The Golden Age EQ-73 delivers authentic Neve 1073 character, with its classic balance between warmth, clarity, and balls! If you haven't used an original 1073, and figure you'll never have the chance, think again. This unit provides a very good representation of what that "sound" is all about, for a fraction of the cost. But don't get hung up evaluating the unit on the basis of price/value. Yes, the EQ-73 is extremely affordable, but there's no compromises here, it's a professional piece of gear. Build quality is top notch, even the knobs have a solid, non-wobbly feel. True old school. Built like a tank.
One thing that might throw you off and cause you to question purchasing one is that it is designed to connect directly with the Golden Age Pre73 preamp through an insert jack, which is the only connector the unit offers! Based on my experience, to get the full Neve effect you really need to couple a Neve preamp and EQ. Which is the likely reason that Golden Age designed the EQ-73 to be tightly coupled with their Pre-73 preamp. Makes sense but at first presents limitations. The company's product literature says it "can't be used as a stand alone EQ". But fear not, the unit can be plugged into your mixer or preamp insert without the Pre-73. Also, I connected the EQ-73 to my patch bay with a split insert cable and from their was able to chain the unit with my preamp and a compressor for tracking purposes. This worked perfectly and I now have an awesome channel strip: Aphex 207D insert out > EQ-73 > FMR Compressor > back to 207D insert in. Golden Age was very responsive when I needed to double check compatibility with my preamp. So check with questions. Also, the U.S. distributor who I purchased from, ZenPro Audio, is also very helpful.
Now that I've taken the EQ-73 through the paces I'm buying another for the other side of my stereo preamp. I've missed having access to Neve 1073 gear but now am really pleased to have this type of EQ back in my signal chain. Being primarily a guitarist, this type of EQ is the "holy grail" for classic crunch tones so am in heaven, as you can imagine.
I know these are designed to be inserted into a GAP pre-amp circuit before it becomes balanced, but my wish is to be able to use these with my Seventh Circle pre-amps! I have read that they work well with the Warm Audio pres as well, I could imagine a ToneBeast paired with one of these could be any budget to mid-level users go-to pre-amp set up.
I have two of these that pair up with my GAP 73 MKII pre-amps. They are so much more useful for pre-EQing channels on the way into my DAW than I had imagined they would be. Knowing this, I would not buy a GAP pre without one now.
The EQ curves are quite smooth sounding, IMO. When I listen to a channel that I have printed with EQ, I often cannot remember what I cut or boosted without looking at my notes.