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Neve 33609 JD a great compressor and a recall nightmare
Old 5th December 2013
  #1
Neve 33609 JD a great compressor and a recall nightmare

I've recently purchased a Neve 33609 JD, first I gotta say it's one of the best sounding compressors out there in my opinion in almost every aspect. It sounds great and the gain reduction behaviour is one of my favourites but I have one serious problem with this unit which I'm not sure it's solvable. the caps pointers aren't alined with the values printed on the unit at all so it's impossible to write recalls, the only way is to count and write the number of clicks moved on every pot and it's not something one would expect from a unit with such a high price tag, usually it's a problem occurs on DIY units, The funny thing about it is I also have a DIY 33609 that IJ Research has built for me a few years ago where the pointers on the caps perfectly matches the value lines printed on the unit.. it seems like AMS\Neve has changed the pots in the unit for this model but didn't change the values engraved on the units.. it took me a few mixes which I couldn't perfectly recall before I've noticed that fact. is there a solution for this problem ?
Old 5th December 2013
  #2
Gear Head
 
Johnny T's Avatar
 

I have the same problem with a couple of DIY units (where I wasn't responsible for the front panel artwork) and it is one of my pet hates.

For gear that has been in production for many decades, the most plausible explanation is that the rotary switches and potentiometers available now have less range than they used to have (e.g. 300 degrees instead of 320 degrees), and yet the front panel artwork has not been changed to accomodate this.

In terms of fixing the problem on a piece of gear that you own, there are only really 2 classes of solutions:
- Replace the rotary switch/potentiometer to one that aligns with the front panel artwork.
- Replace the front panel artwork so that it aligns with the rotary switch/potentiometer.

Short of making a completely new front panel, I've considered making donut shaped stickers that go on top of sections of artwork on the front panel.
Old 5th December 2013
  #3
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I think I might be misunderstanding the problem because to me, the solution seems to be really simple. Click the misaligned pots all the way to the left, see how far the knob is out of alignment with the stenciled-on numbers, pop off the knob (or the cap) and place it in the right position. Problem solved, no? On some Neve gear, the cap is an add-on to the knob. Somebody might have put it back on in the wrong position when it fell off.

Last edited by voodoo4u; 5th December 2013 at 07:24 PM.. Reason: More info
Old 5th December 2013
  #4
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I haven't opened up my unit, but the other possibility is that the pot has come loose from the chassis and twisted. Take the top off, take the knob off, realign it, tighten it and Bob's yer uncle. I know that these things seem fairly invasive for such an expensive unit, but they're still just mechanical devises and things can move around, especially with these detented pots. They're fairly stiff to turn and somebody may have applied a little too much pressure. Mine is an old original issue, but I'm fairly certain when they were reissued, the build stayed the same and they didn't attach the pots directly to the PCB.
Old 6th December 2013
  #5
Gear Addict
 

I was just taking notes for a recall on this yesterday and was thinking exactly the same thing. Glad to see I'm not the only one.
Old 6th December 2013
  #6
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T_R_S's Avatar
I have 33609 J/D all the pots are stepped so recall is a snap and a click.
Old 6th December 2013
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Yes I understand EXACTLY what you mean. And NO... popping the cap off and realigning the knob pointer does NOT resolve the issue.

Mine does the exact same thing as the OP- it will not line up... And again OF COURSE the first thing I tried was to realign the pointer. AND its not consistently off... Like its 10% off then 15% off the 20% off- with each click of the knob. Its only an issue on like the gain knob where the steps are so close together. BUT eventually the pointer is INBETWEEN values.... Im sorry but I don't spend enough time memorizing the gain knob on one compressor to quickly be able to glance and remember if I should round UP or DOWN... LOL

So personally, I use the detents/clicks as reference. 4db gain- 2 clicks. And any time I copy settings I VERIFY detents/clicks by noting my starting point and turning the knob counterclockwise (obviously).

This is just to be safe because 90% of the time you can read it and its on enough to know what setting it hits, but that one time you are rushed or tired or just make a mistake- you put the wrong value.

I don't think its that big a deal, BUT he's right about it- at least on some of the units.

Though my unit also has channel one drop out if you select from stereo to mono and its done that since purchase... Sent it for repair and they couldn't replicate it. Did it less then, does it all the time now- at random- I can't use the mono setting... 4500 for misaligned screening and a channel that drops out at complete random- during bounces, tracking... halfway through... gone.

Great sounding box though... lol
Old 6th December 2013
  #8
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tekis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I have 33609 J/D all the pots are stepped so recall is a snap and a click.

Yeah, same here. Sometimes I use Teaboy Recall Software--works great. I've never been unable to do a perfect recall.
Old 6th December 2013
  #9
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanTan View Post
I've recently purchased a Neve 33609 JD, first I gotta say it's one of the best sounding compressors out there in my opinion in almost every aspect. It sounds great and the gain reduction behaviour is one of my favourites but I have one serious problem with this unit which I'm not sure it's solvable. the caps pointers aren't alined with the values printed on the unit at all so it's impossible to write recalls, the only way is to count and write the number of clicks moved on every pot and it's not something one would expect from a unit with such a high price tag, usually it's a problem occurs on DIY units, The funny thing about it is I also have a DIY 33609 that IJ Research has built for me a few years ago where the pointers on the caps perfectly matches the value lines printed on the unit.. it seems like AMS\Neve has changed the pots in the unit for this model but didn't change the values engraved on the units.. it took me a few mixes which I couldn't perfectly recall before I've noticed that fact. is there a solution for this problem ?
or you could just sell it and get a pair of BAE 10DC's.fully stepped/more attack/release options and imo sounds even better .
first version of this style of compressor I'd really like on the main stereo buss.
[I had a JD and sold it when I finally compared it to the metal old knob version ].
..
Old 6th December 2013
  #10
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Freep's Avatar
 

I take pictures of the settings, and put them with the notes
Old 6th December 2013
  #11
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freep View Post
I take pictures of the settings, and put them with the notes

Yup count clicks or photo's it's not a huge problem is it, once you have the knobs on straight.
Old 6th December 2013
  #12
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Fidelis's Avatar
 

Mine aligns ok...
Old 7th December 2013
  #13
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Not so great compared to a metal knob
Old 7th December 2013
  #14
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T_R_S's Avatar
Krazy Glue!
Old 7th December 2013
  #15
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelironsteel View Post
Not so great compared to a metal knob
yeah me and Syra did a thorough shootout.even with the Geoff Tanner resistor lift mod my jd sounded kinda flat and smaller by comarison..made me kinda sad.
Old 7th December 2013
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
yeah me and Syra did a thorough shootout.even with the Geoff Tanner resistor lift mod my jd sounded kinda flat and smaller by comarison..made me kinda sad.
does the metal knob use marinairs?
Old 7th December 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
does the metal knob use marinairs?
Dunno if marinairs were still around in the 80s tbh
Old 7th December 2013
  #18
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
does the metal knob use marinairs?
I dont know what his metal knobbed unit had.I didn't open it up on the day.
the thing I know is when I opened up the JD to lift the resistors the trannys had no identifying markers as to what manufacture they were.
the other thing is the actual compression curves themselves sounded different.
the jd seemed to clamp things down in a less musical way to the older version.
overheads were definitely darker more cloudy sounding.
Old 7th December 2013
  #19
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I dont know what his metal knobbed unit had.I didn't open it up on the day.
the thing I know is when I opened up the JD to lift the resistors the trannys had no identifying markers as to what manufacture they were.
the other thing is the actual compression curves themselves sounded different.
the jd seemed to clamp things down in a less musically way to the older version.
overheads were definitely darker more cloudy sounding.
Yup overheads i remember using them for the most nasty sounding c1000 overheads once. BAM perfect sweet just sat there in the mix sounding very decent
Old 7th December 2013
  #20
I had the same experience comparing the JD to a metal knob. Not even close.
Old 8th December 2013
  #21
I have a custom 33609 which is made of original 70's Neve parts, I also have extensively used a 33609c and now my new JD as well.

When the term utility compressor comes up the first and maybe only compressor I can think of is a 33609. every 33609 I've ever used was great for pretty much everything. the 33609 in my world is perfect for: overheads, drums bus, percussion, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, nylon guitars, harmony vocals, piano, keys, synths, brass, lead vocals (although not my 1st choice), mix bus, mastering and any parallel stuff since its audio path makes everything sound "better" IMO and its GR behaviour really helps out to make things sit in the mix. the JD does all that really great and to my ears it does exactly what I want a 33609 to do, it can be very subtle yet exciting while the GR meter is hardly moving and can have a very beefy dominant Nevish sounding while applying more gain reduction and more make up gain. I think that a comp like the 33609JD is a real all rounder so I don't really mind the difference between the old Belclair trannies (I don't think it was ever Marinair but not quite sure) and the new trannies because the 33609 for me is like the number 10 player on soccer which is a free player who can position himself on the field wherever he wants in order to help his team mates.. as opposed to a classic number 9 who has to do only one thing but do it perfect (1176 Rev A on lead vocal comes to mind here..)

So.. sonically I find the JD to be just perfect for my needs and one of my favourite compressors but I can't be happy with it since I actually feel deceived here. It took me hours to realise why I can't recall my mixes to a 100% until I've realised what's going on, I would expect the cap line to be aligned with the face plate's engraved values on a way cheaper products, yes, even on a Be******r and my home stereo it's aligned so I would definitely expect it from such a very expensive product. if it was only one pot I could live with that but we are talking about all the pots on the unit ! there can't really be a good reason for that, the way I see it it can be one of these reasons:

1. Very bad quality control @ AMS \ Neve
2. AMS \ Neve didn't want us to know they have changed components and the faceplate would have look different then a classic 33609 unit since the values would appear narrower or wider on the unit

I would expect AMS \ Neve to:
1. send over new faceplates
2. send over new pots
3. refund its customers since IMO it's unacceptable to pay 4750$ for a prototype

I'm not trying to be a negative d**k here but I would expect a minimum attention to details on a high end product coming from a very established company which is at the end of the day supposed to be a professional working tool.
Old 8th December 2013
  #22
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yep sasme here... gotta count the clicks

btw,, favorite for stereo drum room
Old 8th December 2013
  #23
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
does the metal knob use marinairs?
Mine has Marinairs in there so I imagine it's standard.
Old 8th December 2013
  #24
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Not being a smart ass but get over the recall thing, had you rather have a less grade compressor with recall or some darn stupid plugs, if recall is a must, then that is what they made your iphone for, rarely but sometimes i take pictures, besides the way i was taught in photo and video production was never to shoot the same way twice, so in the audio world i say ditch the damn recall crap, you might or will get a different vibe or some new flavor you have missed.
I try to make my mixes so that recall is not needed. Some automation in vocals yes. Love my 33609 C
Old 8th December 2013
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
Not being a smart ass but get over the recall thing
If I want to support my family and stay in the mixing\mastering business recall is something I can't "get over" unfortunately
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
had you rather have a less grade compressor with recall or some darn stupid plugs, if recall is a must, then that is what they made your iphone for
Do you know how much you pay for stepped pots in a unit like your 33609c ? how much cheaper it was to make with vari pots instead of stepped pots ? do you realise older Neve comps never had that problem ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
rarely but sometimes i take pictures
It's impossible for me to work with pictures, I've tried that. I have to take many pictures for that and as a mixing\mastering engineer I sometimes move between 3-20 songs a day, I'm using SSL total recall on my AWS console and the rest is done using TeaboyAudio by my assistants so I got to have a steady and perfectly reliable working method
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
besides the way i was taught in photo and video production was never to shoot the same way twice, so in the audio world i say ditch the damn recall crap, you might or will get a different vibe or some new flavor you have missed.
I try to make my mixes so that recall is not needed. Some automation in vocals yes. Love my 33609 C
Being able to listen to mixes outside the studio and come back with comments is
a part of todays mixing process and not being able to offer that to your clients is a very risky business strategy. why would I look for different vibe when recalling a song ? it's final touches we are talking about but sometimes it takes time. when mixing a whole album for an artist I sometimes need to get back to the first songs and make changes because the album can take a different direction as it goes along..
Old 8th December 2013
  #26
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voodoo4u's Avatar
OK, so now I understand what's going on. As I mentioned, mine is an older unit without this issue, so it was hard to wrap my brain around. Someone earlier probably nailed it. Neve used the original stencil markings and ended up having to use a different stepped pot. It's a bit old school, but what I do is I've made up a chart in a graphics program of the front of all my analog gear, I've printed out a stack and I pencil mark where I've set each dial. That way you could mark the in-between settings of the JD and with any extra paper, you can write a letter to AMS Neve what a dumb-ass move it was to make this compromise. OK, maybe just e-mail them. They had to have known this would be an issue.

The other possibility is that, if you bought it used, a pot or two have been replaced. Highly unlikely though.
Old 8th December 2013
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanTan View Post
If I want to support my family and stay in the mixing\mastering business recall is something I can't "get over" unfortunately
Keeping things in perspective would probably help here. Counting the clicks to recall the unit is not going to jeopardise your ability to support your family.

What do AMS Neve say about it? You have contacted them before posting here, right?
Old 9th December 2013
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Avast!'s Avatar
Complain about your Teaboy note taking software.

Last edited by Avast!; 9th December 2013 at 03:34 AM.. Reason: Can't say we do a lot of recalling mixes here either. =)
Old 9th December 2013
  #29
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superburtm's Avatar
 

I just dont move to the next mix until the current one is done. Settles the recall problem.
Old 9th December 2013
  #30
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ionian's Avatar
In this day and age, gear that's sloppy about it's recall ability is just sad.

I'd really expect gear designers to know better but then again a lot of times the people that build the gear don't actually use it and so many things that make practical common sense are sadly missed or looked over.

Regards,
Frank
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