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Safe Sound Audio P501: Get in on the "USA Tour"
Old 7th August 2009
  #1
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Safe Sound Audio P501: Get in on the "USA Tour"

The just released Safe Sound Audio P501 is the first channel strip in the 500 format ever. It is a clean mic pre, accepts instrument or line level via a front panel patch (instead of padding a mic pre!), multi-stage compressor, limiter, built in hi-pass filter, and is now officially part of the API VPR Alliance.

To get the word out and let some folks try it first hand, we are kicking off an official "USA Tour 2009" for studio owners to experience the P501 for a few days and then pass it along to the next studio.

Here's how it works:

A) Contact me via email with your Gearslutz user name, studio's name, location and website
B) Up to 10 studios will be selected, geography will be considered as well (don't want to just let 10 LA or NY studios hear it...!)
C) We will map out the tour by location and contact everybody with their place in line and ship the P501 on its way

You agree to spend up to 3 days with the unit, then place it back in its packaging the following day and forward on to the next recipient via UPS or FedEx ground service.

You agree to report back to me your findings on the P501.

There is no further obligation, nice and laid back and for the cost of shipping you get to experience a new product.

To be considered, contact me via my signature email link with the subject "P501 Tour".

Thanks and good luck.

War
Old 8th August 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 

Count me in Warren! I've been very curious about this since I first read about it.
Awesome idea!!
Old 8th August 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
Hey War.. Seems very interesting....Thanks....!..
Old 11th August 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 

don't sleep!

You have me anxious, Warren!
Old 11th August 2009
  #5
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 



War
Old 13th August 2009
  #6
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Room for a few more on the list.

War
Old 13th August 2009
  #7
Gear Addict
 
embrionic's Avatar
 

Count me in War... cool idea! Does the P501 have to sleep in the van while on tour? ;-) I see an "on the road" video begging to be made...
Old 13th August 2009
  #8
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Actually, it will bring you chicks and coke while you're puking in the bathroom!

War
Old 18th August 2009
  #9
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Couple more spaces to fill on the map for a complete tour, email me if interested...

War
Old 18th August 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
musicbydesign's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Couple more spaces to fill on the map for a complete tour, email me if interested...

War
I think Pan Should be on that list if he has the time to put it thru it's paces.

Daniel
Old 24th August 2009
  #11
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Pan will get a listen soon fo' sho'...

War
Old 24th August 2009
  #12
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

War did offer guys, i am just playing catch up: )~ heh
i need to get a few projects, and a few more interviews reviews to get done before i take on anything else, but i will get to it.
and i am very excited to get a look at this little beast: )~
Old 26th August 2009
  #13
Gear Head
 
Esrb99's Avatar
Man I need to get into the 500 series...
Old 28th August 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 



warren got me a spot on the tour!!!

i'll be putting the unit to the test on voice over and hopefully some singing. i love testing gear on voices cos everyone knows what the human voice should sound like and any subtle effect or character of any gear will hopefully show through! can't wait!!! thanks again war!
Old 15th September 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
Hello.. I received the 501 on the first leg of the tour..I had the pleasure of demo'ing it and I have to say it's a really nice sounding pre/compressor/limiter..! Really well built..It's clean, smooth, and not hard to dail in a good setting..Being the only SS pre I had while dem'oed it, ( I have only tube/tranny based pres of my own), I was pleasently suprised at the mic pre on the 501..I had been under the impression that most IC/SS designed pres were usually " straight wire and sterile". Not so with the 501..!.. It's not as " warm" sounding as the tranny pres, but definately not straight wire either..!.. Good job on this War..When budget allows, I'll definately be considering at least one of these.....Thanks again War for the demo time and good luck with this product..Oh well...have to send it on to the next stop on tour...
Old 17th September 2009
  #16
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Thanks for the post Snatchman, the P501 is moving on now...

War
Old 22nd September 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
musicbydesign's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snatchman View Post
Hello.. I received the 501 on the first leg of the tour..I had the pleasure of demo'ing it and I have to say it's a really nice sounding pre/compressor/limiter..! Really well built..It's clean, smooth, and not hard to dail in a good setting..Being the only SS pre I had while dem'oed it, ( I have only tube/tranny based pres of my own), I was pleasently suprised at the mic pre on the 501..I had been under the impression that most IC/SS designed pres were usually " straight wire and sterile". Not so with the 501..!.. It's not as " warm" sounding as the tranny pres, but definately not straight wire either..!.. Good job on this War..When budget allows, I'll definately be considering at least one of these.....Thanks again War for the demo time and good luck with this product..Oh well...have to send it on to the next stop on tour...
I think it would be cool if everyone on the 'tour' put up some audio they recorded with it, with photos and a list of the chain/s they used. That would be cool, more like show & tell heh.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #18
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

That would be fine by me..!

War
Old 16th October 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 

Thumbs up P501 review

Hey guys!

Well the P501 came through my town! I recorded a bunch of voice over using my Schoeps CMC641 and SM7b. Since I mostly record with the Schoeps I played with that mic most. Firstly, let me disclose that the only other pres I had to compare with were the Purple Biz and Pendulum Quartet (obviously not 500 series). I have used tons of other pres in my career, but never side by side. In this case, I only wanted to compare what I tend to use everyday. My regular setup for VO type recording is Biz->Quartet EQ-> Quartet Comp->Protools. This typically sounds great for most people.

For this test I tried the P501 in different stages. First I recorded with the pre only and found a juicy level. Then I tried to match the level going through the Biz. As just preamps they both sound really good. The Biz has too many ways to tweak input/output gain and dual switch so I just left it at the setting I normally use. Anyway, there were differences, although only engineers could tell or care. In this case I preferred the P501 because it presented the takes with slightly better definition and presence. I don't know what those 'neve' type 500pres sound like to compare, but this pre sounded nice and 'in the pocket'. When going back the Biz I thought the takes sounded good, but less definition and more bassy. I think the design philosophy behind most of the Purple stuff is for nice fat bass stuff anyway, so I wasn't too surprised. At this point I wasn't gonna compare the Quartet pre since I knew the tube sound would be warmer and less defined anyway. Don't get me wrong, the Quartet has a nice tube pre, but the extra warmth with this mic pairing sometimes add too much 'wool'.

Next I left out the Biz and focused on checking out the limiter and compressor section of the P501. I did a take at the same gain settings and engaged the limiter. The take was nice and slightly louder without any weird flattening. Then I threw on the comp at a .1ms attack and 6:1 ratio (this thing has auto makeup and release times). I would normally never track at a stronger compression level than 4:1, but this sounded really good! It was nicely compressed without pumping/sucking and the auto release and gain seem to work out nicely. I recorded a take with the ratio set to infinite:1 which I assumed would crush it. Well, it came out more compressed for sure, but horribly squashed? Not really, and in a good way. I don't know why you'd want to megacompress something like that, but I guess people do. At this level, the breaths sounded too sucked up and I hate that sound, but the rest of the VO was still usable. This leads me to believe you could probably compress more than you're used to and still get nice sounding results.

Just for kicks I paired the P501 with the infamous SM7b. I had to crank the gain higher than the Schoeps, but I think we all knew that was coming. However, this pre is nice and quiet with a low noise floor. I never record VO with this mic cos every pre I've used with it is just too noisy, or not enough gain, or both! This is the best pairing I've encountered when it comes to not sounding noisy. Compressed the SM7b sounded pretty good too. This module would definitely give me a reason to actually use the mic once in a while.

Other thoughts...

I love the knob colors and the meters are very useful! It's nice being able to see gain level and gain reduction at the same time. As usual, if I have the option, I always have the bass roll-off enabled. One thing I thought was strange was that in order to enable things like the comp, 48v, and limiter you have to flip the switch away from the marking. Suffice to say, I was like 'why're there no phantom!!?!' and 'why's there no gain reduction?!'. After reading the manual I was set straight. It was also interesting to find the attack times increasing going counterclockwise. I think for some hands, the switches might be a tad small.

Okay, I know I said I was gonna track three pres, and really only did two. I have tons of recordings with the old chain and variations. I went back and listened to a bunch of old projects versus the test recordings and the sessions I tracked with the P501 and confirmed what I wrote in the beginning. Clean, detailed, and smooth compression! I would almost say more detailed than my other chain. Man, this thing has me confused now cos it's so great that such a tiny module could have so many features and sound great. Makes me wonder if I had one full time, would I even use my other tracking gear?! The only thing I would need would be an EQ! The sessions I tracked for actual clients left me not having to mix the VO except for EQ. Listening to old projects made me realize how much extra work I was doing, only to have things sound nice, but 'processy'. This was a very nice results without having to do a whole lotta post, besides editing.

Final thoughts...

Awesome! This unit fulfills almost all of my tracking desires and got me 75% close to a final mix, which is huge productivity leap!!! Honestly, the P501 provides so much functionality it kinda blows me away! Anything that makes my work easier is a godsend, not to mention if it sounds great that makes it all the more worth it. It seems lately that the 500 series has blown up in a crazy way, one that I cannot keep up with anymore. Prices have gone up on many units while only offering one or two features and seem to be slightly different variations on each other. The P501 does it's own thing and adds more to the package. Oh yeah, there's a DI, but I didn't even get to try it. Even if it sounds like crap (which I really doubt), it's definitely another cherry on top!

I'll have files posted in the next day or two. I would put up the whole PT session, but I'll probably just post up stems.

Many thanks to Warren and SafeSound for letting me check out the P501 and adding another layer to my GAS!!! heh

Old 20th October 2009
  #20
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

You are very welcome, glad to hear your thoughts.

War
Old 9th November 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 

female vo test

hey everyone,

finally getting around to wrangling files together. pretty much everytime i tracked with the p501 i had the HPF on, limit on and comp set to 6:1. i know most people would think that's an almost extreme amount for tracking, but most of the time it worked! looking back i might not go that far with it, but in most cases it sounded great and got me a nice RMS so i didn't have to mix a whole lot. all files were recording with a schoeps cmc641 at 16/48. here's some female reads of a sales piece and character audition she did for a show.
Attached Files

audition f.wav (4.06 MB, 533 views)

sales vo f.wav (1.10 MB, 505 views)

Old 9th November 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 

male vo test

here's a male actor reading two different characters for an audition and then a training video narration, all with the same settings as above. one of the audition cuts is more dynamic and loud, hence i had to turn the gain down quite a bit. even with the limiter on it's hard to get a nice beefy signal so he sounds a little farther away, a common issue when trying to record very dynamic characters.
Attached Files

audition m01.wav (2.90 MB, 599 views)

audition m02.wav (1.76 MB, 506 views)

training m.wav (1.98 MB, 508 views)

Old 9th November 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 

compressor tests

here are some takes messing around with the compressor. i did a take dry with no comp or limiter on, a take with the comp at 6:1 and the limiter on, and a "smashed" take with the comp set to inf:1 and limiter on. finally, just out of morbid curiousity i did a take with the sm7b with comp 6:1 and limiter on. i left a lot of roomtone and noise at the front so you can hear what the self noise of the mic is with this pre.
Attached Files

p501 test dry.wav (1.55 MB, 572 views)

p501 test comp and limit.wav (2.11 MB, 566 views)

p501 test smashed.wav (1.96 MB, 527 views)

p501 sm7 test comp and limit.wav (2.23 MB, 612 views)

Old 10th November 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
musicbydesign's Avatar
 

~cubivore~ , Excellent clips you've got there. The pre sounds nice and clean and the compressor also. Thanks for sharing as your work is good enough for anything in my opinion.

Daniel
Old 10th November 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
cubivore's Avatar
 

thanks for the kind words, daniel. i hope the clips help people out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbydesign View Post
~cubivore~ , Excellent clips you've got there. The pre sounds nice and clean and the compressor also. Thanks for sharing as your work is good enough for anything in my opinion.

Daniel
Old 11th November 2009
  #26
Gear Addict
 
mattsplace's Avatar
 

Any Europen tour in plan?! :P
Old 11th November 2009
  #27
Gear Head
 
SafeSoundAudio's Avatar
 

P501 European Tour

I'd be up for organising a P501 European Tour on the same basis as Warren has done for the US. Shipping stuff around Europe can get pricey so it might be best to tackle one or two countries at a time where we have dealers. UK is no problem as we are based there.

So if you're interested;

A)Contact me via email with your Gearslutz user name, studio's name, location and website
B) Up to 10 studios will be selected, geography will be considered as well to keep the shipping costs down.
C) We will map out the tour by location and contact everybody with their place in line and ship the P501 on its way

You agree to spend up to 3 days with the unit, then place it back in its packaging the following day and forward on to the next recipient via UPS or FedEx ground service.

You agree to report back to me your findings on the P501.

There is no further obligation, nice and laid back and for the cost of shipping you get to experience a new product.

To be considered, contact me via my signature email link with the subject "P501 European Tour".

Cheers

Robert
Safe Sound Audio

[email protected]
Old 15th April 2010
  #28
Gear Head
 

Exclamation

If there is anyone interested from the Czech republic or Slovakia please feel free to contact Audiopro s.r.o. as SSA distributor (see contacts here: Kontakty | audiopro ) or you can contact me directly (+420 605 219 170).

Safa

(CZ Pokud si chce vyrobky SSA vyzkouset nekdo z Ceska ci Slovenska kontaktujte bud firmu Audiopro s.r.o. coby dovozce (viz kontakty tady : Kontakty | audiopro ), nebo me klidne me muzete kontaktovat primo na tel +420 605 219 170 . Pokud bude zarizeni volne muzeme se domluvit na tydenni zapujcce.

Safa.
Old 15th April 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 
otobianki74's Avatar
 

this is a really cool module. just got it a few weeks ago and used it on a VO session. it was super clean with a ton of gain. really nice having the filter on it. tracked with the compressor (which as they advertise is super transparent). very versatile module for the money. it allows you to use the DI input to utilize the compressor/limiter section for mix down with a switch that toggles between line (balanced) and instrument (unbalanced).

nice metering, very well made.

impressed.

oto
Old 16th April 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Tom H's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeSoundAudio View Post
I'd be up for organising a P501 European Tour on the same basis as Warren has done for the US. Shipping stuff around Europe can get pricey so it might be best to tackle one or two countries at a time where we have dealers. UK is no problem as we are based there.

So if you're interested;

A)Contact me via email with your Gearslutz user name, studio's name, location and website
B) Up to 10 studios will be selected, geography will be considered as well to keep the shipping costs down.
C) We will map out the tour by location and contact everybody with their place in line and ship the P501 on its way

You agree to spend up to 3 days with the unit, then place it back in its packaging the following day and forward on to the next recipient via UPS or FedEx ground service.

You agree to report back to me your findings on the P501.

There is no further obligation, nice and laid back and for the cost of shipping you get to experience a new product.

To be considered, contact me via my signature email link with the subject "P501 European Tour".

Cheers

Robert
Safe Sound Audio

[email protected]
Did this ever take off? Just mailed you, I would be happy to do a little review.

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