Review: Black Lion Audio B173 Compact Mic Preamp

Taking cues from the classic Neve 1073, Black Lion Audio's B173 half rack microphone preamp is put to the test by Sara Simms. Find out if it delivers on Neve like sound at a reasonable price.  

I was lucky to be able to try out Black Lion Audio's B173 mic pre amp. Its a small and compact mic pre, with a sound that's inspired by the classic Neve 1073 mic pre. The entire circuit is Class A, and the BLA B173 is designed to be a hybrid of the vintage Neve 1073 sound and have the punch and clarify of modern preamps. Like all of the Black Lion Audio products, it delivers high quality sound, is built with good quality components and is affordably priced. But how good does the BLA B173 actually sound? I put it to the test in a weekend recording session to find out...

B173 front

The BLA B173 is based on the Neve 1073, 'the world's most desirable microphone preamp'. Launched in the 1970s, the 1073 has a big sound that compliments any genre, from pop to rock to hip hop. It has become a very popular preamp, and has an equally high price tag to match its reputation. The B173 has a much lower price point, which makes it accessible for smaller studios, and  producers who are looking to expand their rig.

First Impressions

B173 back

The BLA B173 is housed in a cute blue metal 1/2 rack chassis, and its design is both minimal and functional. On the front panel, there's stepped mic gain, output level control, phantom power, phase and DI input (useful for guitars or keyboards). On the back of the BLA B173, there's a single XLR input and a balanced 1/4'

Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More


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