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Sytek MPX-4Aii

Sytek MPX-4Aii

4.3 4.3 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

solid performer with simple design that runs with the big boys


12th December 2011

Sytek MPX-4Aii by gehauser

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sytek MPX-4Aii

I have had the Sytek MPX-4Aii since late 2007. My version has 4 stock channels (no Burr-Brown). I got it with 4 like channels so I could shoot out 4 mics at once. It is a solidly built 4-channel pre with individual mute, phase, and phantom power buttons and clip indicator for each channel. The gain knob for each channel has numerous notches, so it is easy to reproduce a previous setting. The Sytek has superb specs across the board. I can compare its sound to the other pres I have worked with (m101, Solo 610, Pacifica, 4-710d). In A/B tests using these pres, the Sytek would be my preference for acoustic instruments (guitar, mandolin, old-time banjo, fiddle, hand percussion).

I have found the Sytek to be very dependable, with lots of clean gain and a very low noise floor (transformerless input). I prefer it over the Grace m101 for acoustic instruments because it has more punch and is quieter when pushed to high gain. The Grace captures a little more detail in the highs, if I use my imagination. The Sytek sound is best described as clean yet slightly colored, as it characteristically imparts a big, full low end and smooth (unhyped) upper mids and highs. Its mid-range is solid, but not as forward as that in a Pacifica. The Sytek captures fast transients to perfection, which makes it a good choice for recording bluegrass and old-time music where hi-tempo flatpicked leads are common. It sounds bigger than the Grace, but not quite as big as a Solo 610 or Pacifica (although it is close). It's upper mids and highs are slightly more rounded and not as bright as a Pacifica.

The Sytek has given me good results recording acoustic instruments, piano, vocals, choral ensembles, and percussion. It is an excellent value at under $250 per channel, and it is an especially great choice for recording quiet sources.

Last edited by gehauser; 14th December 2011 at 04:55 AM.. Reason: clarifications

16th February 2012

Sytek MPX-4Aii by Magpel

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Sytek MPX-4Aii

The Sytek MPX 4Aii does not have an awful lot of competition in its price range, which is one reason why I opted to score a used one when a making a broad global pre upgrade (over Mackie-grade console pres). I also went with the Peavy (AMR) VMP-2, also well known for its used value in these parts.

As far as functionality goes, I am not the first to opine that I would rather had a bass roll off or a pad than the mute. Not that the mute was never used. As a guy who does a fair amount of multi microphone self recording, I actually ended up enjoying the mute on occasion to solo mics. Other than that, what is there to say about features? Phantom power worked, as did phase reverse.

As for the sound, I obviously had seen it as a complement to the VMP-2 in the tube = colored, Sytek = vanilla clean way. That was a bit naive. Or actually, just wrong. The VMP-2 is really not especially colored sounding unless you really abuse its tube EQ circuit. And the Sytek has its own thing, and it is not exactly what I would call neutral/natural, though it tends toward the "fast." never loved it on vocals but did like in on drums, perhaps for the same reasons API gets love for drums, and on guitar cabs and acoustic instruments.

I ended up selling the Sytek, not because I was disappointed but because in my private, composer/overdub studio, I wasn't doing more than two simultanenous channels with enough frequency. I.e., I always seemed to favor the VMP-2. I turned the Sytek into a nice new guitar and have no regrets. But again, if you need to stockpile some very decent pres, it is hard to find a cheaper way there than this.

28th March 2012

Sytek MPX-4Aii by JWF

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sytek MPX-4Aii

I was in the market for a 4 channel preamp to use for drum recordings. My budget was around $1000 and I ended up choosing the Sytek MPX-4AII preamp.

Build wise, the Sytek is solid. It has an aluminum face plate and solid enclosure. I did notice the edges of the faceplate were very sharp out of the box but it was nothing a little sanding couldnt fix.

The preamp connects using 4 XLR Inputs and 4 XLR outputs. Each channel has incremental gain control knobs which have quite a few increments that allow precise gain control. Each channel also has 48V phantom power, phase and mute switches. The Sytek is lacking a pad which can make things dicey sometimes for hot level LDCs. You just have to be careful about mic choice and position if you are not using an external pad of some sort.

Sound wise, the Sytek is fantastic. It is a "fast" preamp so it picks up transients beautifully. I have thrown vocals, acoustic guitar, toms, snare and overheads at it and the results have been great. It is a clean preamp but I would not say it is "boring" or "stale" at all. It still has a slight character which is very pleasing.

Overall this preamp is a great value if you are simply looking for a quality box without all the extra bells and whistles (High Pass Filter, DI, etc...). I was able to find a used one for around 700 dollars but I would not hesitate to pay 1000 or maybe even more for this unit considering the sound quality.

6 days ago

Sytek MPX-4Aii by PRad

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sytek MPX-4Aii

This is an excellent pre-amp.

SOUND QUALITY:

Clean, neutral while slightly warm, fast and detailed.

Unlike my experiences with many transformerless designs I find it provides a natural sense of warmth with very smooth and detailed highs and transients. It never feels weak or brittle to me.

I'd never call it coloured, but none the less, I feel it has it's own beautiful vibe.

Often first choice after A/B testing for percussion, Overheads, and any acoustic instrument - Upright Bass, strings, guitar. (I have a Radial Cherry Picker, which makes this easy)

I have two of these units and I've never been unhappy with them.

EASE OF USE:

Simple - no frills. Apply +48 if needed, mute switch, single knob for gain. XLR in/outs, IEC power. Couldn't be easier to use.

FEATURES:

Here's where it lacks a few options in my opinion.

The lack of pad has occasionally made it difficult to use.
I really wish there was a DI input.
Interestingly it has a mute function which I use far more often than I thought I would.

BANG FOR BUCK:
Incredible. Possibly the best value to quality purchase I've made in the studio.

 
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