I’m going to be completely honest, I’m beginning to really look forward to the days when I get a piece of BAE gear delivered for review. The 10dc compressors I was able to spend some quality time with last month were just unreal, and absolutely turned me around on the need for a good rackmount physical compressor in my studio as opposed to going all ‘in the box’. When I heard I would have my hands on the 1066DL, I broke out my guitar recording setup and got right to work.
The 1066DL is a 500 series unit, and it takes up 2 spaces in your ‘lunchbox’. It does the work of 2 processors, however, by providing both a 1073 style mic preamp and a vintage EQ to boot. Much like the last offering from BAE I was able to sample, this unit is built like a tank. It screams ‘vintage design’ and feels like it was handmade specifically for my own studio. The knobs fall into place with an extremely powerful and satisfying click, and the buttons absolutely feel built to last.
While the 1066DL would be appropriate for recording just about any source you throw at it, I wanted to task it with tracking some guitars as the 1066 was an extremely popular unit back in the day for bringing incredibly detailed midrange to guitar tracks. I set up a twin reverb with my trusty AKG C414 and went to work.
I found I was able to get to a polished sound with incredible speed. The ‘right out of the box’ sound of the 1066DL absolutely held up to what I’d normally get from my other boutique preamp, but after significant time tweaking with in-the-box EQs, compressors, and occasional tape saturators. With the 1066DL, I didn’t need even a quarter of my usual processing chain for guitar tracks. I slapped a compressor to tame my (admittedly mediocre) guitar playing, gave it a little reverb, and was at ‘finished track’ status within minutes.
The value on the 1066DL is pretty incredible if you’re comparing it to the original pre and EQ that it is modeled after. Even if you went with just the 1073 style preamp in a 500 series format, you’re likely looking at well over $3,000—and that doesn’t include the impedance, DI, and EQ flexibility that you get with the 1066DL. I’m sure some truly discerning folks may put this up against a vintage 1066 someday and provide some scientific measurement, but for now I can leave you with this: The 1066DL is a truly remarkable preamp that has the capability to sound breathtaking in the right hands. The impedance selection on the front panel is a nice touch, giving you the ability to match it to an SM57 for a guitar cab or a U87 for that pro vocal sound. I found this preamp to be flexible, durable, and polished sounding. You can get to a finished sound right from the get-go and saving that kind of time is golden in a working studio.
Price: $2,000 USD MAP
Pros : Highly polished sound, extremely sturdy vintage style build, front panel buttons provide functionality for things that are often relegated to the back panel, high value when compared to original hardware.
Cons : The knobs which lock into place may not provide enough eq precision for users who are used to a more modern interface—but this is a vintage piece, it’s part of the character!