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In 2000 Mark Laughman came to the United States with little more than a guitar. To pay his way through audio school, he began to work for Brent Averill Enterprises, who focused on repairing old Neve and API units using handwired OEM parts. Brent‘s recreations offered the advantage of rackmount versions of vintage gear for any studio workflow. When it came time for Brent to retire, he needed someone to move forward with his legacy. Mark Laughman agreed to continue Brent’s work and chose the name BAE (British Audio Engineering) to honor Brent Averill Enterprises. With a penchant for high-quality transformers like Carnhill/St Ives and Jensen, BAE’s lineup of vintage designs are second to none.
The BAE 1073 is as authentic as you can get to the original, featuring the same chassis, connectors, PCB layouts, and circuitry. BAE goes above and beyond by using the same Carnhill/St Ives transformers, Elma switches, and Canford wire. The entire module is engineered exactly the same way, which allows it to easily retrofit into Neve 80 series consoles. BAE makes several versions of the 1073, including rackmount, 500 series, or Neve module format. The rackmount format is equipped with an output level control and high impedance line/instrument DI, plus a selectable mic impedance of 300 or 1200 ohms.
You’ll come across multiple models based on the 1073, but there are some subtle differences from the core model. The 1073MP, for instance, has the same great sound as the standard 1073 without any EQ parameters, a more suitable solution for those in need of an incredible preamp without the additional bells. If you’re looking for a portable desktop option, check out the 1073DMP, which features the same preamp and same Carnhill/St Ives transformers as the 1073 and 1084, along with a Jensen DI. Rest assured, BAE likely has the perfect 1073 variant to complement your workflow.
BAE offers plenty of well-made modules inspired by a blend of other classics. For example, the BAE 1032 features a nice mixture of specs, resulting in a truly unique microphone preamp that still retains a vintage glow. The BAE 1032 is inspired by the 4-band EQ of the original 1081, yet it shares the Class-A heart of the 1073. The BAE 1032 is a great option for those looking for a highly capable preamp with expanded frequency options for tweaking clean sound. Like all BAE modules, the 1032 is entirely handwired with OEM components.
The BAE collection also includes a robust array of their own 500 series module designs. For a simple 500 series parametric EQ, check out the B15. Each of the three bands has five frequencies that can be monitored individually for convenience. The high and low bands have an optional shelf mode. The B15 is backed by Jensen transformers paired with an Avedis 1122 op-amp. Other 500 series designs, like their 500C compressor, follow suit with the rugged yet musical equipment offered by BAE. If you’re on the hunt for a solid compressor to get the job done, look no further. The BAE 500C is a timeless piece based on vintage FET compressors. k It tames peaks while adding tasty analog warmth to your signal. All models in this series are made in California with only the premium components you’d expect from BAE.
BAE brings their knowledge and high degree of attention to detail to the stompbox realm. Their Hot Fuzz pedal is essentially two pedals in one. On the left side, a boost switch can bring a nice top end to your guitar signal. On the right side, the fuzz switch initiates a gnarly ‘70s-era distortion. Both sides of the pedal can be used independently or in series. The combination of both effects creates a fuzzy warmth sharp enough to cut through the mix. Additionally, the BAE Royaltone is another pedal with phenomenal grit. Like the Hot Fuzz, it reflects the tonal possibilities of English fuzz circuitry in a hybrid format. It’s crisp to the touch but can produce heavy levels of distortion while remaining tasteful. If you’re digging for the authentic sonic palette of a golden era, choose BAE.
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