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WARM audio WA12
Old 9th April 2012
  #1
WARM audio WA12

Does anyone know anything about the new WARM Audio WA12 mic pre? It sounds interesting. Looks like a contender for the Golden Age pre 73 with maybe a little more API flavoring. Add in the Cinemag trafos and fully discrete signal path and it might be something I would be interested in trying. So does anyone know any more about these units?

Warm Audio WA12 | Preamps @ ZenPro Audio
Old 9th April 2012
  #2
Company Rep
 
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Warm Audio WA12 Discrete Mic Pre

Hi there, Owner at Warm Audio here. Please let me know if you (or anyone) has any direct questions about the pre, I am happy to answer.

Until we have sound samples up at the site I'd recommend people to check out this review that was just posted: Review: Warm Audio WA12 | Everything Recording
The blogger here should have some sound samples up shortly.

For some background on the pre I've been selling a similar 312 style clone through word of mouth for a few years to high end studios. I hadn't produced that clone at high volume before because some of the components in it were discontinued/vintage. I really wanted to make the pre available to more people through better distribution so to do that I had to replicate the vintage parts. The input transformer has some purposeful mid-boost to it and the output transformer rolls off the highs just enough so that you still get great clarity but you also get the silky smoothness in the highs many vintage enthusiasts love....myself included

In addition to the transformer choices, there are a couple transistor in the mix that really help give the pre a more open sound. And a couple of capacitors that add some character. It uses a 1731 style (DOA) discrete opamp. The entire pre is completely discrete. It uses a 24V AC power adapter but the circuit runs on +/- 18V.

The only advice I have is to not let the price tag fool you, it's the real deal, and then some.

Enjoy!
Bryce Young
Warm Audio | Warm, FAT, Luscious Analogue tone!
Old 9th April 2012
  #3
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psycom's Avatar
 

Bater.... You need not worry about this one. Matter of fact count your blessings you found it. I have the original units Bryce worked on for 3 years trying to fix what others find satisfactory now but also come with an upgrade right off the bat. That says loads right there. Why if it's so good do you need to upgrade it already and you haven't even ordered it yet? Get my point? Go look at say a Golden Age Pre 73 and then figure out the price. It gets confusing.

By the stoke of pure luck I found Bryce while looking for a GAP 73. One of those moments when all of a sudden something tells you to do something now. By fate I ended up with his units that he totally redid. Well the best he could anyway. I know the story behind it and his transformer builds etc. which was a nightmare for him.

When Bryce told me he built units from the ground up I sent for a pair immediately. I have no doubts of his abilities and he's a stand up guy that stands behind his work.

I know a thing or two about recording gear. I will say this without hesitation, you are going to get way more than you're paying for. I in fact told him that his price was way too low. I expect it to go up. Quality does not come cheap but on occasion you can get a deal.

I say RUN don't walk and grab yourself his Neve 1073. That's what he set out to build and by God I fully expect the guru's that will be tearing these apart and running tests to come to the same conclusion as I have. It's a winner. Bryce is a winner! Enough so that I asked him to consider joining forces with me and my endeavor with PMR Speakers & RISSON amplifiers, something I've been working with on the R&D side for speakers.

There too I hit a home run. Jason built me some killer 8's for the 4x8 cabs Bob favors. Now We've got a new hemp line being released soon.

Ask Bryce yourself.... if you don't like it what will happen. And IF you get serial #003 and want to sell it call me I want it! I've got 1&2 en route as I write.

Also, You'll want a good mic of course and I highly suggest you give Jim Jacobs a call from JJ AUDIO. Great guy and I'll be using his mics with Bryce's pre's to do the samples off Risson amps via "ReAmpHeaven" dot com.

Hope that helps. I'm not affiliated with Bryce and have nothing to gain. I just know his work. Better than that I know his ethics and morals. He's 5 star across the board.

Richard T Puncsak
Old 9th April 2012
  #4
Company Rep
 
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Thanks for the support Psycom!

To clarify, The WA12 is API 312 based, not Neve. I have modded Neve gear in the past with my own custom transformers but those designs/mods are different. The clones referred to in my above post (that inspired the creation of the WA12) were API based.

Thanks,
Bryce Young
Warm Audio
Old 9th April 2012
  #5
I am convinced. My order is in. I have been contemplating buying a pre73dlx, but was wishing that there was an API style preamp in this category. That's why it caught my attention. If nothing else I can exchange the WA12 for the pre73dlx, but I have a good feeling about this.

I will post a review of the preamp after I have put it through some testing.

Sent from my Vortex using Gearslutz App
Old 10th April 2012
  #6
Well you guys certainly have your positive campaign off to a good start. Makes me a little wary that there are huge amounts of hype and very little personal knowledge, but hopefully my gut (and the hype) is right. *eagerly awaiting my new toy*
Old 10th April 2012
  #7
Here for the gear
 

We have posted more pics of the Warm Audio WA12 here:
Lunchbox Audio | 206-617-9931 | Equipment for Audio Professionals
Old 11th April 2012
  #8
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psycom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bater View Post
Well you guys certainly have your positive campaign off to a good start. Makes me a little wary that there are huge amounts of hype and very little personal knowledge, but hopefully my gut (and the hype) is right. *eagerly awaiting my new toy*
I understand exactly how you're feeling. Trusting your instincts isn't an easy thing to do. Speaking for myself and with plenty of hindsight I can say my instincts have always been spot on.... it just took me many years to learn to trust them. EVERY TIME I went to other way I regretted it! So I learned. And that's exactly how I found Bryce to begin with.

Out of the blue one day I just decided to buy a Pre 73. No special reason, just "felt right" so I did a search and not even an hour earlier Bryce decided to sell his personal units. I did a couple quick emails and it felt right and that was it. Came back for the 2nd one immediately.

One day a couple months back I guess I get an email about this new one. I sent him the money 5 minutes later then scrambled to get cash up for a 2nd unit. I like pairs.

And you know what? I've never given it a 2nd thought since then. Just waiting for them to arrive and I know they will. I'm old enough to know better than doing things like that but I also know when I'm right I'm right.
He's been a great help too. I've chatted about all sorts of things but never once have I worried about being taken for a ride.

I've got a rack sitting just waiting for this pair. I'll have 4 bad ass mic pre's for the price of one mediocre unit. Putting a price on something such as "sound" is a tough one. People just follow the beaten path IF they are lucky to have that kind of money to walk down memory lane.

As Bryce pointed out I don't pay that close attention to things sometimes. Neve, API whatever. Blind fold me and if I like it I like it. In this case I just happen to be able to afford it too. This is that link in the chain where you don't mess around. Your mic and the pre. Once it's printed and saved then you can mess around. I hate having something go by wishing I had the proper units to get the initial track saved. Then spend all kinds of time trying to polish something.

For others that feel that way there;s one more piece of gear that every musician should have. That darned little Olympus LS-20M pocket recorder. My god the sound you can get out of the built in mics just blows us away all the time. I use the limiter which is transparent to the point you can be pegging the meters continuously and it still sounds right. I carry it all the time. 24 bit /196Khz with 1080i video. Its a "mov" file (quicktime) but the quality is ********. You can find it for 200 bucks and you'll find you could master from it as is.

Will be interesting to see what it sounds like with some outboard mics and pre's. Sorry about that little sidebar but I felt it was/is noteworthy.

Now the race will begin. Who's gonna be the first to have a hit recorded with a "Bryster" ??? Doubt it'll be me. I got some horrible stuff and great recordings of it to prove it! That's what it's all about. Having fun!

Peace... Rev Richard & The Ranting Ravers

Last edited by psycom; 11th April 2012 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: Public Schools & skipping classes ~
Old 13th April 2012
  #9
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I'm looking for a Pre73 and came across the Warm pre info. Yes, sounds too good to be true, etc. But I love the idea of someone saying, "I can do that better and cheaper".

Has anyone in this love fest used it for vocals? I'm borrowing a Pendulum that's absolutely incredible, but it will be gone soon.

Thanks in advance.

Martin
Old 14th April 2012
  #10
I thought I had seen someone commenting on using these on vocals, but I cant find it right now. Could have sworn I saw someone saying they were their go to vocal pres....Anyway...I have nothing against the pre 73, but I like the way people describe the API tone better than the Neve tone. I am looking for warm punchy and detailed. I hope that the wa12 will deliver that better than anything else inthis range. I will know soon. Also, keep in mind that the pendulum is going to cost you six times more than the wa12.
Old 14th April 2012
  #11
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...taking in consideration the differing bloodlines (API vs. Neve) I see the facing off of the "super $449 preamps", WARM WA12 vs. DIZENDOFF D73 as inevitable...similar output, cinemag trannies, 24V power supplies, etc...(one of each, side-by-side would make a helluva 1U rack!)...

Black Lion Audio Dizengoff D173 Microphone Preamplifier | Alto Music

...popcorn, anyone?...
Old 15th April 2012
  #12
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ERecording's Avatar
 

Fear not... I am getting all of the files named and uploaded and whatnot and I will give you comparisons with the WA12 Vs a Blue Robbie, SSL VHD, and a Millennia HV3. It stacked up very well with all of these units. I'll tell you this, I'd trade my SSL VHD for 4 of these in a rack in a heartbeat.

I used it on electric, acoustic, female and male vocals.
Old 15th April 2012
  #13
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

We will have it in the Clipalator Monday night as an initial glimpse into the unit. I'm also going to have it used on sessions for about a week for some real world opinion.
Old 15th April 2012
  #14
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Been hearing this for days, I'm dying to hear these, please, hurry. I say let your job go, forget family, friends, block the entire world out and get these files up.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ERecording View Post
Fear not... I am getting all of the files named and uploaded and whatnot and I will give you comparisons with the WA12 Vs a Blue Robbie, SSL VHD, and a Millennia HV3. It stacked up very well with all of these units. I'll tell you this, I'd trade my SSL VHD for 4 of these in a rack in a heartbeat.

I used it on electric, acoustic, female and male vocals.
Old 16th April 2012
  #15
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ERecording's Avatar
 

If only life were that simple...
Old 16th April 2012
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Hi Bryce,

These pre's look awesome. Is it possible to run line level signal thru these (so that i could use a stereo pair of them to warm up the signal from my daw for example)?

Thanks,
jon
Old 16th April 2012
  #17
Company Rep
 
WarmAudio's Avatar
 

WA12 for mastering

Minarets,

Thanks for asking the question. The WA12 was designed with this idea in mind. Many DAW’s have fairly low impedance outputs, for example my DAW’s outs are 50 ohms. This impedance level is perfect for piping back into the WA12 at mic level (hence the ¼” input on the WA12 made available for DAW outs). Your DAW's outs don't have to be 50 ohms slightly higher mic level impedances can be fine too.

In a stereo mastering situation you’d ideally use one set of the WA12’s outputs to send the treated mix back into DAW and the other set of outputs for reference--patching them to your monitor speakers.

Both the XLR and TRS/¼” input on the back are mic level, for lower impedance sources. If you decide to use the WA12 in this scenario you will most likely want to lower the volume of your DAW’s outputs a bit on your internal mixer and also us the PAD button on the WA12.
Old 17th April 2012
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Warm Audio WA12 is a punchy pre amp on vocals

I am a singer songwriter recording a few songs at a reputable studio in the Fort Myers, Florida area. We started my project tracking with the Avalon 737 for vocals and an Avalon 2022 for my acoustic guitar. A few days into the project, the studio owner received 2 Warm Audio WA12 mic pre's and asked if I wanted to try them on our session that day. I was skeptical at first (liking the sound from the Avalon units initially), but he assured me he would comp my time if I didn't like the sound of the tracks. Using the warm audio pre, my vocals seemed punchier. My acoustic guitar overall was just better sounding. Both the owner and I have decided to re-track my other song with the warm audio units . I am going to buy one for myself. I would recommend this to anyone.
Attached Thumbnails
WARM audio WA12-studiorack.jpg  

Last edited by Dave A; 17th April 2012 at 09:58 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 18th April 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Damn, I ordered a Pre 73 deluxe last n ight cause I didn't sell enough of my items on Ebay to buy the warm Audio all at once. i had to use the payment system at Zzzounds.

Had there been audio files up of these things I might have waited. So I wake up this morning and see that I did sell another Item that would have allowed me to buy the Warm audio unit. I can cancel the pre 73 delux order and buy this unit today, but should I?

The new deluxe gap has the TT caps, the output tranny pad so i can drive that harder. I have a couple hours to decide before Zzzounds ships my deluxe. Why oh why couldn't you guys get some sound file of this unit up? I don't know what to do and have no way of knowing if the deluxe gap is worth 50 moe dollars than this unit.

I also don't want to buy this unit and regret it either. It would be nice to just have this paid for today instead of having to pay four payments to Zzzounds.

I wish so bad I could hear some sounds from this unit before purchase. More info about the ca[s and components in this unit as well. Decisions decisions. should I cancel my order of the deluxe and buy this today? I know you will say you can't make that decision, thanks anyway.
Old 18th April 2012
  #20
Company Rep
 
WarmAudio's Avatar
 

WA12 Samples

Jeffguitar,

Shoot me your email in a private message and I'll send you a sample that I just received from a recent buyer. It's acoustic and vocals. I haven't even thrown it up on my monitors yet but with headphones it sounds pretty nice. Units were just shipped out late last week, I'm sure we'll be getting more samples up in the next 1-2 weeks from new WA12 owners.

Bryce
Old 18th April 2012
  #21
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tallboy79's Avatar
 

Are there any plans for UK distribution?
Old 18th April 2012
  #22
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffguitar View Post
Damn, I ordered a Pre 73 deluxe last n ight cause I didn't sell enough of my items on Ebay to buy the warm Audio all at once. i had to use the payment system at Zzzounds.

Had there been audio files up of these things I might have waited. So I wake up this morning and see that I did sell another Item that would have allowed me to buy the Warm audio unit. I can cancel the pre 73 delux order and buy this unit today, but should I?
...if you don't already own a preamp with Neve 1073-style gain-staging controls (both an "input gain" knob and an "output trim" knob) stay with the PRE-73 for now...IMHO, the single gain knob of the API-style pre cannot offer as much variation of tonality (thus the WARM's "tone" button)...the Neve-style gaining offers a variable range from clean to driven that the API-style can't match...while I've not used the WARM pre, and I'm interested in possibly adding one to my arsenal, this critique is based on my experience with both of these styles of classic pres...a Neve-style is mandatory for me...
Old 18th April 2012
  #23
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UK Distribution

Some units shipped out late last week to interested Overseas distributors (still in transit), one being in the UK. Manufacturing lead time leaves us a few months out from being distributed outside of USA and Canada if/when these distributors test the units and pick up the WA line.
Old 18th April 2012
  #24
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tallboy79's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmAudio View Post
Some units shipped out late last week to interested Overseas distributors (still in transit), one being in the UK. Manufacturing lead time leaves us a few months out from being distributed outside of USA and Canada if/when these distributors test the units and pick up the WA line.
Ok thanks
Old 18th April 2012
  #25
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the question really is; which is better for an API sound on the "cheap"- the Warm or BLA B12a? The Warm is $130 more than the Black Lion version ($449 compared to $319) and outside of the tone button on the Warm, there doesn't seem to be a feature difference. There has been a good amount of discussion on the B12a, so we have some idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

Anyone have both who can compare them?
Old 18th April 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by changeng View Post
the question really is; which is better for an API sound on the "cheap"- the Warm or BLA B12a? The Warm is $130 more than the Black Lion version ($449 compared to $319) and outside of the tone button on the Warm, there doesn't seem to be a feature difference. There has been a good amount of discussion on the B12a, so we have some idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

Anyone have both who can compare them?
I do have a set of B12a's in my band's mobile rack. Just got my warms in recently. The two main differences are the output jack section and the tone knob. We use the B12a's to preamp our acoustic guitars. They have a clear sound that helps the acoustics cut through the mix of the other instruments, as acoustics tend to get buried behind a vocal, keyboard, bass & e-guitar, and drum mix usually. The B12a makes them cut. I would say these would work well for a small home studio DAW on a budget. The only thing I don't like is only 1 TRS output. I would have liked to see an XLR as well.

The warms I am using in the studio, and have had pleasant results. The tone knob has come in handy with acoustics, bass, and snare drum tracking. I can also use both outputs for various routing. I found the warm to have a very clean vintage feel for vocals, similar to my Millennia HV-3C. Driving the gain knob can produce a nice desired sound with budget friendly vocal mics. I have had to use the pad engaged for everything I have ran through it. It has a lot of headroom and gain to spare. It's a go to unit for me for bass and acoustics, especially when tracking a live band, as my pre-amp rack units usually get maxxed out quick. I think the WA12 will become a very popular preamp. Anyone in the SW Florida area that wants to come by my studio for a first hand demo of these WA12 units, email me at: [email protected].
Old 18th April 2012
  #27
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Well, called Zzounds to cancel my order and the deluxe had already been shipped. But they said (very cool I might add by Zzounds), is that if I don't wnat it just refuse delivery and take it back to the post office without opening it and it won't cost me return shipping and when it gets back they will give me a full refund, and none of this will cost me a cent. So that gives me probably until Friday or Saturday to decided if I want to take delivery when it gets here. If I return it I will have a few more days until they get it back and do my refund, so now I have options to own either, or even the Black Lion unit.

So now, let's get in to the discussion to help me decide.

Yes, this will be my only style tranny unit. My only other main pre is my Grace 101 first model, not the M model, and I love it so far. I have only had it a few days and did a full song with it the first day, here is that link so you can know what I got out of it the first recording.

SoundClick artist: Jeff Stewart - page with MP3 music downloads

This was a 20 year old SM58 with wind screen off micing a cheap Fender mustang amp for the electric guitars right.left and lead. I never moved the mic for the three takes.

EZ drummer on the drums.

Cheap GXL 2200 condenser for the three vocal parts. Bass was DI in to the Grace. So this is all Grace besides the EZ drums and the Sampletank VST for the strings.

So I love this Grace so far for the clean acoustic stuff, and it seems to be a nice DI for bass as well. I will use it with my ukelele as well, any clean needs.

So yes, this new pre will pair with the Grace for the dirty stuff, electric guitars, some most vocals I do, I'll even want to run to vst sounds out of the computer through it and back in to get some darker tone on my vst samples.

Which unit will handle having line audio like vst instruments run through it and back to the computer? Would i use the DI input set on some different setting to do this? Which unit is more versatile in this situation, having line signals run through for adding some color?

I am leaning toward keeping the Gap deluxe because of just waht was said, it will be versatile with the outputtranny having a pad, and maybe more versatile in the DI/line input area as well.

BUT, the Warm has one huge advantage, CINEMAG Tranny's that won't need upgrading. If the difference in the USA trannies is huge, then won't this make the Warm sound great with no upgrades ever needed?

Sorry for all this in depth stuff, but these two pres will be my main pres pretty much for the rest of my life.

I turn 50 years old in November and I realize I am never going to open a big studio or anything, so these two pres will need to be it for good. I am happy with the Grace for the clean stuff, now I need one of these units and I'll be done.

So, all the opinions are welcome.
Old 18th April 2012
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raptorsound View Post
I do have a set of B12a's in my band's mobile rack. Just got my warms in recently. The two main differences are the output jack section and the tone knob. We use the B12a's to preamp our acoustic guitars. They have a clear sound that helps the acoustics cut through the mix of the other instruments, as acoustics tend to get buried behind a vocal, keyboard, bass & e-guitar, and drum mix usually. The B12a makes them cut. I would say these would work well for a small home studio DAW on a budget. The only thing I don't like is only 1 TRS output. I would have liked to see an XLR as well.

The warms I am using in the studio, and have had pleasant results. The tone knob has come in handy with acoustics, bass, and snare drum tracking. I can also use both outputs for various routing. I found the warm to have a very clean vintage feel for vocals, similar to my Millennia HV-3C. Driving the gain knob can produce a nice desired sound with budget friendly vocal mics. I have had to use the pad engaged for everything I have ran through it. It has a lot of headroom and gain to spare. It's a go to unit for me for bass and acoustics, especially when tracking a live band, as my pre-amp rack units usually get maxxed out quick. I think the WA12 will become a very popular preamp. Anyone in the SW Florida area that wants to come by my studio for a first hand demo of these WA12 units, email me at: [email protected].
Raptorsound - thanks for your impressions; not that one preamp is particularly "better" than the other, since I'm sure they're both quality units, would you say that the Warm preamp is worth shelling out the addition $130 instead of picking up the BLA?
Old 18th April 2012
  #29
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changeng's Avatar
Jeffguitar - I would concur with kidvybes - of the choices you mention, the deluxe GAP 73 would give you more tone options. You've got clean covered with the Grace. I have the Gap73 with Warren's TT mods - it does clean well (rolls off highs a twidge in an old-fashioned 70's way) and does dirty well too. If you're staying with only two preamps, I think an API-style preamp wouldn't give you as many colors to paint with as a Neve-style would.
Old 18th April 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffguitar View Post
BUT, the Warm has one huge advantage, CINEMAG Tranny's that won't need upgrading. If the difference in the USA trannies is huge, then won't this make the Warm sound great with no upgrades ever needed?
...not huge...true, Cinemax trannies are nice, but remember, the PRE-73 has been out for more than a couple of years already, and even with all the differing opinions on modding the PRE-73, the jury is still out as to whether or not any modding is necessary at all...I know 2 Neve techs who have evaluated the PRE-73 and said the stock transformers are actually decent, and the only one that might make a difference if upgraded with a Carnhill is the mic input tranny...with the DLX unit you're already getting the tantalums...I had an original PRE-73, alongside my restored Neve 1290 (1073 minus the EQ section) and Great River ME-1NV, and it hung in...great value IMHO...

Quote:
Originally Posted by changeng View Post
of the choices you mention, the deluxe GAP 73 would give you more tone options. You've got clean covered with the Grace.
If you're staying with only two preamps, I think an API-style preamp wouldn't give you as many colors to paint with as a Neve-style would.
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