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Hardware Hall of Fame: Avalon VT-737sp

To people who work with audio engineering and music production, it is a standard procedure to look for the best alternative in terms of tone, dynamic, and texture to the specific sound may this be in a recording, mixing, or mastering process.

Between the alternatives one might come across to reach a certain sound, coloring, and texture, this can include microphones, pre-amps, and DAW plug-ins.

These plug-ins which can be compressors and equalizers, some of those can be made to imitate specific hardware that were used back in the analog days, and some of these pieces of hardware can have such a unique and distinct sound property to them, that people will still search for them whether it may be “in the box” (software form) or the hardware itself. And the piece of hardware chosen for today’s overview will be the Avalon VT-737sp Channel Strip.

Avalon VT-737sp

The Avalon VT-737sp is a channel strip, meaning the hardware version of it can work as a channel of a mixing console by itself, having its own pre-amp with phantom power, a high gain knob, and its own optical compressor, great for using in vocals and bass recordings, and its own unit of an equalizer as well.

Set of valves for the VT-737

The VT-737sp is widely known and used in the music production circuit, being used by famous producers such as Dave Pensado (Usher, Shakira, etc.), Chad Kroeger (Nickelback, Avril Lavigne), Billy Horwedel (Guns n’ Roses, Hollywood Undead), this channel strip in addition to being a very well-constructed and durable piece of hardware, it also has a very unique sound due to being known as a “tube-amp” for the addition of four valves in its circuit, making its sound properties very warm and its use of mild distortion very colorful and artistic.

One story that can be an incredibly good example its characteristic sound and the artistic use of its distortion, is Gordon Raphael’s use of the VT-737sp in the shaping of Julian Casablanca’s vocal sound for The Strokes’ debut album Is This It, release in 2001.

For being such a key component in studios and such a complete piece of hardware, the Avalon VT-737sp can be an expensive buy, but if you still want to use its characteristics to improve and inspire your own sound, you can find its software version with Universal Audio’s plug-in version of it.

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