Engineering The Sound: NEVE -1073SP-D

Neve preamps are famous for their ‘vibey’ sound. The 1073SPX-D features Marinair transformers and hand-wound inductors to continue this tradition.

Neve has done it again with the brand new 1073SPX-D, essentially a 1073 preamp and EQ combined with an A/D D/A converter.

It’s designed to function as both a front end and a monitor controller, earning its title as “The World’s First Genuine 1073® Interface.”


First, a bit of history. Neve is a juggernaut in the audio world. Founded in 1961 by Rupert Neve, Neve Electronics initially produced tube-based mixers before transitioning to transistor-based designs in 1964.

In 1970, the company unveiled the A88 console, featuring the now-legendary 1073 preamps. Initially part of the console, these preamps became highly coveted for their distinctive sound.

ETS: Neve 1073SPX-D

The company changed hands in 1973, with Rupert Neve departing in 1975. After being acquired by AMS in 1992, Neve continued to evolve.

By 2010, it was revitalized under the guidance of original AMS founder and engineer Mark Crabtree, blending a respect for its storied past with innovative strides into the future.

ETS: Neve 1073SPX-D review happy mag

While Neve preamps were always valued, Dave Grohl‘s 2013 documentary “Sound City” catapulted their fame. Grohl’s acquisition and use of a Neve desk in his home studio highlighted the unique quality of Neve preamps, driving a surge in demand. This increased recognition led to a market flooded with 1073 clones, from high-end replicas to budget options like Alctron and Behringer units.

So, what sets the 1073SPX-D apart? It’s a Class A 1073 preamp with EQ, built by the original company in the UK. This model includes a digital interface and monitor controller, making it a comprehensive tool for tracking instruments and monitoring mixes. It’s suitable for small studios or mobile setups, offering 192kHz and 24-bit recording quality and ADAT connections for expanded functionality.

ETS: Neve 1073SPX-D happy mag review

Neve preamps are celebrated for their non-transparent, ‘vibey’ sound, often attributed to the transformers and inductors that add subtle harmonics and saturation. The 1073SPX-D continues this tradition with exclusive Marinair input and output transformers and hand-wound inductors.

The 1073SPX-D is ingeniously designed. Starting with the front panel, the FRONT button activates the front XLR/Line input/DI multipurpose plug, utilizing the input transformer for direct injection. The DIGI feature routes a DAW line out to the 1073’s line amp, while LO-Z switches input impedance between 1200 ohms and 300 ohms. Other front panel features include +48V phantom power, DI input activation, and a -20dB pad.

ETS: Neve 1073SPX-D

The GAIN knob, a hallmark of Neve design, offers line gain and mic gain, with a unique ‘off’ section in the middle. The EQ section includes a high shelf, selectable mid boost/cut, low shelf, and a high-pass filter. Additional controls include PHASE, EQ activation, insert return/send, pre/post EQ insert switching, and output level trim with metering options.

The headphone and monitor outputs are controlled by the HP/LS Level knob, offering four monitoring options and a blend feature for latency-free monitoring. Digital settings, such as sample rate and sync, are easily managed, ensuring seamless integration with DAWs.

ETS: Neve 1073SPX-D

The back panel includes a word clock output, USB for computer connection, ADAT in/out, power supply input, monitor out/in, line output, insert return/send, and mic input. This extensive connectivity ensures the 1073SPX-D can adapt to various studio configurations.

The Neve 1073SPX-D is more than just a preamp with EQ; it’s a high-quality audio interface. Priced just over $5,000, it’s a significant investment, but for professionals seeking top-tier sound and functionality, it’s worth it. The ease of setup, familiar sound, and versatile routing options make it a standout choice.

Neve’s commitment to quality and heritage is evident in the 1073SPX-D, preserving the essence of the original 1073 while integrating modern digital capabilities. For serious audio professionals, this unit offers unparalleled performance and reliability.

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