Warm Audio WA12 Microphone Preamp Review
Warm use custom designed audiophile-grade CineMag input and output transformers that have been found in high-end products like the Universal Audio LA-610 and Presonus ADL-700 since the ‘70s. All components used in the signal path are of high quality, and laid out with expertise that is truly evident.
The Warm Audio WA12 is a 1U, half-rack unit, with a fully discrete design finished in a retro shade of orange that matches its funky sonic vibe.
The front panel features a high-impedance (2M ohms) instrument input, a 20dB pad, a polarity-invert button and 48V phantom power switch. A Tone button switches the input impedance between 600 ohms and 150 ohms which changes the tone of both the mic and hi-Z inputs, allowing custom optimization and sonic versatility of your selected microphone. This can make the tone brighter and sometimes (beware) add a few extra dB of overall level. Both the hi-Z and mic inputs go through the entire preamp circuitry, including the Tone function.
The rear panel is self explanatory, offering a dual XLR/TRS input socket, separate XLR and TRS output sockets, and the power input socket for the 24V DC power supply.
Some of the most obvious perks of the Warm Audio WA12 are its solid, thick and rich sound with a tight bottom end, and soft high frequencies—many of the characteristics of sought-after vintage mic preamps. It is definitely not a clean, transparent preamp offering solely an increase in volume so if that’s what you’re after then you certainly won’t find it here.
Warm Audio WA12 Specifications:
- Utilizes premium grade input and output USA Cinemag transformers.
- 71db of Gain powers all microphones — ribbons included
- TONE button – offers tonal versitality by switching the input impedance from 600 ohms to 150 ohms.
- Fully discrete design
- High voltage 1731 style operational amplifier.
- 48V Phantom Power.
- Mic level balanced input: XLR or 1/4″/TRS.
- Balanced outputs: XLR and 1/4″/TRS.
- 2 Meg Ohm True HI-Z input on front panel. Great for guitars, bass, keyboards and other instruments that have a 1/4″ output jack.
- 20db pad.
- External power plug for low noise.
If you’re running a project or home studio and are looking to add a good preamp with identifiable vibe, you will find the Warm Audio WA12 capable of providing that professional touch without breaking the bank.