April 14, 2012 at 8:38 am #15292
It’s very civil of you to be here so I hope my request is not too tedious! I love the VC3 original enhancer featuring models, there’s nothing better value for easy vocal mic set ups in small venues imo. As I’m in the process of acquiring several more through ebay etc., I wanted to be clear which models are which and avoid anything chinese made for the US market particularly.
Assuming the various TF comments I’ve discovered on the internet really were you, perhaps you could clear up a small anomaly for me? In one place you say only boxes with your signature printed on the front panel were designed by you and these stopped in 2002. Somewhere else I read that the models with the enhancer were discontinued in 1999. As all the boxes I’m getting or checking so far don’t have a signature but do feature the enhancer, I am uncertain if they are your design or not!
Perhaps the simplest way you could explain this to me would be to reveal the exact lineage of the VC3s (if you can remember!)….. which came first out of the various permutations of gold lettered VC3, black lettered, signatured etc. I’m not concerned with the later eq models.
If I haven’t already crossed too many boredom thresholds, do you, in retrospect, have a favourite amongst these early versions. A favourite for me would be the most idiot proof where it’s harder to make an unpleasant sound with the mic amp and compressor sections for example….
Thanks again for this magic box which has thrilled so many!April 15, 2012 at 9:03 am #15850
If there’s my signature at the bottom….. and not some words attributed to me(!) then it’s probably me!
To clear a few things up…. The gear that I designed for my company ‘Joemeek’ always had my signature on the front. When the trademark was sold to PMI, the new owner decided to redesign everything, and all manufacturing moved to China. I hasten to add that for the market that he was selling to, the equipment was (and is) nicely designed, well built and works, it just uses a slightly different design philosophy.
As for the enhancers…. the first enhancers were in the ‘brick’, originally called the ‘Voice Channel’. That carried over into the first of the 1U units called the VC1, but we had problems of reliability with a particular chip in the enhancer and so I redesigned it, and, I think, improved the sound of it. We used the new circuit in the early VC3, and it’s that one that I think you are talking about. After a production run of about 250 VC3 units the feedback we got was that people preferred to have a simple EQ rather than the enhancer….. I always thought… and knew that they were wrong! The best ‘voice channels’ we made were the combination of a good mic amp, an optical compressor and an enhancer, all available in those early VC3s.
Sadly, there is no market for a product like the ‘brick’ nowadays…. there are just not enough engineers who realise that this is the very best combination for getting a beautiful voice sound. (My P110 is good, but it could have been even better without the EQ and with an enhancer…. but then no-one would buy it!)
Back to the ‘lineage’….. The first VC1s and VC3s were plain green with black lettering. Just to make it more interesting, we introduced some gold lettering for a while, but the design was the same. Then we dropped the enhancer and put in the EQ and it became the VC1Q and VC3Q. At that time I was developing a new ‘unburstable’ mic amp that had a brilliant performance and was very resistant to mic cable problems….. this was the VC1QCS, and I’m not sure that we made any VC3QCS units, but I could be wrong. Anyway, that was the last model before we sold the trademark.
So, in short, the very early VC3 units were excellent, but if there was a fault it was usually the enhancer and they were a dog to repair. But if you find an example working well today, then it’s unlikely to go wrong!April 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm #15849
I probably should have phrased my question: Do you recall if there there were any chinese made VC3s or were they all 3Qs after the redsesign / licensing deal?
I’m still confused by the chronology in quest for english originals.
There must have been more than 250 VC3s with enhancers out there because I’ve seen at least five different (cosmetic) designs! The only one I’ve seen with your signature on was a version 2 (VC3 v2) which confuses me even more.
Don’t get me wrong though, I see no reason why you should have to remember all this trivia!
I think the brick is cool. I only use the VC3 rather than VC1 or 2 because of economy, although I do have some excellent John Hardy mic-pres for the other ‘school of recording-thought’ which is striving for a flat response.
I particularly like using the enhancer in live situations because you can brighten the voice without sibilance or feedback occuring so much.
Thanks again for your insight.
PeteApril 16, 2012 at 11:22 am #15848
There were lots of minor differences in cosmetic design!
The first VC3s were made by a company in Plymouth called ‘Patronics’. Then we sub-contracted manufacture to the old ‘Neve’ company in Kelso, Scotland who made most of the later ‘enhancer’ types. After I redesigned the PC board as EQ rather than enhancer, we subcontracted their manufacture to a company in ShenZhen, China, but they worked from our PC design and the quality control was very good….. this was not a Chinese product!
When you google ‘VC3’ the 4th entry down is the handbook for the original VC3V2 dating from 1999.
All the versions with enhancer and my name on the front are originals made in the UK. The later ‘made for the US market’ versions are called Q3 and do not have a signature on the front.April 17, 2012 at 11:45 am #15847
thanks Ted. The lore is laid!
FYI most VC3s I see on ebay don’t have a signature on but now I know they’re still your design anywayJune 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm #15846
Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Joe’s and have listened to a lot of his work. That said I truly appreciate your great work thus far.
Alright, I’m in the market for one of your green bricks and I’m currently bidding on a VC3Q on ebay.
I was also interested in this: a VC3. My problem is that I cant seem t find your signature on the front of this unit. IN the pictures. Although it says Made in England at the back. Could you help me out with this?
Thank youJune 27, 2012 at 11:12 am #15845
Can Ted or anyone who knows please confirm if these are the VC3’s I should be going for?
Thanks a lotJune 30, 2012 at 8:21 am #15844
Yes, that VC3 is one of the early ones with the original enhancer.
I’ve looked through my previous replies on this and can’t add very much…. The units that continued the name but were completely new designs were introduced in 2002 and were designed by Alan Bradford for PMI. They are clearly recogniseable by the styling revision.
There were two iterations of ‘enhancer’…. the earlier one made use of a rather tricky IC that proved to be not too reliable. I redesigned it to eliminate the chip making it slightly easier to use, but the difference in performance is extremely small and I did not make any ‘song and dance’ about it at the time. Shortly after that we decided to drop the enhancer as so few people knew how to use it or what it was for!!
In short, any of those VC3 or VC1 units that have an enhancer are my design.July 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm #15843
Thank you so much Ted!
Yes that answers my question. I’m very keen on using this and am looking forward to snagging one off ebay.
and Yes I do want the one with just the enhancer on it and not the EQ. I trust your judgement about the having the enhancer!
Thanks again and please continue the excellent work.
Best wishes from India
jimJuly 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm #15842
Nice to hear from India!
I see from an email that you now have a proper VC3…. well done! Yes, that one is one of the early ones with the enhancer…. it should sound really good.July 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm #15841
I really cant wait to start using it.
Great to meet you Ted. I sent you a friend request on Facebook too!
Next year if I save up enough money I’d love to try out your P110!
I also hope you find a good firm to look after the manufacturing of TFPRO stuff.
Good stuff there, needs to be out there for musicians and engineers to enjoy!
Thanks for your prompt replies and great support.
Take care!November 21, 2012 at 8:19 am #15839
I just wanted to thank you and tell you that I’m really loving my new VC3!
It has a great sound and is very easy to use. I couldn’t have asked for a better preamp.
Thanks a ton!
jimNovember 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm #15840
It was a very good mic amp!
Sadly, there are now hundreds of cheapo mic amps for no money at all, they don’t work as well but it means that there is no commercial market for a product like the VC3.
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