Warm Audio WA73: the vintage-est 1073 pre-amp clone possible?
Known for some high quality replicas of vintage audio gear, US brand Warm Audio claims to be doing the old Neve 1073 mic pre-amp justice with its new WA73 family of rack units. Available in single and dual-channel variants, with or without EQ, the WA73s are designed as a “careful and humble homage” to the Neve 1073‘s original and oldest circuit. Their work features up to 80dB of gain, a fully discrete Carnhill Transformer balanced signal path – and the 3-band inductor EQ on the EQ-equipped models.
Warm Audio wanted to get as close to the original design as possible in this day and age. Thus, the WA73 family is fully hand-wired and assembled, as some of the 1073’s classic tone can be attributed to the construction itself. Then, WA worked with Carnhill Transformers to replicate the Marinair Radar transformers used in the 1073 pre’s very first versions. Their sound is highly coveted, as purists consider the early, vintage 1073 design as the best-sounding of the bunch.
Further along the list of to-dos for a convincing 1073 replica, Warm Audio used tantalum and polystyrene capacitors to maintain integrity with the original Neve design. They also claim their choice of output transistor is smoother in high-gain settings than expected from modern-day 1073 recreations. The dual concentric switch potentiometers in the EQ models are made by Blore Edwards, a manufacturer of military-spec switches and potentiometers.
Overall, Warm Audio’s work comes across as very convincing, with all the little and major details being in place. The WA73 family of preamps will be released in early 2018, with price and availability information to follow. Shipping is scheduled for late January.