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Blue Stripe Rev A original VS Clones, Are they even close? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 4th April 2015
  #1
Blue Stripe Rev A original VS Clones, Are they even close?

After seeing vintage Urei Rev A blue stripe units fetching $6k to $7K on ebay My curiosity is really peaked. I have built 2 of the HairBall REV A clones and really like them. My question is, do the original units and the clone sound close? Ive never had the pleasure of running a vintage blue stripe unit to make any comparisons, and I am wondering if anyone else has?
Old 4th April 2015
  #2
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burns46824's Avatar
Haven't done comparisons, but the original bluestripes do have a relatively high noise floor. They are amazing for mixing vox, though...
Old 5th April 2015
  #3
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Highphi's Avatar
 

I'm sure you know this comment was well on it's way... wouldn't the better question to ask be... "Do any two vintage blue stripe units sound the same today?" What is everybody chasing when 50 year electronics drift from production values in non-predictable ways? Nostalgia? Internet hype? Do the hairball units sound like the blue stripes did back in the 60's? Or do they sound like aged units sound today?
Old 5th April 2015
  #4
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Id rather have the hairball and $6k in my pocket. Whatever the sonic differences, you can rest assured it's not a $6k difference.
Old 5th April 2015
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipps View Post
Id rather have the hairball and $6k in my pocket. Whatever the sonic differences, you can rest assured it's not a $6k difference.
I will agree with that, just wanting to hear from owners of these units to get there impressions of the clones that are out there. I also agree these units will sound different from each other, I own about 10k in compressors and know how vintage gear can vary also. I guess for me it's crazy to see a 1176 version go for kinda cash. It's not a Fairchild!
Old 5th April 2015
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highphi View Post
I'm sure you know this comment was well on it's way... wouldn't the better question to ask be... "Do any two vintage blue stripe units sound the same today?" What is everybody chasing when 50 year electronics drift from production values in non-predictable ways? Nostalgia? Internet hype? Do the hairball units sound like the blue stripes did back in the 60's? Or do they sound like aged units sound today?

That in a way is kind of my question too. What makes this version of 1176 worth that kind of cash? I understand that quantity built is a driving force, I get that the Rev A units have more drive and noise also, building 4 1176 kits taught me a lot. I really dig the sound of my Blue stripe clone, I'm just curious is it even close.

Last edited by countrymetalguy; 5th April 2015 at 04:19 AM..
Old 5th April 2015
  #7
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I've thought about this also and have yet to see any owner of both comment. Audio files would be a blessing but you know, that probably won't happen.... would be nice though
Old 5th April 2015
  #8
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

They do sound the same if they are a consecutive serial and were used in the same mastering environment forever and sti got the original caps in them. But admittedly i only own one pair of such. Quite rare.
Old 5th April 2015
  #9
Village Idiot
 
Labs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymetalguy View Post
After seeing vintage Urei Rev A blue stripe units fetching $6k to $7K on ebay My curiosity is really peaked. I have built 2 of the HairBall REV A clones and really like them. My question is, do the original units and the clone sound close? Ive never had the pleasure of running a vintage blue stripe unit to make any comparisons, and I am wondering if anyone else has?
It makes no sense to worry about these things. The price of an original bluestripe is determined by a ton of variables that go beyond the mere tool value, and the marginal returns on the added cost are probably microscopic to some, while it will be enormous to others, also depending on the size of their wallets and biases (Owning one would be a good example) and so on.

The important question is, are you happy with your hairball comps? Not if your neighbours comps are better, or if you're missing out on anything.

In 50 years, these units may all be worth nothing...

Gustav
Old 5th April 2015
  #10
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The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

Sorry that I can't comment on a real Rev A vs a Hairball, but I'm super happy with my Rev A Hairball! I can't imagine it being any better, but then perhaps I just have a terrible imagination. I've used original (Rev D/F) and UA 1176s and... it sounds like an 1176 to me

It's so good, I have a Rev D Hairball coming soon.
Old 6th April 2015
  #11
Gear Head
 

Ive got both hairball blue stripe and original. I built the the hairball versions to replace my original as I thought the price was becoming to high to justify keeping it.. First off the hairballs sound great and I love them.. especially as I have a stereo pair..
In comparing them to the original they are similar but at the end of the day they couldn't replace my original. To me it wasn't just a case of sounding different the original sounds better. So I ended up keeping it.. Are they over priced? Well I'm not rich and could do with the extra cash but I'm not selling mine... The hairballs are more versatile again maybe because I have a pair but the original can't be beat on vocals and is a bit of a one trick pony but does that trick better than any other. I'm in the process of building a new studio but once complete i will look into getting some audio files up for you guys..
Old 6th April 2015
  #12
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I can't read 'Rev A Hairball' without imagining some crazy street preacher.
Old 6th April 2015
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonegirater View Post
Ive got both hairball blue stripe and original. I built the the hairball versions to replace my original as I thought the price was becoming to high to justify keeping it.. First off the hairballs sound great and I love them.. especially as I have a stereo pair..
In comparing them to the original they are similar but at the end of the day they couldn't replace my original. To me it wasn't just a case of sounding different the original sounds better. So I ended up keeping it.. Are they over priced? Well I'm not rich and could do with the extra cash but I'm not selling mine... The hairballs are more versatile again maybe because I have a pair but the original can't be beat on vocals and is a bit of a one trick pony but does that trick better than any other. I'm in the process of building a new studio but once complete i will look into getting some audio files up for you guys..
Thanks for your insite! I too own a pair of the HB Rev A units and love them. I wouldnt spend the asking price to get an original, but its nice to hear someone with first hand experience to actually make the comparison.
Old 6th April 2015
  #14
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Brian Campbell's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
I can't read 'Rev A Hairball' without imagining some crazy street preacher.
Quote of the week.
I had a great belly laugh over that. Thanks.
Old 6th April 2015
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymetalguy View Post
Thanks for your insite! I too own a pair of the HB Rev A units and love them. I wouldnt spend the asking price to get an original, but its nice to hear someone with first hand experience to actually make the comparison.
No Problem, when I set up again in couple of months I will post some audio files so you can hear the difference!
Old 7th April 2015
  #16
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Labs View Post
In 50 years, these units may all be worth nothing...

Gustav
Ha, not likely. Imagine someone saying that about a Fairchild or a U47 in the 1950s. My hypothesis: these will still be worth a lot in 50 years and the plugins we use today will be worth nothing in 5 years.
Old 7th April 2015
  #17
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Labs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
Ha, not likely. Imagine someone saying that about a Fairchild or a U47 in the 1950s. My hypothesis: these will still be worth a lot in 50 years and the plugins we use today will be worth nothing in 5 years.
It was just a side comment, operative word being may, to put the focus on minute details into perspective, but even so...

You mention two units that turned out to be worth something 50 years later, but I am sure you could look back and make a huge list of things people would be shocked to see are worthless today.

Where are you buying tape these days, for example?



Gustav
Old 7th April 2015
  #18
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Labs View Post

Where are you buying tape these days, for example?



Gustav
I buy it from Vintage King and Superdigital, a local dealer.
Old 7th April 2015
  #19
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I've 2 Blue Face 1176 [originals] with stereo interlink ... I would love to have them looked over, refurbished if needed.

Since we have an 1176 gathering ... who do you guys recommend ? Someone like Jim Williams ?? Who in the US.

thanks !
Old 7th April 2015
  #20
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softshoe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
I've 2 Blue Face 1176 [originals] with stereo interlink ... I would love to have them looked over, refurbished if needed.

Since we have an 1176 gathering ... who do you guys recommend ? Someone like Jim Williams ?? Who in the US.

thanks !
I would not recommend Jim Williams for vintage gear. David Kulka from studioelectronics.biz would be my recommendation.
Old 8th April 2015
  #21
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Thanks softshoe ... I bookmarked the link !

Old 9th May 2015
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonegirater View Post
Ive got both hairball blue stripe and original. I built the the hairball versions to replace my original as I thought the price was becoming to high to justify keeping it.. First off the hairballs sound great and I love them.. especially as I have a stereo pair..
In comparing them to the original they are similar but at the end of the day they couldn't replace my original. To me it wasn't just a case of sounding different the original sounds better. So I ended up keeping it.. Are they over priced? Well I'm not rich and could do with the extra cash but I'm not selling mine... The hairballs are more versatile again maybe because I have a pair but the original can't be beat on vocals and is a bit of a one trick pony but does that trick better than any other. I'm in the process of building a new studio but once complete i will look into getting some audio files up for you guys..
Great info ! can you please elaborate on the differences you hear between the original and the clones for vocals ?

I'm in the process of building a Rev A clone, it should sound different than a clone made using stock Hairball components because I've sourced original UTC O-12 input transformer, a vintage UA5002 output transformer, many of the caps used in the original (Phillips, Cornell Dubilier etc.) and Carbon Comp resistors..

All original documentation including the bias calibration is available online so tuning the gain reduction to behave exactly like an original is pretty doable..
Old 10th May 2015
  #23
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nyandres's Avatar
Contact Bill Jones at Kenetek,

He can make you a blue stripe with real UREI parts. His Kenetek 1176ln, is the best 1176ln I have ever used. I have tried a few, and now own 2 1176s. A warm audio and a kenetek (would have bought too, but don't really have that type of cash).

This is his site The Kenetek 1176LN

Anyways, the Kenetek I have is his blueface. You can read about them on his site. He uses the same exact transformers and other parts as the original. It sounds much better than the Warm Audio and the UA. I'd recommend going that route highly. It takes 2 or so weeks to have the unit in your hands.
Old 10th May 2015
  #24
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanTan View Post
Great info ! can you please elaborate on the differences you hear between the original and the clones for vocals ?

I'm in the process of building a Rev A clone, it should sound different than a clone made using stock Hairball components because I've sourced original UTC O-12 input transformer, a vintage UA5002 output transformer, many of the caps used in the original (Phillips, Cornell Dubilier etc.) and Carbon Comp resistors..

All original documentation including the bias calibration is available online so tuning the gain reduction to behave exactly like an original is pretty doable..
I too used carbon comp resistors in my hairball builds as I was aware how different blue stripes sound from other 1176's. Think your on the right track with the original parts.
The hairball actually sounds a bit bigger in someways (low mids). But I guess the reason a prefer the original is in the way it subtly distorts vocals in a pleasing way. Can't really say anymore than that.. Will get some files up once I have them side by side again.
Old 10th May 2015
  #25
Gear Maniac
it is worth noting that you can really sink loads of hours into building your own 1176 rev A. I had built my own diy unit that was based on serials 101-124 about five years ago and modified it to the current mnats rev A 1.2.5 spec that is based on serials 125 to 216. This was a full day of work, but worth it imho. My unit has the UTC o-12 input transformer and I am looking to source an original output transformer. From my own experience with API 2503 style reproductions, the Ed Anderson transformers sound great, but may vary in sound from original vintage units in the circuit. I had tried several brands of signal path capacitors to find that they also change the sound of the unit. Also note that the Mnats style pcb's use a generic modern onboard power supply that will also sound different than the original design. If you start to think about different transistor and resistor types and the effect of pcb component placement and routing, there are millions of permutations that can affect the sound. To sum it up, my unit sounds great, sometimes I use it on vocals, sometimes my LA2A sounds better, sometimes the CL-1b, sometimes RComp :-)
Old 10th May 2015
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mart View Post
it is worth noting that you can really sink loads of hours into building your own 1176 rev A. I had built my own diy unit that was based on serials 101-124 about five years ago and modified it to the current mnats rev A 1.2.5 spec that is based on serials 125 to 216. This was a full day of work, but worth it imho. My unit has the UTC o-12 input transformer and I am looking to source an original output transformer. From my own experience with API 2503 style reproductions, the Ed Anderson transformers sound great, but may vary in sound from original vintage units in the circuit. I had tried several brands of signal path capacitors to find that they also change the sound of the unit. Also note that the Mnats style pcb's use a generic modern onboard power supply that will also sound different than the original design. If you start to think about different transistor and resistor types and the effect of pcb component placement and routing, there are millions of permutations that can affect the sound. To sum it up, my unit sounds great, sometimes I use it on vocals, sometimes my LA2A sounds better, sometimes the CL-1b, sometimes RComp :-)
Yeah I agree, its not a compressor for every vocal.. Bit of a one trick pony really.
If you want the blue stripe vibe the hairballs will get you there.
Your never going to make a exact copy for the reasons you stated.
Old 10th May 2015
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonegirater View Post
The hairball actually sounds a bit bigger in someways (low mids). But I guess the reason a prefer the original is in the way it subtly distorts vocals in a pleasing way. Can't really say anymore than that.. Will get some files up once I have them side by side again.
Hey thanks ! That's great to know, when I've got the Hairball Rev A for demo the thing I liked about it the most was the GR behavior, but something about the distortion signature wasn't exactly what I expected, it was kinda high mid forward to my ears.. So we have switched all audio passing components to the stuff used on the originals, I'll get it hopefully on Tuesday, can't wait !
Old 10th May 2015
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonegirater View Post
Yeah I agree, its not a compressor for every vocal.. Bit of a one trick pony really.
What style of vocals it doesn't work on in your opinion ? My current go to vocal comp on mixdowns is the Retro STA level, it's really great but sometimes I'm looking for a punchier more in your face kinda sound so I think the BS Rev A/B can perfectly fit the bill and compliment the STA Level.. I bet chaining them could work pretty great too..
Old 10th May 2015
  #29
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanTan View Post
What style of vocals it doesn't work on in your opinion ? My current go to vocal comp on mixdowns is the Retro STA level, it's really great but sometimes I'm looking for a punchier more in your face kinda sound so I think the BS Rev A/B can perfectly fit the bill and compliment the STA Level.. I bet chaining them could work pretty great too..
Yep the In your face sound your looking for is what it does well.
Mid foward aggressive.. But you can back it off to varying degrees.
So where I wouldn't want those charterisics i would reach for a la2a for a more mellow character.. Sta level I would see as somewhere in between. Obvoiusly this is just a generalisation to the way I see it and sometimes the opposite could apply
Old 10th May 2015
  #30
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Showcase's Avatar
 

I bought a bluestrip clone, sounded great, bought a vintage output transformer same as in the original, got better (in my ears) overall sound and nicer low end, bought an old original input transformer, and the highs got more open... so it got from somewhat flat sounding to more coloured. To me for the better. Most of the "sound" is coming from the transformers, I switched out some smaller parts like I think it was an op amp, transistors to the same as the original but didnt hear a difference really there
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