Can Warm Audio land a Christmas number 1 with the WA-412?
4 'API-style' mic pres from Warm Audio with output attenuation
There’s no mistaking what Warm Audio have copied this time. Here’s their 4-channel API-style mic pre-amps and instrument DI’s in a single rack mount unit. This promises to be a hit, building on their own WA12 mic pre. The 412 adds an output attenuator on each channel, a feature many wanted for an API pre-amp. Launching in time for Christmas, will the WA-412 be on the top of your list?
Warm Audio WA-412 4-channel Mic Pre-amp
API, in my view, are among the top three in analogue studio equipment. The 3124 has become a particular favourite for tracking drums. However, priced at around the £3k mark, it isn’t the most affordable unit. Thankfully, companies like Warm Audio exist to bring us alternatives. This isn’t the first time Warm Audio have created an API-style pre, but there are some significant improvements with this latest model which could even tempt API customers.
Warm Audio say the have spent some time sourcing the right components for the WA-412. They are drawing particular attention to the input and output transformers which they have sourced from Altran. They are also proud of their “fully discrete socketed 6-pin opamp” on each channel, which can be user upgraded if desired. Whilst I’m sure this is all great and building hardware is more efficient these days, the photograph of the internals looks surprisingly sparse to me. I imagine the API version will at least have an expensive weight about it.
It’s on the exterior where ‘new’ features which will grab most attention. I love how Warm Audio say they’ve ‘added’ a couple of features to a unit they haven’t actually built before. Either way, new to this style of mic pre-amp is an output attenuator on each channel. This is clearly a valuable addition which, if using high-quality components, will prove beneficial in modern recording chains. We don’t all have an analogue console to do creative gain staging and it’s frustrating when the input to your AD converter determines the mic gain. Secondly, they’ve also ‘added’ a tone button on each channel. This push button changes the impedance of the pre-amp from 600 Ohms to 150 Ohms, which should for some mics offer a different colour of sound.
To learn more about the WA-412 and it’s specifications, see Warm Audio’s webpage. It doesn’t look like orders can be placed just yet, but Warm Audio are hoping to start shipping in December. This could be the ideal Christmas present for many of us gear fans. Expected at only 1200 GBP, that’s great value per pre-amp.
Here is a video interview Sound On Sound filmed at AES 2016 with Warm Audio’s founder Bryce Young. This video is from Sound On Sound Magazine’s YouTube channel.