FAQs & LAFs Page!
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"Frequently Asked Questions ... Likewise Answered Frequently"!
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In an effort to continually educate our visitors in regard to our products and our design philosophy ...
in the ongoing belief that ...
"the more one truly knows about audio electronics, the more one has to appreciate the DaviSound methods" ...
We are now presenting this FAQs page with some of our received email questions relating to DaviSound,
our equipment and its application, our unique methods and audio in general!
Since the content here continually grows over time, and is the direct response to client and inquiror questions, you will find in depth discussion here about our products from the USER point of view!
Your questions and comments are most welcomed and solicited!
Remember, your email address and your name and location are ALWAYS protected and never released to outside parties! So, you may always feel free to correspond with DaviSound in complete
confidence and security!
We do NOT publish names and addresses on our FAQs page ... period! However, if you are a USER of DaviSound equipment, and you wish to publish a comment with your name included on our DaviStories comments page, we welcome that also. But, in that case, you must specify that it is okay to publish your name or we will NOT otherwise!
Even so, please do include your name and return address with any comment or question submitted to FAQS for our direct reply purposes only!
So ... please scan all the posts below and, if you don't find your topic ...
by all means, please submit it!
Send your questions to us by email at your convenience ...
or, if you have a question now ...
simply use the automatic eMail form below -
I'm a voice actor, and while it seems that I have good quality gear as of now, I'm always looking ahead in terms of what I can achieve, quality-wise, when I can afford to do so.
In talking with different people from the industry as well as audio engineers, it seems that a good preamp is worth investing in when upgrading one's recording chain.
One particular gentleman, who happens to be a Foley artist, highly recommended your products for being extremely clean and clear.
He was discussing preamps, and how my current --- fares for my purposes: "For your purposes noise floor is almost certainly your primary concern. That having been said, I would think the --- pres are fine for your needs.
If you wanted to upgrade, I'd go with a DaviSound. Quietest pre I know of. I've got a TB6 and love it.
Put it to you this way, I do Foley work and it's quiet enough for a cloth pass, which is the sound of clothing rubbing together.
I wouldn't bother with the focusrite. Personally I doubt you'd see that much of a quality difference."
So, being that I'm still learning what's what when it comes to audio gear, I have a basic understanding of my chain, and what a preamp does. However, when I visited your website to try and see the different products, almost everything on there went right over my head.
My question to you is this: if I were to upgrade my preamp in the future for one of your products, which of your standard products do you recommend?
I'm mostly looking to record one or, on rare occasions, two microphones simultaneously. My use is fairly simple, being that I only do voice acting. Still, being that your items have such different uses that I mostly don't understand, maybe you can recommend an extra feature or more of you believe it to be of help.
I know that some people like to have some form of compression, a low-cut filter, and a few other options on their preamps. I still don't quite know all the specifics, but if those are better to have in a physical manner on my gear, rather than applying these effects on my DAW, then I might consider those options as well.
I'd like to have a preamp that will produce a quiet, clean, and clear audio signal that can take on any microphone I throw at it, and if possible, an option for a warmer sound for the times I want that specific character in my audio. Would something like that be feasible?
Thank you for your time.
(He also followed up with a phone message asking about warranties and cabinetry which were addressed in my reply)
Thank you very much for your inquiry! I hope that we might put DaviSound to work for you soon with your own microphone amplifiers in one of our configurations of your choice. Ours truly are the most "transparent" designs available as well as being amongst the quietest as your friend correctly suggested.
If you want our most economical solution, then it would be the simple dual channel TB-12 - TB-12 This is a very economical two channel unit containing two of our acclaimed "Mic-All" amplifiers in one cabinet. (4 channels are available as the TB-6 that your Foley artist friend spoke of).
Alternately, you may want to consider a TB-10 which is a "step up" in that it offers on board VU Meters as well as an additional instrument (or line level) input as well- TB-10
Of course if you want the ultimate- which includes compression and a vacuum tube stage- then its the classic TB-3 - TB-3
I suggest that you continue to spend time on our site studying all our units. We try to be as straight forward as possible describing them and each has its own On-Line Manual (user/operator manual) for further explanation.
Our Tool Boxes page gives the overall background of all our Tool Boxes and all the basic, general info for ALL our designs whereby you can then get a brief description of each before clicking on the individual on-line manuals. DaviSound Tool Boxes
You can find our terms and order info as well as warranty information here- Prices-Order Info
While all of your questions and concerns are addressed on our site, I realize there is a lot there to absorb, especially for a relative newcomer. So, while I do urge you to please read and "digest" all you can that is covered there, I will always be glad to answer your specific questions as well. As for your concern about the wooden cabinetry, as you will read on our Tool Boxes page in the general info area, we evolved to the totally wooden packaging due to client demand over the years and we are now sought after as much for our unique, hand crafted wooden enclosures as we are for our uniquely pristine analog audio! I can assure you that there are no concerns relative to shielding (we would not be considered the "quietest" in the industry if that were not the case!)!
As for warranties, as you will read on the above page, DaviSound gear seldom if EVER fails! If it does you are covered entirely by a lifetime warranty as the original owner.
I hope this has addressed most of your immediate concerns and questions and I hope to be able to welcome you as opur next DaviSound client very soon!
Let me know if I can be of further assistance in the meantime. (Please include your full name and address, for our files, in your next email-Thanks!)
I just recently thought about DaviSound again and realized that I have not seen much about you on the Internet audio forums lately and so I wondered if you are still around.
I looked and saw the websit (sic) is still on line but I wonder why I am not seeing anything about you in current audio forums like I used to. Are you stilll doing audio components and are they all still analog or have you moved into the modern world of digital audio?
Thank you for your inquiry! I have to say, though, that you must have only SKIMMED our website on your recent visit or you would have learned a LOT about what has been going on with me, and DaviSound, over the past several years from my NEWS UPDATES page. For a chronological listing of all the intricate details, as they happened, I refer you there now.
I suppose the main reason you are not hearing anything "stirring" on the current forums is because we have had a FREEZE on new orders here for the past couple of years so that we could relocate our work place as well as catch up on ALL of our huge, order backlog carry-over.
I assure you that, as of mid 2016, we are "alive and well" and, although not quite ready to lift the "freeze: yet, I am continuing daily in this effort to reduce our "work debt" to many long, patiently, awaiting clients.
During this time we keep the "door open" (bills paid- we don't say "keep the lights on" because that is done by SOLAR power!) with a long term, on-going contract for our MasterPiece circuit modules shipped steadily to a Europeran company which namelessly incorporates them into their own custom fabrications.
I also learned that there were a lot of false rumors circulating last year rergarding our decision to close down our life-long facility and relocate work operations. This was misinterpreted by some, and falsely spread around, that I was, perhaps, retiring and that DaviSound would no longer be in the pro audio arena. THIS IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE!
As for your question regarding digital ...
I will ALWAYS remain a "DaviSaur" in that regard I suppose. Our gear has been in demand from day one by those who KNOW AND APPRECIATE ANALOG and what it means on the "capture and reproduce" end of the audio chain and for all the life-like processing (with minimal artifacts) it provides in between.
We have resisted the requests to incorporate digital converters on board our gear and will continue to do so leaving that choice and task to the user of outboard digital gear.
Thank you again for your interest and if you are, indeed, interested in a new DaviSound piece, we should be ready to lift the freeze and begin a new "queue" by the first of 2017.
I just got the new ----------- magazine in the mail today and I was reading an interview with ---------, owner of a company called -------. I've known of them and have heard great praises for them for the past 5 years or so, but have never used or even heard any of their gear myself. Anyhow, that's all beside the point.
In the interview, he mentions general audible differences between solid-state verses tube power supplies. He seems to find that his somewhat standard, well-over-built, solid-state power supplies to be more "aggressive" so to speak. But with his more old-school tube power supplies with tube rectifiers, audio frequency chokes, and oil and polypropylene caps, he finds them to have more lush, detail, life, and definition.
So, I thought I'd ask if you've had any experience(s) with any of this either way.
Since you are an old friend and client who knows me well ... I have to believe you are "baiting" me with this question!
Anyway, in this case I am glad to "take the bait" as it ought to be addressed!
You must already know how I feel about those using flowery adjectives to describe audio the way one might describe perfume!
As for power supplies ... if this guy is talking jiberish about tube rectified power supplies causing "lush detail" then you have summed him up quite enough for me already ... he is a "quack" amongst the "quackiest" !
I don't care WHO he is or WHO else buys his spin or endorses the product, a "quack" is a "quack"! So, from what you describe he is either just that or else he is a con man ... or both. I don't know which would be worse ... a so-called "pro audio designer" who purveys this kind of nonsense because he is exploiting the gullible (whose numbers run rampant these days even in high circles!) or the pathetic case whereby he actually believes the nonsense!
Sadly enough, I could EASILY quadruple our sales, if not far more than that, just by getting into all that kind of crap and milking the market playing that "gullible game". But it just sickens me that people do it! Yet, they do it because the consumers not only fall for it, they seem to WANT it and are so eager to buy into it. I have always tried to honestly educate potential customers rather than exploit them despite their seeming eagerness to willingly remain ignorant and be exploited! They buy into the "voodoo" but are suspicious of the truth!
You can try and point out the tangible, honest virtues behind your products yet that just doesn't seem to sell as well as the "high octane BS"!
Now to the point of your question ...
The ONLY way DC affects audio is if it is not pure DC ...then it can contribute to hum, oscillation and other artifcats or parasitics. As a rule you simply want the cleanest, most PURE, DC supply that is as stable as possible. A good battery of the proper voltage and current rating, followed by a large electro cap filter, would, thus, be the best audio supply there is.
The only valid claim about tube supplies being "heard" is the fact that a tube rectifier, like other tubes, can "vary" with age and is less dependable for high current (peak) demands in power amps. This is why guitar players say they can "hear" a tube rectifier and like it better than a solid state one...this is ONLY because of the fact that they often "sag" under stress (high peak power), delivering less supply voltage/current, thereby causing even more of the added harmonic distortion guitar players like.
Other than that, any other claim about a tube recitifier and a bunch of chokes etc etc. adding "detail" to the audio, forgive my bluntness, but that is pure horse manure of the first degree and you can quote me in ----------- or anywhere else!
This example is the VERY EPITOME of the kind of extreme subjective garbage that I (and other credible, concerned engineers) have dedicated a near lifetime trying to fight against in audio circles to no avail.
Since these types are always the "audio fatcats", I guess we would have all been better off (certainly financially) to just join in and exploit the gullible with the flowery BS like these other characters since it seems that is what the masses want to hear - not the pure, simple truths!
But, of course, whatever the outcome, it has never been my nature to become a mainstream hypocrite and "wallow with the masses".
Forgive the soapbox but, anyway, that is my answer in a nutshell about power supplies!
Thanks for your earlier e-mail. I appreciate your getting in touch to make sure everything went through. I've been trying to make this decision about a central compressor for my studio and I'll be totally honest in saying that I've been trying to choose between one of your compressors and one of the --------- compressors made at -------- in the (overseas) as can be seen at the following website:
I've been leaning more in that direction for a few reasons. While I know you're in a different league, I haven't had very positive experiences so far with gear that combined solid state and tube options. They've promised the best of both worlds, in some ways, but I don't think the tube side has been fully realized in the gear I've used. (I'm speaking of A-----, T--------, S-------, etc.) I know that the TB-3 is different because of the placement of the tube and the various controls before the compressor, etc., rather than as an output stage, and I know that your hand made pieces are on a completely different level than the mass produced stuff. Still I think that for my uses a transformer balanced full-tube circuit might be the best thing, and the idea of a stereo [ modern "clone" of an old "classic"] piece with selectable attack is pretty appealing.
That being said, I know that your TB-3 is a very special piece and I understand how uniquely controllable the tube would be. I also love having mic pres on board, of course, and the various other options are very attractive.
I'm trying to figure it out and I wish I could hear the TB-3, but since I can't hear either one I have to go "blind" as it were (or maybe "deaf" is the right phrase in this case!) The ------------- compressor has the advantage of being $600 or $700 less....
You may not be interested in all this, I understand. I just want you to know where I'm at in trying to make this decision. If you have any further thoughts please let me know. I'm not asking you to "sell" me on the TB-3, that's for sure. I just want you to know how my thoughts are aligned right now. You may have information for me that I'm unaware of, and if so I would love to hear your thoughts.....
Thank you for your prompt, detailed reply! I do appreciate your explaining your posiiton. Furthermore, based on all that you documented, I can certainly understand your initial inclination in the other direction.
As for my explanation of my position ...
My success as an original designer has been based on using less "clutter" to acheive similar results as many of the "classic" pieces (as well as improvements thereto in some cases, I think) instead of trying to duplicate them (and certainly not EXPAND on them!) verbatim. However, I can respect those designers and users who have different views and who take a different approach.
I imagine that a great deal of the "sound" you aspire to, probably comes from the transformers themselves in the trans/balanced gear, and not so much the tube exploitation per se, especially the specific piece that you mention which is inclusive of the "vintage", push/pull transformer coupled designs. And, as you have probably read all over our site, I tend to prefer to eliminate input and output (and needless to say, interstage as well) transformers in all of my designs, whether incorporating tubes or otherwise. Even our new TB-9, like all the forthcoming "DaviSheen" all-tube designs, will utilize transformerless, balanced ins/outs formed from the Class-A triode circuitry. Importantly, the output will be "quasi-balanced" using not JUST "CLass-A" ... but "Class-A SINGLE-ENDED", as opposed to traditional push-pull.
This SINGLE ENDED DISTINCTION is most important!
Many people who refer to "tube sound", often do not realize that the "warm", even-order overtones they desire do not, necessarily, come from "tubes" themselves but from the way they are utilized in a circuit. All SINGLE ENDED must operate Class A; however, all Class A is NOT, necessarily, single ended nor does it, then, yield "warmth"!
For example, most "warmth" (fat second harmonic) invariablly comes from the asymmetry inherent in a simple Class-A SINGLE ENDED application at some circuit stage, often an EARLY SINGLE STAGE, since push-pull tube circuitry CANCELS even order harmonics (and enhances odd order) just as a push-pull transiistor circuit does! And, no it does NOT need to have a negative feedback loop for this to happen, push-pull does it inherently. Therefore, without cancellation down the line, we are able achieve a great deal of the desirable aspects of "cascade" tube sound in our "Inner Tube" circuits with just our single stage, manipulated for pure second harmonic enhancement, single-ended design. You may already know some (or most) of this, I am just explaining the motivation behind my designs.
I doubt that there is anything I could say that would "sell" you on our methods and, as you say, that is not your intention nor is it mine. I can tell from your detailed, well-written, letter that you have probably not missed much of the information already on our website and there is not much I could add that isn't there already(albeit scattered around some). There is a lot of "insight" to be gleaned from the FAQs page, I believe, as it contains quite a few email exchanges with iquirors; wheres, the "DaviStories" page is all satsified client user email.
So, should you decide to go in another direction on this purchase then I wish you the very best with it and I hope that you will see fit to try another of our Tool Boxes at some point down the line.
I thank you, sincerely, for your initial interest in DaviSound and for the opportunity of corresponding with you!
I hope to hear from you again in the future!
I have read a lot lately about "recapping" older equipment with new capcitors and I wonder if you could elaborate on that for me. What is the real purpose of this practice and when would it be necessary? Is this something I would ever have to worry about with my new TB-8?
"Recapping" gear generally relates to replacing electrolytic capacitors which have become "leaky" (and changed value in the process) because of extreme aging (and/or abuse/misapplication).
Proper use of electrolytic caps is often misunderstood (there are a lot of myths out there) by both equipment users and, in too many cases, equipment makers alike! But, today's well-made signal grade electros are NOT those of old and, if applied properly (as in DaviSound gear), they can, and probably will, outlast several of their human owners!
The key is PROPER choice and application of electrolytic (as well as all other) capacitors out front when desiging/building audio circuits!
We use over-rated caps to begin with and only use them at the entrances and exits of our circuit block modules.
Most importantly ...
Our techiniques assure that the electrolytic caps are properly biased with the exact working voltage that they need to "see" at their positive bias terminal in order to properly "form". When "formed" and maintained in this condition, an electrolytic capacitor can perform almost like a "straight wire" for AC (audio) signals if it is the right type and capacitance value for the coupling job to be done. As an extra assurance, we always by-pass our large value electros with a medium value (.047 to .1 uF) metal film signal grade cap.
Electros have gotten an overly bad rap over the years largely because of ignorance and misapplication. I have even seen a "proof of poor performance" test conducted on an Internet site whereby the cap under test was simply a low level, low grade part to begin with, lying on a table by itself, with NO DC bias, proper or otherwise. Yes, a misapplied cap in this condition will distort greatly (and will not last very long either) and look miserable on a scope trying to pass AC. But had the "tester" properly chosen/biased/applied the part, his poor scope images would have "cleaned up" drastically and the proper selected/applied capacitor would have been every bit as transparent as his scope electronics!
As a matter of fact, early misapplication of low voltage coupling caps - both "shotgun effect" (over-used and randomly scattered throughout a circuit) as well as the misusage described above - probably had a lot to do with producing not only the stigma of electros "sounding bad", but also likely contributed to the "op amps sound bad" misgeneralization! Many early op-amp circuits had electros scattered all over them (for no apparent logical reason!) and were very often unbiased as they were used in bi-polar supply circuits. They were also, typically, of the lowest available DC voltage ratings geared toward any low voltage offsets instead of intentional proper DC bias ...
the worst case scenario for audio signals!
I look forward to presenting you with your new Tool Box just as soon as we can get it completed and certified!
I'm wondering if it is better to leave your equipment on all the time, as some say, or if it may be better to turn it off after each use? I have heard that I should leave it on but, yet, there is often several days, sometimes weeks, between my sessions.
The logic of leaving gear on is simply that components are always most stressed during conditions of sudden change, which, of course occurs mostly during power up (which is when most weak components fail). And, lots of successive on/off cycles might even weaken otherwise good, or certainly marginal, components (this means just sitting there flipping the power on/off at one time ... not over long periods).
But, "normal" cycling, such as on/off on a daily basis, probably has very little overall affect on equipment life. However, my feeling is, all things considered, it is best to leave it on within reason and then turn it off within reason! What that translates to is, if you use it every day in an active studio situation, then leave it on 24/7. But, if it is idle for days, or certainly weeks, at a time, as in your case, then it definitely makes more sense to turn it off during these periods.
However, there is also another concern ...
and that is the slight possibility of a part overheating and causing a fire. Remote as that possibility is, it is still a consideration! I have seen this happen once in a radio station with a power supply transformer. For this reason, even in my most active studio production days of doing sessions nearly round the clock, the rule was to power down whenever the last use for the day occurred (when the building would be vacated for a few hours) and then back on first thing the next day. Everything in our control rooms was on one main switch.
One thing we always tried to avoid was a re-power up immediately after a power down.
We address this issue somewhere (else) on our site but I am badly amiss for not knowing exactly where at the moment ...
I guess that means our site is growing too large with scattered information (and/or my own personal circuits are approaching overload and need to be "cycled off" !). I believe that you will find it discussed in our vacuum tube on-line manuals, such as the TB-3 On-Line Manual, as tube gear is more sensitive to on/off cycling.
But, DaviSound gear is built with over-rated parts throughout and designed to withstand reasonable on/off cycling as well as 24 hour a day operation indefinitely.
There are several documented cases of some of our gear, including custom mixing consoles, being left on 24/7 from one, to close to two, decades without ever having been turned off or ever causing a moment's down time! We also know of two of our power amplifiers, installed in a church loft, that have been turned on continuously, year round, for close to nine years (so far) and still operating "cool and reliable"!
I hope this information is helpful and I thank you again for becoming a DaviSound client!
The following troubleshooting inquiry, fortunately, turned out to be a false alarm.
But, although troubleshooting requests for DaviSound gear are so rare as to be nearly nonexistant ...
we thought it might be a good idea to present the following, complete, recent correspondence.
We are listing the entire two-way email exchange here for two reasons.
First, we thought it may be beneficial to demonstrate how we handle such inquiries .
And, secondly, since the requests we do get usually turn out to be something else besides the unit itself ...
We thought these instructions may be also be helpful in the event someone else may encounter a similar situation sometime.
Question PART ONE:
It appears that my TB-12 preamp has gone out of commission. Neither channel is working. I've trouble shooted every angle to determine that it is the preamp and not some other element in the chain.
Interestingly, last night is the first time I turned on the phantom power to use a condenser mic and this was when I discovered the preamp was out of order. Coincidental perhaps? There may be a connection.
Let me know what you'd like to do.
Answer PART ONE:
This is certainly distressing news for both of us. We seldom EVER have to deal with failure in the field, especially this soon! I am very sorry to hear that it had to happen in your case.
However, yours was one of the fastest shipments we have ever done with an abbreviated "burn-in" time allowed because of that. Most of the time, "burn-in" is just routine in any case but if there is a bad/weak component, especially in the power supply which is apparently what has happened with yours, it tends to help weed out any early failure.
So, we will need you to simply pack it up and send it back to us Priority Mail ... we will troubleshoot immediately and replace whatever is wrong. Depending on how soon you need it back, we will keep it powered up "burning in", under load, to be sure all is well this go 'round.
I will go ahead and have a new supply finished up in the meantime undergoing burn-in ... waiting ...
just in case that is the culprit we will have a head start with it.
We will return it by priority mail and we will give it IMMEDIATE attention for you when we get it back. In this case, since you have a balance due on your next Tool Box, we will also credit you for your shipping charges to us.
Now, having, hopefully reasured you on urgent repair, please fill me in a bit more on specifically WHAT is/was going on with it. I am left to assume that it is totally "dead"? No light-up from the power LEDs or phantom LEDs?
If so, can you describe the conditions you noticed at time of failure? You said you had just turned on power to a condenser mic ... did you actually notice something "go out" at that moment or had it just been turned on after the condenser plug up.
Assuming that it is "dead"... just guessing at this point ...
but, in that case, I would suspect a power supply component, possibly even the transformer, having been a weak, factory defect that simply stressed out under the slight extra load.
We had allowed the power supply to burn-in a few days prior to assembly, since it was ready first. But, if the supply has failed, it was obviously not "burned-in" quite long enough to detect anything or to "flush out" early "mortality".
Again, my regrets and apologies to you for the inconvenience but, have no fear, we will make it right PDQ! And, please rest assured that this is not something that is likely to ever happen again! We have only had to make two repairs to any Tool Box that I can recall in the last five years or so!
A failure due to weak components usually occurs with the first 72 hours, or so, of use which is why we try and perform a "burn-in stress test" with each model for as long as possible. However, even so, we only have maybe ONE early failure we have to address out of every fifty or so units we "burn-in" test prior to shipment.
You can ship the unit, Priority Mail, to
PO Box 521
Just insure it for about half value to avoid astray shipment. We will insure it for full value on return back to you after thorough repair.
By the way, please advise what type/brand/model condenser mic you had plugged up to the unit when the problem occurred.
Now, importantly, if I have assumed falsely about the unit being "dead", in other words if it still lights up with LEDs fairly bright, then we may need to consider a few other troubleshooting tests, Q&A trial and error etc., before you send it back. So, I will be looking for your reply.
Question PART TWO:
The unit does actually power up...blue LED light indicator is on, phantom power indicators are on when engaged, etc. There is simply no signal being sent through. I'm not sure this would relate to the power supply.
I did double check the cables and ran it into a different recorder input, etc. to determine that it was in fact the preamp that was out. Now, like I said, I'm not saying that I am certain that it relates to the phantom power and it may simply be a coincidence, but it just so happens that when powering it up for recording for this session it was the first time to use the phantom power. I was using an Audio Technica AT4047 mic on this occasion.
Nothing actually was noticed going out, it simply did not work even though everything looked fine and there was no evidence that there should be a problem. I did try plugging a dynamic mic into both inputs after this, neither of which worked at this point.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Answer PART TWO:
From what you are telling me now, I seriously doubt if your problem is with the TB-12!
Please read all that I am about to write carefully ... a couple of times or more if necessary, to fully understand my points.
If it is not clear, let me know and I'll try again!
The only thing that is common to both channels IS the power supply and if it is still powering, and the phantom LEDs are lighting normally, chances are it is NOT The Tool Box!
Here's why. Aside from the fact that it is VERY rare for our gear to fail in any regard, it would be almost impossible for two channels to fail independently at the same time!
So, if the power supply is working, as it obviously is from the indicators, then if it were a problem with the TB-12, it would HAVE to mean that BOTH the internal MP-2 modules had failed simultaneously. That is EXTREMELY unlikely as I am sure you can see my point!
The indicator lights for phantom power come from each isolated module so they are not "commoned" per se. This means, if they light, that the individual modules are, each, outputting proper phantom power.
***I guess this is an obvious question, but have you checked the "obvious" to be sure that you have the input select switches properly switched to mic? An oversight like that can happen to the best of us sometime! Have you tried running something through the instrument input with it switched on (switch handle toward that input)? Sometimes these switches get inadvertantly bumped the wrong way!***
If it is not something simple or obvious like that which may have been overlooked, then I suggest that, before sending it back, you completely isolate your TB-12 and check it one channel at a time! I have to believe something else has gone wrong for you somewhere but can not speculate what/where without seeing a complete signal flow/routing of ALL your connections, exactly, and all your cables, exactly.
This is NOT trying to pass the buck, only applying basic logic to what you have described and what I know about our gear. These modules just do NOT fail simulataneously, by themselves! That would be so unlikely as to be nearly impossible! Another clue is the LEDs ... if a channel were to actively fail, it would typically "fuse" itself ( a short somewhere) and this would place a severe load on the power supply causing the LEDs to go very dim or not light at all. This tells me the modules are either okay or failed by "open circuit" somewhere ... HIGHLY unlikely!
I will be glad to continue to follow up with these running emails to try and talk you through it but, the first thing to do is simply unplug the TB-12 from the rest of your chain, and test it alone. Once you have determined whether it is indeed not amplifying in either, or both separate channels, then you can send it on here.
If you determine it is okay, as I suspect you will, you will have to do the same with every other stage in your setup including cabling, to see where you are loosing signal.
The easiest way to test the the TB-12, if you only have a basic test setup and limited troubleshooting experience is as follows:
(I probably need to have this posted in our FAQs section so I may use our mutual documentation to post there in case future, fellow users have a similar problem.)-SO HERE IT IS - 1-23-06 - HD!
Get yourself a set of mini jumper cables (alligator clip leads) from somewhere ... I think Radio Shack has them for a quick source, (if not clip leads you would need to rig up a set of test cables with some way to attach them as I am about to describe).
Get yourself a set of the lightweight, medium impedance headphones (any of the cheap ones form the one dollar stores, or similar, will be fine!) or use what phones you already have (assuming they are NOT low, 8 ohm variety). The TB-12 (and all Mic-All preamp modules) can drive headphones direct, in the following manner, for testing purposes.
Clip the tip of the headphone phone (or mini) plug to pin 2 of the male XLR output on the TB-12. You can jumper both the tip and ring of the headphones to hear in both phones or simply do the test with one side of the phones. You connect the sleeve of the phones plug to pin 3 of the TB-12 male output XLR ignoring pin 1 for the test.
Now, with phantom off, plug your dynamic mic into the mic input of the same TB-12 channel under test.
Make sure the front panel switch is switched TOWARD (handle in direction of) the XLR input jack. Turn up the gain control and talk in the mic. If you hear the signal, then you know all is well. If not, DOUBLE CHECK ALL CONNECTIONS and try again. Now, try flipping the switch toward the instrument jack. Place a 1/4 inch plug in that jack and, with the gain turned up, touch the tip lead of the plug with your finger...you should hear a buzz in the phones when you touch it. Next, try the mic test using your condenser...plug it up first, and THEN turn on the phantom power.
Repeat the test for both channels. If you do NOT get any signals through the TB-12 in this manner, then ship it back to us for repair. If that is the case, something very VERY strange, some kind of extreme voltage surge for instance, must have simultaneoulsy knocked out both of the MP-2 modules. If so, this would be a FIRST for any of our units, anywhere in the field, at any time!
We have had them used in virtually ALL kinds of remote broadcast, remote recording, sound reinforcement setups interfaced with all kinds of gear and mics, and they just, typically, NEVER fail ...especially two channels at the same time (some of our Mic All preamps have been going non-stop, flawlessly, for over twenty-five years!)! So, I would think it would be well worth the time spent on your end to be 100% certain that it is the TB-12 before sending it back!
Was it working okay right up until the insertion of the Audio Technica mic? I don't suspect any problems caused by that particular mic by the way. I am just curious as to exactly at what moment it failed to pass signals.
But, Audio Technica condensers, all that I know about - not directly familiar with the model you mention- have always worked perfectly with our gear. In fact, I use a small one on the test bench, along with one of our DaviSnakes, when testing our units with microphones since we always like to test with outside mics as well as our own (we test with an old Sony classic condenser, a Neumann U87, as well as the Audio Technica in addition to our own mics).
Besides, even if there had been a damaged mic somwehow shorting the works, it would not have affected both channels simultaneously, probably not have caused permanent damage (would still work with other mics) and the other aforementioned clues would be different as well!
I rather suspect something simple. Although, if the cables are okay, plugged up properly and and the switching checks out, with nothing else was changed from when it was working until when it was not, then it IS a mystery at this point!
But, I assure you again, if it has to come back here, we can determine EXACTLY what is wrong in short order and very likely what exactly may have caused it to happen.
So, please think about all of this carefully, do the above suggestions and get back to me.
Whatever it is, we WILL get to the bottom of it together!
Question PART THREE:
After plugging cables in and out, I discovered what the problem is...
or rather what was causing me to believe there was a problem.
The outputs on the back are reversed in relation to the front inputs from what I would have expected. Didn't even think about that as I was intuitively thinking that the ouput would be the one straight across from the input where you've actually got the back panel set up to match the front panel.
The input that would be on your left as you face the front of the preamp is also the output on the left as you actually are facing the back. I'm assuming that's how you have decided to set it up and it might even be noted in the manual. I hadn't noticed this as I have, up to this point, been using the preamp with stereo mics on drums and acoustic guitar. I do seem to recall being confused at some point with which input was matched up with which mic, but probably figured that I simply wasn't paying close attention to where I was plugging cables in.
Sorry for the false alarm...can't believe I got thrown off so much by that.
Thanks for your attention to my brief dilemma at any rate.
Answer PART THREE:
Don't feel bad about the oversight ... it has happened to me on occasion as well! I am just glad it is not a malfunction.
I will tell you, by way of reassurance, that you can usually count on your DaviSound gear to be the LAST thing to suspect when there is a problem somewhere. I am not boasting here, it is just a fact. The old rule around here is ... if it works for awhile ... it will work forever!
Of course there is the rare exception where a power transformer, or similar outside manufactured part, will go bad.
Having said that, while the aesthetics of non-labeled front panels are appealing, I think we really need to consider going back to labeling all the rear panels to avoid such confusion. This is especially so since we have recently changed the layout. It used to be adjacent just as you assumed. But, we have now changed 1,2 to left,right as you look at the panel-as you discovered!
We will be getting your TB-2 ready for final wire-up here very shortly!
I have been considering purchasing one of your pre's (TB12) but as with any purchase I am considering other pre's as well. Like others I have been on the audio forums seeing what people are saying about as many different pre's as I can.
My problem is this - I would LOVE to hear what your pre's sound like! So I was thinkin' (and I hate when I do that because it hurts real bad) is have you folks ever considered placing some audio clips on your sight [sic] of say a bass recorded through your pre and maybe play that same bass (using the same path) through a few other high end pre's?
I would love to know what yours sounds like to say a U_______ or A_________ etc... you know, dare I say it, the 'popular' mic pre's.
As you know with different pre's it comes down to the sound texture - yes, your spec's look great but I would hate to buy one and hate it - ya know? I can't simply go to _____________ and test one of yours.
Honestly I think if you were to do something like this it could enhance your sales (or if your pre's suck...maybe not) :) I am guessing they don't suck.
So there ya have it - an idea take it or leave it but I would at least consider it.
Maybe if you use this splendid idea I could get a stellar deal on a pre... not!
Thank you for your interest in DaviSound! And ...
The best way to see what our equipment "sounds like" is to simply try it for yourself in a variety of your own applications.
Since our gear is so economical and also enjoys a high resale value, most serious inquirors, who might still have some reservation after reading all the descriptive info and references on our site, realize they are risking very little to simply make the purchase and experience it firsthand.
To make a proper, sound judgment (pun optional) ... there is obviously nothing like "living with" a piece of gear and putting it through its paces over time in a variety of personal, "real world" situations to fully experience the piece and to thoroughly get to know its capabilities. You can't do that in a retailer's demo room and you sure can't extract that kind of information from a clip of someone else's singular moment of application presented on a website download.
We have, in the past, considered adding a "DaviSamples" page to our site to showcase various professional recordings utilizing our assorted gear. And, if we get a varied enough collection contributed over time we may still consider adding that. But, for both ethical and legal reasons, we would never consider doing on-line contrast comparisons of assorted brand names even if we felt such demonstrations, of so narrow a scope, would be of some prospective benefit ... which I, personally, do not for a variety of reasons.
While we may not be as "popular" as the mass marketers in the sense that you imply, fortunately our reputation is such that we never go lacking for devoted, dedicated clients for our handmade creations with a steady stream of repeat business from satisfied users!
The TB-12 you mention you are interested in was added to our line-up to make it especially easy for home based project studios and semi pros to give our renown "Mic-All" preamps, as employed in our various Tool Boxes, a firsthand audition. And, I can tell you, in all honesty, that several who have ordered and used our TB-12 have subsequently sold some of their "popular" brand name pieces, among them, in fact, the very ones you mention, and subsequently ordered more of ours! That is a fairly well known, and documented, common occurrence.
Now, you mentioned scouring the message boards for user comment. If you are one who needs substantiating opinion to support a product purchase, you will find plenty of outside unsolicited comment from a wide cross section of reputable users presented on our DaviStories page-
It should be obvious to any careful reader that the testimonials presented there are sincere, enthusiastically submitted accolades and about the farthest thing from empty "sales hype" that possibly could be!
So, we feel we have made it as easy as we can for any sincerely interested newcomer to comfortably place his/her own initial order for a DaviSound Tool Box or custom commission. And, our continually ongoing orders from new customers seem to echo this.
I hope that you, too, may ultimately make that choice for yourself and decide to let DaviSound gear improve your signal chain in your own, individual, applications.
I look forward to going to work for you when that time comes. Meanwhile, if you need further specifics from me about our gear please ask away!
Thank you again for your email and I do hope to hear from you again soon!
And, again, more recently in a similar vein ...
I was at your website the other day and saw your write up on your new condenser microphone, DS-l950. I am a studio owner working with and for _________. Is it possible to audition a demo model? Does this mic vary some in sound quality from model to model. Are your microphone components manufactured in U.S.A. or overseas? Under what quality control?
Thank you for your interest in our DS-1950 microphone and for browsing our website!
As with all of our products, the DS-1950 requires a committment from the purchasor as we are beyond subjective audition with our audio gear and because there is a LOT of time/labor intensive work involved with every hand made 1950 that is irrecoverable. Due to constant demand for our gear exceeding our ability to keep up, we have to allocate time/effort chronologically to each order as it arrives. That doesn't leave any time for (or neccessity for) demo pieces and the like.
Now, having explained that ( I hope), let me say that we would love to begin fabricating a custom DS-1950 for you with the full confidence that you would be most pleased with the end result, both sonically and aesthetically.
Every piece of our mic, except the metal hardware, is hand made, from scratch, here so it is, obviously, made in America. However, we do import the hand-made condenser element from a small, exclusive company in Sweden.
Yes, there are some subtle differences from mic to mic but they are, typically, barely detectable either audibly or by measurement. This is true of any hand-made electro-acoustical instrument.
I encourage you to fully explore our website for a complete understanding of the unique, and thorough, way we create things here. We are unique to ourselves and no one else still does it like we do!
Let me know if you have further questions or if you would like to place a trial order.
And this follow up ...
Besides _______________ and ______________ do you have any more DS- l950 owners I could chat with and get more infromation on this microphone and how they use, through what kind of pre amp., etc. what type of instruments or vocals they've tried it on. If you would be so kind in sending me their emails or phone # I would appreciate it.
I am afraid that you have requested the one other thing, besides a free trial, that I can not supply for you and that is direct contact information for any of our clients. I am sorry if you feel that you need that to make a purchase decision but that has always been, and continues to be, a very strict, advertised, DaviSound policy. We simply do not publish, or reveal, client, or inquiror, information in any manner whatever. Only those who specifically choose, and offer, to publish their names and contact info on our DaviStories page (or elsewhere on our site) are included as references.
As far as outside recommendations are concerned ...
We feel that there is enough honest information presented on our website, backed by the integrity of our 37 year reputation in business, to allow anyone genuinely interested in our gear to comfortably make a purchase so as to sample our products for themselves. This is, after all, what it finally comes down to in any event. You can read dozens of "reviews" or you can ask a dozen people to describe the "sound", or performance, of a piece of gear and, typically, you will get as many different perceptions. The bottom line is, sooner or later you have to just decide to make the committment to try it for yourself.
I realize that a significant amount of "blind faith", as well as investment, is required in order to "sample" a DaviSound product. I also realize that we do, unfortunately, loose some potential buyers because of last minute reservations in this regard. Fortunately, however, we do get enough new customers to overcome any hesitation in the order process to allow us the record growth of new business we have enjoyed the past decade in addition to our sustaining, repeat business from our many, longterm, satisfied clients.
I sincerely hope that you can see fit to become one of them!
Let me know if I can answer any specific questions relative to the DS-1950 or any of our other offerings.
I have become obsessed with the (expletive deleted) sound of digital summing for "full spectrum" music and I've read quite a bit about the various summing boxes on the market and the strong opinions on both sides of the argument in the chat rooms.
________ has refuted the argument with an eloquent mathematical argument, but my ears tell me otherwise. Summing is a very contentious issue for some reason - yet to me it's obvious that analog summing wins hands down (given good D/A and stable clocking).
Do you have pricing & availability for your TB-11 "DaviSumThing" 8 Channel, 12 Input, Stereo Output
Analog Line Level Mixer?
Also, are you planning on making a passive box so that users can choose their own "flavor of make-up gain"?
If not, how much would you want for a "clone" of the _______ ... box i.e. 16 channels passive summing
(I think the __________ is way overpriced considering that it's passive).
Any other thoughts/white papers/discussion threads that are enlightening would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for contacting DaviSound!
This is one area where I think that "objectivists" and "subjectivists" can fully agree!
Something DOES sound "wrong" with digital mixing and the more complex the mixes and submixes, and the more times it occurs in sequence and the more complex the waveforms, the worse it gets!
I, frankly, do not care what anyone may say in rebuttal to this issue since I, myself, have experienced this anomaly and have heard the artifacts and, to me, it is blatantly obvious. When you can hear it you can hear it and that's that! No amount of argument that you "shouldn't/couldn't/wouldn't" is going to suffice. These artifacts DO occur, it doesn't take a "golden ear" to perceive it so the mathematicians can save their equations and arguments otherwise
on this issue!
I have no qualms with digital storage and have advocated it from "day one". But, to me personally, ALL signal shaping and processing should be done in the ANALOG realm. As far as the combining and mixing of multiple tracks in the digital realm is concerned, it seems that MOST every other critical archivist recording engineer is now in agreement
to that extent!
Now, in regard to the second part of your question as to how you should best go about accomplishing this mixing in the analog realm and the cost/availability of our new TB-11 designed for this purpose ...
The pricing for our new TB-11 is _________ please see -
DaviSound Current Prices - Terms - Policies
As of this writing, the first one is just now being finalized and we hope to have it completed for shipment to our client in Australia, who commissioned the prototype, in a few short weeks.
We would be pleased to put your name on the "second ever" TB-11 and get it in the work rotation schedule for you right away!
As for your comments about "passive mixing" ...
For some time now, I have have been considering just how I should specifically address this latest "fashion trend" of so-called "passive" combining units! Keep in mind that DaviSound got into the audio engineering business in the very beginning, about thirty years ago, by desigining and building professional quality audio mixers!
So, while we could certainly offer a legitimate PROPER design, if anyone could, I am just not comfortable with the idea of putting the DaviSound name on something that I regard suspiciously as questionable engineering practice, especially the way it is apparently being "sold" by vendors in some instances and misunderstood by users
in many more.
"Passive" mixing sounds good on the surface, but when you come right down to it, the term is a really a misnomer since combining always creates insertion loss and that loss must always be made up somewhere.
When it is, the mix net then becomes "active" at that point. And, "that point" is critical, indeed!
All mixers are, at some stage, "passive", because that's all a mix network is made of, a group of build-out resistors each connected to the channel source at one end and then all combined at the other end. However, the idea is to properly match the network to KNOWN sources and loads in order to keep headroom and noise in proper perspective with resonable level structure maintained throughout the circuit.
The key to successful performance in the very early days of mixer design, before active combining, was the fact that a great deal of care was taken by the designers to properly boost voltage swing AHEAD of the lossy networks, with the combine networks designed around the specific amplifiers preceeding and succeeding them (important!). This was so that make-up gain requirements were kept at a minimum, proper matching was guaranteed and a respectable signal to noise ratio was maintained throughout.
Also, in the days of the these early mixer designs, those days before before the active combining amplifier became the world standard, channels were usually 8 to 12 tops. Then, in the latter case, with 12 or up to 24 channels utilized, these mixers would usually use boosted sub stages before the actual final combine stages.
(They also often used "repeat coils" [transformers] in conjunction with this.)
In order to preserve signal integrity with minimal interaction between channels, fairly high resistive values must be used for the combine network(s). This translates to signal loss and, in the case of the particular unit that you called to our attention, they even advertise an excessive, nominal 35 dB through loss!
Even using the best low-noise resistors, can you imagine the noise (added algebraically) of 16 channels of attenuating pads, which in essence, is exactly what a passive combine net is ... resistive pads ... in front of a random mic preamp as they suggest you use?!
You can NOT boast something as being "transparent and passive" if it is creating drastic loss and adding resistive thermal noise! That is an inherent contradiction in terms! Not only that, but I would NEVER suggest that someone plug up to just "any spare mic preamplifier" they may have lying around for a "variety of tone"!
So, I would prefer not to get involved in any way with that kind of "gimmick engineering"; therefore, I must turn down your offer to "clone" the unit in question. Besides, we couldn't help you in your apparent quest for a "quicker/dirtier" (cheaper) solution anyway because our price for ANY thing we might build would be higher than the unit you mention!
Our costs and prices are determined largely by our time/labor/ and craftsmanship and not by the number of active circuits. However, quality hardware and aesthetically pleasing cabinetry are also always factors with DaviSound gear.
If we were to build a passive mixer it would be a maximized design featuring only about 6 dB nominal to 12 dB maxium insertion loss. However, there is no valid reason to offer something inherently compromising when you can have a properly designed active combiner for the same cost!
When abandoning digital mixing for analog, you want to be careful not to jump "from the frying pan into the fire" trading one set of issues for another. Without using care and the proper tool, you can alter, thus damage, your signal mixing integrity in the analog realm just as well as in the digital realm!
The TB-11 was born earlier this year as our solution to the requests that we have had which are similar to yours. If we had thought a so-called "passive" design was the way to go, then we would not have deisgned the TB-11 as we did. But we designed it the PROPER way and, that being the case, I am pleased to offer you the opportunity to have the very next "DaviSumThing" "active" mixer put into production for you, personally. I can assure you that our active circuitry is as minimal and as "clean as it gets" yet it has the proper, fixed, constants in regard to level structure and in/out relationships to maintain your signal integrity regardless of sources/destinations.
Thank you, again, for your interest in DaviSound and, if you are serious about quality, then I hope we may get the chance to demonstrate our real, handmade workmanship and resulting, impeccable audio quality directly for you whenever you might be ready to put us to work!
For more about "Less in audio circuitry is often more (better) ... BUT ... NOT ALWAYS ..."
As Einstein put it, "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." !
I hope to hear from you again soon.
Like some of the letters in the FAQ of your website, I too am a bit reticent to buy a preamp without hearing it first ...
I've read many great reviews online, but like Frank Zappa said,
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture". ;-)
Are there any customers you could put me in touch with in the upstate, NY area that I could contact?
Or, if I pay for shipping and leave a credit card deposit for the value of the preamp, do you have a demo you could send me to try for a day or two?
I could also probably get your preamps reviewed in _______ magazine by a friend of mine if that's something you'd be interested in.....
Sorry if you get this request a lot, but I like to know what I'm buying and there are many options from many different manufacturers for me to consider.
After our prior correspondence, I am, now especially, sorry to hear you say that you are hesitant to buy one of our amps without a "trial run" first.
Yes, I am fully aware that there are lots of manufacturers, and indeed middle-men dealers as well, out there competing for your purchase who will offer you this opportunity. But, no, quite honestly, we do NOT
"get this request a lot" only the couple of times (this one now included) that it is addressed on our FAQs page!
Unfortunately for your request, or fortunately for us, depending on your point of view in regard to surplus product on hand, we ship our Tool Boxes as fast as we can make them so we simply do NOT have "loaners" or "demo units" available to send out nor do we need to operate that way. Actually, quite honestly, we have never needed to operate that way even before our reputation had grown as wide and as well as it has in recent years!
As for "auditioning" our products, I often wish that were possible/practical because even the most "hardened vet" usually breaks out in a broad smile upon using/hearing one of our preamps for the first time. So, naturally, I wish I could share that experience with EVERY pro user out there! Furthermore, put yourself in my place and imagine how I must feel whenever I, as a listener, hear a favorite artist being recorded through signal chains that I recognize as being far inferior to what we could offer them! But, we can only make/share just so many pieces in the alloted time and, so far, thankfully, the demand has always grown faster than our ability to supply them!
While I can also respect your hesitancy to buy without audition to some degree, fortunately, there are many who can overcome this to make a purchase based on confidence after thorough, logical consideration of the facts presented or, otherwise, our operation offering limited edition products, and other direct marketers who must operate similar to us, would not last very long in the marketplace!
Obviously, if our products did not live up to, or surpass, our descriptions, I would not be sitting here after all of these years writing this! While each and every one I am involved with is truly a "labor of love" in many respects, I do NOT do this for a "hobby"! It is our "bread and butter"!
In regard to us sending a contact with whom you may correspond directly, I would think that there should be enough credible "reinforcement" out there to support our own descriptions of our gear and to alleviate any genuine concerns about a purchase. I refer to the many Internet posts you, yourself, mention, as well as all of those who have gone to the trouble to send real, unsolicited, signed, "reviews" for our "DaviStories" page -
As explained often on the website, other than those gracious users who specifically offer to have their names/addresses published on the DaviStories page linked above, we do NOT give out contact information for our client lists otherwise.
I would, of course, like to see your "story" added there, eventually, and I certainly hope you decide to "put the faith" in DaviSound to give us a try. But, ultimately, only you can make that decision. If you do, I am confident that you will, like ALL those who have done so before you, find that faith well rewarded upon the unwrapping and application of your DaviSound Tool Box(s)! But, to make that happen, I will need your firm, positive commitment based on our standard operating procedures.
It does always, truly, distress me when I correspond with someone who expresses a genuine interest in trying our equipment but then does not follow through with a purchase for whatever reason. I always feel a definite sense of MUTUAL loss, which I wish could have been avoided somehow, on the, fortunately rare, occasion when that does occur! I hope this does not prove to be one of those rare instances!
Please let me know if I can answer any further questions specifically relating to our products or their application!
I sincerely thank you again for your interest and I do wish you the very best of luck with your upcoming purchase whichever direction you decide to go in!
This issue is also addressed in some length at this location ...
DaviStatements ... "TIME"
And of further relevance to this issue ...
DaviStatements ... "SPECIAL"
What is the deal with these DaviSound pres I keep hearing so much good stuff about lately and is there any difference, internally circuit wise, with your TB-10 and some of your other pres? I am interested in the TB-10 but maybe some of the others also. I am in the "sounds great in the room, let's capture that" camp and I am told that your pres may allow me to do that.
First, thank you very much for considering DaviSound!
The main "deal with these pres", in terms of all our Tool Box solid state preamps, is our "Mic-All" (nicknamed) MP-2 MasterPiece module circuit block!
It is the heart of ALL of our solid state "laboratory reference" amplifiers and what gives DaviSound the "musical transparent accuracy" we are known for. It is as electrically accurate, and as sonically transparent, as any amplifier can be made! It's tremendous headroom, unique overload-proof, variable gain, and near full Class-A operation all contribute to this. I feel sure you have read all about this already in the TB-10 on-line manual.
This MP-2 module is utilized inside the TB-10 you mention as well as, exclusively, inside the renown TB-6 and the new TB-12, for each amplifier gain block. It is "THE" microphone amplifier anywhere we use a solid state gain block EXCEPT inside the TB-1 where we use a discreet FET for the front-end.
Now, the TB-10 ALSO uses this same MP-2 "Mic-All" block configured as a balanced instrument preamp (guitar/bass/etc). So, obviously, it will perform as a "clean transparent" gain block faithfully amplifying whatever signal is presented to it ... no coloration of its own. This results in a signal that may be "too clean" for some but the whole idea with using the "Mic-All" block as an instrument amp is, in a word, ACCURACY. You can always "color" somewhere else in the chain.
For those who like to add "color" in the preamp, we offer the TB-1 which has the Class-A discreet/Class-A tube combination chain which adds a good bit of second harmonic musical overtone to the signal by way of the triode tube stage. Most guitarists, of course, prefer the fat second harmonic in an instrument preamp or "direct box" as it was once called. But, with the TB-1, you also have the option of by-passing the tube stage at the flick of a switch for pure solid state Class-A operation with a discreet differential FET stage feeding a discreet Class-A bi-polar driver stage.
My PERSONAL favorite all around recording Tool Box is the TB-3 because it offers a "starved tube" stage option at the flick of a switch and combines our Mic-All gain block with a compressor option, or not, again at the flick of a toggle switch. But, the TB-3 does not offer a specific, direct instrument input.
One of the things that struck me especially about your note was the statement that ...
"I am in the 'sounds great in the room, let's capture that' camp" because that is the same school I come from! DaviSound transparent signal chains, and our accurate condenser mics, are built totally with that purpose in mind ...
to allow you to do just that!
I would be MOST pleased to put DaviSound to work for you and get any of our pieces locked into our work rotation, production schedule for you as soon as possible!
Please wade through our entire website absorbing as much about our methods/products as you can and please ask me any further questions you may have! And, if you do a Google search for DaviSound ... you may just find a message board or two with users echoing what I have just told you!
Alternately, if you are already a believer and "sold" on our handcrafted products to the point to having us put your name on your first made-to-order Tool Box, then simply follow our order procedure on our Prices-Terms-Policies page... Prices-Terms-Policies
I will look forward to the opportunity of, personally, going to work for you on your initial order as soon as you are ready!
I was glad to learn recently that you had introduced your DaviSheen design concept to your website. I think it is a great addition since I am a big fan of tubes for audio. I hope to one day be able to commission a tube preamp from you and I was wondering if you might also consider offering an integrated amplifier with a low power speaker amplifier on board along with the preamp controller.
I was also wondering how you feel your tube designs compare to your solid state designs in terms of audio performance. I like tubes but I don't find some transistor amps to be as bad as some say.
NOTE: The following reply has been edited from my original response and post here in March, 2005. At the time of that original response, I had just been reviewing some of the "(MIS)-information" about tube audio that is prevalent on so many web pages across the Internet. As a result, I took out my frustration about this rather harshly in my editorializing reply and felt that, after review, a "kinder gentler" response was in order.
So, here it is ... in edit of the original reply ... something a bit less chastizing and, hopefully, a bit more educational!
Thank you very much for raising your questions. Since the tubes vs. transistors issue is always such a hot debate topic amongst many audio enthusiasts, let me tackle your last question first and get that out of the way.
But, look out, this will likely run-on for awhile!
Out front, let me set the stage by stating, emphatically, that ...
IN A PROPERLY DESIGNED, FABRICATED AND APPLIED AMPLIFIER, ANY DIFFERENCE IN COMPONENTS, WHETHER DISCREET TRANSISTOR, TUBES OR IC OP-AMPS, SHOULD NOT AND WILL NOT BE AUDIBLE!
Since that statement is important enough to repeat twice ... please read it again.
Many tube audio fanatics will debate this until the "harmonics come home" but any REAL expert,
or true audio electronics engineer, will agree with this premise!
The KEY is, of course, the emphasized part of the statement ...
the part about PROPER design, fabrication, application.
Having established that, let me follow up by saying that in any many NON-proper designs, fabrications and/or applications ... tubes can be more "forgiving" than transistors, or even IC op-amps, which is, no doubt, the fact most singly responsible for their legendary "cult-like" status amongst some tube fanatics.
It's an old story ... but while there are other things involved, this "tube forgiveness", is largely based on the fact that tubes tend to go into a form of "soft compression" before they clip the signal at overload whereas transistors just go ahead and "hard clip" as soon as their headroom threshold is exceeded. Of course, if headroom is never exceeded ... this "overload" handling capability should be a moot point!
I make the distinction above of "IC" op-amps since few people, especially those I see writing "expert advice/opinion" on the Internet seem to realize that operational amplifiers can be made very sucessfully using vacuum tubes and, indeed, have been utilized in special applications of the "op-amp type" circuit topology since well before World War Two. Of course these topologies were not labeled "operational amplifier" until the circuit blocks were utilized for the purpose of performing "mathematical calculating operations" in analog computers - thus "operational amplifier".
One can design excellent high open loop gain op-amps using the high gain 12-AX7, and properly applied negative feedback, which yield combined measured distortions as low as .001% across the audio bandwidth!
I know, because I have done just that on occasion!
All the self-styled "tube gurus", should remember this when bad mouthing "op-amps" in favor of "tubes".
One of the points here is that amplification and amplifiers can be obtained and designed independent of the discreet components that comprise them!
Tube enthusiasts often talk about the "simplicity" of tubes and I have even done so myself on occasion. But, in reality, that is also a misnomer since some of the most advanced, complex amplifiers I have ever seen/studied employed vacuum tubes! Case in point, the famous RCA 25 Watt OTL "Music Amplifier" published design (circa 1940) which utilized a radically different technique of NO iron in the path whatsoever - not even a power supply transformer!
It employed dual polarity supply voltages to its cross-coupled paralleled, dual triode output stages and thus required no output coupling capacitor in addition to being transformerless.
Conversely, virtually all of the "simple" basic tube circuit configurations can be duplicated either by a bi-polar transistor, or a Field Effect Transistor, or both.
I spend a great deal of time in TECH REPORTS discussing this issue of similar configurations amongst components, for example transistor emitter followers vs. triode cathode followers, and the difficulty of being able to discern either audible differences in true double blind comparison tests, or to see any measurable distinctions on a scope or distortion meter, given the "proper design/fabrication/application" criteria established here out front.
Now, on another note, I have addressed the issue of audiophiles in several locations on our website
(including this page!). But, in many cases, "tube-o-philes", based on many of their own comments that I read on the net, are sometimes, by far, the most far-out of all extremists in terms of audio subjectivity!
In fact, some of the things I read are so full of audio myth and half (if that much) truths, it is kind of hard to even read through it thereby admitting to one's self that such opinion even exists out there much less that such "gibberish" is being "preached" from a website platform.
It is especially troubling when some of these nonsense purveyors take on an "attack" attitude and ceremoniously put down solid-state audio based entirely upon their cult-like prejudice for the vacuum tube! Most of the "facts" and opinions they espouse, in many cases, are just as distorted as the amplifiers they prefer to listen to!
The real problem with this is, it may influence a whole new generation of biased
(no pun intended here!) "audio bigots" who never grow in understanding of the art beyond supposedly "hearing" all sorts of nuances from simply swapping one tube for another.
I have often wished I could grab a few of these extremists by the ears, the ones who claim such "real musical understanding" and appreciation of so-called "true, natural" musical reproduction, and sit them down beside one of our accurate, TB-8 power amps, and just let them finally HEAR true distortion free, pure audio amplification, likely for the first time ever, and just note their reaction! Have any of these people ever actually had the chance to listen to a true, state-of-the-art solid state studio monitor reference amplifier reproducing a live mic'ed, faithfully preamplified source, or did they just adopt their prejudices and misconceptions somewhere else?
If they did, would they STILL claim "tubes just ALWAYS sound better", or make any case for a hunk of transformer iron and no feedback? While I find it hard to even imagine it, the answer is probably "yes".
While I would like to astound them with our pure audio, somehow I just don't think their personality make-up would allow them to admit they had been wrong about stereotyping all solid state circuitry or they would not be such subjective extremists to begin with.
I can NEVER understand, and this is THE clincher, how they can hear harmonically "colored" reproduction of a modern recorded piece and claim that their tube amps offer more "realistic reproduction" to a source that was recorded and mastered by running through countless generations of transistor/op-amp processing in the studios and mastering lab before it ever reached their listening room!
It would be one thing to record a live session with all tube gear and carefully maintain that distinction all through a minimal chain and then compare that result to the same performance recorded with solid state gear. But, to claim that a tube amp offers more "realistic reproduction" of a solid state recorded source is utter nonsense ... period!
Now, please, don't get me wrong. I am certainly not addressing this in your direction or in the direction of any particular "tube lover" other than those fanatical extremists. While unfortunately there are MANY of them out there, I am also fully aware that, THANKFULLY not all tube lovers fall into these extremist categories!
I, myself, am a true "tube lover" of sorts since I, too, just simply, unapologetically, enjoy employing the old
"glowing bottles" on occasion.
I even have a homebrew multi-band AM radio, which I made in the style of the cabinet radios of old, and the mono, OTL, power amplifier stage in it consists of a single 6L6 operated in the triode mode, cathode follower configuration.
I get an amazing 50 milliwatts, or so, of audio out of it and, when amplifying speech, it gives warm, room-filling sound when "pushed" a bit into that magical overload, compressed region. And, yes, it is mounted on top of the cabinet, on a polished Padauk circuit board, so that I can enjoy viewing the "warm orange glow" of the heaters and the bluish purple flouresence clinging to the glass interior whenever I listen!
See ... I told you I could be a "true tube lover"!
But, I ALWAYS have to make the distinction that I am NOT one of those who desires to apply tubes in a fashion whereby they always add that high harmonic content to the signal ... in other words HIGH THD ...
no matter how "mucially related" these harmonics might be!
I have pretty well addressed my feelings about all of this, already, on the new DaviSheen page you refer to.
And, yes, I am very pleased to have added that new category to our site also!
I just want to be very sure that DaviSound is NEVER associated with these kinds of characters who talk about such things as a particular vacuum tube exhibiting "nervous and distracting" musical qualities or, alternately, being of itself
"enticing and involving". To each his own, I suppose, but reading that kind of gibberish totally sickens me!
Okay ... "DaviSoapbox" aside ...
I am also an old guitar player and, as such, I certainly appreciate the "musicality" of over-driven tubes and the resulting addition of musical harmonics that it causes. It is truly "music to our ears". As a matter of fact, I often fantasize about the eventual day (that day when I "retire" at about age 86 - if I do retire that early!) when I can get the time to build myself an old Fender Champ replica to complement my '68 Telecaster.
I have the 12 AX7 and 6V6 sitting aside waiting for the day!
It can also be fun to, sometimes, apply our "Inner Tube" processor circuitry, as used in the TB-3 for example ...
for some of this same effect added to a "pristine" audio signal under certain circumstances.
Some of the BEST "vocal sounds" I have ever heard in the studio have benefited from the
"warm, fat" musical harmonics, and tube compression, offered by the TB-3 tube stage when subtlely applied!
The TB-1 was designed with this application, and instrument amplification, totally, in mind.
But we have to always recognize,and admit honestly, what we are doing in these instances.
We are not using the tube this way because it is "more pure" ... we use it because it is ADDING an "effect"...
that being more even-order harmonics ... to our otherwise "more pure", original signal.
This is why I have always resented the fact that those who would prefer to listen to overdriven tubes, or topologies that inherently generate high THD, choose to call themselves "musical purists" when, in fact ...
they are quite just the opposite.
Whenever this topic is raised, and it is always a lengthy one, I always have to emphasize, as I have done here at the beginning, that of course tubes do NOT always have to be used as blatant "harmonics" generators.
Truly high fidelity tube amplifiers have been designed and used for decades and this area is where my own real fascination lies. I would like to some day design, and offer, a tube amp that is just as accurate ...
at a similar power level ... as my "DaviSolid" TB-8!
But, yes, it is just as much fun to see what kinds of "colors" we may get from tubes in guitar amps ...
and studio vocal processors ... and that is where THAT particular aspect of tube application SHOULD remain.
Guitar amps are ... "musical instruments" ... every bit as much as the guitar they amplify.
As such, of course we want them to distort to varying degrees to give us "that sound" we all know and love!
But, one should never make that argument for high fidelity audio reproduction without first admitting to the quailifier that he/she is aware of what they are doing to the signal and just happen to want it that way for their own
If you run a single-ended triode power stage into a transformer with no negative feedback, you are NOT going to be listening to ANY kind of "fidelity" by definition, let alone HIGH fildelity. You ARE,INSTEAD, going to be listening to anywhere from a minimum of 3%, to more likely closer to 10%, or beyond, HARMONIC DISTORTION EVERY TIME . It is just the nature of those beasts applied in that condition. That effect certainly could never be termed "pure" by any stretch of the imagination!
Now if 10% distortion "just always sounds better" to someone, so be it (that crazy claim of "natural, realistic reproduction" again). But, I don't think that person should consider a career as a recording engineer, or any avocation that requires him/her to make critical listening judgements in that case ...
including writing about audio reproduction for publication!
Now, having said all that, let me also say as one who has made a living, for about forty years now, listening critically to audio, daily, in one regard or another, that I firmly believe that the very simple TB-8 "DaviSolid" (solid state) circuitry we offer in our lab reference monitor amp is the best that can be acheived with audio amplification. Therefore, I believe it offers the ultimate in reproduction fidelity of whatever audio signal is applied to it ... no more, no less. It is in that spirit of the challenge in the search for ultimate fidelity in tube audio reproduction that I answer your other question!
I do, in fact, want to offer a small integrated tube amplifier design! I often use all thirty minutes of my typical week's "spare time" adding to my experimental notes on that very topic these days.
Of course, when I do, it will always be OTL ... output transfomerless ... most definitely!
I won't further belabor, here, the atrocities of using giant inductors to "muddy up" an audio signal ...
UNLESS I happen to be building that beloved guitar amplifier ...
(in which case I might just "transform" like 98% of all the previous guitar amp designers).
My integrated amp would also be, as you suggest, a relatively "low power" output design intended for driving a well designed HIGH EFFICIENCY speaker system!
On that note, it is a real shame that today's speaker designers have gotten away from efficiency. In the "good old days" a speaker with an efficiency of 98 dB SPL at 1W/1M was very common. Nowadays, the power hungry monsters you frequently see offered are lucky (if they even publish it) to boast a spec even close to 90 dB!
But if you look, you can still find them ... Jensen still offers a few very nice full range speakers of high effficiency so I'm told. I'll mention that "plug" here to help atone for my published distaste for the use of audio transformers in attempted high accuracy signal chains ...
no matter HOW "good" the make!
(UPDATE NOTE- I have just recently learned that the "Jensen" speaker line is now being manufactured in Italy, no longer by the American Jensens of old. But, this Italian company is also making some good, efficient speakers
[101 dB, 1W/1M] under another brand name!)
I believe low power amplifiers are important for accuracy because simpler is usually better in audio circuitry.
The more power one employs, the more complex the circuitry must be and the more difficult it becomes to keep it matched and balanced in performance. This statement applies to both tubes and solid state designs yet it is inherently more pronounced with tube circuitry ... especially if one chooses to go OTL.
Simpler amplifiers require efficient speakers.
And, there is also another very good reason for choosing speakers of high efficiency for doing their job of converting electrical impulses to sound waves. Efficient speakers, in the 96 to 100 dB (and beyond) range just ALWAYS respond (fluctuate and move air) better to subtle musical nuances in the signal by their very nature inherent in the design.
You can find much more relating specifically to the unarguable logic of applying efficient speakers and low to medium power amplifiers for control room studio monitoring at
TB-8 Lab Reference Monitor Amplifier On-Line Manual .
In closing this "long-winded", rambling response ...
(which has been deliberately written with great elaboration for the dual purpose of adding it to our FAQs page also in mind) ... let me repeat something here for the benefit of our readers that I pass along in the
DaviSound "TECH REPORTS".
If you have been reading the "tube guru" and "review" sites (where they talk about such tube "characteristics" as "nervous" or "involving") and similar message boards on the Internet, but you REALLY want to learn to separate the facts from the myths surrounding the tubes vs. transistors controversy, then I suggest trying to find a copy
(long out of print unfortunately) of the old SAMS publication ...
"The Audio Cyclopedia" by Howard M. Tremaine.
This work is as good a place as any to start learning the REAL truths for a change.
Mr. Tremaine was a true pioneer and expert in both the applied art and science of audio. His working knowledge spanned the vacuum tube, the transistor and the integrated circuit and he thoroughly understood ALL of them as well as, virtually, EVERY audio application from scientific analysis to pro audio (his specialty). He worked in ALL professional audio fields of his day from design work for early RCA broadcast consoles to chief recording engineer for Walt Disney Studios and so much more besides.
If anyone could be qualified to write an encyclopedia for audio, he could ... and he DID.
I still refer to my well-worn, signed copy frequently!
I urge all audio engineers and enthusiasts to try and obtain a copy at your larger technical libraries!
In closing, let me say that I welcome ALL true tube enthusiasts ...
(those who are enthusiastic about tubes for the right reasons) to the DaviSound website. I also hope that everyone will appreciate the distinctions I am trying to define in my particular cherish for the old vacuum tube circuitry when it is combined with the application of our modern, cumulative, evolutionary knowledge of the valid science and art of circuit design as opposed to, the often nonsensical, experimental "guru voodoo"!
Thank you again for your questions, and for staying with me through all of this, and I hope to some day, before long, build that truly "accurate", high fidelity, integrated tube amplifier system for you!
March, 2005 (Edited May 2005)
For related information please see ...
DaviStatements ... "BIG"
I have always heard that DaviSound preamplifiers had exceptional headroom and I have found this fact to be true. I have NEVER heard any form of distortion in my TB-6 no matter what kind of source I am tracking or with whatever (mic) I'm using.
On the other hand, I also have an expensive A _ _ _ _ _ preamp which advertises even more headroom (at +34 dBU) out than my TB-6 but it distorts with percussion transients. Are they just lying about their headroom or what do you think might be going on?
What do I think? I think you ought to SELL that A _ _ _ _ _ and get another DaviSound!
(Just kidding! - Well ... only Kinda ... ;-] > )
Seriously ... I thank you for this question and for calling my attention to an issue that I should have addressed on our website, in some detail, a long time ago! I am glad to be reminded to take that opportunity now and I will, immediately, include your important email on our FAQs page ...
(so here it is!).
Now, while there may be some other issues contributing to your distortion in the "Brand A" preamp on extreme transients (for example I don't know if this model employs front-end padding but suspect that it does. If so, then you would have to apply it to avoid front-end overload. But, I suspect you are already aware of that distinction), it is very possible that it could be a result of the very issue that I should have been clearly pointing out more emphatically all along. And that is something that is often overlooked.
It should go without saying to anyone who would be reading our pages, that in terms of headroom in an audio amplifier chain, either with the individual stages in a single unit or with cascaded multiple units in series, the whole chain is only as good as its weakest link - in this reference, its lowest headroom stage.
Obviously, it does no good, in terms of headroom, to boast that an output stage can output, say, +32 dBU when the preceding stages can only reproduce a maximum level of 26 dBU! But, yet, that is exactly what happens with MANY units advertising that very output spec!
You must always keep in mind that there is a very DISTINCT DIFFERENCE between overall HEADROOM and an amplifier's OUTPUT CAPABILITY! In fact ... MOST units advertising the higher output, do not, indeed, offer the same through-chain capability!
Now ... here is why advertised "output capability" does not always mean the same thing, nor does it guarantee, the same level throughout the unit. In other words it may NOT offer the same HEADROOOM capability as it does OUTPUT capability. In these instances, the headroom will typically be 6 dB lower than the output capability! This is because, these units are using either a differential, "bridge" line driver output stage, which offers twice the voltage swing to the load, thus 6 dB higher output, while all the preceeding stages are operating at 6 dB lower level; or, they utilize an output transformer configured for voltage gain (which I believe applies in your case).
Either way, the output "gain" ONLY occurs right at the very last line drive output stage!
It might even be argued that it is of little value to add this extra signal boost at this final output stage since, while it offers theoretically better signal to noise in the transmission line, it makes the succeeding stages more susceptible to input overload (which is also a consideration in your case!). Also, importantly, with any design using transformers for this final output voltage gain, it is most important to pay attention to impedance matching and loading effects since a disturbance in either can affect the transformer's current sourcing ability (output drive) as well as it's distortion contribution. But, whatever your feeling about line drive level boosted only at output, it certainly offers no headroom cushion for the preceeding stages!
DaviSound Tool Boxes are NOT configured this way! When we say that a unit has a HEADROOM and output capability of "near 32 dB" we mean just that. Most often, the guaranteed output level of a Tool Box will be about 24 volts, RMS. In other words, our outputs will typically swing, 24 volts AC into a 600 ohm load for an output of +30 DBU (and higher into today's norm higher impedance loads) !
Now, the main point of all of this, and the important DaviSound distinction is ... you have the SAME headroom at every stage throughout the chain ... NOT just at the very LAST stage!
DaviSound achieves this high headroom with our own custom designed house gain block and higher than traditional solid state power supply voltage! So, most importantly, this guarantees a common, maximum signal ceiling level throughout every stage with our gear and from unit to unit! We think this factor, combined with our unique, variable active gain stages, is what assures the superior sonic performance that our MasterPiece modules are known for!
Years ago we pioneered a unique "quasi-balanced" output stage which utilizes a kind of "impedance balancing", ground isolation technique as opposed to a true balanced-to-ground, or differential output drive technique. This system, designed for interfacing in-house gear, preferably to other units with differential inputs , is decidedly superior for isolating signal grounds and avoiding ground loops! It does NOT, however, offer voltage gain by its configuration.
Of course our useable output, of around +30 dBU with it's inherently high, through-chain headroom (average performance of +28 to +32 dBU) is very close in line drive capability to the other designs that do use the final gain stage in their balancing technique!
Now, if we were going to build a line driver for driving long transmission lines, such as miles of telephone company copper pairs going across town, we might even utilize the bridge driver for the extra 6 dB line drive capability for obvious reasons in that unique, single instance of application where the extra 6 dB line drive is arguably superior.
I hope that everyone who is looking at "specsmanship" comparisons when contemplating different gear, will always remember this, yet another VERY important, "DaviSound Distinction" ! Otherwise you will be, once more, just applying the old "apples vs. oranges" comparison scenario!
Thank you again for the question ... I hope that I have explained it adequately ...
and I also thank you for owning a TB-6!
I have read quite a lot on message boards recently about your DS-1950 microphone and a lot of that relates to how good it is for recording upright, acoustic bass. I would like your input on this and would like to know if it is good for vocals as well as bass? I would also like your thoughts on how it might compare to the ____________ mics.
Our condenser mics are used on just about everything and, as stated in the descriptive page, DaviSource Microphones , we believe the DS-1950 to be great for vocals, even suggesting it for spoken word broadcast application.
As of this writing I have not, personally, had the opportunity to hear it on acoustic bass nor have I personally tried it on brass or wind instruments. But, I have had the chance to hear it with a string quartet (bows), acoustic guitars and ... of course, vocals.
Maybe I have an incurable case of the old "designer's ear" but, naturally, I think it sounds superb, and to me unbeatable, for all of these applications. But, then, so does the DaviSnake! Both mics are somewhat "tedious" to build and the DS-1950, especially, requires many careful, separate, hand-worked steps in the wood cabinet process and assembly stages, thereby, requiring a higher price-tag and longer order turn-around time.
But, either of our mics are just hard to beat for any kind of acoustic instrument application, in my opinion. Like you, I have heard from a few sources that the DS-1950 has demonstrated extraordinarily outstanding results for acoustic bass and, yet, toward the other end of the spectrum, we know it to be superb for strings (violins) also.
It follows, then, that if the mics can handle the sound pressure levels involved (and ours can) that they will also be superb and lifelike on vocals.
When asked for my thoughts on how our mic might compare to others, what can I say? I, obviously, think our mics are as good as any, in their own right, or I wouldn't offer them! The DaviSnake is more "accurate", to my ears, than anything I have ever heard while the DS-1950 seems to capture the accuracy of the upper end, and yet, add just a bit of very musical "character" to the low end that happens to be, desirably, similar to all the old, classic tube condensers.
Both use the same element, just applied differently! For years folks have thought/assumed that large diaphragm mics were the way to go for condenser mics. But, I have always been intrigued by the natural possibilities of the electret versions! And, over our years of experimenting, we began to discover another surprising fact. We learned that the SMALLER, and SMALLER, we went with the diaphragms and capsules, the more lifelike and accurate the results with much lower distortion, and much faster transient response, than their larger counterparts!
Now, it seems, many others are discovering this phenomenon and some of the more popular mic trends recently are toward ultra miniature diaphragm capsules! We have found that the smaller capsules, being inherently of much lower mass, and surface area, react to soundwave impulses more naturally than the bulkier, mechanically heavier, large, tensioned "drum" diaphragms! The resulting audio truly speaks (or sings and plays) for itself with easily recognizable, unarguably superior performance and fidelity to the original source!
Let me, candidly, share something here in concluding the answer to this query. I never, ever thought, early on, that I would ever be in the business of building and selling microphones! Even when we were experimenting with some of our early designs, for our own use in the old days, I thought I would keep microphone fabrication strictly in-house, for our own esoteric purposes, while only specializing in audio signal chain amplification and processing. But, like those who heard our mics and demanded versions for themselves, I, too, was actually in awe of the sonics we were capturing and hearing with these uncluttered, transformerless designs. It was lifelike audio as many of us had never quite experienced from a microphone before!
So, I must believe that you, also, will be well pleased once you hear exactly what I mean for yourself. As you say, that's what it all comes down to.
I would like to know your thoughts about wheher or not I would be better off using __________ Cable or __________cable connecting to the TB-8 amp? I've heard that you just believe in old fashioned speaker cable. So, what do you think about audiophile type cables in general? And, what do you think about using some cheapo, distorted gear to record with if your customer happens to like the sound.
Well, here we go. This is probably the most "loaded" question I will ever get! Naturally, I respect the opinions of most audiophiles in general and, do, in fact, credit them as a group with encouraging some of the fidelity strides in audio, particularly in the early years of high fidelity development.
I also like to point out to them that here are some legitimate reasons for ackowledging "right ways" and "wrong ways" to do things in engineering that can affect the sound of audio equipment without taking it to the ridiculous.
I certainly want both conservative engineers and audiophiles alike to always be able to recognize the valid steps we take with our methods, that no other mainstream manufacturer ever will ... things like like sealed circuitry ... direct, hard-wired connections and the other methods we employ which are documented in our DESIGN PHILOSOPHY .
Furthermore, no objectivist, who is also a credible design engineer, could ever make an argument against using the best available capacitors where needed in coupling, or signal shaping/forming, circuits or against the use of the best available low-noise metal film resistors throughout a circuit design.
Having said that ... even though I risk many extremely subjective "audiophiles", no doubt, taking offense at the following observations ... I must take that risk nonetheless ...
TRUST ME- FOR YOUR SHORT SPEAKER WIRE CONNECTION ...
ALL YOU NEED IS 16 gauge zip cord, period. Save your $200.00 (or higher!)!
Once you have adequate copper for the current it must carry, fabricated into a reasonably paired cable, anything else you might "perceive" as "audible improvement" in speaker cable ...
is purely self-delusion.
There is an old syndrome known amongst electronics engineers in audio called "designer's ear" that we always have to guard against! It is based on the same tendency of experimenters in all fields of science to, at times, subjectively "sway" the experimental criteria based on expected outcome. This human tendency has been well known and documented in psychology for- not decades - but centuries!
In audio, one tends to hear what one wants/expects to hear after making "tweaks" and "improvements" when, often,
it is truly "all in the head" and not "in the ear" -
as Ripley would say- "Believe It Or Not!"
All of this is, of course, multiplied when one reads about others who can also "hear" the magic of a particular part or "new" technique!
Just like the human belief system at work in regard to religion and politics, people tend to believe what they WANT to believe, and NEED to believe, regardless of any factual evidence to the contrary. Some people tend to have a sub-concious, or perhaps even concious, need to align their beliefs with those of a certain group. Sometimes, this belief system can even over-ride the lessons of one's own past experiences!
As for your other question ... the argument that "colored audio" has its place and that using so-called "inferior" signal chains, on occasion, to create "art" is certainly justifiable if one knows what he is doing and, preferably, for the most part, keeps it on the other side of the microphone! Because, the concientious audio engineer must always remember that an archive signal chain is based on the finest, highest fidelity one can acheive and fidelity, by definition,
We must strive for perfection in that regard in the recording/monitor chain although real world "perfection" is not possible. But, in my own, personal, emphatic opinion, "snake oil" and "voodoo" have no place at all in a professional studio, or audio lab, on the control room side of the glass!
For more on the previous topic please see ...
DaviStatements - BIGGER BETTER
I am wondering if maybe you ever thought about adding switchable input impedance to your mic preamps? I recently read the comments from a respected, well-known engineer,(_________), about switchable impedance on his (________) affecting the sound of various mics and how he had favorite settings for each of his mics.
As for impedance affecting "sound" under "normal conditions" ...
(meaning without gross mis-matching or loading) ... the only way that happens ... and even then it should be very subtle with a mic and a mic preamp ... is with one transformer connecting to another transformer ... or with a transformer used as an input load, improperly terminated.
The preamp you mention in your question employs an input transformer. With DaviSound designs, you have NO transformer ... just optimuum voltage transfer from the microphone to the preamp regardless of the mic's actual source impedance!
Then, with the fully active gain design, you "dial in" the proper "gain match" for the individual microphone and the signal it is putting out. With this system you ALWAYS get optimum signal voltage transfer from microphone output to preamp input! This is as near perfection as you can get in matching a mic to it's preamp-regardless of the type mic! There is no need, or desire, for "switchable impedance" ..."matching pads" ... etc etc.
Transformers, being the inductors they are, have to "see" their proper impedance match for maximum POWER transfer, although this is more critical at line level, or speaker level for sure, than at mic level. This is why, it may be desirable to switch to a different tap on an input transformer, or a different loading resistance across it, to more properly "match" certain microphones.
Properly designed differential input stages do not suffer from these, and all the other, transformer "quirks" which is why we use them instead of transformers! We do not use transformers in our microphones for the same reasons and, although they will perform better, theoretically, into a transformerless input (active differential) than they will into a fixed transformer impedance, they work well either way!
I hope that helps clear up any misconceptions over the "switchable impedance" issue! I think I will add this to our FAQs page as it needs to be addressed.
(So here it is!)
And, speaking of our FAQS page, please see the following as it further addresses my take on transformers. My feeling is ... transformers are necessary for RF (Radio Frequency) application but undesirable down at the more "sluggish" audio frequency range!
Always remember that there are a lot of "gimmicks" out there to sell equipment by trying to create a "new niche" for one's own design for the quick return ... and, there are always some "engineers" who claim they can "hear" every one of these "new niches"! I always maintain that what people "hear" that is "better" in our gear is just proper, simple, accurate design to begin with!
I am interested in buying one of your Tool Boxes but the price is a little out of my budget. Someone told me you use eBay from time to time to auction stuff so I thought I would wait to see if I could get a cheaper price. Will you be auctioning something on eBay soon?
Let's set the record straight on our use of eBay once and for all!
While we do use eBay on occasion for advertising through our occasional offerings of unique, special items as described below ...
We do NOT, never have and never will, "auction" any of our new, standard, hand-crafted
Tool Boxes on eBay or anywhere else, at prices below our standard, published Price Lists !
Furthermore, in regard to pricing in general, you can also be assured that anytime you place an order at the current price from our price lists ... whenever that may be ... you will NEVER see that item listed at any lower price at any future time!
We do not have "sales" ... nor do we offer discount "specials" etc. on our standard Tool Box line!
This is for several reasons, beginning with the fact that we don't have to use such gimmicks to sell our pro audio Tool Boxes! They are always in demand and usually being supplied to a chronological waiting list! Secondly, and just as importantly, it would not be fair to someone who had paid the normal purchase price to offer a similar unit to someone else at a discounted price.
I assure you, this will never happen!
Our prices may, by necessity, INCREASE in due time and, indeed, many users have seen the value of their purchases actually appreciate in recent months. In fact, a few users have actually recently capitalized on this, so we understand, by selling their units on eBay for a higher price than they paid to us years ago, while still for a bit less than a brand new unit bought direct from us at today's prices.
This may be where you got the mistaken idea that we auction our new Tool Boxes at lower prices. NOT SO! You have our assurance that DaviSound will never offer a standard unit at a lower price than what it currently sells for at any given time on our website! You can always buy with complete confidence in that regard!
Now, it is true that we do use eBay for esoteric odds and ends from time to time. These include unusual, one-of-a-kind items such as older prototypes or rarely, but perhaps occasionally, upgrade trade-in units etc.
Also, on a couple of occasions we have built unique, experimental pieces (preamps, mixers, mixer-power amps etc) for the high-end home audio and audiophile markets that we have auctioned on eBay. We will continue to offer these special pieces ... unique one-of-a-kind custom items ... on eBay on occasion. In fact, we hope to be able to offer MANY more of these one-of-a-kind high end models for the home market whenever time permits.
As of late, we also use eBay for general advertising purposes showcasing many of our new "WG" Tool Boxes in this manner thereby generating new traffic to our website. These items are all offered as fixed price "Buy-It-Now" listings at our normal prices and terms.
But, again, please NOTE THESE DISTINCTIONS and rest assured that we will NEVER "AUCTION" a new Tool Box on eBay at lower than standard prices!
In concluding the eBay topic ... let me say that we at DaviSound think eBay is a GREAT phenomenon that has allowed us all to trade items like never before in history. However, I think we can all share concerns that we've seen it deteriorate somewhat in recent months due to extreme over saturation by high-volume retailers and infiltration by fly-by-night scammers of one sort or another. Hopefully, these will tend to "weed themselves out" and the eBay marketplace will remain vibrant and workable forever.
So, hopefully, this answer herewith will clear up any misconceptions, or false rumors, about any pricing double standard, or marketing tactic, by DaviSound. I assure you that we did not build an impeccable reputation of quality and fairness by any other method than by ALWAYS putting our customers first and by ALWAYS treating each of them equally and fairly!
While we are glad to say that our products seldom loose their monetary value on the "used" marketplace, there is nothing like having your own Tool Box custom built new for you through our standard ordering process, with your own custom ID and nameplate. And, as an original owner, it is reassuring to know that you also have our lifetime warranty in the rare instance it may be needed down the road!
And, finally, if a DaviSound Tool Box really is outside your budget ... contact me personally by email and we will work out some kind of payment plan for you. We advertise "terms available" for special purchase situations on our Prices-Terms-Policies page ... but, this sometimes seems to get by those who would benefit by it for whatever reason.
In short, if you are TRULY interested in owning your very own, new, DaviSound Tool box, we will work with you in whatever way we possibly can to make it happen for you!
Thank you for your question and the opportunity to address this important issue!
I am upgrading my studio and in the market for a new mixer. I have been looking at a ---------- and wondering what your thoughts would be how this might compare to your designs?
I have heard a lot of good stuff about your custom work lately and I am really thinking now that I want something more unique than the ---------- for my new control room.
Please tell me what you could offer me with similar functions (or better?) and if you could agreee to deliver a custom unit by my opening session deadline on ------ . By the way, I am especially interested in a tube preamp front-end for each channel.
First, thank you very much for considering DaviSound for a custom mixer in conjunction with your studio upgrades!
I will try and offer a few comments and suggestions at this point but would like to know more specifics as to what you have in mind, specifically before I offer a specific quote. This would especially apply when you say you would like something "more unique".
I have reviewed the unit you mentioned in your brief inquiry, and, although I must reserve specific comment ... naturally, to me, this one comes across like so much of the mass-produced, miniaturized componentry we see proliferating these days.
DaviSound is quite the opposite and would certainly be "UNIQUE" in many respects compared to something like that!
First of all, our methods do not allow for miniaturization nor does that result in being able to cram 8 full blown channels of anything into a 19" rack space. We just recently built an 8 channel line level only mixer into a "WG" wooden cabinet, standard rack mount width, and I wouldn't even want to do that again as it was a "juggling" act to fit it all in!
In short, our methods and componentry require some room- please see -
Secondly, as we are not a "mass producer" and all of our gear is produced by hand, a piece at at time, all mixers are unique custom projects and, as such, they do require a significant investment of both time and funds.
If you have reviewed our website to the extent that I imagine you must have, then you are aware that we normally supply our standard Tool Boxes so that they may be cascaded to form a processing chain in any required configuration. These can be cascaded to form two channels of complete signal processing, with nearly every combination of effect imaginable, with fairly little effort. However, the costs of such a combination chain can be quite a bit steeper than a small, pre-manufactured, "combo unit, I realize.
In our case, since it is largely a question of painstaking assembly time that determines our cost, combining a bunch of our circuitry and features into a single box, such as a custom mixer ...
does not usually offer much on cost savings.
When you consider that 8 channels of our TB-4 EQ alone would cost $6K in the Tool Box format, you can understand why a full-blown 8 channel mixer, by our norms, can run quite costly!
I mention this, since I notice the unit you mentioned that are considering sells for around $4K complete.
All that considered, however, I do believe that we could build a custom 8 channel mixer for you in the $4K-$5K ballpark but it may not offer every "frill" that the miniaturized circuit versions offer for that price! We could offer you mic/line switching, a stand-alone hardwood cabinet, 100 mm faders, pan and basic EQ for that "ballpark" figure, with the specifc price to be determined based on your specific choices of features and output section. Alternately, we could build a scaled down version with fewer channels, to be expandable at a later time, for somewhat less cost.
I would also suggest that even if you want a "tube front-end" as you say, that you consider using our acclaimed
"Mic-All" microphone preamp block (as used in the TB-6 et al) as your actual preamp stage followed by a switchable tube stage. This would offer you the full signal integrity of the Mic-All preamp for your mic sources when desired along with "tube coloration" at the flick of a switch.
With small custom mixers, they usually run about four months completion time on the average give or take a couple of weeks and you may break your payments up ....normally for a custom mixer in this price range, it is 1/3 to initialize the order, one third approximately halfway through fabrication, and the final payment about two weeks prior to shipment. We keep you posted on progress etc. all along the way.
However, keep in mind, that we do not accept orders based on "deadlines" as we are always doing our best for fast delivery but must take whatever time is required to do it the right way. We can never know with absolute certainty what all that entails until we are well into a project.
So, thanks again for your interest in DaviSound and I hope to be going to work for you soon! Please let me know your thoughts on further specifics and requirements and I will get back to you with a specific quote.
I came across the DaviSound name while searching the Pro Recording web site for pre recommendations and have spent the better part of the last hour poking about.
I'm looking for a pre which is versatile, accurate, transient friendly..... highly present. Something equally happy with acoustic guitars, vocals, piano, and a well hit kick drum.
Have I found what I've been searching for? My current "best" pre is the L------ - nice attitude but not the cleanest. Presently trying out a F------ - clean but not really exciting.
Tried the T------- - again, clean but a bit boring.
Considering the M--------- (can I get a loan?).
Thanks in advance for any light you might be able to shed on my quest.
Thanks for the inquiry!
I am constantly having to remind new inquirors that I do NOT comment on other brands, specifically, one way or another. Obviously I feel my designs are superior or I would not be offering them so that really should be a moot point.
That being the case, as far as I'm concerned, you have definitely found the preamplifier that is all those things you desire-that's why we build it!
Fortunately, many more owners/users feel the same. A "smidget" sampling of comments
may be found at -
As for the "sound" of our Tool Boxes, you will note that I refrain from trying to use adjectives to describe "sound" since what means one thing to one person will often mean something else entirely to another!
One person's "exciting" might be "boring" to someone else.
I can tell you that our basic "Mic-All" ©™ circuitry is as pure, accurate and transparent as it gets while many acoustic recordists call it very "musical".
I can also tell you that the active gain control, combined with headroom capability higher than most amps, keeps it impervious to overload which makes it ideal for percussion-many use it on drums with condenser mics!
At the same time, some would not use any other preamp for acoustic guitar, vocals and violins- in other words ANYWHERE accuracy and original signal integrity is desired!
My feeling is, you choose your microphone, and it's placement, for "artistic character" but you then amplify it with the most accurate, transparent, "uncolored", consistently predictable amplifier possible.
Aside from "Inner Tubes", our Tool Boxes are not designed to have a "sound" ...
but, rather, to remain faithfully accurate in amplification of the original signal source.
The thing is, some of the other units on the market that claim this are actually NOT transparent
to the microphone signal!
So, as a result, sometimes new users, who are used to the other brands, upon hearing our gear for the first time think it has a "sound" in that it is "very musical", with "upfront, lifelike presence", possessing "clarity of detail" etc. etc.
In which case, our unit DOES, indeed, "sound" comparatively "better" ...
but only because the other gear was inferior in some way by design, and not living up to claims, to begin with!
Now, if you want tube "coloration", we offer that with our two "Inner Tube" models, the TB-1 and the TB-3. The TB-1 also offers a discreet Class A output stage to buffer the tube.
I would suggest you consider a TB-3 since it offers the transparency of a Mic-All stage, or a switchable tube stage, and an optional compression chain, all in the same box-
the best of ALL worlds!
I'd be most pleased to build one (or more) of our "Tool Boxes" for you ...
and let your own ears be the judge!
I hope to go to work for you soon ... in the interim, please study our website carefully, particularly -
DESIGN PHILOSOPHY and DAVISTATEMENTS when time permits.
This will give more insight into what we believe are the reasons why users invariably find that our units "sound" superior based on the unique design and fabrication processes we employ!
And, let me know if you have more questions.
In the past I have had considerable problems with so-called ground loops and hum. I guess what I'm getting to is that, in my revamping the setup, I will have to confront this (ground loop) many times.
So my question to you is, would you recommend my "ground lifting" the new Tool Box? - the offending units? Anything?
Anytime you "grow" a large system with many interconnects (ins/outs/sends/returns etc. etc.), then grounding becomes an issue. This is ESPECIALLY pronounced when you blend BALANCED connections with UNBALANCED - even moreso when they share a common rack or physical ground path. Then this is further complicated by the building's AC ground and the assorted three prong connectors on the back of all the interconnected gear ...
another potential for a "power ground" loop.
Some folks say that "voodoo" is the only solution! Actually, it can be done on a trial and error ... "see what happens as you go along" ... basis. Unfortunately, sometimes, making a single change with a new piece of gear, can upset everything you've done so far and cause you to have to repeat the process all over again.
But, there ARE some guidelines I can offer that may make the process a bit more painless ...
First of all, your "WG" Tool Box is already, inherently, "ground lifted", in the sense that the "chassis" is isloated from the equipment rack because it is made of wood.
There is also an isolation factor from the power line via the "balanced", isolated AC power transformer primary. So ... the ONLY connection direct to outboard grounds from the mixer ground is via PIN 1 on the various jacks ... OR ... via sleeve from the 1/4" jacks!
Just keep in mind that EVERY piece of equipment must have a common ground ---their grounds tied together ... and all connected to the system ground ... in order to function.
The key is ... there really should be just ONE connection and ONE only between each piece ... and that should be at the "best" place, in other words the place of lowest impedance or highest "ground potential" of any piece of gear. Often there is a rear screw terminal to allow you to strap gear that way.
My feeling is, and experience bears this out, that whenever posible, you should connect gear as "ground follows signal" and try and isolate all other points from each other.
Your Tool Box design will help with the lattter issue since its ONLY ground connection to the next piece of gear, or from a piece of gear, is via PIN 1.
Now, it is not a "transformer isolated" design meaning the "balanced" ins/outs are NOT "floating" above ground ... but rather indirectly referenced to ground via the circuitry in a "balanced" configuration. This means, like all active, electronically balanced circuits, the ins/outs of the Tool Box are designed for DIFFERENTIAL interface.
But, when properly applied, differential inputs can offer a significantly HIGHER CMRR (common mode rejection ratio - i.e. rejection of cable borne hum etc ) than fully isolated transformer "floating" designs especially at lower, hum frequencies!
So based on what I've told you and on some further consideration, you should have no problem if you configure your cords so that Pin 1 is connected only at one end EXCEPT ... for a single cord which must have it tied at BOTH ends!
The logic here is to provide the single ground connection between the Tool Box and the other gear at ONE point only. So, this means you need ONE GOOD ground from the Tool Box to each of the other pieces, and then, your other connections need to have the shields tied at ONLY one end to avoid a "loop"!
Actually, you could probably get away with having TWO ground connections, as in, say, both balanced inputs to the Tool Box (returns in this case) with their shields connected at both ends, but it would likely be a disaster if all the input shields AND all the output shields are all connected at the same time! This is likely what happened in the case of your Lexicon device you asked about earlier which was solved with rewiring the cables.
TO SUM UP:
The best, safest, surest way is to configure ONE cord with all the pins connected, then all the other cords common to both pieces of gear should have the PIN 1 lift on ONE end.
In this specific instance of our "wooden" Tool Box, with those "lifted" cords it would probably be best to plug that single connected shield end to the OTHER gear ... that with the metal chassis and NOT at the Tool Box end. You can come up with your own marking system for your cords to let you know which is which (which end is "up" ... as the saying goes!). If you follow that procedure, you should have no problems!
Now, if for some reason the above suggestions do NOT work with all interconnected metal cabinet gear, then try the COMPLETE "lift" with ALL ground connection via the shields only at pin 1! Or, if you hear hum in that case (pun?)...you'll just have to track down the "loop" and lift the ground at fault.
NOTE: Most of the above information, and additional variations on it, is now included in the various Tool Box ON-LINE MANUALS and in the "Tool Box Tips" paperwork packed with each unit shipped.
If you would like more, thorough details and the ULTIMATE guide to grounding in Analog / Digital ... Audio / Video ... balanced / unbalanced ... transformer / differential environments, then I think you will find it immensely helpful to obtain your own reference copy of our DaviSound TECH REPORTS-
I realize this is all beyond the call of duty re: the mixer, but you seem like a pretty cool guy, and into talking/helping with this stuff.
How far is reasonable, for computers, video monitors to be near the mixer?
I am always happy to go "beyond the call" ...
(within reason, of course- since I am also a consultant for hire!)
with application of our gear and interfacing it successfully in a studio! And besides, I have, likewise, enjoyed corresponding with you, as well!
I would be most happy to answer further questions for you, and offer what advice I can, as you continue to set up your new studio! Don't hesistate to ask! I also hope your success with our gear will inspire future
acquisitions/recommendations etc. down the road.
As to distance from your new custom mixer to the digital components and their high RF field cables and connectors, probably within two or three feet. But, again, "it all depends" on the patterns of radiation and what you encounter from your particular computer setup. Just keep all digital cables routed well away (the further the better) from
For example,it would be a TOTAL disaster to route analog microphone cables in the same "snake" with digital transmission lines yet we have heard of quite a few who have tried doing just that very thing!
Ideally, all AC wiring, analog audio cables, and digital signal cables should be routed inside opposite corners of a metal, properly grounded, rack cabinet and should cross each other only at right angles.
Video monitors and computers should be located at least a couple of feet from sensitive audio preamps or connections.
Most of the time, good signal isolation and ground referencing is NOT "Voodoo" but rather good common sense and a lot of trial and error!
I understand your reasons for using sealed modules inside your Tool Boxes. But, suppose I need to have my equipment repaired in the future and cannot get a replacement or anyone who knows how to fix it?
A common concern amongst some first time buyers and, especially, those who have been "cautioned" by the "naysayers" who have never actually owned a DaviSound product!
Let us assure you, first of all, that DaviSound will ALWAYS have someone available to service your product in the unlikely event that one of our internal modules should fail (or anything else for that matter!)! We've been in business from the same location for thirty plus years and don't plan on going anywhere!
Furthermore, for those who would prefer NOT to take advantage of our lifetime warranty for the original owner ... or for second hand users who would like to make repairs themselves ...it is a simple matter for a competent technician to diagnose and replace any of our circuit blocks. And, should the occasion arise, we'll even " walk you through it" by phone or by email!
And, by the way, as stated in our Design Philosophy Page ... UNIQUE BY DESIGN ... our sealed modules protect our circuitry in more ways than one! And, in so doing, this method helps protect your equipment from circuit failure while simultaneously guarding our circuit secrets!
This is because, we have found that sealed circuits invariably "live longer"-MUCH longer- than those exposed to air, dust, humidity, moisture, contaminates and oxidation! The "potted", sealed modules offer complete protection for the circuitry embedded inside and we feel this plays a very large role in our ability to offer a lifetime warranty on the electrical performance of all our Tool Boxes!
2005 UPDATE NOTE:
A full section is devoted to further elaboration on this topic at ...
DaviStatements ... "DAVISEAL"
I have a question about your microphone preamps. In the interest of flexibility I am wondering if there is any advantage to having an insert path provided for something like a compressor, in case my plans leave me short of where I want to get to sonically...... In fact I notice that none of your products feature inserts. How exactly does one connect your EQ or compressor to use at tracking with your pres?
The TB-6 and the TB-10 behave just the way they are named ..."PRE" amps. This means they PREceed everything else in a signal chain. Since they are but single gain block stages, there is no place/need for "insert" loops. You simply follow them with whatever processing or final termination you like.
However, although most schools of thought tend to feel that compression should be the last stage in a chain, the self-contained TB-3 does NOT offer inserts though they have been/can be added as a custom option when required. So, the built-in mic-amps of the standard TB-3, while able to provide an output signal WITHOUT any compression whatever and WITHOUT any tube coloration due to provided panel controls, are NOT able to be routed via inserts to an equalizer, or other external processor, between the mic and comp stages of a standard TB-3.
But, it is a simple matter to connect DaviSound Tool Boxes in cascade even without a patch panel as this is how they were designed! Line level models such as the TB-2 and the TB-4 have in/out by-pass switching that let you permanently connect the boxes in series switching individual units in/out as needed!
In this case, you would connect, say, a TB-10 preamp outputs to a TB-4 equalizer and, finally, the TB-4 outputs to a TB-2 line level compressor. Then the compressor outputs would drive your recording setup and monitor amp. And, again, with this setup, the TB-4 and the TB-2 could either be switched in or out as desired.
I kind of like your "wood look" of the wooden rack cabinets but since it is hidden behind a rack, and has a metal front panel, I don't get the point! Wouldn't it be simpler to just use an all metal enclosure and also for the shielding value of metal?
The wooden cabinet has simply evolved that way from our original use of wooden sides for our, otherwise, metal cabinets.
You can read all about this evolution as it is described in detail at the beginning of our Tool Boxes page.
See ... WOODGRAIN ..."WG"
A few of our Tool Boxes offer ALL wooden structure for front panel as well (for example our TB-1 and our TB-8 come with the "WG" option which means ALL Wood construction) but most simply employ a wooden cabinet behind the aluminum control panel which, as you say, is normally the only part seen out front of the rack.
But, the "point" is, the wooden cabinet has become something of a "trademark" for DaviSound Tool Boxes and custom rack gear so we have, somewhat, standardized on it. It has also allowed us to discontinue our older, alternate "Desk Mount" version of our units as the new packaging can do double duty in that regard.
And, a few dedicated users who have quite a few of our items, have even devised unique stacking and mounting arrangements to showcase their cabinets in their control rooms!
So, whether it is on constant display or hidden in a rack, many owners enjoy the aesthetics of the NATURAL oak enclosure which houses their "HI TECH" circuitry! Maybe some just appreciate the fact, as we do, that natural wood has played a big role in music creation and reproduction since the earliest beginnings.
There is NO concern about shielding since, wherever there is a sensitive circuit which may require shielding from RF interference, or electro magnetic interference, an internal copper ground plane is employed in those areas. Also, the DaviSound modules and their interconnections via individual TWISTED PAIRS for EVERY interconnection, are inherently the very best rejectors of induced interference from ANY external source!
Likewise, our wooden rear panel mounted chassis in/out connectors offer inherent isolation from ground loops that might otherwise be possible with a metal chassis!
So, there are many "sound" reasons for our wooden cabinets when you give it some thought
(and we hope you, and EVERYONE will do just that!).
However, for those who insist otherwise ... and for those who want to mount and operate their Tool Boxes right next to a multi-kilowatt broadcast transmitter, then solid, all-metal RF tight enclosures are ALWAYS available as a custom option for ANY DaviSound product!
As an aside, we also suggest that you consider all-metal enclosures if you plan on using your Tool Boxes for frequent gigs on the road.
Our wooden cabinets are certainly not "delicate" but, let's face it, it is NOT practical to take hand-made, showpiece cabinetry on the road under normal high risk conditions. Of course, if you protect it as well during handing as you would your multi-thousand dollar guitar ...
then that's a different matter!
Is there any concern about overheating or fire in a wooden cabinet?
That's certainly an "interesting" question and one that we had never, quite honestly, given much thought to! Well, not meaning to be facetious, but if the building should catch fire, then I suppose the wooden cabinets would be amongst the first things to go!
But, in all seriousness, NO, there is no concern about fire erupting due to overheating or circuit stress etc. in ANY Tool Box employing a wooden cabinet!
Is it possible to get a faster turn around on multiple units ordered at the same time?
Slightly, yes. Our turnaround time for Tool Boxes and custom items ALWAYS varies and fluctuates primarily based upon our current workload at any given time. But, since we work on a CLIENT order rotation basis, meaning we alternate work schedules amongst all pending projects ... with priotity time schedule allotments always weighted first toward the earlier orders then toward the new ... we are normally doing some phase of work on most ALL current orders during a workweek with none totally on hold.
And, since this allotment is by CLIENT as opposed to by the individual pieces of gear, then we are often working on ALL units for a particular client at a particular time so that the items progress in a similar manner.
What this all comes down to is ... If schedule is such that we can deliver ONE Tool Box to you in, say, four weeks ... then we can usually deliver a PAIR, ordered at the same time ...
in about six weeks!
I read on a message board that your TB-4 was patterened after, or designed to replace, the classic " P - - - - -" equalizers. Is this true?
Actually, the TB-4 was not designed with any other particular product in mind! It is an ORIGINAL design which evolved from several of our console style equalizers from the past. We happened on a very satisfying combination of frequencies and curves for our "Musi-Q" section years ago and it remains, largely, unchanged.
Later we devised the split-band, overlapping, "Para-Q" ...now known as the "Q-Bal" circuit, and we simply package the two along with a simple "DaviSirkit" notch filter pre-set.
But, it does a great job in any application where professional equalizers are employed!
I have another question regarding your MP-2 "Master Pieces" modular parts. Are these IC based designs, or is the Input using a transformer and IC based output? I just wanted to clarify this, because of my past experience with transformer coupled designs, and the superior sound quality that is produced by this.
Please go to our website and read "Design Phlilosophy" page carefully...it will reveal why our "IC based circuitry" will be quite different than anything you may have heard before.
We, and others who echo it daily, have learned that microphone amps do NOT get any more pure and transparent, thus accurate in sonic detail, than our design.
If you think transformers produce "superior sound quality" then you must be simply fond of the "coloration" artifacts produced by their application. Some people do, for whatever reason, prefer to listen to transformers. However, our circuitry has NO "sound" of it's own but, instead, allows you to listen to your microphones!
I spend quite a few pages in my TECH REPORTS (the study of which I still insist would benefit you immensely!) explaining in some detail exactly WHY I was amongst the first of the pioneers in the seventies to advocate "getting the iron out" of mic preamps and the signal chain as a whole.
I just cannot bring myself to use transformers in one of my original designs, no matter how good or how costly. Unless for a specific custom "effect" or "coloration", I always try and refrain no matter how much the client prefers them ... it just goes against my grain, knowing what I know.
Transformers are one circuit element that I can easily always detect in A/B comparison listening tests ... and that tells me quite a lot. While it is true that transformer preamps tend to be quieter in terms of high frequency noise due to their transformer's "free voltage gain" (at the sacrifice of current loss), they still behave as a "sound generator" acting on the signals passing through them due to inherent saturation limitations, hysteresis action and other inductive characteristics.
These characteristics, while minimized in some of the better models can cause all sorts of subtle, but discernible, distortions from "ringing" to high transient distortion. And, in terms of low frequency noise, they can be notorius "hum attractors" under certain conditions.
I realize there are transformers now being wound with "new" techniques and materials that offer superior results to some of the old ones in all of these areas but ... they are STILL transformers operating with magnetic induction principles and that is always a constant (and an undesirable one for audio in my view - and in MY ears!)
no matter WHAT!
I truly hope you will investigate our methods further but, if you're looking for transformer based circuitry with our MP-2 modules, or in our "MIC-ALL" amps, then I'm afraid you have come to the WRONG place!
I'm curious about your TB-8 monitor amps and the rated output power.
Would these effectively drive, say, a pair of "--- -------"? And your answer is probably yes.
Is there any worry of clipping the amp and square-waving the tweeters due to overload?
I am sorry that I am not all that familiar with the specific speakers you mention so I do not know how efficient they are and the answer to the "effectively" question all depends on that.
Then, obviously, the answer to the clipping question depends on how hard you drive the power amp and/or how much gain you employ from the power amp.
But assuming a minimum speaker efficiency of somewhere around 96 to 99 dB SPL at 1W/1M ...
then our TB-8 will easily do the job of maintaining accuracy, stability and plenty of volume for control room monitoring as that is just what it is designed to do.
In that case there would be plenty of headroom to assure no clipping or distortion at any gain settting on the amp at any "normal" monitoring drive level. Of course, I can not know your meaning of "effectively drive" without more information in regard to your application. I do know they can take our reference JBLs to very uncomfortable listening levels without any sign of strain.
As a matter of fact, since there have been so many related questions relating to volume/power etc emailed to us by, often somewhat confused, inquirors as of late, we have "editorialized" along these very lines in our latest edition of the TB-8 "ON-LINE MANUAL" which can be found linked from the TB-8 area of the Tool Boxes page ... CLICK HERE
We believe you will find this material very informative and we urge you to review it for general information whether or not you plan to buy a TB-8 or other power amp any time soon!
I'm curious about your TB-6 Mic-all preamps.
How much would it cost to add 2 or 4 instrument/DI's to the standard 4-channel unit?
And (how much) to add 2 more channels of Mic-all preamp?
Would all of this "packing in like sardines" cause any problems?
I currently use 2 channels of **** and 2 channels of **** preamps (a **** remake). These are transformer based models - one rather clean, and one with character. Therefore, I think the TB-6's non-transformer clean preamplification could provide a different color (or lack thereof) for my studio.
If you have heard any of the above models, would you say that the TB-6 compares in imaging and depth?
Thanks for any info - I hope to place an order soon.
First, as for your question regarding sound comparisons, I tend to stay away from those because I honestly feel that NOTHING sounds, or rather "DOES NOT SOUND" ...
like our "Mic-All" preamp used in the TB-6!
Besides, words are really not adequate to describe a piece of audio gear because each adjective means something different to every individual! But, let's just say that if we had to choose one word for our TB-6 "MIC-ALL" amplifiers ...
it would have to be ... ACCURATE!
They accurately amplify your microphones - period. That is what a microphone pre- amplifier is supposed to do, no more-no less- and that is what the MIC-ALL does superbly.
As for what others have said ... some call it "transparent", "highly defined", "unbelievable presence and clarity"... those are just some of the descriptions we get from users.
My best suggestion is to simply place and order and try it for yourself! I believe you'll come to use it as the standard by which you judge all the rest!
Now, in regard to your custom modifications requests, you are right in your intuitive comment about things becoming "packed in like sardines" to some degree. However, I assure you, there is no concern for added noise or crosstalk as a result of any mod we might agree to.
However, there is just so much room inside the box and that is one of the reasons we slimmed the TB-6 down to four channels! It was originally a six channel unit but, when we changed our basic cabinet design and reduced the overall size slightly, we took that opportunity to change the TB-6 to a four channel unit. However, the main reason for that decision, was to avoid a higher price tag which was going to be required otherwise.
I normally recommend to inquirors that they just go ahead and purchase a pair when quite a few mods and extra channels are required. However, I believe we can still accomodate your requirements for two extra channels
in one box.
But, the TB-6 is pretty well "full" with the phase reverse switches and circuitry, along with the individual phantom power switches. So, anything else added in the box, aside from, possibly, an instrument preamp or two, would NOT be recommended.
There is just no way to get 4 instrument inputs in one box along with extra mic channels.
I hope I have answered your immediate questions and I certainly hope that we can add a TB-6, of whatever configuration you decide to go with, to your equipment collection very soon!
And Similar ... but the other extreme ...
Hi, I found out about you from a friend of mine from California. He owns several of your products
(TB-1, TB-3, and TB-8) I think. He also has a console on order, I'm told.
I am interested in your TB-6, however, I want to know if you can make a smaller version with only one or two mic-all pres in it and, of course, I want to know how much it would cost.
Yes, we can always build a smaller version, say two channels, but since the cost does not reduce that significantly, most people usually go with the standard four channel version! It is already bargain priced at $ **** and it is very hard for us to offer a handcrafted product for much less than that.
This is because a great deal of our labor and hand-crafting is required on every Tool Box no matter which, or how many, modules go inside the box! So, for this reason, we already offer the best value/feature ratio with our
I would certainly not want to build a TB-6 with less than, at least, TWO channels and we could offer you that for $**** (All custom price reductions require full payment in advance with no 3% discount).
I look forward to putting DaviSound to work for you no matter which version you decide on!
2004 AMMEND NOTE:
The above correspondence far pre-dated our 2 channel TB-12 just introduced this year!
And yet again ...
I am in the market for one higher end stereo micpre, was actually considering something like the**** or the new ****
(if it ever makes it). Now I just read about the TB6, and wonder how it should be possible to produce 4 channels for only **** USD?
How does your unit compare to other preamps like the **** (which I own) or maybe a ****?
My other question would be: Is it possible to have the TB6 modified for use with ribbon mics (ie more gain)?
PS do you know if anybody in northern Mexico owns one of your units?
It is hard to buy a micpre I have never heard of before...even if it that cheap. So far my expierence [sic] was always "buy cheap, pay twice", only exception was the ****.
Thank you for your inquiry about our TB-6!
Your letter sounds, almost word for word, like so many others we get! Naturally, from our perspective,
we find hesitation based on the "too inexpensive concern" kind of ironic! I mean, if it is SO inexpensive ...
then isn't it worth the minimal investment to check it out first hand?
It is further ironic that we at DaviSound seem to be "caught in the middle" with many new inquirors! There are some, like yourself, who initially hesitate to buy because we are priced "too cheap", while other would be owners even try requesting feature reductions in order to be able to order their unit "as soon as I can afford it"!
Actually, I agree with you that ALL of our hand made Tool Boxes are priced too low! I especially feel this everytime we invest all the time and labor it takes to complete one! But, so far, luckily for our clients, we have been able to keep costs down and prices far below similar offerings in the marketplace (although NOTHING else is actually "similar" to the unique DaviSound Tool Box fabrications REGARDLESS of price!). We will very likely, however, be forced to make a significant across the board adjustment in our prices very soon!
Also, if you visit our "DaviStories" page (linked at bottom of this page), you will find a few comments from users of the TB-6 ... one specifically in regard to ribbon mics. Depending on your application and placement, I think you'll find the true +58dB of fully adjustable gain quite adequate for ribbon microphones.
Though none are from Mexico to date, there are a couple of owners from Southern California.
So, ****, I would personally love to make a "believer" out of you with your own new TB-6! If you will get on our order list, and thus into our work rotation schedule, right away, I can promise you delivery of your own hand made unit by **** ! Thanks again.
(note - while not a FREQUENT question, this has come up twice recently so we included it here!)
I'm interested in seeing and hearing your products before I buy! I plan a big investment so I really would like to try them out before I purchase. May I set up an appointment to come in for a demonstration?
We will be passing through your area on vacation. May we stop by and tour your facility?
Since this is a somewhat complex issue with DaviSound ... it deserves a complex answer!
First, we understand and appreciate these desires from our inquirors and our past clients.
And, while we normally do all we can to accomodate a visit by a client who may be in the area, this is sometimes just not possible due to prior scheduling circumstances, especially on short notice!
Furthermore, even when we are able to arrange a personal visit, our equipment fabrication area is NEVER open to visitors under ANY circumstance!
Also, and importantly, we do NOT have a "demo room" nor do we normally have many pieces of our gear sitting around idle for demo use! Unfortunately, we do not even have representative pieces of all of our gear, at all times, in our own racks in our own test studio!
As hard as this seems to be for some to understand, the reason is really not at all complicated.
A lot ... a whole LOT ... of time and effort goes into each and every DaviSound fabrication. And, we normally have a waiting list for our Tool Boxes and select custom items. So, obviously, we ship them just as fast as we can make them! Therefore, since we have NEVER been without a patiently waiting client, we have never had the time to accumulate extra product! It is really that simple!
Our very small crew is constantly working when on premises, intently concentrating, to do what is necessary to produce our truly unique one-of-a-kind products. The long time blocks required for the various assembly stages leave little room for distraction or interuption by any means! So, we have to guarantee ourselves the isolation in this regard, to enable us to do what we must do secure in the knowledge that we will not be interupted by anything for long stretches of time!
Finally, after nearly thirty years of continually having a friendly, smiling face to greet visitors, handle traffic, and answer phone calls, as of 1996, DaviSound no longer employs anyone exclusively in this regard. Only four lovely ladies have shared this duty over almost three decades and while all were special, and each contributed greatly to our success, we no longer feel our method of operation warrants a full-time receptionist.
In this day and age of eMail, we get surprisingly few phone calls and even fewer "drop-in" attempts. We do business all over the US and, indeed, all over the globe, but seldom do we ever see our clients in person. And while we do have occasional phone conversations, most often our ONLY contact is through written correspondence.
These days, that usually means ... good old eMail!
So, while we are sometimes kidded about being "locked down like Fort Knox" by locals, if you were to drop by the DaviSound facility at ANY time during business hours you would likely find a car or two in the parking area, but the doors would be locked, knocks would go unanswered and it might appear that "nobody's home"!
Our cameras would tell us you're there, but you may not know that we are!
We realize that this is NOT the typical way to do business ...
but, then, we are NOT a typical business! Our products are certainly NOT typical ...
our craftpersons are NOT typical ...
and our clients are NOT typical! So, what else would you expect?
And, too, to some degree, this security policy habit is carried over from our recording studio days and many of you can relate to that from having to operate in much the same manner.
We try and state our reasons for these neccesary positions on our "Prices-Terms-Policies" page but, sometimes,
that doesn't quite do the trick for whatever reason ... thus this additional explanation elaboration here.
We have our own unique policies in place in order to help us produce our unique product and it is really not all that unusual! While maybe not advertised or discussed as an issue, it is really much the same at other small, esoteric companies the world over! It is not at all unusual to be required to have an advance appointment for a personal visit anywhere. Nor is it unusual to not be allowed "behind the scenes" when you do come!
From my own past experience, I was never allowed to "tour" the exclusive work areas of many audio manufacturers over the years and there are always restricted, "private" areas of most ANY company tour ...
from breweries to candy makers to automobile manufacturers!
Consider that before we introduced this "legitimate appointment only" firm policy, we were frequently distracted with "pop-in" visits from time wasters ... curiosity seekers and "wannabes" ... most of whom never followed through with anything after their "politey ambiguous visit". If we spent all of our time entertaining these kinds of folks, then we were taking very valuable, irrecoverable, TIME away from our REAL, already loyal, clients awaiting the completion of their products!
Now, in regard to "reception" in the future, we currently have plans under way for some needed rennovation to our building, particularly in the old front-office area, the front entrance and hallway. Depending on certain variables (including legallities, security and insurance!) we hope to be able include a new glassed-in, lighted foyer area with some of our old memorabilia, as well as new brochures and materials, on display 24/7 for those who might like to "drop-by" and browse!
We'll let you know here and on our News Updates page when/if we can make that happen!
Meantime, we do appreciate your understanding of these necessary policies!
And, we do THANK YOU for wanting to visit us to begin with!
And, most of all, we thank ALL of our many, many clients who have understood our policies over the years and who have respected our procedures while keeping us constantly busy with their many orders ...
every one initially based on blind faith and belief in DaviSound!
We certainly DO appreciate YOU!
Please keep watching this page as ...
FAQs ... and ...LAFs
Will be CONTINUALLY updated on an ongoing basis!
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