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Motown Tube DI ?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by RoadRanger, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    So, what comes closest to that preamp that the Motown studio used for all them famous recordings?
    Teijo K. likes this.
  2. franklindayala


    Feb 8, 2015
    Broughton P15.

    I love mine. Could not be more happy.
  3. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    blindrabbit likes this.
  4. jrmintz


    Oct 11, 2008
    Motown used a passive DI called the Wolfbox, designed by an engineer named Ed Wolfram. The plans are available online, they are easy to build and sound amazing. The transformers, however, are hard to find and expensive when you do find them.
    Pbassmanca and 10cc like this.
  5. Since most of the tracks were recorded on a B15, I'll chime in with the Broughton P15 as well.


    I'd much rather have the P15 than the DI below.

    This DI's meant to be an accurate repro of the original Motown DIs...
    Motown D.I.
    Motown DI - anyone try it yet?

    However, as the guy in the vid above points out, you won't get the Jamerson sound out of the DI.
    blindrabbit, RoadRanger and 10cc like this.
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Thanks guys :) .
  7. jrmintz


    Oct 11, 2008
    You won't get the Jamerson sound because it was in his hands, not the DI. The Acme box is indeed expensive, but apart from the transformer the rest of the components are cheap. I built my own for about $100.00 and used it on this record:
    fjbass78, 40Hz, Keyser Soze and 3 others like this.
  8. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    On top of that I believe that they didn't DI Jamerson. I read somewhere that it was a miked Ampeg B-15 through what I believe was a Focusrite compressor.

    Rev J
  9. Broughton P15 is the correct answer.
    10cc likes this.
  10. Michael4bass


    Aug 20, 2011
    Florence, MS
    No, they weren't. All the electric bass and guitars were recorded thru a in-house built direct box, which is what the Acme is based on.

    Bassically, Michael
    johnk_10, FranF, blindrabbit and 9 others like this.
  11. Thanks for the clarification.

    What about the B15 then?
    It's not like they had 24 or 48 tracks back then to play with so unlikely they were double-tracking the bass through an in-house DI and an amp, yet there persists info floating about the inter-ethers that the B15 was the amp used in the vast majority of hit-making studios from that era.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  12. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    This was what was used on all the Motown recordings. No tube. I've wanted one for a while. I think @DirtyDuke actually got one at some point.

    ACME Audio Motown DI WB-3 | ZenPro Audio

    blindrabbit likes this.
  13. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I love the P-15 and there is no doubt it will cop the Motown sound but to my knowledge Jamerson and Dunn mainly used those Acme style DIs rather than a B-15.
    blindrabbit and HolmeBass like this.
  14. Thanks Mosfed.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  15. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    He played one live. It's been discussed ad nauseam.
    jnewmark likes this.
  16. Thanks Sevenyearsdown.
  17. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    The Real James Jamerson Amp

    this thread has all the info. very early 60's was b15 but after that it was all this homebrew Tube DI to the board, no amp.

    i'd say acme motown DI to get that transformer saturation, then a Universal Audio LA-610 to get that tube warmth preamp sound. That would probably be closest for me.
    sk8, Mosfed and pbass2 like this.
  18. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    In my readings it seems they were very concerned with ambient sound in the room during those motown recording sessions, so anything that could be recorded DI was. I've read multiple accounts that they only had one single speaker as monitor for all the DI instruments.
    FranF likes this.
  19. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    This is what they used in studio
    Then this was created
    Then they ran out of Urie transformers and one of the fellows that had a hand in designing this bailed and the other stayed and created the green "Motown DI" we have today.

    Which in my opinion doesn't sound nearly as good as a P-15.
    Mosfed, blindrabbit and NKBassman like this.
  20. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    UTC and Triad Transformers not UREI. the broughton has nothing to do with the motown unit. the motown unit did not have an EQ, had an input and output tranny (broughton just 1), did not use an 6SL7 tube, and further more was wired at unity gain.

    furthermore bob olhsson and others (ed wolfrum) have said for jamerson they put him on a fairchild compressor (more tubes and transformers) and pultec eq (more tubes and transformers). babbit they said had a more aggresive sound so no compressor, maybe a little pultec.

    the signal chain is filled with massive transformers and lots of tubes, broughton has 1 of each. not even close.
    Bassist30 and jnewmark like this.

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