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That "end of the year" feeling is in the air, and as we edge closer to 2023, we're taking a look back on all things pro audio in 2022. This year gave us lots of new technology and innovations, but when it comes down to it, our list of best-selling outboard gear features many tried and true mic pres, EQs, and compressors.
Welp, no surprise here, Neve's 1073LB is once again the best-selling piece of outboard gear at Vintage King. Since we first started rounding up top performers in 2018, the Neve 1073LB has taken home the big prize every single year (2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021). The 500 Series microphone preamp's reputation precedes it; you get the warmth and analog vibe of a classic Neve console in a small format that will fit in any studio.
While we're talking about condensing console magic down to the 500 Series realm, let's talk about the Solid State Logic SiX CH. SSL has taken its SuperAnalogue microphone preamp design and paired it with a classic E Series-style EQ and a powerful one-knob compressor. The result is an instant favorite that allows you to take a compact SSL rig anywhere you want.
It takes a special piece of 19" rackmount gear to break through the barrage of more-affordable 500 Series modules, but a few have done it this year. The Universal Audio LA-2A cracks the top three with its classic electro-optical compression circuit and tube warmth. This comp has been used on every artist and genre imaginable since it first debuted in 1965.
Rupert Neve, the beloved godfather of pro audio, gave us the gift that keeps giving with the Shelford Channel. After all, this is no mere channel strip! The Shelford Channel is fifty years of expert engineering knowledge distilled into one of the finest pieces of pro audio gear ever made. You get a Rupert-designed transformer-gain, Class-A microphone preamp, three-band, custom-tapped inductor EQ, and diode bridge compressor.
The Tube-Tech CL 1B has been around since 1991, but the fervor around this compressor has always remained strong. Touted by some of the top engineers in the game as a must on vocals, bass, and guitars, the CL 1B is as smooth and warm as butter that you just microwaved for 15 seconds. Add a dose of tube-filled compression to your next track with this favorite.
When you look at the outboard gear that has made our list of best sellers of 2022, one name might stand out as the new kid on the block. Compared to Universal Audio and Solid State Logic, Cranborne Audio seems like an up-and-comer, but the Camden 500 has been in our top ten since its debut. The 500 Series preamp is as adept at being clean as it is being vibey when you turn the Mojo knob.
It wouldn't be a best-seller list of outboard gear if API Audio didn't make an appearance. The storied pro audio company cracks the top ten this year with its 550A. The legendary Saul Walker designed this 500 Series equalizer, which features a three-band design with 15 EQ points, and a maximum 12dB of boost/cut per band. Also, let's not forget about the incomparable 2520 op-amp onboard.
So if we've learned one thing over the years, it's that audio creators love to bring home classic gear reproductions that have been made smaller. Pultec is one of the latest brands to follow suit, as its EQP-500X delivers the sound of its incredible EQP-1A3-SS and EQP-153-SS to your 500 Series rack. Take advantage of the legendary Pultec shelving and boost and attenuate with the best of them.
The Maag Audio EQ4 is another perennial best-seller at Vintage King, and for a good reason. It's the perfect option if you're looking for an equalizer that won't over color your sound source. The EQ4 is capable of providing a light touch and keeping things sounding natural, while still giving you control over a six-band EQ.
It's undeniable that Shadow Hills' gear has a truly one-of-a-kind look and sound. The Mono GAMA is a single-channel version of the brand's Golden Age Microphone Amp, and features a Jenson input transformer and output transformer with three distinct settings. By design, Shadow Hills has given you three distinct sounding preamps in one with the Nickel, Discrete, and Steel transformer options.
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