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Stereo tube pre amp or DI?


Hoochie

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Anyone here ever use tubes in their signal path?

 

Some options that I think might work are

Summit Audio

Tube tech

Chandler

Manley.

Maybe a stereo tube DI like the

A Designs Reddi v2

 

Obviously some of this is really pricey but has anyone tried them and

are they noticeably better in a good way.

I'm really looking for a rounder and more open low mid along with some sonic glue.

EQ and very light multi band compression help.

Making patches that are mostly there help too.

All saying having the best source material gets you better end results.

I'm not looking for a poo polisher.

 

But does a decent tube path make a difference?

Yes this is for live and there is a lot of things that gets shot full of holes.

But we have pretty decent live sound with Midas and Meyer FOH with IEMs on stage so it's not a totally wasted effort.

I would use this on the main buss out of my keys to FOH which is what I hear in my IEMs.

Which are wired quad 64 ears. No slouch there either.

 

I guess it's mostly for my benefit here but what the hell.

I've also been thinking pretty seriously about upgrading to far better speakers.

I need some presence beyond just a whatever speaker.

Guitar players go on endlessly about cabs, speakers, pickups. etc.

All in search of tone. It's my turn.

Anyway, thanks for any insight

 

 

John

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The guy who needs to weigh in is Dave Ferris. He spend big money on preamps for his CP4, and swears by it.

 

Us pedestrian types go with purity vs. coloration. A good DI helps smooth out the transients (Radial, any one?) but doesn't really color the sound.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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I find the Radial JDI Duplex adds warmth and magic to the sound without noticeable coloration. A high quality transformer with good saturation characteristics has just the unicorn pixie dust that I need.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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I read what Dave was using.

I wouldn't mind coloration as long as it's giving me the right stuff.

I often hear keyboards soloed in mixes and they are not what you expect.

I often write patches with weird eq bumps to get them just right.

Giving them that gel.

 

I tried the xotic EP boost that everyone raves about.

It's very subtle. But damned if it doesn't do something right.

A smoothness to the overall sound. Sonic butter. But it kills the high end.

I still might get a couple for a gig and just leave them on.

 

John

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I have used the Summit Audio 2BA-221 in the studio on everything at some point or another. I think this unit is best for studio use. I also have the Radial JDI Duplex and it is a terrific unit. Push is easy and you get pure signal. Push it a little harder and you start to get "magic". Tubes do not necessarily make everything sound better. In many cases, they can make things sound worse. Especially if it is a poorly implemented design with shortcuts such as starved plate methods. I believe that in reality, a large part of the magic comes from good transformers and that tubes or transistors simply act as amplifiers to get signals hot enough to drive the transformer in the signal chain. Although tubes can impart a certain character to the sound, my experience tells me that transformers, especially good ones, contribute much more. YMMV.
Yamaha CP-73, Kurzweil PC1SE, Kurzweil PC361, Korg CX-3, Dexibell Combo J7, Roland VK-8M, Yamaha FS1R
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Tubes are great as long as they aren't the starved plate builds.

I already have really clean Burr Brown mods on my interface, but on the back end I love the Tube Exiter from Bellari.

Not the newer cheap WalWart versions but the old RP562.

Mod them with RCA Command Line 5751s, Analog Devices OpAmps x 3 and you got a low gain Tube Exciter that must be cranked and it is warm and focused.

 

RP562.jpgimage hosting over 10mb

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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Scott,

 

I hear you on tubes not being the answer to everything.

I just have this feeling that over time the new normal has changed

enough that we've lost our way.

 

I remember using macintosh power amps ( the old block amps)and thinking

"Oh my god. Why is this so rare". It was that good.

It was the devil to carry around because it was all exposed glass tubes.

 

Or Fender Bassman's on Roades piano's. Jesus H Cryin' in a Bucket it's was

something special to hear.

Now that kind of equipment is rarer than hen's teeth and expensive.

 

What are we to do? Let the overwhelming ease and cheapness of digital

take over?

I say use the digital what it's good for. Copying. What goes in comes out. Mostly.

And use the best analog path up to that point.

 

Since yourself and Moe are saying this,

I'm going to try the JDi or find a brace of old Jensen transformers and see what happens.

In your opinion would it be best used on each input?

Or just the 2 buss out is good enough.

I've got 6 inputs to muster together between organ/vent, Moog, synth, and piano.

 

Also there was some noise them not having Jensen transformers.

Same specs but their own manufactured part. Myth?

I trust the brand. I've got the their less expensive DI' s all over our stage.

Never a problem. It's what I use. But it's a significant bump to get the

JDI Duplex.

 

In the guitar world it's all about coloring and only dealing with midrange.

And mass production helps too.

They sell a zillion "Amp A" to allow them to

spend intellectual property on "Amp Z" that only a few hundred people will

buy.

 

Hardware,

 

The Bellari is an attractive piece. And you modded it to get

it right.

I know the internet blows for sound examples but

Could you post something with it off and then on?

Maybe just organ and piano?

 

I'm curious as to the difference.

I had an exciter back a few years ago and threw it away.

It was cheap and nobody wanted it. I wasn't hearing any magic from it either.

 

I am not in any way trying to say this doesn't do anything.

Your mod might be on to something.

And the tubes in the path may be part of that.

 

Thanks,

 

John

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Also there was some noise them not having Jensen transformers.

Same specs but their own manufactured part. Myth?

 

No, this is true. They manufactured their own duplicates to the Jensens because Jensen could not meet their demand. Then they just bought Jensen to ensure their supply. The Duplex model uses Jensen for sure.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Also there was some noise them not having Jensen transformers.

Same specs but their own manufactured part. Myth?

 

No, this is true. They manufactured their own duplicates to the Jensens because Jensen could not meet their demand. Then they just bought Jensen to ensure their supply. The Duplex model uses Jensen for sure.

 

Its Radial's Pro DI line that do not have the Jensens.

1935 Mason & Hamlin Model A

Korg Kronos 2 73

Nord Electro 6D 61

Yam S90ES

Rhodes Stage 73 (1972)

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John.

Bought one for the PA because I heard a group using what I thought was a crappy mixer and an RP562.

The Peavey FX2 Series sounds really tight.

Built in FX have a unison vocal effect that is outstanding.

The delay and reverb werent very good as the FOH had a Fireworx and a PCM 80.

But he said the Bellari was a secret weapon and when he A/Bd the unit I was floored.

The trick to getting the tubes and opamps hot is using low gain RCA Command Line.

So we put one on the PA and just played wigh levels only.

Turned on the Bellari then ran it hot and it just shocked how an entire mix could get so sticky and focused.

We use a Toft 24 so thd sound quality is good but we dont even touch the EQ. Just use some filters per channel to get rjd of any boom as the QSC KW181s go too low sometimes depending on the room.

 

So I found another and sent it to get modded and usevit on my Spacestation.

I go into the Sub first, then 2 thru XLRs to the snake for FOH.

The 2 sub outs go to the RP562 then to the Spacestation.

Spacestation has excessive highs but I dont like using a filter or EQ on them.

The RP562 is perfect though.

Makes the 8 inch Eminence strong as it gets 100hz and above so I just add the Exciter in low and mid range, run the highs about 15% less and it just fills in any frequency gaps.

 

Got a 3rd one Im sending off now as I want a spare.

Cant imagine being without one after using it.

 

But I did mod a couple other units like the ART Tube OctePre, and a dual mono Manley and ended up using Burr Brown modded ADA8200.

Sounded like an X32, boxy, choppy gated, so Revive modded it and the mic pres and audio signals are ballsier and clean.

 

Just prefer Tubes on the backside these days.

Not sure how I could record it though.

We have USB outs to laptop but it comes from the board, and mh rig rarely gets set up at home.

 

But Voodoo Labs Mike might be able to convince you with Guitar recordings.

If you get one hes the guy.

Lots of touring guys praise his builds.

I can see why. Made my beat up stuff bettervthan NOS.

 

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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And to everyone thanks.

 

I see that Radial did buy Jensen and their DI's are now

labeled and priced accordingly.

Which still is not bad for what you get.

Everything's I've got of their's looks like it will last 100 years easy.

Ordered one today.

 

Thanks again,

John

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And to everyone thanks.

 

I see that Radial did buy Jensen and their DI's are now

labeled and priced accordingly.

Which still is not bad for what you get.

Everything's I've got of their's looks like it will last 100 years easy.

Ordered one today.

 

I'm interested too. Let us know how it works out for you Hoochie.

1935 Mason & Hamlin Model A

Korg Kronos 2 73

Nord Electro 6D 61

Yam S90ES

Rhodes Stage 73 (1972)

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I'm interested in how this works out for you as well. I've got the Radial Pro D2 on my short list and after reading this thread, I'm wondering if I ought to double my money and spring for the JDI Stereo Passive instead.

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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I have both the Radial JDI Duplex and the Radial Pro D2 DI. The Pro D2 is great for live. I doubt you would hear any improvement with a JDI in a live situation. The JDI Duplex stays in my studio where it does some terrific things on a number of sources. As far as the transformers are concerned, Radial did a fabulous job of recreating the Jensens with their own Eclipse transformers. I doubt anyone could reliably tell the difference between the two.
Yamaha CP-73, Kurzweil PC1SE, Kurzweil PC361, Korg CX-3, Dexibell Combo J7, Roland VK-8M, Yamaha FS1R
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Thanks Scott! Maybe I should look at getting both then. Pro D2 for the gig bag and JDI Duplex for my home studio. I've heard that elsewhere about the Eclipse's being close to the Jensen's.

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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I have both the Radial JDI Duplex and the Radial Pro D2 DI. The Pro D2 is great for live. I doubt you would hear any improvement with a JDI in a live situation. The JDI Duplex stays in my studio where it does some terrific things on a number of sources. As far as the transformers are concerned, Radial did a fabulous job of recreating the Jensens with their own Eclipse transformers. I doubt anyone could reliably tell the difference between the two.

I have a Pro D2 and was wondering if I should have bought the JDI Duplex. Based on your experience I'll stick with my Pro D2. Thanks for saving me some time and, perhaps, money!

www.alquinn.com
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In a typical live PA environment, you won't be able to audibly A/B the difference between the JDI and "house-transformer" versions of the Radial boxes. I've tried it with fixed-install, high quality PA systems (big church).

 

You can however, easily tell the difference between Radial and cheaper DIs on full-range instruments (keyboards and electronic drums are the biggest revealers). The Countryman Type 85 was the only other DI I tested in my personal "DI shootout" experiment that equaled the Radial products.

..
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