Always been curious about this preamp

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alexdingley
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Always been curious about this preamp

Post by alexdingley » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:58 am

I see these on reverb all the time... telefunken v72a, or some variant thereof.

Image


And I have a few questions:

Is the tab a functional part of the audio control, or just the mechanism for pulling it out of whatever chassis it was designed for originally?

If not the tab, how do you control the gain?

Do they sound really good; what other preamps might the sound close to?

What are folks using them on the most?

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:06 am

Hi,

Yes, these were part of consoles, they were dropped into the back. Thus the lack of controls. The controls were on the console. The tab is as you say,
to help pull it out of the console chassis.

These are to be used in an enclosure, which provides it power, and you can put input and output volume controls, along with phantom power (if the unit version supports it), etc. They are best paired with tube powered microphones. Because these mic preamps are solid state.

I always have a rule of thumb with things tube: ONE tube device in the signal chain, at most. This keeps things clear, yet gives the tube distortion sound (the "warmth" bullcrap people yammer on about is really distortion). Too many tubes in the signal chain, and you can easily mess things up with no way to fix it.

The only exception to this is a U47, through pretty much any solid state preamp, into a LA2a compressor. And even that I only do when looking for "THAT" sound.

My good friend and U47 mic guru Gunter Wagner (Aussie) wrote this article on these:

http://wagner-microphones.com/v76.htm
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:29 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:06 am
These are to be used in an enclosure, which provides it power, and you can put input and output volume controls, along with phantom power (if the unit version supports it), etc. They are best paired with tube powered microphones. Because these mic preamps are solid state.
that's incorrect, the V72 are TUBE mic preamps.

To the OP, if you want to try a more modern version (with all the modern amenities) try the TAB/Funkenwerk brand or other variants. The guy who ran them before he passed (Oliver) was extremely detailed in getting the transformers and other parts to sound the same. He even cut open old transformers and wound his own.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:49 am

Well they sure hide them well enough... Are they made of black paper or something?
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:54 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:49 am
Well they sure hide them well enough... Are they made of black paper or something?
they are well hidden, google search "v72 inside" and you'll see transformers and 2 tubes in there.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:52 am

markjazzbassist wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:54 am
Nick Sevilla wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:49 am
Well they sure hide them well enough... Are they made of black paper or something?
they are well hidden, google search "v72 inside" and you'll see transformers and 2 tubes in there.
Well they sure don't sound tubey... leave it to Germans to do this. LOL.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by GeorgeToledo » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:35 am

I have a variety of telefunken and tab preamps...

This standard of modules are known as "danner modules". You could view it as somewhat akin to API 500 series, but long before.

Makers of this standard included tab funkenwerk, siemens, telefunken, maihak, neumann, and many others.

There are actual fader modules that the fixed gain preamps can be run into, and that you see pop up on eBay all of the time. That said, most people will mod them to have gain control, or just run them fixed. Many PSU systems that are made for the modules have provisions for gain adjustment as well.

The v72a is not considered one of the most desirable of the variations...as opposed to a v72 or v72s. I haven't personally heard the v72a though, so it's hearsay, but I have heard it from really reliable and knowledgable sources - Oliver Archut for one. I'd have to double check, but I think it doesn't have the same tube compliment either. There is a page on the history of the V series over at tab-funkenwerk's website that you might like to check out.

I've seen some v72a on eBay that I thought were overly pricy recently, and as much as the more desirable v72 would sell for...

The tab funkenwerk rack mount v78m preamps that were made in more recent years are also great. I've observed some people on forums over the years not quite "getting" the gain staging of the two stages of the v78m, and really creaming it into saturation (which is fine if that's what you want), but it has a lot of headroom and can be super opulent and hi fi when staged properly. That goes for the classic danner module v72 as well.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Magnetic Services » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:17 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:06 am
I always have a rule of thumb with things tube: ONE tube device in the signal chain, at most. This keeps things clear, yet gives the tube distortion sound (the "warmth" bullcrap people yammer on about is really distortion). Too many tubes in the signal chain, and you can easily mess things up with no way to fix it.
I really have nothing to add to this thread, but I like this suggestion. Seems like it would be easy to get too hyped up about tube gear and end up with a smeary signal at the end. Question: if you're only using one, what makes you decide to use a tube mic vs a tube preamp vs a tube compressor, etc.?

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by GeorgeToledo » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:36 am

It's a real misnomer that more than one tube device results in a smeary sound. Solidstate devices distort as well, and can sound like they have *less fidelity* compared to a high quality tube device. It really just depends on the specifics. It's too much of a generalization.

For instance, you can *definitely* get grime out of germanium based preamps like the TG, preamps like Neves, APIs, hitting an 1176 hard, etc.

There are plenty of solid-state mic/API, Neve, MCI console recordings that sound smeary, and plenty of tube mic/tube preamp/tube comp/etc recordings that sound pristine and deep.

Proper gain staging, and not running stuff hot without really knowing what you're going to end up with, is the more important rule of thumb.

To each their own, just sharing a perspective.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by alexdingley » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:53 am

Thanks all!

All this info was really helpful, and I’m happy to have my curiosity satisfied. I definitely see a lot of these popping up for sale on Reverb, eBay, and occasionally on the local craigslist… Which frankly tells me that people either art in love with them, or don’t know how to make good use of them.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:12 am

Magnetic Services wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:17 am
Question: if you're only using one, what makes you decide to use a tube mic vs a tube preamp vs a tube compressor, etc.?
It really comes down to the signal source you want to record.

Sometimes a solid state condenser microphone through a tube mic preamp is the way to go. This gives you a different sonic imprint.

Fore example, a Neumann 87 going through a ViPre preamplifier can be a really nice signal chain for a vocal or an acoustic guitar. You get all the initial detail from the microphone, with a small amount of the tube distortion from the mic preamp. Sort of a thin "veil" that helps the harmonics of the sounds.

And as to George Toledos comment: The tubs distortion is a type of distortion that can affect the signal at many different frequency points, and can be applied as a thin veneer, causing certain harmonics to be more present. The type of solid state distortion you are talking about sounds completely different, and usually can only be obtained when you force the preamps into this, rather heavy handed distortion.

As long as your gain staging is good, you can do all kinds of "clean" and all kinds of "dirty" signal chains.

The trick, of course, is doing it on purpose, at the right time, on the right signal.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by Magnetic Services » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:45 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:12 am
The trick, of course, is doing it on purpose, at the right time, on the right signal.
Shut down the forum, Larry, cuz Nick just answered all the questions :lol:

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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by joninc » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:40 pm

sometimes i track an all tube path for vocals ....

tube LDC -> solo 610 preamp -> ADL opto compressor -> Warm Audio Pultec clone EQ

it's like budah! smoooooth and rich....

You don't have to distort the tubes you know 8)

But i do often like running the input of the 610 just shy of a little saturation - it can impart so much lushness and harmonics -
IF the source isn't too dynamic.
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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by floid » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:14 am

Looks like the v72t is transistor based.
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frans_13
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Re: Always been curious about this preamp

Post by frans_13 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:31 am

Thes old broadcast modules can be funny to interface with modern gear, so better have a good tech around to ask for details. These danner things come in a large number and if you need specs and info, this is the place: http://audio.kubarth.com/rundfunk/index.cgi
Of course it's german. If you had let us win the war you'd have learnt german in school. (okay, a bad joke)

That broadcast stuff was built with "just let's see how far we can take it" in mind. Cost? (shrug) Some of these modules cost more than a worker earned in a month or two. It was their version of this-is-as-clean-as-we-can-do, nobody tought distortion was a good thing. There was too much damage to the signal later anyway after it left the antenna.

For me, the main difference between tubes and transistors and ICs is velocity and hardness. Let me explain - a good number of tube gear sounds soft, as if hitting an airbag, trading peaks for K2 overtones in a slow and musical transition curve. (tube gear could also be built superclean or "hard" like a Hiwatt DR) Transistor gear sounds more urgent, less compressing, "harder" (think drums) and has (depending on topology) a shorter or very short curve translating peaks on the upper dynamic range into overtones before it gets funny. Forget about JFETs sounding like tubes - as much as orange lemonade is fresh orange juice. Different overtones. ICs have no headroom, because most of their amplification is running in circles in the feedback loop to make them linear. IC gear can sound wonderful and very clean. Or cheap, as anything built sloppy and cheap. As my rule of thumb, i only ever use very clean preamps with signals that is not from a close mic. (think room, orchestra, etc.) and colored preamps with close signals. But don't listen to me, my shoes surely don't fit your feet.

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