They've arrived and as usual, ZenPro's first task is to spend the day with the unit and print audio tracks so you can hear it side by side with hundreds of others to know what the unit is capable of. This amazing unit also requires a bit of explanation from our experience!
First of all the build quality and feel of this unit is amazing, just an extremely sturdy piece of gear. With all the sensitive items on board (22 tubes and 9 transformers!) it simply warmed right up and started killing it. It's a massive piece to behold, no doubt buyers will laugh as it dwarfs virtually any other rack gear they own.
It has an old school sound, size and depth to it that you expect. It sounds like it's jam packed with tubes and transformers. The vibe is endless, but it's the TONE that your listeners will enjoy. It has that big sparkle to it even without compression. Remember, these units were famous for pressing records with back in the day so to say it's a familiar sound is an understatement.
As usual I processed mono as well as stereo files, which is our mix buss file.
The mono files are mostly in LAT1 and LAT2 positions, which tend to have quicker recovery times which match these tracks well most times. The knee is varied along with threshold, to try and deliver an idea of what this unit can do across its wide spectrum. Of course I made my "drums2" file, which is a much higher knee and deeper threshold, to really hear that sucker smash and BREATHE.
The stereo files I have presented every LAT position, 1 to 6, and then created two additional M/S mixes using LAT1 in both LAT VERT (ms) and LAT VERT LINK (ms-link) modes.
Moving back and forth between these and you will hear those release characteristics changing, from the faster modes (LAT 1 and 2) delivering more drive when pushed harder later in this clip, to the auto modes (LAT 5 and 6) dealing with them in a very predictable, and cleaner way due to longer release times. In other words, LAT 1 and 2 you can really push that more narrow envelope for some distortion if you like, but 3 to 6 allow more recovery time which lowers distortion.
The MS mix I pushed the center channel harder, using a heavier knee and different threshold vs the sides. This is pinning things like kick, snare and bass in a different way while reverbs and guitar / vocals swim up the sides in a wider way. MS-LINK you will hear them both acting together using the same knee and threshold, with a similar width but a more uniform volume across the spectrum.
The short story is the Herchild 670 is a massive, expensive undertaking. It ain't no plug in. Serious users looking for serious control in the analog domain will be thrilled with this unit. Anyone thinking it could be more affordable should take a look at the used market on originals ($50,000+ at times).
Take a listen and tell us what you hear!