The legendary 1073 wrote the book on characterful mic preamplification and EQ. These venerable circuits helped define the punchy sound of '70s rock — and countless recordings and live concerts ever since. Today, this coveted tone can be yours for a song, with the Warm Audio WA73-EQ mic/line/instrument preamp. In both design and performance, the WA73-EQ pays homage to the revered British console lineage that started it all. Throughout the audio industry, the 1073 is considered the holy grail of preamps and EQs, with a rich, sweet, and bold tonality that's ideal for making audacious statements with your music. After years of R&D, painstaking reverse-engineering, and countless hours of listening, Warm Audio captured the sonic essence of this classic perfectly in their boutique WA73-EQ. With 80dB of gain and a fully discrete transformer-balanced signal path, the sound is a revelation: harmonically rich bottom end, focused midrange, and slightly resonant highs.
Boasting weapons-grade build quality with discrete, handwired Class A circuits and top-drawer parts such as UK-made Carnhill transformers and Blore Edwards mil-spec, dual-concentric switch pots, the WA73-EQ has 80dB of gain on tap so you can capture subdued sources with your favorite ribbon mic. Your ribbons and condensers will sound heavenly; you'll even be gobsmacked when you hear how authoritative your dynamic mics sound. Cranking the input stage and backing off the output gain enhances your tracks with tasty vintage-style coloration. Topping off the feature set is an instrument jack, polarity reverse, 48V phantom power, and switchable impedance for tonal variation and to optimally match a variety of microphones.
There is no source that doesn't sound amazing through the Warm Audio WA73-EQ. With judicious mic selection and placement, drums are larger-than-life; DI bass and keyboards sound massive and synths become trance-inducing; electric guitars soar; vocals rule. Pianos and acoustic guitars are resplendent. Orchestral instruments — strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion — achieve ineffable lushness and dimension. You can even use the WA73-EQ as a tone-shaping tool to run stems or complete mixes through. Hear what the WA73-EQ can do for your own recordings. It's transformative.
The EQ section of the WA73-EQ adheres to the classic 1073 circuit topology. The vintage 1073 is the holy grail of EQ, and the WA73-EQ nails its sonics and behavior (complete with its fabled harmonic distortion). It's a three-band affair, with HF shelving at 10, 12, and 16kHz; midband peaking with selectable center frequencies at 360Hz, 700Hz, 1.6kHz, 3.2kHz, 4.8kHz, and 7.2kHz; and LF shelving, selectable at 35Hz, 60Hz, 110Hz, and 220Hz. A highpass filter, selectable at 50Hz, 80Hz, 160Hz, and 300Hz, lets you trim your signals of unwanted low end. If you've never worked with a 1073-style EQ before, all we can say is: you're in for a serious treat. It's worth noting that the original 1073 offered only a fixed 10kHz shelf, and the additional high-frequency flexibility afforded by the WA73-EQ is most welcome.
1073-loving engineers at Sweetwater perk up when the conversation turns to the component history of these classic circuits, and signal transformers are a frequent topic of discussion. Vintage 1073s used different transformer variants throughout their production run; but the most coveted were the very first ones made by Marinair Radar, due to their fluid and forgiving nature that saturates sweetly when pushed. They have been known to bring engineers to tears when they hear how gorgeous their mixes sound through them! Warm Audio turned to Carnhill Transformers of Cambridgeshire, UK, to design meticulous replicas of these most desirable early 1073 transformers. The results are stunning, and — to our ears — tantalizingly close to early vintage 1073s.
A vital yet not-often-discussed component of these classic British circuits is the different types of capacitors and output transistors used. To maintain the integrity of the original circuits, Warm decided to use high-quality tantalum and polystyrene capacitors in the signal path and an output transistor choice that delivers smoother results at higher gain settings than what is commonly found in today's 1073-style preamps. All considered, Warm Audio's monumental effort to design a no-compromise product has paid off handsomely. You'll appreciate this every time you plug into the WA73-EQ and hit record.