NEVE 1073 pre-amplifier. So what's the buzz about this?
The Neve 1073 is another one of those pieces of analogue gear that have achieved legendary status. Rupert Neve formed his company in 1961 and since then Neve products have been at the very top of audio quality. From 1964 Neve consoles began to appear. The Neve 1073 first appeared in 1970 as an input module for the Neve A88 bespoke console built for the then Wessex Studios in London. It now exists in several formats reflecting the needs of modern studios. Mine (pictured) is the 1073SPX which incorporates equalisation as well as the pre-amp.
Why spend £2000 on just one pre-amp? The 1073 is known for the richness of its sound, its ample headroom (i.e. less distortion risk), its range of gain (amplification), and the musicality of the EQ section. Words don't really help much here, and its a bit like justifying buying a Neumann U87 microphone. The issue is that on the right source (in my case it is most likely to be used on a lead vocal) a top-class microphone and pre-amp delivers a satisfyingly open, detailed, musical and intimate sound that sounds just right; and in a song nothing is as important as the lead vocal!