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Avalon *U5

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimS, Jun 9, 2002.


  1. Anybody using or used one?



    ....Bueller? Bueller?
     
  2. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    I've auditioned one with my gear. I belive it's main function is as a balanced DI but it also has a line level out plus a unique thru jack that will handle 400 watts from an amplifiers output.

    It's a class A, DC coupled circut with a very robust power supply. All the components are discrete, no IC's or op amps. Input impedance is 3Mg ohms and the bandwidth is spect at 5Hz-100kHz, +/- 0.5dB. There are six tone presets, an 8kHz -3dB filter, and a wonderful headphone output.

    I compared the U/5 to my Raven-Labs PHA-1 and an Eden Navigator, all three have head phone outputs. Input was from a Lakland 55-94 and a 63 Jazz fretless. While the PHA-1 is much more detailed than the Eden it loses out to the Avalon, most noticably, starting at the low mids and on down.

    If you run with flat tone setings and desire to hear all the tone your instrument is acctualy puting out then you might want to give one of these a spin.

    This audition showed me that the preamplification stage is critical for the accurate reproduction of the instruments output and while my current preamp has great connectivity, it's a piece of crap when it comes to passing signal through.
     
  3. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    I'm using one as a preamp.

    It is really hi-fi, with an open and full sound, a nice product. I used it with a QSC PLX1602 for a while and now it's with a Stewart World 1.2. Plenty of booty to drive either one using the balanced line output. You can drive an amp with it and still use it as a DI, it has a second balanced output that will feed a mic preamp.

    The preset tone contours work well for me, I don't need a lot of other EQ.

    I haven't recorded with it, but it's supposed to be the best DI around, and I can believe it.

    Mine hums a little when you touch the control knobs, so I sent it back to Avalon and they checked it out and said it was fine. So: I don't stand around with my fingers on the knobs, and everything is cool.
     
  4. Thanks guys.

    The presets intrique me. Hmmm.

    My Kern is great but I wonder if another preamp could get different sounds. Not better but different.

    (must fight the g.a.s.)
     
  5. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    JimS, if you haven't already done so, go here:

    http://www.avalondesign.com/instrudi.html

    for more info. You can click on very clear pictures of the front and back panels, and a pdf file that has little graphs of the tone contours.

    Avalon is a class outfit!
     
  6. How much do these units typically run? Those of you who use an Avalon: do you primarily use it for recording or do you use it for live gigs? If you do use it for live gigs: how much ower can you get out of this preamp?
    Thanks for indulging my questions
    Ross
     
  7. How much do these units typically run? Those of you who use an Avalon: do you primarily use it for recording or do you use it for live gigs? If you do use it for live gigs: how much ower can you get out of this preamp?
    Thanks for indulging my questions
    Ross
     
  8. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Ross, I'm a weekend warrior, not a pro, so I almost never record, but the list of those who use them for recording is pretty impressive.

    For use live, I used mine for a while with a QSC PLX1602, known for needing a strong preamp, and it has plenty of juice, no problem.

    I paid $425 for mine, it's about a year old, that seems to be a typical price. There is one listed on BassGear for $400 at the moment. New price is $595 from Musicians Friend.

    JimS, I don't know how it would compare with a Kern, but it has the best solid-state sound I have heard. Avalon describes the differences between their tube and solid state mic preamps here:

    http://www.avalondesign.com/737m5.html
     
  9. Ben,
    how great would you say the power is compared to a standard bass amplifier by a company like eden or swr? Is that QSC power amp decent?
    Thanks
    _Ross
     
  10. Ben,
    how great would you say the power is compared to a standard bass amplifier by a company like eden or swr? Is that QSC power amp decent?
    Thanks
    _Ross
     
  11. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Ross, the preamp doesn't produce a lot of power, it just takes the low-level signal coming out of the bass and boosts it to the level that the amp wants to see. Preamps also usually have tone controls.

    The QSC amps, and lots of other PA-type amps, are commonly used by bass players who are looking for different features or a different tone than can be found in the all-in-one heads by bass amp companies. The PA amps can have a lot more power than most bass heads, too.
     
  12. Ben,
    Thanks. yeah, I guess I was just asking how the combo of the QSC and the avalon worked out for your you.
     
  13. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    It worked great.

    I just substituted the Stewart 1.2 for the QSC because for my particular situation the fan noise in the QSC was annoying. Electronically the QSC is a terrific amp, and in combination with the Avalon has a very big, clean sound. Very hi-fi.
     
  14. Ben,
    what would you say the disadvantages/advantages are of the avalon unit as opposed to other preamp units? Have you tried many others?
     
  15. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    could you explain this a wee bit more?

    what's "great connectivity"? do you mean, its only merely good enough for connecting your bass to your power amp?

    and "passing signal thru" to what? do you mean as in shaping your tone?

    its a little unclear.
     
  16. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    I've used amp and preamp seperats since my first Marantz 8B/Fender Bassman (preamp section only)/JBL D140 horn loaded system with the exception of an SVT-V9. The week link in all my rigs has been the preamplifier. Week as in unable to accuratly duplicate/reproduce the instruments output.

    As an example...the Aguilar 680 is a very well built and thought out component. To my ears, via headphones and my subwoofer system, the bottom sounds flaby and unfocused. The overall sound is soft or unextended, It's a colored sound that some might call warm or tubey.
    While the Eden Navigator makes the bottom sound more focused and the overall sound is more extended there is still an overall inaccuracy of my instruments output when compared to the Avalon 737.

    In the Hi-Fi world there is a great deal of attention paid to a preamplifiers power supply. Some are isolated, some in there own seperate chassis, and most of them are much larger than, it would seem, they need to be. Enter the likes of Avalon with large class A power supplies and discreat componentes and ALL of my instruments output can be heard (via headphones). All this electronic acuracy tends to make the speaker system the week link in a search for honest reproduction, and I think that is as it should be.

    The back pannel connectivity of the Eden Navigator is almost overwhelming. Two XLR outputs and an XLR DI [should be included on every instrument pre IMO]. The effects loops and side chain in's/out's, there's just alot going on back there.

    There isn't an EQ bypass on the Navigator and since the EQ pot shafts are star and not D's it's difficult to determin flat EQ. So passing a flat signal through to an amplifier or a mixing board via its XLR's is impossible. Of course I could be missing somthing here.
     
  17. [/B][/QUOTE]
    There isn't an EQ bypass on the Navigator and since the EQ pot shafts are star and not D's it's difficult to determin flat EQ. So passing a flat signal through to an amplifier or a mixing board via its XLR's is impossible. Of course I could be missing somthing here. [/B][/QUOTE]


    I use a navigator. there is a pre/post button on the front for both compression and eq. I bypass the eq when going direct.
     
  18. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    I need to use both Main DI outs in a bi amped configuration and those buttons do not by pass EQ. Are you getting bypass using the Recording DI out?
     
  19. yeah, I'm using recording DI out.
     
  20. BassPulsar

    BassPulsar

    Oct 16, 2002
    Portugal
    Does anyone have sound clips of the Avalon U5? :bassist:

    Thank you!