Not only one of the most recognizable preamps on the market today, but almost certainly the most copied, the 1073 has been a staple in recording studios for decades. At any point in our studio, we have had four to five different “1073-style” preamps that we could choose from. There are a lot of great versions of the 1073, and they are all a little different.

For us, it all starts with getting the right tone. For the 1073, that means having “weight” and “depth,” but it also means having clarity and the ability to stack a lot tracks together in the mix. If 1073s aren’t right, you’ll find you get too much lower frequency mud and a lack of clarity in your mixes.

With so many different 1073 options, we find it amazing that rented vintage 1073s always sound different from each other. Added to this is the fact that there isn’t any rhyme or reason to which clone any given vintage 1073 unit is most closely going to resemble. In our years of testing any 1073 against real vintage 1073s, they all sound different. Some are more heavy handed and sound “thicker,” while other vintage 1073s we have rented have a more open and airy top end with a really defined low-mid.

Your favorite 1073 clone isn’t going to be the same as mine. Furthermore, your application for the Neve sound isn’t going to be the same as mine… but this is the beauty of recording in such a wonderful time, with so many great choices at so many different price points! Whether you are a collector looking for the real deal, or a new engineer buying your first external preamp to go with your interface, I know there is a 1073 for you.


Doug Wessling

Doug Wessling

Pro Audio Specialist

Blind 1073-Style Preamp Shootout

If you’re trying to select a 1073 clone, start by watching our blind shootout (above) on male vocals and acoustic guitar. Without being influenced by preconceptions of brand, you can start teasing out the differences that will take you to the right 1073 for your application.

Contact us and we’ll send you the high res audio files so you can compare without YouTube compression and really hear the nuances.

As always, if you have a particular application in mind and want to sound us out, give us a call at (919) 682-5552. We’ve had an incredible number of vintage 1073s and 1073-style preamps come through our studio throughout the years, and are happy to help you find “the one.”

Shootout Gear

Warm Audio WA273-EQ

BAE 1073

Vintech Audio X73i Pre/EQ

Great River MP-2NV

Why Do We Do Our Shootouts Blind?

Good question! In our own experience as recording engineers and musicians, we’ve found we have unconscious biases that favor one microphone, preamp, instrument, etc. over another based merely on preconceptions and brand associations. We’re often surprised at the results and want to present that same unbiased listening opportunity for you.

Also, we hope you request the hi res files, because YouTube compression affects the audio considerably. And, last but not least, we want to help you purchase the right gear for your exact needs and setup. This is a shootout on one specific recording application, and it can give you some great info, but the devil is in the details! We specialize in the details and are here to assist you with your choice.