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Old 3rd April 2018
Lives for gear
thismercifulfate's Avatar
Ok, so this weekend a fellow gearslut member and myself got to shootout both companies 1-channel with eq units that Tom from Tidepool Audio here in Portland was gracious enough to let us borrow from his stock. We recorded vocals, clean and distorted guitars, bass and tambourine. Here are my thoughts on each unit:

Warm WA73-EQ: The build quality is really nice. The led meters and insert jack are nice added features. The gain knob layout threw me off because it’s not like on a real Neve. Strange too was having the HPF next to the gain knob instead of by the output. Unfortunately the way it handles transients is so poor, I simply cannot recommend it to anyone. It is very slow and murky/muddy. It seemed to emphasize the lower mids, but it was not flattering combined with the sluggishness. To me, it was akin to a lens that perhaps has great colors, bokah and low distortion but cannot focus accurately to create a sharp image. It renders the whole camera useless, and nothing else about the lens can make up for that. I was really not expecting that all for a preamp that costs $800. I’m very disappointed.

Heritage Elite HA73EQ: This unit is lighter and smaller than the Warm, due to their use of SMC’s, but still has a very solid build quality. I’m not a fan of the external brick power supply, because I do a lot of remote sessions. The EQ really stood out to us as being ultra-responsive. A little turn goes a lot way. and on the mid band each frequency seemed to have its own unique tonality, whereas on the Warm they all sounded equally boring. The DI on the Heritage totally blew the socks off the Warm. The bass we recorded had body, texture and depth, whereas it felt very sterile and lifeless through the Warm. Clearly it was designed purely as an afterthought. The preamp itself, without EQ tends to emphasize the higher frequencies. It definitely has an edge, bordering on harsh, but not quite. Definitely not something I’ve ever heard on a real Neve or BAE. To me, that really limits what I could use the pre on. On distorted guitars abd vocals you could clearly hear it adding a bit if a texture around the 8-10kHz area. The transient response is clearly better, though it’s much faster than a real Neve.

In conclusion: I frequently record in studios with real Neve 1073’s, 1272’s and BAE 1073’s and 1084’s. Neither of these units resemble any of these. The EQ on the Heritage does something really cool, but it’s more like the one on a Vintech x73i, which I really like. The Warm was a really big disappointment due to its poor transient response. The Heritage sounds too edgy to be a versatile piece, or to bear the 1073 name. I personally can’t say that I think either unit is worth the asking price, and after testing them I’m a lot more willing to save up for a BAE. In the end of the day I would rather spend extra cash on a preamp that will deliver solid results than save a buck and have a mediocre preamp. I don’t suppose this is the review some folks were hoping to hear (myself included, because I was planning to purchase 2 channels of the winner), but this is my honest take on those units.
Attached Thumbnails
Warm WA73EQ vs. Heritage Audio HA73EQ-a7077322-76e5-4f80-a050-f3c4d33b0541.jpg