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Author Topic: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre  (Read 6465 times)

daxliniere

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API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« on: February 07, 2009, 09:25:05 pm »

Hey guys,
Just a quick post.

About a month ago, I started searching for some info on the SSL VHD Pre, which is a 1ru, 4 channel preamp.

To be brief, I did a mini-shootout against an API 3124 on kick, snare and 2 toms (Pendulum MDP-1 on overheads) and the SSL was the winner for me.

They both had about the same mojo, but the API was noticably woollier (=fluffier = distorted) in the low end.

I must admit, I was surprised that this less expensive piece won over the API, infact, I went into the shootout thinking the API was going to win, because I've heard so much about how people love them on drums.

The API "looks" more rock, but the SSL sounds more rock.


Hope that helps someone who is in the position I've just been in for a month.

All the best,
Dax.
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Dax Liniere

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Barry Hufker

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2009, 10:14:20 pm »

Dax,

I own an API 3124 (one of the early versions) and have enjoyed it over the years, but it is exactly as you say.  It is a 'vintage' sound.  At Webster University where I teach, we have an SSL Duality.  It has the same preamps as the SSL VHD4.  Those preamps are really quite good.  They're clean, clear, crisp and certainly modern, "first-quality".

I'm glad you like the VHD4.  I can understand why you think so highly of it.

Barry
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wwittman

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 05:42:58 pm »

Can I just say that I think you're both completely wrong?


I guess that's taste.
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William Wittman
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kats

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 06:45:41 pm »

What mics were you using?
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Barry Hufker

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 06:54:43 pm »

wwittman wrote on Mon, 09 February 2009 16:42

Can I just say that I think you're both completely wrong?


I guess that's taste.



William I would be surprised and disappointed if you didn't.   Smile

I *like* API preamps.  They have a wonderful character.  The preamps in the Duality are quite clear and clean.  Variable Harmonic Drive also allows them to have some character...  I've not been an SSL fan prior to the Duality.  And as much as I like that console it does have major flaws.

I'm sure it does come down to taste, as it does in all things.

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daxliniere

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 01:28:33 am »

Mics used were my drum standards: D112 on kick, M69 on snare, ATM450 on toms.

Very happy with results.
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Dax Liniere

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scottoliphant

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 09:16:17 am »

May be worth checking out what both pres sound like with multiple track counts. The real magic for me (full disclosure, I LOVE our 8 channels of 312 and use on almost every single thing i mic) is when you've got an entire tune all tracked through them. Doing pre shootouts on single sources never really fire me up, as I find that cumulative sounds are more important to the way i like to work. Just my 2 cents!
Scott

J.J. Blair

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 11:46:19 pm »

Did you have the pad engaged when you used the 3124?  Maybe the source of your distortion is saturation.  I would expect the SSL to have more headroom and not require a pad, as that has been my experience with transformerless, IC based pres.  I can get away with not using a pad, where I have to use on in the same instance if I use a Neve, API or Langevin.  

Personally, I love my 3124 on toms.  I use that every session.  They just blossom.  I love the richness in the low end.  

I'm having a hard time getting past your mic selection, btw.  Definitely not my favs for those tasks.  
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

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Tomas Danko

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2009, 09:38:36 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 05 March 2009 04:46

Did you have the pad engaged when you used the 3124?  Maybe the source of your distortion is saturation.  I would expect the SSL to have more headroom and not require a pad, as that has been my experience with transformerless, IC based pres.  I can get away with not using a pad, where I have to use on in the same instance if I use a Neve, API or Langevin.  

Personally, I love my 3124 on toms.  I use that every session.  They just blossom.  I love the richness in the low end.  

I'm having a hard time getting past your mic selection, btw.  Definitely not my favs for those tasks.  


It's a different application all together, but I swapped out some Focusrite Producer Pack-units for a 3124 for a lot of VO recording sessions over half a year ago.

  • The dialogue sounded a whole lot better regardless of voice type.
  • The noise floor dropped.
  • The actual recording sessions became a lot easier for the assistant engineer to handle in terms of gain staging, clipping etc.
  • I felt that we actually improved the head room and didn't get any harsh transients or crunchy saturated peaks.[/[/LIST]
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J.J. Blair

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2009, 01:24:44 pm »

Proving once again, Focusrite is teh suck.   Rolling Eyes
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

marcel

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Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2009, 04:59:46 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 05 March 2009 10:24

Proving once again, Focusrite is teh suck.   Rolling Eyes

Very scientific, JJ.
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Best, Marcel
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