Here it is: the cream of the crop, the best of the best! While there is definitely some debate as to what the best preamps of all time should be, there is no doubt that these preamps, or sometimes series of preamps, belong in the discussion.
Universal Audio has been making legendary pieces of musical recording and signal processing gear for centuries. Many of their older pieces of equipment have gone down as historic, legendary pieces that fetch a high price.
It has been no different for their microphone preamps. The UA 610 series is arguably their most coveted line and have been used on many high profile recordings as far back as the late 1950’s.
The Neve 1073 line of preamps are widely regarded as some of the best (if not the best) preamps in history. Famous for their transformer heavy design, the sound of the 1073 has led it to be an incredibly desired piece of equipment inspiring countless clones from BAE, Warm Audio, and Heritage Audio to name a few.
Rupert Neve has been praised with creating some of the best audio equipment in history and the 1073 is one of his crowning achievements.
The Avalon 737 channel strip might include more than just a simple preamp, however, the preamp section of this famous piece of equipment is where it gets its reputation. Not to say that the compressor or EQ section of this module aren’t good quality, however, the channel strip is used more for its preamp than anything else.
This is simply because of the warm and silky sound this preamp gives to vocals. It has been used on countless high-level commercial pop tracks since its inception.
API has always been known to make fantastic signal processing equipment with much of their gear working in the 500 series sizes and the API 512c preamps are some of their best.
The API 512c is incredibly clean and crisp sounding, good for situations where you want to have your recording sound as natural as possible. Additionally, the 512c’s are incredibly versatile, working quite well on anything you put through them!
The Chandler TG2 is a classic iteration of the famous microphone preamps used in the legendary consoles at Abbey Road Studios. The sound they achieve is extremely reminiscent of those classic consoles while still maintaining a modern workability and footprint.
Regardless of whatever instrument you record with, the Chandler TG2 series will have it sounding right every time.
Any one of these top 5 legendary microphone preamps will be beyond perfect for any application, however, we recommend that you try them out for yourself!