Warm Audio WA12 312 Mic Pre
WarmAudio
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#1
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #1
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Hardware Warm Audio WA12 312 Mic Pre

Hi,

I wanted to introduce a new 312 style mic pre to the forum, The Warm Audio WA12. It's completely discrete with custom wound USA made Cinemag transformers, 71db's of gain and high headroom. I've sold 8 channels of this design to a Neve console owner in Florida at a much higher price, they are the real deal. I wanted to introduce it to the high end forum because its price tag might lead one to think it's a budget pre.

Things that make the preamp noteworthy/unique:
- High quality components - Low cost $449
- It's intentional vintage (mid-boosted) character


Most of the info needed can be found at the site Warm Audio | Warm, FAT, Luscious Analogue tone!, including sound samples. Let me know if you have any questions, thanks guys.

Last edited by WarmAudio; 26th April 2012 at 09:51 PM.. Reason: Mention price
#2
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
Hi,

I wanted to introduce a new 312 style mic pre to the forum, The Warm Audio WA12. It's completely discrete with custom wound USA made Cinemag transformers, 71db's of gain and high headroom. I've sold 8 channels of this design to a Neve console owner in Florida at a much higher price, they are the real deal. I wanted to introduce it to the high end forum because its price tag might lead one to think it's a budget pre.

Things that make the preamp noteworthy/unique:
- High quality components - Low cost
- It's intentional vintage (mid-boosted) character


Most of the info needed can be found at the site Warm Audio | Warm, FAT, Luscious Analogue tone!, including sound samples. Let me know if you have any questions, thanks guys.

looks cool, why not 500 series?
got ant pics of the inside?
WarmAudio
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#3
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Headstack View Post
looks cool, why not 500 series?
got ant pics of the inside?
Thanks for the question. A 500 series version is in the works. We wanted the first version to have a built in power supply so those without lunchboxes could also use it.

As for pictures of the inside I'll have to get some up, there are some small pics of the transformers and the opamp on the site WA12 Specs | Warm Audio
#4
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
Thanks for the question. A 500 series version is in the works. We wanted the first version to have a built in power supply so those without lunchboxes could also use it.

As for pictures of the inside I'll have to get some up, there are some small pics of the transformers and the opamp on the site WA12 Specs | Warm Audio
thanks

I'm not so sure saying "you will be hard pressed to find a pre as good under $1,000"

I mean a real API 512 is $700
#5
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #5
...and we have a New Product section.....= here
#6
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #6
(product looks great by the way)
WarmAudio
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#7
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #7
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Lindell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindell View Post
(product looks great by the way)
Lindell, thanks for the support. I've heard nothing but great things about your stuff, looking forward to your 500 series pres being available this summer.
WarmAudio
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#8
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #8
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WA12

A 500 series without a power supply is $700-$800, after a lunchbox you're above $1k. This pre isn’t trying to sound identical to API though, it has color/analogue warmth/vintage tone etc... that’s not commonly found in a lot of gear these days.

Some of my clients have sold pres valued well above $1k after using this design.
#9
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #9
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r up @ zenpro
what's the op amp?
WarmAudio
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#10
26th April 2012
Old 26th April 2012
  #10
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Warm,Audio WA12

Quote:
Originally Posted by jitterybit View Post
r up @ zenpro
what's the op amp?
Yes, available for purchase at Zen Pro. Samples are in the clipalator as well.

1731 style opamp, runs on +/- 18V
#11
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #11
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Just read the review and heard the demos. I'm not really in the market for a new pre but this sounds great, might change my mind (being a gear junkie is expensive)
#12
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
A 500 series without a power supply is $700-$800, after a lunchbox you're above $1k. This pre isn’t trying to sound identical to API though, it has color/analogue warmth/vintage tone etc... that’s not commonly found in a lot of gear these days.

Some of my clients have sold pres valued well above $1k after using this design.
you can buy a 500 series 2 space racks for under $300

I'm curious, if it's not identical to a 312 them why even use the name?
seems deceiving especially when you use the melcor part number too.

The only reason I ask this is because I would love a 312 with a melcor opamp.
But if you say it is not Identical, I've been looking for a realistic lowcost clone

But for the price it seems like a good preamp. Have you compared it to the bla 312?
WarmAudio
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#13
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #13
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Warm Audio WA12 mic preamp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Headstack View Post
you can buy a 500 series 2 space racks for under $300

I'm curious, if it's not identical to a 312 them why even use the name?
seems deceiving especially when you use the melcor part number too.

The only reason I ask this is because I would love a 312 with a melcor opamp.
But if you say it is not Identical, I've been looking for a realistic lowcost clone

But for the price it seems like a good preamp. Have you compared it to the bla 312?
Headstack,

Great questions. When I say not identical I mean that it doesn't use all identical components from the same manufacturers. Even with an identical schematic different component choices make big differences to the tone.

The custom transformers in the WA12 are a big factor in its uniqueness, they are designed to provide a vintage sonic signature. Some might say that the WA12 has more color/vibe/warmth/analogue-console-tone than many modern clean/transparent/fast acting pres. The WA12 gives a strong presence to the mid frequencies and has a silky smooth open top end. The sonic signature was tweaked and played with until I fell in love with it, it's not just a happen chance choice of part numbers from a catalog.

Cinemag is a first class transformer manufacturer supplying transformers to high-end companies like A-Designs (pacifica), Fink Audio, Universal Audio, Presonus (ADL 600), they do a great job. Much of the WA12’s manufacturing cost lies in these 2 parts alone (the Cinemag input and output transformers).

The WA12 does follow the original 312 schematic and the opamp follows the Melcor 1731. Following these 2 schematics exactly still leaves many components open for choice outside of the Cinemag transformers ie. transistors type, capacitor type, surface mount versus through hole etc... My ears were involved in all of these decisions....they have to be....I'm a picky guy

Last edited by WarmAudio; 27th April 2012 at 06:33 AM.. Reason: typo
#14
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #14
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Talking

Great sounding unit, I recommend it when people write JJ asking for a preamp suggestion.

They hear the clips and understand my choice.

You've really got a great thing going here.

Good design, good iron, great price, real nice

All the best.

Peace
Illumination
#15
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #15
Gear interested
 

Did you planning some Europian distribution?

Tnx
WarmAudio
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#16
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #16
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WA12 microphone mic preamp distribution

Quote:
Originally Posted by alen94 View Post
Did you planning some Europian distribution?

Tnx
Yes, we are a few months out though, more units are being manufactured for other countries now. If you want to get your hands on one sooner than that send me a message and I can have a retailer here work with you on cost effective shipping. You would need to come up with a 24V AC power adapter.
#17
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #17
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At the time of this writing we are able to ship to Europe for $46.65 via Priority service. Ship time is typically about 5 to 7 days to the region.

War
#18
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #18
Gear interested
 

We are happy to ship the WA12 to Europe if anyone would like one. As Bryce mentioned, you will need a European power supply at 24v or a common step-down transformer as these come with US voltage PSU. The European Golden Age supplies will also work. The GAP PSAC-4 is 110/220 switchable PSU and will supply power to 4 half-rack (or other) 24v units.
#19
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
Headstack,

Great questions. When I say not identical I mean that it doesn't use all identical components from the same manufacturers. Even with an identical schematic different component choices make big differences to the tone.

The custom transformers in the WA12 are a big factor in its uniqueness, they are designed to provide a vintage sonic signature. Some might say that the WA12 has more color/vibe/warmth/analogue-console-tone than many modern clean/transparent/fast acting pres. The WA12 gives a strong presence to the mid frequencies and has a silky smooth open top end. The sonic signature was tweaked and played with until I fell in love with it, it's not just a happen chance choice of part numbers from a catalog.

Cinemag is a first class transformer manufacturer supplying transformers to high-end companies like A-Designs (pacifica), Fink Audio, Universal Audio, Presonus (ADL 600), they do a great job. Much of the WA12’s manufacturing cost lies in these 2 parts alone (the Cinemag input and output transformers).

The WA12 does follow the original 312 schematic and the opamp follows the Melcor 1731. Following these 2 schematics exactly still leaves many components open for choice outside of the Cinemag transformers ie. transistors type, capacitor type, surface mount versus through hole etc... My ears were involved in all of these decisions....they have to be....I'm a picky guy
Sounds good, Thanks for the info. I think for the price your unit is a no brainier. I'll have to pick one up.

-H|S
#20
27th April 2012
Old 27th April 2012
  #20
Gear addict
I am also interested by a 500 series version of this Pre.
I have 2 slots to fill in my lunchbox and I want 2 more pres (for Keyboards) please do let me know if ti still in the works.
#21
28th April 2012
Old 28th April 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
Hi,

I wanted to introduce a new 312 style mic pre to the forum, The Warm Audio WA12. It's completely discrete with custom wound USA made Cinemag transformers, 71db's of gain and high headroom. I've sold 8 channels of this design to a Neve console owner in Florida at a much higher price, they are the real deal. I wanted to introduce it to the high end forum because its price tag might lead one to think it's a budget pre.

Things that make the preamp noteworthy/unique:
- High quality components - Low cost $449
- It's intentional vintage (mid-boosted) character


Most of the info needed can be found at the site Warm Audio | Warm, FAT, Luscious Analogue tone!, including sound samples. Let me know if you have any questions, thanks guys.
i love that the numbers on the gain nob are so odd and seemingly arbitrary. who puts "29db on their product?! funny and creative.
WarmAudio
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#22
28th April 2012
Old 28th April 2012
  #22
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Warm Audio WA12 500 Series (API Neve SSL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by G-d-S View Post
I am also interested by a 500 series version of this Pre.
I have 2 slots to fill in my lunchbox and I want 2 more pres (for Keyboards) please do let me know if ti still in the works.
I will make a new product announcement for sure
WarmAudio
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#23
28th April 2012
Old 28th April 2012
  #23
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Warm Audio WA12 Mic pre Gain (SSL Neve API)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
i love that the numbers on the gain nob are so odd and seemingly arbitrary. who puts "29db on their product?! funny and creative.
I'll take the compliment . The true reasoning behind it is that those numbers should match the exact gain you are getting from the preamp at that rotation. You would add 6 dbs of gain to the number if you have the tone button pushed in....for example if cranked to full gain (65dbs), but you have the tone button pushed, in you'd actually be at 71dbs.
#24
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
  #24
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Haha I didnt even realize the funky numbering on the gain...its just how it falls at 9, 12, and 3 on the dial I guess.

Just want to speak up here as an owner of a WA12 and say that this thing is the real deal. I have been playing with it for a few weeks and it is filling a niche in my studio perfectly. I have been doing a lot of vocal work lately and I am finding that this pre works best with my voice on harder rock. I am running a very light compressor after the pre just to knock a few of the peaks off and it is sitting in the mix beautifully. The sound is not quite as present upon recording as some other options, but I attribute that to the warmth it retains in the middle to lower mids. Somehow it is able to retain that "warmth" and still have amazing detail ad clarity so it reacts beatifully to eq. The form factor and the wall wart are some drawbacks, but at the price point there had to be some concessions made and I would rather have in those areas than in the signal path.

Just so you dont think I am out campaigning for WARM audio I will say that I have not used it on everything since I got it. I found that my ART MPA Gold worked better for a Neil Diamond-esque vocal that I did.

This is another place that has some clips up if you are interested in hearing it in action.
Warm Audio WA12 Review Part 2: The Audio Files | Everything Recording
#25
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bater View Post
Haha I didnt even realize the funky numbering on the gain...its just how it falls at 9, 12, and 3 on the dial I guess.

Just want to speak up here as an owner of a WA12 and say that this thing is the real deal. I have been playing with it for a few weeks and it is filling a niche in my studio perfectly. I have been doing a lot of vocal work lately and I am finding that this pre works best with my voice on harder rock. I am running a very light compressor after the pre just to knock a few of the peaks off and it is sitting in the mix beautifully. The sound is not quite as present upon recording as some other options, but I attribute that to the warmth it retains in the middle to lower mids. Somehow it is able to retain that "warmth" and still have amazing detail ad clarity so it reacts beatifully to eq. The form factor and the wall wart are some drawbacks, but at the price point there had to be some concessions made and I would rather have in those areas than in the signal path.

Just so you dont think I am out campaigning for WARM audio I will say that I have not used it on everything since I got it. I found that my ART MPA Gold worked better for a Neil Diamond-esque vocal that I did.

This is another place that has some clips up if you are interested in hearing it in action.
Warm Audio WA12 Review Part 2: The Audio Files | Everything Recording
i don't think the Art is Class A preamp...Would you say thw Wa is a class A preamp
#26
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
  #26
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I don't know if it is class A or AB or if those classifications even apply. This is a solid state transformer in and out, not a tube like the ART. The circuits and sound are very different

Sent from my Vortex using Gearslutz App
#27
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
  #27
Gear addict
by the way are 2 of those units rackable?
#28
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
  #28
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I believe they will fit in a GAP rack, but they are working on a rack unit for them.
WarmAudio
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#29
30th April 2012
Old 30th April 2012
  #29
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WA12

Thanks for your interest guys.

Rack kits will be available in a few months, they will be black to match the body of the pre. We've prototyped a few racks but don't have them avail in the masses yet.

API is technically class A/B. "Class A" is not synonymous with "best class" but is often perceived as such. Both are excellent.
#30
30th April 2012
Old 30th April 2012
  #30
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And is the Orange color gunna stay?
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