Studio Pre Amps

If you do a lot of recording through your DAW, you may, at some point think about recording through a preamp. While not the most essential piece of equipment for your home studio, a preamp certainly worth looking into.

Best Studio Pre Amp

Golden Age Project Pre 73 MkIII

This beautiful little Preamp Is a meticulously replicated, modern version of a Neve 1073. The Golden Age Project is providing access to a classic vintage character sound for a modest amount of cash. There are indeed better products on the market, but nothing at this price level.

Golden Age Project Pre 73 MkIII

I originally purchased two of these Pre Amps to complement my drum recording setup. Since the purchase, I use the units for bass guitar DI, vocal recording, and acoustic and electric guitars. My recording chain never seems to be complete without one, or both, of the Pre 73s in the signal path.

Golden Age Project is a Swedish Company who design and produce reasonably priced high-end vintage recording equipment. Check out the following short video for a full rundown of the product.

Pre Amp Features

  • DI Input
  • Two built-in switchable high-pass filters (6 DB/octave)
  • Two built-in switchable frequency boosters (for adding “air”)
  • 48V phantom power supply
  • Low Impedance Switching
  • Phase Inversion
  • LED output level meter (with clipping LED)
  • Separate Power Supply (isolating the mains from the circuit)
  • Robust case and controls
  • Vintage Character Sound

As you would expect with this preamp setup, driving the gain excites the circuitry and adds warmth to the output signal. The built-in frequency boosters make it easy to add “air” at 3 or 6 dB (30 kHz). The controls are simple and easy-to-use for someone new to this type of unit.

Above all, the GPA Pre 73 provides great sounding recorded audio at a great price point. It is very difficult to find anything from another manufacturer at this price level to match the functionality and quality of this amazing little box.

Why I Picked the Golden Age Project Pre 73 MkIII

After deciding that I wanted to take my drum recording to the next level, I wondered what I needed to do to achieve that. Amongst other things, I looked into the use of preamps for recording.

Finally, I came up with the idea that I would record with an over-snare overhead microphone and an off the right shoulder second overhead microphone. As I have a limited budget I decided to focus on the two overhead microphone signals.

I’d had some success recording this way in my small drum room, and by adding drum room samples for snare and kick, the drum tracks were really taking shape. The overhead microphones provided the best-recorded image of the drum kit. The overheads had initially been recorded directly to two channels on my 24 track using the inbuilt preamps, so I thought this was probably the area that needed to be improved. The 24 track preamps were very basic and provided no level of adjustment.

I decided that I would add a preamp to each overhead to improve the source recording. The preamps would also need to be versatile enough to record other instruments too. I was thinking along the lines of a Neve 1173 copy or clone. Most recorded music that I listen to was recorded directly to a Neve desk channel.

After a lot of research, I eventually found the Golden Age Project, and I’ve never looked back. I was also influenced by the Dave Grohl documentary showing how the Foo Fighters went back to record using 100% analog gear. If you haven’t seen the documentary, I recommend watching it -- Seriously! Stop reading this post right now and go watch it!

Reading The Golden Age Project website information, I definitely warmed to their ethos and vision for that vintage sound. Finally, after reading reviews on Amazon and Gearslutz, I hit the ‘quantity two’ and ‘buy’ buttons, and I’m now the proud father of twins!


Top Articles