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Mixing with the old Joe Meek VC1? Your thoughts.
Old 24th September 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Mixing with the old Joe Meek VC1? Your thoughts.

Ok so about 3 or so months ago I got the chance to work in a studio that had 10 (yes 10!) VC1s. Even though they had all Neve and API stuff I was still very intrigued with trying these on drums. I had a 10 song record to record that week and ended up testing them on drums for one of the tracks. Ver cool stuff! I was pleasantly surprised seeing as how the vc1 has always been characterized as a "budget" unit to me.

Ever since that day I have been really wanting to get one for mixing purposes. My buddy just sent me one for a while to test and its in the mail now.

My questions are these.
1) what have you found (in a mix situation) that you like the vc1 on?

2) are there situations (given the choice of other pieces of killer gear) that you would reach for the vc1 over "greater" channel strips?

Keep in mind I am taking about the original vc1. It doesn't have the eq section on the one I'm getting. Thanks.


EDIT:

I do have lot's of high end gear (Neve 1081s/API Lunchbox full of eqs and compressors/Retro strips/ect....).
Old 24th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Showcase's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have had one of these in my rack since they came out, and I have really tried using it on all kinds of stuff but never liked it, It does sound pretty nice on acc guitar sometimes though!
I never reach for it anymore, It doesnt sound bad but really doesnt sound very interesting either.
Old 24th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Bump
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Songwriter's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I used to have one, and can´t really say I miss it...

I did some A/B testing with a couple of other preamps, and found the VC1 quite dry, soft and maybe slightly midrangey sounding. It has a pleasant sound character, but I agree with the previous poster that it´s not really that interesting sounding.

I think I read something about the sound of it being "in your face" once, but it didn´t really seem like that to me. It was more "being nice" sounding to me, in a soft focus kind of way. Not incredibly revealing or dimensional.

An alright vintage unit though, and if I had 25 preamps I wouldn´t mind the VC1 being one of them... although it might make everything else in the racks look very ungreen...
Old 28th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Ok I got this unit in today and instantly put it to work on a mix I am currently working on. I tried it on mono drums at first just to see how the compressor would work (keep in mind I had an 1176 on the drum buss before this). The VC1 for sure has a sound! It has a lot of pumping action on the drums that can sound awesome when dialed in just right. I really liked it to be honest on the drums!!!
Now on to vocals! LOVE IT!!! The compressor really kicks A on vocals. I had a very rock heavy mix and it just worked perfect. I had an LA-2A on vocals up to this point and ended up using the VC1. This is also due to the fact that I could drive the gain a little more and get a little grit on the vocal.

I am going to play around with it tomorrow some more but I am actually very impressed and really want to get a second one!

I hear people say its a boring sounding unit and I can't say I have had that experience with it yet.
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Showcase's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Providence ➡️
Ok I got this unit in today and instantly put it to work on a mix I am currently working on. I tried it on mono drums at first just to see how the compressor would work (keep in mind I had an 1176 on the drum buss before this). The VC1 for sure has a sound! It has a lot of pumping action on the drums that can sound awesome when dialed in just right. I really liked it to be honest on the drums!!!
Now on to vocals! LOVE IT!!! The compressor really kicks A on vocals. I had a very rock heavy mix and it just worked perfect. I had an LA-2A on vocals up to this point and ended up using the VC1. This is also due to the fact that I could drive the gain a little more and get a little grit on the vocal.

I am going to play around with it tomorrow some more but I am actually very impressed and really want to get a second one!

I hear people say its a boring sounding unit and I can't say I have had that experience with it yet.
Come on guys, its absolutely CRAP!
Old 28th September 2012
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I have the two channel version, and I like it. It has it's own sound which not everyone is going to get on with, but mine gets a fair bit of use, particularly for electric guitars and drums. I find the compressor pretty usable as well. Great value for the price they go for second hand.
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Providence ➡️
Ok I got this unit in today and instantly put it to work on a mix I am currently working on. I tried it on mono drums at first just to see how the compressor would work (keep in mind I had an 1176 on the drum buss before this). The VC1 for sure has a sound! It has a lot of pumping action on the drums that can sound awesome when dialed in just right. I really liked it to be honest on the drums!!!
Now on to vocals! LOVE IT!!! The compressor really kicks A on vocals. I had a very rock heavy mix and it just worked perfect. I had an LA-2A on vocals up to this point and ended up using the VC1. This is also due to the fact that I could drive the gain a little more and get a little grit on the vocal.

I am going to play around with it tomorrow some more but I am actually very impressed and really want to get a second one!

I hear people say its a boring sounding unit and I can't say I have had that experience with it yet.
Hi Providence, all Joemeek lovers and non belivers,

I've never used a 1176 or LA-2A they appear to get a lot of love on this site, However I was involved in the Recording of 'The Beachmonks' a few years back and they used VC1q's on vocals, bass, brass. SC2.2 on drums, So quite a bit of Joemeek there. They have split up now, so not trying to push them via this site just want to give an example of the Joemeek sound.

I like the Green boxes

Some examples off their album on Myspace: 1. Mediterranean Fruit love
2. Yeti 3. Jalapeno Sunrise 4. Yeah Babe

I wish you all well with your art

"Don't dream......make memories!"

Inacan
Old 23rd December 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
bogeyeater's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
VC1 owner since 1997.

Used as front end to interface. Recorded a whole album on it.

Not super wild about the pre - there are better options but you get what you pay for. Remember this retailed at £700 back when. The enhancer is a cool effect in places and used as a dab rather than always on.

But the photoelectric compressor is straight [email protected]*#ing fab and the reason i loved it so much all these years and hung on to it. All the marketing guff was true - it's capable of being subtle and wild on a variety of sources - but even when you hammer it these transients wink through to create new and often musical dynamic information. I usually have the attack at 10'oclock and the release at 7 or 2 for a smoother effect. It sounds magic on vocals, drum loops and electric guitar and from a stacking perpective gives a very 'finished' overall feel to multi tracked recordings especially with the right microphones and the right material.

Your Q's:

1. Mixing: as i only have a mono channel i have run both sides of mixes through it separately a few times. Interesting, a bit esoteric and difficult to judge, you'd get better results with an SC2 or such doing that, but it still sounds cool!

2. As an electric guitar front end, either DI or mic-ing amp i don't think it can be beat. I've tried this with a 1176 re-issue and although the UA was great, the VC pipped it. The opto 'gathers' electric guitar peaks in such an attractive way.

Better more expensive boxes have come into my rig since, but proud to say all these years later my green machine is still used and very underrated.
Old 4th June 2013 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hej

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showcase ➡️
I have had one of these in my rack since they came out, and I have really tried using it on all kinds of stuff but never liked it, It does sound pretty nice on acc guitar sometimes though!
I never reach for it anymore, It doesnt sound bad but really doesnt sound very interesting either.
Hej,

I'm in Sweden this week and actually like using the unit so maybe you want to free up some space in your rack?

Cheers
Old 8th April 2015
  #11
pjk
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Old Thread but i must give Ted Fletcher his long overdue appreciation also.

Owner of VC1 for 10 years. It is a wonderful, wonderful tool for tracking and mixing.

The compressor is a proper old school photo optical one. Perfect for levelling tracks and adding a touch of excitement whilst allowing the transients though. An amazing tracking tool for the base tone, very smooth. Want subtle transparent compression - it is possible due to very effective levelling of the signal average ( not transients ). Want opto character - it has it by the bucket ! Like anything it is a tool and you must spend the time to learn how to use it for best effect but the user manuals settings are a great starting point. Great with vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The full monty can do wonders in parallel compression ( i have used a joe meek c2 on drums for this too good effect also ).

It has a transformer mic pre that has more presence, solidity and balance than interface ones and a d.i with the right impedance ( 150kohms ) for using with guitar amp sims after a 1 Megaohm D.I or boss style Buffer pedal as opposed to interface d.i's ( 1megOhms ) alone. This cuts out the glassy sound in a more natural way than post eq'ing a 1megohm d.i. Don't trust me - check out what radial say on the subject. Obviously no use for d.i recordings intended for reamping but perfect for tracking. It might not be as good as a neve but it does the job and has that transformer magic.

I haven't been able to use it lately and miss it so i was looking for an LA2A style plugin to mimic it ( am not on protools ). Tried IK white 2A and immediately thought it did a similar thing to the VC1 but not as nice !
Have never tried a hw LA2A but i believe the VC1 does the same sort of optical trick. It pulls up the low end and low mids in a flattering way whilst increasing excitement and effective levelling.

For stereo applications ( buses ) i would advise picking up an SC2 or C2 or tfpro equivalent. Very useful.

cheers.

Last edited by pjk; 20th April 2015 at 06:16 PM..
Old 8th April 2015
  #12
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Funny
I have had a VC 1 since back in the day when joe meek was the gear to have and paid top dollar for it.
I used it mainly on vocals witha AKG solid tube mic and it was amazing.
What funny is I actulay put it back in my main mic pre rack today.
It is an amazing channel strip.
I can't agree wit the post that said the VC1 is crap.
You have to realize that when the VC1 came out not any of the high end mic pres we see to day were available , 500 racks were not heard of. Analog tape and ADATS were the norm for most studios. I paid $385 for a AKG C1000 and the C3000 was $700.
Now to day those mics are considered crap and I understad the are out sourced to an over seas manufacture.
My VC1 has made in England written on the back of it and is still a very solid piece!!!!!!

It's not the playdough , it's what you make with the playdough !! Even if it is Green. Lol
Old 9th April 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm assuming this thread is about the 2U VC1 and not the half rack "Brick" unit?
Old 13th April 2015
  #14
pjk
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
That's right. I asked Ted about his brick design over on his forum and this was his reply :

"Regarding the transformer in the VC1 V2.01 I think I recall that it is the same as the brick.... the circuitry is certainly similar. It was shortly after the V2.01 that we changed to a transformerless input, and it was not as good.

BTW, I always said that the C2 was the neatest one of them all.... It was as good as the SC2 but very few people bought it.... it was too compact and neat! "

cheers
Old 13th April 2015
  #15
pjk
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Just to provide the link for anyone interested in impedance for guitar d.i'ing for amp sims etc ( half way down interview with radials CEO ) :

Radial J48 DI Box

I feel however that the VC1 D.I really works well AFTER a 1 Mega Ohm D.I or buffer as it is too low impedance otherwise.

cheers

Last edited by pjk; 20th April 2015 at 06:17 PM..
Old 13th April 2015
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Rob Coates's Avatar
 
19 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I had one once and kept it for a day or so before deciding it wasn't for me. The mic amps sounded boxy, dull, and boring. The opto compression is about the same as most of the other original green boxes. Kind of a one trick pony and I wasn't crazy about that one trick. The opto compression on a lowly Focusrite Penta sounds better and smoother to my ears.
Old 13th April 2015
  #17
Gear Addict
 
dgkenney's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The VC1 is a great up front pre/comp for hard male rock type vocals imo. It gives a "face up against the windowpane," presence and immediacy. Light touch on the enhance to be sure but does add a nice sizzle I don't use it often but wouldn't think of getting rid of it either.
Old 18th October 2018
  #18
Gear Addict
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Re: the original post (years and years later), I just purchased two VC1's version 2.1 that should come in next week. I will definitely be trying to mix with them. I'm sure professionals will think this is a stupid idea but I'm just curious. I really love the Joemeek stuff (at least on individual sources) and I realized the 2.1 has a stereo link in the back so my curiosity got the best of me. I'll post links with sound samples if anyone is interested.

Does anyone know if a manual exists for that version of the VC1? I know Ted has specified that the Brick never had a manual and the version 3 looks completely different from the 2.1. The controls are all self-explanatory but I'm just curious how the stereo mode would work (i.e. which unit's controls will override the other's).
Old 18th October 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
for fun a little while back, i patched a Joe Meek Twin Qs across the mix buss, and left it there for a few days.

Dam things pretty good.

better than the unit below it i thought.

buddha
Attached Thumbnails
Mixing with the old Joe Meek VC1? Your thoughts.-joe-meek-dbx.jpg  
Old 31st January 2019
  #20
Just traded some diy stuff I built for a vc1 v3.03. Can anyone here tell me the differences between revisions and which is regarded as the good bad n ugly? Thx
Old 1st February 2019 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Addict
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs ➡️
Just traded some diy stuff I built for a vc1 v3.03. Can anyone here tell me the differences between revisions and which is regarded as the good bad n ugly? Thx
The version one is the Brick and its legendary and it'll cost you roughly $1,000.
The version 2 has two versions. One is gold-lettered and one is black-lettered. The only difference as far as I am aware is the gold lettered one has a stereo link that doesn't work so well haha. I bought two of them for this reason and I've been having some trouble trying to get the to act as a stereo comp. According to Ted himself, they didn't work so well and that's why the got dropped from the black-lettered version 2's.
The version 3 ditched the input transformer but everything else on there should be the same.
I imagine the version 3 is essentially the same as the VC6's and I love those preamps. They work especially well on mic'd guitar amps and direct electric bass guitar. I have tracked vocals through them with good results too. You could also try searching through the tfpro forums. Most of the posts there are actually about the old Joemeek stuff and Ted is great about responding to questions within a few days.
Old 1st February 2019 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Excuse me, it looks the version 3 also has stepped slope/ratio settings on the compressor. The version 1 and 2 is continuous.
Old 1st February 2019
  #23
Also very curious bout the variations of version 3, I believe there were three version 3’s although this may just before retail purposes? Would love to know. Gonna try to go to the source I guess...
Old 17th March 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have one & it & my GAP 73 are the only decent-ish preamps I own.
Vocals through the Joemeek sound great with my original Rode Classic, better than the GAP, which I love on most things.
And that compressor is just so much more characterful than any of my plugins.

I suppose if you want pristine modern sounding sounds, it isnt going to be anyone`s first choice, but for some real life and grit on a vocal or a guitar direct, I love it.
Old 18th March 2019 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Have and love both of those pres myself. I feel like getting pristine sounds through outboard gear is weird. It's 2019, just drop the money on a really good soundcard. The VC1 is great for weird guitar sounds as long as you bypass or use very very little enhancer and always always engage the HPF. Surprisingly, I haven't run my bass through it yet even though the VC6 was my go-to for direct bass for a while. I'll have to get around to that here soon. My current problem is I bought two VC1's (2.1) looking to use them on the 2bus, and their gain levels are wildly off from one another. I'm about to pay them off before the deferred interest kicks in and then I may take the to a tech to see whats up.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Showcase's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Joe Meek was a guy, that made gear, that sounded different, not necessarily good imo, overhyped as it gets
Old 6th August 2019
  #27
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
The Joe Meek stuff is great, very underrated.

SC2 and VC1 are stand out pieces imho.
Old 6th August 2019 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Rob Coates's Avatar
 
19 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Showcase ➡️
Joe Meek was a guy, that made gear, that sounded different, not necessarily good imo, overhyped as it gets
Joe Meek, the producer had nothing to do with any of those green boxes. He was deceased long before Ted Fletcher developed the first green box.
Old 6th August 2019 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Showcase's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates ➡️
Joe Meek, the producer had nothing to do with any of those green boxes. He was deceased long before Ted Fletcher developed the first green box.
No he didnt.. which makes it even more bizarre developping green Boxes based on Joe meek. But i guess it was a PR thing like always
Old 6th August 2019 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Rob Coates's Avatar
 
19 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Showcase ➡️
No he didnt.. which makes it even more bizarre developping green Boxes based on Joe meek. But i guess it was a PR thing like always
The only connection is Ted Fletcher (founder and original seller of Joe Meek gear) who worked from time to time in Joe Meek's home studio. Meek made his own gear but was very secretive about what was in them (including his compressors). It would be interesting to know if Fletcher had one of those actual boxes to look at and utilized some of what was there. I have some recordings Meek did that have very extreme compression and it doesn't sound like anything any of the green boxes can produce (I've had nearly every version at one time or another).
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