Neve 1073-The perfection of imperfection
Back in the early 60s when Rupert Neve come to prominence in the professional audio world, valve based amplification was still the prominent technology available to engineers designing microphone preamplifiers. They were bulky and inefficient and as soon as more reliable and affordable transistors were available in 1966, Rupert quickly incorporated these into his new designs in pursuit of high gain but low noise pre-amps designed to offer as little distortion as possible. A few iterations of these early pre amps eventually evolved into the now famous 1073 model. At the time, it was cutting edge in terms of its performance offering 80db of gain at a very low noise floor. Of course Rupert didn’t stop here and spent the rest of his life in pursuit of better audio performance.
What actually subsequently set the 1073 and it close siblings was its subtle harmonic distortion, something that at the time Rupert would have gladly eliminated had he had the means with technology to do so.
I’m lucky enough to have a pair of Neve 10743 CH pre amps’s in the studio and use them in every recording session I have, I’m a big fan of harmonic distortion and the character that imparts on the recorded signal. The EQ also has a quality that goes beyond just the simple boosting of a particular frequency range, again probably something Rupert had no intention of including,
I made a short video charting the evolution of the 1073 and how it works. I’ve also included some comparisons with plug-in emulations from Waves.