The vintage Neve 1073’s at Clear Lake are one of the most sought after pieces of equipment in the studio. They have stood the test of time as one of the most versatile and consistently excellent sounding microphone pre amps. Countless imitations and reissues are available, but many will agree none of them quite reach sonic characteristics of the original Neve 1073s.
The 1073 is a Class-A design microphone/line preamplifier with three equalizer bands. The equalizer has a fixed 12kHz high frequency band and switchable low and mid range bands with cut and boost controls. There is also a passive -18dB/octave high pass filter. There are two switches on the front of the module for equalizer bypass and phase polarity. The 1073 was designed to be part of the 80 series Neve console, THE classic console of the 70’s. It was never intended for use as a stand alone module, though in modern use this is its most popular form. It is now regarded as a “desert island” preamp by many recording engineers, it has been used on a countless number of hit records over the past 30 years from Rock, Rap, Hip-hop, to Classical. The sound is described as very big, fat, and colored. The factor contributing to the larger than life sound is greatly attributed to the design of the transformer which seems to add subharmonics to the signal. The Equalizer section of the 1073 is regarded as very “musical” and practical and has become the favorite choice of many engineers for tracking and mixing. Many engineers comment that it doesn’t matter what frequency you choose to boost, with the 1073 it will sound better.
A number of Los Angeles recording studios may own a couple of these preamps, but very few offer the combination of a room that sounds fantastic, vintage microphones, and instruments that can really show how the Neve 1073 shines.