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Question for other GT Brick users
Old 30th January 2009
  #1
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Question for other GT Brick users

Just got my GT Brick pre the other day. A couple things have me not so sure about it.

For starters, i just wanted to run one specific thing by other users of the Brick.

When using it as a mic pre (with vocals), does it seem like the gain increase is pretty slight until you get to about 3 o'clock? meaning... With the gain buried on MIN, I can still get a low but somewhat useable signal, at about 12 o'clock it's definitely louder, but not that much, when I get to 3 o'clock i finally notice a big bump in gain. After 3 o'clock definitely boosts it big time. I'm not just talking about tubey-ness or anything, I mean the overall level I'm getting into my DAW.

Explained in another way, because I love redundancy, and not that I have measured any of this. But it's like... You'd expect Min = +25, and Max = +55. Meaning 12 o'clock would be at about +40. Seems more like the first 3/4 of the dial is + 25 to +30, with +31 to +55 taking place in the last 1/4 of the dial. something like that.

I'm pretty sure I noticed the same thing with using it as a DI. Buried on MIN, with my bass, I get a minimal but arguably useable tone, and level ramps up really slowly as I turn the gain knob, and again, 3 o'clock kicks it into high gear and i hear a lot of level increase.

I mostly wanted to check on this aspect to make sure there isn't anything wrong with my Brick, and that is just the nature of the beast.

Any tonal things about it I'm not sure I like is another story, but I figured I'd ask about the functionality stuff first. Thanks.
Old 30th January 2009
  #2
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The gain on the Brick isn't marked, but it seems very logrithmic to me. So what you are experiencingt is normal.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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camerondye's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
All the gain at the end of the knob is a standard thing on the brick that I've heard a lot talk about and is the same on mine.

Great clean tube pre/di to have around for somethings. I wish it could get a little dirtier sometimes myself.
cam
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In answer to your question:

Yes, it has a silly gain structure.

Silly mic pre all around. Weird gain structure. Odd shape. Weird looking knobs and switches.

But if you like a lot of DC offset on your tracks (Maybe your wave forms are looking too symetrical), then it's definitely a must-have.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye ➑️
All the gain at the end of the knob is a standard thing on the brick that I've heard a lot talk about and is the same on mine.

Great clean tube pre/di to have around for somethings. I wish it could get a little dirtier sometimes myself.
cam
That's good to know. When you think about it, the Min to Max is only moving you 30db. I'm used to thing like the RNP that move you +66 from min to max. So Min to Max isn't nearly as different as it is on a lot of other pres that start at 0.

Yeah, I'm not quite sure this Brick is worth keeping around or not so far. I do admit it's a useful tool, but I'm not sure it's a $400 tool. I almost see that $400 as more useful being banked away for a Great River ME-1NV fund or something of that sort.

So far, on acoustic guitar, I find that If i play really light, I like the sound. Any medium strumming and things get a little too thick, where it sounds like it's stepping on itself. The problem with playing really light is the lower gain on the Brick, so you need to get up closer to the mic, and then you have to play even lighter, and so on and so on.

On vocals, I definitely like the thicker rounder vibe you get out of it, but I've got to get used to that strange ramp up in gain. To find the sweet spot, if there is one.

But I do want to like the Brick, so if there's any encouraging words anyone wants to share, please do. I'm definitely going to work more with it this weekend.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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BrentA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've had a brick for about two years now. I tried it on acoustic guitar, and I thought it sounded horrible. IME its best use is for electric guitar amps and bass DI. I also use it for room mics on drums with success. Sometimes it is great on singers/rappers. The brick usually beats api and great river as a bass DI in my studio. It is great for warming up a source, but the attack is slow, so it doesn't have a lot of pop or punch. I am going to get another one soon so that I have stereo brick.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by moon_unit ➑️
In answer to your question:

Yes, it has a silly gain structure.

Silly mic pre all around. Weird gain structure. Odd shape. Weird looking knobs and switches.

But if you like a lot of DC offset on your tracks (Maybe your wave forms are looking too symetrical), then it's definitely a must-have.
I take it you don't like the Brick all that much. lol.

But seriously, I'm kinda with ya. As of right now, I think it's getting returned. Seems like a cool tool to have around, but not $400 worth. If I have to struggle too much to like a piece of gear I tend to think it's not my thing. I fell in love with the RNP immediately, same with my Bluebird, same with my 4033, my RNC, my ADI-2.

I had a similar experience with the ART MPA Gold, i tried to like it, then decided I hated it. But actually, I think I liked that more than I'm liking this Brick.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Try it with a Russian ribbon mic on electric guitar for a "smeary" tone.......... 421 for a more trad sound. Bass Pre-amp out to a passive direct box to the Brick for a huge warm bass sound and with your 4033 on a Hammond for some soulfull organ tracks.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
IMHO, the Brick is more of a DI box with a mic capability than a true mic pre. I believe the evolution was that it started out purely as a DI, and then gained the mic input. If you look at the marketing info, GT doesn't really seem to be pushing it as a mic pre.

I haven't found much of a use for it as a mic pre, but I think it sounds really nice on direct guitars (think 70's funk Strat with a stompbox compressor)- vaguely reminiscent of a Champ amp, but pretty hi-fi, too. If you like singing through a guitar amp, then maybe it's the mic pre for you.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I don't know what everyone is talking about. The Brick is a great pre. The problem is that you have to think a lot harder when using it compared to other pres because of the design.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, I gave it a good 3 or 4 day workout, but it wasn't my thing. It went back to Sweetwater. My pocket just got $400 heavier and my studio desk just got 10 pounds lighter. It's a win-win.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
man, I absolutely love my brick. The tube in that thing is great. I don't think you are going to find another tube pre anywhere near that price with that kind of quality. If you want solid state, then there are more options in the < 1k range, but not tube to my knowledge. I absolutely love it on vocals and really love it on bass. anything that will benefit from clean tube goo. You do have to play with the gain a bit to get it just right...but when it's right...it's very right....my 2 cents.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nDmusic ➑️
man, I absolutely love my brick. The tube in that thing is great. I don't think you are going to find another tube pre anywhere near that price with that kind of quality. If you want solid state, then there are more options in the < 1k range, but not tube to my knowledge. I absolutely love it on vocals and really love it on bass. anything that will benefit from clean tube goo. You do have to play with the gain a bit to get it just right...but when it's right...it's very right....my 2 cents.
I think this kind of stuff comes down to where on the scale a piece of gear falls as being "your thing". If it's at the top end of the scale, $400 is cheap for what the Brick gives you. If you're at the bottom end of the scale, meaning, it's good gear, but just not your thing, the $400 is much better spent elsewhere. That's where I was at. I couldn't justify keeping it for the 4 bills. I did discover in the process that I really do prefer clean and precise preamps over round/warm/tubey ones though. At least based on this experience.

So again, not to sway anyone from buying the Brick, but try it out first if you can. I can say this based on my own experience with it, and all the reviews and threads I read about the Brick before I bought it... You'll either love it, or not so much. If this sound appeals to you, you'll be happy camper, and it is built like a tank, that's for sure.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by moon_unit ➑️

But if you like a lot of DC offset on your tracks (Maybe your wave forms are looking too symetrical), then it's definitely a must-have.

Care to explain that one? I haven't had such issue with mine. That sound like a conversion issue to me.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArchitect ➑️
Care to explain that one?

DC offset? Sure. Here's an explanation if you'd like:

Harmony Central - DC Offset: The Case of the Missing Headroom
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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BrentA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
So you are saying you used the Brick and it sounded bad because of DC offset? What exactly did the DC offset sound like?
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA ➑️
So you are saying you used the Brick and it sounded bad because of DC offset? What exactly did the DC offset sound like?
Not at all. I actually love the sound of DC offset. I also like goofy gain structure, hence my love for this particular preamp. I think it's the bee's knees.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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superwack's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
That article you linked to implies that DC offset in the analog world is introduced by op-amps in the circuit... The Brick doesn't have an op-amp (at least according to the schematic on the groove tubes site) it's just tubes and transformers.

as it states that it is more commonly introduced during the A/D process I think you might want to look there before blaming your brick.

for what it's worth, I just opened a session I recorded with mine this weekend... NO DC offset is visible in any of the waveforms on any track
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack ➑️
The Brick doesn't have an op-amp (at least according to the schematic on the groove tubes site)
That would probably explain why it only kicks out about 10 dbs of gain.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm still doing the liberation dance after packing that thing up and sending it back.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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retractablezing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiltrip ➑️
I'm still doing the liberation dance after packing that thing up and sending it back.
i never tried one (i'll have one here in a couple of days), but judging by the things you say you like (bluebird, rnp, etc. - all fairly clean and modern sounding) wasn't it pretty much a given that this wouldn't work for you, regardless of the funny gain staging?
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by retractablezing ➑️
i never tried one (i'll have one here in a couple of days), but judging by the things you say you like (bluebird, rnp, etc. - all fairly clean and modern sounding) wasn't it pretty much a given that this wouldn't work for you, regardless of the funny gain staging?
No, it's never a given until you hear something with your own two ears.

It's like someone who really likes vanilla, but sometimes get sick of eating the same kind of ice cream all the time, so he sees they have Super Fudge Blast and Berry Bomb Sundae flavor at the store. So he tries the Super Fudge Blast, and wasn't so crazy about it. But it doesn't mean he won't love the Berry Bomb Sundae. Gotta try everything before you can come to a definitive assessment.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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retractablezing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiltrip ➑️
No, it's never a given until you hear something with your own two ears.
sure but given the fact that you seem to like modern sounding equipment i didn't find your reaction to it strange at all.
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