Golden Age’s new Premier series of Neve‑inspired devices get even closer to the real thing.
Back in 2009, Golden Age Project were one of the first companies to bring an affordable yet decent‑quality take on Neve’s 1073 preamp to market. They tweaked that design slightly over the years, and offered variations on the theme — the smaller Jr version, for example, and versions with ‘big name’ transformers — and also released a companion EQ, among other bits of hardware inspired by classic studio gear. Regular readers will know that they also make some impressive mics. I’ve always been impressed by the bang for buck that GA Project gear offers: generally, it sounds very good, even if it meets its price point by using unbranded components and taking a somewhat utilitarian approach to the metalwork and aesthetics.
A few years ago, Bo Medin, the man behind Golden Age, decided to launch a sister brand, Golden Age Premier, which would be priced slightly higher and allow him to cut fewer corners while still delivering great value for money. This range definitely looks and feels more like ‘the real thing’ and, again, has always sounded great to me.
For review here is the latest pair of GA Premier devices, the Pre‑73 Jr Premier and the EQ‑73 Premier, and I’ll award no prizes for guessing that these look once again to vintage Neve designs for their inspiration.
A 1U quarter‑rack‑width device, you can fit four of the Pre‑73 Jrs cheek‑by‑jowl in a 19‑inch rack space and, as with other GA devices, there are threaded holes on the baseplate and rackmounting kits available should you wish to do that. It can, if you prefer, sit on a desktop, though there are no stick‑on rubber feet so you’ll have to provide your own. The Pre‑73 Jr may be narrow, but the metal case is about 10 inches, or 25.5cm (excluding protruding controls/connectors), to provide plenty of space for the circuitry, which uses through‑hole components throughout — something I like, since in years to come this should make maintenance and repair easy. It’s reassuringly weighty too, in no small part due to the mu‑metal‑shielded input transformer and a large output transformer, both made in the UK by Carnhill.
The Pre‑73 Jr accepts mic‑level signals via cables terminating in TRS or XLR, courtesy of a Zwee‑branded combi socket on the rear, and can accept instrument sources through a high‑impedance DI input (TS jack socket) on the front. In this design, the combi...