The first mic pre I ever bought was a Brent Averill Neve 1272 and it remains one of my all-time favorite mic pres for guitars, vocals, snare - just about anything. It has this cool gritty kind of sound that is identifiable in the same way a Fender guitar and amp are. I have to completely agree with all the folks who swear by the vintage Neve sound - it just makes everything sound fantastic. In the words of Fletcher: "[Neve modules] couldn't be used to make things sound bad." My only complaint was that there was no EQ, which made using it on drums problematic at times. When I picked up this Chandler LTD-1, which is based on the Neve 1073, the first thing I did was open it up to see what was inside. Two things became apparent. The first was that this thing was loaded with all original Neve circuit boards and transformers. Score! The second was that Wade Chandler's wiring is the cleanest I've ever seen, bordering on total overkill, with shrinkwrap wire ties every half inch along the neat wire bundles. While I was lucky to get a lot of original Neve boards and transformers, Wade's stock is limited and you can expect to pay a premium for original Neve parts. But, all the boards that he manufactures are exact copies of the original Neve boards, and he gets all his transistors and transformers from the same supplier in England who supplied Mr. Neve. Upon hooking up and using the LTD-1, I found that it sounds every bit as bitchin' as my 1272s with the added bonus of some very excellent-sounding and musical EQs. Chandler has also done Mr. Neve right by adding five new EQ frequencies based on the Neve broadcast module and the 1081 four band. The cut/boost knobs are a bit odd as they work upside down from the way most EQs work, but this is a minor inconvenience. Another nice touch is the output fader so you can turn up the input more and overdrive the pre. I really can't say enough good things about this box, I just love the way it sounds. It's not inexpensive, but if you can cough up the money somehow, you won't regret spending it on one of these.


Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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