So... What has everyone been buying? Well, we're here to talk about the top five best selling pieces of outboard gear from 2018. Read below to discover the mic pres, EQs, compressors and more that made it into the ranks, along with a few deserving honorable mentions from close to the top of the list.
1. Neve 1073LB
Known for it’s big, punchy sound, the Neve 1073 is one of the most prized preamps of all time. Designed using the same components and original hand-wound transformers as the original, the new 1073LB 500 series module captures the unmistakable 1073 sound with unprecedented precision.
The 1073LB improves upon the original design with modernized features like a fine TRIM control, switchable microphone input impedance, and LED signal meters. And it’s the only preamp with a mind of its own, as Neve’s clever Audio Processing Input technology automatically toggles phantom power when swapping out inputs.
• Classic transformer microphone preamp amp (Class A design) • Fully-discrete audio path modeled after 1073 Classic
• Neve designed hand-wound transformers
• Transformer balanced mic and line inputs
2. Rupert Neve Designs Portico 511 Mic Pre
The Rupert Neve Designs Portico 511 Mic Pre combines some of the best features from popular Neve preamps of the last decade. The Portico 511 features the preamp circuit from the classic 517 modules, as well as the sweepable high-pass filter from the 5012 pre.
This transformer based, Class-A preamp offers up to 66 dB of dynamic range for capturing everything from intimate acoustic performances to roaring rock songs. Equipped with a unique “silk mode” and variable texture control for adding vintage vibe, the 511 has everything you need to dial-in professional sounds for any source.
• 517 Mic/Line Preamp circuit
• 5012 Sweepable High-Pass Filter / 20 Hz - 250 Hz
• Class A, Transformer based Preamp
• 66dB of Dynamic Range
• Variable Silk / Texture control
3. API 512v
The API 512v 500 series mic/line/instrument preamp expands upon the legendary sound of the original 512c preamp with a number of modern features.In addition to the instantly recognizable API sound, the 512v mic pre offers an impressive 65 dB of gain.
The new 3:1 transformer output button reduces the output level, allowing you to drive the transformers even harder for more analog warmth, grit and saturated goodness. The front panel Combo-style XLR and ¼” connector offers quick and easy access to keep things moving during fast-paced studio sessions.
• Mic Preamp with 65 dB of gain
• Line/Instrument Preamp with 45 dB of gain
• Front Panel Combo-style XLR + 1/4 inch Line/Instrument Input
• 3:1 Output Transformer Tap Selection
4. Rupert Neve Designs Shelford 5052
The Shelford 5052 packs a huge punch! In addition to the full feature set of the iconic Neve 1073 preamp, the 5052 also features and 3-band inductor EQ with a dedicated high-pass filter. On top of that, the 5052 also includes the variable Silk / Texture control of the 511 module for dialing in the perfect amount of old-school saturation.
This class-A, fully-discrete preamp features custom-wound transformers and inductors for an unmistakably warm sound. The 5052 also utilizes a unique dual-output design so you can feed a tape machine or DAW directly from the mic pre while still using a dedicated analog mix path.
• Class-A, fully-discrete preamp with legendary Neve 1073 sound
• 3-band inductor EQ with a dedicated high-pass filter
• Variable Silk / Texture control
• 72dB of Dynamic Range
5. Universal Audio 1176 LN
For over 50 years, the 1176 has been used to slam vocals, squeeze bass tracks and crush drum busses. The classic1176 LN reproduction is a FET-style compressor and features a faithful version of the original Class-A output transformer designed by Bill Putnam Sr.
Featuring hyper-fast attack and release times, this colorful compressor is perfect for dialing in aggressive sounds with plenty of grit and distortion. Add subtle compression with the fixed 4:1 ratio, limit your mix with the pushy 20:1 option, or go “all buttons in” for some punishing parallel distortion!
• FET-Style Compressor with Class A Output & Custom Transformers
• True to the original 1176 in design, manufacturing and performance
• Modeled after 1176LN, blackface, D and E revisions
Honorable Mentions: API 512C, Shadow Hills Mono GAMA Mic Pre, Tube-Tech CL 1B
If you'd like to learn more about our best sellers or any other piece of outboard gear, contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.