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SCA, Sound Skulptor, Capi, AML - thoughts today?
Old 20th May 2019
  #1
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SCA, Sound Skulptor, Capi, AML - thoughts today?

Just finding out about SCA and Sound Skulptor, kinda flew under my radar. Have a CAPI vp 28 and WOW, love it. Looking for the most characterful neve I can lay my hands on without going vintage. How do AML, SCA, Sound Skulptor compare to the real stuff, or to BAE, Heritage,etc., or to CAPI? I haven't used vintage pres, but after hearing CAPI vp28, I know that's what vintage sounds like to my ears. What else has 'that' warmth, but in neve, with its silky top end?
Old 20th May 2019
  #2
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no one? people still enjoying sca compared to all the other clones out there? anyone compare to aml, capi, or others?
Old 21st May 2019
  #3
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mamm7215's Avatar
SCA N72s hang with the best of them, imho.
Old 21st May 2019
  #4
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DeadPoet's Avatar
I have never owned "the real thing" but I do have SeventhCircleAudio's 4x N72, 4x A12, SoundSkulptor's 2x MP5.73, 2x EQ5.74, 2x MP5.66, CAPI 2x VP28 and I have 2x TheDonClassics MP+EQ1073 on my bench (YannLu will be next to add).


There's subtle differences between all those preamps with the SCA Neve's being my favorites - must be because they were my first "good" preamps about 10 years ago and I know them really well.

For API flavour I tend to reach for the VP28 before the A12's but that's not a scientific choice by any means.


They're all really good - you'll make great sounding records with either of those. Reason to choose could be that the SS and AML ones are easier/cheaper to get in Europe, the SCA stuff is easier in the States.



Herwig
Old 21st May 2019
  #5
Gear Head
 

SCA is done.
Old 21st May 2019
  #6
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Yes for clarity “done “ means no longer in business.

I’m partial to AML. Heard a bit of their gear now and always does the job very well, built well if bought and sounds stellar for the £££ and would have no hesitation using instead of real ones.
In fact I’ve just sold my 1973 1066 and will be picking up some of Collins goodies soon I’m that much of a fan.

Cheers
Wiggy
Old 21st May 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut View Post
Yes for clarity “done “ means no longer in business.

I’m partial to AML. Heard a bit of their gear now and always does the job very well, built well if bought and sounds stellar for the £££ and would have no hesitation using instead of real ones.
In fact I’ve just sold my 1973 1066 and will be picking up some of Collins goodies soon I’m that much of a fan.

Cheers
Wiggy
wooooooah, you sold a 1973 1066?? Supposedly those sound better than even the 1073. Why?

I've heard Collins' stuff sounds a bit brighter than some of the other options? I'm guessing you've used a bunch of other stuff if you've owned a 1066, and used the 1066 side by side with the AML. Why was that your replacement choice over the others?
Old 21st May 2019
  #8
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
wooooooah, you sold a 1973 1066?? Supposedly those sound better than even the 1073. Why?

I've heard Collins' stuff sounds a bit brighter than some of the other options? I'm guessing you've used a bunch of other stuff if you've owned a 1066, and used the 1066 side by side with the AML. Why was that your replacement choice over the others?
To be honest.. it’s all within a bee’s dick of difference to me. I’m done with obsessing over this stuff. Solo’d Yes there’s a difference. Is it worth a £5000 difference to me ?? NO!

Can any punter on iTunes or Spotify tell a difference?? Fark no!!!

Do people here who’ve never used an original think it’s worth obsessing about this stuff? ALL DAY LONG!!

Can I do a lot more with the change?? Hell yeah!!

In many respects I’ve owned, sold or used most of the things that everyone gets a Woody for, but I’m tiring of these gems not working and or needing repairing.

If it works for you.. power to the people and your music or enjoyment.

Wiggy
Old 22nd May 2019
  #9
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bowzin's Avatar
AML. If you like what CAPI is about for API-inspired designs, then AML is the closest analogue of that for Neve-inspired designs. Colin I think used to service Neve's or worked at Neve or something, either way a lot of his designs are heavily Neve-inspired, the same way CAPI is heavily API-inspired. The AML 1073 with EQ, either the rack or 500-series, looks like quite a bargain if you want the EQ as well.

Another one is Aurora Audio, as he used to work for Neve, and he just recently launched a line of much more affordable products, not sure if they're out yet, but they looked really exciting. I think the Aurora Audio preamps fall under "Neve inspired" rather than "clones."

I have VP28's and love them. They have a lot of color, sometimes too much, but I really like them. Electric guitars, drums, and even rock vocals or vocals in a dense mix. Got 'em used well under $500 each, so they were pre-built and a total bargain. Somehow he fits THREE transformers inside, wow.

SCA N72's are excellent. Personally I prefer the "one shot" versions over the rack versions, only because they come standard with a DI and I think the DI is exceptional. The one-shot versions also have an impedance switch, which is nice to have.

Note that SCA is wrapping up operations, he posted on here that they are winding down their business when their lease runs out. Something like that. Still... if you spot an SCA N72 One-Shot used or something, it's very much worth picking up in my opinion. Maybe download the schematics/build instructions while you can, would make any future repairs pretty simple, as it's a beefy, straightforward build, no LED's or metering, etc. Brand new N72 One-Shots were ~$600-$630 and a bargain, so any less than that is gravy.

I also have the Stam Audio dual 1073, with Carnhill input transformers and Sowter output transformers. It uses high-quality components, a gigantic power supply, looks like a million bucks, and the Sowters give it a slightly different twist that I enjoy having. Got it for about a grand so around ~$500 a channel with name-brand transformers, quite a bargain if you spot one used. Not sure I can recommend ordering from them at the moment, as they're a mess with backorders.

Since you have the VP28's you're probably open to 500-series, the other ones I have are the Great River 500 pre, and three Avedis MA5's I got for insane bargains. Those two are excellent, a bit more "clear" ... maybe you could say a bit more modern take on Neve color. My "clones" are more chewy and dense in the mids. As my mic locker improves, I like that the Great River and MA5's don't "mess" with the signal quite as much. On dynamic mics especially, sometimes I prefer the more heavy color from the clones.

Also in a similar price range is the Don Classics NV73 which is 500-series and has an optional EQ you can add.

I tried a GAP Pre73 a long time and many revisions ago, and my SCA N72 was noticeably better. People would mod them with Carnhills to improve the sound, however... the ones now labelled with "Plus" at the end of the name come with pre-installed Carnhill transformers from the factory. They're about $500 I think for those versions. Also they have a "Golden Age Premier" 1073 worth checking out which also uses Carnhill transformers.

Don't forget (because I always do) that you can snag a used Neve 1073LB 500-series pre for ~$700-800 with the tiniest bit of patience. So a "real" Neve reissue is within a few hundred of most of this stuff. Adding their EQ module separately does add quite a bit to the cost though, basically doubles it, and comes up used less often.

Another sleeper is the Louder Than Liftoff Chroma. It's a 500-series version of the Silver Bullet. You can switch between either a Neve or API inspired preamp circuit in it. It comes with a lot of other tricks and goodies, but is 100% worth it just for the preamps/line amps. He sells direct, so no distributor or retail markup. Out of all my color preamps, this one does something unique, in that while it most certainly adds obvious color, it really, really does not mess with your original signal. It really respects the original signal and doesn't "mess it up." Because of this, it's also a bit more subtle color than the others, but in situations where I really like the sound of the mic, this is my current favorite preamp. This eventually replaced the Great River pre as my fav go-to for lead vocals with my nicest U67 style tube mic, for example. It was even more clear and detailed and "right" throughout the mids with that mic.

Because it respects the original signal so much, it's also perfect for running tracks or buses through in line-level mode. You just switch it over to line level vs mic level, just like the VP28 has that option. That's one of the primary intentions of the Silver Bullet and Chroma, so it makes sense, but I had to get one myself to really understand it. I have two Chroma's now, and I haven't reached the ceiling on these units yet. It is NOT clean and adds obvious color, just a bit more subtle take on Neve and API which I really appreciate. The idea is you track with it and get some color, then run tracks/buses back through it adding another layer, then use it on your mix bus adding another layer, etc. Adding more controllable "layers" of color as you go. I really need to explore this more, it's got my full attention at the moment, feel like there is tons of potential here, just trying to incorporate it into my setup and workflow better.

Good luck, sorry for the long post. I went down a big Neve rabbit hole over the last few years.
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