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Avalon 737 vs. other pres
Old 16th January 2007
  #1
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Avalon 737 vs. other pres

I feel compelled to make this post, as there is a whole lotta hatin' around these parts towards the venerable 737. I happen to think that it is a great piece of gear, and judging by the amount of hit recordings that have been done with these there are many other professionals who feel the same way. There are a lot of beginners here on gearslutz looking for sound advice (pun intended), and misinformation can get in the way of their progress in the art/science of recording.

I'm not saying that these things are the "best" piece of equipment ever or the "be all end all" for mic pres, but in the right hands they are extremely tough to beat.

Here are some links to a few recordings that I've done with the 737 on vox. If you think that you have better recordings done with different pres, then post 'em. Basically, it's a "put your money where your mouth is" type thing.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/BallinMix.mp3

All vox recorded with a C800 -> 737 -> Adat XT20. Mixed on a d8b using the onboard eq and dynamics. The fx/verb are M5K and PCM90. This song is on ******s "Paid The Cost..." album. This is unmastered.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/HoldinOnMix.mp3

This is recorded with a C800 -> 737 -> MX2424. Quick 1 hour mix on the d8b using onboard eq and dynamics. The fx/verb are M5K and PCM90. Obviously, this is Nate Dogg and I believe that this particular song was for a movie soundtrack. This is unmastered.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/EveryWhereIGo.mp3

All vox recorded with a C12VR -> 737 -> MX2424. Mixed on the d8b using the onboard dynamics and eq. This is one of my favorite mixes that I ever did, and the beat was created by my favorite producer ever - Swizz. This is the last song on Tha Eastsidaz 2nd album.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/VamoMiGentes.mp3

All vox recorded with a Blue Kiwi -> 737 -> PTHD Accel. Mixed 100% ITB. This song was produced (I made the beat and produced the vocals), recorded, mixed, and mastered by yours truly. Listen to the third verse for some pretty cool fx on the lv. It's all in Spanish, but don't sleep on it cuz it's definitely bangin'. The artist (who will go unnamed) screwed his deal off (and my part of it as well) because of a serious drug problem. Too bad, because he's an amazing vocalist and there is ZERO auto-tune on this. All of the vox tracks are just the one guy.

I have a different song for everyday of the week that I could use for this thread. These are just what I have uploaded right now. Enough to prove my point, though.

Come on 737 haters - show me what you got!
Old 16th January 2007
  #2
Old 16th January 2007
  #3
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con?one's Avatar
 

i don't think it's pure garbage, i'm just not a big fan of the mic pre... makes a decent compressor
Old 16th January 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by con?one View Post
i don't think it's pure garbage, i'm just not a big fan of the mic pre... makes a decent compressor

i actually feel the opposite, that the preamp and eq are the finer points to the 737 and the compression section leaves something to be desired.

as far as making quality vocal recordings with the 737, it definitely can be and has been done. i am sure there are hundreds of hit recordings on the books where the 737 was used for the vocal chain.

overall i am a fan of the 737 and don't really understand all the bashing that goes on regarding it. it doesn't have that Neve or API sound, of course, but why should we only have two flavours of preamplification?


peace.
~j.d.
Old 16th January 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjustice View Post
i actually feel the opposite, that the preamp and eq are the finer points to the 737 and the compression section leaves something to be desired.

as far as making quality vocal recordings with the 737, it definitely can be and has been done. i am sure there are hundreds of hit recordings on the books where the 737 was used for the vocal chain.

overall i am a fan of the 737 and don't really understand all the bashing that goes on regarding it. it doesn't have that Neve or API sound, of course, but why should we only have two flavours of preamplification?


peace.
~j.d.


My sentiments exactly.
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Old 16th January 2007
  #6
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not everything's for everyone... i never bashed it, but there are plenty of other options, in that price range, that sound better to me.
one thing i will say though, the reason the 737sp is SO much more popular than most other mic pres out there has little to due with quality and PLENTY to due with the fact that when the average civilian consumer goes into their local GC, Sam Ash, etc... the avalon is THE mic pre that gets sold on the "higher" (in their opinion) end.
Old 16th January 2007
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by con?one View Post
i don't think it's pure garbage, i'm just not a big fan of the mic pre... makes a decent compressor
The compressor is the #1 complaint about the 737... It's the other sections that shine. It's not a "strong" sound though, pretty subtle. I don't think it's bad, I just think that now a lot of people are looking for channel strips or pre's that put more 'character' in their sound. I say, use everything for what it's best at. Nothing is perfect in every situation
Old 16th January 2007
  #8
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t-dizzle, you have permission to post all these tracks? Just curious..

I love the 737 pre, but am not partial to the comp or eq in it, personally.
Old 16th January 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5 View Post
t-dizzle, you have permission to post all these tracks? Just curious..
Well, here's Curious George with a gift for you -

dfegad
Old 16th January 2007
  #10
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t.dizzle's Avatar
 

So yeah, I'm still waiting to hear something that sounds better than any of the examples that I posted.
Old 16th January 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by con?one View Post
not everything's for everyone... i never bashed it, but there are plenty of other options, in that price range, that sound better to me.
one thing i will say though, the reason the 737sp is SO much more popular than most other mic pres out there has little to due with quality and PLENTY to due with the fact that when the average civilian consumer goes into their local GC, Sam Ash, etc... the avalon is THE mic pre that gets sold on the "higher" (in their opinion) end.
this pretty much sums it up. Except I'll say I dont like it...again and again and again
Old 16th January 2007
  #12
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Actually, thats bull****. The reason why this unit is so popular is because it sounds good. Good enough to make big time records. And it's ok to not like it. But to say that it's a hunk of junk is way outta line.
Old 16th January 2007
  #13
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Ace'Lo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
I feel compelled to make this post, as there is a whole lotta hatin' around these parts towards the venerable 737. I happen to think that it is a great piece of gear, and judging by the amount of hit recordings that have been done with these there are many other professionals who feel the same way. There are a lot of beginners here on gearslutz looking for sound advice (pun intended), and misinformation can get in the way of their progress in the art/science of recording.

I'm not saying that these things are the "best" piece of equipment ever or the "be all end all" for mic pres, but in the right hands they are extremely tough to beat.

Here are some links to a few recordings that I've done with the 737 on vox. If you think that you have better recordings done with different pres, then post 'em. Basically, it's a "put your money where your mouth is" type thing.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/BallinMix.mp3

All vox recorded with a C800 -> 737 -> Adat XT20. Mixed on a d8b using the onboard eq and dynamics. The fx/verb are M5K and PCM90. This song is on ******s "Paid The Cost..." album. This is unmastered.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/HoldinOnMix.mp3

This is recorded with a C800 -> 737 -> MX2424. Quick 1 hour mix on the d8b using onboard eq and dynamics. The fx/verb are M5K and PCM90. Obviously, this is Nate Dogg and I believe that this particular song was for a movie soundtrack. This is unmastered.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/EveryWhereIGo.mp3

All vox recorded with a C12VR -> 737 -> MX2424. Mixed on the d8b using the onboard dynamics and eq. This is one of my favorite mixes that I ever did, and the beat was created by my favorite producer ever - Swizz. This is the last song on Tha Eastsidaz 2nd album.

http://home.comcast.net/~mixxit.tb/VamoMiGentes.mp3

All vox recorded with a Blue Kiwi -> 737 -> PTHD Accel. Mixed 100% ITB. This song was produced (I made the beat and produced the vocals), recorded, mixed, and mastered by yours truly. Listen to the third verse for some pretty cool fx on the lv. It's all in Spanish, but don't sleep on it cuz it's definitely bangin'. The artist (who will go unnamed) screwed his deal off (and my part of it as well) because of a serious drug problem. Too bad, because he's an amazing vocalist and there is ZERO auto-tune on this. All of the vox tracks are just the one guy.

I have a different song for everyday of the week that I could use for this thread. These are just what I have uploaded right now. Enough to prove my point, though.

Come on 737 haters - show me what you got!
So Dizzle I see you styling on them fools!! But I wanted to know..I have the 737 with the Babyface Mod. And I'm wondering, since you used the Sony C800 on alot of the tracks, do you think I would fare well with a Gefell M92.1?
Old 16th January 2007
  #14
Possibly the Avalon 737 would be one of my last choices for a preamp at that price range....just is not my flavor....but french love them!!!!
Old 16th January 2007
  #15
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Ace - never used that mic before, so I don't really know. You really can't go wrong with the 737 with any good mic, and I assume that the Gefell is a good one. The mic is way more important than the mic pre.

There's someone on gearslutz that has a signature line that says "Stop the mic pre madness". Great quote.
Old 16th January 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMIEL View Post
Possibly the Avalon 737 would be one of my last choices for a preamp at that price range....just is not my flavor....but french love them!!!!
More opinions with nothing to back them up.
Old 16th January 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
Well, here's Curious George with a gift for you -

dfegad

.... Do you work for Avalon or something? Jesus.
Old 16th January 2007
  #18
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
More opinions with nothing to back them up.



damn man chill out, lol...he simply said its not his flavor.



me personally, i dig the avalon when i want a bit of a cleaner sound, RnB vocals and such. Its definitely not bad, but not my first choice pre either. i just like the character i get from my Neve or Shadow Hills or Purple. I wouldn't hesitate to use the 737, its just not my go to pre. Nothing wrong with it, and the EQ section is nice. The hunk of junk talk is just a bunch of BS.
Old 16th January 2007
  #19
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

I think too much credit is being given to the equipment used and not the artist's who performed these songs. You could probably get the same result with a Mackie preamp. Give me Snoop, a SM57 and a Mackie and it's still going to sound like Snoop.

The 737 is not a horrible piece of gear... it is a lackluster preamp combined with a really good EQ, and mediocre compressor. Better results may have been achieved with better gear. Like a more colorful preamp, a faster compressor, more modern converters, etc. But at the end of the day, Snoop will sound like Snoop through whatever you put in front of him..
Old 16th January 2007
  #20
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
Actually, thats bull****. The reason why this unit is so popular is because it sounds good. Good enough to make big time records. And it's ok to not like it. But to say that it's a hunk of junk is way outta line.
Never said it was a hunk of junk. I said I dont like it, might've even said I hated it once or twice. My whole point is when I walk into a studio to kut vocals and theres a C800->1081->fairchild 660->PTHD or vintage U87->Trident A-Range->1176->pultec->PTHD (both of which Ive use when the client/budget allows) why would I want a 737?
And its not bull**** that its popularity is dramatically more because of GC sponsorship. You dont have legions of prosumer sales guys hypin the most expensive piece on the floor for commision for nothing. + In general, most hiphop engineers and producers I know, will use what is readily availible as opposed to searching out what might be of better quality. Its fairly common knowledge that, for a while, 'avalon' was a buzz word in the Hiphop production industry. Not only that, but hit records have been made on almost everything. SM57 into a 4track cassette can be made to sound good in the right hands.
Hey, versus a presonus eureka, focusrite voicemaster or ART prochannel: the Avalon wins, hands down with me...no arguement here...
Old 16th January 2007
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
More opinions with nothing to back them up.
well what can I tell you!
Can I back my opinion on the Avalon 737 saying that for me sounds very STERILE:
Means not character, warmth, that the sound of the pre don't add anything to me.
That I don't like the compressor at all......
I don't want to discuss specs here...because I really don't like that Avalon 737 and or you like it or not.

May be a OK preamp combo, but for that price I would get 20 other choices.

Basicly my opinion is based of what else you can get at that price range...and as I said, in my opinion are so many much better options!...and I think many guys here would agree with me.
Old 16th January 2007
  #22
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tuRnitUpsuM's Avatar
 

t.dizzle

In lue of the competition.... such as... :

Pendulum Audio Quartet 1-2
Millenia Media STT-1 Origin (w stock tubes .... w NOS tubers)
Tube Tech MEC-1a
API 7600
UA LA-610
UA 6176
DW Fearn VT15
GML 2020
Manley VOXBOX
etc....

the 737 does begin to show it's short comings.... is it a useful tool? yes ... is it worth the asking price? YMMV as does everyone else's...

use the 737 outside of vocal duty.... with other toys around to compare...

if you are someone with plenty of tools at your disposal... the 737... is welcomed
company.... but for those with only a few choices ... i think they could head in a more versatile direction with one of the other mentioned "strips".... or others unmentioned...

just my 2 cents....

p.s have you had a listen on this thread? just curious as to what you thought about these sources and the 737... compared to the other tools that partook in the session.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/101362-big-shootout-pacifica-737-la-610-r121-jz2-etc.html

cheers
Old 16th January 2007
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuRnitUpsuM View Post
t.dizzle

In lue of the competition.... such as... :

Pendulum Audio Quartet 1-2
Millenia Media STT-1 Origin (w stock tubes .... w NOS tubers)
Tube Tech MEC-1a
API 7600
UA LA-610
UA 6176
DW Fearn VT15
GML 2020
Manley VOXBOX
etc....

I would happy take any of these puppies without any doubt before The Avalon 737!!
Old 16th January 2007
  #24
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuRnitUpsuM View Post
t.dizzle

In lue of the competition.... such as... :

Pendulum Audio Quartet 1-2
Millenia Media STT-1 Origin (w stock tubes .... w NOS tubers)
Tube Tech MEC-1a
API 7600
UA LA-610
UA 6176
DW Fearn VT15
GML 2020
Manley VOXBOX
etc....





PLEASE show me where you can get a Manley Voxbox, a DW Fearn, or a GML for anywhere near the price of a 737. to say the 737 is in competition with these units really isn't being fair to the Avalon being that the GML/Manley/DW Fearn route is twice as much as the 737.
Old 16th January 2007
  #25
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rickrock305


You are absolutely right !!! they are.... but in all fairness...especially in this "plastic" day and age... things aren't so far fetched from each other... not to say this method is the wisest.... but is available.

Remember to... the UA LA-610 is listed at +- 1500 brand new... so there was a balance... sort of... in there as well... etc.

I really just wanted to hint on the "alternatives" as opposed to when the Avalon was the "buzz" word.... in the industry (weren't as many "strips" of equality on the market).

I've used the 737... and ya know ... i'm not gonna lie... i did get nice results with it... but i never bought it... why? the "alternatives" man .... they whispered sweet nothings in me ears.... shhh....(walks closer...but still gives plenty of "personal space"...... I'm savin for a VT-15) .... im scared thou.... i might want another....... OUCH!

cheers
Old 16th January 2007
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
I think too much credit is being given to the equipment used and not the artist's who performed these songs. You could probably get the same result with a Mackie preamp. Give me Snoop, a SM57 and a Mackie and it's still going to sound like Snoop.

The 737 is not a horrible piece of gear... it is a lackluster preamp combined with a really good EQ, and mediocre compressor. Better results may have been achieved with better gear. Like a more colorful preamp, a faster compressor, more modern converters, etc. But at the end of the day, Snoop will sound like Snoop through whatever you put in front of him..
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Snoop Dogg is one of the hardest vocalists to mix there is. I've recorded between 600-800 songs with him, and nobody knows his voice better than me. His voice almost always sounds like ****, because people don't know how to mix him. He'll tell you that himself.

So like I said, SOMEONE please put up some better mixes that you've done with other pres.

So many experts here, but ain't none of y'all making real records.

Tony you forgot to mention along with the artist the skill level of the engineer. That means a whole lot. That's basically the point I'm making.

I'll pick a 1073 over the 737 every single time, but the 737 can yield stellar results in the hands of a really good engineer. So will any other piece of gear.
Old 16th January 2007
  #27
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The Millennia TD-1 is 1500 krills...that leaves 750 for alcohol, blow and hookers from the budget of a 737

fer an extra 200 or so, the API 7600 is really the s**t

Or how about a safesound P1? Those things are like 750. You could have 3 for the price of 1 737

Or a stereo channel of Chammeleon Labs

Or a PEQ and a 512 for your 500 lunchbox

Or -insert one of the MANY 500 series product here- with a lunchbox

Or a vintech

Or a BAE reissue

Or find some killer old siemens console modules and have them racked up

in fact

You could probably afford a 'funken V72, W295 and a dbx 160

I hear Great River is solid and in the price range

Or for pennies on the dollar, get a Bellari RP503 and mod the HELL outta it...Tubes, caps, ICs, potentiometers swap->s**t sound goood

There are so many other options that will deliver serious performance for 2.25k....

The point? Find something you like and rock it.

peace


ps: its not really a shootout (the vs. in the title of the thread) if you dont A/B the gear in question against anything
Old 16th January 2007
  #28
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t.dizzle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
ps: its not really a shootout (the vs. in the title of the thread) if you dont A/B the gear in question against anything
Not a preamp shootout, but a mix shootout with the 737 vs. whatever you bring to the table.

The whole point I'm making is that the 737 is a very good pre. Not the best by any stretch, but if you're a real good engineer you can make these things sing. That is a fact.

Beat the mixes. ANYONE.
Old 16th January 2007
  #29
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Is it just me or is the kick waaaay out front of the vocals on 'Ballin'? The mid/high of the kick seems to be far more present than the vocals themselves...
Old 16th January 2007
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
So like I said, SOMEONE please put up some better mixes done with other pres.
Ahem,
Eminem's last album was done through a Neve pre.

Quote:
So many experts here, but ain't none of y'all making real records.

Easy there killer....

You have a valid point that the 737 can and has been used quite successfully, but this campaign your on is a bit far fetched. I think you should take 5 and chill for a few. It's really not necessary.
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