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Sytek!!!


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I always see people describing the Sytek pre's as "great for the money." I'll tell you what- these things are great for any price. I recently picked up a four channel unit with jensen fet's on channels 3&4. I'm just in love with the sound of these things. I have other good pre's; grace, tla (so other people don't like them, so what :p ), api. I regularly work with a fellow that has avalon, eartworks, and hardy pre's. I love the Hardy's especially. I think that the Sytek's are as good as any of these- I definitely prefer them to the Grace and Earthworks. Basically, this post is just a recommendation of the pre's to anyone that might avoid them due to the "good for the price" type of description. Also, it's an inquiry to those that have used them to talk about where they feel the syteks fit in, and any positives/negatives they have found. My only wish is that they had a 90hz filter, but hey, you can't get everything. These are the real rnp's as far as I'm concerned. What's everybody waiting for? ;)

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The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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[quote]Originally posted by miroslav: [b]Do you have the Burr Brown chips on any of the channels? Yeah...I was looking at one myslef...might still go for one. If you don't mind...how much $$?[/b][/quote]NO- Burr Brown has been bought by Texas Instruments- good Burr Brown chips are a thing of the past. The jensen-fet is the replacement; I'm glad though- i think the jensen-fet sounds better than my freind's burr brown, but not by much. I got mine from Mike at Sytek for $800 w/ shipping.

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The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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Ditto, I've got the Burr Brown model and paid about $750.The Sytek was my first "good" preamp and it still surprises me.I also have an Averill API and Great River NV and the Sytek can hold it's own(and at times surpass both...esp.on vocals ). When I first got the NV I was expecting a huge leap in sonics in comparision to the Sytek but the NV is not always better...just a different flavor.

Smell the Magic

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[quote]Originally posted by GThree Wisemen: ...Burr Brown has been bought by Texas Instruments- good Burr Brown chips are a thing of the past. The jensen-fet is the replacement; I'm glad though- i think the jensen-fet sounds better than my freind's burr brown, but not by much.[/quote]Ahhh...so you got a new model. Yeah they were selling the older/discontinued units w/Burr Brown chips on two channles...all over ebay a few months ago...but I passed on 'em...had other things to buy. I have a few preamp options...but I will consider the Sytek as my next addition...though I've been thinking a lot about the Manley Langevin Dual Vocal Combo as another alternative. And yeah...I know there are a few other's out there...but it's really all about having different flavors...and not just the "best" one.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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[quote]Originally posted by miroslav: [QB though I've been thinking a lot about the Manley Langevin Dual Vocal Combo as another alternative.[/QB][/quote]The Langevin DVC has really surprised us with it's quality and flexibility, I strongly suggest you give one a whirl before you make any choice.
Woof!
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[quote]Originally posted by Watchout where that Dogfur goes...: The Langevin DVC has really surprised us with it's quality and flexibility, I strongly suggest you give one a whirl before you make any choice.[/quote]Do you have plenty of clean Gain on the pres? There was something I read somewhere about a mod that some were doing to increase the gain...'cuz they felt it was a bit shy for some applications/mics... ...can't recall exactly where I read that stuff. Otherwise...everything esle I read about the DVC was nothing but praise...and it just looks so damn sweet to me!!!

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Hi All, I'd like to hear more about the preamp as well. I'm looking for a good preamp for rock and trip hop-type stuff (and as a DAW front end). What does the Sytek really excel at, and where do you find yourself reaching for alternatives? If you could say something about the kind of music you record, that would help too. I'm looking for a killer rock preamp under $1300 (Vintech has been recommended). And I'm never going to be one of those "lots of flavors" kind of guys -- I'm a hobbyist. That's part of what appeals to me about the Sytek -- you get two flavors -- but what are they -- in specific -- good for? Best, --JES
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[quote]Originally posted by miroslav: [b]Do you have plenty of clean Gain on the pres? There was something I read somewhere about a mod that some were doing to increase the gain...'cuz they felt it was a bit shy for some applications/mics...[/b] You definitely need to run things quite hot, more than I'm used to with like, the Dan Alexander Neve pres, but I haven't come up short yet. It just seemed awkward at first to be dialing things up to 9 or 10 on the gain dial, not having any more headroom. If there is a mod available that didn't change the characteristics of the current sound, I would maybe check into it. I use it mostly with a 414 TLIIs for voice stuff or recording M/S sound effects and it is outstanding. [b]Otherwise...everything esle I read about the DVC was nothing but praise...and it just looks so damn sweet to me!!![/b][/quote]Yeah, it is gorgeous - I totally dig the VF meters especially!
Woof!
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[quote]Originally posted by Watchout where that ...If there is a mod available that didn't change the characteristics of the current sound, I would maybe check into it.[/quote]There are two people here on the forums that could answer this correctly and quickly. Fletcher (of Mercenary Audio) and of course…Evanna Manley. Both people frequent mostly GM's forum... Since you have the DVC already...maybe you can post a question on GM’s forum… and see if either of them responds. I would not be surprised if you get an answer by the end of the day!!!

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I didn't post a question, but did a search and found reference to people feeling the DVC wasn't powerful enough to drive some ribbon mics. I haven't tried it with any ribbons, but am currently itching to buy a couple Royers...Apparently not a good match with the DVC.
Woof!
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OK, some pro's about the Sytek- Tons of clean gain- I was really surprised here, not having really heard about the high gain of the sytek's. Plenty enough to use ribbons. Fast slew rate/ preservation of transient info- Well I had been having a hard time getting the kind of snare tone I wanted, and getting cymbals that aren't harsh. The sytek totally solved my problems! I can finally hear all of the "crack/snap" of the snare, yet the cymbals sound silky smooth. It's weird- I heard differences between mics that I really had not been able to hear on other pre's. For instance, i was able to notice that one sm57 that I have has a harsh top end in comparison to the others. Jfet/BurrBrown- I've read other people state this before, but the input mod just sounds designed for vocals. They also really favor cymbals. All of the parts of the spectrum, from lows to highs, are so well integrated, yet smoothly coloured. High headroom- these things have serious head room- you will have to work quite a bit to get any kind of overload/ strain. As far as the difference between the jfet/burrbrown and the regular channels- they are actually minimal. I found that for some tracks, the non jfet channels were the best for vocals, for instance. For some tracks I preferred the sound of the non jfet on the ride cymbal to get a little more "ping." In general, I favor the non jfet on acoustic, bass mics, and various percussion instruments. For drums, I'm 50/50. I would describe the clean channels as producing sounds "right in the room with the performer" and the jfet channels as "sounding like they're on a record." In some ways that's a bad description, because it's a little oversimplified. In general, both of the pre's bring alot of focus to tracks the mix, and just make things automatically sound pleasing. As far as to describing what kind of music I do... personally I write in a classic rock meets eighties synth pop type of style, with a liberal daub of the blues. But, I record all kinds of artists, from singer songwriter acoustic stuff, to rock, hip hop, blues, country, etc. What would I reach for some other pre's for?...Hmmm. at this point that's a tough call! I'm going to pick up another of these as soon as I get the money. I may sell my grace 201, as well. I still like the api on acoustic and guitars. If I was going for a big whitney/mariah pop vocal sound, I might go to an avalon, or a hardy, but to be honest the jfet would do it for me. It would just be to get a different flavor- ie, tracked alot of stuff with the syteks, use another type of pre to make the vocals/guitar/whatever stand out.

Want mix/tracking feedback? Checkout "The Fade"-

www.grand-designs.cc/mmforum/index.php

 

The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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Thanks George. That's really helpful. SOunds like it's a great preamp for vocals and drums, especially cymbals. How have people found it for electric guitar and bass (especially with a slightly overdriven amp)? Thanks. --JES
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I recorded a live jazz show using 8 channels of (older) Sytek MPX-4A (no mods on any channels), and only 57's and 58's for mics. I've heard that the BB chips do better with transients, but didn't notice any smear or muddiness in this area. I'm loathe to use words like "depth" and "imaging," so I'll just say I got amazing results, on all instruments: Vocals, flute, trumpet, sax, acoustic guitar, acoustic and electric basses (these were coming straight into the board using Avalon U5 DI's) piano, and drums. Absolutely wonderful pre and oustanding value.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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[quote]Originally posted by Kendrix: [b]Do they offer a unit with 1-2 channels using the same circuits? I really dont need more channels than this at this time and could easily spring for one tomorrow if it were a few bucks cheaper.[/b][/quote]The one thing that I thnk Sytek is really missing the boat on is not making one and two channel units- that actually kept me from getting them for awhile b/c there was no place around that I could hear them, and I didn't want to spring for something "unheard,"- I'm just not into not hearing something before I buy. Finally a good friend of mine broke down and got some; I ordered mine within a couple days of hearing his. Really, this is the best $800 I ever spent. The reality of it is that once I heard them, I would have wanted to get them even if they cost $2000, and I wish I had gotten some sooner. People describe them as utility pre's sometimes, but they're just so sweet sounding, it's hard for me to describe them like that. I think that if more people heard them next to a grace, earthworks, or api, they wouldn't ever be called utility. I almost wonder if they're hurting themselves by selling them so cheap, b/c it seems as if there's this "great gear must cost $1500+" clause in effect with engineers.

Want mix/tracking feedback? Checkout "The Fade"-

www.grand-designs.cc/mmforum/index.php

 

The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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Yeah...you'd think they could offer a similar 2-channel device in the sub-$500 range. This would get them easily into the realm of lowly peons like myself and open up a huge new market for them. On the other hand, I bet a big chunk of the selling price is in the power supply, which would have to be pretty much recreated no matter how many audio channels you had. Since there are no transformers, there probably isn't too much money in the audio path; maybe shaving two channels off wouldn't bring the price down as much as we think?
None more black.
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How about some online info? I seem to be retarded at finding ANYTHING about Sytek preamps and could use a gentle nudge in the right direction in the form of a courteous link. Peace.
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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[quote]Originally posted by The Matt: [b]How about some online info? I seem to be retarded at finding ANYTHING about Sytek preamps and could use a gentle nudge in the right direction in the form of a courteous link. Peace.[/b][/quote] http://www.sytek-audio-systems.com/ They're weak on pictures but they've got lotsa words 'n' stuff...
None more black.
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Hmmmm... their website is showing a single-channel, tube preamp. This is new.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Hey, I know you mentioned that this pre does add some color. However, the spec posted on the web site indicates 10Hz- 85Khz +/- .25 db Holy *^$(. Thats about as flat as it can possibly get. Yet you say it has some flavor - I believe you. However, its not comin from the freq response of the pre according to this spec.

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I have the sytek with the burr/brown mod and am very happy with it so far. Very nice on male vocal and I get very good cymbal overhead tracks with two Rode NT1000's into my Digi 001. I also like it on kick and snare,but haven't had a chance to try many other preamps.Im looking at getting a Great River NV soon for kick,snare and hopefully it will be great on some vocals, bass DI, keyboards ect. I got to track my drums at a friends studio the other day,very nice live room-old church type building. We used his Millennia HV-3D to track the drums and they sounded very nice. So I played him what I was getting with the sytek and he thought it was great also. Im going to ask him for some seperate tracks of the kit so I can compare them at home to the sytek tracks Ive done. Hope the room sound doesn't sway the comparison too much. I can really recommend the sytek to anyone who is not looking for a colored hyped sound,and it seems to work well with digital daws. P.s. I also really like the sound of the Pheonix DRS-2 I heard on the preamp test here http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/home.htm
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[quote]Originally posted by Kendrix: [b]Hey, I know you mentioned that this pre does add some color. However, the spec posted on the web site indicates 10Hz- 85Khz +/- .25 db Holy *^$(. Thats about as flat as it can possibly get. Yet you say it has some flavor - I believe you. However, its not comin from the freq response of the pre according to this spec.[/b][/quote]I'm sure, if you look at specs alot, that you'll see many other companies describe the frequency response of their gear similarly, ie. +/-.25 db from x to x. But they resulting gear can sound pretty diferrent.

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www.grand-designs.cc/mmforum/index.php

 

The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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This is slightly off the topic from the Sytek, but does anyone have an idea how the mic preamps might compare to the Apogee Mini-Me (I am also interested in upgrading my converters)? Currently, I have Peavey VMP-2s, and I would imagine that either the Syteks or possibly the Apogee Mini-Me might be a nice step up from the Peavey, or at least complement it nicely. Opinions? Thanks.
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[quote]Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows: [b]This is slightly off the topic from the Sytek, but does anyone have an idea how the mic preamps might compare to the Apogee Mini-Me (I am also interested in upgrading my converters)? Currently, I have Peavey VMP-2s, and I would imagine that either the Syteks or possibly the Apogee Mini-Me might be a nice step up from the Peavey, or at least complement it nicely. Opinions? Thanks.[/b][/quote]I am curious about the answer to this question too. I know that the syteks would be a good compliment to the vmp-2 though. All I can say is that I wish I had bought them earlier. By the way, a 4060 sounds totally groovey w/ the sytek; very hi-fi. What's that "mod" you talk about for the 4060?

Want mix/tracking feedback? Checkout "The Fade"-

www.grand-designs.cc/mmforum/index.php

 

The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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