Pro Audio Files

Increase Your Income Improve Your Mixes

5 Great Neve 1073 Emulation Plugins

The Neve 1073 is arguably one of the most popular preamps in the history of recorded music. 

Originally introduced as part of the 80 Series consoles in the 1970s, these colorful preamps are known for their fat, warm sound and rich low end.

Vintage Neve 1073 preamps sound amazing, but their limited feature set and astronomical price tag push many engineers towards digital alternatives. In this roundup, we’ll break down the top five plugins based on the Neve 1073 to help you figure out which one is right for you.

1073 Design

The original 1073 preamps utilize a very streamlined design. In addition to a single gain control knob, which can be used to drive signals until they saturate, the 1073 also features a three-band semi-parametric EQ and selectable high-pass filter. 

The top EQ band controls a fixed shelf at 12 kHz. The midband controls a bell curve with selectable frequencies at .36, .7, 1.6, 3.2, 4.8, and 7.2 kHz. The low band controls a shelf with selectable frequencies at 35, 60, 110 and 220 Hz. The selectable high-pass filter can be set at 50, 80, 160 or 300 Hz. Each band offers +/- 16 dB of gain.

About the audio files …

We put some of our favorite 1073-style plugins through the paces on drums, bass, guitars and vocals with the following settings:

Drums

  • HPF at 50 Hz
  • +4 dB at 110 Hz
  • +2 dB at 1.6 kHz
  • +2 dB at 12 kHz

Bass

  • HPF at 50 Hz
  • +4 dB at 60 Hz
  • +6 dB at 700 Hz
  • +6 dB at 12 kHz

Guitars

  • HPF at 80 Hz
  • +4 dB at 110 Hz
  • +8 dB at 3.2 kHz
  • +4 dB at 12 kHz

Vocals

  • HPF at 80 Hz
  • +2 dB at 110 Hz
  • +4 dB at 3.2 kHz
  • +2 dB at 12 kHz

Here are the unprocessed audio files …

 

Drums

 

Bass

 

Guitar

 

Vocals

 

UAD Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ Collection

UAD offers “the only authentic end-to-end circuit emulation” of the Neve 1073. The UAD 1073 captures all of the original’s unique circuit behaviors, including all 10 clipping points from the preamp and EQ stages for that classic gritty class‑A saturation.

The UAD 1073 also utilized UAD’s Unison technology, which allows you to use the plugin while tracking.

In terms of features, the UAD 1073 sticks very closely to the original design. The only new features are an impedance switch and a switchable -20 dB pad.

Drums – UAD

 

Bass – UAD

 

Guitar – UAD

 

Vocals – UAD

 

Slate Digital FG-73 Preamp + FG-N EQ + VCC

Slate has a plugin for everything, and in this case, they actually have three plugins dedicated to emulating the legendary sound of the 1073 preamp. 

First, the FG-73, available as part of the Virtual Console Collection, offers simple drive and trim controls for emulating the dual-stage red band preamp of the 1073.

The FG-N, available as part of the Virtual Mix Rack 2.0, is a modified version of the 1073 EQ with variable frequency controls and an additional midrange bell. It also features a variable gain control with an optional “drive” button for added grit — similar to the FG-73.

Finally, the Virtual Channel and Virtual Mixes plugins, both available in the Virtual Console Collection, feature Brit-N settings for emulating the channel circuitry and summing characteristics of using running a signal through a Neve console.

*For the purposes of this test, the VCC (in Brit-N mode) and FG-73 plugins were used with settings at default. Drive set to 6 (10 o’clock); Input and Out set to zero. The FG-73 is set to 20 (the minimum setting).

Drums – Slate

 

Bass – Slate

 

Guitar – Slate

 

Vocals – Slate

 

McDSP British-E

6020 Ultimate EQ is a collection of ten 500-series style equalizer models, including the British-E EQ, based on the 1073. Although the British-E is only a small portion of what this powerful plugin has to offer, it does an amazing job of emulating the sound of Neve EQs. 

British-E features more versatile filter shapes than the original design with three fully variable bands: a high-shelf, a midrange bell, and a low shelf. It also includes a fully variable high-pass filter.

ADVERTISEMENT

The most unique thing about this plugin is that it does not include markings for frequency or gain controls, forcing you to rely on your ears. For these examples, I attempted to match the settings as best as I could by ear.

Drums – McDSP

 

Bass – McDSP

 

Guitar – McDSP

 

Vocals – McDSP

 

IK Multimedia EQ 73

The EQ 73 by IK Multimedia is a “true to the original” reproduction of the 1073, including all of the gain stages, circuit designs, EQ curves and preamp behaviors. IK have also emulated the preamp/EQ interaction, which “truly defines why this unit was so special,” according to them.

Aside from the addition of stereo and mid-side processing, the EQ-73 also stays true to the original feature set.

Drums – IK Multimedia

 

Bass – IK Multimedia

 

Guitar – IK Multimedia

 

Vocals – IK Multimedia

 

Acustica Audio GOLD2

GOLD2 is much more than a simple preamp emulation. It includes six different equalizers, two compressors, seven preamplifiers and advanced routing emulations. 

The GOLD2 package includes individual plugins for the preamp, EQ and compressor modules, as well as a channel strip version. Each plugin also includes a zero latency or “ZL” version for use during tracking.

While GOLD2 doesn’t introduce any new features to the 1073, it offers circuit emulations for several Neve consoles for added versatility.  

*For the purposes of this test, only the H073 module and H073 summing were used. 

Drums – Acustica

 

Bass – Acustica

 

Guitar – Acustica

 

Vocals – Acustica

 

Honorable Mentions

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are dozens of emulations of 1073-style preamps and EQs.

Waves have an excellent version designed by the legendary Andrew Scheps called the Scheps 73. It offers the exact same controls as the original with the addition of “a little-known 10 kHz midrange band discovered in the original 1073 schematics but operable only on the rare 1078 channel strip.”

The Stillwell 1973 Equalizer is a very affordable 1073 “tribute”. While it doesn’t model the 1073 exactly like many of the other plugins on this list, it “takes the best features and reduces them down to their essence.”

Unique Recording Software’s N-Series EQ does a great job of capturing the 1073 sound, but it also utilizes features from multiple Neve modules. The URS N4 offers four fully parametric EQ bands, as well as high-pass and low-pass controls, and a gain knob for dialing in distortion.

And that’s just scratching the surface! What are some of your favorite Neve 1073 emulation plugins?

Missing our best stuff?

Sign up to be the first to learn about the latest articles, videos, courses, freebies, giveaways, exclusive discounts and more.

We'll never spam you. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Brad Pack

Brad Pack

Brad Pack is an award-winning audio engineer and writer based in Chicago, IL. He currently owns and operates Punchy Kick, a professional mixing and mastering studio that specializes in pop punk, emo, punk, grunge, and alternative music. He has been helping artists connect with fans through emotionally resonant mixes, cohesive masters, and insightful guidance for over 10 years. Check out his website PunchyKick.com or say hi on Instagram @PunchyKick

Free Video on Mixing Low End

Download a FREE 40-minute tutorial from Matthew Weiss on mixing low end.

Powered by ConvertKit
/> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> />