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Retro Instruments OP-6 - Portable Microphone Amplifier Single-Channel Preamps
Old 22nd August 2014
  #61
Well I believe it was a little earlier than 1941, mine has some component codes as 1938 but of course there caps that might have been on the shelf for a bit.
It belonged to the RAF probably under the technology swap and lease lend programme. I believe it was used to amplify signals received from distant aircraft and suitcase radio transmitters of the time. RCA had factories in Britain doing jolly top secret stuff, like listening to the Bally old Hun.:-)
Mine has a square section dual impedance input transformer looks more like a UTC than a RCA round can. Anyhoo 90dB of clean gain can help to win a war.
Old 22nd August 2014
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Based on the cost it looks like he went all in... I'm sure it will be great. Vintage ones were already fetching over 3K... now watch them jump to 5K...
There was a Steven Sank rebuilt one up for sale in Pro Audio Heaven LA, a couple of years ago that had a price tag of 7K on it. Phew!.
Old 25th August 2014
  #63
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clonewar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
Personally I think this is stupid and obscene -
no matter how rich you are
and makes me even more curious
how things go on the slate vms front.
When he can model a 1073
what stops him modelling this...?
We get it, you don't want to spend your money on expensive hardware. You have lots of posts backing that up. But you don't have to be so bitter that others choose to buy them, it doesn't affect your productions in any way.

Nothing is going to change with the release of VMS. There are a lot of guys that love using, owning, and collecting high end analog gear. In contrast, I have a friend that just spent over two grand on an intake manifold for his Trans Am, just to pick up a few tenths in the quarter mile. Another friend has a room in his house dedicated to displaying his comic book collection, which he's spent over $50,000 on. I don't ridicule them for wasting their money on 'stupid and obscene' things, even though it's not stuff I'd spend that kind of money on.

I think every once in a while while you're typing in one of your posts you should look at the top of the page and remind yourself of where you're participating.
Old 25th August 2014
  #64
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I agree, rather these days than thinking, "this is absurdly priced and doesn't make sense," I think instead, "I am clearly not the target market for this product."
Old 4th September 2014
  #65
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emrr's Avatar
I've been seeing Google ads for this reissue for 6 months or more, yet no mention of it anywhere.

cce6 microphone preamp - CC&E | Chicago Cathode & Electron CC&E | Chicago Cathode & Electron
Old 4th September 2014
  #66
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Actually, to my knowledge, the RCA OP-6, designed in 1941, was a portable mic preamp for on location broadcast use, not music recording studio use. I doubt there are any songs from that era recorded with them. It just so happens that they also work great for music when a really huge tube sound is called for. I hope Retro captured the magic! I might have to add one of these to complement my originals. Sure looks pretty!

It's in the 1939 catalog, it was the cheap option costing a fraction of what the OP-5 cost.
Old 2nd October 2014
  #67
Gear Addict
 

I buy expensive crap but even I was a bit taken back at the cost...

I would 100% rather buy an original and have it serviced and modded- FOR LESS than the Retro new... And if you don't think thats possible then you haven't been in this business very long... Or even watched ebay much- $2500 is the norm- again thats ebay.

Only the internet GAS idiots and uninformed are paying 3000+ for original, unmodded, unserviced units. Sadly if you google OP6 you won't get much info and threads like this will confirm misleading ebay pricing on units that sit for MONTHS without being sold. I turned one down last year for 1500... 100% working and original.

Sadly part of the reissue problem is the same thing that plagues AMS Neve- poor resale.

If I buy a vintage unit and service it, I can get 100% of my money back OR MORE at sale. From my experience, MORE has been the norm (thanks gearslutz/internet)

The Retro will instantly at purchase lose, just a guess, at least $500...

I currently buy vintage primarily because of that- you get great sonics AND you don't lose money like buying a new car. I would PREFER to buy new gear...

Just get a great tech and call it a day. Sank does great work on these but hes expensive- the mods aren't rocket science.

That said- its not like the Retro is screwing us, the cost could be 100% legit, sadly it doesn't matter... 3500 for JUST a preamp is more than I would spend without GUARANTEED resale.
Old 5th October 2014
  #68
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emwolb View Post
I buy expensive crap but even I was a bit taken back at the cost...

I would 100% rather buy an original and have it serviced and modded- FOR LESS than the Retro new... And if you don't think thats possible then you haven't been in this business very long... Or even watched ebay much- $2500 is the norm- again thats ebay.

Only the internet GAS idiots and uninformed are paying 3000+ for original, unmodded, unserviced units. Sadly if you google OP6 you won't get much info and threads like this will confirm misleading ebay pricing on units that sit for MONTHS without being sold. I turned one down last year for 1500... 100% working and original.

Sadly part of the reissue problem is the same thing that plagues AMS Neve- poor resale.

If I buy a vintage unit and service it, I can get 100% of my money back OR MORE at sale. From my experience, MORE has been the norm (thanks gearslutz/internet)

The Retro will instantly at purchase lose, just a guess, at least $500...

I currently buy vintage primarily because of that- you get great sonics AND you don't lose money like buying a new car. I would PREFER to buy new gear...

Just get a great tech and call it a day. Sank does great work on these but hes expensive- the mods aren't rocket science.

That said- its not like the Retro is screwing us, the cost could be 100% legit, sadly it doesn't matter... 3500 for JUST a preamp is more than I would spend without GUARANTEED resale.
I buy vintage too for this reason... but, along with that $500 hit we take buying Retro gear, you also get one helluva guy in Phil who cares deeply about his gear and bends over completely backwards to repair, replace bad tubes and basically make anything right with a unit of his if there's a problem. That's worth a lot to me.

I've got some vintage gear that I'm on my own with for repair. I'm a musician and a producer who doesn't have much time (or knowledge) to fix things if they are broken.

Just something to think about. Not saying it's right or wrong but the new Retro line of gear is worth the price for 1 because it's great sounding gear, and 2, I can pick up the phone and call Phil when I need something.

They're good people to deal with.
Old 13th November 2014
  #69
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

We now have the RETRO OP-6 loaded into our Preamp folder of the Clipalator on the ZenPro Audio site.

Woohoo!

War
Old 22nd November 2014
  #70
Gear Head
 

War,

I bought a Powerstrip from you years ago that I still use and love. It's my go to pre for vocals.

Since you are one of the few who have heard both, how do you think the pre of the Powerstrip compares to the OP-6? I'm a Retro believer and oh so close to pulling the trigger.

Thanks,
Michael
Old 22nd November 2014
  #71
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Washington's Avatar
 

The AEA RPQ has 80dB of gain and an impedance of more than 10Kohms (and sounds fantastic). The load on the OP-6 is variable, up to 600ohms. Wonder how that would sound with my AEA 44…

Having $ 3.500 crawl in my wallet is a pain.
Shelling $ 3.500 for a single channel of pre is a pain.
Not having an OP-6 is a pain.

Hard to decide which is the worst.
Old 22nd November 2014
  #72
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Washington View Post
The AEA RPQ has 80dB of gain and an impedance of more than 10Kohms (and sounds fantastic). The load on the OP-6 is variable, up to 600ohms. Wonder how that would sound with my AEA 44…
Darker than the RPQ...

I have the AEA RPQ and your right, it is a fantastic mic pre. For any mic not just ribbons. The very high impedance of the RPQ is where it gets the silky highs even on ribbons.

I'd love to try one but I'm guessing the OP 6 would be far darker in comparison because of the lower impedance.

Paired up with a FET mic, I know it would be outstanding.
Old 2nd August 2015
  #73
Here for the gear
 

Would the OP6 sound great with a tube mic? Trying to choose a very fat and versatile mic pre for vocals
Old 2nd August 2015
  #74
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emrr's Avatar
It's way too much gain without a very large input pad. Meant for ribbons and low level dynamics.
Old 2nd August 2015
  #75
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
It's way too much gain without a very large input pad. Meant for ribbons and low level dynamics.
True for the original RCA OP-6 but the Retro OP-6 has a built in switchable 25dB input pad and 3 different input impedance choices.
Old 4th August 2015
  #76
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emrr's Avatar
You have to use a 20+ dB pad with every old 40dB fixed gain preamp too if you have even a loud source on a dynamic mic. You CAN pad the crap out of an OP-6 if your intent is to throw away a ton of gain with the pad, volume control, and/or output control while chasing some mystical overdrive quality and negating the natural interplay between a mic and an input transformer (by inserting a pad in between). If you want something that is really the right gain for a tube condenser, any OP-6 is not it, you need a 10-40dB preamp rather than an 80dB preamp. YMMV....
Old 4th August 2015
  #77
@ emrr - Again, I totally agree and that has been my exact experience with my original RCA OP-6s. I hate pads and I hate inserting anything between any mic and any preamp - the sound always becomes small and confined to my ear. But I have no direct experience with the Retro OP-6 so I wouldn't presume to say how well or poorly it works with tube condensers. The Retro is inspired by the RCA but it is it's own beast designed to be more flexible than the RCA. With the built in switchable input pad and the 3 input impedance choices, depending on how they implemented them and how they designed their input transformer, it could be that they made it work. Do you have direct experience with the Retro OP-6?

@ ndaniels - I'd recommend demoing one and finding out for yourself - and please let us know!
Old 4th August 2015
  #78
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emrr's Avatar
I don't have direct experience with the Retro, I doubt it's needed, I've measured several RCA, which claim 90dB on paper. It's an OP-6 or it isn't, so I can make statements based on the supposed truthfulness of the claim. No condenser mic needs an 80+dB preamp, and any tube preamp has a lot of fixed gain. The input transformer is going to be roughly 20dB gain as a given though it might be 15dB if they went with a lower ratio, the tube before the gain control runs about 45dB at max with not much other than the input pad to avoid overload at this point, and the volume control in mostly throwing away gain, though there is some change in negative feedback too. the output amp is 39dB in itself. All of this says 'designed for ribbon mics and other dynamics'. Even a modern hot dynamic might overload the input stage of an amp like this, and this is true of almost all vintage tube preamps.

Low output condenser with a cathode follower circuit providing no gain after the mic capsule and a step-down transformer? Better chance of working fine, though probably still with the gain cranked way back.

YMMV.....
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