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Is Avalon products sub par?
Old 18th May 2006
  #1
1484
Guest
Is Avalon products sub par?

It seems that when the 737 came out, everyone praised the heck out of it. Now most on the threads seem to not care for it. I hated the purple knobs, but now it's a thing of the past plus increased headroom. Mercenary Audio's version looks better than the original and it's cheaper. It does not have the nice smooth sound of a Manley pre, but it has a slight smoothness over Avalon's very clean and wonderful 2022. The optic compressor works great on vocals, and the EQ adds a touch of smoothnes as well. It should be at least on par with the Focusrite ISA 220. Is it that the 737 is still good but people just prefer bigger sounding pre's like a Great River and Neve? I know Babyface still loves his 737. What gives?

Their 2055 parametric EQ is also suppose to be a nice transparent EQ that some studios use for mastering. I know that many still love the M5 on bass guitars.
Old 18th May 2006
  #2
Gear Nut
 
pvoc3000's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
People here treat gear like music - some prefer the oldies, while others have to have the latest greatest thing. They almost all agree that what was cool last year sucks today.

Avalon makes great stuff. Sounds like you like it too. Don't be swayed by whats cool. Trust your ears and your gut.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Jason Poulin's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Two 737's still get used just as much as our API's and Great River's and other pre's.


They rock! A little expensive but they do rock.


Jason
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
i record mostly rap vocals, but in my experience, the 737 really seems to shine when ur stacking lotsa tracks for say, a hook. sounds nice and thick. but too me it sounds kinda bland for one-track verses. i think the whole deal with the avalon is that its overpriced. i mean, that exterior is a beauty and im sure alot of ur money is spent on that when you purchase the unit. back in the day, the 737 was like the most bang for the buck (pre, comp, eq for 2 grand), but with all these new cheaper units providing arguably better bang for the buck, it seems like its not as hot as before.

the ad2022, the m5, and their mastering eq seems to get consistent respect around these parts. ive never used em so i wudnt know. just seems like the 737sp gets bashed quite a bit tho.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
seaneldon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
build quality is top notch and they have a great reputation. i'm not a fan of the VT737SP but I do like the AD2044. avalon stuff is on a ton of records. all kinds of music.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Rob King's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a ton of outboard, Martechs, Focusrites etc. I can honestly say that I have made 50% of my living with my 737's. All the high end gear is great. It really comes down to flavor and/or what your needs are. Cheers

Rob
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
rolo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i bought 737's and a 747 about 4 years ago.. tried them a lotsa things for about a year.... i never felt the WOW in them. sold them and bought a few summits and millennias... much happier. i can see the 7 series avalons being justified if the prices were lower... much lower, in fact the only thing i really like about them was the way they were built... strong and heavy. the 747 did have a good eq. but thats it, imo.

i do think that there are better choices for the money out right now. chandler, a designs, neve portico, millennia, summits, OSA, etc
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
build quality is top notch and they have a great reputation. i'm not a fan of the VT737SP but I do like the AD2044. avalon stuff is on a ton of records. all kinds of music.
I have to disagree... At one point this was true, but over the last couple of years we started seeing a lot of 737's with knobs falling off, and other random problems. Not serious problems, just little stuff. Although, I guess that is to be expected for the amount product they were moving.
Old 18th May 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Steamy Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelation
but it has a slight smoothness over Avalon's very clean and wonderful 2022.
Are you sure about that? I thought the 2022 was the more superior design of the two . I've only used the 2022, and not the 737, but that was what I was lead to believe.

Anyway, I think people have come to expect that little bit extra from clean sounding equipment, which Avalon tends to be. IMHO manufacturers like Crane Song and Pendulum have kinda come along and offered something a little bit different than just straight and run-of-the-mill clean, e.g. clean but somehow more musical and/or versatile, and that has given them the upper hand over Avalon, etc.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
dokushoka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
We have the 2022, 737, 2044 and the U5. The 737 is very much "meh..." The 2022 does the job. The U5 is a super useful box to have. The 2044 I like for acoustic guitars and I've got it strapped across a stereo room mic on a live recording right now.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The very first band I produced, I had a "budget" to rent (not buy) one WHOLE mic pre!

So I borrowed a whole bunch of them from the local music store. Joe Meek, Summit, Avalon, basically what you would find at a decent music store.

The Summit MPC-100A beat out the Avalon VT737.

I used the proceeds from my production gig to buy a Summit MPC-100A and then later on when I "outgrew" it moved up to an AMS Neve 1073 and Urei 1176.

I know lots of people that love using the VT737 (mostly hip hop guys) and they get great results. Just not my personal cup of tea.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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espasonico's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The M5 sounds great too.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #13
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robot gigante's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The U5 is the only Avalon box that I've used extensively. It was kind of blah and didn't get much use so out the door it went!

Based on that one I really haven't been too interested in their other gear, since there is so much cool stuff out there that covers the same bases as the Avalon stuff. Probably that's the wrong attitude to take though!
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #14
1484
Guest
Some of you have said that the 737 is over priced. At Mercenary Audio you can get it for $2,000 and $1,750 for the cool looking black one. Heck that is in the ballpark of the Focusrite ISA 220. Other boxes from other company's are a lot more than that. What is it that made you found other newer pre's more attractive? It seems like people today want a big in your face sound. The 737 seems to have a clean but gentle smoothness to it. It is close to the 2022, but the 2022 just has a cleaner sound to me. This makes it more detailed in the high end, but both have a good purpose.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
edvdr76's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have to disagree!

tutt I have to disagree with the people who diss the 737. I have 2 of these units and I love them! They have a clean pre, a smooth compressor and a bomb eq! and all for 2 grand. What more do you want? Think about it! all that for 2 big ones!!! I also have stuff from Focusrite, Summit, UA, Vintech, Joe Meek, etc., and I still ALWAYS use my Avalons. Im not gonna say my Focusrites and other boxes I have sound less or better than the 737's, but the Avalons have a sound of their own. I'm also not gonna say they work on everything, but they sound great on a lot of stuff. I also have the Avalon U5 and that too is a great unit. It's my first go-to DI for bass. It has a tone control knob that makes the bass sound AMAZING! PEACE!
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Moderator
 
Tim Farrant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think we have to remember that the 737 was designed in the mid 80's, and perhaps things have moved on alittle. It did however set a standard at that time to which alot of other product was and still is compared. What I can't work out is why they have not tweaked the design alittle and released a Mark 2.

Tim.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #17
1484
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant
I think we have to remember that the 737 was designed in the mid 80's, and perhaps things have moved on alittle. It did however set a standard at that time to which alot of other product was and still is compared. What I can't work out is why they have not tweaked the design alittle and released a Mark 2.

Tim.
With that Logic, no one would want Neve or API's? I mean it's got that old colored sound that gives you the 1970's sound.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Avalon 7's appear somehow boring in concept and sound to me.
No great pre, comp or EQ, just good or very good.
Of course for around 2 k you can hardly buy a lot of pre, comp and EQ.
There are some better products in similar price range and some excellent products that are reasonably more expensive (Pendulum Quartet), but I think that gearslutzs in general prefer to have separate gears that nicely match some particular preferences.
Avalon's other higher-end products in straight comparison with other favored gears of the same price class never won in my case.
So, Avalon is kind of 'good' compromise, but in my book still COMPROMISE.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
I have to disagree with people considering avalon gear(at least the AD series) as compromises.

The AD2022 and the M5 are not coloured pres. They sound big but not colored. So it is quite reasonable for the fans of coloured pres not to like them because of the lack of a particular 'colour'. However, I tend to use them extensively because of that reason. I prefer to get everything on tape or DAW as clean as possible and then try and give it some colour with the use of an EQ. The AD series are spectacular when used with a Prism Dream or other high end neutral sounding converters because of the ultra accurate representation they give you of the source you record. Then you can make adjustments. Again, that is the way I work so, no offence.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #20
1484
Guest
I just got done listening to the following pre's; Avalon 737, Focusrite430, Manley Voxbox, Chandler, SSL clean and SSL Dark Angel pre.

The one that was my least favorite was the SSL clean pre. It just sounded sterile to me. The dark angel one (forgot the name they use) had a little more darker sound and a little more pleasant. The ISA 430 had a much more pleasant sound though still clean the 2nd harmonic distortion that is added makes it a nice middle of the road pre. It's not super clean and it's not in the deep smooth catagory. So if the ISA is center right, the Avalon 737 is center left. It also has a nice open sound but a little smoother than the 430. I really liked the 737 pre for what it does. Its not a big bad boy like a Neve Portico or Great River, but i can see the 737 being great on vocals, guitar cabs and bass. Though I think i would prefer their 2022 for a cleaner punchier bass in many cases. I believe the M5 is the same as the 2022. Chandler had a geminie (sorry for the mis spell) transformer in it, with a release knob that controls how much it loops back. IT was a very nice pre that allowed you to change it's color. The Voxbox then of course was the creamy-ist.

It was interesting to try the 737 Eq. Very transparent, and it did not add any phase to the signal. By turning down the high end about 2 db, it sounded closer to the Voxbox. I found the 737 having more high end than the Chandler in my quick test going though a U87i. The optic compressor I found handled vocals very well, and is just a useable as my optic limiter in my Langevin DVC.

Hey I really like the 737. It is a great channel strip in it's price catagory. Not any one channel strip will meet each situation, but his one I can see will handle many. Sure I would prefer a Great River pre and EQ in many situations, but the 737 is still a great sounding unit.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
GearHunter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Revelation, what you have just discovered about the 737 is why some people like it and others don't. It's a pretty clean pre. People buy it thinking it's going to be "warm" and "toobey", and I think a lot of the time they don't get what good tube gear is supposed to sound like. They think there's going to be all kinds of audible "funk" and harmonics and stuff. When they hear that the 737 is clean quiet and with plenty of headroom, they are bummed out because they consider that boring.

I still think the Avalon solid-state gear is their best. That was what they started out doing, and I think they decided to build tube gear due to market demand. The M5 and 2022 pres go back many years now, and are great. The 2055 EQ is wonderful as-well. Even though I do not like the compressor on the 2044, I like the Class-A sound of the 2044, and the Avalon Class-A gear in-general. It lends a nice sheen to the tone.

That being said, we do have a few more black Mercenary 737SM left. They are identical sonically and electronically to the 737SP; you're just not paying for the expensive panel and fancy metal knobs.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #22
1484
Guest
Gearhunter, you hit the nail on the head. I agree with what you said 100%. The problem with strong tube gear color is that it's use is a lot more limited. Being more in the middle allows it to be used in more situations, so the 737 is the way to go for that reason. If you can afford a lot of gear, than of course that is another issue. But many are just poor home owners with a studio in thier home. Gotta have my day job to pay the bills.
Old 18th May 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Moderator
 
Tim Farrant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelation
With that Logic, no one would want Neve or API's? I mean it's got that old colored sound that gives you the 1970's sound.
Just because it's old, does not always mean it's going to be good!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mantaray
I have to disagree with people considering avalon gear(at least the AD series) as compromises.

The AD2022 and the M5 are not coloured pres. They sound big but not colored. So it is quite reasonable for the fans of coloured pres not to like them because of the lack of a particular 'colour'. However, I tend to use them extensively because of that reason. I prefer to get everything on tape or DAW as clean as possible and then try and give it some colour with the use of an EQ. The AD series are spectacular when used with a Prism Dream or other high end neutral sounding converters because of the ultra accurate representation they give you of the source you record. Then you can make adjustments. Again, that is the way I work so, no offence.
I'd have to somewhat disagree with the above statement. I find the Avalon gear DOES indeed impart a sound and even though they are on the clean side of the spectrum, there is most definitely a sonic imprint of smooth, glossy, posh character. They may not contain the iron of a Neve, or the punch of an API, but I wouldn't call it transparent either.

A non technical way to explain it is when you buy a pack of colored pencils and one of them in the pack is white. First you ask yourself "what am I going to do with a white pencil", but then one day you realize it's not the same as leaving the canvas blank.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #25
1484
Guest
I agree with you on this point too. GML are the closest to transparent, while it can have a diamond quality to it. I am also glad to report that Avalon is up and running. They moved to a new plant, they have better quality control and they are cranking them out as fast as they can as they have so many on back order...at least that's what they told me. Very nice guys too, I met them at the AES show in NY last time around. Loved the EQ
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #26
1484
Guest
The other thing that was brought to my attention is this big "Iron" sound is very popular with many company's and many others are coming out with their own version of this big in your face sound. I think it stimulates you more havint the big sound up front that many prefer the Great River or Portico over the 737 for instance because of it. However when you use compression later, those who use the "iron" pre's will use less compression to bring it up more in the mix, while those with GML, Langevin, or 737 pre's will use more compression and or EQ to have the vocal cut through the mix so it is closer to your other "iron" pre'
s. In the end after the mix, they could have a similar punch. It's just one gets you there at the pre and the other at the compression time. However you may prefer the tonality of the 737 or other pre that does not give you that big sound up front as you can control it more with the compressor. Just food for thought.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelation
The other thing that was brought to my attention is this big "Iron" sound is very popular with many company's and many others are coming out with their own version of this big in your face sound. I think it stimulates you more havint the big sound up front that many prefer the Great River or Portico over the 737 for instance because of it. However when you use compression later, those who use the "iron" pre's will use less compression to bring it up more in the mix, while those with GML, Langevin, or 737 pre's will use more compression and or EQ to have the vocal cut through the mix so it is closer to your other "iron" pre'
s. In the end after the mix, they could have a similar punch. It's just one gets you there at the pre and the other at the compression time. However you may prefer the tonality of the 737 or other pre that does not give you that big sound up front as you can control it more with the compressor. Just food for thought.

interesting you should say that, cuz i really hate how things sound thru my 737 running solely thru the pre. it always needs compression and some eq on it. i guess its a good thing that the unit comes with a pretty good eq. without it, the 737 pre really lacks the big sound that everyone wants. i guess the unit wasnt designed with big sound in mind, but the fact that it comes with an eq makes it more possible and a more flexible unit. never really thought of it that way, when they touted it as a "swiss army knife" of recording but i guess its true.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by byunsen
interesting you should say that, cuz i really hate how things sound thru my 737 running solely thru the pre. it always needs compression and some eq on it. i guess its a good thing that the unit comes with a pretty good eq. without it, the 737 pre really lacks the big sound that everyone wants. i guess the unit wasnt designed with big sound in mind, but the fact that it comes with an eq makes it more possible and a more flexible unit. never really thought of it that way, when they touted it as a "swiss army knife" of recording but i guess its true.
While I'm not a big fan of the 737 the M5 and AD2022 sound very goog to my ears.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
GearHunter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Tha EQ on the 737 is by far the best thing about it. It's a great EQ IMO, and I know a lot of other people agree with me. And guess what? It's SOLID STATE! No tubeys!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
montanasan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
New

I've just recently got a 737 and I love it. Great music will sound great through anything.
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