June 13, 2024

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Brings back to life the musically warm, punchy, and sweet sound of classic British consoles

As a versatile, colourful, and affordable British-style mic preamp and DI box, Golden Age Audio’s Pre-73 MKIV allows its users to achieve vintage colour and punch by cranking up the GAIN knob without fear; after all, a dedicated OUTPUT control allows attenuation of the signal, so it is perfectly possible to drive the preamp without overloading any associated audio interface inputs. It is also possible to engage the -14dB OUTPUT PAD for even more control of hot signals, or keep things clean and transparent by backing off on the GAIN and turning up the OUTPUT. On top of that, further tone-sculpting capabilities come courtesy of the selectable LOW-Z low-pass filter to eliminate unwanted low-end rumble at the source, and/or using the selectable — 3dB/6dB — AIR EQ to add some shimmer and presence to the top-end. Toggle between 1200Ω or 300Ω resistance using the LOW-Z to hear how connected mics react!

Connecting condenser and dynamic microphones is not a problem, thanks to Pre-73 MKIV’s switchable +48V mic input, while its 80 db of GAIN make it ideal for use with sensitive ribbon microphones on delicate sound sources. Sensibly, LINE- and instrument-level inputs allow for further connection to almost any audio source, and a rear panel-positioned INSERT jack is provided for using external processors like EQs and compressors. Choosing from TRS or XLR OUT (output) options is, of course, a given.

What is a ’73-Style Preamp

Neve built Wessex a 28-input console called the A88, which was the first desk to be fitted with the model 1073 channel amplifier/equalizer module. Never meant to be a stand-alone device, the inboard 1073 was a Class-A solid-state preamp with transformer balanced inputs and outputs, which was somewhat of a rarity for the time. This was done due to Neve’s history in broadcast and radio electronics where isolation and protecting the signal from degradation was critical. Also, because this was a console pre, the amp had to sound good on everything. The 1073’s three-band EQ has a fixed 12kHz high frequency shelf band along with switchable low and mid range bands with cut and boost controls. Below those is a passive third-order (18 dB/octave) high pass filter. Two switches are fitted on the module’s front panel for equalizer bypass and phase polarity reverse.

True to the classic preamps of yesteryear, Pre-73 MKIV was designed with a focused attention to component choices and build quality not found in other preamps near the same price. Put it this way: no surface-mount components or integrated circuits are used, and all inputs and outputs are transformer-balanced affairs using two different purpose-optimised transformers. Indeed, its external power supply eliminates the risk of self-noise, and its metal half-rack chassis is both portable and sturdy.

Saying all that, then, getting classic console tone and getting the most out of anyone’s mic locker is what Pre-73 MKIV is all about — and all keenly priced to go!

Pre-73 MKIV is shipping and available at an MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $349.00 USD — RAD Distribution acts as exclusive North American distributor for Golden Age Audio products (https://raddist.com/en/brands/golden-age-audio) — and an SRP (Suggested Retail Price) of €374.00 EUR — including VAT (Value Added Tax) — in the EU (European Union).

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated Pre-73 MKIV webpage here: https://www.goldenageproject.com/outboard-hardware/preamps/pre-73-mk-iv

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