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Avalon 737 as a full time dedicated pre? YES!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mario Lewis, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I know, there's been ton's of talk and threads on the TD-1 and other high end mic pre's on the market, but I have been jonesin' for the Avalon 737 since I read about it on the LA Bass Exchange website years ago.... I stumbled across this on e-bay. It's replacing a Navigator, and the comparison was very revealing.

    If the STT-1 or the TD-1 is in the same league, I'm afraid of them. I'd have done the TD- 1 if it were immediately rack mountable, and the STT-1.... $$ - trust me, I got this for a bargain price. But it is the Mercenary edition... I like the look...I LOVE the sound!! THe highs aren't piercing, and the lows are VERY clear. THere is a high pass freq selector in the lower left side that actualy ads bloom and definition to the low end without adding BOOM, wow... an articulate low end control....


    Looks kinda cool too......
  2. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    Kinda cool??!!
    That's smokin!!
    I have used them for tracking instruments including bass. I love the look of the Mercenary Edition! When you get tired with it let me know! :D

  3. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    Good buy man. I would love to have one. Is there any bass preamps that it can be compared to? Let us know how it works at a gig.
  4. arock


    Sep 16, 2005
    Verona, WI
    I used to own two Mercenary edition VT-737SP's. They were sweet - stereo acoustic guitar recordings to die for. I did some direct bass tracking through it as well. In the end, though, I sold the Avalons and kept my Manley Voxbox. Who knows - you may in fact now own one of my old units!

    kringle77 - I'm not gonna say the Voxbox is a better bass preamp - just different. Mario uses the word "articulate" for the low end of the VT-737 - that's accurate, I'd say. The Voxbox's low end is a little more "pillowy". One feature I like on the Voxbox is the built-in "de-esser". Not generally useful for bass, but it has a 10:1 limiter setting that is very musical and may save a speaker or two in the long run.

    Make no mistake though - the VT-737SP is a phenomenal preamp. You can record ANYTHING with that preamp, and it will sound awesome. Congrats Mario!
  5. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've never heard better recorded tone than the 737 gets. Those things are amazing. Congrats!

    The onboard compressor is as fine as you will find as well.
  6. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think an Avalon 737 would be great. I really liked my U5. I'd still have it if I wanted to haul around a big rack. Congrats!
  7. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I have an avalon u5 on order to run with a raven labs true blue eq. Does the U5 and 737 have he same tonal characteristices...do they sound like the same companies products or are they very different animals. I was thinking about cancelling my back ordered U5 and just getting a 737 but there is very little info on here about them. Also, does the avalon 737 have a tight low end or a bigger low end that can get floppy? Let me know guys, I may have to cancel the U5.
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Very nice!!!

    Looking forward to hearing that whenever we all get together.

  9. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I think that whole get together thing kind of died and I really wish someone would bring it up again...... It's gettin' close to the holiday season and NO ONE is gonna have any time until January.... I still wanna try some AG Cabs!!! AND your Phil Jones stuff!!! AND a Nordie....
  10. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    i really shouldnt be reading this thread... :rollno:
  11. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Joker.... you should hear this thing through the Epi 112x2 stack I have.... the 310 is awesome, the 2 112's..... with the power of the CA9.....

    speechless..... I've asked around to get opinions and the overall opinion I got was that the Avalon, while good, didn't meet the same level of performance as the STT-1, the TD-1 or the Manley Vox Box..... well, they didn't meet my criteria or price point soon enough...and if it get's better, it's a very finite amount by which the 737 is exceeded... this thing is extremely impressive over what I had... so I'll take that step in the "+" direction. You really need to try one.
  12. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I don't think so.... the U5 is tube-less. All solid state. I'm not an electronics kind of guy, but all I know is that there is a definitley a different approach to the tone of the U5 than the 737. The U5 was more in your face and not as soft? Maybe? but don't get me wrong about either. I used to have a U5 and that's what fueled my interest in the 737.... If the U5 sounded that good, the 737 had to be more ________?? Well it is and it isn't...

    The U5 has one job... get your tone as accurately as possible from your bass (or a source) to it's next destination, be it your power amp or a mixing board..... keep it as true and as tight as possible. And deliver it with enough (actually more than enough) headroom to be heard and manipulated after arrival.

    The 737 has a different mission, it's supposed to take your signal and make it palateable and deliver it (with any tweaks) to the destination of a mixing board or .... power amp... hence the EQ the compressor, the tube(s) with color or without and always "class A". So they're sorta in different leagues. Maybe my having had both, I see that more clearly now. Trust me, the U5 is no slouch AT ALL, but the 737 has a different purpose. it's a finer pice of china to serve your tone on, the U5 is a bullet proof piece of military grade equipment, the 737 is fine china. Yeah.... that's a good analogy. I'll take either.

    I say get the U5 first. You may find that's all you need. Let's be honest.... and I'll be the first at the GAS Anonymous meeting next week, this is WAAAAYYYY OVERKILL for a giggin' bassist. Ain't no way I NEED this to be heard, it is strictly ego.... but the same goes for the U5, or the Whappo Grande's, or the $6000 Fodera's. I'm satisfying a tone jones that I have.... and if you can get your fix with less costly equipment... by all means, save the moolah.... Don't cancel the order for the U5.... they'll hold a decent portion of their resale value (especially with rack ears) and you can use that money to get a 737. Hint: Try EQ Curve 2 on the U5.... The addition of the True Blue should be really good, but I wouldn't recommend using both eq systems (the avalon's and the True Blue) together.... might get a bit too extreme.

    The low end on the 737 is tight.... took me about 1/2 an hour but I had to learn how to get a sound I really liked and I'm still gonna learn more I'm sure, but only in extreme settings does it get out of hand. (bass turned all the way up.... treble and mids dialed almost all out) There are some frequency shelving options that will definitely keep the tone tight when recording, I'm sure, but this is my live rig.... my naked ear doesn't hear all that is happening that a mixing board would pick up.... so that's why I say it is overkill and egotistical for me to have this.... but you can get a lot of tonal variations and get them VERY CLEARLY!!!
  13. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    Thankyou very much. That is the kind of info I've been looking for, for a long time. I have owned a U5 in the past and loved it. I was thinking "how much better can it be?" just like you.
  14. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Well, since you wondered the same thing... did I answer your question?

    Is the 737 better? No, it's different. It serves a different purpose and it does so with a different approach. I DID feel like the Avalon name would deliver a good quality product and this is a GREAT quality product, but I knew that the tubes and the presence of the EQ would inherently change what I was used to with the U5.

    I am not disappointed at all, and I'll always have great respect for the U5 and what it does.... because like I said, the U5 is a snappy little lap dog that I wouldn't want to piss off. The crispness of the sound and the way it literally punches your lights out makes it something to reckon with..... the 737 isn't that at all. It's a palate, with colors, and fine detailed brushes. It's beautiful... it CAN be the kind of animal that the U5 is, but it'll never be what the U5 is, nor vice versa.....

    I just replied to a PM that I'll sorta restate here, the 737 has a variable controlled high pass filter between 30 and 140 Hz that can be punched in or bypassed altogether, separate bass and low mid controls, shelving bass control for freq's 15, 30, 60 & 150 and a Q selector button that changes the freq's being controlled from 30-450 Hz to 300-4kHz..... now while some of that reaches beyond the "traditional bass spectrum" of freq's, this is how the "finely detailed brush" thing comes in to play.... So this is why I say that they're two totally different animals (the U5 and the 737) The U5 says gimme what you got... and it'll throw it out there and do a damn good job of it... the 737 ask where would you like to go today? And it gets you there in formidable audible style....

    Hope this helps.

    Just food for thought.
  15. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I know that the U5 has a tight bottom end and a "hard" sound that works with a live band. My last question is, does the 737 have a softer or more pillowy bottom end or tone that is less likely to work in a loud band setting? Some vocal/recording preamps are really clear but don't have a tight or aggressive sound that will stand out in a band. I use an aguilar AG500 live because it cuts well but at home it is not as sweet as some other amps that I have owned. Know what I mean?
  16. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I know what you mean, and I offer this, tell me those freq's that make it "hard" and I'll dial them in with the 737. You can get what the U5 does with the 737, especially with the high mid control knob. IN ADDITION with the SC-> Mids button you can route those freq's into the compressor for more control over that hard hitting sound that you're after - but that's more of tha palete that I have been talking about... As for the bottom end, I'd say that it is more tubey and buttery. The tone has some character... in the U5 the tone is what it is and you WILL hear it. Pillow isn't a description that comes to mind with the 737, but I think I understand you. The U5 is a magnifying mechanism with no color, so if you have a punchy bass, you'll get a puncy sound.

    For the hard loud punchy thing you're looking for, I say stick to the U5 - I can do that with the 737, but I want to be able to do more.... I don't think you do.... Am I right?
  17. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I like alot of tones but with a live band I prefer the solid, cutting tone that cuts through. At home and when playing fancy stuff, I like something abit more "polite". Live I am all about grit and punch. A slight boost at around 200hz and 2khz.
  18. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I used a 737 into a ProTools system for a recording session a year ago or so. first class gear! very nice EQ and compression capabilities.

    I'm assuming that it's intended for studio applications, so I wonder if it will hold up for live gigging or "on the road" situations. Will the occasional bumping, banging, dropping, or jarring be too much for fragile innards?

    :D :confused: :D
  19. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I'm wondering the same thing. However, I'm very careful with my gear, and I don't loan it out or let other's play through it. So I'm the only user. There are a number of STT-1's out there (Oddio) and TD-1's (Joel at thegrooveshoope.com), and the U5 that I had held up just fine. So , I'm not really concerned. I know there are 4 tubes in there and the VU meter, but I'll give this the same amount of care and attention I've given other gear I've had and I think it'll be fine. Tomixx also has one in his regular everday rig, and he's had no problems. I tried to get as much info on their sturdiness and reliability before I decided to move ahead. Yes, it is "studio quality" but it is road ready. Tomixx also mentioned that a number of live acts use these in their touring set ups, so if they hold up for them from city to city, I can't see why it won't hold up for my once weekly outing and home practicing.
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, I really needed to see this. (See GAS list.)

    Anyway, that is one funky-looking 737. It's going to take me some time to figure out if I prefer that look. Are they the same price as the silver front?