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Old 05-31-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default Neve 1073 custom preamp designs - REAPER community project

UPDATE 6th June 2011 - It looks like we're going for a Neve 1073 specific custom build at this stage.



1st June 2011 Original post:

Based on the interest shown in the 'Neve 1073 clone' thread, I figured it would be an idea to create a topic here that I can edit for those who are interested in a group purchase of Seventh Circle Audio kits.

The idea here is that if enough people show interest, we could do a bulk order, get them sent to me to build, I'll build them and ship them to you.

This is a starting point to discuss the viability and logistics of this idea. I'm based in Australia.

Here's the list of people who have shown interest so far. I'll update this as we go:

ObiK
PedroSobota
pixeltarian

Last edited by ReaDave; 06-05-2011 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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Can you give us a rough idea of price? Nothing that we'd hold you to ... just an estimate.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:09 PM   #3
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Can you give us a rough idea of price? Nothing that we'd hold you to ... just an estimate.
I'd like to think we can aim somewhere between the raw kit prices and the fully assembled prices. It will all boil down to postage costs and how many come on board.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
I'd like to think we can aim somewhere between the raw kit prices and the fully assembled prices. It will all boil down to postage costs and how many come on board.
Ya I'm pretty much down for a pair of either the Neve or a pair of the API clones. Oh and one of those cool DI's too. So the chassis and all that, 2 pres and a DI.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:34 PM   #5
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Ya I'm pretty much down for a pair of either the Neve or a pair of the API clones. Oh and one of those cool DI's too. So the chassis and all that, 2 pres and a DI.
Great to hear Obi. I'm going to look into the options for various configurations and get some rough prices together over the next day or so. I'll keep everyone updated here.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
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I didn't realize it was going to be a SCA kit thing. I was expecting a parts sourcing thing which would probably cut the cost of materials in half (or less). I'm going to have to do the responsible thing and get my fivefish kit fixed instead. if I'm going to get an SCA kit it's has to be the twin servo... I'll just regret any other choice because I've been eyeballin' that one for years. I just don't have the funds for it at the moment - probably 400 or more dollars just for the kit +shipping costs to NZ and back. Then we have assembly, case, power supply, and 2 discrete opamps (probably john hardy)... seems I'll need 1k to throw around before my preamp dreams all come true...

Last edited by pixeltarian; 06-02-2011 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pixeltarian View Post
I didn't realize it was going to be a SCA kit thing. I was expecting a parts sourcing thing which would probably cut the cost of materials in half (or less). I'm going to have to do the responsible thing and get my fivefish kit fixed instead. if I'm going to get an SCA kit it's has to be the twin servo... I'll just regret any other choice because I've been eyeballin' that one for years. I just don't have the funds for it at the moment - probably 400 or more dollars just for the kit +shipping costs to NZ and back. Then we have assembly, case, power supply... seems I'll need 1k to throw around before my preamp dreams all come true...
I was originally considering doing all the parts sourcing and making custom PCB's etc., but by the time I factor in the labour involved in that process, the SCA option becomes quite appealing.

I'm considering a custom design for the power supplies though. We might be able to save some dollars there without sacrificing quality. I can design and build a very good PSU for significantly less than $279.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
I was originally considering doing all the parts sourcing and making custom PCB's etc., but by the time I factor in the labour involved in that process, the SCA option becomes quite appealing.
you could perhaps find someone selling some PCBs on prodigy pro and had the reaper community whip up a 'save for later' shopping cart with filled with all the components on mouser or digikey? you could probably even inquire about someone making PCBs for you.

if you haven't heard of it... you're going to want to join this forum, Dannii!

http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/


Also, there's this:
http://www.fivefishstudios.com/

and this:
http://www.gyraf.dk/gy_pd/gyraf_diy.html




...

Last edited by pixeltarian; 06-02-2011 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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Just for a fun read/eye candy... this guys 1077 build is pretty cool:

http://homerecording.com/bbs/special...1073-a-279824/


page 2 has pictures...
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
I can design and build a very good PSU for significantly less than $279.
I could be way off... but I wonder if the any of the fivefishaudio PSU designs would work for any of those pres, the main one has adjustable voltage and is pretty quiet.
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pixeltarian View Post
Just for a fun read/eye candy... this guys 1077 build is pretty cool:

http://homerecording.com/bbs/special...1073-a-279824/


page 2 has pictures...
That is a great looking build but there's a TON of work involved in doing things that way. In fact, he states this in one of his replies....

Quote:
No phantom power.
Took about 6 months to get all of the parts together and built. Many of the cap values were hard to find..
I have spent less than $1,000 AUS on it.

One thing he did mention though was the Jaycar PSU's. There's a Jaycar store right near me and I have a trade account already with them so I'd get these for trade price. Certainly worth looking into and FAR cheaper than the SCA PSU's for something that would be very similar in function and quality.
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:19 PM   #12
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That is a great looking build but there's a TON of work involved in doing things that way. In fact, he states this in one of his replies....
yeah, I just thought it was a cool build.

My brain is just likes to imagine cool things like total from scratch builds and community help with sourcing parts. I'm not good at reading schematics, but I am VERY good at finding parts sources. I've even got free parts (that normally require orders of 500+) by bullshitting them and saying I'm prototyping a new product and am testing out various component options.




P.S. I'm just going to post things that are drool worthy in this thread from time to time, feel free to tell me to stop:

http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.php?topic=28332.0

http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.php?topic=22828.0

"drool"



..
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:26 PM   #13
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yeah, I just thought it was a cool build.

My brain is just likes to imagine cool things like total from scratch builds and community help with sourcing parts. I'm not good at reading schematics, but I am VERY good at finding parts sources. I've even got free parts (that normally require orders of 500+) by bullshitting them and saying I'm prototyping a new product and am testing out various component options.





..
Perhaps you could source the important and difficult parts in building one of these. There's still a lot of labour involved though.
Interestingly, the case Neve1073lover used for his build is the EXACT same case I used to build a custom preamp I built for a friend for location recording in surround. The unit I designed and built for him had phantom power, five channels of preamps, headphone monitoring and PFL circuits for the headphone output and Dolby ProLogic surround encoding with a stereo output for his DAT machine. It also had inserts and direct outs too.
I designed and built that for him fifteen years ago and he still uses it. We've actually recorded quite a few live albums with that setup although these days the DAT machine has been replaced with a laptop.

I'm working with him on a soundtrack for a documentary next week so I might see if I can get some photo's of that preamp and post them here.
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
Perhaps you could source the important and difficult parts in building one of these. There's still a lot of labour involved though.
Interestingly, the case Neve1073lover used for his build is the EXACT same case I used to build a custom preamp I built for a friend for location recording in surround. The unit I designed and built for him had phantom power, five channels of preamps, headphone monitoring and PFL circuits for the headphone output and Dolby ProLogic surround encoding with a stereo output for his DAT machine. It also had inserts and direct outs too.
I designed and built that for him fifteen years ago and he still uses it. We've actually recorded quite a few live albums with that setup although these days the DAT machine has been replaced with a laptop.

I'm working with him on a soundtrack for a documentary next week so I might see if I can get some photo's of that preamp and post them here.
that's awesome. Make sure you take off the lid when you snapping pictures! My dream build would be just a channel strip based on or at least highly inspired by a neve 1084 and a UA 1176. maybe when i win the lotto I'll send you a PM about it...


I need to stop looking up all this drooly vintage gear or I'll start getting sad... ha!

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Old 06-02-2011, 05:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
I was originally considering doing all the parts sourcing and making custom PCB's etc., but by the time I factor in the labour involved in that process, the SCA option becomes quite appealing.

I'm considering a custom design for the power supplies though. We might be able to save some dollars there without sacrificing quality. I can design and build a very good PSU for significantly less than $279.
That sounds awesome! The five fish kits do look awesome as well
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:20 AM   #16
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another kit company:
http://www.soundskulptor.com/

neve kit:
http://www.soundskulptor.com/uk/mp73.html





...

Last edited by pixeltarian; 06-03-2011 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:20 AM   #17
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Sounds cool, but no money available to me.

Recently I found some webpages where guys were discussing building some clones of Fairchild 670 compressors. Problem was, there are something crazy like 30-something transformers in one, and the real deal weighs like 60-something pounds, and the conclusion was that it would cost almost as much in parts to build one as it would to buy one.

Oh well. Nice thought anyway, lol.

For now I have to be satisfied with thoughts of basic stuff, like perhaps modifying the shell of my MX67A mic into a tube mic, or maybe building an amp clone or something like that. But then again, will have to wait until the money gods smile upon me again someday.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:01 PM   #18
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Recently I found some webpages where guys were discussing building some clones of Fairchild 670 compressors. Problem was, there are something crazy like 30-something transformers in one, and the real deal weighs like 60-something pounds, and the conclusion was that it would cost almost as much in parts to build one as it would to buy one.
I'm no electrical technician, but from what I gather these here are much simpler, smaller and cheaper projects than what a Fairchild 670 would be right? So no real comparison

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Old 06-03-2011, 09:22 PM   #19
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True! It was just relevant in that this thread is a discussion of building FX from kits, and I just happened to run across a forum lately where they were discussing building Fairchild's from scratch.

Building stuff from kits appeals to me, as when I was 12, I had a ham radio license, and would help my Dad build Heathkit transceivers and stuff like that. My first real exposure to electronics.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:07 AM   #20
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These kits look good too. I'm still leaning towards the SCA kits though. One thing I'm not keen on about the Soundskulptor version is that in medium and low gain modes, it bypasses half the preamp stages which deviates from the original Neve specs and would alter the character of the sound.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:34 AM   #21
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I had a lot of interest in this company (as well as the Hamptone preamplifier) when I was doing more recording, good plan.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:06 AM   #22
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Hi Dannii,

What about www.jlmaudio.com in Queensland? They have Neve style kits, and other flavours besides. SC stuff looks great, but maybe an Aust. supplier would be more cost effective. From my research JLM stuff is comparable quality wise, not sure about pricing.

Daniel
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:22 AM   #23
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Hi Dannii,

What about www.jlmaudio.com in Queensland? They have Neve style kits, and other flavours besides. SC stuff looks great, but maybe an Aust. supplier would be more cost effective. From my research JLM stuff is comparable quality wise, not sure about pricing.

Daniel
whoe! did their site used to have a black background instead of white? I think I remember browsing this site before...

it's not as glamourous, but I think making this VU meter would be sweet:

http://www.jlmaudio.com/shop/index.p...iewCat&catId=9

just throw it in a vertical enclosure and put it on the desk. that would be sweet.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:53 AM   #24
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Hi Dannii,

What about www.jlmaudio.com in Queensland? They have Neve style kits, and other flavours besides. SC stuff looks great, but maybe an Aust. supplier would be more cost effective. From my research JLM stuff is comparable quality wise, not sure about pricing.

Daniel
Great link Daniel. The kits do indeed look good but they are quite expensive. More so than the SCA or Soundskulptor ones by the time transformers and other items are included.
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whoe! did their site used to have a black background instead of white? I think I remember browsing this site before...

it's not as glamourous, but I think making this VU meter would be sweet:

http://www.jlmaudio.com/shop/index.p...iewCat&catId=9

just throw it in a vertical enclosure and put it on the desk. that would be sweet.
That meter kit indeed looks nice. It would possibly make a great additional option to our endeavours here.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:59 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by pixeltarian View Post
...My brain is just likes to imagine cool things like total from scratch builds and community help with sourcing parts. I'm not good at reading schematics, but I am VERY good at finding parts sources. I've even got free parts (that normally require orders of 500+) by bullshitting them and saying I'm prototyping a new product and am testing out various component options....
You know, after investigating these kit options and looking over the schematics, I think we may indeed be able to pull something together ourselves by sourcing our own parts. You mention here that you are quite good at sourcing components. I can probably get most of the semiconductors, caps and resistors if you'd be willing to look into sourcing the transformers in the most cost effective way.

The idea of going completely custom and building 1073 clones from scratch is still very appealing here and I do believe we could build something unique for considerably less outlay than the kits we've investigated so far.

The schematic is not that complex really and these circuits could even be built effectively using veroboard. I've built dozens of things over the last 1/4 century using veroboard and some of these designs are still in use in my studio today.

Let me know your thoughts.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:00 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Dannii View Post
You know, after investigating these kit options and looking over the schematics, I think we may indeed be able to pull something together ourselves by sourcing our own parts. You mention here that you are quite good at sourcing components. I can probably get most of the semiconductors, caps and resistors if you'd be willing to look into sourcing the transformers in the most cost effective way.

The idea of going completely custom and building 1073 clones from scratch is still very appealing here and I do believe we could build something unique for considerably less outlay than the kits we've investigated so far.

The schematic is not that complex really and these circuits could even be built effectively using veroboard.

Let me know your thoughts.
give me a list of components that you think you'll have trouble finding and I'll get right to work! if it's just trafos, I'll just need the specs and a rough quantity estimate.

are you doing just the preamp, or are you going to do the EQ portion as well?

initial findings for Carnhill VTB904 and VTB9049 transformers is about 100 USD for both. I didn't shop around though, so I could find something cheaper or quantity breaks somewhere.

*edit*
check this out:
http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.php?topic=22828.0


...it's more like a 1290 I guess, but I'm not sure we care about the difference.


mind thoughts:

- are we doing Grayhill switches and stepped attenuators? is it worth the extra cost?
- I think you should not worry about racking them to keep costs down. I don't mind racking one nicely and giving detailed instructions on how to punch holes in metal. (step drill/knockout punch. easy peasy.)
- there are some front pannel express templates if we go with the madriaanse build. If not, someone can design one with this: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/download/
- that VU is 100 bananas. that's a lot of money.
- we could try to do a group buy for at least the input transformers, and advertise it on tapeop and prodigy pro message boards.


also:

"If people are looking at doing this project (1 or 2 channels) a simple and cheap way to do the power supply would be to order a JLM Zener splitter and their 48 volt power supply. It would be under $50 US"

that seems like good info for us.

also here's another good psu:
http://www.fivefishstudios.com/diy-kits/psu-2448mk2-kit





..

Last edited by pixeltarian; 06-05-2011 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:10 AM   #27
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give me a list of components that you think you'll have trouble finding and I'll get right to work!
Will do!!

If you want something to get started on, see what you can come up with for the input and output transformers. The Carnhill VTB9045 input and VTB1847 output transformers used in the SCA kits look like the way to go.

Actually, if you are inspired, the full component list is in this PDF. Do you want to see what you can do sourcing as much as possible here? All the manufacturer and source references are in that PDF too.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:13 AM   #28
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It looks like we were posting at the same time!!!

At this stage, I'm planning on concentrating on the preamps. We could possibly look into doing the EQ later on if this first part goes well.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:35 AM   #29
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It looks like we were posting at the same time!!!

At this stage, I'm planning on concentrating on the preamps. We could possibly look into doing the EQ later on if this first part goes well.
yeah, I'm not sure what everyone else wants, but I just want 1 knob, and a phantom power switch. even if I had lots of money to spend - I'd rather get 2 channels than 1 channel with a EQ section.

and yeah we're totally posting at the same time... in fact, you might want to skim that post another time, cause I just edited a bunch.

and let me know what you think of that madriaanse build I posted...


and here's the first source I found for the trafos:
http://www.audiomaintenance.com/acat...Inductors.html


and this whole entire thread is worth reading, probably even if we don't use his PCB: http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.php?topic=22828.0



..

Last edited by pixeltarian; 06-05-2011 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:56 AM   #30
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...check this out:
http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.php?topic=22828.0


...it's more like a 1290 I guess, but I'm not sure we care about the difference.
That is a very cool build! ...and yeah, I'm not fussed about the naming convention. As far as I'm concerned, the preamp is from a 1073 and that's the most important part to me.
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mind thoughts:

- are we doing Grayhill switches and stepped attenuators? is it worth the extra cost?
I'm happy to keep things simple. I'm guessing most people here will be using these as a DAW front end and I don't really see the need for the extra attenuation options. Besides, if we remove the gain trim and keep it simple, we're keeping the audio path cleaner too.
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- I think you should not worry about racking them to keep costs down. I don't mind racking one nicely and giving detailed instructions on how to punch holes in metal. (step drill/knockout punch. easy peasy.)
I'm happy either way. If people want a complete racked unit, I'm happy to put in the time if they cover the cost of my labour.
I'm also happy to build the PCB's and do all the biasing and setup and supply the finished boards for people to add to their own custom hardware.
I have a Sony MXP390 mixer here that I'm contemplating adding these pre's to so I probably don't need all the extra casing either.
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- there are some front pannel express templates if we go with the madriaanse build. If not, someone can design one with this: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/download/
Let's see who comes on board here and go from there.
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- that VU is 100 bananas. that's a lot of money.
Agreed. In hindsight, it is a nice kit but not something I really need at this point.
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- we could try to do a group buy for at least the input transformers, and advertise it on tapeop and prodigy pro message boards.
Sounds like a plan. Do you want to initiate that and keep us up to date here?
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Originally Posted by pixeltarian View Post

also:

"If people are looking at doing this project (1 or 2 channels) a simple and cheap way to do the power supply would be to order a JLM Zener splitter and their 48 volt power supply. It would be under $50 US"

that seems like good info for us.

also here's another good psu:
http://www.fivefishstudios.com/diy-kits/psu-2448mk2-kit
..
Either of these look like good options. I'll have to look into these in more detail.

Last edited by ReaDave; 06-05-2011 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:21 AM   #31
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for the adriaanse build:

PCBs are 20$ each and $8 international shipping (local would be USA).
now we just need to know how many to order.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:36 AM   #32
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$20 seems a reasonable cost for a small run design. Is that $8 a flat shipping fee for multiple boards or is that per PCB?
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:56 AM   #33
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And again as I mentioned before.. I think if you go API Flavor you can't beat Classic Audio VP26.. Very cheap and will then fit into any 500series rack.
Unlike SCA which you have to use their box..

Now the SCA stuff I heard was great..
But again seems everyone loves the VP26 for API and lots of people seem to like it more then a new API series.. I've used it and love it. I plan on building some myself..Plus I plan to hopefully bring one of our units (or two) to the 500series market.

But for cost I think guys should look into the Classic Audio.
Here's the kit.
http://classicapi.com/catalog/produc...roducts_id=175

Here's a pic of it finished.
http://classicapi.com/catalog/produc...roducts_id=105
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:43 AM   #34
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Man this is really starting to take off! We should have a chat room or IM convo when we start getting towards the end of the planning.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:04 PM   #35
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Man this is really starting to take off! We should have a chat room or IM convo when we start getting towards the end of the planning.
That sounds like a great idea Obi. Pixeltarian and I were discussing the logistics of this via Yahoo Messenger earlier today and we came up with a few ideas to keep things moving forwards.

At this stage, we're looking like focussing primarily on a 1073 preamp stage design. If this all goes well, we might look at other things such as API clones and possibly 1073 EQ at a later date.

It looks like we may be able to get hold of the PCB's from the guy who came up with this (see link below). If so, our designs will also feature a single gain control knob. This has the advantage of reducing complexity and cost and actually slightly improving performance (less signal path) while maintaining the characteristic sound of the original 1073 pre.

http://www.musiciansgig.com/neeb/1frontpanel.jpg

Here's a photo of the PCB...

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:19 PM   #36
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Maybe... But there is something to be said for being able to pull the output fader down and push that Attenuator into the transformer harder to get the color/compression/dirt that Neve's have..

I use that on several different pres I own.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:21 PM   #37
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Maybe... But there is something to be said for being able to pull the output fader down and push that Attenuator into the transformer harder to get the color/compression/dirt that Neve's have..

I use that on several different pres I own.
An output control is a very simple addition for those who want one.
Keep in mind though that the input attenuator is AFTER the input transformer so the only way to drive the transformer harder is to provide more signal at the input XLR jack.
Also, the output fader is between the input stage and the output stage so setting that changes the drive to the output transformer as well as the output level. If you pull back the input and crank the output, you get the same drive to the output transformer that you would if you wound up the input and pulled back the output. The only thing you are altering is the drive to the first three transistor stages.

Last edited by ReaDave; 06-05-2011 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:37 PM   #38
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I'd definitely want a second knob so that I could drive the signal a bit. So does that mean if I installed the second volume it wouldn't work like it does on a Great River?
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:41 PM   #39
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I'd definitely want a second knob so that I could drive the signal a bit. So does that mean if I installed the second volume it wouldn't work like it does on a Great River?
you can drive that signal by turning one knob all the way up, can't you?
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:56 PM   #40
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If you pull back the input and crank the output, you get the same drive to the output transformer that you would if you wound up the input and pulled back the output. The only thing you are altering is the drive to the first three transistor stages.
Really??

Because it sure doesn't sound like it works that way on my Chandler LTD-1 or my TG2.

Just like a gtr amp.. If I pull back the output fader and drive the input it will totally over drive.. If I reverse it's clean. Your wording makes it seem like it would be the same result.
I hear a difference on that output.. It's 2 different colors both usable but different..
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