Black Lion Audio has introduced the Eighteen microphone preamp and passive program equalizer. BLA says that the Eighteen channel strip is “an homage to the classic Melcor sound”. For a reasonable price of USD 900, the Eighteen could find its way into many studios.
Black Lion Audio Eighteen
Black Lion Audio has steadily made a name for itself with products like the B173, B12A and Auteur preamps. The company’s Seventeen compressor is a popular 1176 clone, which also found its way into the interesting B172A dual compressor. And what comes after Seventeen? Eighteen!
The BLA Eighteen is a channel strip, albeit one that does not include dynamic processing. Its preamp section features Cinemag input and output transformers, as well as a pair of BLA1831 discrete op-amps. These are Black Lion Audio’s own design, inspired by the classic Melcor 1731 op-amps from the early days of API. According to BLA, they combine a vintage tone with the low noise floor of modern gear. The company says that the Eighteen has a punchy midrange with smooth top and bottom ends.
The equalizer section offers a passive program EQ with an obvious Pultec EQP-1A heritage. It contains a custom-made Cinemag inductor. BLA claims that it’s “quiet and ultra-flexible”.
To the right of the EQ, there’s a VU meter and some buttons for phantom power, polarity, EQ on, high and low pass filters, and mute.
All in all, the Eighteen seems like an interesting piece of gear with a lot of potential. Since it doesn’t include a compressor, it’s not what most people have in mind when they think of a complete channel strip. But then, you can always add a Seventeen or BLA-172, to complete the processing chain.
Price and availability
According to Black Lion Audio, the Eighteen is scheduled to begin shipping by the end of January, 2020. The minimum advertised price (MAP) in the USA is USD 899.