REVIEWS: From PROFESSIONAL SOUND Canada - March 1998
by Lurch (Chris Rudyk)
For those of you who are in the market for an out board pre amp, compressor, or EQ, you should seriously consider checking out AVALON's VT-737. If you don't already know AVALON products they make what I consider "the shit." Their products include extremely well made pre's, comps, EQs and DIs. Any other AVALON products that I am familiar with cost quite a bit more than the new VT-737, Other products AVALON traditionally make are solid state CLASS A, where the VT-737 is a TUBE /CLASS A circuit hybrid. This unit is a total deal for the powerhouse that it is, and I was surprised that it cost around 3 k. Now to the tech hot talk, are ya ready fellow gear pigs?
So ... it has a tube pre amp. It runs quite hot, like old tube gear did "high voltage" the mic input goes from the back mic input into a transformer (this is how it should be if you want tube gear to sound like tube gear of any authenticity). The pre-amp is also loaded with everything a great full-featured pre-amp would include; it has switches for phase reverse, phantom power and my personal favourite a sweepable (passive) high pass filter. The other added feature of this pre is a high gain circuit that uses both of the triode tubes cascaded together to achieve greater gain. This is a major plus when it comes to having a multiple personality pre-amp that can get the gain you need with softer material, especially if you ever use older or funky lower output dynamic mics.
The compressor is very LA-2A styled. This unit has some similar cool characteristics of other AVALON comps, I have used, and I am still surprised how good it sounds given the cost of this unit. Having dedicated attack and release pots really gives the comp-added flexibility. While on well thought out features you can put this comp, pre or post of the EQ (I find this extremely useful in sound shaping, or to have a serious hi-fi smooth de-esser). The optical control design of this comp shines on vocals and acoustic instruments, but it can also squish things with a medium hard knee sound.
A zesty, fully parametric EQ offers tons of possibilities and a robust bouquet. The VT-737 becomes especially valuable as a mixing tool because of its powerful equalizer. This class A/hybrid design gives a lot of control with extreme fineness. It is similar to an older tube EQ (that starts with P) IF USED MINIMALLY! Or it offers a more in-depth specific control. The HI + low shelves of this EQ are switchable. The HI frequencies are 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 20 kHz, 32 kHz +/- 20 dB. Low frequencies are 15 Hz, 30 Hz, 60 Hz, 150 Hz, +/-24 dB. The high-mid sweep goes from 200 Hz to 2.8 kHz and 2 kHz to 28 kHz +/- 16 dB low-mid sweep 30 Hz to 450 Hz and 300 Hz to 4 kHz+/- 16 dB. You also get a great DI on the front panel in this all-in-one box, plus if you later add on another VT-737 you can link the two together to get a great buss comp/EQ. I cracked the unit open and was impressed at the layout and component quality internally. They also put a meter inside to measure unit-running time so you have an idea when to change tubes. This unit is a serious piece and I like it a whole lot better than some of the other units in the same price range that remind me of cheap micro-chip home receivers with tubes jammed in them to fool the buyer into thinking that they are purchasing TUBE equipment. Remember that age old saying you get what you pay for! I could hardly believe what you get for the price of the AVALON VT-737 - enough to purchase one for myself. For more product information, contact: Audio Distributors International, P.O. Box 99030, 1748 Marie Victorin, Longueuil, PQ J4G 2S6 (514) 646-5181, FAX (514) 646-5181.
Lurch is the owner of Wellington Audio Productions, a Toronto-based recording equipment company.
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