THE WORLD’S MOST BELOVED MIC PRE
The Sound Palace recently added the Neve 1073 Mic Pre/EQ to its outboard gear.
The Neve 1073 Mic preamp/EQ is justifiably legendary for its unique tonal quality and longevity in the marketplace. This famed mic pre has been used in more high-end studios and on more famous recordings than one can possibly count. The 1073 is the very definition of a piece of immortal gear, but even the immortals have to start somewhere.
The venerable 1073 module brings with it a long and storied history. Only a handful of other studio devices – Pultec, Fairchild, Teletronix – have been revered for so long and used so well. Like those historical names, the 1073 has achieved legend status. The so-called “British Sound,” or “British Iron,” as it is often referred to, originated with Neve’s consoles and the 1073. One might wonder where the recording world would be without the channel strip that Rupert Neve and company designed almost 50 years ago.
THE HISTORY OF THE NEVE 1073
Rupert Neve created many iconic products including the 2254 Compressor/Limiter in 1968, the 1073 Mic Pre/EQ in 1970, and the 1081 Mic Pre/EQ in 1973. Using Class A discrete, transistor designs, meticulously hand-wired and built to last, Neve became the world standard for excellence in broadcast and recording consoles.
The history of the Neve 1073 goes back to the summer of 1970, when Rupert Neve & Co. delivered a model A88 console to Wessex Sound Studios. Not only was it the first 24 track desk ever installed in London, but it came complete with a special upgrade, the newly designed 1073 mic pre/EQ channel input module. The first rock group to record on this console was King Crimson, who made their third album in a row at Wessex, the controversial album Lizard.
THE 1073 BECOMES A CLASSIC
The 1073 was an instant hit, and it remains the most desirable Class A discrete transistor mic preamp to this day. What made the original 1073 stand out was the tone. Thick and warm with a mid-forward presence and a smooth top end, it created a tone that sat beautifully in the mix. As Rupert himself admitted, this was mostly due to the input and output transformers. The input transformer was manufactured by Marinair (Radar) of Harlow, UK, and later by St. Ives Windings (now Carnhill). The output transformer was developed for over a year prior to the release of the 1073, and was co-designed and manufactured by Marinair.
The 1073 was another step in the evolution of mic preamps found in vintage Neve consoles.