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Anyone rocking vintage Gates tube preamps?
Old 4th June 2016
  #1
SEED78
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Anyone rocking vintage Gates tube preamps?

Anyone rocking vintage Gates tube preamps?

If you can get something restored and hum free i'm wondering how they compare to modern units like the DWFearn VT1 etc? On vocals for example?

Or would I get better results from a Ampex 600/601 preamp?






Last edited by SEED78; 4th June 2016 at 10:35 AM..
Old 4th June 2016
  #2
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emrr's Avatar
I've had a lot of them. There are all sorts of quality differences depending on the era you pick from. No simple answer. The top one in your pic is the best of what you've shown. The Ampex was hardly meant to be a preamp, 'better' is a matter of taste. Some want a fuzz box, others want something different.
Old 4th June 2016
  #3
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
I've had a lot of them. There are all sorts of quality differences depending on the era you pick from. No simple answer. The top one in your pic is the best of what you've shown. The Ampex was hardly meant to be a preamp, 'better' is a matter of taste. Some want a fuzz box, others want something different.
So would the one up top MO-3689 (also known as SA-134) give modern preamps like fearn vt1 a run for their money? Do they have big rich clear or dark character sound?

Or is there a better one out there?

Any help appreciated.
Old 4th June 2016
  #4
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emrr's Avatar
Any of the Gates remote amps with built in PSU have an unavoidable hum level due to high gain and power transformer proximity. The Fearn will win that battle. Sound again is a matter of taste. Many people swear by 134's, I know guys with large commercial facilities who have a half dozen of them. The middle pictured unit, and others of that pre-1947 era all have pretty high hum level so good for loud sources, but not quiet ones. The unit replacing SA-134 is M5530, and it's quieter by a long shot, but pentode small bottle tubes versus triode front end octal on the SA-134. Different responses in the iron. etc etc etc. Lots of variables that will come down to taste. The large transformer SA stuff (like early cast aluminum case SA-39 input transformer type) is the best IMO, but it's pretty rare to find compared to the remote amps. There's SA stuff with smaller plain aluminum can transformers that do not sound as good IMO, and you see more of that when you see it at all.
Old 4th June 2016
  #5
SEED78
Guest
I'm getting some vocal samples sent to me of the MO-3689 in action.

insides look like this:


that 2nd unit was the MP-2650 - its been 'restored'
Anyone rocking vintage Gates tube preamps?Vintage Gates MO-2650 Single Channel Tube Mic Preamp completely Restored | eBay

really only looking for something for vocals - maybe these are not the route to go.
Old 5th June 2016
  #6
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emrr's Avatar
Samples or use are really the only way to tell what will work for you. I have a couple of Gates types I regularly use for vocals, though they are all console modules that require racking and power supply. After meeting noise requirements, the one you like will also depend on what sort of overload quality you want, one that's tight and clean but farts badly when it clips, or one that is euphonic and edges into overload transparently with growing thickness and edge. Then, what sort of mic will you be using, how hot is it's output compared to the input headroom of the preamp, and how does that work with the overall gain structure. Something like the Fearn should have greater input headroom than anything old. So, ribbon versus condenser can be a strong deciding factor in which I pick on a given day. Good luck!
Old 22nd March 2019
  #7
bump - yes! I am doing two right now and in desperate need of schematics since they are in total shambles. Anyone have a schematic for an MO-3777? Thx
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