Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast

# WARM064500
19" Discrete Mic Pre-amp
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Estimated delivery: 2-5 workdays Price on request
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Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast: 19
Pre-amps zijn er in vele soorten, maten, kwaliteiten en prijzen. Globaal kun je ze indelen in "gekleurd", "neutraal", hoge kwaliteit en lage kwaliteit. Maar zelfs met dat onderscheid lijkt de keuze nog schier oneindig.

In de categorie pre-amps met een kleur wordt vaak teruggegrepen op "classic designs". Denk daarbij aan bijvoorbeeld de Neve 1073 of de API 312. De kleuring in deze ontwerpen wordt veroorzaakt door verschillende componenten. De sound wordt o.a. bepaald door het samenspel van de ingangstrafo, de toegepaste condensatoren in het signaalpad, de op-amp (operational amplifier) en de uitgangstrafo. Door die onderdelen zorgvuldig te kiezen en op elkaar af te stemmen creëert elk merk zijn eigen, specifieke sound. Eén kenmerk hebben dit soort pre-amps in ieder geval met elkaar gemeen: ze zijn niet goedkoop.

En nu is er dan de Warm Audio TB12 "Tone Beast".
Weer een nieuwe pre-amp, zul je zeggen? Jazeker, maar de TB12 maakt een verschil. Een groot verschil.

" De TB12 heeft namelijk niet één maar twee verschillende Op-Amps aan boord . Door hier tussen te kiezen verander je het karakter van het geluid volledig. De x18 op-amp is ontworpen conform de gewaardeerde Jensen 918; de x731 komt van de Melcore 1731. De op-amp voet is overigens volledig compatible met de API 2520 en John Hardy 990.

" De TB12 laat je schakelen tussen Tantalium en Elektrolytische condensatoren waarmee je de klank subtiel beïnvloedt.

" De TB12 beschikt over twee Cinemag uitgangstrafo's: "Nickel" en "Steel". Bovendien kan de uitgang ook trafoloos werken. Met deze drie mogelijkheden verander je de klank ingrijpend.

" De TB12 beschikt over een "Tone" switch waarmee de ingangsimpedantie van de ingangstrafo (ook Cinemag) veranderd kan worden wat eveneens een dramatisch effect op de sound heeft.

Het aantal klankmogelijkheden van de TB12 is daarmee groter dan welke andere voorversterker.

"Dat zal dan wel wat kosten"
We weten uit ervaring dat een product met deze componenten en bouwkwaliteit al snel meer dan duizend Euro kost. En hier maakt Warm Audio het grote verschil. Ondanks dat dit merk eerste klas onderdelen gebruikt en de unit uitstekend is afgewerkt, kost hij veel minder dan welk ander product van die kwaliteit.

Text by Warm Audio:
The Warm Audio Tone Beast TB12 could be the highest quality microphone preamplifier on the market in its price range. It uses quality USA made components found in preamplifiers with much loftier price tags. In addition to its unparalleled quality/price, the Tone Beast has unique tone-shaping features that gives users versatility and flexibility usually only found by acquiring an assortment of preamps.

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.

- 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(modern) 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
- ¼" insert for the use of inline compressors, eq's etc..
- Balanced XLR mic (front and back), balanced TRS line, and ¼" instrument inputs
- Balanced XLR and TRS outputs
- -20db Pad
- LED VU Meter
- 19" rackmountable
- External line-lump 24V AC power transformer for low noise

Designer Bryce Young about the used op-amps:
The opamps are swappable for the customer's choice of 2520 6 pin footprint opamps. The x18 is the classic Jensen 918 configuration, the x731 is the Melcore 1731 (same as the WA12). There is no drastic change when switching between opamps or transformers until they are driven into saturation.There are differences, and for those that know how to work/drive a preamp will really enjoy the tone selections.

Designer Bryce Young about the CineMag output transformers:
The 50% nickel transformer is incredible. When designing the TB12, CineMag provided me their off the shelf 50% nickel option and it sounded quite boring. After some tug and pull I was able to have CineMag custom design it for me. CineMag's never built anything like it, it uses a strange lamination stacking technique. The result is that you do receive more bass and high-end detail than the steel core, but it retains some of the colorization that you hear in the steel core. I describe it as "transparent with a vibrant glow" it simply sounds wonderful. Once again, those that understand how to work/drive a preamp will really love it. Those that are less experienced in driving preamps into saturation will still have enough buttons/features to play with that I think anyone at any level will be able to find great value in the unit as all settings sound great despite if they are driven into saturation.

"I've come back to you just to inform you that I received my TB12 this morning and after 4 hours of experiment, comparison, tweaking and fun, let me tell you that this amp is absolutely brilliant! Very versatile, with its very own identity. I have an API 512, a Phoenix DRS-2 and a Focusrite One. And honestly… The Beast stands any comparisons! I put it on par with my beloved Phoenix, and find it superior to the others! (I'm serious, it sound clearer and bigger than the API to me)… I'm really in awe and will never ever go by the brand or trends anymore;) Sometimes magic operates, you and your team have just provided that, congrats!"

"I have tried several 1073s, the Neve 1073DPD, the Vintech x73i clone and the GAP Pre73DLX neve clone. The best one was the DPD by a slight margin but all were very sibilant for one of my regular clients and in the mix I needed a lot of de essing - most of the time manual automation even. But when the TB12 came along this completely obliterated the others. The top end is much smoother and required virtually no de essing - just a slight attenuation here and there! The mic I am using currently is a Mojave MA201 FET!"

Gear Nut • 11-10-2013, 11:49
Published by IBE

Sound Quality: 5 stars
Ease of use: 5 stars
Features: 5 stars
Bang for buck: 5 stars
Overall: 5 out of 5

The days of paying over $1,000 for a high end preamp are gone. With new preamps coming out every day, clone after clone, enters a totally different box than we have all seen. The Warm Audio Tone Beast. I was lucky to get my hands on one of these boxes to do some comparisons against preamps costing nearly twice as much.

Let's start with the layout and the build quality. Equipped with Cinemag Transformers( Audio Transformers By Cinemag Inc. ), the 19" rack mount is very robust and bright (orange). The four knobs on the front have a nice solid feel to them, very tight with resistance to the rotation. The switches are all push button; they engage and disengage with a quick push.

The preamp is divided into three controls. You have the input control, the tone control and the gain & saturation. On the input control you have you basics of (mic, 48v, hi z, line, pad, hpf). These are pretty self-explanatory. Next, you have the tone control. This is where the Beast begins to wake up. ( x731, x 18 amplifiers) +6db tone, vintage or clean capacitors, steel and nickel output transformer. While the x18 capacitors will satisfy your clean side, the x731 will give you some real girth, very colored in the midrange if I must say. From there you have the option on the output to put it through the steel or nickel transformer. The steel transformer has a thicker more colored sound while the nickel giving you a brighter shine.

On the way out the door, stop by the gain and saturation department. Depending on your source and amplifier you may just want to tap the saturation or give it a real tape feel by slamming it hard. I find that with the x18 setting, the sweet spot is around 75%.

In conclusion, having used this preamp in a shootout with the Great River ME-1NV and the Empirical Labs Mike E, I can tell you the TB brings something totally different to the table. This box could easily be your one stop shop preamp for all sources. There is no doubt that there is a greater bang for the buck. I would love to hear what they would do to a mix passed through them. The TB will do clean, crunchy and in between. If there are any grips to be mentioned and I do mean small, it would be the wall wart power supply and the blue led meter, boy is it bright!
Alex Geurink • Studio West Hoogland • 14-02-2014, 11:38

Mooie, "oogverblindende" preamp met smaakjes

Enigszins 1-trick-pony met een variabele API alike sound. De forwardness van een API preamp met iets minder "glans" in de klank. Wel meer mogelijkheden wat betreft laag/mid aanpassing/saturatie.

Laag is niet euforisch (geen Neve 1073) maar absoluut strak en lijkt in het sub laag iets terughoudend
Mid is wat forward maar niet perse vervelend, prikt goed door de mix.

De verschillen die je kunt maken met trafo's zijn interessant maar subtiel. Nickel is meer breedband en vet, Steel wat meer gefocussed qua bandbreedte. Steel geeft mooi midlaag, bv op bas en mooi icm een U47

De opamp keuze doet ook wel wat maar is weer iets subtieler. Hierbij lijkt de 731 wat smeriger, dat ding creeert ook gezellig hoogfrekwente gruis in de attack wanneer je heel hard instuurt. De x81 opamp is ietsje cleaner, nog steeds midforward in totaal.

Tone en Capacitor schakeling is weer subtieler. Tone zal vast meer verschil geven met verschillende Mic-signalen. Capacitor lijkt het hoog-mid mn iets te kleuren. Echt heel subtiel...

De "breakup" vd Tonebeast is interessant maar niet heel veelzijdig. Subtiele veranderingen binnen een mooie smaak. In vergelijk met "drive"-plugins als Decapitator, Klanghelm etc kan de Tonebeast weer iets anders en met veel power.

HPF is te hoog gestemd en geen fijn filter, niet lekker bruikbaar m.i. Dat geeft "speelgoed" sounds, ook op vocalen.

Mooi ding maar iets te beperkt/subtiel qua klankspectrum en als de preamp dan echt schokkend mooi zou zijn zou het voor mijn smaak heel interessant worden.

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