BAE Audio 1073MP Dual Channel with PSU by Jorock
Approximately 2 years ago I purchased my first higher-end preamp (me1nv) along with an upgrade to Apogee converters which at the time provided a far different result than my previous recording setup of a digi002. After a year with the Great River I had decided that I wanted to explore more of the Neve territory as I had often read mixed opinions on the whether the me1nv is really a ‘Neve clone’. Enter the BAE 1073mp. I had researched several other options and concluded that this would be worth a shot.
The features of the 1073mp are aimed at replicating everything the original Neve’s were known and loved for, plus a couple extras. Stepped input knobs (Red Marconi), separate output knobs and 1200 – 300ohm switches allow for control over the sound going in. There are XLR i/o on the back which can receive line level input when the activated via a button on the front panel. DI inputs on the front with activation buttons, and lastly phase reverse and phantom power switches also found on the front panel. I think it’s important to also list the price as a feature. At $2000 US for 2 channels with power supply, this is a very enticing opportunity for anyone to get this quality of hand-made preamp with the ‘Neve’ vibe when compared to the cost of a vintage module.
I will first clarify I have never used a real vintage Neve module ever. I am a guitarist, writer, and engineer and have a working knowledge of capturing a variety of tones. The best way to describe the 1073mp - and I am quoting others in saying that - it “sounds like a record.” I have had experience with tracking acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, and bass through it and in virtually all applications it has resulted in a very full and vibrant sound.
There is a quality to my tracks that surpasses the Great River in terms of low-mid and high frequency clarity. Tracks seem to really be up front and forward sounding, and they stack well. My only issue is bass guitar tracks do not have the definition in the lows and low mids. I have found this to be the case with DI’d bass and mic’d cabs. However they still sound good and if you are on a budget it will work for you no question, but if the option exists, it might be more worthwhile to look elsewhere.
Another incredible feature with the dual channel preamp is the option to send your final mix through the unit using the line inputs on the back. Mixes can be passed through with the ohm switches, as well as input and output knobs all affecting the sound. This is where the versatility of this unit really shines for me. My mixes have taken on a truly organic and beautiful texture that has made a tremendous improvement to my ITB sound. Even with all tracking done on the 1073mp, passing the mix through at the end has yielded incredible results.
The Build Quality
The details are on the website for BAE Audio; and indicate that the parts are all based on original Neve specs. The unit overall is very solid and leaves me with the impression that longevity is not an issue.
At roughly $1000 per channel it is not cheap, but then again the dual channel unit with the features for running mixes through etc. yields far more return then your average preamp. I feel it is well worth the price.
Overall the BAE is a great unit if you are looking for quality at all levels. Of course the ‘Neve’ sound is known to be from a specific cut and if you are searching for something more transparent it might be worthwhile to look in a different direction. But when it comes to bang for buck I feel that this unit greatly exceeded my expectations!