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Avalon 737-$1500- Would you do it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mario Lewis, Apr 24, 2003.


  1. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    If you had $1500 to spare, and a chance came your way to own an Avalon 737, would you buy it? $1500 is a LOT for a pre amp, but I think the U5 sounds .... like the best there is!! Especially EQ Curve 2. So I'm thinking that the 737 must just be head over heels more flexible, possibly better sounding, and just ..... Freakin great to have.

    So, Would ya??
     
  2. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Arlington,Tx
    Yes. Yes I would.
     
  3. Personally I need speakers worse than I need a pre-amp. So if I had $1500 to spend I put it into a El Whappo. My F1-X still sounds good enough to me.
     
  4. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    If I had an extra $1500 lying around, and was in need of a pre like that, I probably would.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i own one here in the ole' studio, and i love it - it's got the best sound i've heard for vocals - better than units 2x it's price.

    that being said, i personally liked the sound of my aguilar db680 more for bass. the avalon isn't really made to be an instrument preamp, and for the price, to require a seperate x-over (at least in my case) is sorta over the top.

    if you're looking for a great all-around preamp for us mere mortals, you can't do better than the avalon, and that's a great price for one.

    if you want a primarily bass preamp, i'd get the aguilar - a bit more meaty, but very similar in clarity, imo.
     
  6. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I appreciate those thoughts from a virtual reference library of everything bass. I've got the dough, and I've always lusted after a 737, but I don't think I'll take the plunge. The U5 and an SF2 is pretty versatile, yet solid for what I want in tone. And I think I'll go that route. But gosh darnit, I will always love the idea of a 737 in my rack.

    In your experience is the sound from a U5 even comparable to what the 737 can do? I'm mostly speaking of EQ curve 2. It's the one I'm stuck on.
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I have a U5 on the way, picked it up for 3 bills with rack kit... now all I have to do is figure out what to do with it;)
     
  8. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    If you don't know, then you should pass it on to me for a $50 profit.
     
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    thanks for the compliments :) i'm blushing.

    i've only fiddled with the u5 in the most minimal of fashions, so i'm not the one to talk to about that. iirc, munjibunga has one of those - you might want to ask him. from what i understand, and i could be totally off base here, the basic circuit of the u5 is included in the 737 circuitry.
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Just kidding;)
     
  11. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    The 737 is a tube preamp and the U5 is solid state, so they don't have the same circuitry. Check out:

    http://www.avalondesign.com/737m5.html

    I use a U5 and love it.

    The curve for tone setting #2 is useful for dub, I guess, but takes way too much midrange out for me. That's a 24dB dip at 1kHz!

    I find myself not using the tone control most of the time, but when I do I tend to go for #4 or sometimes #3.

    The smiley curve for #1 has a 6dB dip in it, and actually sounds more like what I imagined #2 would sound like before I tried it.

    Anyway, highly recommended.
     
  12. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Orleans area
    I have a U5 and used it for awhile as a pre. Like Ben, I preferred EQ preset #4, or just flat. I repeatedly A/B'ed the U5 with my Demeter 201 and Aguilar 659, and I prefer the Demeter. The Dem has just a little coloration (flat) that the U5 lacks. The Avalon is colorless (which is not good or bad, just is). I haven't used the U5 for recording, but my guess is that it would be wonderful for that application.
    So the 737? I can only (very indirectly) address your question with the above info. It sounds like you're pretty curious and if you don't go for this one, you'll be back at this spot later. Resale value on the one you're looking at would probably be good - you could get your money back if you decided not to keep it??
     
  13. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    Yeah I'm with the other guys, I can't stand EQ#2 - just too much scoop for my taste. #4 or nothing is the best for me. I own a DB680 and I actually prefer the sound of the U5 direct into the board. However, when people really don't want that "direct" sound, the DB680 sounds a lot more like a miked cabinet.

    But you just can't beat the U5 for an all-round sound.
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Got the U5 in today. So far I don't see where it'll be of any use for me. I tried it in front of a couple of my heads and it sounds best in bypass mode. I tried it with a power amp and it didn't sound as nice as my heads or my preamp. I already have decent internal DI's in both heads so next up I guess I'll see if it's an improvement when recording.

    It was a great deal so no harm done.
     
  15. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    Yeah, you know Brad, I feel the same way live. The only amp i've tried that actually benefits from the U5 at the front end is the Acoustic Image - otherwise its just redundant.

    but when recording - it makes an amazing difference to any DI i've ever had... let us know what you think after recording!
     
  16. I know a number of top name engineers and producer who do use the 737 as a hyped up DI during recording and I have thought about buying 1 myself for the front end of my live rig. However, that is a chunk of change to drop on a preamp if your use is primarily in a live situation. I own a U5 and it is by far the BEST DI there is.....!!!Bar none and I own, have owned or have used ALL of them. If you are looking for something like the 737 remember this...the 737 is a great CLASS A TUBE preamp, a top notch sweepable EQ with unbelievable precision and transpareny, and one of the BEST Opto Compressors you can buy...if you put together a Neve mic pre, a Massenburg EQ and and an LA2A Opto Compressor you would have to spend in the neighborhood of $10,000 to get the same quality included in your $1,500 price tag...I'd probably buy without hesitation........
     
  17. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Yeah, I agree the U5 is "colorless", although the positive spin on that would probably be "transparent" in hi-fi speak. What I like about it is how low the noise levels are and how much headroom it has. As a DI, it makes the other DI's I've used sound sort of small, congested, and far away. For live use, if you use the balanced-out on the U5 to a balanced-in on a good power amp, it gives a "big" sound with a certain effortless feel.

    You lose this "bigness" unless you couple it with a good amp (personally I like the sound of my Stewart World 1.2). I would guess that running it before another bass head with built-in preamp will just result in the sound of the other preamp being the limiting factor.

    I'm mildly curious about Demeter preamps, and the Epifani if it ever gets off the ground, but haven't tried either and sort of stopped thinking about preamps after I got the U5.
     
  18. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    My idea is to use the U5 as a pre, route the signal through an SF2, and then to a power amp. One day, I'm gonna do it!!! It might be soon!!

    I'm afraid I'll like it. I'm also afraid I won't.
     
  19. i have a link here to a little sound clip of my old smith recorded thru the 737. this is a rough mix though, so the hi hats are way loud! i haven't tried to record thru a U5 yet.

    http://www.cse.fau.edu/~sysmon/smith.mp3
     
  20. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    whoowee! That's some great tone you got there. Not to mention the chops.