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User reviews on Hybrid Pre-amp products

moosers's review (Shadow Hills Industries - Equinox)

By moosers, 02/08/2011
The Shadow Hills Industries Equinox is a really complete recording device for your front end. Not only does the Equinox have two grade A quality microphone preamplifiers, but it also serves as a control center for your studio, featuring monitor and talkback controls as well. This is an all analog piece of equipment and will take up two spaces in your rack system. For connections, the microphone preamps have their own XLR inputs and outputs, as do the connections for the built in summing bus for left and right channels. It then has 24 channels in D-Sub connections for hooking up to your DAW for summing, and then has another 8 channel hub for mono inputs and another for your speaker outputs. It also has an 1/8" talkback remote connection, although I did not use this. Lastly, it has it's own power supply that is sold separately.

UTILIZATION

It's not very difficult to use the Shadow Hills Industries Equinox. I've only used it on a handful of occasions since I've used it at an outside studio. The owner of the studio showed me the basics of the controls and I was good to go from there. Each of the two preamps has controls for gain, a pad, direct switching, and phase. It's also awesome that you can choose between three different transformer settings for slightly varying tones. These include settings for nickel, iron, and steel. There is also of course built in phantom power for your condenser microphones. As far as your monitoring section is concerned, it has a speaker select for A, B and C, a mono/stereo switch, a talkback switch, and a dimming switch. I absolutely love the feel of the Equinox overall, as the switches/levers are cool as are the super big controls for gain and overall monitor level, each moving a small tick at a time. It makes it easy to zero in and remember specific gain volume on your preamps. I haven't seen the manual for this and probably never will.

SOUND QUALITY

The preamps in the Shadow Hills Industries Equinox sound absolutely superb. They have a really warm sound that seems true at the same time. I've only used the preamps for recording vocals, but I've used them on a bunch of different singers and it did a nice job on everything. I haven't ran anything through the summing bus on this, but I'd be surprised if it didn't sound great and is nonetheless an incredible thing to have along with preamps. Not much more to say other than you can't go wrong with this soundwise...

OVERALL OPINION

While the Shadow Hills Industries Equinox is definitely aimed at professionals with a budget looking to get a top of the line piece of gear for their front end, to me it still seems like a great bargain considering all that you are getting here. The price is probably worth it for the two stellar preamps along - the fact that you get a 30 channel summing bus and monitor control makes it all that more sweet. This is a great choice for the home studio owner as well if you're looking to take your demo studio to the next level. With this, a good converter, good monitors, and a good mic, you'd have yourself a pretty good little set up!
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Push that Tube Gain (Universal Audio - 4-710D)

By JimboSpins, 24/09/2012
The Universal Audio 4-710d is well worth the money spent. I have never had a bad experience with it and know several people that also use it and have no complaints about it. With 8 high quality 24 bit channels and a tube gain that wont get distorted easy when you decide to push it a little, you just can not go wrong. The price of the Universal Audio 4-710d is a bit pricy coming it at just under 2000 dollars. I have been using it since January of this year after purchasing it around Christmas time. The sound is truly great, all of your microphones will sound better instantly. I have recorded with the 4-710d with instruments (mainly drums) and it shocked me, and I was able to see why it cost so much.


UTILIZATION

Using the compressor on the 4-710d is very different and will take some time to understand. It took me about 3 months before I felt comfortable enough to use it all on my own without the need to pull out the manual. I had to use the manual a lot at first, it was well written and was not too bulky. The general set up of the 4-710d is simple, but getting to understand the unit will take some time and patience.


SOUND QUALITY

My overall recording sound has really went to a new level with the Universal Audio 4-710d. It has taken the quality of my microphones to new levels. Especially the drum microphones.


OVERALL OPINION

On the 4-710d you can really push the tube gain to the limit and not have to worry much about distortion like you do on so many other units similar to this one. The sound quality is full of color and if you learn to use the compressor the right way and use the manual , you will get an even better sound. Do not try to use the compressor by just messing around or trial and error. You will just be wasting time, get to know your manual so you can use it the right way. This is a must have, hat goes off to Universal Audio for the 4-710d.
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Great Pre Amps (Universal Audio - 4-710D)

By chrislieck, 25/09/2012
UA makes some really good stuff. Good layout and good set up and not difficult to use.
Sounds like UA audio, great stuff but it has a specific sound and you have to have a taste and time to work with this unit when recording hot inputs. When using these units you have to be aware they are a bit authentic sounding in that you have to pick what you are going to use them on. If you use them on drums they sound great and on guitars. Vocals can be a bit more tricky. You have to find a mic that sounds right with the singer that your recording. You will find that they are a bit sensitive and you would not get turn it on and just hit go. There are a bit more tricky in that they are more colored so as you get your input you need to pay attention to the sound and what you are getting. Don't use any plug ins to start with nothing on the playback input track and get a feel for the active input. As you turn up the input you will find that there are defined differences in what your inputs or instruments are. On vocals it is bet harsh at 4.5K so dip that at least 3 db and you should be good to go. Also the pre has a bit of a bump in the lower frequencies 50 to 80hz so use a high pass filter.

UTILIZATION

There is not much to the set up. Plug in turn up the input based upon the instrument your micing and get to work.

SOUND QUALITY

Very clear sound but they do have a colorizing effect on the mid range. I have noticed this a lot with female vocalists no matter what mic I use.

OVERALL OPINION

They are a bit pricy and there are other pre amps like the focusrite 8 channel preamp ISA that I like. If you like a little color on the sound then I would get this one. Not as transparent as some of the other preamps.
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News Hybrid Pre-amp

2 new Sonic Farm hybrid preamps

Published on 03/03/15
Canadian manufacturer Sonic Farm announces the release of two new 2-channel hybride tube preamps, the Berliner and Beamer.

Feature Articles Hybrid Pre-amp

Seven DIs on the Spot

Published on 09/28/11
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In the studio and on stage, DI boxes are indispensable to match impedances, make re-amping or avoid noises. However, it's not easy to choose a DI box from the multiple options available. So, when Fre…

Forums Hybrid Pre-amp

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TC Electronic SpectraDrive

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