BAE Audio 1023 Module - Single Channel Mic Pre With EQ - Long & McQuade Music Educator Site
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BAE Audio 1023 Module - Single Channel Mic Pre with EQ

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SKU: # 319348
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BAE is perhaps the best-known builder of Neve-style preamps, and for good reason as their designs indeed capture the behavior, tone and appearance of Neve preamps beautifully. For years I have used a pair of their 1073s, and they have performed flawlessly, providing that fat and warm, yet open and dynamic sound that has defined the vibe of countless records we hear every day. For those who arent familiar, a Neve 1073 module has a mic preamp, a line-amp (with its own dedicated transformer) and an eq with a high shelf fixed at 12k, a variable mid bell-curve section with fixed q, a variable low-shelf section and a variable high-pass filter. They are classic modular preamps, first released in 1970 as part of the A88 mixing console, and the originals have gone on to become legendary, collectible and very expensive. To take on the task of recreating the sound of Neves classic 1073 preamps is always a bit of a tight-rope walk, but to try to expand on the design while maintaining the original vibe and sound is to walk without a net. Thats what BAE has done with their new 1023 preamp/eq.

Like the original 1073, the 1023 is completely handwired using Carnhill (St. Ives) transformers. It has the exact same mic/line preamp as the 1073, but with significantly more frequencies in the mid and hi sections. Aside from simply offering more frequency settings to play with, these expanded eq sections also allow you to play the mid bell curve directly against the high and low shelves where they overlap. This capability opens the tone shaping possibilities in very interesting and musical ways.

On the middle section of the 1023 eq youll find two additional lower frequency settings and three higher ones than you would on a 1073, which gives the 1023 the following mid eq points: 160Hz, 270, 360, 510, 700, 1K6, 3K2, 4K8, 7K2, 8K2, 10K. The two new low-mid points (160Hz and 270Hz) overlap with the low-shelfs frequencies, allowing for some fun tone carving in the warm region. For example, while boosting 160Hz with the mid band and cutting 220Hz on the low shelf you can achieve a very tight rise in the lows that doesnt overpower in the deeper frequencies or get too muddy up around 300Hz. The sound is quite different than simply boosting 160Hz. This particular eq setting is really fun for fattening up distorted electric guitars, warming up female vocals, or getting a floor tom to growl in a new way. The low end is always tight, punchy and satisfying.

On the high shelf, rather than the fixed 12kHz shelf of the 1073, youll find settings at 10K, 12K, 16K, 20K and 24K. The expanded high frequencies in the mid-section start to make sense when you realize that you can really play the mid section against the high shelf, just as you can with the low. With drum overheads, for example, try boosting 10kHz on the mid section while cutting 20kHz on the high shelf and youll get an increased sizzle with a decrease in the air region that is reminiscent of some vintage recordings. Or, do the opposite to control brash cymbals while adding some excitement in the air region. The possibilities are pretty limitless, and experimentation is fun and rewarding. As to be expected, the highs are smooth and musical, just as a Neve should be, but the added frequencies on the high-shelf make the 1023 more versatile and fun to use.
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