Warm Audio WA12 MKii 500 Series Mic/Instrument Preamp  From Warm Audio

One of the best values within the 500 Series "colored" preamps, the WA12 features American made Cinemag I/O transformers to achieve it's warm, vibey, and rich tones.

Warm Audio

$419.00

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What We Think

The first thing that jumps out about this piece is price. Personally, I’ve never been interested in items that drag around the “bang for the buck” moniker, so needless to say I was a little bit skeptical of the WA12. There are some really great Neve clones out there that, on top of nailing the sound of the 1073, also nail the fit and finish right down to the texture of the knobs. These can be very expensive and for the no compromise enthusiast, worth every penny. For the more budget minded who are less concerned with visual aesthetic and more about capturing that classic musical tone, they need look no further. 
 
I tried it on a rock vocal where I quickly and easily was able to get a warm and vibey Neve-ish tone that took minimal effort to sit properly in the mix. Simple, tried and true design coupled with better than you’d expect electronics yields a better than expected result!

Manufacturer's Description from Warm Audio

Packed With Performance.

A lot of preamps on the market do a good job of raising the volume of mics and instruments. Unfortunately, many pres are doing only that, raising volume.  The “Super clean” designs of today often leave the signal exiting the preamp sounding much the same as it did entering it.

If you are looking for a preamp to improve and shape your signal you will most definitely love the WA12-500 MKII. The WA12-500 MKII is designed to transform plain instruments and vocals into exciting tone.  If your mixes lack depth, struggle to sound alive, or are just missing that professional touch you’ve always wanted, there is a good chance you will love the WA12-500 MKII.

Raising The Volume.

The WA12 - 500 MKII is a completely discrete, high voltage, dual-transformer microphone preamplifier designed for high gain (+71dB), high headroom, low noise, and an exciting sonic performance – great for all types of recording applications.  A high quality mic preamp is one of the most critical pieces needed to achieve the elusive ‘larger than life’ sound, and the WA12 - 500 MKII  is more than capable of delivering.  

The WA12 - 500 MKII is based around a discrete op-amp, the X731, which is our own reproduction of the vintage classic Melcor 1731, considered by some to be the warmer predecessor to the modern 2520-style op-amp.  The X731 can achieve vibrant, clean and lifelike tones; but can also be driven into mild saturation at much higher gain levels.  The effects can be subtle, but very pleasing to the ear.  The WA12 - 500 MKII can also accept any discrete op-amp on the market which conforms to the +/-16v, 2520 pinout standard.

Premium Components in every Warm Audio product.

When developing the WA12-500 MKII our ears played a big part in the design process.  Using CineMag USA transformers and an all discrete signal path ensured that the WA12-500 MKII would have the building blocks to compete with the best preamps on the market.  We are very proud to offer such a robust/professional design in a small and affordable package.

Warm Audio

About Manufacturer

Warm Audio's goal is to put high-end gear in the hands of the world’s greatest artists, talent deserves to be properly expressed. Many great musicians are never heard in the right light due to budget restrictions, Warm Audio hopes to change this by bringing fully professional designs to all studios at affordable prices. Don't let our price tags fool you, all of our products have completely discrete signal paths and feature custom USA made CineMag transformers that are found in only the best designs in pro audio.

I am asked often how Warm Audio is able to produce such high quality gear at affordable prices, many assume corners must be cut somewhere.  My answer to this question continues to be "NO".  Warm Audio stays true to original discrete schematics and does this without cheapening components such as our continued use of world class Reichenbach/CineMag transformers.

Specifications

  • Utilizes premium grade input and output USA CineMag transformers.

  • 71db of Gain, fully discrete signal path.

  • Utilizes a discrete 6-pin socketed 1731 style opamp.  Can be replaced with other 6-pin "2520 foot-print" opamps for varying tone/flavor.

  • TONE button – Switches the input impedance from 600 ohms to 150 ohms.  Changes the tone of both the mic and HI-Z inputs.

  • 2 Meg Ohm True HI-Z input on front panel. Sends instrument signal through entire circuit including both Cinemag Transformers and the discrete opamp. Great for guitars, bass, keyboards and other instruments that have a 1/4″ output jack.

  • 48 volt Phantom Power.

  • Output attenuation control (after the CineMag output transformer) allows for driving the preamp and transformers into saturation.

  • LED Meter gain indication.

  • 20db pad.