A '73 For The Rest Of Us
If there’s one preamp that professional engineers would unanimously agree has defined the tone of pop/rock records for the last 50+ years, it would most definitely be the venerable 73 Style. The 73 Style has been massively used in recording and live applications for decades and is still considered to be the “Holy Grail” of preamps today. The Warm Audio “WA73 Family” provides single and dual channel re-creations of this classic British preamp (with & w/out EQ), that each pay careful and humble homage to the original circuit.
When we at Warm Audio decided to release the WA73 it was imperative to us that the products pay respectful homage to the sacred British console history in both design and performance. The tone and sweet character that the vintage units impart is so unique and familiar, that we had only the pure desire to release truly sonic accurate replicas. After years of R&D, careful reverse-engineering, and countless hours of auditioning, the WA73 has been born!
The WA73 is a “Desert Island” boutique preamp, but it can also be classified as a studio and live work-horse. The classic 73 Style was known for being a versatile tool that worked with all kinds of microphones from Condenser, to Dynamic, to Ribbon. The WA73 equally shines on all types of microphones and sources including; vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, bass, drums, percussion, orchestras, keyboards, and even as a tone shaping tool to run partial or complete mixes through. With 80dB of gain and a fully discrete Carnhill Transformer balanced signal path, there’s no recording, mixing or engineering task that the WA73 can’t handle.
UK Custom Carnhill Transformers
73 Style enthusiasts unequivocally get excited about the component history in these classic circuits. The signal transformers are a common topic of conversation. The classic vintage units used various versions of transformers throughout the years, and the most coveted were the very first versions made by Vintsage 73 Transformer Radar. Vintsage 73 Transformer Radar Transformers are regarded as the most desirable 73 Style choice due to their fluid and forgiving nature. They saturate sweetly when pushed, and have been known to make engineers cry when they hear how beautiful their mixes sound through them! Warm Audio worked closely with Carnhill Transformers of Cambridgeshire, UK, to design faithful replicas of these most coveted, early version transformers. We at Warm Audio have not yet heard a modern day 73 Style-style preamp sound as close to the early vintage 73 Style design as does our WA73 with these beautiful custom Transformers.
Hand Wired & Hand Assembled
The classic 73 Style was hand-wired and so is the WA73! Guru’s claim that a portion of the 73 Style’s classic tone can be attributed to the hand-wired nature of the build. The WA73 is hand-wired and hand assembled, including the pcb components that are all populated by hand.
Capacitors & Signal Path
An important part of the classic British circuits not often discussed are the different styles of capacitors and output transistor used. We found it important to maintain integrity to the original design by using tantalum and polystyrene capacitors in the signal path and an output transistor choice that is much smoother in the high gain settings than what is typically found in modern 73 Style-style replicas.
The main features of the Warm Audio WA73 1 Channel British Mic Pre include:
- Single Channel, Class A, 73 Style-style British Microphone Preamp
- UK made Carnhill Transformers
- Hand wired, hand assembled
- 80dB of gain - resistor stepped gain switch
- Fully discrete
- TONE button - Changes input transformer impedance for varying tone
- Polarity switch
- 48v phantom power
- 4 position inductor based hipass filter - 50, 80, 160, 300 Hz
- XLR mic input
- Line level TRS input
- TS Send/Receive insert jacks
- XLR & TRS line level outputs
- Direct In, instrument input
- Output control
- Led level indication
- 19" rackable
- Ground lift switch
- Internal IEC 115v/230v power inlet
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