I'm getting a couple.
Here's the thing, and I hope this thread doesn't get locked. This is a GROUP BUY. As such, group buys have inherent risks involved and you really have to understand what you are getting into. The upside is that you can get the gear really freakin' cheap, but it comes at a price:
1) You will likely forget what you bought by the time it shows up - it takes a LONG time (we're thalking MONTHS).
2) You can't try-before-you-buy unless you know someone with the same model. And in the case of these preamps, none exist yet except a few prototypes, so you are buying without ever having heard them and without a large group of users to get opinions from.
3) There is zero customer service
4) If you get a defect, there's pretty much nothing you can do except try and fix it yourself. No warranty of any kind. No return policy of any kind.
5) Ordering is tricky and you need to stay 'in the loop' (although this one seems to be insanely well organized due to the involvement of a web programmer who has automated a lot of stuff).
6) You have to trust the person doing the group buy and that person really needs to know what he or she is doing because it's easy to make mistakes (although, in this case, the person doing it has a great reputation). So that's how you get to the super cheap price - a lot of risk and a lot of waiting. Group buys are NOT for the feint of heart.
Now, as for the clone business.... These are NOT rebranded pres - they are entirely new being designed and built specifically for the guy that does this group buy. The 73 pres were designed based upon the circuit in Neve 1073s (can't comment on the other two) by a Neve tech. They are not exactly the same, and they will not have carnhill transformers. They will have cheaper Chinese transformers and you will have to mod them with new transformers yourself or stick with what they come with. Obviously, if they were exact clones they would cost a heck of a lot more to make. Will they sound just like a 1073
??? Good question. You have no way of knowing... my guess is somewhere between "a decent pre" and "very close" LOL. Yeah, that's a pretty wide margin.
The people getting these pres (including myself, for a piar) are doing it knowing full well that they don't know exactly what they will sound like. We also all know that we might want to replace the transformers. None of us are taking out a second mortgage to buy these because we know that it's possible we'll get them and not like them. It IS a gamble. But if you can afford to lose the money if it all goes wrong, you do stand to get some gear at manufacturing cost if it all goes right.
So I'm just saying: know what you are getting into.
I hope this thread doesn't get locked. I understand why they usually do, but I think so long as people are honest about how group buys work and nobody is making sales pitches it is very valuable to have the discussion.