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Summit TPA-200B opinions please!
Old 29th October 2015
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Summit TPA-200B opinions please!

I feel there is no enough tubes in my audio chain

What do you think about using Summit TPA-200B on individual tracks, subgroups and 2-bus during mixing as a real warming / overdriving / distortion unit?

Thanks!
Old 30th October 2015
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Please, friends!

We're all about gear here. Any thoughts are welcome. I have a lot of various hi-end equipment (API, Chandler, Vintech, Empirical Labs, TFPro, Sontec, Neve, etc) β€” it's amazing. But it lacks those hot valves saturation that only top notch tube design can give. I want to buy just one or two right units with no further doubt. It really doesn't matter what it could be: compressor, EQ, preamp or something else. Just right one. I want to close the gap in my palette.

And by the way, I tend to use more classic tools and methods in my chain, thus Culture Vulture is too much for me and sounds too dirty (funny for distortion box))) and not enough high-end. I hope you understand what I mean.

Thanks!
Old 30th October 2015 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hendy Amps...

Look up the thread about the Hendy Amps Michelangelo. Might be just what you're looking for.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bars ➑️
Please, friends!

We're all about gear here. Any thoughts are welcome. I have a lot of various hi-end equipment (API, Chandler, Vintech, Empirical Labs, TFPro, Sontec, Neve, etc) β€” it's amazing. But it lacks those hot valves saturation that only top notch tube design can give. I want to buy just one or two right units with no further doubt. It really doesn't matter what it could be: compressor, EQ, preamp or something else. Just right one. I want to close the gap in my palette.

And by the way, I tend to use more classic tools and methods in my chain, thus Culture Vulture is too much for me and sounds too dirty (funny for distortion box))) and not enough high-end. I hope you understand what I mean.

Thanks!
Old 30th October 2015 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks a bunch! Looks very interesting and promised. Never hear about this manufacturer before. Obviously boutique stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty Staxx ➑️
Look up the thread about the Hendy Amps Michelangelo. Might be just what you're looking for.
Old 31st October 2015
  #5
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Summit, and Hendy seem like awesome choices. A friend has both not far from me and he loves the Hendy he just got.....I love my Summit......
Old 1st November 2015
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks friends, but more opinions about TPA-200B please...
Old 1st November 2015
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What about to compare tube preamps and high quality tube compressors in context of their coloration and harmonic enhancement of line level signal? For example on the one hand Summit, DW Fearn, Thermionic preamps and on the other hand Manley, Retro Instruments compressors.

Please more feedback.
Old 2nd April 2016
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I have TPA-200a and many similar priced preamps. I would say it sounds very rich and musical! It's almost like a tube version of John Hardy preamp which is clean and musical. Summit has input and output gain settings. You can also get very clean, transparent sound if you want. DW Fearn is also a great tube preamp. It is a bit deeper and slightly slower (not in a bad way, just different), slightly higher headroom (but you can set input lower on Summit) but also very musical sound. They are great preamps from 80s' or 90s'. Not much changes..... Because they are old, not trendy, people who own these great, expensive preamps just keep using them everyday and don't talk or even think about them.

Here are two solo instruments I recorded. There is no EQ or anything, except two AKG480 mics > Summit TPA200a. The classical guitar piece has 20% reverb plugin added.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djwgIScjHtA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdiIXnC9n4Q
Old 2nd April 2016
  #9
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toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The TPA200B is fantastic, very very nice. I marvel that it isn't talked about more, but then again, it's been out a long time and many more boutique manufacturers have entered the scene since Summit.

But this is a great preamp/DI, originally designed by Dave Hill. It's very flexible... in the clean range it does have that John Hardy, even API-esque vibe. When it is gain staged to get more tube saturation, it really doesn't sound so different than my tab-funkenwerk V78M. A little bit different character though. When I heard one of the demo clips of the Chandler v72s clone (Redd I think?), that featured the DI distorted guitar, I remember thinking that it sounded almost exactly like what I'd expect from the Summit. Which is funny, because the topology isn't really so similar. But all of the ingredients are there to get a good sounding tube saturation...to distortion going.

Then, you have the DI inputs for each channel, two position pad (-15, -25 ...handy for drums), phase switches, etc... all come in very handy.

I can't say that I've used it as a mix effect, at all, though I have used it in tracking for saturation or distortion purposes many times. But it's not just a distortion king. You could use it on recordings that call for a high fidelity feel with no problem. It really can do just what you'd expect from a John Hardy 990 equipped preamp, with an extra tube gain stage.

TLDR - Very strong as a preamp, very strong as a DI.
Old 2nd April 2016
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I would kill for a TPA-200B, and I'm also surprised they aren't talked about more. One of the audio schools I used to teach for had one in their studio, and the one thing I liked about it more than any other tube pre that I'd tried (Avalon 737, Groove Tubes SuPre & Vipre, UA 710) was that you could get it to seriously break up and create some nasty, broken up distortion. It's amazing on bass and drums, or really anything you want heavily colored. The low gain settings are great too, but it's a serious secret weapon piece.
Old 2nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #11
TSM
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TSM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chao ➑️
There is no EQ or anything, except two AKG480 mics > Summit TPA200a.
Very nice recording! Out of interest what spacing did you use for the classical guitar recording? Spaced pair, MS....

Thanks
Old 4th April 2016 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Sofa King's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bars ➑️
Thanks friends, but more opinions about TPA-200B please...
I like it.
not sure if the new ones are different than the older models.

But a really great, all around mic amp/DI

Best,
Sean
Old 5th April 2016
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Stitch333's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Are the old Summit M210 pres related to the TPA200?
Old 5th April 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Summit Audio Gear gets no complaints from me - I use a TLA 50 simply as I got it for a few hundred and as a Mono Tube Comp in that slow Mu style.....after an 1176 to level of Vocals, guitar or Bass it's brilliant, some have had noise trouble though not me, well, not yet touch wood! Would I buy a Summit EQ or TLA 1000 or other, nope, not as a first choice, though if I saw it going for a sing from a solid seller, damn yeah! I'm pretty sure from memory Summit were originally Pro Audio Resellers though I may be thinking of another OEM still, nice gear, just not "STAR" in my opinion, though it's got it's place as does everything!

Indeed there is much love for Summit Audio!
Old 5th April 2016 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 ➑️
The TPA200B is fantastic, very very nice. I marvel that it isn't talked about more, but then again, it's been out a long time and many more boutique manufacturers have entered the scene since Summit.

But this is a great preamp/DI, originally designed by Dave Hill. It's very flexible... in the clean range it does have that John Hardy, even API-esque vibe. When it is gain staged to get more tube saturation, it really doesn't sound so different than my tab-funkenwerk V78M. A little bit different character though. When I heard one of the demo clips of the Chandler v72s clone (Redd I think?), that featured the DI distorted guitar, I remember thinking that it sounded almost exactly like what I'd expect from the Summit. Which is funny, because the topology isn't really so similar. But all of the ingredients are there to get a good sounding tube saturation...to distortion going.

Then, you have the DI inputs for each channel, two position pad (-15, -25 ...handy for drums), phase switches, etc... all come in very handy.

I can't say that I've used it as a mix effect, at all, though I have used it in tracking for saturation or distortion purposes many times. But it's not just a distortion king. You could use it on recordings that call for a high fidelity feel with no problem. It really can do just what you'd expect from a John Hardy 990 equipped preamp, with an extra tube gain stage.

TLDR - Very strong as a preamp, very strong as a DI.
Indeed, most summit gear has the Hardy 990 Op Amp as well as Tubes etc!
Old 6th April 2016 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinATX ➑️
and the one thing I liked about it more than any other tube pre that I'd tried (Avalon 737, Groove Tubes SuPre & Vipre, UA 710) was that you could get it to seriously break up and create some nasty, broken up distortion.
Yeah, it does sound better than UA610, Focusrite ISA, Grace 101, Avalon 737.....etc, very clean or colored.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TSM ➑️
Very nice recording! Out of interest what spacing did you use for the classical guitar recording? Spaced pair, MS....
Thanks! A bit narrower than normal spaced pair........somewhat between spaced pair and XY. BTW, I could get a better sound if I moved the mics closer and about 1.5 ft higher. Because it was mainly for video recording, I don't like seeing mics & stand in the video, I had to compromise the audio quality a bit.
Old 7th April 2016
  #17
Lives for gear
 
sdelsolray's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bars ➑️
I feel there is no enough tubes in my audio chain

What do you think about using Summit TPA-200B on individual tracks, subgroups and 2-bus during mixing as a real warming / overdriving / distortion unit?

Thanks!
It's a nice preamp in many respects (personal experience). Dunno about using it on the 2-bus (no experience).

Of course, there are dozens and dozens of preamps that are nice, good, great, etc.
Old 7th April 2016 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastByte ➑️
Indeed, most summit gear has the Hardy 990 Op Amp as well as Tubes etc!
In case there is any confusion, the original 990 Op-Amp circuit was designed in the later 1970s by Deane Jensen of Jensen Transformers. The "A" and "C" refinements were developed around 1987 or so by Steve Hogan, who had worked at Jensen for several years at that point (now at his own company, soundsteward.com). I began manufacturing the 990 in 1978.

For many years, I was supplying Summit with black-anodized aluminum potting shells and gold-plated pins for their 990 op-amps, but nothing beyond that. They made their own 990 op-amps using those pins and shells. I am not sure which version of the 990 they manufacture ("original", "A" or "C" version).

When they basically went bankrupt five years ago, they owed me $2k. They still owe me $2k.

Thank you.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
The John Hardy Co. Home
Old 7th April 2016
  #19
CDW
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
That clarinet player has some sick skills by the way!
Old 24th November 2016
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Kronos147's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have fallen out of love with my TPA-200B lately. I read that changing the tubes makes a difference. I wonder if there are any other mods. I realize I am mic pre heavy these days and even had the Summit on Reverb for a week.

FWIW, I have been really digging the Aurora Audio mic pres. They are part of what makes me re-evaluate the Summit.
Old 9th December 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 
James Meeker's Avatar
The Summit TPA 200 is an excellent, first rate preamp up there with the best designs of all time. I've kept quiet on them for years since they were a bit of a sleeper and their prices were ridiculously low for what they are. Now that I (finally) bought a TPA 200A in October, I feel that it is safe to talk about just how great they are.

Honestly, I would have never paid much attention to the Summit. They are kind of an older brand and don't attract as much attention as newer or more marketing-heavy companies. The units look pretty boring, and so on.

I first encountered the Summit TPA at Lava Room up in Cleveland. It basically sat in the rack, unused and unloved. Rarely did I see it get fired up on a session. It was part of the "legacy" equipment that found its way into the studio at its inception. Me, however, being the curious sort that will try anything, decided one night to run my synths through everything at the studio, including the Summit, just to see how each one sounded.

Lo and behold, the Summit annihilated everything I put it up against. There was some decent competition: Vintech 473's, Vintech X73's, Vintech Dual 72's, and Avalon 737's. Later, I had the chance to test the Summit against Chandler LTD-1's, Chandler TG's, API 512's, Pendulum Quartet, Manley SLAM, and so on. The most difficult comparison was the Pendulum, which was a bit more 'sparkly'; however, the Summit was a bit deeper and richer.

In my opinion, the Summit TPA 200 is the best line input front end for synthesizers. Evidently, Jean Michel Jarre also agrees. It is transparent, huge, and clear. Coloration is minimal unless you really push the input. It does an amazing job dealing with the wide frequency range and intense transients that analog and digital synths can throw out. It does a great job making my modern synths sound a bit more "vintage." It's weird, because the TPA sounds vintage and hi-fi. Due to its hybrid tube/solid state design you can achieve a variety of responses ranging from tube distortion, mild enhancement, or crystal clean 990 solid state sparkle. Rich and expensive sounding. Very deep low end, balanced mids, and a fat top end. Just perfect.

Obviously, it is a first rate microphone preamp. Great choice for vocals. Excellent hi-z input for bass guitar (it's one of the stronger bass DI's out there). However, the line input for synths and drum machines is just off-the-hook. It pretty much has the magical ability to make anything you run through it sound better. I even run softsynths through it and their quality is similarly enhanced.

It is insane that these things sell used for so little. It competes with 3 to 4k per channel preamps. If you are an electronic musician using hardware synths I strongly recommend checking the Summit TPA out.

Last edited by James Meeker; 9th December 2019 at 10:44 PM..
Old 4th May 2020
  #22
Gear Maniac
Hey guys im doing a bit of a shootout mix bus comparison, can anyone run a mix through the TPA-200B for me? I have a mix. results will be posted at a later date. Thanks in advance
Old 5th May 2020 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
James Meeker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by christube ➑️
Hey guys im doing a bit of a shootout mix bus comparison, can anyone run a mix through the TPA-200B for me? I have a mix. results will be posted at a later date. Thanks in advance
I can do it. PM me.
πŸ“ Reply

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