yes, they all will sound the same... but they'll all sound amazing.
Old 9th October 2012
  #7
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gear is cool's Avatar
I would suggest another MA5 to compliment the one you have.
Old 10th October 2012
  #8
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ProducerBoy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gear is cool View Post
I would suggest another MA5 to compliment the one you have.
+1

If not, Helios. There's nothing else out there (that I know of) that sounds like a Helios.
Old 14th October 2012
  #9
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Well if you are only going for a two slot 500 format rack the I assume a two slot module is out?

what comes to mind here would be;
A-Designs P-1 or one of the EM-COLORS upper mid punch
API 512 mid punch
Electrodyne well balance smooth
Forssell nice and clean
Triton Audio nice and clean and smooth
Maag Pre Q4 nice and clean

just some quick thoughts as to favor.

If you can handle two slots then I would not over look the LaChapell or the Great River love them both!
Old 15th October 2012
  #10
Check out the Roll Music Tubule. It can get pretty rich when pushed, and sounds great in general regardless of setting.
Old 15th October 2012
  #11
Gear Addict
 
soypancho's Avatar
 

The smooth, airy highs of the P1/Pacifica are a great compliment to the Neve flavor's more pronounced lower midrange. IE when tracking drums, I'd typically use Neves on the kick and toms while the Pacifica lived on overheads. I've used the LaChappel, Shadow Hills, API 512, Chandler Germanium, and the Great River. All are great pres as well.
Old 20th October 2012
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
thesoundpost's Avatar
 

For acoustic guitars my vote goes to the Helios. I've got 2 and they sound great for that purpose. My other, somewhat cleaner, favorite is the Forssell SMP-2. I have no idea if the 500 series one sounds equally good, but it might be worth a try.

I recently received a Maag preq-4 and am deeply impressed. I have only recorded voices with it, but I can imagine it will sound good on acoustic instruments as well. The AIR band is a nice addition to this already great preamp.

Good luck!
Old 20th October 2012
  #13
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monroe/Rampart View Post
Now, I don't really like to complicate or obsess over preamps...
OK, buy an EQ and experience a whole new world on any source, working towards building a song, and hearing noticeable differences that matter more in the end rather than sitting around swapping out preamps.

Even tapping an EQ slightly to gently shape things will always matter more than a preamp change.

War
Old 20th October 2012
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
OK, buy an EQ and experience a whole new world on any source, working towards building a song, and hearing noticeable differences that matter more in the end rather than sitting around swapping out preamps.

Even tapping an EQ slightly to gently shape things will always matter more than a preamp change.

War
This
Old 20th October 2012
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
thesoundpost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
OK, buy an EQ and experience a whole new world on any source, working towards building a song, and hearing noticeable differences that matter more in the end rather than sitting around swapping out preamps.

Even tapping an EQ slightly to gently shape things will always matter more than a preamp change.

War
Hence the Helios: 2 in 1 :-)
Old 21st October 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Denny C's Avatar
Also the Lachapell 583e, pre and eq, 2space.
Old 22nd October 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Monroe/Rampart's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
OK, buy an EQ and experience a whole new world on any source, working towards building a song, and hearing noticeable differences that matter more in the end rather than sitting around swapping out preamps.

Even tapping an EQ slightly to gently shape things will always matter more than a preamp change.

War
Oh, undoubtedly. As a matter of fact, I got Lindell's Peq-500 (as well as 7x-500) on pre-order.

Anyway, I had some gigs lately, as well as my day job getting progressively more time-consuming, so I kinda neglected this thread a bit, but I really appreciate the input.

Seems like my gear addiction and obsessing over minutiae has taken over once again. : ) Even though I said I'm not interested in API, now I'm wondering about CAPI VP26, especially at those prices. LaChappell and Germ are still on top of my list, though...

I know I'll be happy with whatever I choose and I'll certainly make it work the way that I've intended, but I guess that half of fun of buying gear at this level is overanalysing factors that make almost no difference when it's all said and done. : )
Old 22nd October 2012
  #18
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monroe/Rampart View Post

I know I'll be happy with whatever I choose and I'll certainly make it work the way that I've intended, but I guess that half of fun of buying gear at this level is overanalysing factors that make almost no difference when it's all said and done. : )
Is that the fun part? That doesn't sound like much fun at all.

When I am buying something at any price point.. I sure hope it makes some kind of difference on my recordings that is noticeable... Otherwise, it can't take up rack space in my studio.

Anyway... Maybe you are better of purchasing something other than another preamp?
Old 22nd October 2012
  #19
a little OT, but since we're talking about the MA5..

your thoughts on the Vintech 573 vs MA5?

I'm about to place a 4 pre + Lunchbox order.

I'm only familiar with the AMS Neve 1073LB, but I sold mine already.
Not that I didn't like it, but I believe there's 500 pre's with the 'same flavour' that offer more bang for the buck.

Not trying to hijack this thread
Old 22nd October 2012
  #20
Gear Maniac
I had a bunch of 500 series preamps from a dealer, Maag, Shadow Hills, Avedis and Cartec and chose the Cartec to go with the MA5. This covers a wide range of tonal options. The simple EQ on the Cartec is very usable and I preferred the high end of that unit over the Air Band of the Maag fyi.
Old 23rd October 2012
  #21
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesoundpost View Post
Hence the Helios: 2 in 1 :-)
Yes, there are great pre / EQ units on the market and overall I would say a combo makes sense for most too.

War
Old 23rd October 2012
  #22
Old 24th October 2012
  #23
Baz
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Baz's Avatar
 

SMP500
Old 2nd November 2012
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
georgerarnold's Avatar
 

What did you get in the end?
Old 3rd November 2012
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Monroe/Rampart's Avatar
 

Nothing yet. I'm not in that big of a hurry, so I'm trying to get a taste of some of the pres that are in consideration, or at least their standalone/1U counterparts. I think I'll be able to get my hands on a Chandler Germanium next week, as well as a CAPI vp26 (the owner is trying to convince me that it's not all that api-ish...and ni, he's not trying to sell it, either).
Old 4th November 2012
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
georgerarnold's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monroe/Rampart View Post
Nothing yet. I'm not in that big of a hurry, so I'm trying to get a taste of some of the pres that are in consideration, or at least their standalone/1U counterparts. I think I'll be able to get my hands on a Chandler Germanium next week, as well as a CAPI vp26 (the owner is trying to convince me that it's not all that api-ish...and ni, he's not trying to sell it, either).
Cool. let me know how it goes with the CAPI. I'm just about to get a ma5 and was wandering about the CAPI to compliment it. That's why this thread interested me.
Old 4th November 2012
  #27
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I really like original Helios & use some old 79 series that go well with neve,etc.
had some reissues [that had a jacked lunchbox] years ago so can't really comment on whether they're any good compared to original.
Old 4th November 2012
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monroe/Rampart View Post
Nothing yet. I'm not in that big of a hurry, so I'm trying to get a taste of some of the pres that are in consideration, or at least their standalone/1U counterparts. I think I'll be able to get my hands on a Chandler Germanium next week, as well as a CAPI vp26 (the owner is trying to convince me that it's not all that api-ish...and ni, he's not trying to sell it, either).
I ordered 2 MA5's and 2 CAPI VP26's two weeks ago (found the CAPI's for $650/pair on ebay).
Old 5th November 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Capi vp28 would be a great compliment to the MA5 IMO.
Old 4th October 2015
  #30
Here for the gear
 
N8Sound's Avatar
I just bought my second MA5 and decided to use only these along with my 2 AEA rpqs for classical music and clean applications.
I am a fan of having less options by choosing one or two sounds max and then focus on the music (I am a working composer before being a producer). MA5s are awesome and really do sound good on everything in my opinion, provided you like the colour they impart. This second MA5 I bought though seems to have a slightly difference frequency response or perhaps sounds tighter in the low end/punchier than the one I already have. Did any of you have the same experience?
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