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DW Fearn / Thermionic differences?
Old 27th November 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
DW Fearn / Thermionic differences?

I've been checking out DW Fearn and Thermionic Culture preamp Web pages. What differences are users finding between these brands? Also, would you go with just the preamps or are their EQs also a must?
Old 27th November 2009
  #2
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didier.brest's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I was also hesitating between both these preamp anf finally choose the Fearn because of the advice of the retailer who was selling both brands and told me that they encountered reliability issues with Thermionic (actually with a model that was not the Earlybird, was it the Culture Venture ?). According to Plush, a member of this forum, who have got both, the Earlybird would have a less noticeable sound print.
For recording, I use EQ as post-processing. So I don't need EQ on the preamp.
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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That would seem a little unfair to Thermionic, I feel.

With any of these low-run boutique equipment manufacturers which hand-assemble stuff there will be variables but I have to say that all of the Thermionic stuff I have ever used has been very much built to last.

Don't buy if you don't like the sound but don't discount it on manufacturing grounds, you'll be doing yourself and Thermionic and injustice!
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Still reading...

I've been searching GS news on these units. The thing that gets interesting is the Thermionic Rooster. Having a flexible EQ and the Attitude tone shaping option is interesting for tracking and mixdown out of a Folcrom or other summing unit. And you get two channels, plus directs. For the cost, the Rooster seems like a really nice unit.
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I have several Thermionic pieces and Fearn pre and comp.
Fearn is slightly bigger sounding (a bit more character), but without losing resolution. Both are clean.
Fearn looks as a bit better quality built.
Never had any issues with any of them.
Earlybird has nice EQ on top of very good mic pre.
Fearn comps is bit more versatile, but Phoenix is god on 2-buss (I like it more there).
I wouldn't rate any as particularly better and although there are difference, they belong to similar group of clean and nice sounding tube gears.
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
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I had both DW Fearn and Earlybird preamps here. DW Fearn is more heavily coloured and sounds less natural. Earlybird sounds rather clean and more detailed, yet it has very nice gentle warm touch, that is not "wooly" or "tubey" ... I personally quite prefered Earlybird for my purpose - recording acoustic instruments and gentle vocals (also over Pendulum, LaChapell, Fetcode etc)
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Interesting

I scanned the Earlybird 2.0 and 2.2 - looks like a different EQ, is that about it? How does the Earlybird preamp sound different than the Rooster preamp? Probably pretty different?
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrooveMerchant ➑️
I scanned the Earlybird 2.0 and 2.2 - looks like a different EQ, is that about it? How does the Earlybird preamp sound different than the Rooster preamp? Probably pretty different?
I tried both side by side. Earlybird offers a bit more sophisticated/detailed/pleasing sound that the preamp section of Rooster to my ears.
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Again interesting

That's what I was guessing. One thing I need to research is insert and bypass. It would be nice to be able to use the Earlybird as an EQ only when you want to. Or as just a pre when you want to. Also on my list is the GML 2032 - which allows pre or eq or both. I have Neve 1073 DPA, API 3124+, and Chandler TG2, so going GML and tubes next will add great versatility.
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrooveMerchant ➑️
That's what I was guessing. One thing I need to research is insert and bypass. It would be nice to be able to use the Earlybird as an EQ only when you want to.
You can ... It has line inputs as well ...
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
DW Fearn is more heavily coloured and sounds less natural.
http://mercenaryeditions.com/samples...DX-VT2-DRY.wav

I don't hear it the same, Ivo. Sorry. I would agree it has a colored sound, but I would disagree about your take on the natural part. Guess we have different meanings for the words. Did you ever get to patch the RM2J into it?
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell ➑️
I don't hear it the same, Ivo. Sorry. I would agree it has a colored sound, but I would disagree about your take on the natural part. Guess we have different meanings for the words.
For me "coloured" is the opposite of "natural" ...
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Inputs/Outputs

Cool, line in will work great for adding EQ later. Looks like if you're using Pad setting on Earlybird, you get the standard ohms, 1200. But, it looks like you can't bypass EQ on the pre. What about instrument input - guitar or bass direct? Sorry for the simple questions.
Old 28th November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
No Fletcher Commentary?

I thought the man would have some verbage on this thread - Fletcher - what are your findings with these DW Fearn and Thermionic units? Man I wish more of their gear had instrument inputs too. The Rooster seems like a total package because of the attitude and instrument inputs, and summing gain use - but people on the threads are liking the Earlybird units heavily. Clean, precise tube gain like what Earlybird users are describing seems similar to Martinsound's MSS-10 in a way too. Someone in the post above preferred Thermionic over Pendulum, Millenia, etc - that's impressive.
Old 28th November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
No "Fletcher commentary" because it is an unanswerable question with words. You have to experience the differences.

The D.W. Fearn sounds WAY more red than the Thermionic Culture equipment... on the other hand the D.W. Fearn gear can and never will sound anywhere near as black.

In the scheme of these two sets of products the differences are as subtle and as dramatic as the differences between a Mercedes "S Class" and a BMW "7 Series"... neither of which are a slouch by any stretch of the imagination, both have their merits, and both are different enough that their owners / drivers chose them for a reason.

Having driven them both, having owned them both, having a plethora of experience with both I found this query impossible to answer. One is not better than the other in a general sense though in application one can be found to be far more useful than the other... however those "application specific" instances can only be decided by the user at the time when the decision must be made. There are no wrong decisions with gear like that but practical experience and personal sense of aesthetic will guide the course of that decision for an operator fortunate enough to have both at their convenience.

I hope this makes sense.
Old 28th November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks

It does make sense. I will definitely go with one unit for awhile. Having a couple tube channels will be awesome, but using the Fearn and Earlybird units, weren't you jonesing to have a direct instrument input on them? That and attitude are big reasons the Rooster looks cool. I can appreciate the props given above in this post to Earlybird being a little better in the pre only format. That said, I'm comfortable that the Rooster preamp quality would be superb. It's going to be tough to audition these - I can check for samples but in the studios I've been in, I've actually never seen a Thermionic unit or Fearn unfortunately.
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