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Neve 1073 vs 1272 Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 29th October 2007
Lives for gear
whitepapagold's Avatar

Originally Posted by elambo View Post
They sound exactly the same to my ears. But I don't know that I've ever needed to push a 1272 to the point that I'd notice the difference, if there is a difference.

I compared at 40 db- which is where I usually am on that pre going direct. Zero difference. I pushed it to 50- same thing, so I stopped caring. If pushing it towards max makes it sound different, thats about .01% of the time for me so.... Sometimes its just not worth caring!
Old 29th October 2007
Gear Addict
EisenAudio's Avatar

Originally Posted by gainstages View Post
i'm very familiar with the sound of the 1073, but don't know anything really about the sound of at 1272. can someone enlighten me as to the differences in tonality and design?
I've done a lot of research and comparisons, and ultimately I've found that there's so much confusion and misinformation surrouning the 1272/1073 mic pre issue that it's not really worth discussing. If you can find a pair of 1272 modules at a decent price, then you've probably got a great pair of preamps for loud sources needing coloring. Wire them as per the 1073/1063 schematics and use them where they work. However, also keep in mind that if you try and get too much gain out of them, then what you're hearing is an amp that's giving more than what it was intended to, and this sound may no longer be so similar to any setting on a 1073. Now, if you still want to discuss it, then keep reading...

An original 1272, if properly modified, can sound and function eactly the same as an original 1073 (with EQ out), but only up to ~50dB of gain (the "-50" position on the sensitivity switch) !!! That's because a 1272 contains the exact same mic input transformer, amplifiers, and output transformer as a 1073, but not as many amplifiers. The 1073 has additional amplifiers - for the EQ and the upper 30dB of mic pre gain - and it's wired differently with sensitivity switch, etc. This is important, because it's not just the parts that create the sound, it's also how they're loaded, driven, and interacting, and the 1272 and 1073, as stock, contain many differences in this regard.

Again, the key points here for identical 1272 function/sound are: 1) if properly modified - that means how the mating connector is wired, as in racking procedure, as well as internal modifications like the installation of a correctly wired 3-deck rotary switch, and 2) only up to 50dB of gain.

The differences in sound that people often hear in 1272s racked as mic pres are due to improper racking/modifying procedures. I have never seen it done entirely correctly in any of the dozen+ clones and racked units. This is surprising, because if you compare schematics the procedure becomes fairly self-explanatory. Recognizing this problem a few years ago, Glide On Fade and Eisen Audio designed a retrofit sensitivity switch kit for converting raw 1272 modules to 1073/1063 functionality ---> Custom Electronics ...but with only 50dB (or close to 60 in practice) of gain it doesn't make a very good all-purpose mic pre. Indeed, people often refer to the 1272 as a line amp, I suppose because of it's low gain, but it's actually a buss amp (it was only used a mic pre in the talkback section of a Neve console). The nature of the passive summing used in 80 Series Neve consoles results in summed sigal that is low impedance and needing at least 30dB of gain. So what do you do? You load for mic impedance and use a low-medium gain mic preamp (a 1272).
The early Neve boards, e.g. 8014, were very efficient in that they use the same basic ingredients in two primary module building blocks (and a ton of aluminum, resistors, switches, pots, and copper wiring!) to make up the whole system. The Roll Music Folcrom uses this same principle, creating a passive mix buss with output level and imepdance similar to that of a microphone.
Old 29th October 2007
Lives for gear
Marlowe's Avatar

I don't get the 1272 bashing. If they are wired wrong then that's how I like them. I also find it amusing that they're belittled because they were originally used as talkback amps.

Who cares about the wiring or the talkback history? It's a great sounding preamp useful for many applications (especially on guitar amps).

I sold mine to help pay for a TAB/Funkenwerk v72 pair but plan to buy them again despite my having a 1073 clone.
Old 20th December 2008
Lives for gear

how do you use the 1073 EQ?

what kind of situations do you use the 1073 EQ? It seems the 1073 is most commonly used as a mic preamp. That said, I always thought the general rule of thumb was to record with minimal processing, and apply effects when 'mixing'. Obviously, many use the 1073 EQ during mix as well, but I'm wondering why you'd use it for tracking. If there isn't an obvious necessity for the EQ, it seems a 1272 would suit my needs just fine.
Old 20th December 2008
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
The 1272 is a line amp, not a mic preamp, with roughly 30-40 dB of gain.

It also has less gainstages than the 1073 and I recall reading a post by Geoff Tanner where he explained that most 1272's converted to mic pres are choking the first gainstage and not using the second. It would probably be a cool distortion box but not a 1073 by any means.

The only place 1272's were used as a micpre was for the console talkback mic.

The micpre (similar size module) is the 1290 and that would probably be closer to a poor man's 1073.

Geoff, you out there ?

Are you kidding me? Have you actually used an original Brent Averill 1272? A distortion box? You're crazy. Whoever said it only gives 40 db of gain didn't own the one I had. I got it straight from Brent, right from his garage in Sherman Oaks. To this day, I've never heard a better sounding preamp on so many applications. A talk back mic? I was told the 1272 WAS A PREAMP and was a 1073 with no eq.

So you guys who know more than I do, why does the 1272 sound so good and get used in many commercial studios if it's a line amp? Anyone A/B'd an original 1073 to a Great River or Vintech?
Old 20th December 2008
Gear Maniac

Oh yeah, mine had 60 or 70 db of gain by the way. It was several years ago hence why I'm not positive but I know it wasn't 40
Old 20th December 2008
Lives for gear

I am a big fan of the SCA N72s, I think they sound great. I sure would like to get my hands on a real 1073 to hear the difference though.
Old 20th December 2008
James Lugo's Avatar

I have a vintage 1073 and a pair of new BAE 1272's, I actually like the 1272's better most of the time. They sound very tight and heavy. I deal everyday with kids voices at Nickelodeon and the 1272 just makes it right.

I loooooooooove my new BAE1272's!!!!!!
Old 20th December 2008
Lives for gear
Tone Laborer's Avatar
Vintage 1272s here, racked by Avedis/BAE, before he was an international internet superstar, just a tech with a funny name. Far from a "wrecker" of 1272s, I feel fortunate the project was in capable hands--with the sound to prove it, IMHO. The units have given me 12 years of trouble free service and many nice tracks, the last ones just a few hours ago.

They share a very similar sound, including the clones, from my limited experience, your mileage might vary, or be inaccurate. I don't too often crank the gain past -50, but if I do, I'll be sure and note that it doesn't sound as good as a 1073 would.
Old 4th May 2009
Lives for gear

OK - so how much gain does the current BAE 1272 pre have ??

The BAE website doesn't indicate gain range ... the photo's suggest 70db of total gain (irrespective of tone past 50db) ... is that right ??

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