Avalon VT-737SP
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Avalon VT-737SP

VT-737SP, Channel Strip from Avalon.

mooseherman 06/24/2010

Avalon VT-737SP : mooseherman's user review

« High-Quality, smooth preamp »
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This is a vacuum tube based pre-amp. Unlike some other preamps, this one is only one pre-amp per rack unit. There are also compressors and equalizers on this pre-amp too, which makes it a really versatile thing indeed. There are two XLR inputs in the rear, one for mic and one for line inputs. There is also an XLR out as well as a compressor link (1/4"). There is also phantom power, a phase reverse, a button for high gain mode as well as a filter switch for activating the high or low-pass filters.

UTILIZATION

This is actually a somewhat complex piece of machinery. In addition to the mic pre's you have compressors and EQs for each unit, so there's a whole lot of controls for this thing. The dilemma arises when you decide whether or not you want to add compression later, or just do it right away. As far as the pre-amp goes, there are knobs for input gain, a switch to determine whether the input is mic, instrument, or line, and a high pass filter. The compressor has four knobs, Threshold, Compression, Attack and Release. The EQ is four-band (Low, Lo Mid, High Mid, Hi), and there is an output switch right next to it. There are also four filter knobs underneath the EQ. The EQ and compressor can be bypassed by hitting the respective switches.

SOUND QUALITY

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't record anybody else's projects with the compression or EQ on. I like this unit for the sound of the mic pre alone. However, I experimented a few times and found that the compressor is a particularly versatile one when applied in the right situations. I actually found it comparable to many outboard compressors that we own. The EQ I didn't like as much, mainly because it wasn't easy to work with after the fact, during mixing. However, this pre-amp is solid enough that I don't think I'd worry too much about the compressor or EQ. The tone is so clear and warm, and while it's not completely transparent, I have yet to find an instance where it hasn't worked for me. I've used it on everything from drum overheads to guitars and bass, and have had good results.

OVERALL OPINION

I like the fact that this pre-amp has such a good sound. The compressor and EQ are neat features, but I'm wondering what the cost would have been had they not added these features. It might be more worth it to just get this instead of a compressor and EQ, that way you have it all in one unit. Most people, especially those who have a lot of outboard gear, probably wouldn't do that, but home studio owners might. Overall, this is a really versatile and solid machine.