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Any 1073 style preamps with higher voltage rails? 500 Series Preamps
Old 24th June 2014
  #1
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Any 1073 style preamps with higher voltage rails?

Basically what I'm asking is, are there fatter sounding 1073 style preamps? Any suggestions?
Old 24th June 2014
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
Basically what I'm asking is, are there fatter sounding 1073 style preamps? Any suggestions?
You could try turning up the voltage on a current model

Edit:An angel told me I should make it clear that this was a joke, unless I want a fried 1073 on my conscience

Higher voltage does not equal a "fatter" sound.

Gustav
Old 24th June 2014
  #3
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MA5 runs on 32V
Old 24th June 2014
  #4
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Hi
The supply voltage has practically nothing to do with it's sound. Preamps with higher voltage are simply different hence 'sound' different.
A standard 1073 will happily kick out over +24dBu which is greater than many convertors can handle so to have much more would simply clip the convertor then if you persist, toast it.
Simply turning up the supply on a 1073 puts you in some risk of damage unless it is modified and rebiassed to cope with the increased voltage.
Matt S
Old 24th June 2014
  #5
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Seventh circle 1073 preamp run]s at 36 vlts I believe
Old 24th June 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
Basically what I'm asking is, are there fatter sounding 1073 style preamps? Any suggestions?
Fatter than what? Themselves?
Old 24th June 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
Basically what I'm asking is, are there fatter sounding 1073 style preamps? Any suggestions?
Hi

I agree with Matt, changing the voltage rail has nothing to do with sounding fatter, thinner, or any other descriptive word. All you will do is increase the point the circuit clips at by a few dB but the sound won't change.

You would have to watch that you were not stressing components rated for the original voltage rails and that the input bias was set correctly for whatever rail you chose.

Could you elaborate on the term fatter?

heh
Old 25th June 2014
  #8
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Is this is because of the 2010 Allen Farmelo article in Tapeop where he did a Neve clone shootout where he commented that he did not test 500 series because they often run on lower voltage "which can affect the headroom and sound of the preamps"? (and not everyone has/wants to buy a 500 series rack?)

This seemed to come more on the mainstream boards up around the time of that article.

I don't think he is a tech or designer, but perhaps this is a better question to discuss this point - so since no one has responded i'll throw some crap up on the wall and see what sticks. (i'm not a tech or gear designer, nor pretend to be one) THEORETICALLY, in general headroom is good, higher dynamic bandwidth, more room before transient over distortion, less distortion in general. Higher signal to noise ratio - so less noise to the upside and to the downside.

My understanding is that some designs require higher voltage and can't be made with with lower voltages. So there's that, but that is not what we were really talking about.

PRACTICALLY speaking in the real world great 500 series designs can hold their own - and there are plenty (plenty!) of "golden ears" using them, grammy platinum super people (that are apparently greater than anyone reading an internet board). But seriously, it is not what i would call a compromised format.

Rule #1 - all gear should sound great at the voltage in which it runs.

IMO the biggest benefit of higher rails would make sense with summing / mixers (which, not coincidentally is where the original Neve modules came from!) and perhaps recording high transient material (drums etc). Back in the day remember when the old gear was deigned they were going as clean as possible because they were recording to tape. Recently SPL went to the extreme and produced a +/- 60v rail summing mixer (the Neos) to end the argument of how great 120v total voltage would sound. I haven't heard it, but the concept makes many of us dream of gumdrops and lollipops. But do we really need it with the music format we are working with? If you are going to make a real argument about headroom and noise, i would think that would be the place to focus.

I do not have any issues with any 1073 clones on 500 series, and i doubt they would impede any of your personal progress into breaking the grammy record hall of fame. Much more has been done on much less. In terms of gear, an amazing room and mics trump this whole argument by a wide margin (the size of the grand canyon to be specific).
Old 25th June 2014
  #9
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Hi
Headroom is a bit of a non issue until A - D's can exceed the headroom of the device hitting them.

A vintage Neve 1073 would not clip until over +27dBu, that's over 15 volts of ac signal.

Who needs a level bigger than that and what converter could handle it?
Old 25th June 2014
  #10
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Hi
The available supply on a '500' would be 32 Volts but is 'split' whereas the original Neve circuits are 24 Volts. They would need to be regulated DOWN and have the reference points of the circuit shifted to be used in a '500' rack.
Broadcast desks in particular had up to around 36 dB headroom 'pre fader' to reduce risk of uverload (distortion) that could not be controlled by the fader during a programme where obviously gain jumps would not be practical.
Matt S
Old 25th June 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
The available supply on a '500' would be 32 Volts but is 'split' whereas the original Neve circuits are 24 Volts. They would need to be regulated DOWN and have the reference points of the circuit shifted to be used in a '500' rack.
Broadcast desks in particular had up to around 36 dB headroom 'pre fader' to reduce risk of uverload (distortion) that could not be controlled by the fader during a programme where obviously gain jumps would not be practical.
Matt S
Hi

Even the humble 54 series "Suitcase" consoles had 40dB prefade headroom. The 8078 monitor section would have a tough time bettering +16dBu output because of bean counter cost saving.

EG The normal internal operating level to achieve +26dBu in those consoles was -8dBu (ref 0dBu I/P) but, because the two pan pots were cascaded with no buffer amp between them, they created a large loss and the solitary B440/640 amplifier had to run at +2dBu to overcome the losses. That's 10dB closer to the clipping point..... it would be +6dBu at +4dBu input. The unbalanced O/P stage clips at around +18dBu...
Old 25th June 2014
  #12
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Hi Geoff
We need to be careful of the distinction between the absolute level just below clipping and 'headroom'. We know where we are but others may not be following.
40dB 'headroom' above a nominal 0dBu (typical broadcast line up) would be 77.5 Volts and falls into the 'hazardous voltage' category! 40 dB above '0VU' would be 122 Volts (USA mains on the high side!).
Matt S
Old 25th June 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi Geoff
We need to be careful of the distinction between the absolute level just below clipping and 'headroom'. We know where we are but others may not be following.
40dB 'headroom' above a nominal 0dBu (typical broadcast line up) would be 77.5 Volts and falls into the 'hazardous voltage' category! 40 dB above '0VU' would be 122 Volts (USA mains on the high side!).
Matt S
Hi Matt

Yes, I am adding "u" on the dB for absolute levels.

The 40dB pre fade headroom was because the general signal level in that region of input circuitry was held low so that it had far further to swing before reaching its clipping point... the 40dB above the very "minus" level it operated at.

On those consoles the clipping point, post fade, is +24dBu... more than enough for most A-D's!
Old 25th June 2014
  #14
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try a variac
Old 26th June 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff_T View Post
Hi
Headroom is a bit of a non issue until A - D's can exceed the headroom of the device hitting them.

A vintage Neve 1073 would not clip until over +27dBu, that's over 15 volts of ac signal.

Who needs a level bigger than that and what converter could handle it?
Hi geoff,

thats assuming you're next piece is an A/D and not other outboard, correct?

so if you don't mind humoring some of us pure "users of gear", lets say i was going into an LA2A or another comp or limiter, and i liked to really cranked the gain to squeeze every ounce of "mojo" out of it - basically until it starts sounding harsh. So at what point would that happen with a traditional 19" 10xx neve clone vs a 500 series. Can i crank it as much or does the "mojo" break up earlier (sound quality wise). You know, even if we are padding the output of the preamp as far as output signal goes.

I'm asking because there is this natural tendency for some of us non-techies to think it is not unreasonable to assume higher voltage means you will be able to crank a higher *quality* of sound further "into the red" before degrading transients than on gear designed at lower voltages.

This comes up from time to time across the 'net and i haven;t seen a definitive answer. I know it makes much more sense summing or a console, but i have not heard anything about sound quality "into the red" comparatively speaking between format design constraints (probably where the "fatness" comment came from).
Old 26th June 2014
  #16
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Hi

Your question is not easy to answer. I can only give you factual information based on several decades of connection with vintage Neve equipment. A Neve 1073 should clip around +27dBu... that's around 17.3 volts of signal. I suspect your converter will not handle that level in its input... nor need it to. I have no idea about the headroom of any device you might hang after it, nor any idea of the gain of the 1073 in use or the input level so may not know how much headroom you actually have left.

This is the problem with the digital world. Because your meters are calibrated 0dBf for the point the converter clips, there is nutty logic that driving close to that point will sound better... but personal tastes define "better".

Back in the days I worked at Neve, and around ten years later, you used VU meters referenced to +4dBu for 0VU (1.228 volts) and this level was set in granite. You mixed your levels to just kiss the red section and had gobs of headroom for adding EQ, etc. At least you knew you weren't over driving the tape machine.

Now all that has gone to the wind and new rules are set.... so users should use their equipment to get the sound they want. If it clips, back off the gain a bit. You are responsible for your own sound and posts here on Gearslutz aren't the best place to get advice... use your ears!
Old 26th June 2014
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff_T View Post
Hi
I hear you geoff, but i pad the ins and outs of a lot of my outboard gear to drive the mojo inside the unit. And i'm rarely going from pre to A/D because i usually know what flavor i'm looking to add as a starting point into the box.

I can adjust wherever it hits whatever next piece in the chain. i.e. Don Smith's Little labs Redcloud is a handy little tool to patch in.
Old 26th June 2014
  #18
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Hi
The plus and minus 16 Volt rails of a '500' rack are within the range used by large console manufacturers. An SSL or Neve or whichever will only be using around 17.5 Volts per rail which is only about 1 dB more 'headroom' than 16 Volt rails. Some 'cheaper' desks may use only + and - 15 Volts but again it is only another dB or two less headroom than 17 Volts.
Class A and some other variants of design TEND to distort gradually more as you increase level until at some point it becomes 'critical' and clips. This may be symmetrical or asymmetrical and will 'sound' different.
Desks using ICs or DOA circuits TEND to be very 'clean' right up to the point where they chip then all hell can break loose. These are of course over simplifications but hopefully convey some of the differences.
There are some subtleties in design that make the point at which they 'clip' less objectionable but in most cases it is assumed you won't actually be attempting to push things that high.
Some gear also suffers from 'headroom bottlenecks' the main one being an attempt at insert points that are unbalanced. It costs a lot to have fully balanced inserts so many go unbalanced but the maximum signal level before clipping is only about +22dBu as opposed to a fully balanced design that could run to +28dBu.
Thus if you have +4dBu (0VU) inserts unbalanced, you typically only have 16dB headroom at this point.
Matt S
Old 26th June 2014
  #19
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Hi
As a form of irony, the convertor chips themselves clip at about -12dBu as their supply rails are only 5 Volts so the 'front end' before them is essentially an attenuator.
Matt S
Old 26th June 2014
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff_T View Post
. You are responsible for your own sound and posts here on Gearslutz aren't the best place to get advice... use your ears!
Yes!
Ears!

I use the AML ez1073 which was designed without an output attenuator. It is 500 series and it sounds lovely as is.

But a CAPI Missing Link placed after the AML can produce some very sweet sounds to my ears. I just drive the AML a bit harder and attenuate with the ML. No extra voltage needed for that at all. But may just be the ticket for a 'fatter' sound.
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