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Voice Processor Short List
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:36 pm    Post subject: Voice Processor Short List Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Can anyone enlighten me with their personal experience with any of these all-in-one-box voice processors?

Price is not really a concern, I included it in case someone else is also shopping for one of these and they are looking in a particular price range.

I have already read the reviews... now, I would like to hear your personal likes and dislikes regarding these models.

Behringer VX2496 $100

DBX 286a $200

Rane VP-12 $400

PreSonus VXP $500

Symetrix 528e $500

Safe Sound P1 $600 (No EQ, darn it!)

Aphex 230 $700

Thanks,
Nick
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ballenberg
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only speak of the Symetrix 528e---I'm no tech expert, and haven't done any A/B comparisons, but every studio I work wih seems very happy with the sound quality---and if they're happy, I'm happy. Plus it's easy to use.
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep-- me, too with the 528, although I'm not in the "e" camp.

The noise gate is ne plus ultra.
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donrandall
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mentioned Presonus, but not the unit I am using.

I have the Presonus Eureka, and I am happy with it. I am sure the others all have their strong points and advantages. I really wanted to check out a Symetrix 528e, but could not find one on the shelf and readily available, and I ain't buying nothin' 'til I try it out.

I was able to try out one of the DBX units (don't remember which one now, but it wasn't cheap and I went in thinking it was the one I wanted) and I also tried out something else from one of the other "name" companies (don't remember which one).

I wanted a good pre, and I also wanted an integral noise gate, de-esser, parametric eq and a compressor (even though I try not to use it much). The Presonus Eureka had three of the five - no noise gate, but I can do that with software.

The mic pre is just fine, the eq is actually pretty good and a lot easier than messing with software, the compressor is okay, but I prefer doing compression with software - no "pumping and breathing" or amplifying any ambient background noises which then must be filtered out with software. I sure would like to have a de-esser, though - oh well, I can do some of that with software, too.

All in all, for less than $500 I have what I believe to be a decent unit and good value for the money. I still wish I could have got my grubby mitts on a Symetrix, I kinda think I would have liked it.

Good luck, shopping for new toys is half the fun in life!
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Chuck Davis
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the Focusrite Voicemaster Pro. I use 528e's and Summits pre's at work and prefer the sound and versatility of the Focusrite. Lots of compliments from clients as well. Price point is right in line with some of your short-list candidates too.
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Edo
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going Dutch for a bit here... :lol:

I really think the 528E is for the sole purpose of doing 'hitradio' stuff. All the overshoots (basically a not nearly fast enough attack time) make your words highlighted at the first syllable. This is totally an unwanted thing over here as it ruins your character in the take. It can work on live radio however... it's a popular unit because of its technical... shortcomings. But if you like the sound, hey what can I say?

I have had my hands on a number of budget to very professional processors recently. You might know some of them, others you might not know of... I got really amazing results with a Millennia Media STT-1, which allows you to decide whether you use tube or solid state circuitry, and also decide the order. It's expensive, but well worth the money. Same goes for the Manley Vox Box... but when it comes to versatility the Manley goes... it's too much a vocals unit and not really suitable for mixdown if you'd use two units. The same goes for the Universal Audio 6176... even though it does have the best compressor I've EVER heard on board.

I was really impressed with the Avalon Design units, especially the really nice VT-737sp, although the compressor is a bit... too coloring on the sound. You can work miracles with this thing if you only do radiospots. The Focusrite ISA-series 220 and 430 really made me sad because they lack any hint of warmth... the pre-amps are way too agressive. The EQ is very impressive on the other hand. The platinum series don't do it for me either, as every bit of professional parts has been removed from the units to maintain a really friendly price in the stores... but at what (audible) cost? It's nice for home recording, but in the pro world you get laughed at over here with one of those.

There is a flagship in the Focusrite family though... the Red 7 is AMAZING! Also a pretty big investment...$ 3,800... plus....

If you're ready to spend about one grand you might wanna consider Toft Design's ATC-2. It sure feels like a whole lot more expensive piece of equipment. They used very fine pots, and it is really nice to work with this smooth processor. Tubetech is also getting pretty popular over here.

However, if you wanna keep some of that money in your pockets...

I combined a TL Audio 5051 tube preamp with a Yellowtec Vip1 (analog) processor and this rocks! You can find them on eBay all the time if you feel like saving even more!


Last edited by Edo on Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edo,

Thanks for the detailed response. It's great to hear from someone who has had so much hands-on experience with a number of different processors.

If money were no object whatsoever, I would get the Millenia SST, no doubt, but it's $2700 and I am a beginner! Of course the Avalon and UA 6176 are right up there too. I figured the most that I could go would be $1400 for the Universal Audio LA-610 and I really feel a little more than foolish to spend that much at this point in time.

I had considered the Toft EC-1 (single channel version of the ATC-2). Reviews say that it is a real performer for the money ($600).

Unfortunately, none of these have an expander/gate, which would be an additional expense.

The TL Audio looks very interesting but I cannot find a U.S. distributor. It's not on ebay right now, maybe later.

Thanks,
Nick


Last edited by nick reed on Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: PreSonus Reply with quote

Don,

Thanks for your input on the PreSonus Eureka. I saw that unit at Guitar Center. The front panel quality was absolutely amazing at a price point of $500. It looks and feels like a $1000 unit for sure. It's like a mini-Avalon.

The VXP preceded the Eureka and was made specifically as a voice processor. The VXP has been discontinued and essentially replaced by the Eureka. If the Eureka had a gate, I would buy it immediately and I would be finished with my shopping. Reviews of the VXP knock it for having concentric-ring controls that are very difficult to manipulate... difficult to grasp and difficult to turn one ring without turning the other. However, I really only have to dial it in once, so that is not a huge concern. The VXP is definitely a contender.

Yes, shopping for new toys is at least half the fun!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Nick,

I am unfamiliar with the VXP - never saw or used one - but concentric rings would only seem to be a problem if you are making frequent adjustments. It well may turn out to be a terrific piece of equipment for you.

The Presonus Eureka has separate knobs, but be forewarned, they are TINY and a bit difficult to see. Once again, only a problem if you are making frequent adustments. The tiny knobs mean the labeling is also a bit difficult to see, but not really a big deal.

The fact of the matter is that this really is a high quality unit. It looks good, it sounds good, it is solid and the price is reasonable.

I too would have preferred a noise gate (and a de-esser, dangit!), but I find that my Goldwave editor has has a decent noise gate in it - as long as ya don't try to rely on the built in presets. I have found the settings that work well for me. It does the job well, it is quick and it is easy. That makes the noise gate a non factor as far as the Eureka is concerned.

It is entirely possible that whatever audio editor you are using also has a gate that will do the job for you.
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Jim Barton
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RE TL AUDIO:

(From a review I found: http://www.digitalprosound.com/2003/04_apr/reviews/tl_review.htm)

"Tony Larking Audio products were available in the US until 1998, at which point the line was rebranded and sold in the US as HHB. Any of the Classic, Radius and other series of HHB were all, in fact, TL Audio under the hood."

I did a blind test a few years ago with about 6 compressors, including Avalon and a number of other much more expensive units, and ended up purchasing an HHB Radius 40. I love it. (It's the the rebranded TL Audio 5051.) I don't believe it's sold new anymore, but you can find them readily on EBay.

The thing about many of these high-end, expensive units is how many different instruments they will work well with. In other words, they will work equally well with saxophone, drums, acoustic guitar...and voice. The trick is to find one that works with your instrument, your voice. That combined with the mic you're using.

By the way, I never used to record with compression. Now I do all the time (just a taste, mind you.) The eq side of my HHB Radius 40 is never used.

Jim
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's only for practice, buy cheap. You'll have the tools you need to learn and practice. Visit studios when you can and in the future, you'll be in a better position to select based on that experience.
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mcm
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
buy cheap


Kevin, what's come over you????

It's true, you can put this off and do research in the field before buying. Bill Elder recommended a Behringer mixer for me (Eurorack UB802) for $49 and I'm still using it. I don't know any better, but I think it's an amazing little machine for the price (the lesser model doesn't have phantom power -- don't get that).
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I listened to absolutely every preamp I could get my hands on which involved a number of paid hours at different studios. No matter what you do, at the end of the day you have to be happy with the choices you make and the work you produce.

Other than that, see Edo's comments again.
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Philip Banks
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a Focusrite Penta, most of the time it is set on "By-Pass" but it has enough buttons, knobs and switches to keep the average "Mmmmmm may be it needs a 0.04db boost at 10,000hz" happy.

If the sound you're getting is not quite THE sound (A) start with the signal source then (B) Sell a kidney and buy a decent mic Coffee Once (A) and (B) are ok buy the most unbundled compressor/processor/impellor/expellair you can find as it'll do fine.

For those who have been making a living as a voice artist for over 2 years I would like to make the following observation. If you are still trying to tweak your sound electronically to get it SO right; your sound is fine you just need to get out more.

Voice over chain.

(1) You, in the other words - signal source.
(2) Voice over booth - Accoustically dead
(3) Pre-amp/processor

The above is obvious, isn't it? No it isn't! Listen to a number of voice demo's and the above sequence is anything but 1,2,3.

(1) I wanna make $200 a minute
(2) I'm better than you ya fat Brit b*st*rd
(3) Got me a PC
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:46 am    Post subject: Audio-Technica AT4040 Reply with quote

Nick,

If you do not already own a mic the Audio-Technica AT4040 is a defacto standard utility mic due to it's versatility. It's worth checking out at your local studio and online prices for them are really nice.

Kevin
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