Warm Audio WA73 Single-Channel, Hand-Wired Microphone Preamp
The Warm Audio WA73 is a single-channel, Class-A microphone preamp designed to provide up to 80 dB of gain for engineers, producers, musicians, and vocalists in mobile-recording rigs and home, project, and commercial studios. It features custom Carnhill transformers and is wired and assembled by hand to deliver the sound and functionality of classic British '73-style preamps.
Its inputs include balanced XLR and 1/4" TRS jacks and one front-panel 1/4" TS instrument input. Input impedance, polarity, ground lift, and phantom power are switchable. Connect an outboard compressor or equalizer via the 1/4" TS insert send and return jacks. Balanced XLR and 1/4" outputs are fed by an output level control and allow compatibility with most audio interfaces and mixing consoles. The selectable high-pass filter can be set to 50 Hz, 80 Hz, 160 Hz, or 300 Hz for management of unruly bass frequencies.
- Mic, Line, and Instrument Inputs
- Insert Send and Return
- Up to 80 dB of Gain
- Output Level Control
- Switchable Input Impedance
- Selectable High-Pass Filter
- Custom Carnhill Transformers
- Phantom Power and Polarity Switches
- Ground-Lift Switch
- Wired and Assembled by Hand
A Single Channel '73 For The Rest Of Us
If there’s one style of preamp that professional engineers would unanimously agree has defined the tone of pop/rock records for decades, it would most definitely be the venerable '73-style of mic pre. '73-style preamps have been massively used in recording and live applications for many years and are still considered to be the “Holy Grail” of preamp choices today. The Warm Audio “WA73 Family” consists of single and dual channel '73-style preamps (with & w/out EQ), that each pay careful homage to British audio history.
When Warm Audio decided to release the WA73 it was imperative that it met vintage expectation in both design and performance. The tone and sweet character that vintage '73-style mic preamps impart is so unique and familiar, that we had only the pure desire to release sonically accurate reproductions. After years of R&D, careful reverse-engineering, and countless hours of auditioning, the WA73 was born!
The WA73 is a “Desert Island” boutique preamp, but it can also be classified as a studio and live work-horse. Classic '73-style preamps are known for being versatile tools that work 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
Enthusiasts unequivocally get excited about the components used in classic '73-style British preamps. The signal transformers are a common topic of conversation. Vintage units used various versions of transformers throughout the years, but the most coveted were the earliest versions. These are regarded as the most desirable 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 reproductions of these most coveted, early version transformers. Warm Audio have not yet heard a modern day '73-style preamp sound as sweet and musical as does our WA73 with these beautiful custom Transformers.
Capacitors & Signal Path
An important part of classic British tone not often discussed are the different styles of capacitors and output transistor used in '73-style circuits. Warm Audio found it important to maintain integrity to early British designs 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 preamps.
Hand Wired & Hand Assembled
Classic '73-style preamps were often hand-wired and so is the WA73! Guru’s claim that a portion of the sought after classic British 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
- SINGLE CHANNEL, CLASS A, '73-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" RACKMOUNTABLE
- GROUND LIFT SWITCH
- INTERNAL IEC 115V/230V POWER INLET