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Author Topic: Can UREI 813's sound good?  (Read 31222 times)

Lord Alvin

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Can UREI 813's sound good?
« on: January 27, 2007, 05:06:52 pm »

A friend of mine just bought an old studio that still has some UREI 813 monitors soffit mounted in the control room.  They sound pretty bad.  Is there anything that can be done to make these work?  Is it worth the effort, or should he just replace them with something else?

Craig Alvin
Freelance Recording Engineer
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zmix

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 07:18:42 pm »

They can sound great, but you might have to redefine what 'great' sounds like. I've used them with several different power amps, and if you get the control room acoustics dialed in at the listening position you might be amazed by them.

franman

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 03:20:11 pm »

I will agree with zmix.. We have done some installations with 813 that sounded really awesome.. Of course, they were totally rebuilt from crossovers to drivers, so the only really original thing was the cabinet.. Crossovers were hotrodded by John Klett from Technical Audio... basically replaced all caps and coils with better, more audio qaulity stuff than the originals and then upgraded drivers to whatever coax was the choice du-jour...

These type of compression driver based systems have a "sound".. it can get screachy at high levels in spite of the rebuild.. It's just the nature of the beast. but they do SOUND LOUD!!! and they can rock just fine. Since I've been involved for the past five years or so with building high end monitors that use high quality ribbon tweeters, I can't really go for that compression driver sound anymore.. but, the speakers can rock, can be (reasonably) full range and loud. The last thing you want out of a coax is full extension up to 18K.. it would just rip your head off!! They generally sound best when they start to gently roll off above 12K (3-5dB per octave).. This keeps them listenable and most don't have much output above 16K anyway (without  eq)..
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Brent Handy

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 07:23:56 pm »

Did you move from Oklahoma?
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Lord Alvin

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 07:52:00 pm »

Brent Handy wrote on Sun, 28 January 2007 16:23

Did you move from Oklahoma?


No.  I am still here working out of Upstairs Productions.  I am just trying to help out a friend back in Portland.  I end up mixing most of the records he produces so I want his monitoring to be good.  
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TMI Audio

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 09:07:09 am »

Sounding "good" is a relative thing. Urei 813s can be an effective control room monitor. Some of their characteristics encourage you to balance tracks carefully. Others, prevent you from filling the midrange with spectrum overlapping synth / vocal pads. None of this has to do with sounding "good". It has more to do with modulation distortion, energy smear and sub overlap, none of which seem like a good idea, until you mix a record on exotics and find it unlistenable to the public.

I have been building "hot roded" UREI crossovers since 1984 when Secret Sound sent me a defective pair and I would not let them leave with the crap inside. (I think FM measured a pair at Grandpa Studios with good comment). With all the attention paid to Time Alignment in this design somehow they missed the Df of the electrolytic caps used.

Soffit mounting is a must. Subs must be on top. A modern amp with a damping factor over 80, slew rate over 20VuSec and power of at least 400 watts into 4 ohms. Bridged Bryston 4Bs are a good choice. Don't use a Mac with an output autoformer (2300, 2500 etc). Avoid 1/3 octave EQs, use a parametric if you must.

dbx's DRIVERACK offers better driver protection than the backup lamp off a '56 Chevy, real time alignment settings with EQ for each driver plus other improvements. Don't get me wrong, I like building the passive crossovers but I think dbx is just a software update or two from the better mousetrap.

Last, these are 20+ years old and studio work is hard on speakers. Get them reconed by a first class shop. Sometimes even the magnets need to be recharged.

If you maintain your monitors, there is no reason 813s cannot continue to provide useful service.



Tom Maguire
TMI Engineering

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Brent Handy

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 06:50:33 pm »

TMI....Aren't you the same guy that was hot-rodding Peavey AMR consoles?

Alvin, good to know.  Tell Ted I said hi.  Been a long time since I have been down there.
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TMI Audio

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007, 08:57:01 am »

That's me.

813s, AMRs, Neves, Studers the occasional public utility or advanced weapons system. A friend I have known for 35 years bought an AMR. Aubrey Fulton and John S. at Peavey were so accommodating I just started playing with it. It's a very good platform for mods and a lot of knobs for your dollar value.

Tom Maguire
TMI Engineering
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zmix

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2007, 10:31:06 am »

Tom,
Not to hijack this thread, but the AMR desk (2400 or something?) was an interesting combination of brilliance and stupidity. I mixed on one once, years ago. I remember that the EQ sounded great, particularly in the lows and low mids, reminded me of the older Neotek. I believe that Peavey were using a weinbridge circuit in that EQ.
Something about the line input trims was odd in that console, IIRC.
Also Daniel Lanois said he consulted a bit on that board.

What is your impression of the AMR? What was peavey's take on it, even?

-CZ

TMI Audio

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good/ Peavey AMR vector
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 12:09:34 pm »

Let me say this about that. I went to inspect a pre purchase AMR with a heavy Anti-Peavey prejudice and could not find a good reason to nix the sale. The AMR series represents value engineering in through hole era technology. It is not an 8078.

The EQ in the AMR is very similar to EQs currently in vogue in terms of shape and control-ear. I like different frequency options / overlap / Q and modify several channels to get usable drum, vocal and stereo pair channels. Overall, this is not my favorite EQ. There is only so much, short of a daughter board, that can be done.

There are issues everyone would like to have improved in the design. Newer parts make that relatively simple. Jack normals, AC line voltage sensitivity, jukebox current sources, summing amps, meter wiring and grounding are all areas that require attention. The mechanical assembly of the meter bridge to the channel and the way you have to fish the module out is a pain, but it is nothing compared to a Mackie where you may have to remove 100 knobs to change a switch.

My impression is that I don't mind working on it both under the hood and as an engineer. I like going to Clinton and running an 8078 date but more often than not, scarce production money is better spent on additional time on the Peavey at Musiclab.

Tom Maguire
TMI Engineering
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wwittman

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2007, 11:48:06 pm »

"Can UREI 813's sound good?"

if you never run music through them, perhaps.


if anyone wants a set, i have a friend who is desperate to lose his.


I can't TELL you how hapy I am that the 813 era is over.

Horrible things.

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William Wittman
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franman

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2007, 01:07:38 pm »

I think given todays technology that the DBX driverack would make a great combination (re improvement) to the passive crossover on 813... We are currenlty using the DBX 4820 on our larger Griffin systems and feel it is a great sounding box... they just keep getting better and better...damn, soon these things will actuall sound great!!  (I mean the DSP speaker management systems, not our loudspeakers!! LOL)...
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mfolta

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2007, 12:19:26 am »

how much for the 813s if they are still available??
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Larrchild

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2007, 12:20:40 am »

Know that the upper highs will be very directional with the blue foam horn. This will make a small sweet spot suitable for one person, not moving their head too much, at typical distances from the speakers.
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Larry Janus
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TMI Audio

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Re: Can UREI 813's sound good?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2007, 02:38:01 pm »

Well,

Not really, the foam at the edges has no effect of high frequencies it's purpose id to compensate for the undersized horn. A horn mouth for that crossover would have to be about 1 sq ft. The foam at the edge provides a resistive termination and reduced pressure reflections back down the horn.

The high density foam wedges near the throat could have some effect in reality soften the beaming that would already exist and along with the side vents provide additional compensation for a less than text book horn to driver mating.

Altec 604's with no foam seem much more beamy to me.
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