The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
500 Series modules... Which have discrete electronics?
Old 17th August 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

500 Series modules... Which have discrete electronics?

So- How can you create a signal path with all discrete electronics using 500 modules?

Do any of you know which brand and/or models have discrete electronics?

Cheers Ed
Old 17th August 2011
  #2
Most of them do, I'd say around 90% have discrete electronics. Some on a DOA, some full board layout.
Old 17th August 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
beau_mckee's Avatar
Strange, I was just looking last night. My shadow hills mono gama keeps dying, so I'm looking for a reliable alternative
Old 17th August 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

All the ones I have are very discreet. They've never told any of my secrets...


Scott
Old 17th August 2011
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Most of them do, I'd say around 90% have discrete electronics. Some on a DOA, some full board layout.

Could you do a favour and spill the beans as to which is what, if you know? save me some hours of web trawling and asking questions if you could... cheers ed
Old 17th August 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

duh

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeBrother View Post
Could you do a favour and spill the beans as to which is what, if you know? save me some hours of web trawling and asking questions if you could... cheers ed
since you are clearly unable to google "discrete 500 series mic pre", here's a short list that will get you pointed in the correct direction.

Atlas Pro Audio Juggernaut
API 512
Avedis MA5
A-Designs P1
Great River MP-500NV
Old 17th August 2011
  #7
Here for the gear
 

And...

Are the Atlas units available anywhere in Australia???
Old 17th August 2011
  #8
Here for the gear
 

thanks for the reminder

re google- Silly old me...

Ed
Old 17th August 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeBrother View Post
Are the Atlas units available anywhere in Australia???
gee wiz friend, GOOGLE IT!
Old 17th August 2011
  #10
Old 17th August 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeBrother View Post
Are the Atlas units available anywhere in Australia???
They are available direct from us from the US (we ship to Oz all the time), or if its easier for you also Tim Farrant from Buzz Audio in New Zealand.
Old 17th August 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
I'd also like to add that a unit could be discreet but surface mounted (SMD)..
The SMD are very difficult (impossible) to fix, the components are so tiny that you can't desolder them from the PCB without doing a mess..
So if you're very lucky, in 10 years from now, you could contact the manufacturer, if it still exist, and ask for a new pcb.. If they still have one..

Is also for these reasons that I'd choose an MA5 over other 500 series units.. Sounds fantastic, no corners cutted (very high quality components), very reliable, highly serviceable in the future, right priced.. Oh and real class A..

Just my 0.02$,
Bests,

Cheu
Old 17th August 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
gee wiz friend, GOOGLE IT!
Who cares if he googles it? Answer the question or don't, or ignore the thread. That's pretty easy too.

There's a lot of this going around, and its equally as annoying as people asking redundant questions.

This is a place for sharing information.

Sorry for the thread interruption, carry on.
Old 17th August 2011
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

What are the benefits of using discrete electronics? Aren't there great units not using discrete?

Are the 1176, 1073, La2a using discrete electronics?
Old 17th August 2011
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Well- I am in the early stages of planning a project studio- aiming for a tree 500 console. I have a guy here in Oz who is consulting with me, providing expert advice, as I am 1/2 singer-songwriter, 1/2 audio engineer in waiting- i.e. I have a basic home studio- but due to fortunate circumstances I should have the resources to build a really nice little space to catch my music, and probably record others in as well.

I have a day job (as a home visit vet with an alternative/complementary medicine bias) which pays the bills, and there would not be enough work up here engineering way to have me eat.

I really appreciate you guys sharing your experience and expertise, because then I can lean on it, and most likely waste a lot less money, and get the sounds I want without so much hassle.

Google is fine- but it lacks context, the context of your deep experience and passion for sound. You can't have a conversation with google, after all.

Nathan- thanks for the info re the availability. You run into goods and services tax on anything coming into australia worth more than $1000. I'll PM you about all that tho, this isn't the place for that convo.

Cheu- thanks so much for the heads up about SMD- this is exactly the sort of gear I wish to avoid!- I am aiming for something that lasts, AND that is serviceable. I want to be able to give this to my grandchildren, basically.

Puppee- as far as I understand it, fully discrete electronics give you more headroom, and a better, bigger, clearer sound. I'd be happy for anyone to correct me and/or add their 2 cents...

So- then- I am looking for 500 units- pre's, EQ (preferably parametric), and dynamics, that are fully discrete electronics, and also (now I know) not SMD built.

And if any of you can tell me more about this sort of gear, what you like, why you like it (especially as regards flavour/tone), I'd be ever so appreciative.

Thanks again, Ed
Old 17th August 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Good source...Hopefully its accurate.. I made sure it was for my gear..
Old 17th August 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by puppee View Post
What are the benefits of using discrete electronics? Aren't there great units not using discrete?

Are the 1176, 1073, La2a using discrete electronics?
Which 1176? Most I have seen ARE discrete.
1073? Yes
LA-2a is tube BUT..
Also THESE are NOT 500 series..
Old 17th August 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeBrother View Post

Cheu- thanks so much for the heads up about SMD- this is exactly the sort of gear I wish to avoid!- I am aiming for something that lasts, AND that is serviceable. I want to be able to give this to my grandchildren, basically.

Puppee- as far as I understand it, fully discrete electronics give you more headroom, and a better, bigger, clearer sound. I'd be happy for anyone to correct me and/or add their 2 cents...

So- then- I am looking for 500 units- pre's, EQ (preferably parametric), and dynamics, that are fully discrete electronics, and also (now I know) not SMD built.

And if any of you can tell me more about this sort of gear, what you like, why you like it (especially as regards flavour/tone), I'd be ever so appreciative.

Thanks again, Ed
No problem!
Actually it's not so easy to find 500 series gear that is VERY well built, sounds good and it's not surface mount. I don't know every piece out there of course, but even the one that are good sounding like the Tonelux and the Forssell preamp (at least in the 500 series) are surface mounted.
I think that it's a fact of costs also..
The only EQ that I'm aware that is: great sounding, very well built, class A, discrete, no surface mounted, simple pcb..is the great Avedis E27.. (unfortunately no longer made).
The Speck is not surface mounted but has IC in it.. Which is not bad per se though..
I think the Shinybox product are discrete; but they use pcb with several layers (at least in their Guillotine Hi-Low pass filter) also something that could be a bit tricky to fix in the future.. Nice products though.
API 512 is discrete and not surface mounted afaik.
Safesound is not surface mounted (at least the P501), has IC though.. sounds good for what it is and especially for the low price all considered.

There are few others I guess, your best bet is to ask the manufacturer..

As everything else (or most) in life it's a matter of compromises.

Ciao
Bests,

Cheu
Old 17th August 2011
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by puppee View Post
What are the benefits of using discrete electronics?
Higher noise floor, higher THD, lower slew rate, more color.
Old 17th August 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
500 Series modules... Which have discrete electronics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78
I'd also like to add that a unit could be discreet but surface mounted (SMD)..
The SMD are very difficult (impossible) to fix, the components are so tiny that you can't desolder them from the PCB without doing a mess..
Impossible maybe for you, but it's done every day, all around the world. In fact I would rather swap out surface mount parts than through hole. Much less potential for damage to the fab. Clearing a through hole so you can remove a part is much more problematic than just reflowing the connections of an SMT part.

I don't know what your soldering background is but I have been certified to Mil Std 2000. And actually helped create some of the SMT requirements in there by being the first person to present to the Navy reliability qualification test results using standard PWBs during the conversion of the F18 avionics to SMT. I've been on the corporate tech council and been an engineering manager at multiple major electronics contract manufactures and currently work in the advanced development lab of another.

Odds are very good that you've listened through pro audio gear that I built the SMT prototypes of and taught the production operators how to build.

Find and enroll yourself in a modern soldering class. Get modern soldering equipment, and please stop calling SMT un-repairable. We wouldn't be communicating through the Internet if that were true.

I defer to Mr Williams and others experience as to the sonic differences between older devices that were packaged in through hole vs their modern SMT counterparts. But as far as putting them on and taking them off, that's my world.
Old 17th August 2011
  #21
Unless you are an electronics designer yourself, I get a bit uncomfortable about people talking about discrete vs. monolithic. Obviously there is a through hole vs SMD benefit with respect to repair, but the more important question, I suppose, is wouldn't it be better to buy equipment from a good designer that doesn't break, or a reputable company that you know will be around for a long time that can provide service? Discrete vs monolithic says nothing about circuit design or quality unto itself, it is just a means to an end. There are great sounding discrete circuits, there are great sounding monolithic circuits, often based upon discrete designs that preceded them. A monolithic circuit could be pure class A, AB, or something else, just as a discrete circuit. If the pursuit of audio excellence was only about low noise floor and "perfection" then the obvious choice would be a monolithic SMD design. Discrete designs can ultimately loose a bit of the theoretic noise advantage as well as moving away from SMD devices, but the more forefront issue is the increased footprint of the circuit boards and the loss of power efficiency, both very relevant with 500 series based designs.
Old 17th August 2011
  #22
Here for the gear
 

+1 to the last two posts.



RE: SMD vs. thru hole -- the innards of the same parts with different packages are IDENTICAL. Look at a datasheet for a NE5532 for example or 2N3904. You're talking scale or even just thermal properties that will differ. The thermal properties could benefit from smaller packaging. There has been some things said about noise performance of SMD resistors vs. thru-hole equivalents, but most of these factors can be gleaned from datasheets. SMD caps can suck really bad, but this doesn't mean if they're used in an audio circuit, the audio circuit will suck bad too. Most of the time the designer is trying to save you money but not using a fancy part if he doesn't have to--it's not necessarily cutting corners. Personally, I think SMD parts are WAY easier to repair/rework than thru hole assuming you have the right tools. There's much less likelyhood of lifting pads and damaging thruhole plating is impossible.

RE: discrete vs. monolithic parts -- this totally depends on the design. THAT corp makes damn good monolithic parts, but they can sound bad if they're used wrong. Same goes for a nice Japanese Toshiba low noise NPN. Unless you have the schematics in front of you and you're a designer, it's best to not pay attention to these things when looking at gear, you're spinning your wheels. Don't be sure that because the product is discrete the designer even knows what their doing either. I'd demo it if possible or at least check out some shootouts online.
Old 18th August 2011
  #23
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I don't see why you should care, unless you're modding or working on them yourself. One of the best sounding vintage preamps, the Trident (and Daking) have monolithic op amps in them. They also are transformer coupled...to me that's a more important distinction to focus on. Although designs based around integrated circuits are often found to be transformerless.

And for what it's worth, I've had two DISCRETE API 2520 op amps fail on me, those parts are prone to go belly up just as much as any monolithic op amp.

I think you should worry about build quality and value, as well as sonics, rather than technical specifications. try some things and see which ones you like...that's really where it's at.

also you'd probably have a quicker time making a list of modules in the 500 series that are Not discrete
Old 18th August 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post

Find and enroll yourself in a modern soldering class. Get modern soldering equipment, and please stop calling SMT un-repairable. We wouldn't be communicating through the Internet if that were true.

I defer to Mr Williams and others experience as to the sonic differences between older devices that were packaged in through hole vs their modern SMT counterparts. But as far as putting them on and taking them off, that's my world.
Sorry but most of the studios today doesn't have the equipment for soldering SMT...probably in few years from now, since so much stuff is surface mounted today will become more popular.. btw some companies just trash the whole pcb and replace with a new one, less time consuming therefore less expensive...not a philosophy that I embrace, but that's the reality..
Afaik also Jim Williams still works this way, doesn't solder SMD stuff, and had an hard time fixing a converter in my HD24 when he modded it...

I didn't say that is impossible, but very difficult..
you should have the equipment as you said, not everyplace have it..

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Old 18th August 2011
  #25
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soultek View Post
SMD caps can suck really bad, but this doesn't mean if they're used in an audio circuit, the audio circuit will suck bad too. Most of the time the designer is trying to save you money but not using a fancy part if he doesn't have to--it's not necessarily cutting corners.
If your audio pass through some bad caps (SMD or not) is not a good thing IMO.. If the designer is trying to reach a price (for the public or not) is what I'll call cutting corners..For what other reason should he use a bad cap?
I can agree that sometimes they have to do it.. but there are few companies that had the sound as a final goal at any costs.. (like studer did in the past).


Quote:
Originally Posted by soultek View Post
RE: discrete vs. monolithic parts -- this totally depends on the design. THAT corp makes damn good monolithic parts, but they can sound bad if they're used wrong. Same goes for a nice Japanese Toshiba low noise NPN. Don't be sure that because the product is discrete the designer even knows what their doing either.
I agree completely with you on this!

Btw all those are my opinions and could differ from yours, it's not a big deal in my book..



Back to the thread...

Bests,

Cheu
Old 18th August 2011
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Afaik also Jim Williams still works this way, doesn't solder SMD stuff, and had an hard time fixing a converter in my HD24 when he modded it...
Bests,
Cheu
That converter was difficult because of the fine pitch, .25 mm. I rework SM gear here all the time, I just finished a Lucid 8 channel converter. .5 mm stuff is pretty easy to rework.
Old 18th August 2011
  #27
Lives for gear
500 Series modules... Which have discrete electronics?

Wow Jim. What kind of part was that? Haven't seen .25mm pitch outside of some chip scale stuff.
Old 18th August 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
That converter was difficult because of the fine pitch, .25 mm.

You really did a great job on that, kudos to you!
Didn't know you were soldering the SM stuff..good to know!

Ciao

Cheu
Old 18th August 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
It's always going to be harder for home DIYers to fix SMD because you need more stuff (magnification, hand steadiers or a steady hand, tweezers etc) and it takes more experience to get a good result. That said, all the folks I've been in contact with that have moved to SMD prefer it for the above reasons, even the DIY community (check out Devi Evers fuzz pedals moving to all SMD). So, I wouldn't be scared of SMD equipment from a repair point of view.

As to discrete vs monolithic, if the quality of sound is the same, then, at the same quality level, the monolithic component is always going to be a better investment: its mean time between failure is for the whole block, whereas MTBF for a discrete op amp for example, is going to involve adding the MTBF for all the individual components.
Old 18th August 2011
  #30
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by puppee View Post
Are the 1176, 1073, La2a using discrete electronics?
Yes.

Although the last two revisions of the 1176 are not discrete (including the much maligned silver face units).

All 1073's are discrete.

LA2a's are discrete.

Almost all the great classic gear that we talk about on these forums is discrete.

And, if you are looking for a great 500 series preamp that is discrete AND Class A... check out the Avedis MA5.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump