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UNIVERSAL AUDIO 6176...How does it compare?
Old 28th August 2010
  #1
UNIVERSAL AUDIO 6176...How does it compare?

I own a UNIVERSAL AUDIO 6176 Pre Amp/Compressor and was wondering how it compared to all the heavy hitters like API,Neve, Great River etc...
Old 29th August 2010
  #2
I have 0 friends here?? Your knowledge and expertise would be greatly appreciated!! Please..............
Old 29th August 2010
  #3
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payne104's Avatar
i have a 6176 and i love it....

For a while i had the 6176 and a avalon 737 and generally preferred the 6176 for most vocalists. sometimes i would use the avalon mic pre into the 1176 on the 6176...

the 6176 has a nice fat warm sound when you dial in the settings right. Make sure to check the metering on the pre amp and the compressor

The low impedance option is usefull and of course the 1176 side of it is always going to be useful with all kinds of pre amps.

The compressor on the 6176 is really the coolest part... it's almost like you get a 610 thrown in free.

However it is a tube pre amp... maybe not 1st choice for drums and guitars and such... I had an aPI 512 for a while that i always used for snare and kick
Old 29th August 2010
  #4
it's a fine preamp that gets dogged here quite a bit. I have one and like it. I use it when appropriate. It has a specific flavor just like all other pre's. I don't think it replaces an API or other way around. Different sounds. Either will sound great with great music and musicians!! I love mine with muted bass.
Old 29th August 2010
  #5
I appreciate the insight. I'm getting ready to make a big purchase on some high end equipment and trying to decide on pre amps. I was thinking 2 API 3124's for drums, Great River mp-2NV for anything and possibly something else?? I figured the 6176 would be another option....sounds like thats how you guys see it as well....
Old 29th August 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 

the 6176 is an incredible preamp, but despite being "upgraded" technology is still based on "vintage", so its use is somewhat different from what would such an Avalon 737SP. I have casually been dealing with getting a good vocal sound, with which I can feel at ease, in fact I posted in another forum, take a VR C12 in different preamps including my 6176, compared with an API 3124 + and a Focusrite ISA428, is clear in this case because of doubts about the status of my microphone, but could serve as a guide. ultimately have been using the api, through the 1176 and the result is phenomenal!

Carlos C12 3124.wav
Carlos C12 6176.wav
Carlos C12 ISA428.wav

on the kick drum, does the job like no other, so as in the snare. I regret not having more of these because I've used it in some occasions for single room, and I've been happy with everything. on bass does everything the advertisement says, on guitar, is a question of taste. luck
Old 30th August 2010
  #7
Thanks my friend for your time......Jason
Old 30th August 2010
  #8
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grrrayson's Avatar
 

I'll speak up as one who doesn't like it. The gain structuring is goofy, it distorts at random times (on quiet notes, even), the compressor is not an 1176 (more grabby and with touchier knobs than the real thing to me), and the sound is just "OK." It can sound cool on some things but it's not great. I've certainly gotten some good sounds out of it, particularly as a guitar DI, but it's a bit blurry on a lot of things. It has sort of an affected, overdone kind of vibe to meโ€“"Look at me! I'm tube! I'm vintage! I sound dark!"

It's not bad, but I wouldn't even consider spending the money on it personally. Perhaps I've had bad luck with the couple I've used several times.

And, lest anyone accuse me of poor gain structuring etc., I do this for a living and understand these things. If there's some arcane trick to this preamp feel free to let me know. Thanks.
Old 30th August 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grrrayson View Post
I'll speak up as one who doesn't like it. The gain structuring is goofy, it distorts at random times (on quiet notes, even), the compressor is not an 1176 (more grabby and with touchier knobs than the real thing to me), and the sound is just "OK." It can sound cool on some things but it's not great. I've certainly gotten some good sounds out of it, particularly as a guitar DI, but it's a bit blurry on a lot of things. It has sort of an affected, overdone kind of vibe to me–"Look at me! I'm tube! I'm vintage! I sound dark!"

It's not bad, but I wouldn't even consider spending the money on it personally. Perhaps I've had bad luck with the couple I've used several times.

And, lest anyone accuse me of poor gain structuring etc., I do this for a living and understand these things. If there's some arcane trick to this preamp feel free to let me know. Thanks.
I have the LA610 and a MC77.. so that's close. The thing is with 610 pre is to not expect it to behave or sound like your already favorite preamp. It's like finding an old amp or guitar that has a unique sound, if your looking for something to compliment what you already have then you appreciate it for it is... not for what it's not. If you can't get a clean sound, there's a pad, an input level, an input gain switch... three ways right there you can clean it up and three ways you can drive it... plus shelving EQ and a compressor... I guess the arcane trick is know what track(s) on a song to use it on, then look at it more as an instrument than a tool... a more right brain approach... it also helps if you have a 'Pet Sounds' obsession.
Old 30th August 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 

The 610 is definitely a character piece, something unique that has its own flavor and damn little head room. I don't think the pre comes anywhere near standing up next to API or Great River or most other general use and application choices, and the compression always seemed like an afterthought compromise compared to the MC-77 and other solid sounding compression devices. The Pet Sounds comparison is the parroting of advertising fodder. Original 610 modules are far more open sounding and far clearer sounding than the modern UA release.
Old 30th August 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert L. View Post
The 610 is definitely a character piece, something unique that has its own flavor and damn little head room. I don't think the pre comes anywhere near standing up next to API or Great River or most other general use and application choices, and the compression always seemed like an afterthought compromise compared to the MC-77 and other solid sounding compression devices. The Pet Sounds comparison is the parroting of advertising fodder. Original 610 modules are far more open sounding and far clearer sounding than the modern UA release.
Sorry, but you're helpless... you did exactly what I was recommending against... comparing it to another pre... especially ones used for "general application purposes"... plus, you sound like a snob and a bore in the studio. Re-read my post. My current album is employing Trident A-range pre's, Neve 1081's & 1073's, Quad Eight 310's etc... There is a great place for the 610 pre on Mellotron, Farfisa, Mandolins, backing vocals, DI bass. As far as your "advertising fodder" comment... then go out and buy an original channel strip from the 50's/60's! (they don't exist) Is this something YOU read or heard? Sounds to me like you're the parrot. I seriously doubt a Great River pre is going to get you closer to "that" sound.
Old 30th August 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellotronic View Post
I have the LA610 and a MC77.. so that's close. The thing is with 610 pre is to not expect it to behave or sound like your already favorite preamp. It's like finding an old amp or guitar that has a unique sound, if your looking for something to compliment what you already have then you appreciate it for it is... not for what it's not. If you can't get a clean sound, there's a pad, an input level, an input gain switch... three ways right there you can clean it up and three ways you can drive it... plus shelving EQ and a compressor... I guess the arcane trick is know what track(s) on a song to use it on, then look at it more as an instrument than a tool... a more right brain approach... it also helps if you have a 'Pet Sounds' obsession.
I think you nailed it with the old amp reference. I track guitars through some funky old amps that I would never track an entire album with or bring onstage but they can bring a sound that my main gear cant. The UA stuff brings a sound that works in the right situations....thats what I'm realizing
Old 30th August 2010
  #13
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UNIVERSAL AUDIO 6176...How does it compare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellotronic
The thing is with 610 pre is to not expect it to behave or sound like your already favorite preamp.
It's a mic pre. It makes mic signals louder-there shouldn't be much to it. Is it too much to ask that it doesn't distort on random low-level notes when I have the louder notes dialed in well?

Once again, it can sound quite good on some things, but it's too unreliable. I don't want to have to have people resing takes because the preamp unpredictably fizzed out. In the situation in question, I switched to a John Hardy and decided to give the vocal more schmootz in the mix-much less hassle.

The sweet spot on the 6176 is too narrow.
Old 30th August 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grrrayson View Post
It's a mic pre. It makes mic signals louder-there shouldn't be much to it. Is it too much to ask that it doesn't distort on random low-level notes when I have the louder notes dialed in well?
So you don't think that, like guitar amps (and microphones and compressors), mic pres come in different flavors? It's merely a tool... a means to an end? We just have a completely different approach to recording. To each his own.
Old 30th August 2010
  #15
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UNIVERSAL AUDIO 6176...How does it compare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellotronic

So you don't think that, like guitar amps (and microphones and compressors), mic pres come in different flavors? It's merely a tool... a means to an end? We just have a completely different approach to recording. To each his own.
A tool for random distortion? I'm glad you enjoy it. I'd enjoy it more if it were more reliable and had a more usable (i.e. less narrow) gain structure. Nothing sounds quite like it but I can live without it.

Indeed-it's a subjective matter and I appreciate your attitude in acknowledging this truth.

What is your approach that you believe differs from mine?
Old 30th August 2010
  #16
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camus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grrrayson View Post
Is it too much to ask that it doesn't distort on random low-level notes when I have the louder notes dialed in well?
? It should do no such thing. Unless your random low level notes have massive amounts of subsonic bass eating up all the headroom, I've experienced nothing of the sort with this preamp. Maybe you should have it checked out...
Old 30th August 2010
  #17
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payne104's Avatar
Yeah, I never heard it randomly distort. I think you are doing something wrong.
Old 31st August 2010
  #18
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tapehiss's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by payne104 View Post
Yeah, I never heard it randomly distort. I think you are doing something wrong.
agreed...... I'm not sure if he's doing something wrong.... Maybe just a damaged unit.
Old 31st August 2010
  #19
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Denny C's Avatar
+1 for Tapehiss. The distortion could always have been a tube going out. I had an 1176 until recently and loved it. It was a sad thing to have to to see it go, but I found something that worked better for me. But it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing seeing one in my rack again. Great quality mic pre and comp. thumbsupthumbsup
Old 31st August 2010
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grrrayson View Post
A tool for random distortion? I'm glad you enjoy it. I'd enjoy it more if it were more reliable and had a more usable (i.e. less narrow) gain structure. Nothing sounds quite like it but I can live without it.

Indeed-it's a subjective matter and I appreciate your attitude in acknowledging this truth.

What is your approach that you believe differs from mine?
Personally, I have no problem with any piece of gear that CAN be set on the edge where it gives you some distortion when you drive it as I probably have ideas that call for things like that. I'm a guitarist first so that makes sense to me. For what I use it on, I like tube reaction and interaction with the audio. That's the same reason I like tape-delays and Mellotrons. I do like a lot of flavor on the input chain to compliment the source. I'm usually recording/producing myself or if it's someone else it's usually for a project I'm involved in so I can make these sonic choices as I go. I can imagine recording in general may be different for you if you are recording other people/clients and you just want to capture their performance in a clear, accurate and, I'm guessing , musical way, but without too much color. I think they sound fantastic, but it sounds like these box's (LA610/6176) possibly aren't right for what you do and/or how you like to do it???... and if they were for everybody I probably wouldn't like it. That said, I think they're capable of clean, hi-fi and reliable as well as being very expressive. They take time to get to know, they have their own rules and they just are what they are.
Old 31st August 2010
  #21
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jono_3's Avatar
I have 2 6176's and an la610 mkii and I have yet to experience unexpected distortion. It's true at the 610 lacks the head of an API 512 or similar, but they always sound great when you have the gain staging properly setup. By using the pad and 5db stepped input gain you can get the full range of clean and crunchy and it gets tough to make it sound bad.

Tonally, it's kind of in it's own space. Doesn't sound like an API, or a great river, or a tg2. I find that it stacks well, has enough depth that the sounds are interesting, and fits easily in a mix. The eq section is pretty useful when you use it to trip the compressor. The 1176 side is as good as you make it, I've had amazing results with di'd bass.
Old 31st August 2010
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellotronic View Post
Sorry, but you're helpless... you did exactly what I was recommending against... comparing it to another pre... especially ones used for "general application purposes"... plus, you sound like a snob and a bore in the studio. Re-read my post. My current album is employing Trident A-range pre's, Neve 1081's & 1073's, Quad Eight 310's etc... There is a great place for the 610 pre on Mellotron, Farfisa, Mandolins, backing vocals, DI bass. As far as your "advertising fodder" comment... then go out and buy an original channel strip from the 50's/60's! (they don't exist) Is this something YOU read or heard? Sounds to me like you're the parrot. I seriously doubt a Great River pre is going to get you closer to "that" sound.
You said yourself that the 610 is like an old guitar amp you pull out from time to time, which by my definition wouldn't be a general purpose application. It would be a specialty unit. You're agreeing with me while calling me names, aren't you a genius.

While you're slinging name, yes - guilty as charged, I am one hell of a snob in the studio, I refuse to accept anything less than the best sounds for the productions I work on, sounds that make the recording more exciting than just capturing the performances. As for being a bore, hardly. Everyone laughs all the time on my gigs, its how we get better performances, and is an added bonus to my learned skill set which helps to keep me working. My average day is about 12 to 15 hours of standup comedy with a bunch of recording happening from time to time.

So, the next question, on your current album where you're employing all of the world's greatest mic pre modules - will anyone other than your family and friends ever get to hear this masterpiece? Are you some kind of household name I'm insulting and will never work with no matter how much you like my work or are you another investment banker who decided after his first million to become a rock star?

I've spent the last few decades making records for people that sell records for a living. Following the paradigm that started 15 or so years ago, I have helped several artists with whom I work on a regular basis build overdub rooms in their houses. I'm not talking about your average 3 bedroom Colonial on a shady suburban street, I'm talking about nice houses up on hills with a view of the city and a gate at the end of the drive. Some are near the beach, some are in lofts in Manhattan. I've been around a little longer than you seem to think.

As for advertising fodder, you seem like you're a Gearslutz junkie that likes to throw around what you've read. Yes, I have used 610 modules. They had a bunch of them at Waterfront Studios in Hoboken where Len Kravitz did all his good stuff. It was down the street from Water Music where they have an excellent drum room, but you probably wouldn't know that as you have everything the Gearslutz crew has told you was great.

Have you ever worked at Oceanway? I have. Seeing that you're the great historian you would know that United Western where Pet Sounds was recorded is now Oceanway or East West where I've also worked. That sound is more than a mic pre but seeing as you can parrot advertising way better than I can, I differ to your greatness.

I never said that a Great River was going to get you closer to the Pet Sounds sound, you said that. If I had said that I would be a dumbass, which is why I didn't say that, seeing as you said that all I can say in return is if the shoe fits you should continue to wear it.

The project I'm working on now was tracked at Abbey Road and Avatar. We are currently working in a very nice house in Malibu. I logged onto this to kill some time while running backups from the days work. I'm not sure where we're going to mix yet, or if I'm even going to be mixing the project, it
could very well be sent out to one of the 3 letter guys to trample our tracking work, but that's not my decision.

My decisions are to take what the artist puts into the air and make it sound the way he and the producer want it to sound. I'm very good at my job which is why I have been able to work when a lot of my friends haven't. Granted, the rates aren't what they used to be, but work is work
Old 1st September 2010
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert L. View Post
You said yourself that the 610 is like an old guitar amp you pull out from time to time, which by my definition wouldn't be a general purpose application. It would be a specialty unit. You're agreeing with me while calling me names, aren't you a genius.

While you're slinging name, yes - guilty as charged, I am one hell of a snob in the studio, I refuse to accept anything less than the best sounds for the productions I work on, sounds that make the recording more exciting than just capturing the performances. As for being a bore, hardly. Everyone laughs all the time on my gigs, its how we get better performances, and is an added bonus to my learned skill set which helps to keep me working. My average day is about 12 to 15 hours of standup comedy with a bunch of recording happening from time to time.

So, the next question, on your current album where you're employing all of the world's greatest mic pre modules - will anyone other than your family and friends ever get to hear this masterpiece? Are you some kind of household name I'm insulting and will never work with no matter how much you like my work or are you another investment banker who decided after his first million to become a rock star?

I've spent the last few decades making records for people that sell records for a living. Following the paradigm that started 15 or so years ago, I have helped several artists with whom I work on a regular basis build overdub rooms in their houses. I'm not talking about your average 3 bedroom Colonial on a shady suburban street, I'm talking about nice houses up on hills with a view of the city and a gate at the end of the drive. Some are near the beach, some are in lofts in Manhattan. I've been around a little longer than you seem to think.

As for advertising fodder, you seem like you're a Gearslutz junkie that likes to throw around what you've read. Yes, I have used 610 modules. They had a bunch of them at Waterfront Studios in Hoboken where Len Kravitz did all his good stuff. It was down the street from Water Music where they have an excellent drum room, but you probably wouldn't know that as you have everything the Gearslutz crew has told you was great.

Have you ever worked at Oceanway? I have. Seeing that you're the great historian you would know that United Western where Pet Sounds was recorded is now Oceanway or East West where I've also worked. That sound is more than a mic pre but seeing as you can parrot advertising way better than I can, I differ to your greatness.

I never said that a Great River was going to get you closer to the Pet Sounds sound, you said that. If I had said that I would be a dumbass, which is why I didn't say that, seeing as you said that all I can say in return is if the shoe fits you should continue to wear it.

The project I'm working on now was tracked at Abbey Road and Avatar. We are currently working in a very nice house in Malibu. I logged onto this to kill some time while running backups from the days work. I'm not sure where we're going to mix yet, or if I'm even going to be mixing the project, it
could very well be sent out to one of the 3 letter guys to trample our tracking work, but that's not my decision.

My decisions are to take what the artist puts into the air and make it sound the way he and the producer want it to sound. I'm very good at my job which is why I have been able to work when a lot of my friends haven't. Granted, the rates aren't what they used to be, but work is work
Ok.. so you're a snob and an asshole... congratulations. Why would somebody who works in someones "nice house in Malibu... with a gate!... not just a driveway, but a gate dammit!" bother to trash piece of gear they don't own and haven't spent serious time with? Then you go on and assume that that person your picking a fight with is either an investment banker or an amateur? I mean, there's only two options right? I've recorded for CAPITOL RECORDS, SONY RECORDS, WARNER BROS, MERCURY RECORDS, SUB POP etc.... and toured the world many times. Yes, I am a household name in some houses, probably not yours. The Trident A-range isn't mine, but it resides in a first class studio in Seattle that was originally from Cherokee Studios. I don't care if you do 5 nights of standup a week at the Improve, you still sound like a drag in the studio. Of course there's is more to 'Pet Sound' than the gear, what a stupid desperate comment. I've been listening to that record my whole life and rather obsessively since 1985 when my friends who were listening to Husker Du thought I was crazy... they've come around since. I was also label mates of the Beach Boys for several years... what does that get me in your cred. by association game? The kind of gear used on that album is mostly unavailable to the public to own. The Universal Audio stuff is as close as your going to get. Apparently that pisses you off? Like many others here I think it sounds great and I don't pull it out once in a while, but use it on almost every song on something. If I had 16 of them I'd certainly consider tracking everything through them. So you're an engineer, you throw up mics and set levels while creative decisions are left up to other people. Why the low self esteem and the crazy post?
Old 1st September 2010
  #24
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

dick measuring contest to being in 3, 2, 1...............
: )

seriously though, i thought we were about to have a civilized discussion about the UA 6176 here.

hmmmm.
Old 1st September 2010
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
dick measuring contest to being in 3, 2, 1...............
: )

seriously though, i thought we were about to have a civilized discussion about the UA 6176 here.

hmmmm.
Me too...
Old 1st September 2010
  #26
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camus's Avatar
 

Relax guys, as someone once said, it's a preamp not a vagina... heh
Old 1st September 2010
  #27
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Beechwood's Avatar
 

People say the UA 610 sounds wooly or muffled or whatever, but I don't hear that at all. It sounds perfect to me, absolutely beautiful.

When I hear a sound, and then remember it afterwards, I don't have an accurate representation of that sound in my memory. I have a much more romanticised idea of what it sounded like. When I listen to stuff I've tracked through a 610, it sounds the way I remember the source to have sounded. I know it's not a technically accurate representation of the source, but it's the imperfections and nonlinearities that take it closer to the sound I remember.

What does 'accurate' even mean? How often do you hear a singer belting out at top volume 6 inches from your ear? And who wants an 'accurate' recording of what a close up violin really sounds like with no ambience? It's all about illusion, using whatever smoke and mirrors you need to get the job done.

Accuracy in recording is a very strange concept. Recording is about translating a source, and representing it in a way that is appropriate for your needs. So maybe for hard rock, pristine pop, classical or whatever, a 610 isn't 'accurate' enough, in comparison to other more trebly, less full preamps. But for what I do, the 610 is the most accurate pre I've heard.
Old 1st September 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Relax guys, as someone once said, it's a preamp not a vagina... heh
Thanx Albert. Very existential viewpoint/
Old 1st September 2010
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechwood View Post
People say the UA 610 sounds wooly or muffled or whatever, but I don't hear that at all. It sounds perfect to me, absolutely beautiful.

When I hear a sound, and then remember it afterwards, I don't have an accurate representation of that sound in my memory. I have a much more romanticised idea of what it sounded like. When I listen to stuff I've tracked through a 610, it sounds the way I remember the source to have sounded. I know it's not a technically accurate representation of the source, but it's the imperfections and nonlinearities that take it closer to the sound I remember.

What does 'accurate' even mean? How often do you hear a singer belting out at top volume 6 inches from your ear? And who wants an 'accurate' recording of what a close up violin really sounds like with no ambience? It's all about illusion, using whatever smoke and mirrors you need to get the job done.

Accuracy in recording is a very strange concept. Recording is about translating a source, and representing it in a way that is appropriate for your needs. So maybe for hard rock, pristine pop, classical or whatever, a 610 isn't 'accurate' enough, in comparison to other more trebly, less full preamps. But for what I do, the 610 is the most accurate pre I've heard.
I agree %100, especially on "accuracy"... although, for me, there are other pres I like as much in the same way, just with different flavors and strengths... nice post, well said...
Old 1st September 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

I have a 6176 and really like it. It is the sound of rock and roll and is a very versatile piece. However I hardly use the 1176 other than just as a tone box...even a mild 4:1 setting can be too much of a bite on the transients, especially when cutting to analog tape... however on certain things it is fine at even that mild ratio...normally I use it straight 1:1...overall though it is a great sounding box and one can dial in lots of good rock tones. If it were a vagina it would be a fantastic one too.
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