Warm Audio Toneshaping Discrete Mic Preamp - Orange - Long & McQuade Musical Instruments
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Warm Audio Toneshaping Discrete Mic Preamp - Orange

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TB 12

This product is no longer available.
The Tone Beast is a great mic pre with loads of gain that can effortlessly capture an array of sources very well. With top notch CineMag transformers and multiple discrete signal paths, its hard to beat its big, bold, fully-professional sound at its price.

The Tone Beast is a mic pre that likes to be pushed and when pushed will colorize your signal ever so sweetly. The 2 opamps and 2 output transformers at the flip of their switches wont appear to be much different, but as one drives the pre into harmonic distortion, the unique character of each of these components becomes apparent. Additionally the Tone Beast is customizable and allows for other opamps to be sourced and easily swapped into the unit. Ive pulled my best tones from this pre right at the saturation point (as loud as I can push the gain before clipping). The output control on the TB12 allows you to limit the signal exiting the preamp even when pushing the gain to really hot levels, giving you maximum control.

The x731 (Melcor 1731) and x18 (Dean Jensens 918) Op Amps saturate a bit differently. The 1731 breaks up faster and has more color when pushed. The 918 is fairly linear/clean with a smidge of character and does not break-up/saturate as quickly. The 100% steel output transformer colors the signal more than the 50% nickel transformer when pushed. However, both are designed to impart character. The 50% nickel transformer will impart less character and provide greater high and low frequencies. For an ultra clean, character-lacking tone, try the x18 while bypassing the output transformers completely.

Have no fear of hurting the Beast, you can push it very hard into full-on distortions if you wish, and these can sound quite nice on electric guitar, bass or anything else that likes some nice grit.

When hand building mic pres I learned a bit about the subtle differences component choices can make. A little change here, and another there often times became a huge deal in a finished mix, but often times is not very noticeable at first take. The different component options in the TB12 are subtle, but when driven into saturation are noticeable and can make a big difference to the way your final mix will sound.

Home-based musicians and professional studios alike will find the Tone Beast to be an extremely powerful and fully professional piece of gear that is capable of warming and shaping signals/mixes in a way that is very pleasing to the ear.

HISTORY BEHIND THE TONE BEAST

In the 60′s and 70′s many console/preamplifier builders hid the operational amplifier (Op amp) stage of their preamps by cramming its components into a small box and then attaching the box to the circuit board. Inside these small boxes, the components were covered in glue to make them hard to disassemble/analyze. Manufacturers of that day felt the character these Op Amps imparted was unique enough to protect.

A trend grew in the industry where the little box the Op Amp components sat in became of similar size and shape between manufacturers. These boxes eventually mounted to the PCB board with the same number of pins, spaced identically, even from different manufacturers. You could remove an Op Amp from one console preamp and place it in another of a different manufacturer without much headache/difficulty.

The TB12 uses this same square shaped op amp and pin configuration as these originals but not enclosed in plastic and glue. The TB12 is designed so that users can remove the stock opamps and replace them with their own. If you are a tone FREAK like me you will love the ability to do this. Beware that Warm Audio may not be able to warranty a unit that has been opened and tinkered with. Below are some examples of 6 pin opamps that can pop right into the Tone Beast!

Specifications
• Discrete 312 preamp design with coupled CineMag Transformers
• 71db of gain
• Transformer selection provides both Steel and 50% Nickel CineMag output transformers for varying character
• Transformer bypass switch allows for removal of the output transformer from the circuit
• Discrete Opamp selection provides both the classic 1731(vintage) and 918(cleaner) style opamps. These are socketed/swappable with your choice of 2520 6 pin footprint opamps.
• Impedance switch labeled TONE to switch between 150 and 600 ohms input impedance
• Capacitor selection between Tantalum and Electrolytic for different characters
• 80hz hipass filter
• Polarity Reverse
• +48V phantom power
• Output attenuation allowing for saturation flexibility of both the opamps and transformers
• 1/4 insert for the use of inline compressors, eqs etc..
• Balanced XLR mic (front and back), balanced TRS line, and 1/4 instrument inputs
• Balanced XLR and TRS outputs
• -20db Pad
• LED VU Meter
• 19 rackmountable
• External line-lump 24V AC power transformer for low noise

Tone Beast1 of 1 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI own it
Closest StoreEdmonton Downtown, Alberta
I'm not generally big on 'bells and whistles' type pres, but I must say that the TB12 is a winner. What struck me is that all of the individual parameters actually DO something. This pre lends to a very expensive sound right off the bat. Guitar, Bass, Room mics, Snare, Vocals... The TB12 seems to compliment them all in a very natural way. A very useful pre to contrast my ISAs.
Posted by Nick on Mar 5, 2017
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TB12 Tone Beast3 of 4 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI own it
Closest StoreVancouver, British Columbia
Well I've owned this for about a year and I just finished an intense detailed comparison with another much more expensive pre. Hardly any difference. The other one is on trial and will be returned. I only wish it was stereo, but I'll have to get a second one to process two signal at once. This will still be cheaper than most stereo pre's including the one I am returning. Don't want to name names, sorry. I see myself getting a second one soon!
Posted by bernie on Feb 23, 2017
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Warranty can be a very important factor when making a buying decision. Because repairs can be very expensive in terms of parts and labour costs, manufacturers usually only provide one year limited warranties that generally only cover items that malfunction due to a manufacturer’s defect. With an important purchase such as a musical
instrument or piece of studio gear, however, many people want to have the peace of mind in knowing that their investment will be protected should the product no longer be performing at 100%.

Because of this, Long & McQuade provides our customers with a FREE one-year Performance Warranty on most of our products. The Long & McQuade Performance Warranty supplements the manufacturer’s warranty to ensure that our customers receive complete “no hassle” warranty coverage within their first year.

How does the Long & McQuade Performance Warranty differ from most manufacturers' warranties?

Performance Guarantee - normal wear and tear is covered, so your product will be performing as well as the day you purchased it for the entire duration of the coverage.

Product Replacement - if your product cannot be fixed or costs too much to fix, we will replace it with the equivalent model for no additional charge. If this is not possible, a full refund will be provided.

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Loaners Available - a loaner product may be given while the product is being repaired.

Power Surge Protection - your product is covered even if damaged from a power surge.

Accessory Coverage - any peripheral devices or accessories that come with your product (i.e. foot pedal, case) are also covered.

Commercial Use Coverage - music and recording professionals who purchase gear for “heavy-use” commercial purposes will still be covered.
 

Long & McQuade reserves the right to restrict the purchase of additional years of Performance Warranty.Used products come with a 3-month Long & McQuade Performance Warranty. Some products (i.e. computers, software, cymbals and other items) are covered only by the manufacturer‘s warranty. Consumables (i.e. strings, reeds, woodwind pads, drum sticks, batteries, tubes, cross faders) are excluded as they are designed to be replaced. Accidental or cosmetic damage is not covered. Speakers damaged by overpowering are generally not covered. Our coverage does not provide compensation for loss of use. As of June 2018 the Performance Warranty is no longer transferable. The warranty is only valid in Canada.

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Purchasing additional years of coverage

If you are interested in receiving this coverage for longer than one year, you have the option of purchasing additional years of the Performance Warranty. The pricing is as follows:

NEW products: 4% of selling price to double the warranty from 1 year to 2 years. 4% for each additional year.

USED products: 4% of selling price to increase the warranty from 3 months to 1 year. 4% for each additional year. Pricing for used electronic products is 4% of the original new selling price.

GUITARS: 4% of selling price to double the warranty from 1 year to 2 years. 4% for each additional year. $45 maximum. An additional free setup is not included with additional purchased years of Performance Warranty.

BAND and ORCHESTRAL instruments: $40 up to $2,000 selling price. BRASS and STRINGS: 2% of the selling price after $2,000. WOODWINDS: 4% of the selling price after $2,000.

Some manufacturers provide warranties for longer than 1 year; however, these are usually limited warranties that do not provide the same coverage as the Long & McQuade Performance Warranty. Customers interested in more complete and convenient (but not necessarily longer) coverage are still able to purchase additional years of the Performance Warranty.