Hybrid studios are great things: that combination of quick and easy workflow in the DAW, using your favourite plugins, but with a few choice pieces of outboard gear to add that elusive ‘character’, as well as giving you some real knobs to twiddle. Now that they’re finally shipping in the UK, you can make the Warm Audio Tonebeast TB12 one of those choice pieces of outboard!
Regardless of your working methods, even if you don’t use any ‘hardware plugins’ , if you record with a microphone, or even DI your guitar or bass, you’re going to need a mic preamp with an instrument input. The Warm Audio Tonebeast gives you all of that, and plenty more…
Things get off to a good start with the classic 312-style preamp design, but when you add in a switchable choice of CineMag transformers, a choice of more vintage or modern, cleaner-sounding OpAmps and the option to select between electrolytic or tantalum capacitors, and you can see that the variety of colours you can get from the TB12 is quite impressive. And all that is before you add in the fact that the OpAmps are socketed so you can swap them out for your own choice if you are after a particular character!
An often overlooked control on a unit of this type though, is an output level knob. Most preamp designs let you dial in the gain until you get a suitable output level, but when you’re looking for colour, you need to think carefully about your gain staging. With the Warm Audio Tonebeast, you can push the gain to get the saturation characteristics you want, then simply dial back the output level to get the gain-staging of your signal chain right. It’s just like having a master volume control on your valve amp.
To go with all this, the TB12 gives you all the mic preamp features you want: XLR, line TRS and instrument inputs, a high-pass filter, polarity reverse, phantom power, -20 dB pad, XLR and TRS outputs, an LED VU meter and a whopping 71 dB of gain.
With the Warm Audio Tonebeast TB12 in your setup, you can use it as a preamp or DI when recording, then use it as a colouring box at mixdown by running the TB12 as a hardware plugin in your DAW using the line input.
With all these features, all these colours and at this price, you need to make 1U of space in your rack for the Warm Audio Tonebeast TB12!
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