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EMI Preamps at my doorstep :) Single-Channel Preamps
Old 8th February 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)

Ok, so I totally admit that I succumbed to a bit of an impulse buy heh; but they looked just too damn cool to pass up. Here's what my friendly UPS guy dropped off today, straight from jolly ole England. These were billed as original EMI valve preamps, same era/design to the REDD.47 console, and racked up by Analogue Addicts in the UK. Completely different inputs/impedance/input transformers for ribbons or dynamic/condensers. I did see a thread on here about AA and the other modules they've sold/racked for people [mostly Ferrograph tape machine pres I believe]. They seem to have pretty good feedback from users though, and Ian @AA was very professional and responsive to deal with.

Racking/build quality/wiring looks good, and he's done a nice job with the faceplate. I'm buried in project deadlines right now, so won't have a chance to install these in the control room and put them through all the listening tests that will tell me what I really think of them for about a week... but on my dinner break here, and thought I'd show these to the GS community, and see if I could learn a little more about them...

So, what say you, fellow Gearslutters - pearls or porkers? Anyone recognize the guts of this? Did I score, or screw the pooch? It kind of looks like a module from a vintage valve console or tape machine, and the face plate does have a [I'm guessing currently out of the circuit as it's buried in the rack] pot that reads "equalizer". One valve is not being used currently... wonder what that was for?

Anyways, the proof's always in the listening... I'll report back once I've got a feel for them. If they sound great, I don't really care where they came from... but it'd be cool to know their history if it's worth knowing. I asked Ian @AA, and he said he'd find out and get back to me - which means he either doesn't actually know yet, or he does, and it's not quite as super-cool as it was made out to be. hehhehheh

No, wait, what am I saying... who even cares what they sound like? They will look 100% totally retro-cool in the racks here, and THEY SAY "EMI" on them! Insta-Beatles-in-a-box!!! I can just taste the "Sir" being added to my name from my impending knighting any day now.
Attached Thumbnails
EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)-img_0877.jpg   EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)-img_0876.jpg   EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)-img_0875.jpg   EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)-img_0874.jpg   EMI Preamps at my doorstep :)-img_0873.jpg  

Old 8th February 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Fire 'em up !!! If you have some time, it would be great to hear some samples of recordings through them. Curious
Old 10th February 2013
  #3
Old 10th February 2013
  #4
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AllBread's Avatar
 

Those are sexy inside and out! Congrats on the score - bet you they'll sound unlike anything else out there right now.
Old 11th February 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If they sound anywhere near as good as my AA boxes you'll be very happy
Old 11th February 2013
  #6
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SoZo's Avatar
look at those beautiful Mustard caps...
Old 11th February 2013
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Henry Olonga's Avatar
 

A little bit of feedback from another very happy buyer. Thought about it long and hard before buying. Bought one from Ian before Christmas and it didn't take me long to realise how special these units are. The 200 ohm input is where the magic is for me so far.
Use it to process DAW files and also as a mic pre for my SE Electronic Gemini. Every other preamp accentuates the mics spitty hi end in a harsh way but the EMI is just beautiful.
I actually made a Nebula library of the preamp which is available on my nebulapresets website.

I get home in a couple of days and will post some processed files.

There is a gradual roll off on the high end and a slight lifting of the low end, perfect for getting rid of that digital highs problem. I cannot speak more highly about these preamps. I have clean - GML, API also colour from Neve and Helios and when it comes to colour these are just perfectly unique. Warm, fat when driven and just plain amazing. Incredible on synths and strings. I fixed a harsh DI'd guitar easily by sending it through the 200 ohm input with a bit of drive.
If you want to use it as a backend for your DAW it is perfect for this if you want warmth on your master bus as it has a line level input. Input levels are so crucial to experiment with as you can drive different sections based on input. If you come out at line level input into the preamp with the gain turned down it distorts the input and acts as a leveller. If you lower the output of the DAW you can then find the sweet spot. Can be a tiny bit noisy if you get the gain staging wrong. Just hitting the red on the VU is where I probably will live most of the time.
As I said it has a levelling off effect if you really drive the input which I have found better than a compressor on some sources where you want limited dynamic range like bass. You can actually process a guitar track to get extraordinary authentic overdrive as well to feed a cabinet. Cannot believe I waited so long to take the plunge.

I have some bad news though.

As far as I know Ian had his last one up last week, and its gone.


Sent from my GT-P1000 2
Old 12th February 2013
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

+1 on everything Henry said.

The compression is soft and smooth - can't call it silk - how about honey?
Old 12th February 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

Awesome everybody - thanks for the feedback and recommendations.

I'm still curious as to where these originated - anyone possibly recognize the form factor of the original modules? Were these part of an EMI desk somewhere, or something else?

Just wrapped on one of my projects today - a few more days on the other and then it'll be time to get into these! I'll report back when I fire them up.
Old 12th February 2013
  #10
Here for the gear
 

They are from an EMI TR52 Reel to Reel recorder
Old 12th February 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Henry Olonga's Avatar
 

Just e -mailed Ian,
I am sure he will be okay with me posting his response to my enquiry.

. . . . 'they are amazing units. I contacted my supplier for the modules for more info. They got 12 modules that had been built into a large preamp mixer system that fed a reel to reel recorder setup. They may be the same modules as the tr52 recorders so either they stripped down lots of recorders to build them or they bought a job lot of spare modules to build it up. The unit they came from looked to be mid 60's. If they are the exact same then this would explain why they are so good. The tr52 was as good as it got next to the larger studio install recorders. I will try and find some more info'. . . .

Sent from my GT-P1000 2
Old 12th February 2013
  #12
Gear Addict
 
RFZ DUDE's Avatar
These do more look like some stuff made out of old tube radios or stuff.

Im betting my a** that this has never been anything "EMI".

Lots of empty solder tags, non period correct parts, not the right iron and whatnot.

That seller is making a good profit on hype.

Anyways, if they do sound good and help you make great music....ENJOY!
Old 13th February 2013
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFZ DUDE View Post
Im betting my a** that this has never been anything "EMI".
EMI was a huge global empire in the 60's. Encompassing global electronics, global recording and record company, and a large military division.
There are many EMi labeled outside broadcast mic/pre/mixer units floating around for example. They aren't the same quality as the Redd or TGI units, but they are legitimate EMI products manufactured to a good quality level.
EMI had recording studios all over the world.
Yes, not all EMI branded gear is exceptional, but there is a lot more of it about than many assume.
Old 13th February 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Chris is correct. In Australia alone there were large manufacturing plants in Sydney and Adelaide. Most of the equipment was designed then manufactured under license schemes, for both Military and Broadcast use, and the domestic market.

As such, it was common in Australia to find similar units sporting different badges from EMI, AWA, RCA and Phillips. I wouldn't doubt their provenance as much as other's who might be skeptical.
Old 13th February 2013
  #15
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

This is all really interesting to read. Looking at some pics, they do look a little like the TR52 preamp cards... Anywhooo, we will see what applications they are and aren't good at!

-CT-
Old 13th February 2013
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Henry Olonga's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFZ DUDE View Post
These do more look like some stuff made out of old tube radios or stuff.

Im betting my a** that this has never been anything "EMI".

Lots of empty solder tags, non period correct parts, not the right iron and whatnot.

That seller is making a good profit on hype.

Anyways, if they do sound good and help you make great music....ENJOY!
No need for this. You don't know him, haven't ever talked to him, haven't ever bought from him and you are making statements that border on slanderous. Basically accusing him of not just mislabelling a product but actually selling it under pretences. Not on my friend, simply not on.:mad:
Now I am not naive and sharks do exist on Ebay but this guy is legit so if you think there is something amiss you can always ask him.
Beef burger. .......with horse meat anyone LOL. Now that is deception.
Perhaps the green eyed monster got to you because if you hear how good they are you won't care what label is on it, you will wish you had one.
:D



Sent from my GT-P1000 2
Old 13th February 2013
  #17
Gear Addict
 
RFZ DUDE's Avatar
i have bought from him, right off the bay mate.i dont care what label is on it, you do.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Olonga View Post
No need for this. You don't know him, haven't ever talked to him, haven't ever bought from him and you are making statements that border on slanderous. Basically accusing him of not just mislabelling a product but actually selling it under pretences. Not on my friend, simply not on.:mad:
Now I am not naive and sharks do exist on Ebay but this guy is legit so if you think there is something amiss you can always ask him.
Beef burger. .......with horse meat anyone LOL. Now that is deception.
Perhaps the green eyed monster got to you because if you hear how good they are you won't care what label is on it, you will wish you had one.
:D



Sent from my GT-P1000 2
Old 13th February 2013
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Henry Olonga's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFZ DUDE View Post
i have bought from him, right off the bay mate.i dont care what label is on it, you do.
Oh alright.....I know Ian sells other cheaper stuff but the EMI stuff was his premium build and there weren't many. As I said before - it sounds really good. I was looking for a particular sound and I got it. I will bring some samples up when I get home this week.

In all honesty RFZ Dude, I figured that the OP wanted some feedback on the sound and perhaps the origin of these pieces as I own one with another coming soon. I proceeded to give him some with a bit even from the horses mouth. I hope that my replies at least helped him so he can know his investment a little better. You appear to have ignored the feedback of others. Please lets get back on topic now........

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Old 13th February 2013
  #19
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

Cool! My first thread that has resulted in a Gearslutz argument! I feel so honored... do I get some sort of placard added to my profile?

Anyways, it's all good [I actually hate that phrase, but anyways]. I appreciate all of the information.

Best to all,

-CT-
Old 13th February 2013
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wtreeCT View Post
Cool! My first thread that has resulted in a Gearslutz argument! I feel so honored... do I get some sort of placard added to my profile?
Nope. Perhaps you might have qualified for a lolly if there hadn't been an argument.
Old 13th February 2013
  #21
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Nope. Perhaps you might have qualified for a lolly if there hadn't been an argument.
Hahahahaha - true enough.

And Henry; now I know where that last one went... I did actually ponder snapping that one up too. Guess we are now the sole owners of stereo pairs... maybe we should get together, start a "division", combine them all into a console, get a hold of an old Ampex or Scully, and go looking for a band named after some sort of insect to record and produce.

Woohoo! EMI!!! EMI!!! EMI!!!

[hee hee hee hee]

-CT-
Old 13th February 2013
  #22
Here for the gear
 
Analogue Addicts's Avatar
 

Well i can see not everyone is going to to interested but there may be another four units up for grabs very soon....

And yes they will be genuine "made in England" EMI modules and not from an old radio
Old 13th February 2013
  #23
Here for the gear
 

They are 100% EMI, i have several TR52 recorders and these are 100% the same modules, although they have had a few bits removed, connectors, etc.
Old 13th February 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Henry Olonga's Avatar
 

Well there you go. From the man himself. Anyway

Here are some really crude demos. Nothing fancy - some have a touch of compression from a Safesound P1 and also some Helios EQ.

CT - think you may be on to something there. We can go Quadraphonic. Oh hold on Ian may have found another four - shoot - the secrets out. .

If I had the money I would be all over these last few - these are extremely rare folks.....oh you knew that already
Attached Files

Accordian RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4983 views)

Accordian warm EMI with Helios EQ.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4932 views)

Bass RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4935 views)

Bass slightly driven EMI.mp3 (375.5 KB, 5004 views)

El Guitar EMI with Helios EQ.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4962 views)

El Guitar RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4909 views)

Guitar EMI with Helios EQ .mp3 (375.5 KB, 4862 views)

Guitar RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4772 views)

Kick RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4877 views)

Kick Smash EMI.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4888 views)

Synth RAW.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4751 views)

Synth slightly driven EMI.mp3 (375.5 KB, 4795 views)

Old 13th February 2013
  #25
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Fergies Watch's Avatar
Old 14th February 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 
DaveUK's Avatar
Off to eBay ! :-)
Old 14th February 2013
  #27
Gear Head
 
wtreeCT's Avatar
 

Aw crap - I should never have even brought these up. Could then have snatched them all up for myself and never had to share with anyone else.

Ok, let's forget the entire conversation. They don't even exist; I just made them up, and I'm really good with Photoshop. Phonies! Worthless hunks of scrap metal! Total crap I say! Anyone can see it plainly says "Akai" on them, not "EMI"! No need to even look look that closely - just take my word for it.

Old 14th February 2013
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wtreeCT View Post
Aw crap - I should never have even brought these up. Could then have snatched them all up for myself and never had to share with anyone else.

Ok, let's forget the entire conversation. They don't even exist; I just made them up, and I'm really good with Photoshop. Phonies! Worthless hunks of scrap metal! Total crap I say! Anyone can see it plainly says "Akai" on them, not "EMI"! No need to even look look that closely - just take my word for it.

Hey, if it said Akai on them they might have been M7's, and they are far from worthless sounding machines........
Old 27th June 2013
  #29
Lives for gear
 
dlmorley's Avatar
I have one of these tape machines. I intend racking the pre's for me but if someone is already doing it, maybe I should buy some and sell my deck! I LOVE the look of the deck and preamp knobs..
You can see them in the BBC studios around the early 60's. There were the bigger TR90 units and these and these were for less critical (mainly transport being simpler I think).
For the BBC to use them though, they had to be quality units.
Radiophonic workshop had them too.






Here is a video of the ARMY version

Old 12th February 2014
  #30
Here for the gear
 

EMI in the studio

Well i have just spotted these 2 EMI units in the studio in use....



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