GT Brick vs Avalon u5 vs ?

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GT Brick vs Avalon u5 vs ?

Post by GetHimEatHim » Fri May 23, 2008 4:39 pm

So my band is going to track a few demos in mid-to-late June, and I've been slowly but surely assembling a decent arsenal of stuff for tracking live drums, bass and scratch guitar. I have pretty much everything we need, except a good DI for tracking bass. I've been looking around, and as far as I can tell the u5 and the Brick seem like good options. I can spend about $400, which is what the Brick costs new and the u5 costs used.

I'm sorta of two minds about the whole thing:

Pro-Brick: I don't have many channels of good mic pre (right now I'm using my 12ay7 to track almost everything vocal-related), and I'd love to have something versatile. Also, from what I gather, this has a little bit o' tube color to it, which would be nice; our bassist doesn't like his tone to be too clean. (We might try re-tracking through an amp, but for the sake of simplicity and versatility [and the way i like to mix us], tracking direct, at least to start, makes more sense.)

Pro-u5: This seems like the more hi-fi and versatile of the two, if I'm thinking Direct Box-only; I'll also be using the box to track some old analog keyboards (loooove my Sequential Pro One!), and I like the idea of the six-way tone switch. But then again, I realize that I'm not working with the most high-end and transparent gear all around; not sure if I'm overshooting it with this one, or investing in a piece of equipment I'll likely never outgrow.

So, to summarize: does anybody have experience with both of these? Is the Brick much more "colored" than the u5? Basically, any input from somebody who's had experience with either of these boxes in similar circumstances would be much appreciated. Mostly, I'm just venting my indecisiveness.


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Post by jckinnick » Fri May 23, 2008 5:14 pm

The Groove Tubes Brick is a little dark in my experience with it.

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Post by snatchman » Fri May 23, 2008 6:47 pm

The Brick DI is good ( I like the Ditto DI better... :wink: )..The mic pre is useful tho. The U-5 is good also, even tho I have a Whirlwind HotBox DI that sounds similar. Check out the Hotbox before you get the U-5. Might save you some money... :shock: ..(YMMV)

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Post by fossiltooth » Fri May 23, 2008 10:05 pm

I have a hotbox as well. Not a bad box. I don't use it very much though. To me, it's kind of like if a countryman didn't sound quite as good...

They beauty of the U5 is in the tone switch. Don't be afraid to use it!

It allows you to tailor the bass sounds to the song. I think that's good.

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Post by punkrockdude » Sat May 24, 2008 3:32 am

jckinnick wrote:The Groove Tubes Brick is a little dark in my experience with it.
I agree! I replaced the tubes with a Sovtek 12AX7LPS which is bright and a EH12AU7 and it made it sing much much more. At least it is brighters and cuts through more now and a SM57 sounds good with it now.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat May 24, 2008 6:07 am

I have good luck using a Joe Meek VC6Q mic pre / EQ for bass.

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Post by T-rex » Sat May 24, 2008 7:17 am

I haven't heard the brick but I have a U5 and it does rule. It's clean but solid across the whole spectrum great lows, great highs and super versatile for guitars, keys whatever. I definitely don't think you would outgrow it but I wouldn't consider it a character piece.
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Post by GetHimEatHim » Sat May 24, 2008 8:20 am

Thanks, everyone!

This is helpful, for sure... the Whirlwind is an interesting idea, but since I can afford it now I think I'm just gonna try to snag a u5. The tone-shaping capabilities sound pretty impressive, and it definitely sounds like the more versatile box..... if I want my bass to sound real tube-y, I can always reamp it.

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Post by lotusstudio » Sat May 24, 2008 10:26 am

I have both pieces and the Brick is great because it doubles as a very nice mic pre. In recording keys and bass I have tended to prefer the U5, but I have not really liked the preset tones so much - prefering record a full sound and EQ it myself while mixing.

One nice thing about the U5 is that it has parallel outputs. I can send the line level output straight to the recorder and run the mic level output through an outboard compressor and blend the two for parallel compression. I can always delete one of those tracks if it's not needed, but it's so easy to do.

I am curious - which U5 tone presets do you prefer for bass and why?? I've been scared to commit to one of those.

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Post by iC » Sat May 24, 2008 12:25 pm

tone knob on 4 and a rick bass....mmmm woody all around:)
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Post by Huntlabs » Sat May 24, 2008 2:40 pm

fossiltooth wrote: They beauty of the U5 is in the tone switch. Don't be afraid to use it!

It allows you to tailor the bass sounds to the song. I think that's good.

The U5 on 2 with a Pbass seemed to fit in the mix.
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Post by joel hamilton » Mon May 26, 2008 5:32 pm

The U5 is my favorite DI.

By far.

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Post by calaverasgrandes » Mon May 26, 2008 5:47 pm

I have had a hard on for the Summit 2ba221 mic pre/DI since I got it last year at Leos. the mic pre and tube output are pretty fun. but the DI is awesome! It just gets a better clean sound than any of my other options. I cant say how its different besides it sounds more detailed and less noisy somehow? Doesnt do that farty thing a lot of DI's do on my older basses.
It also has a variable high pass filter.
On the negative side it doesnt have a parallel out, low pass, or ground lift.

As far as whirlwind goes I have used their passive di ("director") for years. Its not an awesome hi-fi tone, but it gets the job done and can work as a fakin it re-amp box with an XLR F-F adapter. Or is it M-M? I dont know I always get confused on XLR genders. Especially living in the SF bay area.
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Post by Sean Sullivan » Mon May 26, 2008 9:26 pm

The U5 seems like an expensive options if you plan on just recording demos, but it sounds like recording your band yourself is something you want to get into more and the U5 will hold it's value and you won't outgrow it.
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Post by kayagum » Tue May 27, 2008 8:46 am

As much as I love my Ditto Box, you should probably go for the U5 just for the EQ settings. Probably more versatile for your current needs.

BTW: your band is great- I saw you open for the Wrens in Minneapolis.
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