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Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
I recently bought the ART PRO VLA II Stereo Tube Compressor for my studio. It’s one of the most affordable compressors on the market and packs a ton of features in a sturdy 2 space rack. In researching this compressor I ended up at Gearslutz multiple times. Over and over I was reading that you MUST change the tubes for it to be useable in the studio. None of the pros that used it for the Tape Op Magazine review talked about NOS Unobtainium KGB vacuum tubes, but I felt I needed to try for myself before I permanently rack mounted the VLA.
I also own the PRO MPA II Reference Series tube preamp. It comes with lower noise, Chinese 7025 tubes that are also compatible with the VLA. Since I had a matched pair of 7025 and the stock 12AT7s, I ran audio through each set and recorded the results.
DOWNLOAD 24 BIT WAVES EXAMPLES
The audio source is 1kHz test tone, clap samples, acoustic guitar, and drum submix. The examples use a fairly heavy setting of about 10dB GR. Audio was going in line level and back to the daw. No other processing.
The difference between the tubes is not as drastic as one might expect. They sound very similar in either the MPA preamp or VLA compressor. The 7025 tubes from the Reference Series MPA do sound a little tighter and about 1dB hotter output, and just a hair brighter. Self noise was about the same (extremely low) for either set. For me that’s not enough to immediately go buy a matched pair to replace the stock 12AT7, or even enough to spend more time and money on other options. I KNOW that I just swapped one set of cheap Chinese tubes for another, I don’t have any other matched sets to compare with. (send me a bunch of tubes and I’ll make time for a bigger shootout)
Trying out different tubes in my gear is something worth doing but not obsessing over. I tried just two of the hundreds of compatible tubes and it feels like I’ve spent all day on it. Either way it’s not magic, but it’s a solid compressor and great bang for buck.
Friday, March 29th, 2013
OK OK! Just one more post about Tube Screamers (this week). As I was comparing the plugins in the second shootout I was thinking that some of them sounded very similar, and that some were totally different. I set up Q-Clone to see more closely what was going on with each of the plugins and my two pedals.
The plugins and pedals were each set to 0% drive, 50% tone, 50% level.
Go here if you can’t see the imgur album embedded.
Friday, March 29th, 2013
I was convinced to add all the free plugin options to the shootout. So I’ve downloaded several more plugins and ran them through the same test.
There are several free options currently available: TSE Audio TSE808, Ignite Amps TS-999, Ignite Amps TSB-01, Skreamer module in Guitar Rig 5 Player, Screamer module in POD Farm 2 Free, and Greener module in Peavey ReValver HPse (free for Addictive Drums users).
I made clips of 3 different knob settings for each:
Setting 1 is 0% gain, 50% tone, 50% level (no boost, just tighter lows)
Setting 2 is all knobs at 50% (medium clipping distortion)
Setting 3 is all knobs at 100% (lots of distortion, boosted highs and boosted ouput level)
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
It’s pretty amazing how many different options we have for Tubescreamers these days. There’s the classic TS-808, TS9, the TS7 which I just bought last weekend, then there’s Screamer emulations in every virtual guitar amp package and then there’s the boutique and modded screamers. Ibanez even has 5 different Tubescreamers in production today. They all sound different! Every guitarist and studio engineer has one version they swear by.
A Tubescreamer can be used as a distortion pedal of course but it’s most used as a way of tightening up the bottom-end of an amp and to push an amp into distortion while still maintaining the character of the amp. The circuit includes a high pass filter which makes a huge improvement in tightness of palm mutes, it also has a midrange hump that adds clarity to picked notes. To learn more go here.
Today I spent some time shooting out my Ibanez TS7 pedal with my CMATMods Tube Slammer (a boutique pedal based on TS-808 circuit with upgrades). Since I put that effort in I figured I’d continue and run my software versions through the same tests – Amplitube, PodFarm and GTR.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
I’m still a fan of Depeche Mode. The EPK they have produced for their new album is packed with studio gear and synth porn.
Can you name all the synths or mics and other gear?
Monday, March 11th, 2013
Last month I finally found the time to finish one of the DIY projects I’ve had on the go for months. The project was turning a Sony Walkman into a nasty distortion box and I’m really happy I finally finished it.
The concept is simple. Remove the mechanical guts, replace jacks and overload the Walkman amplifier to create distortion. It’s not a tape distortion but I can do that in a different project. Any portable cassette player will work. I like the Sony Sport for it’s great rugged case and memorable look. A player with EQ controls, bass boost or other enhancements could be helpful.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
A couple years ago I posted a popular article on great Ikea stuff for the studio. This month Ikea published a video of DJ Harry Love’s home studio which was filling the entire house with vinyl records. It’s kind of odd to post an add for Ikea here but it’s kinda awesome how they cleaned up and organized his little studio in such a life changing way.