Reviewed: Warm Audio WA73-EQ Single Channel Mic Preamp

Studio Connections | studioconnections.com.au | Expect To Pay: $1185

I’ve often said that most home studios can certainly achieve professional results by simply setting up one single channel of serious front-end for their recording setup. You don’t need a large format console or eight channels of AD conversion if you’re just recording a single track at a time. Rather than wasting money on unnecessary track counts that will never be used, why not invest in one seriously good input section and get the most from your recording? Whether it’s in a professional studio looking for added variety in their sounds or the serious home recording setup, the WA73-EQ from Warm Audio is certainly going to get the earbuds tingling.

I’ve had some time with it this month, and I think you should all take a listen. Over the years there have been a handful of preamps that have really stood the test of time with classic design that resulted in classic sound. Whilst some lean towards the very vintage American sounds of the ‘50s and ‘60s, there is no mistaking the place that British preamps and EQs have in rock and pop history. And of course, the original 1073 preamp is one that has left its mark on countless records. It is with no mistake that so many have followed in that tradition and created preamps that exhibit the audio qualities of the original ’73 design. The WA73-EQ is one such unit that has beautifully captured the essence of the ’73 sound in a modern, single channel build with three-band sweepable EQ. For those of you looking for stunning classic warmth in your vocals and instrument sounds, this is certainly one piece of hardware that will bring the front-end of your recording signal path to life.

 

Given the price point of these units, they are exceptionally well built. British made transformers, along with British made concentric switch potentiometers, offer some of the finest military spec components for optimum performance. The switches all engage firmly and with intent, whilst the pots are smooth and offer just enough resistance to ensure accurate fine adjustments. These are all mounted to the casing, then hand wired in so there is no stress placed on the boards or their mounting brackets during operation. These are the little touches that often get overlooked, but they can mean the difference between a cheap piece of junk and a quality piece of kit. The WA73-EQ is most certainly the latter, and you’ll hear this fact when you fire it up. The stepped gain structure of the preamp is warm, familiar, and a totally classic ’73 sound. The EQ circuit allows you to get the most from the sound with the three-band parametric design that adds character when engaged, rather than just adding noise.

 

All in all, this is a really nice piece of hardware that would shine in any studio and would certainly bring any home recording setup into the next league. Don’t just accept the preamps you have on your audio interface; your music deserves better, and giving it a classic sound like that of the WA73-EQ will bring your recordings to life.

Hits and Misses

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Classic ’73 style preamp tone

Exceptional build quality

Quality pots and switches

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I can’t hear any, it’s bloody good

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