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Avalon V5 - has anyone tried it?
Old 20th November 2012
Gear Nut

Avalon V5 - has anyone tried it?

There doesn't seem to be much talk about this Avalon unit, and I didn't find any reviews on the V5 anywhere actually.

Specs look quite similar to the M5, so I was wondering if anyone has first hand experience with both units.

Anyway the V5 looks quite tempting at $1080 vs. $1575 for the M5.
Old 21st November 2012
How does the V5 compare to the M5? Or is just a U5 with an extra heaping helping of gain thrown in for microphone applications?
Old 21st November 2012
Gear Nut

It doesn't seem so... did you have a look at the specifications of the V5?

The preamp they have thrown in doesn't seem to look like a "joke" but more like a full hi-end implementation, hence why I am curious.

Irrespective of how the V5 may compare to the M5 it should stack well with other solutions, so it would be nice to hear from anyone who may have had any first hand experience with this unit.

From Avalon's website:

"The V5 includes the best of the Avalon U5 DI functions with a studio quality preamplifier and “a new sonic addition”. Two alternate solid-state topologies are cascaded to provide a rich, low mid-range harmonic content not offered in other Avalon preamplifiers. This feature empowers the V5 with a new scale of sonic character.

The V5 includes a very high quality input transformer (same as the Avalon VT-737sp) with dual microphone input impedance loading for perfect mic/cable matching, high-cut switch for eliminating unwanted acoustic pickup and high frequency noise, headphone monitor amp and DC coupled, 100% Class A output amplifiers for defined bass control.

More info here:

Avalon Preamplifiers, V5 Specs & Details
Old 22nd November 2012
Thanks for the link. I'm going to read up on it, again, now.

Curious that no owners/users have yet weighed in on this!
Old 22nd November 2012
Lives for gear
DavidKmusic's Avatar

I had relatively the same question about the V5, but mainly I wondered if the U5 was still a better all around bass DI or if the difference was negligible. No one replied to my post. I guess there aren't many V5 users yet.
Old 28th November 2012
Gear Nut

The lack of feedback may be because Avalon products don't seem to be much favored here at GS, except maybe for the U5 and the M5.

Anyway, I’ve ordered a V5 and received it yesterday, and after a couple of hours of initial testing my first impressions were largely positive.

I got it mainly to play/record my electric guitar and some vocals at home. I was previously using my TC Electronics’ Impact Twin preamps, which as far as interface built-in preamps go are supposed to be better than most, but cannot of course be compared to any dedicated “hi-end” gear.

After a couple of hours of listening I would say that the V5 preamp sound signature is more on the warm and thick sounding side; it also has a not too focused nor too open sound, and is very well balanced, with all frequencies well represented across the whole spectrum. Low-end is solid and controlled; mid-range and high-end are sweet and round, without any traces of harshness, velvety I'd say. It definitely has character, without being too colored. It has an overall very pleasing sound signature that is kind of a compromise between “colored” and “transparent” signatures.

Needless to say that the V5 out shined the Impact Twin preamps completely. While listening to both vocals and electric guitar on headphones, the Impact Twin preamps were able to reach loud enough levels, but were quite obviously thin and overly bright. Not a fair comparison I know, but with respect to certain statements that “all preamps sound the same”, it shouldn't take anyone more than a good pair of headphones and a good listen.

Other than the sound, well… there is the famous Avalon bling-bling factor, and in this department the V5 does not disappoint either. The V5 looks absolutely gorgeous and is built like a tank.

Overall I couldn’t really find anything I didn’t like about the V5, and despite not being able to directly compare it with the M5 I would have a hard time imagining that the M5 could really sound 500 bucks better than the V5, especially in view of both units’ specifications. My guess would be that the law of diminishing returns would be fully applicable here.

I would still of course be interested to know about others’ opinions though, not only with respect to the M5 but also other units in this price range.
Old 21st January 2014
Here for the gear
ViolinSugar's Avatar
I just bought the Avalon V5 (Silver, ~$1200) this past weekend and I have been testing it. I will report on my future findings. For now, I can say that it is very much doing the job for my near future project with solo violin/violin & guitar/violin & piano.

The thing is super-quiet, transparent, mostly flat and without much coloration. I have been trying the presets, which are freq. response curves of different shapes. Take a look at the official Avalon literature to have the idea of what you get HERE.

The presets pretty much reflect what's on the page, and are useful for different applications. There is quite a bit of difference between them, so, you don't have to ask yourself "what the heck does this do?" Some of them are extreme, some of them are subtle but enhancing to the source. For instance, I have been trying to find a nice sound for my violin and I found that presets #3 & 4 do the trick, as well as the flat curve, depending of the mic used.

So far, my mic collection is not large, by any means, but I have yet to plug a mic in that doesn't play nice with it, though some fit more than others.

My mic collection includes:

Shure SM81
Audio Technica AT3035 (2X)
Oktavamod MXL 910 (Vintage mod)
JJ Audio Mod'd MXL V63M
Electro Voice RE20
Electro Voice 635A
Sennheiser MD 421 II
Sennheiser e945 & e835
CAD GXL 2200
MXL 990
Behringer C2 (2X)

So far, for the fiddle, the SM81 and Oktavamod are doing excellent. The JJ Audio excels at voice over and viola (the violin gets a bit high-end-charged, but it gets a superb harmonic mix, so, maybe at distant mic-ing in a hall will do great).

Most other mics get the usual tone and love we all are used to with the Avalon.

I wonder how it compares to other Avalon boxes and various classic pre's often used for violin, namely AD2022, ADL 610, etc. Right now, this is all I can afford (~$1200).

I am yet to do a real decent take, as I have been just fooling around testing mics and settings on the Avalon V5. When I have something, I will post.

Please chime in if you have any thoughts.

Warm waves...
Old 28th January 2014
Here for the gear
ViolinSugar's Avatar
Avalon V5 and Sennheiser MD 421 II - Voice Acting

Here is a reading I just did for fun, so you can hear the Avalon V5:

I thought I would throw a mic most everybody knows for this test.
I also have an EV RE20 I may try, as well.

Old 6th March 2014
Here for the gear
ViolinSugar's Avatar
Avalon V5, SM81, OktavaMod 910, violin

Here is something that will actually help:

Violin captured by

1. Shure SM81, Avalon V5 (no preset, straight) through Focusrite Saffire 6 USB interface. I'm playing the fiddle. I thought I would shoot this one with a familiar mic usual for violin... though maybe more when mixing a group of violins. - pardon the talking in the background... wife and mother-in-law couldn't be quiet -

2. Michael Joly's OktavaMod modified MXL 910 to sound like a vintage U87 (pre 1985), Avalon V5 (preset #4) through the same focusrite Saffire 6 usb interface.

The room is sound-treated for reflections and frequency response, but not for total absorption.



Last edited by ViolinSugar; 21st March 2014 at 02:40 PM.. Reason: Adding audio samples
Old 19th October 2019
Here for the gear

I own an Avalon V5, And I LOVE IT....BUT..Unfortunately, I am not able to get the "fullness" of it's capability. I wonder why? And thats why I am posting this. I have been told that my Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, just is not a good enough interface to bring the fullness of my Avalon V5 Mic Pre Out! Is this true guys? If so, what Interface would you guys recommend I get, to run my Avalon V5 Mic-Pre and Shure SM7B Combo?
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