We found one! Just one though. Available now: the ragged filthy glory of the Grampian/Soundgas 636 mic preamp in a handy portable unit.
The desktop version of our Soundgas Type 636: no corners cut, all the ragged filthy glory of the Grampian/Soundgas 636 mic preamp in a handy portable unit.
We have one, single unit ready to go. Found in a stock take. If you miss this then the next build starts Jan 2023.
Note that the 636P we have available currently has the toggle switch. If you want a footswitch instead then we can do the swap although that will delay shipping slightly. Just let us know!
November 2022: we’re currently building a few more of the two channel Soundgas Type 636P2, however we will be producing another batch of 10 of this version at the start of 2023.
What is it? This is the hairy circuit you find in the mic preamp section of the Soundgas Type 636 – based on the Grampian Type 636 – famously used and abused by Lee Scratch Perry and Pete Townshend – and many others since. This is designed and built absolutely in the spirit of the original vintage units – no surface mount components or tone sapping DSP.
How is this version different to the Prototypes? Photos are of the latest version. Based on feedback and our own testing of the original units, we have moved the input and output sockets to the rear of the box and added a three position attenuation switch on the output. This to tame the massive amount of gain produced when dialling in maximum overdrive/filth: now you can have all the dirt without overloading your amp/ears/signal chain. We have kept the industrial/functional aesthetic of the prototypes with a raw casing and just the switch, light and knob on the top.
The unit features a balanced input via combined TRS/XLR socket, vintage germanium transistor circuitry with original Grampian specification Mic transformer, overload lamp, input impedance switch, output 3-way attenuator switch and on/off toggle switch. Staying true to the original Grampian 636 design, the output is unbalanced on a ¼” jack socket and is out of phase.
Power is via a 12v external supply (included)
As with our original 636s, we have put tonal considerations ahead of all else. I was skeptical that we’d see a real benefit in using germanium transistors in the buffer section: all our original prototypes had used silicon and sounded great. However Ben and Dr Huw insisted that we build an all germanium version for comparison which proceeded to blow all the earlier versions out of the water.
The current situation regarding component shortages means that while we have secured enough vintage components to build 100 units, getting essential modern components is proving trickier with long lead times, a great deal of uncertainty and a significant outlay required. We are taking these preorders to help secure further components and to help fund the early stages of the production process.
There’s more info on the build including photos and demos here.
To anyone reading this who has seen much cheaper versions for sale claiming they feature the Grampian ‘preamp circuit taken note for note’ we can categorically confirm that, while these units may be interesting in their own right, the circuit is certainly not an accurate recreation of the Type 636, nor do they sound at all close to either an original Grampian, or the Soundgas units. You get what you pay for. The mic transformer (one element of our design process that took a considerable amount of R&D to perfect) is not the correct value, and the circuit design means the Russian germanium transistors are not actually being driven in any meaningful way. The overdrive/distortion these units produce is not the harmonically rich germanium distortion that is the signature sound of a Grampian Type 636. We have already spent a good deal of time researching whether we could build a modern unit at a much lower price point by redesigning the original circuitry but sonically it simply does not stack up.
And if you have seen a certain guitar pedal that claims to recreate the sound of the Grampian Type 636 aux circuit as used by Pete Townshend of The Who, we can confirm that what this digital processor actually does is create a slightly boosted signal with none of the harmonic richness of the mic preamp circuitry, which is what Pete actually used…
Brand new item.
For sales in UK the price will include 20% VAT. Buyers elsewhere may incur VAT or other local taxes on import.
See description for more information.
Please note: the demos below mostly feature various prototypes. The design and build the units we are now selling differs slightly – see the photos for the current layout. In addition some demos feature units with the earlier silicon buffer board which don’t sound as good as the final all-germanium design.
Say hello to the prototype Type 636P: all the heft and magic of the our 636 mic preamp in a compact desktop box.
PUBLISHED: 10th Aug 2021
Grampians: some history and technical information about these superb, legendary machines. If you are looking to buy a Grampian or have one to sell in any...
PUBLISHED: 30th Jun 2016
Video from the Q&A session we did on the Grampian and Soundgas Type 636 units, plus an update on the Soundgas 636 build. Also Jane Weaver!
PUBLISHED: 29th Oct 2019
The one page "manual" that comes with our Type 636P germanium preamp - our zero-compromise recreation of the legendary Grampian mic preamp circuit.
Directory of original Grampian documentation we have, including tech specs, schematics and articles, to view and download.
As good as it gets. Tony, Dec and team have been incredible, prompt communication, great advice and outstanding service. It really felt like my Polysix came from a loving home.
Just wanted to say thank you so much for your pinch roller and echo tape. I've had a space echo for years, been sent to a shop in NYC and it never worked quite right. After installing the roller and tape, my echo works like a dream. Really incredible expertise you all have! Thank you.
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"Soundgas provided the absolutely top service in terms of item quality as well as service and communication. Shipping was fast, packing was top notch. These people deserve the best reputation they already have. Many many thanks, guys."
“I’ve bought a number of items from Soundgas recently, and have been really impressed with their service. It takes the stress out of buying vintage gear to know it’s been properly (and faithfully) serviced or restored. Their after-sales service has also been exemplary. Highly recommended.”
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Purchased a Juno-60 and it works beautifully. Having gotten one teched before, I knew it was worth paying a premium to get it future proofed and Soundgas does just that. Shipped professionally from the UK to USA. Appreciate their expertise and professional demeanor!
I have been buying vintage stuff for a long time from resellers/stores/techs. I've never been so surprised and pleased after opening! Just received a Roland RE-201 and VX55 mixer, they look and sound amazing! Thanks to Tony/Declan for the service and the Soundgas team will be back!
Fantastic. From initial contact to the product landing at my door the service provided was outstanding. Safe and secure shipping, quality serviced product.
“If you are a vintage audio gear head then this is the place you have been looking for all your life. Pretty much any piece of classic or obscure kit that you are after is available here... But the clincher for me is that the gear they sell has been restored by their top techs (unless otherwise noted) which is really very important when dealing with, for example, synths from 30 years ago.”
"Excellent equipment, wonderful service. I fully recommend Soundgas to anyone in the vintage gear market and I will definitely be a return customer. The gear itself was exactly as advertised and in great condition."
“I purchased a completely overhauled vintage valve Binson Echorec 2 T7E modified with varispeed, wet-only output, and a new paint job from Soundgas in early 2018. Tony and his team did an amazing job during every step of the purchase”
“I have bought two Moog synths from Soundgas over the past year, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about their selection of vintage products, the level of service, diligent responses to email, and expedient shipping with copious protective packaging. Soundgas is an impressive operation. My synths also sound amazing! These folks have made my vintage keyboard dreams come true in short order!”
"Packed with love and care. A stampede couldn't have crushed this thing. Works great and sounds like a dream. I love you Soundgas."
“The perfect place to hear, learn about and then buy your most wanted piece of vintage music gear! I've not only managed to buy a rare piece of equipment I really wanted, but I have the guarantee it's been serviced, and I got it from people who are clearly passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, as well as super friendly and responsive by email. Thoroughly recommended!”
"DREAM. COME. TRUE. My music has taken me around the world a few times...and if you are like me and absolutely adore vintage gear...Soundgas is the stuff of LEGENDS. It's the shop that people like us search for our whole lives- fantastic and rare selections, and the technical know-how to repair and or mod these vintage items to get them into shape to flow with your modern setup."
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“The Space Echo made its way to me - it looks and sounds beyond dreams, thanks guys for your great service and communication.”
"Engaging with old gear can sometimes be filled with a lot of uncertainty, and I can't imagine what more could be done to reduce this aspect of it on top of the service you provide. Really phenomenal and I couldn't be happier."
Grabbed a Roland RE-201 (early edition killer pre-amp) and Roland DC-50. Absolutely STUNNING. These guys truly live up to the hype. They are meticulous in caring for the gear. Also, I have a few guitar pedal and plug-in emulations of tape-echo sounds and after plugging in the real unit I can't tell you how insane the difference is. It is incredible. Especially that tone from the early pre-amp! I am totally amazed. I am in heaven :) They made it safely to Nashville from the UK and were packed really really well! Thank you so much!! Worth every penny.
"Yes, sure, you can find a Space Echo on eBay, but you won’t find one like this — that’s certain. I am so pleased with my decision to buy from Soundgas, and suggest you stop your search now and just send them a message. You will undoubtedly find yourself writing an ecstatic review about yours in short time."
In which our intrepid explorer stumbles across a pair of CS-80s in a barn deep in the Midlands. Find out more and see photos before they...
PUBLISHED: 25th Nov 2022
Our report on Soundgas' return to this excellent show: what we did, who we met, what drew the crowds, and some of the things that piqued...
PUBLISHED: 11th Oct 2022
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