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How does Sytek stack up?
Old 26th July 2005
  #1
How does Sytek stack up?

I've been seeing a lot of Syteks for sale lately, is there a reason people are dumping them? I've always heard only good about them before and people like Steve Albini seem to approve of them. Would they be a good investment for a moderate studio?

Those who have had them, why'd you sell 'em?

Those who still have 'em, what do you reach for them on the most and why haven't you sold them?


Thanks!
Old 26th July 2005
  #2
Gear Nut
 
dach's Avatar
 

There's not really anything wrong with the Syteks although I suspect there "may" have been some QC issues with earlier releases and there seems to be a bit of a headroom issue. They are fairly clean & neutral sounding and fairly quiet. Use them when you need a less colored pre. Bang for the buck they are still very good. My Sytek doesn't see the action I give to the other pre's like API's & etc, but I still use it often. You really can't go too wrong at like $800 or so for 4 channels of Sytek. I prefer using the BB chips instead of the standard and have not tried the xformer version...
Old 26th July 2005
  #3
Gear Nut
 

These two songs were tracked exclusively w/ Sytek.

<a href="http://www.headlightsmusic.com/remaster/Songy%20Darko_M2.mp3">Songy Darko</a>

<a href="http://www.headlightsmusic.com/remaster/Lullabies_M2.mp3">Lullabies</a>


If I had better preamps (like API,NEVE, etc.), I'd probably use the Sytek on room mics, toms, maybe background vocals. They're very clean and fast, but not exactly "Beefy" if that makes sense. Still a step up from my Mackie, though. If I remixed these songs again, I'd definitely use a lot more Low Pass filter on almost everything. These songs were mixed ITB.

hope this helps!
brett
Old 26th July 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
JonCraig's Avatar
 

the syteks are great. they are extremely "neutral", however. so if you're looking for color (referred to as "beef" earlier), they're not the way to go. that said, they are clean, open, have tons of gain, and will show you exactly what the mic/source looks like. i call them a "poor man's millenia". the only way i'd sell mine would be if i stepped up to grace or millienia.

--jon
Old 27th July 2005
  #5
Jon, do you feel they hold their own with API and the other staples (obviously apples to oranges, but quality level wise)?
Old 27th July 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 
JonCraig's Avatar
 

quality? hmmm... the build quality, ruggedness, etc. appears to be just fine. the box itself is really light (after all, there's just transistors, switches, pots, etc. inside--no transformers or tubes).

if you mean audio quality, then it's not a fair fight. api's are really aggressive and larger than life. the sytek is clean and accurate. it would be like comparing an earthworks to a u67. each will do the job just fine, but if color is what you're looking for, don't look to the earthworks. similarly, if you're looking to enhance the source with the preamp, just as you might by choosing to run, say, bass guitar through a neve module, then the sytek isn't that.

if i'm going for accuracy, the sytek is it. if i'm looking for cool color to shape the track with, i'd go with fearn, or api, or (insert favorite pre here). that said, i can't think of a preamp for $200/chan that sounds very good--color or not. the sytek really is good.

--jon
Old 27th July 2005
  #7
Sorry my question wasn't overly clear. I meant that if you'd reach for the API, 1272, etc. for color, would the Sytek be a first choice for clean? You pretty much answered my question anyway. Thanks!
Old 27th July 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
JonCraig's Avatar
 

unless i had a millenia hv3d, or grace (i forget the model #), yes, i'd reach for the sytek for clean. in fact, i do!

let me know what you think after you buy it.

--jon
Old 27th July 2005
  #9
Gear Addict
 
seb37000's Avatar
 

The sytek is a great pre, I've recorded almost every instrument with it and whene the stock channels are too clean the burr brown channels are there for a more " coulored" sound.
I would 'nt sell it for anything else. I have api and neve and this pre is the same quality, just different. Maybe "hi-fi" would be a good terme to discribe it.
Old 27th July 2005
  #10
Great, thank you!
Old 1st July 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
FossilTooth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmsander
These two songs were tracked exclusively w/ Sytek.

<a href="http://www.headlightsmusic.com/remaster/Songy%20Darko_M2.mp3">Songy Darko</a>

<a href="http://www.headlightsmusic.com/remaster/Lullabies_M2.mp3">Lullabies</a>


If I had better preamps (like API,NEVE, etc.), I'd probably use the Sytek on room mics, toms, maybe background vocals. They're very clean and fast, but not exactly "Beefy" if that makes sense. Still a step up from my Mackie, though. If I remixed these songs again, I'd definitely use a lot more Low Pass filter on almost everything. These songs were mixed ITB.

hope this helps!
brett
I know I'm a latecomer to this thread, but I had to say: that first mix was really weird....

That's not necesarily a bad thing. At first it seemed like you did everything wrong, and that the vocalist was terrible, but as it went along, it really grew on me.

The perspective was really unusual. Very "impressionistic" I guess. Unusual blend between "natural and distant" and "upfront and exaggerated". Wacky. Grows on ya. As a matter of fact, I hate 'perfect sounding' radio mixes too.

That was less the case on the second mix, until the distorted guitar line made its brief entrance. Very unexpected choices in perspective.

Wowsers.

Oh yeah. I have the syteks, and I like 'em too.

-Justin
Old 1st July 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
heyman's Avatar
Owned a 4 channel Sytek.. same here, clean sounding. Run out of headroom though , get some external pads and you will be all set.
Old 1st July 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 

kinda nice

I like the syteks.

Lots of other pres for color.

A great starter or portable rig would be 4 syteks and 4 Hardy M1's.
8 great channels in 2 rack spaces.

Ditto on in-line pads for doing drums with syteks, a must really.
Old 1st July 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Jonathan Starr's Avatar
 

My 4 channels of Sytek stay connected to the tom mikes and do a good job there. As others have noted, they are clear and without much character with a seemingly flat response curve.

They are quite different sounding from the APIs.

The only downside is that they always have some gain, even when turned all the way down, so I need to use an inline pad with them on the toms.
Old 1st July 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FossilTooth
I know I'm a latecomer to this thread....

-Justin
It's cool, you're only A YEAR late.
Old 6th July 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
heyman's Avatar
Actually Johnathan bought my Sytek.. Johnathan, everything ok with that Badboy?

Never heard back from you so I assume it arrived in 1 piece and is working fine..


Jim
Old 7th July 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I got the 2 Burr Brown channels for adding color, and now that I've got some good 'color' preamps I mainly use the 2 clean channels, although 3 & 4 sound nice on toms. I found the Burr Brown channels seemed to be adding sibilance to vocal mics, where a tube pre would be adding the warmth without the sibilance. So why is everybody selling their Sytek? As we succumb to our gear slut lifestyle we accumulate more stuff of a higher caliber. Then we think 'hey, if I sell my Sytek I can buy a Neve!' Give me another year and my Sytek will also be for sale.
See, there's at least a half a dozen mics on my 'must buy' list....
Old 7th July 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan
I got the 2 Burr Brown channels for adding color, and now that I've got some good 'color' preamps I mainly use the 2 clean channels, although 3 & 4 sound nice on toms. I found the Burr Brown channels seemed to be adding sibilance to vocal mics, where a tube pre would be adding the warmth without the sibilance. So why is everybody selling their Sytek? As we succumb to our gear slut lifestyle we accumulate more stuff of a higher caliber. Then we think 'hey, if I sell my Sytek I can buy a Neve!' Give me another year and my Sytek will also be for sale.
See, there's at least a half a dozen mics on my 'must buy' list....
The coolest thing that can happen to gearslutz, is your recording medium blowz-up... then the last thing you are thinking about is pre-mic-comp-plugz...etc...

Kinda like jumping around about a bee-sting, and you break your leg in 3 places...
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