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 1073. The 1073 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 WA273 it was imperative to us that the unit 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 WA273 has been born!
The WA273 is a boutique, 2 channel “Desert Island” preamp, but it can also be classified as a studio and live work-horse. The classic 1073 was known for being a versatile tool that works with all kinds of microphones from Condenser, to Dynamic, to Ribbon. The WA273 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 WA273 can’t handle.
Hand Wired & Hand Assembled— The classic 1073 was hand-wired and so is the WA273! Guru’s claim that a portion of the 1073’s classic tone can be attributed to the hand-wired nature of the build. The WA273 is hand-wired and hand assembled, including the pcb components that are all populated by hand.
UK Custom Carnhill Transformers— 1073 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 Marinair Radar. Marinair Radar Transformers are regarded as the most desirable 1073 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 1073-style preamp sound as close to the early vintage 1073 design as does our WA273 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 modern 1073-style replicas.