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Author Topic: Shadow Hills  (Read 7654 times)

leonardo valvassori

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Shadow Hills
« on: July 23, 2009, 12:48:27 pm »

I had a chance to test drive a Shadow Hills mic-pre last week.
I didn't track with it, but I did run some familiar sources through it and had a listen.
I thought it sounded great.
Anyone here used any Shadow Hills stuff?

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Leonardo Valvassori

J.J. Blair

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 04:33:44 pm »

Leonardo, since this is a review forum, would you mind writing something beyond "it sounded great"?

Rolling Eyes
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Berolzheimer

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 04:25:22 pm »

I will.  I have a pair of Mono GAMAs, and they do sound great.  I love having the switchable output  option- there's a nickel OP transformer, a steel one, and a discrete transformerless output stage.  The nickel is warm & clear, the steel has a bit more of the forward midrange API thing, and the transformerless OP is, as one might expect, very open & transparent, with very little "color" and a bit less gain.  In any of the 3 modes it's a very solid & musical sounding pre, with lots of detail & presence and, if I may borrow a term from the dreaded audiofile world, soundstage.  One other thing I've found that I like is that the 20dB pad changes teh tone ever so slightly, albeit in a nice way, so sometimes even if I don't need to I'll run it with the pad in & a higher gain setting just for that extra whatever it is.
Oh, and my cs-40m LOVES the DI input. I've never heard it sound so good.

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leonardo valvassori

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 01:39:49 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 24 July 2009 16:33

Leonardo, since this is a review forum, would you mind writing something beyond "it sounded great"?

Rolling Eyes


Sorry for the delay:--been bizzy.

Well, my opportunity was basically while I was switching over from recording a bass track, (my self with my very familiar Wal Custom II) to a Wunder Audio CM7 that was out of the box new and I didn't know intimately. I had about 2 minutes to hear each source, bass first.

With the bass:
-it instantly sounded appealing.
-very wide banwidth
-round, full and natural, firm mid, no hype in the high mid or highs.
-felt a lot of headroom-the Wal can be hot for some pre's.
-stepped attenuation (which I love BTW) and solid build.

the mic (which I had been using patched through API 512c/LA2A) already sounded very good was straight in, no EQ or comp.
-as above, very 'there' but not in your face with female vocal.
-does "Britishy" convey a sound to you:--think EMI.

I did not have the time to play with the transformer switching (what the heck is that?), and as I said it was very brief:--it wasn't the type of session that left a lot of time for auditioning unknown gear.

All in all, it was one of the first new things I've heard in a long time that I wouldn't mind having in our studio for a week or two.


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Leonardo Valvassori

Adam Dowling

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2009, 12:30:01 am »

We have the Quad Gamma pre and the Mastering Comp at our studio here in Halifax, Canada.  Typically using the Gamma for kick, snare and overheads as well as electric guitars, and bass when possible, and vocals, and .....  Its the most instantly gratifying pre I have ever used.  One could easily imagine Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" or AC/DC - "Back In Black" having been recorded with these.

The first thing I do with the pre is switch through the transformer options for the "less-than-subtle" options.  I have found on occasion, that even the discrete (Jensen) path is more colourful than required, but that is rare indeed.  Nickle transformer is often the end result for most occasions - it has a sweet saturation, not terribly aggressive, but adds a real sweetness and forward quality.  Steel is quite aggressive and adds thicker harmonics but is never really ugly, just the right thing for wimpy sources or making anything rock harder.  Sometimes I miss an output attenuator, but that's an easy fix in a chain.

The comp is relatively new to us and really hasn't spent much time off of the master buss! It's so refined, so ... something, that it is very difficult to make it sound bad.  The first opto stage is somewhat "LA3A" but faster and is often the only stage used here.  The second, discreet stage is apparently inspired by the 33609 (though I haven't had the pleasure) and is very versatile over a predetermined set of attack/release choices from 1.2 to limiting.

The routing switch options cover absolutely everything (except opto/discrete chain flip), allowing independent bypass of each comp, sidechain filter, stereo link, and a hardwire bypass of the entire unit.

The transformer options are again a pleasure to switch through and, on the master buss of an ITB mix, almost gives the impression of an analogue summing mixer (Shadow Hills makes a summing mixer too, the "Equinox", which I'm eager to hear).  Sometimes the magic lies in routing signal through the transformers only.  

The real joy using the comp or pre, is in the HUGE rotary switches.  Beyond being able to recall settings exactly, there is a rewarding "mad scientist" feel to each unit.
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- Adam

Deuce 225

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Shadow Hills - Quad Gama
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 09:31:33 pm »

I don't know how helpful this is given the limitations of streaming mp3's, but all lead and harmony vocals (same vocalist) on this song were recorded with the Shadow Hills Quad Gama - Nickel setting.


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=987036
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Best,

Tim Cochran

seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 07:39:57 am »

I tested it against some primo 1073's for a friend..  He loved it and bought an 8 ch version..  From VK who was kind enough to let us audition it first.

I was very impressed how good and solid it sounded next to the vintage Neves-  In fact I recommended them to someone this evening..

I did like the 1073's better-  They have more Harmonic interest  though I would be hard pressed to think anyone would care about the difference..

and also   the transformer switch  was fun for 2 seconds.  and they can just use the best one..  Nickel? if I remember-  

Or have that and a transformerless  switch as switches are cheap enough..


Criticism aside one of the best new pres I have heard-  hung in there with the best of them  

-j

seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2009, 08:13:02 am »

The more I think about it -  When people do ask that  "What Mic pre"  or "What First mic pre"  etc.  type questions-  I think this is proabably the best they could do-- It is exactly what I would assume most are looking for--

I just saw on Vintageking.com that they have a four channel  one-  I would rather have this  than "other" "popular" 4 channel mic pres  that are usually reccomended--

This is the one:

 http://vintageking.com/Shadow-Hills-Quad-GAMA-4-Channel-Mic- Pre?sc=18&category=533

-j

JGauthier

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2009, 07:18:21 pm »

seedyunderbelly.com wrote on Fri, 25 September 2009 05:13

The more I think about it -  When people do ask that  "What Mic pre"  or "What First mic pre"  etc.  type questions-  I think this is proabably the best they could do-- It is exactly what I would assume most are looking for--


Looks included! Ive never heard one but even I admit I had a moment of "thats pretty f'ing cool looking"...

I cant say a thing about the sound but they have some of the best visual designs out there for sure!

Im not so hot for the pres as I am for the mastering comp...
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seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 07:33:29 pm »

What do you use for pres?

j

JGauthier

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2009, 02:06:07 pm »

I have stereo everything-
BAE 1073s
API 312s
GMLs
Quad Eight MM71s
JoeMeek Bricks

Its funny I dont want anything thats got tranny switches and such- too much to think about! And of all those listed its the BAE 1073 80% of the time... I love that pre! And its HP filter is KILLER... (I know pre AND eq but...)

Where would Shadow hills fit in? (really asking, not a rhetorical pot shot) I always stayed away BECAUSE I was afraid my ears would be swayed by my eyes... And Im not a 500 series guy at all (just the pair of APIs).
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seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2009, 05:36:41 pm »

I only heard them once  but a bit like the Neves  only  a little sharper/Metallic-  In a cool way-  and  the Tranny switch would not through you  you would listen  and set it to nickel and forget-  They hung in there with killer 1073s  though  they are really good.  My friend bought the 8 channel one from VK after the demo and has not looked back  I must say  I prefer the Neves  but  I would use the SH all day long without thinking twice-  For example -  If there was an important session   going on   and we had to wait an hour and a half  to get the Neves?  I would not even bother-  And when the Neves showed up  I would not switch them out-  The SH are comparable in sound quality imo-

Who knows  I thought they were not as interesting sounding  in organic saturation characteristics  But they were making up for it in a forward fast top that was clean and cool..
-j

Berolzheimer

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2009, 09:06:51 pm »

JGauthier wrote on Fri, 02 October 2009 11:06

I have stereo everything-
BAE 1073s
API 312s
GMLs
Quad Eight MM71s
JoeMeek Bricks

Its funny I dont want anything thats got tranny switches and such- too much to think about! And of all those listed its the BAE 1073 80% of the time... I love that pre! And its HP filter is KILLER... (I know pre AND eq but...)

Where would Shadow hills fit in? (really asking, not a rhetorical pot shot) I always stayed away BECAUSE I was afraid my ears would be swayed by my eyes... And Im not a 500 series guy at all (just the pair of APIs).


The transformer switch really requires no thought at all.  Just flip it one way, then the other & your ears will tell you which is more appropriate for the track.  I use nIckel & steel about equally, & discrete every once in a while when I want it super clean  & don't mind a few dB less gain.
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The film sound side of my life:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0077235/

A bunch of songs I've recorded and/or mixed are here:
http://www.zget.me/billionaires/

piedpiper

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Re: Shadow Hills
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2010, 11:27:22 pm »

coming in very late here but I'll just add that the iron tranny does put it closer to the Neve than the nickel, though I do mostly prefer the transparency of the nickel.
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Tim Britton

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