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KIT Plugins BB N73

Preamp & EQ Plug-in By Matt Houghton
Published May 2023

KIT’s latest collaboration with Blackbird Studio brings us their take on the Neve 1073.

I wrote about KIT’s Blackbird Studio partnership when I reviewed their BB N105 plug‑in (SOS March 2022:, which modelled a channel from the studio’s Neve 8078 console. This latest offering does a similar thing for the Neve 1073 and delivers some new features, including a model of the 8078’s output transformers.

KIT Plugins BB N73The resizable GUI has a console‑style layout, with a preamp/saturation stage plus EQ on the left, an output fader on the right and various other functions in a central column. The preamp offers a choice of line and mic modes. In line mode, the big mic gain knob doesn’t function but a pair of input/output level controls at the top mean you can put any signal in the sweet spot. The plug‑in first instantiates in line mode, with the saturation mode switched on and the EQ in the signal path but with controls ‘zeroed’ — though this still causes a broad, shallow dip around 500Hz, and a similarly shaped boost around 5kHz, with the response dropping at each end of the spectrum. It’s a subtle but audible curve which often sounds flattering, but the EQ can be bypassed of course.

The EQ bands are what you’d expect from a 1073: a stepped‑frequency mid band, low shelf and high‑pass filter, each with their own bypass, are joined by a continuously variable high shelf (which can’t be bypassed individually). There’s a little more to the mid bell and shelves, since a boost causes a small adjacent dip, and likewise a cut causes a boost nearby. This tends to make the EQ pretty forgiving in use; a broad boost brings the characteristic you wish to the fore, while the related dip either side minimises collateral damage. Analysis showed that the shelves behave rather more like bells (perhaps shelf plus filter?) but again they work well.

A thoughtful instance‑linking feature allows you to set the oversampling factor and/or hum level for multiple instances from one GUI.

A button marked Pengages a polarity inverter. There’s also modelled ‘hum’, with a choice of three levels or (thankfully!) off — a misnamed function, since it mimics the self‑noise of the electronics. An instance‑linking facility allows you to set the oversampling factor (low, medium or high) and/or hum level for multiple instances from a single GUI. The preset management system offers factory presets by KIT and some ‘names’, as well as the ability to save user presets. Finally, an online manual can be accessed from within the GUI.

Ups & Downs?

The perceived character of BB N73 is certainly in the 1073 ballpark, and there’s definitely a sweet spot for the preamp where it seems generally to lend a pleasing weight and presence to a source. The saturation sounds good to my ears: it’s mostly odd‑order harmonics in both line and mic mode, and it’s a sound I love on drums and bass (for both it can make a great parallel saturator), and used less aggressively I often like it as a thickening effect on male rock vocals. The saturation seems only to apply in mic mode, though, which makes me wonder why line mode couldn’t simply have been an extra step on the mic gain knob (presumably it’s to make the layout more familiar to anyone who’s used to the hardware).

In addition to the thickening and sheen applied by the preamp, there’s a touch more available from the modelled output transformers. This is a much subtler character, and to hear it, once you’ve set the preamp up as you want, you engage the transformer then ride the fader until the signal hits the transformers to your satisfaction.

Are there any downsides? Nothing major. It sounds that bit sweeter to my ears at higher oversampling settings, or when working at higher sample rates. It’s a shame that more features can’t be linked across instances: it would have been great to be able to ride the faders of several channels simultaneously, to massage the overall output transformer sound. It’s also worth noting that if you push the mic knob too far sounds can start to ‘splatter’, but that’s an observation about this style of preamp, not a criticism of the plug‑in! All in all, it’s a decent‑sounding preamp and EQ that’s great for saturation and general tonal sculpting. The GUI and gain‑staging options make it really intuitive if you’ve grown up with consoles and hardware too.


Versatile and vibey, the BB N73 is easy to use and performs a number of gain, saturation and EQ duties admirably.


Full price $150. Discounted to $75 when going to press.

Full price $150. Discounted to $75 when going to press.