SE-DOT™ discrete opamps

(22 customer reviews)

$59.00 + tax

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SKU: SE-DOT5 Category:
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Reviews (22)

RED and BLUE DISCRETE OPAMPS

direct replacements for MCI 400 series consoles’ 2001 and 2003 opamps

(RED <pure class A> and BLUE <class AB> SE-DOT™ discrete opamps)

It’s true ~ sage ELECTRONICS® has developed a discrete component, plug-in replacement for the MCI 2001 IC opamp as used throughout MCI 400 series consoles.

We would like to preface the following basic info about these opamps by telling you how much we love MCI 400 series consoles.

What we’ve always cherished about our beloved JH-416 is its sound of big iron and its elegant simplicity.

These qualities remain unchanged with the installation of our SE DOT5™ discrete opamps.

What HAS changed … is everything else.

Although there is little doubt that the slow grittiness of MCI 2001 and 2003 opamps have a certain charm for rock and roll I have long felt that these ICs limit the sonic possibilities of these consoles and so I designed two different discrete opamps to bring out the full potential of these great boards. One (the RED opamp) running pure class A – and the other (the BLUE opamp) running class AB.

Upgrading with these RED and / or BLUE SE-DOT5s moves the sound of these consoles directly into the company of desks such as api, Spectra Sonics, Sphere and Quad-Eight.

Although not necessary – every MCI 2001 or 2003 opamp in any stock 400 series console can be replaced with the RED (running pure class A) or the BLUE (running class B) SE-DOT5 opamp specifically as below.

channel strip

(total of 7 opamp replacements / channel strip)

  • the RED pure class A opamp replaces the four 2001s in the mic preamp, fader buffer, hi/lo eq and mid eq positions
  • the BLUE class AB opamp features a robust output stage and is used to replace the three 2001s in the channel summing amp, monitor inverter and pan buffer positions due to their heavier current-driving requirements
master section

(total of 4 or 8 opamp replacements – depending on whether you mix in stereo or quad)

If you are using your console for stereo mixing only (ie: left and right front – vs. quad mixing with left and right front and back) you will only require

  • two RED class A opamps to replace each of the front left and right summing amps and
  • two BLUE class AB opamps to replace each of the front left and right post fader output stages

If you mix in quad you will require;

  • four RED class A opamps for the pre-fader summing amps and
  • four BLUE class AB opamps for the post fader output stage

 

se-dot5_prodpage_board

 Preview schematic:

Download hi resolution jpg

Download hi resolution pdf

A good initial replacement strategy might include a total of 20 SEDOT5s (10 RED and 10 BLUE) to allow replacement of all 2001s in

  • two channel strips (total of 8 RED 6 BLUE)
  • the master section (front left and right only ~ for stereo mixers) (total of 2 RED 2 BLUE) – and
  • the left and right front output amps in the control room monitor strip (2 BLUE)

note: if you always monitor directly off the quad buses (ie: you don’t use the control room monitor volume knob) then you can forego upgrading the control monitor output amps – however if you do use this section it’s essential that you replace the 2001s here in order to appreciate the sonic upgrades earlier in the signal path)

This strategy will provide you with two excellent mic pres, two very useful eqs and an upgraded master section which will improve the sonics of all channels in your board ~ whether upgraded or not.

SE-DOT5 RED and BLUE opamps are painless to install. They run on the same /- 24 Volts as the 2001s (and 2003s) and feature gold pins to match the premium gold contact octal sockets on the console circuit boards.

You don’t have to add messy, instability-prone long legged DIP sockets, nor do you have to lower your PSU supply voltage as some other upgrade approaches demand.

I know many MCI 400 series owners will be intrigued by the sonic possibilities of these new discrete opamps – while some may worry about losing the mojo of the stock MCI 2001 signal path.

Luckily we can all have our cake and eat it too … because now after 35 years these quad buss consoles once again offer intriguing new possibilities. On our 416B, we have upgraded 16 channel strips plus front left and right master busses. We’ve left 8 channels with stock MCI 2001s in place as well as the rear left and right rear busses. Those handy little Front / Back knobs (assuming they’re not rusted in place due to disuse) now give us choice to mix and match old and new circuit topologies to our heart’s content.

each RED or BLUE SE-DOT5™ opamp sells for CDN $59.

convert to your preferred currency

prices do not include applicable taxes, shipping or duties

 

“WOW, they sound exactly as described thick, silky, and just plain better. Buy them, sell whatever you have to. Feet, toes, teeth. it does not matter.”

Charles Austin, Austin Music Studios

 

This 8 channel multitrack drum session features our MCI JH416 B console’s mic pres ~ modded with our RED SE-DOT opamps.

It’s approximately 2 minutes in length.

Download the zip file and drag the equal length .wav files into your ditital workstation to hear how fat MCI JH416 mic pres can sound when their original stock 2001 IC opamps are replaced with our RED (discrete class A) SE-DOT direct replacement opamps.

No EQ, no compression, un-normalized, un-edited.

Recorded direct to digital (RME Fireface 800) February 2010

1960s Gretsch Drums.

Weight N/A
Colour

Blue, Red

Manual / Warranty

22 reviews for SE-DOT™ discrete opamps

  1. Although changing out all the capacitors in this console had improved the performance, the differences in an A/B test of The Best Of James Taylor CD using my new SAGE Red & Blue Dot opamps are quite dramatic.

  2. Hi, I wanted to let you know the samples are done. I am more impressed with your product than I was before. Not only does it put the 2001 to shame, it clearly sounded better than both a UA-la610 and a vintec x73i. Both of which are pretty expensive pieces (although the ua does not get much use around here). In comparison, it makes me want to sell the other pres (except for a few tube classics)

  3. Post subject: MCI owners take note!!! This is awesome….

    http://www.sageelectronics.com/images/SE-DOT_5A-5AB_opamp2.pdf

    One of my favorite companies on the planet just put up a new product on their website…

    A discrete replacement for the IC’s in MCI 4xx series consoles!!! I am hoping that this discrete opamp could be modified to live in other vintage consoles as well, much like the mods done by Purple audio on my old Auditronics console that now lives at the bunker studio here in Brooklyn.

    Check this out, and email the company… if you own a 400 series MCI, you can completely hot rod the thing with minimal effort now!!! Amazing. I bet those consoles will start selling like crazy because of this.

    And as always, I have to add that this company is totally worth supporting. Great people, great gear, great attitudes and ethics, great sounds….

    http://joelhamiltonrecording.com/
    http://www.studiogbrooklyn.com

  4. Wow, buy them. Don’t waste your time figuring out what else you could use. Use that time working to save up for them. Well worth the cost. as posted to analogconsole.com ‘MCI Consoles’ forum

  5. WOW, they sound exactly as described thick, silky, and just plain better. Buy them, sell whatever you have to. Feet, toes, teeth. it does not matter. as posted to gearslutz ‘so much time so little gear’ forum

  6. Got the Bova Opamps today, they are very big. Probably 1inchx1inch. Nothing like a first impression. I will post files later. as posted to gearslutz ‘so much time so little gear’ forum

  7. In regards to the MCI 400 416 428 etc with the bova discrete opamps. I wanted to wait until it was available on his site to post this, and I will make a full post of its own soon. I did a sample for his web site. A pro tools file (available to download) shooting out the modded MCI pres against the original, as well as high end outboard pres. Let me just say that these MCI pres are killer. Honestly, they (to my ears) not only smashed the original opamp, but handed the ass to both Universal audio pres as well as vintec pres. They are thick bottomed, and pure silk at the top. If you mod the whole console with these, you are sonically in the league of anything out there.

  8. I use the EQ and you can actually hear a 2db change at 10k.

    It’s clearly evident that Philip has improved the performance of these circuits without affecting that good ‘ole punchy MCI sound.

    This old MCI lives again and we’ll be doing a lot of mixing through it soon.

    Thanks for taking the time & energy in developing these wonderful products.

    Cheers,

  9. Phillip,

    Just wanted to drop a line, as tonight we did the first critical listening tests of the bova amps vs. the 5534s.

    We did this by switching between the ‘control room’ module and the ‘studio’ module in the board. We patched directly in the 2trk input. We were listening to Mackie 624s (the first series, the current ones sound like trash).

    After marching 3 different engineers into the control room, and doing a blind shoot out, I’m pleased to say that the bova amps won every time. There is in my opinion much more separation and much better stereo image listening through the bova amps. As well, the frequency response is much better.

    One of my favorite tracks to test with is a song called ‘This Blackest Purse’ on a record called ‘Eskimo Snow’ by a band named Why?. After listening to that track (which I love, and have heard many times) through the bova amps, I experienced a depth I hadn’t previously heard. The kick drum had more detail, not only could I hear the low end of it, but for the first time I heard the texture and flabby characteristic behind it.

    On James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain’ it was obvious that I hadn’t actually heard the individual brush sticks on the snare and toms. Yet, through the bova amps, I felt as though I could count the number of tines on the brushes as they played.

    On ‘Good Time’ by Counting Crows (from the record ‘Hard Candy’) I’d never heard the vocals so big. And never before had the subtleties of the percussion stuck out so much.

    I suppose the purpose of this email is to thank you for your contribution to our new/old console, and to assure you that I’m looking forward to bova’ing a few channels. You have a believer.

  10. In my initial tests, I ran the CD into 2 input faders, panned center and levels being equal with respect to the individual light meters and analog VUs as reference (probably not 100%> accurate, but that’s what I have). Switching back & forth I immediately notice the air/ top end is much more defined on the SAGE channel. Now this JT album is pretty good and it sounds ok on the module with the stock 2001s …. However the SAGE sounds is just so much better…just more definition throughout the frequency spectrum.

  11. Hello, it’s Jonathan Wilson., producer / musician from Fivestar Studios in LA
    I have a set of the SE dots in the master section of my mci 416.
    I love them very much and have made some pretty influential records the last few years through these opamps.
    I’ve been doing some upgrades to the board and would love to put more dots in the channels.

  12. I tested sage RED DOT, API 2520 original, Shadow Hills, avedis, Millennia MM 990 and JD 990 to tell truth AVEDIS and RED DOT won !!!
    BEST OF BEST !!
    respect to you and Mr avedis
    you guys nailed it
    Damir K Rogina / Synthetic Arts / moderates the 500 series forum on mcirecording.com – on his mci 500 consoles discreet opamp shootout

  13. After extensive use of your opamps on my JH428 (master section, 2 channels, control room/studio monitor and cue/echo path), my feeling is that I just bought a class-a console with extended frequency response, a much “fuller” sound and more headroom.
    Tracking, mixing and monitoring now makes far more sense than before.
    Even upgrading the master and monitor section alone makes sense.
    Thanks again for giving life to my console with these opamps.
    Keep up the good work. My best regards,

  14. I was lucky enough to acquire a handful of Bova opamps.  
    My console was modded thoroughly with 5534’s and recapped.  This was done maybe 10 years ago.  
    I stuck them in my master module and did 2 channels in the pre-amp section.  I did the summing amps, main L/R outs and monitor opamps.  This makes my master module discrete.  Only thing I didn’t do yet was replace the ones in the Echo returns, which I plan to at some point.  
    The only way to really hear a difference and judge one set up vs another would be to have tracks returned to every module, summing through the master and record the same pass with each “setup”.  This would take a lot of work and I didn’t do the test that thoroughly.   Instead, I played a 2 track mix through a pair of channels and listened through the output of the console.  I did however record the output of the desk in the 2 ways.  One w 5534’s and the other with the Red/Blue Dots.  What I heard different: It seemed that with the Dots there was a little more high end detail and somewhat more clarity in the low end.  Granted, the difference to my ears wasn’t exactly night and day but was noticeable.  The real difference was when I replaced the mic pre section and fader buffer in a channel and compared to an un modded channel.  The funny thing is, the channels in my board aren’t all gonna sound the same as one another.  Some sound different anyway!  But A/Bing the 2 channels with each other made me want to continue down this road.  In a nut shell, more top end and more low clarity.  Dare I say like a blanket was taken off?  This is good.  Real good.  I could tell that with a fully discrete audio path, I’d really get out what I put in it.  Detail and punch!  
    The good: The improvement in sound and clarity of signal.  Wow, that singer still sucks!  Wow those drums sound great!  Wow that ZZTop record sounds…like that.  I’d like to think it cleans the dust off your glasses.  
    The bad: In order to really hear a sonic difference on a grand scale, you’d replace all the opamps in all the channels.  Do I want to do that?  YES!  But it’ll cost like a $h** ton of money.  I mean a $h** ton.  Like in the neighbourhood of $10,000.  Would the desk kick butt.  Yeah…but…yeah…but…but… Well, what’s the alternative?  What else could you do?  You could take a loan out or get rich like so many other people and spend 50K MORE and buy a Neve or API.  But that’s a lot of money.  And most people don’t know $h** about gear in studios.  Some do.  Is the Neve gonna get you a client.  I’m not sure.  I really don’t think so.  It’s gonna be your room, the vibe, your rate and your relationship to the artist, not in that order.  Biggest question I get is, “can you track a band live?”  That’s another list of needs.  I think that a Neve or API would be the cherry on top of a conversation where you and the artist see eye to eye and they want to work with YOU.  Does it matter that Pink Floyd did Dark Side on that centerfold of a console, No it doesn’t.  They’re Pink ****ing Floyd dude and the producer helped achieve their vision.  Did I rush out to do a record on a TG console.  Yeah.  Did it sound great?  Yeah… but how did the mix sound.  hmmm well…could’ve been better.   Everything has to be right or it doesn’t matter what you tracked on.  Boston recorded on an Auditronics.  $h** sounds balls rad and changed the way people thought about guitar rock.    Is 10K a lot considering it could give you a killer sounding discrete console for pennies on the dollar compared to the alternative?  Not to bad.  IF you have the dough and won’t miss it.  After all, more people spend upwards of 5 to 10K for stereo compressors and won’t bat an eye on it.  Think about that.  
    I digress…
    Slowly and surely I’ll get more Bova Dots to put in this console.  I love the look of the console, it sounds great, it’s small enough to move if I need to, and people don’t see them very often.  Now if I just had a plate 8)
    Jason Soda
    Palomino Sound
    Los Angeles, CA

  15. And the Red Dots work great in the stripped down UREI LA4 … It sounds a lot like a faster LA3 with more ratios. No blurry RCA opamp mess anymore.
    Cheers
    Peetr Nickle
    Silverbeach
    North Bay, ON

  16. With the “dots” in the sound seems more natural. Faster transient response.
    As always thankful for your support!
    See you!
    Håkan Wirenstrand
    Studio Krypin and Little Dragon (band)
    Alingsås
    Sweden

  17. You come so highly recommended from MCI owners across the country! 🙂
    Adam Granofsky
    War on Drugs
    Los Angeles, CA

  18. I did my master section and control room monitoring with the Discrete Sage opamps and the difference is noticeable. It sounds faster and clearer. The dimension was already great on this console I feel like the Sage opamps made it even better. I can hear my reverb tails better as well.
    Steven Antoniazzi
    Riot Recording
    Frankfort, IL
    via gearslutz

  19. The sound of the discrete module was amazing. Full punchy bottom, soft mids with an amazing silky smooth yet open top end. Nothing like the 2001. And that translated to the summing as well. The SE-DOT5 upgrade is amazing. I noticed a big improvement. And so much quieter too.
    Timothy Holder
    Nashville, TN

  20. I’ve installed all the dots and done a little mix on the “new” mixer, and must say I’m impressed on how the mixer sounds now!! I’m surprised it got so clean, and I feel really confident to use it a lot more now. Before it bugged me that, even if it was really nice sounding and fattening and broadening up mixes, it diffused the sound, kind of putting a wet blanket on things. So Im really happy with the result!
    Thank you Phil!
    And thank you Janet!
    Hawk
    Håkan Wirenstrand
    Studio Krypin and Little Dragon (band)
    Alingsås
    Sweden

  21. Just wanted to thank you and Janet for getting my order out fast. I already notice a good difference on my cues/echos sends & effect returns. The Bova’s have more clarity, faster, snappier, very good dimension compared to the original 2001’s in my master section. Also the slimmer design of the new Bova blocks make it easier to install.
    Steven Antoniazzi
    Riot Recording
    via facebook

  22. I installed the SE-DOT5s straight away and I couldn’t be happier !! An amazing improvement … depth, clarity, punch, quieter – just better – and without losing the character of the beloved original MCI sound. I’m a fan.
    Timothy Holder
    Nashville, TN

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