Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKII and MKIII Mic Preamp
Updated April 1, 2019 | by Hollagully
Golden Age Project Pre-73
- Vintage Style electronics. No intergrated circuits in the signal path.
- Maximum gain on the mic input is 80 dB, enough to handle passive ribbon mics with quiet sound sources.
- Gain range on the Line input: -20 to + 10 dB.
- Switchable impedance on the mic input, 1200 or 300 Ohms, will change the tone of most mics.
- Switchable phantom power and absolute phase.
- A high-impedance instrument input for any sound module, electric guitar or bass.
- A simple but effective 4-step LED output level meter.
- The output level control makes it possible to make fine gain adjustments and also to overload the main gain stage(s) for more character and then lower the signal to a suitable level before the output stage.
- Combo XLR/TRS input jacks and separate output XLR and TRS jacks for flexible connections.
- Insert jack for inserting EQ´s and other units.
- Selectable 600 ohm output termination.
- External high power power supply to avoid interaction with the audio circuits and transformers.
- A solid build quality that will last many years of normal use.
The Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKII and MKIII are outstanding stand-alone preamps with circuitry based on the famous Neve 1073, considered among the best-sounding microphone preamps of all time.
These one-channel vintage style microphone-, line- and instrument preamplifiers offer the project studio market sound character that is warm, punchy, sweet and musical.
Golden Age Project have made the Pre 73’s affordable to nearly everyone, pricing them just slightly beyond the range of entry level products while cutting absolutely zero corners in their assembly, components, sound, or overall value.
With a similar vintage sound to the 1073, the Pre-73’s offer lower noise and wider dynamic range, offering the sought-after style and vibe but with some added modern features. Some of these features are what distinguish the MKII and MKIII apart from one another and we have listed these differences in the Specs below.
The front panel of the Golden Age Project Pre-73 gives you everything you’d expect from a quality classic preamp, including inputs for mic/line‑level and DI signals, a polarity-invert button, phantom power, a LOW-Z switch which drops the Mic input from 1200 to 300 Ohms and an LED level meter.
The large rotary gain dial moves in 5dB steps from ‑10dB to +80dB to be used in unison with the master output dial to its right. The output is on separate balanced jack and XLR connectors on the rear of the unit.
The mic input offers a maximum gain of 80dB and a gain range of ‑20dB to +10dB for the line input, both of which are on Neutrik Combi connectors which allow either balanced XLRs or balanced jacks to be used. This lets you easily mic tame sources with passive ribbons or crank the main gain stage to give your tracks tasty vintage-style coloration.
These preamps are built with heavy, folded steel and fit the popular half-width, 1U-high format and will fit easily into any third-party rack.
If you’re looking for obvious vintage character on a budget then the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKII or MKIII are the way to go. If there was one expression to describe their overall sound it would be “grown up.” They offer a prominent mid-range and smooth highs that are reminiscent of some tube mics and tube preamps found on the market.
These sound great on literally everything from vocals, guitars, drums or any percussion and give some fantastic vibe to electronic samples being routed through it. You can easily fatten up kick drums and synthesizers, revealing everything going on in a piece of audio and allow it to really establish its place in a mix.
MKIII Added Features:
- Tantalum capacitors in the signal path.
- Selectable two position high frequency AIR boost eq, 3 or 6 dB @ 30 kHz.
- Selectable two frequency high pass filter, 6 dB/octave at 40 or 170Hz.
- The pcb is prepared for the Carnhill input transformer.
- Revised and less complicated GAIN switch with a separate switch for MIC/LINE selection.
- All GAIN settings can also be used in LINE mode
To help you out on your quest to find a great microphone preamp for your home studio, we’ve included links below to detailed reviews of a few models that make a good runner up to the Golden Age Project Pre-73.
We’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Microphone Preamps that will teach you about all the components that give them character, and how to select the right one for what you’re after. Learn about a variety of affordable models that competently model some of the best sounding preamps of all time.
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast, Warm Audio WA12, ART Pro MPA 2 Tube, Focusrite ISA One