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Avalon 737 -VS- Universal Audio 6176


So does anyone have an opinion on which one would be a better choice for some killer vocal recordings. Now i know these babies are both superb, but I would love some influences on what would be the better choice for some rich meaty vocal recordings. i have used the Universal Audio 2-610 paired with a distressor and just melted at the sound, I have heard some Avalon users with just straight voice overs, and it was nice. I sure appreciate any opinions, particulairly of users with hands on both units. thanks!!!!
October 15, 2005 @06:14pm

I have had a chance to try both of these units... both are very nice, very smooth and create nice fat warm vocals... The single difference I noted was that the Avalon had a bit more flexibity, but the UA6176 has the classic sound nailed, period.
You can sure enough get the classic sound out of the Avalon 737, you just spend a tad more time tweaking.. However to me that was the beauty of the Avalon, you have a very wide range of possiblities.
That said, truth be told, it is more important to have the right mic for the job and the right mic set-up for the vocalists style.. I have acheived similar results using a Neuman U-84 through an Ashley parametric and an old DBX compressor, using one channel of the comp/lim for 2:1 compression and the other for hard limit...
But if the point is to nail some awesome vocals in a variety of styles and technics, using the mics you already have on hand... Then I'd vote for the Avalon 737... You'll find it very hard to beat for giving yourself an edge regardless of vocal style and technique.. It's clean, it's warm, it's fat and it's flexible.. What more could ya' ask?
October 15, 2005 @07:49pm

The compressor is way better on the 6176. It definitely has a sound and will not work on everything, but at least it will work on some things, which is more than you can say for the 737 compressor, which, in my experience with the box, is relatively useless, unless you need to make something sound soggy.
The preamp on the 6176 also has a sound, and it wouldn't be my choice for an all-arounder. My main issue with it is that it either sounds great on a source, or doesn't work at all on it. This is fine when you have a lot of different things in your rack to pick from, but not when you need one good all-around box.
The preamp on the Avalon is fine. it's funny, I never would have characterized it as "fat" or "classic" (the second adjective seems more appropriate for something like a Neve 1073 than this box) but it's definitely a little warm, rather hi-fi, and it is a nice way to smoothe out things with a honky midrange. It seems like it has a little scoop to it. This is why it's a fabulous pairing for mics like the U87, U47 and even the Soundelux U99, it takes the edge off while keeping all the tone.
The 737 EQ is flat out great. This is easily the best part of the box in my opinion. If you're recording a lot of pop and R&B, the Avalon will work most of the time. I still don't like it much for rock. It tends to be a little too nice and polished. I never use the compressor.
Actually, if I were dropping around $2000 on a vocal chain, it wouldn't be either one of these. I'd be after a separate preamp and separate compressor. I wouldn't be too worried about EQ, there are many plug-ins available now which do a fine job of that. I would probably pick a Great River ME-1NV for the preamp, as it always does at least a very good job, and a Demaria Labs ADL-1000 for the compressor, which again either ends up being very good or great. The Demaria is an LA-2A knock-off, and one of the best things I've ever bought. Also wonderful for bass guitar.
I'm really warming up to the Distressor on male vocals, especially when you don't hit it too hard. I still don't like it at all on female vocals, but it works well on many other things.
Honestly, if you like the combo of the UA preamp and Distressor, why not go for the mono version of the UA 610 (the UA M610?) and a Distressor? It's not that much more expensive than the Avalon, and on the used market, you can probably find both for the same or less money as a new 737.
October 15, 2005 @08:10pm

michaelhoddy & roblavender
Thanks much for your valuable input!! The good news is that I have a nice focusrite pre-amp, that I consider the nuetral hi-fi sound. So I am kinda looking for something with character. I have heard great things about Great River ME-1NV preamps as well, might be worth looking into, however, I also like the idea of the mono universal audio and distressor. didn't think of that, but I also liked the idea of having it all in one box too. the session i did with the universal audio pre and distressor actually was with a female vocalist, with a u-87, and after tweaking the distressor a bit, It sounded nice and beautiful to my opinion. However that was the only chance I had with it, so I can't speak of its wonders yet... I will be recording a variety of types of vocals. As well as a possible DI for bass. I will do more research on the great river stuff. you guys rock!!
October 16, 2005 @01:18am

I really like the UA stuff a lot, but I would certainly not consider the preamp to be very versatile. Its a pretty aggressive preamp that has a very upfront sound, but never really sounds all that smooth. Classic is definately not a word I would use for it, but then I would not use that for the Avalon either. I personally agree a lot with Michael concerning the Avalon. The preamp is very smooth and polished sounding (perfect for some voicings), the EQ is excellent, and the compressor is nothing special. The comp on the UA is quite nice and pretty versatile. I also agree that the Great River preamp would be an excellent place to start. Good selection of sounds available, all of which are pretty nice. You may also want to look into a Chandler TG Channel, a Daking channel, or maybe even the new Rupert Neve Portico with something like a vintage DBX 165. You may also want to look at a Vintech x73i for a good soid nevealike channel.
If I had to pick between either the UA 6176 or the Avalon 737 to be my main vocal chain, I think I would actually have to pick the Avalon. If I were to factor in some other options though around the studio and just wanted to pick up a great channel, the 6176 would be my pick of the two.
October 16, 2005 @02:11am

I actually sold my 737 and went out and bought the LA-610. I have since swapped the tubes on the la-610 for telefunkens and am even more in love with this unit. But as Michael and xtatic and now I will tell you I can't use it for everything or even stack too many tracks with it because the mix will begin to fuzz a bit. UA stuff has what I like to call alot of "character" to it. The good news is that you have a nice neutral sounding focusrite pre. Believe me you will need it. I have the isa 220 and I pick and choose according to what best pleases my ears. Now knowing your position and knowing that you do have other colors in your rack I would definately vote for the UA because it has way more character than the 737. Which is what you are looking for right?
October 16, 2005 @02:28pm

I am looking for something with character, an up front vocal sound. I will check out some of the others mentioned as well. thanks much!!
October 16, 2005 @07:23pm