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The New Warm Audio “WA73 Family” - Coming Soon

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.

Hand Wired, Hand Assembled

The classic 1073 was hand-wired and so is the WA73 Family!  Guru’s claim that a portion of the original vintage classic tone can be attributed to the hand-wired nature of the build. The entirety of the WA73 Family of preamp(eq’s) is authentically hand-wired and hand assembled, including the pcb components that are all populated by hand.

UK Custom Carnhill Transformers

Audiophile enthusiasts when describing the sound of the original units unequivocally get excited about the component history in these classic circuits.  The signal transformers are a common topic of conversation.  The original preamp(eq’s) used various versions of transformers throughout the years, but the most coveted have always been the very first versions.  These early version transformers are regarded as the most desirable transformer 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 “British Styled” preamps sound as close to the early vintage design as does our WA73, WA73-EQ, WA273, & WA273-EQ with these beautiful custom Transformers.

Capacitors & Signal Path:

An important part of these classic British circuits not often discussed is 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  other reproductions.

UK Blore Edwards Switch-Pots (WA73-EQ & WA273-EQ only):

A great sounding circuit should be just as reliable as it is great sounding.  The complex dual concentric switch potentiometers in the EQ sections of the WA73-EQ and WA273-EQ are made in the UK by Blore Edwards who manufacture military spec switches and potentiometers.  The use of Blore-Edwards components is no small inclusion for Warm Audios take on these preamp-eq’s working within this price range.

  • Single Channel, Class A, “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
  • Single Channel, Class A,”British” Microphone Preamp with EQ
  • UK made Carnhill Transformers
  • UK made – Blore Edwards EQ dual-concentric switch potentiometers
  • 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
  • Inductor based 3 band EQ
  • Low Band Boost/Cut – 35, 60, 110, 220 Hz
  • Mid Band Boost/Cut – 360, 700, 1600, 3200, 4800, 7200 Hz
  • High Band Boost/Cut – 10, 12, 16 kHz
  • Additional high band frequency EQ points added (compared to vintage original version)
  • 4 position inductor based hipass filter – 50, 80, 160, 300 Hz
  • XLR mic inputs (front & back)
  • Line level TRS input
  • TS Send/Receive insert jacks
  • XLR & TRS line level outputs
  • Direct In, instrument input
  • Output control
  • Led level indication
  • Freq response 20Hz – 20kHz +/-.5 dB
  • 19″ rackable
  • Internal IEC 115v/230v power inlet
  • Two Channel, Class A, “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
  • Freq response 20Hz – 20kHz +/-.5 dB
  • 19″ rackable
  • Internal IEC 115v/230v power inlet
  • Two Channel, Class A, “British” Microphone Preamp with EQ
  • UK made Carnhill Transformers
  • UK made – Blore Edwards EQ dual-concentric switch potentiometers
  • 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
  • Inductor based 3-band EQ
  • Low Band Boost/Cut – 35, 60, 110, 220 Hz
  • Mid Band Boost/Cut – 360, 700, 1600, 3200, 4800, 7200 Hz
  • High Band Boost/Cut – 10, 12, 16 kHz
  • Additional high band frequency EQ points added (compared to vintage original version)
  • 4 position inductor based hipass filter – 50, 80, 160, 300 Hz
  • XLR mic inputs (front & back)
  • Line level TRS input
  • TS Send/Receive insert jacks
  • XLR & TRS line level outputs
  • Direct In, instrument input
  • Freq response 20Hz – 20kHz +/-.5 dB
  • 19″ rackable
  • Internal IEC 115v/230v power inlet

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.

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