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Triton Audio D2O Tube Fet 500 series

Triton Audio D2O 500 series V2

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 1 Review

A long-winded account of one man's journey to fill his lunchbox with Siemen(s).


31st May 2012

Triton Audio D2O 500 series V2 by jdnpdi

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Triton Audio D2O Tube Fet 500 series

Intro

I took a chance on the Triton D2O V1. I was looking for a tube pre to add to my newly formed collection of 500 series preamps. V1 of the D2O came as either a Tube-Fet version or a Fet version. Just to be clear this is the Tube-Fet version of this pre.

Features

You can check out the website for a more detailed description of the features, but let me go through them to the best of my ability. The gain is handled by a 12 stepped attenuator. It's awesome to have it stepped, make is easier to recall settings! At the top you have a push button switch for Transformer Ratio selection 1:5 or 1:1.2, that switch also changes the input impedance. Next is the polarity reverse. Then a 60 db or 50 db switch, 50 db for louder sources and 60 db if you need all available gain from the pre. And lastly the phantom power switch in which there is a green led to indicate that it is present. The tube inside is not a 12AX7, it's a smaller sub-miniature tube, never the less it still gets a little of that tube transient smoothness and warmth.

Sound

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed setting this up with a AT3060 condenser on a Roland Jazz chorus amp. I thought the sound would give the that jazz tone I was looking for. Instead I found it bland, unflattering and quite frankly too wooly. Not at all to my liking. I instead decided to put it on vocal duties. I was just tracking some scratch ideas and used a MD421, bass rolled off on the mic, then into this pre. Wow! Warmth, articulation, smoothness, nice top end! I couldn't believe I was getting this good a sound out of the 421 and Triton combo. Again, perfect for this tenor/baritone vocalist. I did test out the difference between the different ratios and I seems to like the lower 1:1.2 ratio for vox. A little smoother, less of a bite.

Next session, I wanted to see what it could do on the drums overheads. I've always hated the sound I get out of the drum overheads, I just can't seem to get them right. When I slapped the D2O on a 3060's, best overhead sound I've ever got. I love the way the pre slightly compresses the snare and cymbals, and the cymbals didn't sound overly harsh. Normally I wouldn't dream of using the 3060 for overheads, now I'm sold on this combo. I have attached a sample of the drum overhead sound, click on the paperclip on the review main page to download it.

One gripe I do have about the pre is that when switching from the 60 to 50 and vice versa, there is a loud pop. But other than that I love this pre!

Conclusion

This is an excellent pre of the money. I love the unique features and the stepped attenuator. I gave it a 9 out of 10 on features because I would have liked a way to switch the 60-50 db without a loud pop. I dig the vibe and color of this pre. It has been, in my opinion, a life saver. In future projects I can't wait to try it on acoustic guitar and you can be sure it will be on vocals and on the drums.

Attached Files

Song4 OH.wav (5.96 MB, 939 views)

Last edited by jdnpdi; 19th June 2012 at 06:14 AM.. Reason: Misspelled the company name

19th June 2012

Triton Audio D2O 500 series V2 by jdnpdi

Triton Audio D2O Tube Fet 500 series

Recently I wrote a review on the Triton Audio 500 D2O version 1. Because I was looking for a match pair for acoustic, OH, etc I wanted to get another V1. However I was unaware that they had discontinued it and released a new, D2O Version 2.

After looking around online for some reviews I decided to email Peter Paul from Triton. He was very responsive to my emails and very detailed about the difference between the pres and whether of not they would match up. The two pres are still very similar and in tube mode they would be very close, so close that I shouldn't really notice a difference. So with info in hand I called up Warren with ZenPro. What an awesome guy! He was excellent to work with and he even set up some of his tasty Zen Blend coffee with my order.

You can look up the newest version of the D2O specs at Home - tritonaudio so I won't go into detail on it all. Again awesome features with the detented gain pot and the ability to change the transformer ratio is cool. Also the new version runs either Fet without tube or Fet with tube.

When I finally got a chance to hook up the D2O V2 I put it right on the overheads. Just like with the V1 I was not disappointed. In fact using both of the pres as overheads in tube mode I can't really tell the difference. The V2 might be a little cleaner, maybe a little less tranny saturation, but it's so subtle it just adds to the whole overhead picture. The sound is so smooth, again I used AT3060 and also tried an AEA R84 about 3 to 3.5 ft above the center of the kick it and it was perfect! I have again attached a sound file for you to listen to or the 3060 over the kick. I also included overheads with the V1 on the right and the V2 on the left, the V2 over the snare area and the V1 more by the toms. I think you will find them very closely matched. These samples are with no processing.

I gave the pres a 9 on featues because I would have liked away to switch the Fet-Tube circuit without a loud pop.

This pre is $749 and that's a little more on the expensive side for me, but I would say it is well worth it every hard earned penny I spent. I can't wait to out these guys to use on Acoustic guitar and Vocals!

Attached Files

Oh V2.mp3 (1.05 MB, 501 views)

Oh V1 and V2.mp3 (2.11 MB, 489 views)

30th October 2013

Triton Audio D2O 500 series V2 by Zimrok

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Triton Audio D2O Tube Fet 500 series

I like to imagine a cold day in West Germany--the year, 1928--five years before the Reichstag Fire sparked a series of events that would engulf the world once again in battle. I like to imagine a team of engineers, huddled and hushed around a newly glowing EF12 tube, anxiously craning to hear the opening cellos of Wagner’s Faust Overture burst forth from electronic obscurity and fill the room. A hushed voice speaks, “gesamtkunstwerk”, a synthesis of the arts.

From those fabled beginnings birthed the legendary Siemens/Telefunken V72 preamp; a circuit that has graced signals pursed from the lips of John Lennon, strummed by the fingers of David Bowie and dealt accordingly with the vaudeville-accrued chops of Buddy Rich. As far as recorded music is concerned, we would be hard pressed to find legendary recordings that the V72 or a like circuit has not touched.

Enter Triton Audio. A company known for their brilliant little device called the FetHead. They have continued their lineage of innovation with the D2O Tube-Fet Preamp: a liberty-laden reinvention of the preamp heavyweight, the Siemens V72.

Available in both 500-series format and standalone configurations, the D2O 500-series sports a Lundahl 1571 input transformer, switchable Tube-Fet or all Fet circuitry, low-impedance jFet buffer, switchable input impedance and all of the typical bells and whistles (48v phantom power, phase toggle, stepped attenuation).

Upon unboxing, one notices a classic, no frills design, harkening back to days when record engineers donned lab coats and marijuana was smoked outside of the studio. As the unit fires up, a soothing LED glow peeks from behind the diamond-shaped “Triton Audio” badge; the badge itself an obvious nod to the Telefunken logos of yesteryear. It is worth noting that this LED also acts as a peaking meter and turns red once the unit senses too much signal.

Build quality is strong with this one. As the D2O sits in my 51x Alliance rack amongst the Vintech 573s, the CAPI VP312s and VP26s, the fit is tight, the stepped gain knob clicks rewardingly and the push toggles give a satisfying amount of kinetic resistance when activated.

I could wax poetic for hours on the look and features of the D2O, but how does it stack up?

Originally, I bought this piece prior to re-tracking some drums that had been done using the CAPIs. Not that they didn’t sound fantastic, but I was looking for a little more pre-amp variance in the already API-heavy mix. These really did the trick. The D20 shined on overheads, first with a pair of C414s and later with a pair of C451s. In this project, they required very little mix and no compression. It seemed like the D2Os were custom tailored to the project. They bled with a high end silkiness and gloss that gave hi-hats just enough sparkle to cut through the multi-tracked 12-strings, and shaped the midrange up in a way that made every tom hit actually sound like a stick striking a drum head.

Giddy with aural bliss, I next tried these on a six-string acoustic. Again using the C414, the charm and sparkle of the orchestra-sized Martin sprang out of the speakers with a depth I had never before heard from anything in my arsenal. Surprisingly, the low-end detail was perfectly balanced almost immediately with that characteristic silken-gloss that the D2O delivers again and again.

Just for kicks I threw an EV RE-20 on some vocals. I have never heard a dynamic mic open up so much! The radio behemoth that is the RE-20 took on an almost delicate feel while still retaining the mid-range presence for which it is so well known. Both breath and spit were surprisingly pleasing to the ear, adding an intimate quality to the track. As vocals became more aggressive the tracks took on a compressive warmth, half from the RE-20’s handling of proximity effect, half from the harmonics that this unit shines so well into velvet.

The D2O has become my go-to preamp for many complicated sources. While it will excel and deliver tremendously given almost any source, I have found that for instruments such as bass, horns, piano and low to midrange backup vocals, I do prefer a warmer, more “Neve” based sound. Likewise, for electric guitars (although the D20 with its many options really did produce some great tracks), close drum miking such as kick and snare and auxiliary percussion, I find myself running back to those 2520 op-amps nestled in my CAPI gear.

It may sound like I am a Triton Audio fan boy: I am not. While the D20 has added a super versatile color to my pallet, it does not come without fault. Firstly, in a serious oversight, we have no indication (at least on the 500-series units) when a switch is activated or not. Of course, you can tell quite easily when a switch is pushed in or when the phantom power is activated. I suspect that the labeling is reversed on some of the other controls such as the Tube-Fet/Fet control, the impedance selector and the phase reversal. Any savvy engineer should be able to tell what they’ve selected or deselected by ear, but when initially using the unit you may have to make do with a few “shots in the dark”.

Another small hiccup in this unit’s ease of use is the relatively scant users manual. A small paragraph at the end of a list of specifications informs you of all sorts of different practices that you must take into account before operating the units various features such as; turning down gain before changing transformer ratio, plugging in a microphone before activating phantom power, etc. Now, most of these “rules” fall into the category of generally good studio practice, however, the manual gives no indication as to whether or not the unit could face potential damage by disregarding these rules. As a matter of fact, the manual mentions little or nothing on the actual operation of the unit. Instead you get vintage-gear-porn-worthy descriptions of the components used and specifications. I for one appreciate this operationally ambiguous approach, but perhaps the “rules of use” should also include “do not let your intern use or install the D2O without adult supervision”.

I love my Triton Audio D2Os. They have the heart of their soul-predecessor and more features to boot. If you are the type of engineer who is constantly searching for new colors to add to your sonic canvas, I find it unlikely that you will be disappointed with this shade.

-Cory Zimmerman
Producer/Inventor/Musician
corybzim@gmail.com

 
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