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Old 6th February 2003
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55xx vs TLO7x: forget Iraq lets have a chip war

A few years back when I found myself significantly more nomadic I noticed something about all the different consoles I was working on. They fell into two camps: ones that used the various TLOxx op amps vs those that used 553x chips. Time after time I found I much prefererred the sound of the 553x equipped desks the TLO boards. Essentially Neve, MCI vs Amek,Neotek,Trident. I brought this up with a friend of mine who had spent a lot of time behind Neoteks but also loved his 3m tape machines(M56) and was a bit of a builder of stuff for his personal and a few other folks use. He concurred. We both seemed to think that the 553x was more forgiving and that when pushed into distortion seemed to behave in more pleasing and less harsh fashion. The TLO equipped stuff on the other hand seemed to get clippy and really sharp sounding when pushed hard (trident especially) and that the eqs(Amek Apc 1000(their SSL killer-whoops), Neotek Series 2 vs mostly a Neve 8128) were much less grainy and cool sounding in the 553x neve. Even the owners of the amek(post full refurbishment) commented on how much more they like the sound of the neve eq. So tell me am I smoking crack? I know it is more complex than the chip alone but is there anything to it? I haven't been exposed to the analog devices "upgraded tlo" so is it the stock TIs. Anyone?