If you’re looking to add some new colors to your sonic pallet this year, but are curious to see what your fellow engineer and producer brethren are opting for, this blog's for you. Today, we're unveiling our top ten list of the best selling outboard gear of 2019.
From preamps to EQs to compressors and more, we’ve got everything you need to upgrade your studio for the new year. Continue reading below to discover both the classics and the new kids on the block that made our list.
Best Selling Outboard Gear of 2019
1. Neve 1073LB
You can’t go wrong with a classic. The Neve 1073LB preamp is a fully-discrete 500-series version of the iconic Neve 1073 module. Known for its rich, warm tone, the 1073 is one of the most highly sought-after preamps in the world. Still manufactured in Great Britain to the exact specs as the original design, the 107LB features hand-wound input and output transformers, matched components, and recreated coupling caps to deliver the same legendary color and character as the original. Best of all, the 1073LB is now equipped with a variety of modern features such as switchable microphone input impedance, signal presence LED and intelligent protected switching, making it easier than ever integrate into your workflow.
2. Rupert Neve Designs Portico 511 Mic Pre
If you love the sound of Neve preamps but you need something with more flexibility than the 1073, check out the Rupert Neve Designs Portico 511. Loaded with features from some of Rupert Neve’s most innovative designs, including the 517 preamp and the 5012’s sweepable High-Pass Filter, the Portico 511 offers a wide range of tones.
In standard mode, the Portico 511 delivers a clean, open sound that’s more reminiscent of modern hi-fi studio gear than Rupert’s original designs from the 70s. After engaging Silk mode, you can use the variable Texture control to dial in the perfect amount of 2nd and 3rd order harmonics, making your tracks sound bigger, fatter and fuller.
3. API 512V
The API 512V preamp expands on this classic design of the original API 512c with a variety of new features. A new variable gain control knob makes it easier than ever to level match and fine-tune your gain structure. A new 3:1 transformer output button allows you to reduce the output level in order to drive the transformers for extra grit and saturation. Plus, with a new front-panel combo XLR + 1/4” line input jack you can easily record line-level instruments too!
4. SSL Fusion
The new SSL Fusion is the ultimate analog stereo bus processor. With vintage analog drive, classic SSL EQ and built-in mid/side processing, the SSL Fusion is ideal for adding tonal character, weight and space to sterile digital mixes. The SSL Fusion introduces five colorful new analog signal processors, including the vintage drive module for classic harmonic saturation.
The all-new Violet EQ is a minimum-phase, two-band shelving EQ instantly adds low-end weight and high-end sheen to any mix. Ideal for de-essing, the new variable HF Compressor helps keep your mix from sounding brittle. A new Stereo Image enhancer provides a true analog mid/side processing, while a custom-designed SSL Transformer circuit adds introduces subtle low-frequency saturation.
Top it all off with versatile features like a pre/post insert, trim controls, built-in LED metering and a dedicated high-pass filter, and you’ve got everything you need to give your mix that final coat of polish
5. Trident 80B EQ
Based on the EQ circuit from the legendary Trident Series 80 console, the Trident 80B 500 Series EQ delivers the same punchy color and character as the original. Add velvety-smooth lows or brilliant highs to your tracks with frequency-switchable high and low shelving bands. Make your mids jump out of the speakers with two sweepable midrange bands featuring resonant Q peaks. Known for their powerful low-end and punchy midrange, the Series 80B EQs have used by world-class artists such as Elton John, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and more.
6. Tube Tech CL 1B
The Tube-Tech CL 1B is an optical compressor with an all-tube design. Originally released in 1971 as a modern take on tube compressors, the CL 1B introduced a number of new features including variable controls and automatic attack and release times. Known for its thick, rich sound and smooth, musical compression characteristics, the CL 1B has been the go-to vocal compressor of top-tier mixers for over 40 years.
7. Cranborne Audio Camden 500
Cranborne Audio's Camden 500 is an ultra-transparent 500-series mic, line and hi-z preamp that delivers outstanding clarity and detail. In addition to basic features like 48V phantom power, a phase flip switch and a dedicated high-pass filter, the Camden 500 also features a variable “mojo” control for dialing in the perfect amount of vintage vibe. Choose from two styles: Thump excites low-end content by boosting harmonics below 100 Hz, while the Cream setting drastically increases THD whilst smoothing-out the low-mids. Each mode blends two stages of saturation to achieve a truly one-of-a-kind tone.
8. BAE Audio 1073MPL 500
If you’re looking for a more affordable version of the classic Neve 1073 preamp, the BAE 1073MPL 500 Series is an excellent solution. The BAE 1073MPL utilizes the same Class A components and Carnhill St Ives transformer-coupled design as the 1073 and 1084 to deliver the iconic sound with harmonically rich lows, resonant highs, and focused mids. With new features like a line-level input and a high impedance DI for guitar and synth, the BAE 1073MPL combines classic tone with unparalleled versatility.
9. API 512C
Even with the 512V selling so well at Vintage King Audio, the original API mic pre can't be stopped. Known for its bright, open, musical sound, the API 512c has been used on countless hit records over the years. Often credited with defining the sound of American rock and roll, the API 512c has been a go-to preamp for top-tier engineers for over 50 years. Renowned for its clear, open sound, this classic design delivers timeless tone.
10. Neve 1073SPX
If you’re looking for a super-charged version of the 1073, the Neve 1073SPX captures the same iconic tone as the original 1073 preamp with a number of new features including an integrated DI input, a dedicated insert with true bypass, input and output level meters, and an additional input connector that accepts microphone or line-level for easy and direct connection.