The roots of BAE Audio were planted back in the 1980s with the original Brent Averill Enterprises. It began with a focus on repairing and racking original Neve and API modules to bring the sound of a full mixing board into rack-mounted gear that could fit into any studio workflow. As the business evolved, Brent began replicating the original designs to the nth degree, using original spec components from OEM manufacturers (particularly the transformers) and wiring these all-discrete designs by hand. A reputation for build quality and sonic excellence was established that continues to this day.
In the late ‘90s, Brent decided to retire. Enter Mark Loughman, a tech at the firm who decided to buy the business and continue the excellence. He renamed it BAE, a nod to both the original name and an acronym for British Audio Engineering, which was and still is the focus of the sonic signature created by BAE products. The classic “British EQ” and the sound heard on countless records emanating from the UK for the past five decades is at the heart of BAE.
All the gear made by BAE is wired by hand to ensure the highest quality and attention to detail. Utilizing Class A, all-discrete designs with classic and modern transformers from Carnhill (St. Ives) and Jensen, the gear from BAE is built to a specification, not a price point. Read on to discover the many products available and how they can help you fill your rack with the gear that delivers the goods.
BAE Audio Mic Preamps and Equalizers - Rack-Mount Versions
BAE specializes in making meticulous recreations of classic gear. When it comes to mic preamps, BAE focuses on the Big Three from Neve – the 1073, 1081, and 1084 – and the classic from API, the 312A. Several variations on these designs are available, with extra bells and whistles not found on the originals.
The BAE 1073 is considered by many to be the finest mic preamplifier ever made. While we all love to debate which gear is the best, no one disputes that the 1073 is in the highest echelon of quality and sonic performance. It sets the standard by which other mic pres are judged. BAE also sets the standard for all the other Neve clones, because it is built exactly to original specs(same chassis, connectors and circuitry) with parts from the original manufacturers, like Canford wire, Elma switches, and most importantly Carnhill (formerly St. Ives) transformers.
The BAE 1073 comes in three form factors: a 1U 19” rack-mount version, a 500 Series triple-wide, and a classic module. Since it’s built exactly like the original, the module version looks and acts just like its ancestor, and can be swapped into any console as a direct replacement. The rack-mount style can hold a single or a pair of the mic pre/EQ, and adds an output level control, high impedance line/instrument DI, plus a selectable mic impedance of 300 and 1200 ohms.
80 dB of mic pre gain, +/-20 dB of line gain/attenuation
Phase and Bypass switches
High Pass Filter: 18dB/octave slope; choose from 50 – 80 – 160 – 300 Hz
Low Frequency: +/-16dB shelving, selectable at 35 – 60 – 110 - 220 Hz
Mid Range: +/-18dB peaking, fixed 'Q', selectable centers at 360 & 700 Hz; 1.6 - 3.2 - 4.8 - 7.2 kHz
High Frequency: +/-16dB shelving fixed at 12 kHz
BAE 1073 MP
The BAE 1073 MP rack-mount model gives you the Class A preamp section of the 1073 without the EQ – perfect for those who just need a fantastic mic pre, with a Carnhill transformer-coupled input. A high impedance DI is added to enhance the capabilities of the line preamp section, and a selectable impedance of 300 or 1200 ohms brings out the best in any microphone. It’s also available as a dual-channel rack-mount unit and a 500 Series module. The BAE 1073 MPF adds a high-pass filter to the 1073 MP model to remove unwanted rumble and resonance. Take your signals to a higher level. Literally.
The BAE 1066D is the same mic/line preamp as the classic 1073, with several different frequency choices. Also added is a shelf EQ inspired by the original 1066 model, but enhanced with many more choices beyond the original fixed 10 kHz.
High Pass Filter: 18dB/octave slope, choose from 45 – 70 – 160 - 360 Hz
Low Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 35 – 60 – 110 - 220 Hz.
Mid Range: +/-16dB peaking; selectable centers at 700 Hz and 1.2 - 2.4 - 3.6 - 7 kHz
High Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 10 – 12 – 16 – 20 - 24 kHz.
The BAE 1023 builds on the 1066D model with a few extra frequency choices (for a total of 23 different ones, actually; hence the model number). Great for users who love the vintage vibe but want a bit more flexibility. Also available as a 500 Series module.
The HPF, Lows and Highs are the same as the 1066D model. The real difference lies in the Midrange, where the extra choices provide some overlapping frequencies. This makes it possible to play the bell curve of the mids against the lows and highs to sculpt tones that no regular 1073 could ever create!
Mid Range: +/-12dB or +/-18dB peaking; selectable centers at: 160 – 270 – 360 – 510 - 700 Hz; 1.6 - 3.2 - 4.8 - 7.2 - 8.2 - 10 kHz
The BAE 1028 is the same as the BAE 1023 model, with the low pass filter of a 1084 added. This gives a total of 28 frequencies to play with, hence the model number.
Low Pass Filter: 18dB per octave slope: choose from 6 – 8 – 10 – 14 - 18 kHz.
The BAE 1032 is inspired by the 4-band 1081 mic pre/EQ, but with a Class A output stage instead of the Class A/B of the original 1081. Think of it as the best of both worlds from the 1073 and 1081, with the extra high shelf of the 1066D – a unique mic pre/EQ from BAE, unlike any other unit on the market.
1073 High Pass Filter: 18dB/octave slope; choose from 50 – 80 – 160 – 300 Hz
1073 Low Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 35 – 60 – 110 - 220 Hz.
1081 Low Mid Range +/-16dB peaking; selectable at 220 – 270 – 330 – 390 – 470 – 560 – 680 – 820 – 1000 - 1200 Hz.
1081 High Mid Range +/-16dB peaking; selectable at 1.5 – 1.8 – 2.2 - 2.7 – 3.3 - 3.9 – 4.7 – 5.6 - 6.8 – 8.2 kHz
1066 High Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 10 – 12 – 16 – 20 - 24 kHz.
The BAE 1084 is not only inspired by the original 1084, but also replicates it. The module version will retrofit into any existing 80 Series console, with the same chassis, connector, circuitry, PCBs, hand-wired looms – the works.
High Pass Filter: 18dB/octave slope, choose from 45 – 70 – 160 - 360 Hz
Low Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 35 – 60 – 110 - 220 Hz.
Mid Range: +/-12dB or +/-18dB peaking and switchable ‘High Q’; selectable centers at: 360 – 700 Hz; 1.6 - 3.2 - 4.8 - 7.2 kHz
High Frequency: +/-16dB shelving; selectable at 10 – 12 – 16 kHz.
The BAE 1272 also replicates a vintage model, the original Neve line amp. Hand-wired and made to the exact specifications of the classic, this can retrofit into any existing console.
The BAE 312A is inspired by the legendary API 312 microphone preamplifier. Used in countless consoles from the 1970s on, the 312 became an integral component of the “API sound.” Vintage units are still sought out, though they are becoming increasingly scarce. Back in the day, Brent Averill would rack-mount the originals, but the supply has long since dried up. Luckily you can now get a modern take on this classic from BAE.
This hand-wired gem has Jensen transformers on the ins and outs, and the signal runs through a clean path with no capacitors, powered by a BAE proprietary 2015 op-amp. No caps means it’s extra punchy and captures fast transients with ease. For extra utility, a high impedance DI is provided via phone jack, with XLR I/Os for the mic. Pad, phase, 48v phantom, and a gain pot round out the controls. This one is available in single or dual channel 1U 19” rack-mount or as a 500 Series module.
The BAE 10DCF is the last of the rack-mount gear we’ll explore. An original design from BAE, it’s inspired by the great console compressors of the past. Think of it as an upgraded 33609 with its sidechain capability, but given a Class A amplifier stage like its cousin the 2254. Then throw in the low-pass filter from the 1073, and you get the idea.
Hand-wired like all BAE gear, this compressor sports Jensen transformer-coupled inputs and outputs and discrete, Class A circuitry. The low-pass filter kicks in at 50-80-160-300 Hz, making it an excellent choice to selectively compress tracks while leaving bass frequencies untouched. Get a stereo-linked pair (a single PSU can power both) and your drum overheads will thank you!
Stepped Elma switches make for accurate and reliable settings, and the illuminated meter makes it easy to read gain reduction. The compressor and the limiter can be operated independently, and the unit has a true bypass, even if it’s turned off.
Threshold: -20 to +16 dBu (compressor); +4 to +15 dBu (limiter)
Ratio: 1.5 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 8 - 10:1 (compressor)
Attack: 2 mS to 80 mS (compressor); Slow 4 mS, Fast 2 mS (limiter)
Recovery: 100 – 200 – 400 – 800 mS (both)
Gain makeup: 0-20 dBu in 1 dB increments
BAE Audio 500 Series and Portable Gear
BAE makes a full line of 500 Series gear to satisfy any audio need. Along with their takes on the vintage benchmarks (the 1073D, 1073MPL, 1066DL, and 1023L), BAE also makes their own unique designs. Let’s take a look at them.
The BAE G10 10 Band Graphic EQ is reminiscent of the classic API graphic, with an op-amp made in the style of the venerable 2520. It’s fully transformer-balanced on both the ins and outs, thanks to Cinemag iron in the path. Even passing audio without boosting or cutting will impart a sweet tone to your tracks.
But boosting and cutting is what it’s made for, and you can do that by +/- 12 dB on 10 thoughtfully chosen frequencies: 31 – 63 – 125 – 250 – 500 Hz; 1 – 2 – 4 – 8 – 16 kHz. You’ll also have a low pass filter at 12 kHz and a high pass at 80 Hz at your disposal. And of course, you can bypass the EQ entirely when necessary.
Another 500 Series equalizer is of the parametric variety. The BAE B15 3-Band EQ sports five frequencies on each of three bands. It’s fully transformer-balanced on both the ins and outs courtesy of Jensen, combined with an 1122 op-amp courtesy of Avedis. As a bonus, each of the three bands can be switched off individually, and the highs and lows can be switched to shelving mode at the touch of a button.
+/- 16 dB on these:
63 – 120 – 200 – 300 – 430 Hz
560 – 750 Hz; 1.5 – 3.3 – 5.6 kHz
6.8 – 8.2 – 10 – 12 – 16 kHz
Need a 500 Series compressor? BAE has you covered with their own proprietary design, the 500C FET Compressor. Inspired by the classic FET comps of yore, such as the 1176, the BAE 500C gives you a choice of 2:1 compression ratio along with the traditional 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, 20:1. You can also select ABI for ‘all-buttons in’ mode – see how that old trick can enhance your sonic life!
You’ll get controls for input and output level; continuously-variable attack and release; a 12-segment LED meter to monitor gain reduction; and switches to turn off GR or bypass the unit entirely. You can also ease some of the bass end out of the compression path with the high pass filter, operating on a 6dB per octave slope at 125 Hz. As you would expect from BAE, this hand-wired module is ruggedly built, with a full enclosure housing three 2520 style op-amps and a transformer-coupled output.
House hunting for your 500 Series modules? Look no further. The BAE 3LB is a portable lunchbox-style enclosure with integrated (and overbuilt) power supply. It can house up to three 500 Series units in its hand-wired, sturdy chassis. The perfect size for a trio of BAEs like the 1073 MPL mic pre, B15 EQ, and 500C compressor, or go with a single like the 1073D, 1066DL, or 1023L. Whichever you choose, your BAE modules will call the 3LB home sweet home.
BAE Audio On The Go
BAE 1073 DMP
Want to take a legend out to lunch? Take a 1073 (or two) wherever you need to go. Another sweet portable in the BAE line is the BAE 1073 DMP. The letters stand for Desktop Mic Pre; that tells you all you need to know about the form factor.
Available in single channel or stereo configuration, the 1073 DMP is packed with all the features of the full size 1073 mic preamp, plus a little extra: the “Bootsy Collins” mod. This mod incorporates a Cinemag trafo to make the 1073 into a direct box. Along with the DI input, you get a pair of DI throughputs and, of course, the classic Carnhill trafos on the XLR mic in and out.
A built-in power supply, phase invert, and phantom power, along with 70 dB of mic gain and output level control, round out the features. Double all the above for the stereo version, and you’re ready to tackle your project from both the X and the Y axis.
If all you need is a high-quality direct injection box (or two), look no further than the BAE PDI, the only passive DI box made to the high standards of BAE. The PDI features a ¼” TS phone jack input, LO-z XLR out, and a pair of ¼” thru outputs, all courtesy of Neutrik. A ground lift switch helps you deal with less-than-ideal electrical situations. Most importantly, the BAE PDI puts Carnhill iron in your signal path, imparting that warmth that only a transformer can provide.
Double all the above for the BAE PDIS stereo version and start getting creative! Two mono sources at once, like guitar and bass? No problem. Sending a synthesizer to multiple destinations via both Lo-Z and Hi-Z outputs? Also not a problem. Having the extra thru outputs expands your routing capabilities, allowing you to incorporate effects loops or other amplifiers that a typical DI box just can’t provide. All that, with the sweet harmonics and clear highs of transformers! Do your signal a favor and send it down the line through the quality and character of the BAE PDI or PDIS.
BAE Audio Guitar Pedals
That guitar you want to run through the sweet BAE PDI box? It can always use some more fuzz, right? BAE has you covered there too. They bring their high-quality craftsmanship to the stomp box arena with the Hot Fuzz and Royaltone dual-stomp machines.
BAE Hot Fuzz
Classic British fuzz tones are always in demand, and both of these hybrid pedals deliver the goods. Each one incorporates electrolytic, film, mica, and ceramic capacitors to cover all the bases, along with four bipolar low-noise transistors. Powered by 9v battery or external psu, the maximum current draw is less than 6 mA.
To let you tweak tone and/or distortion, the BAE Hot Fuzz has separate level controls for both sides. The left side gives you high frequency boost, while the fuzzy side adds controls for bass and treble as well as juice (distortion level) along with overall gain. Use them alone or together –your guitar has never sounded hotter, or fuzzier!
For more tonal flavor, try the BAE Royaltone dual-stomp fuzz box. Separate sections handle tone and fuzz, with true foot pedal bypass for both. Separate controls for bass, mid, and treble shape the tone on the left side, while attack and level knobs control the distortion on the right side. Whether you use the two halves separately or in series, you can make your guitar sound like British rock royalty. All you have to do is plug in the little yellow box with the great big tone.