anyone ever shootout soundworkshop 1280b with api?

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rty5150
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anyone ever shootout soundworkshop 1280b with api?

Post by rty5150 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:05 pm

looking for some experiences of users of these 2 side by side. want to see the similarities and differences.

rich

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Post by themagicmanmdt » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:39 pm

the SW 1280(a/b) is an IC based board, and although many similarities, the biggest dissimilarities are:

1) all gain devices are IC driven, and based on the 4551/TL074 pinout. stock IC's are 4551's. the board has to be upgraded with better IC's before any legitimate comparison can be made. in doing so, the power supply most likely has to be upgraded to handle the upgraded IC's (which draw a collectively higher current than the PSU can provide).

2) the 1280 is non-modular. there are channel strips, but there's no taking them out with any ease.

3) 1280 line inputs and outputs are unbalanced. the outputs don't matter as much as the inputs.



i take it you're talking about the preamps?

an IC based preamp will always have something 'different' about it than a discrete one. however you define 'better' (frequency response, musicality, tone) is in the eye of the beholder. so, the IC based 1280 will be very different than an API 2520 discrete opamp preamp.

if you're talking about the EQ:

the SW is a passive EQ - a REALLY awesome one - with capacitor values matched very well for great predictability over the channels and stereo work. the notches are about the same as 550 series stuff - the Q is gentle and seems to be 'tightening' as you really milk it - the bigger limitation is the opamp that provides the makeup gain, though.

if you're talking about the mixer:

the 'monitor' section doesn't have the headroom as the channel strips, due to it's design as a fixed gain stage followed by the 'level' control before it. i'm not 100% on why this is, but it seems that signal with an average power greater than +6 dbu (I set +4 to be 0 VU on my board) shows some signal crunchiness. when I play a 'hot' mastered CD, I always have to choke back playback down for the monitor section. once again - this is not the channel strip, nor the output section, nor the '2 track playback' input. just the 'monitor' section.


the good things:

yeah, the EQ rocks. ROCKS.

with the IC's upgraded, the preamp ROCKS. super clear, but never sharp, defined lows.

balancing the line inputs helps MASSIVE amounts for mixing, especially low frequencies.

the overall 'mojo' and tone of the board is the best I've heard under actual API/Neve/Neotek *consoles*. I'd take my 1280, modded, over a Trident any day.

in short:

i spent $2.5k on the board and about $750 in upgrades, not counting my own labor, and it's worth every penny. when i move away from it, it'll be because i'm building my own mixer, or I've got a 1608 in front of me.

that's the best skinny you'll find anywhere on the 1280b, and i'm honest 'bout every word.
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rty5150
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Post by rty5150 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:03 pm

awesome info!!! where did you get your board modded? i may be picking up a 1280b and will be using it for a sidecar for the pres only...mainly for drums. just wondering if it'll be as fast, punchy, and sweet for drums as api pres are.

rich

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Post by rty5150 » Sat May 09, 2009 3:36 pm

i noticed that the ic's were 4741's and the manual confirms this. just really wondering where you had your work done. i have one and really like the pres in it, but jim williams said that the national 4740 would replace the 4741 opamp. the 1280b has 25 of these 4741's and i would need at least that in order to rechip the entire board. any help?


rich

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Post by themagicmanmdt » Sun May 10, 2009 7:07 am

i modded my board! muahahahahaha! it pays to know your way around to tech things!

any chip mods outside of either:

tl074
tle2074
opa4134

are going to make you get another power supply, and also do some bandwidth bypassing. the two big reasons to upgrade the chips are:

1) increasing the slew rate (think of it as how fast it can reproduce or amplify transients)

2) increasing the linear bandwidth region (frequency response)

the 4741 is dinosaur slow (around 3uv/s if i remember), and any of the chips above have a slew at or above 13uv/s, which comfortably reproduces the immediate range of audio. jim's mods go mega linear, and put chips with a 600uv/s slew! the current draw is much, much higher on his, though.

also, think of the IC of having a high pass filter on it. that's the bandwidth of the amplifier. 4741 goes to maybe 16k then starts rolling off - combined with a slow slew, your high end goes away pretty quick on transients! better opamps keep it linear and lower the total harmonic distortion (THD) of the chip, so you get clean, clear amplification. the jim williams chips have bandwidths that extend into the MHZ, and need to be 'rolled off' at a much lower but still supersonic frequency (think 50k) to prevent oscillation - ie, the chip feeding back on itself in the audio circuit.

jeez - this ended up being quite the how-to on vamping up the 1280b!

honestly, start with the tle2074 if you can afford it, or the tl074. that's a big step. if you're still not happy, get some of the opa4134's (they're discontinued) off of ebay and try them out on a channel or two. do a lot of listening, and see if you want to get really clean. to me, i don't want it to sound like an SSL - so I'm avoiding the crazy fast chips - the tle2074's are fantastic enough. the tl074's are very, very, very close, too, andi'm hard pressed to hear a big difference, although it's there.

-mt
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rty5150
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Post by rty5150 » Sun May 10, 2009 8:24 am

any help on upgrading the power supply then? jim provided me a part number and a rough estimation of how to do it with a 5 pin xlr, but aside from that...noting about connections. any and all help would be appreciated. btw, i wouldn't mind my last 4 non super channels to sound more ssl like, that would be a cool different flavor in addition to the vhd ssl pres i have outboard.



rich

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Brian
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Post by Brian » Sun May 10, 2009 9:13 am

Seems like you would want a chip with a slew rate that a decent capacitor could discharge as much load as is needed into it ON TIME, I wonder what that match would be. I bet that tl074 is it.
Last edited by Brian on Sun May 10, 2009 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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operator_tape
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Post by operator_tape » Sun May 10, 2009 11:06 am

what are the price ranges with the sound workshop 1280b's?

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hyde maintenance
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Post by hyde maintenance » Sun May 10, 2009 12:08 pm

It's hard to monitor prices. They're going up with every post :)

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Post by analogcabin » Sun May 10, 2009 7:33 pm

operator_tape wrote:what are the price ranges with the sound workshop 1280b's?
I paid $300 plus shipping for mine 1 1/2 years ago.
Had Rich Giarratano (former SW employee) re-cap & re-chip mine. He also added phantom power and an external Power Supply. Another $650.
I had the armrest recovered $50.
I built new wood ends.
Total outlay just north of a grand.

Truthfully.......
Those days are over.

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rty5150
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Post by rty5150 » Mon May 11, 2009 8:32 pm

e.maynard wrote:
operator_tape wrote:what are the price ranges with the sound workshop 1280b's?
I paid $300 plus shipping for mine 1 1/2 years ago.
Had Rich Giarratano (former SW employee) re-cap & re-chip mine. He also added phantom power and an external Power Supply. Another $650.
I had the armrest recovered $50.
I built new wood ends.
Total outlay just north of a grand.

Truthfully.......
Those days are over.

Image
Image
so, eric, what type of replacement opamps did yuo end up with and did you have to ship your board off to rich? just curious as i have been in contact with rich on sourcing replacement parts for my 1280.

rich

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Post by nick_a » Mon May 11, 2009 10:54 pm

i have to say,

i have a 1280B as well. I bought it a long time ago for dirt when i had no idea what i was buying (nor did anyone else i knew). I've never messed with it. I've used it mostly for mixing, not as much for tracking. I love it. It doesn't have the special nice ass eq upgrade, it doesn't have a meter bridge, it doesn't have upgraded IC's or an upgraded power supply. And to be honest, i couldn't be happier. It's gotten consistent use for about 7 years, and I think the thing rules period.

that said,

would anyone mind PMing me with some info about upgrades? i think its' about time...epsecially after reading the raves... :lol:

rty5150
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Post by rty5150 » Tue May 12, 2009 12:02 am

nick_a wrote:i have to say,

i have a 1280B as well. I bought it a long time ago for dirt when i had no idea what i was buying (nor did anyone else i knew). I've never messed with it. I've used it mostly for mixing, not as much for tracking. I love it. It doesn't have the special nice ass eq upgrade, it doesn't have a meter bridge, it doesn't have upgraded IC's or an upgraded power supply. And to be honest, i couldn't be happier. It's gotten consistent use for about 7 years, and I think the thing rules period.

that said,

would anyone mind PMing me with some info about upgrades? i think its' about time...epsecially after reading the raves... :lol:
join the group...

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/soundworkshop/

rich

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nick_a
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Post by nick_a » Tue May 12, 2009 7:43 pm

they won't let me because i don't have a non-gmail email account.

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analogcabin
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Post by analogcabin » Tue May 12, 2009 9:07 pm

I joined with just a Yahoo email (way back when).

In the mean time, as to the Op amps, Rich did 3 sets of 4 (12 total), for basically 3 different flavors. I'd be lying if I can tell the difference between them.

In any case the dang board sounds great.

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