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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => The Acid Test => Topic started by: daxliniere on February 07, 2009, 09:25:05 pm

Title: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: daxliniere 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.
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: Barry Hufker 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
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: wwittman 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.
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: kats on February 09, 2009, 06:45:41 pm
What mics were you using?
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: Barry Hufker 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.

Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: daxliniere 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.
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: scottoliphant 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
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: J.J. Blair 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.  
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: Tomas Danko 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.

Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: J.J. Blair on March 05, 2009, 01:24:44 pm
Proving once again, Focusrite is teh suck.   Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: API 312 vs SSL VHD Pre
Post by: marcel 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.