The PREQ-73 is a one-channel vintage style microphone-, line- and instrument preamplifier with a two band shelving equalizer offering a smooth and effective sound shaping.
The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors. The line and microphone input and the line output are transformer balanced, using three different transformers, each one optimized for its purpose. The fully floating output can drive a level of at least +26 dBu into a load as low as 600 Ohms.
This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available. The subjective sound quality delivered by vintage equipment is often prefered over the one delivered by modern units, a situation that is even more obvious now when music is recorded with clean sounding digital audio equipment.
The circuit used in the PREQ-73 is similar to the preamp and part of the equalizer section in the classical 1073 module with a corresponding sound character that is warm, punchy, sweet and musical. These classic characteristics have been heard on countless recordings through the years and it is a versatile sound that works very well on most sound sources and in most genres. The essence of this sound is now available at a surprisingly low cost, making it available to nearly everyone.
- Vintage style electronics. No integrated circuits in the signal path.
- Maximum gain on the mic input is 80 dB, enough to handle passive ribbon mics with quiet sound sources.
- Gain range on the line input: -20 to +10 dB.
- Switchable impedance on the mic input, 1200 or 300 Ohm, will change the tone of many mics.
- Switchable phantom power and phase reverse.
- A high-impedance instrument input for sound modules, electric guitar or bass.
- A two band LF (+/-15 dB) and HF (+/-20 dB) shelving equalizer with two selectable frequencies for each band.
- A simple but effective 3-step LED output level meter.
- Output level control for fine gain adjustments and to make it possible to drive the input gain and equalizer stages harder.
- Combo XLR/TRS input jacks and separate output XLR and TRS jacks for flexible connections. Will drive almost any load.
- Insert jack (unbalanced, low level) for inserting effect units in the signal path. It can be located before or after the eq section.
- Tantalum capacitors in the signal path.
- The circuit board is prepared for the Carnhill mic and line input transformers.
- Jumper selectable 600 Ohms output termination.
- External high power power supply to avoid interaction with the audio circuits and transformers.
- A solid build quality that will last many years of normal use.
Here is the summary from the review in Music Tech 4/2014:
"The PREQ-73 is an affordable take on the legendary Neve 1073. It has a big, generous sound that flatters audio signals with an authentic vintage flavour. The EQ is a wonderfully musical tool that can add both grunt and air to flat sounds.
With solid build and good choice of internal components, the PREQ-73 represents excellent value for money. For a taste of the classic 1073 sound at a knock-down price, look no further. 9/10."