Monday, August 8, 2011

The new Slate Pro Audio FOX is like having 4 mic pres in one!

The new Slate Pro Audio FOX is a Dual Channel Mic Preamplifier and D.I. with each channel comprised of two separate audio paths that can be used separately or combined in any order to provide you with the tone you need when recording. Whether it be vocals, acoustic instruments or drums the FOX is more than capable of capturing that perfect take. It is destined to become a staple in many studios. I love the fact that I can audition four different tone variations without re-patching.

From their website:
"Covering the range from classic “British Class A-style” vintage tone to ultra-clean modern sparkle, the Slate Pro Audio Fox 2-channel microphone preamplifier is one of the most versatile mic pres out there. The way the Fox shapes tone is brilliant. There are two completely independent microphone preamplifier circuits in each of the Fox’s channels. The Vintage circuit calls up the sound of the legendary 1073-style preamp – warm, fat, and full of lush harmonics. Conversely, the Modern setting gives you a sparkling clean sound that’s perfect for capturing acoustic instruments in picture-perfect detail. What’s more, the Fox features two Combo modes, which combine the input and the output sections of both circuits, giving you a pair of completely unique preamp sounds."

From their manual:
"VINTAGE is our take on the classic British Discrete Class A design. It is thick, rich, warm, and sounds great on just about everything. MODERN, is a new design based on ultra hi-fi solid state components that provide a sound that is very precise, clean, and detailed. The preamp adeptly catches the stick attack of a snare drum or the crispness of a vocal."
"In COMBO mode, the input of one of the preamp circuit is combined with the output of the other preamp circuit. So VINTAGE/COMBO means the input is the VINTAGE circuit, and the output is the MODERN circuit. With MODERN/COMBO, the input is the MODERN circuit and the output is the VINTAGE circuit. Now the FOX had four great sounding mic preamps in ONE box!"
"You can switch the different mic pre circuits while monitoring your source live, so that you can optimize the best sound for that particular source. Listen to that guitar track in the VINTAGE circuit... Now hear how it sounds in the MODERN... Then try MODERN/COMBO.. Nope-that’s not it… Now VINTAGE/COMBO… and BAM! That works!"

  • 2-channel microphone preamplifier
  • 4 distinct microphone preamplifier sounds in each channel
  • 2 independent preamp circuits in each channel
  • Classic circuit provides 1073-style sound
  • Modern circuit provides ultra-clear sound
  • 2 combo modes combine the input and output sections of each preamp circuit
  • Includes instrument inputs, phase controls, and phantom power
  • 100% made in the USA

Urei 1176 Peak Limiter

I used the Urei 1176 Peak Limiter on The Fugees "Nappy Heads (Mona Lisa)" remix produced by Salaam Remi.
The 1176 is one of Urei's most well known units (now manufactured by Universal Audio as both hardware and software). The controls are pretty simple. There is an input and output, attack and release and 4 ratio buttons. There are also meter display select buttons and an off switch. The input knob adjusts the input signal level and also acts as a threshold for the limiter circuit. The output knob adjusts the output level of the unit so you can apply make-up gain to the signal after limiting. The 4 ratio buttons are 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, 20:1 which might seem like a limitation but when used in conjunction with the input knob is actually quite versatile (to really squash the signal try pressing down all 4 buttons at once.). The attack ranges from 20 to 800 microseconds which is very fast (great for drums) and the release varies from 50 milliseconds to 1.1 secs. which gives you extensive control over the signal. The attack knob also serves as the limiter switch (notice the word off under the knob. When the attack knob is turned completely counterclockwise limiting is disabled. For both the attack and release knobs fastest settings are when the knob is turned completely clockwise. The meter select switches allow you to view the amount of gain reduction (GR) or the output level at +4 or +8 reference level which is important to maintain proper gain structure. The OFF switch turns off the unit. The little box sitting on top of the pair of 1176's in the pic is called an 1176 SA and is basically a Stereo Adapter (SA) which allows you to link 2 1176's together as a stereo unit. The connectors are the barrier strip type and are found on the rear of the 1176 along with the rca connector for the 1176 SA. There are many revisions of the 1176 (A thru H) with the original being a silverface with blue paint around the meter section. 

Here's a link to a page with descriptions of the different revisions:

Here's an Ebay page with a list of current auctions: Ebay_1176 

For more info on the UA reissue of the 1176 go to: 

and for the UAD software 1176 ($149) which requires a UAD card or firewire accelerator:​e/compressors-limiters/117​6ln.html 

The UA 1176 reissue ($1999) can be purchased at B&H Photo, Video and Pro Audio:

Here's the iTunes link to the "Nappy Heads(Mona Lisa)" remix: