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DW Fearn VT-7 for mastering?
Old 15th October 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
Kory Baugus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
DW Fearn VT-7 for mastering?

I've decided to Get a Manley SLAM and want an additional compressor to use in conjunction or as an alternative.

I was wondering if anyone is using the VT-7 for mastering, and, if so, would you mind relaying some of the experiences you've had with it?

Mainly, I'm looking for input on the unit's versatility and flexibility. Is it happy on aggressive-style music? The other unit I'm leaning towards is the STC-8.

Thanks,
Kory
Old 16th October 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Tom VDH's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi,

I use the VT-7 on masterings regularly. You can crush dynamics to insane levels without the usual compression artifacts. In short, it's hard to make it sound bad.
It has its own color although it's a fairly transparent one. It's like adding a fine layer of lacquer....
It's a very versatile unit, but it's not aggressive (like VCAs) and it has no bypass, which shouldn't be a problem if you work with a mastering console.

Hope it helps,


Tom
Old 16th October 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Tom VDH's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I see you're from SFO, maybe you could call Cutting Edge and get a demo unit...
Old 16th October 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
Kory Baugus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks Tom, I may see about checking out a demo unit. Do you find it softens agressive sounding rock and electronic music? Is it your "desert island" go-to box?
Thanks...
Old 17th October 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Tom VDH's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, not sure I want to get in this kind of debate....could I survive on an island with 1 hammer, even the best one? Not so sure, but yes agressive materials will benefit from its great tone and lovely depth, but still, only you can say. Try it! heh


Tom
Old 18th October 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Kory Baugus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
could I survive on an island with 1 hammer, even the best one?
Touche.
Old 18th October 2009 | Show parent
  #7
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
NOW HEAR ME: I am NOT A Mastering Engineer.

------------------

BUT: I have used the DW Fearn VT7, so I hope this qualifies the rest of my words for you.

------------------

I would suggest that DW Fearn recording equipment is arguably found at the top of the LIST comprising the most WELL BUILT/MANUFACTURED TUBE equipment in the United States today. Everything he builds is remarkable and I find that it is all able to make poor sonic quality better, as far as my ears can define the word. The VT7 yields an extremely euphonic tone while representing the source and its depth. The overall sound of the VT7 is something I can only describe as "finished". Now, I am not a ME, but I am sure the job involves FINISHING.

I used to clean/detail automobiles in high end car and bike shops and I find audio gear and audio in itself, quite analogous to this process. I would machine buff/polish and then hand wax every panel/chrome on these things until the shine was blinding. Then I would make sure it stayed that way for as long was possible with as many coats of wax/sealant as it needs. Doug's boxes do this to your audio in one shot and you never need any wax to keep it around. Maybe to keep the charm from fading on the faceplate, though I think the charm will never fade from these animals.

The Gain reduction element/circuit uses a specially designed PWM [Pulse width modulation] board that is Solid State Technology. It has a similar "gain action" to a Crane Song STC-8, but because of the way it is laid out [more of an old school fashion] you don't need a rocket building certificate to use the thing. Its incredibly simple to operate and you do have a useful range of control for program. Its really a DREAM to TRACK with the VT7, but I think its a master buss/mastering dynamo, if the goal is enhancement of audio character, articulation, natural tone, and highly transparent squeeze that is radically in-audible over few-to moderate DB squeeze.

Its very capable and squeeze's quite usefully without artifact at heavier reductions. You can make it re-act, but it takes a while to get it to bear its action. Its a smoothing effect when used correctly, and really helps shape everything together while feeding audio amps that are beyond the term musical. The HPF link feature is CRUCIAL, and I think it was a worth while addition to the design.
Old 18th October 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
UpNSmoke's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell ➑️
NOW HEAR ME:
I would suggest that DW Fearn recording equipment is arguably found at the top of the LIST comprising the most WELL BUILT/MANUFACTURED TUBE equipment in the United States today.
Roc,

How would you rate the VT-7 vs the Phoenix mastering unit for 2 buss and/or mastering? I loved the sound of the Phoenix, but the build quality was another thing

I've been considering a VT-7 myself..

Michael
Old 18th October 2009 | Show parent
  #9
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by UpNSmoke ➑️
Roc,

How would you rate the VT-7 vs the Phoenix mastering unit for 2 buss and/or mastering?
Michael
What is important to understand is that any comparison I intend to give you is personal to me and should have no bearing on you and your studio/music and process of critical and subjective listening.

Rating doesn't happen in my head, like it does on this forum, so I'll tell you I would call upon these boxes as different tools for different applications. I realize comparisons are needed to make informed decisions, and they are tube boxes, but the DW Fearn VT7 does not use Tubes in the gain circuit. That fact ends the comparison of compression action for me. I'll certainly continue on though.....

The Pheonix adds some weight and sauce to the sound. I also hear it adding top end clarity. Its way more apparent when doing moderate compression, even with the HPF. Its hard to define in words overall, but I feel the Fearn is more transparent in action than that box. Both units have amplifiers that polish the audio but the VT7 has a certain velvetta over the transients without affecting the tone and size of the audio that the Pheonix can't do. I also don't hear the Fearn adding any undesirable weight. I certainly do hear it's width and balanced tone. I feel the Pheonix is most like the Fairchild style limiters with "something else" to it. The VT7 is like a purpose built RCA mastering limiter with extreme accuracy and performance though its technical specifications.
Old 19th October 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
Kory Baugus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks Guys!
Old 21st October 2009
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Our mastering room includes the VT-7 and VT-5. They are rich, dimensional and impart a size and depth that is so desirable. Dare say, we have used the VT-7 on classical projects to get this quality-- not so much to compress, but as a means for depth-- it is just that amazing. The VT-5 stereo equalizer is it's mate, providing the same magic with "one click".
Old 23rd October 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
Kory Baugus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mr. Mixwell, let me ask you this: If I were to get the culture vulture and Vt-7, could that combination get close to the fatness and tone of the phoenix?
Old 23rd October 2009 | Show parent
  #13
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kory Baugus ➑️
Mr. Mixwell, let me ask you this: If I were to get the culture vulture and Vt-7, could that combination get close to the fatness and tone of the phoenix?
Why not just buy a Phoenix? Given my experience with all of these products, I would never have these kinds of expectations for matching said devices. The Culture Vulture is a device that is designed to make tubes operate incorrectly, and cause distortion that can be varied in a number of ways, and the Phoenix is a Vari Mu compressor with tube amps. I can't see how they would ever compare in any situation.
Old 26th March 2013 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➑️
Why not just buy a Phoenix? Given my experience with all of these products, I would never have these kinds of expectations for matching said devices. The Culture Vulture is a device that is designed to make tubes operate incorrectly, and cause distortion that can be varied in a number of ways, and the Phoenix is a Vari Mu compressor with tube amps. I can't see how they would ever compare in any situation.
Fully agree with above.
Actually DW Fearn replaced my Phoenix on 2 Buss for good and stays there without ever looking back, although I love Phoenix to bits and it will not leave my outboards rack.
Old 27th December 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I use various analog compressors for mix buss, and also mastering...

I like the Obsidian 500 a lot...

sometimes my clients want LOUD masters, and I find that two analog compressors in series can help get loud masters that dont sound slammed.

How would a Fearn VT-7 compliment my Obsidian 500? (when both used, in series)

Old 27th December 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Glenn Bucci's Avatar
 
41 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Here is my review of the DW Fern VT-7; http://www.prostudioreviews.com/fearn.htm
I agree with what Doc says above regarding this compressor
Old 31st December 2014 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci ➑️
Here is my review of the DW Fern VT-7; DW Fearn VT-7 Tube Compressor reviewed by Glenn Bucci
I agree with what Doc says above regarding this compressor
Cool review. Thanks for linking.

Anyone else wanna chime in?

:-)
Old 31st December 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
I have used the DW Fearn VT-7 and I love it, what a great compressor! It just makes stuff sound huge if used properly. It can do a decent amount of gain reduction without sounding bad.

Also, you may want to check out the Pendulum OCL-2. That is another great sounding compressor for mastering. Lots of depth and very musical although it isn't as fast as the VT-7
Old 30th October 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Has anyone explored NOS tubes in their VT-7 (or VT-5 / VT-2?) they used to use GE NOS I believe but no longer supply those. NOS are very expensive and the new VT-7 has 8 of them. I am curious to hear if anyone has compared the modern tubes the Fearn gear ships with to quality NOS pieces.
πŸ“ Reply

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