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2Ch Preamp with Soft, Darkish Tone
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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2Ch Preamp with Soft, Darkish Tone

I've got a few single preamps, and am looking for a stereo set. My favorite on almost everything is the UA Solo 610 with either NOS Mullards or new Russian Gold Lions. It has a way of making bass and old analog drum machines just fill up the bottom and low mids nicely, and takes the edge off electric guitars for a soft and ghostly tone that I love.

Options:

- Grab a second Solo 610, install matched tubes, and hope they sound balanced on stereo sources. This is the cheapest and easiest option, but risky?

- Grab a used 2-610 or pair of LA-610s. They look cool but rack space is low.

- Try a pair of the Retro 500PREs and hope they exhibit similar qualities. Too new to get a lot of feedback on them.

- Something else that does a similar thing?

Any insights greatly appreciated.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Guru
I love my Solo 610 w/Mullards! Midrange was helped......I was surprised.
I've read that the transformer in the Solo is different than in the 610 and more like the original. I've tried to find the article maybe by Fox who mods.....?
Anyway a second Solo should work unless you're super duper fussy and give a great versatility.....
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
I love my Solo 610 w/Mullards! Midrange was helped......I was surprised.
I've read that the transformer in the Solo is different than in the 610 and more like the original. I've tried to find the article maybe by Fox who mods.....?
Anyway a second Solo should work unless you're super duper fussy and give a great versatility.....
Those Mullards are something! The Gold Lions may be a more practical choice for stereo matching, and still sound great. I didn't know that about the transformer. Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I'm just getting into the Useful Arts SFP60 stereo tube preamp. It ain't cheap, but might be up your alley.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Try a VMP2. The eq on that unit is fun.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I'm just getting into the Useful Arts SFP60 stereo tube preamp. It ain't cheap, but might be up your alley.
The new price is a bit out of my range, but if I see a good used deal, I'll look into it. Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyd77 View Post
Try a VMP2. The eq on that unit is fun.
Oh wow! Nice price on those. How are they compared to 610s? Thanks.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco1Disco2 View Post
Oh wow! Nice price on those. How are they compared to 610s? Thanks.
Real tube preamp. Nice input transformer. Output transformer is not great but the unbalanced outs sound better anyways. Can be warm or a bit more open depending on tube choice. EQ is pretty great on it. DI is sick. Way underpriced imo.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco1Disco2 View Post
The new price is a bit out of my range, but if I see a good used deal, I'll look into it. Thanks!
I've only had it a couple weeks, but its pretty cool. I'm not sure how long they've been on the market, so used might be hard to find.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Gear Head
 
Master_Splinter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I'm just getting into the Useful Arts SFP60 stereo tube preamp. It ain't cheap, but might be up your alley.
I tried the single channel unit and was absolutley blown away at how good this is.
How do more people not know about it?
Have you tried their DI's too?
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master_Splinter View Post
I tried the single channel unit and was absolutley blown away at how good this is.
How do more people not know about it?
Have you tried their DI's too?
They are a bit under the RADAR. I haven't tried the stand alone DI, but used the DI on the SFP60 just yesterday. I was working with a guiar player who makes really good AXE FX patches, who also ha a gig to get to. We got some great things for an open atmospheric song.

I'm doing everything on this song with the Useful Arts, because the production allows for it. I'm really quite happy with it.

Last week I cut drums for someone and used it on stereo overheads with Ovtava MC012s in ORTF and it brought out everything good, full toms, detailed cymbals, big snare.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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KIDBILL's Avatar
 

Try Mercury AM16! great sound
Old 4 days ago
  #13
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Ken Lusk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I'm just getting into the Useful Arts SFP60 stereo tube preamp. It ain't cheap, but might be up your alley.
I smell another TapeOp gear review from you, Tony. That would be cool.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KIDBILL View Post
Try Mercury AM16! great sound
This is probably extremely on-the-money. I forgot about these

Last edited by plainofjars; 4 days ago at 04:52 PM..
Old 4 days ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lusk View Post
I smell another TapeOp gear review from you, Tony. That would be cool.
That reminds me, I need to email them to see if they'll want a review, or if someone has already written one.
Old 4 days ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco1Disco2 View Post
Oh wow! Nice price on those. How are they compared to 610s? Thanks.
I have the VMP2 and it's a great preamp, but I wouldn't describe it as fat and wooly. You could probably dial in sounds like that with the EQ, but the essential tone of the VMP2 is not all that colored IMO.
Old 2 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoopysnorp View Post
I have the VMP2 and it's a great preamp, but I wouldn't describe it as fat and wooly. You could probably dial in sounds like that with the EQ, but the essential tone of the VMP2 is not all that colored IMO.
When mine was stock, it was pretty warm- rolled off highs, nice bass. I modded mine with polypropylene and polystyrene caps and NOS Telefunken branded Siemens and Edcor output trafos. This opened up the top and made the preamp a bit "faster" to my ears. I think that the tubes can alter the tone significantly, so if one goes for darker tubes such as NOS RCA or maybe mullards, it may make an audible difference.
Old 2 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyd77 View Post
When mine was stock, it was pretty warm- rolled off highs, nice bass. I modded mine with polypropylene and polystyrene caps and NOS Telefunken branded Siemens and Edcor output trafos. This opened up the top and made the preamp a bit "faster" to my ears. I think that the tubes can alter the tone significantly, so if one goes for darker tubes such as NOS RCA or maybe mullards, it may make an audible difference.
Also, my impressions are based on using the 1/4" outs, which don't have the awful output transformers in the signal chain putting a blanket over the tone.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoopysnorp View Post
Also, my impressions are based on using the 1/4" outs, which don't have the awful output transformers in the signal chain putting a blanket over the tone.
Those stock output trafos are the worst. How could they put such a good trafo on the input and drop the ball with those godawful output trafos. The Edcor WSM 15k/600 will give you another great flavor to play with.
Old 2 days ago
  #20
Presonus ADL 600.
Old 2 days ago
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matherne View Post
Presonus ADL 600.
That preamp is near the top of my list for next purchase. From what I understand, this isn’t a dark preamp, though.
Old 1 day ago
  #22
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I really appreciate all of the input, everyone! I'm leaning toward just grabbing a second Solo 610 and matching the tubes. Even if they are not exactly the same, it's probably fine. My second choice is splurging on the new Retro 500Pre x 2, as the Clipalator examples are very, very nice.

Some of this will depend on how I like the LTL Pentode modules I have on the way. I heard some samples of those that were nice and pillowy, which surprised me due to their tiny size. The new version lets you change bias, which I am curious to hear. If these are eargasmic, I may just use my Chromas for stereo work and save my 610 for mono work.
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