Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp

Mic/Instrument Preamp with Variable Character, 71dB of Gain, Cinemag Transformers, Discrete Op-amp Section, Selectable Capacitors, Variable Impedance, and Highpass Filter
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp image 1
Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp image 1

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Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp
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A Wild Beast of a Preamp!

Tweaking the Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Preamp is addictive - at Sweetwater, we can't get enough of it! Based on the API 312 preamp's design and sporting premium Cinemag transformers, the Tone Beast is already a stellar mic pre. The Tone Beast's real magic, however, lies in its multiple discrete signal paths. With the flip of a switch, you can select different transformers, op-amps, and capacitors, and enjoy a myriad of tones in the process. Push the Tone Beast and enjoy the harmonic distortion it lends to electric guitars, bass, or anything else that needs some grit. Big, bold, and fully-professional, you won't find many preamps like the Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast for under a grand!

Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp at a Glance:
  • Multiple discrete signal paths provide unprecedented flexibility
  • Coloration - and why you want it
  • Top-tier performance - and amazing value
Multiple discrete signal paths provide unprecedented flexibility

Experienced recording engineers love how different mic pres color their sound. They know that by combining different mics with different preamps, they can make every source sound its absolute best. With the TB12 Tone Beast in your rack, you'll be able to do the same, thanks to its unprecedented versatility. The Tone Beast's flexibility is absolutely staggering. First of all, you have your choice of a Melcor 1731 or Jensen 918 op-amp. The 1731 is very colored and breaks up quickly, while the 918 is fairly clean with just a hint of character. Secondly, you have your choice of a 100% steel or 50% nickel transformer. The steel output transformer is more colored than the nickel transformer, especially when pushed. You can also bypass the transformers completely for an ultra-clean tone. Finally, you have your choice of tantalum and electrolytic capacitors for even more tonal variety.

Coloration - and why you want it

The most coveted vintage consoles and outboard gear weren't transparent. And that's the point behind the Warm Audio Tone Beast. Coloration is, in many cases, desirable. If your mixes sound unprofessional, lacking in vibrancy and depth, you'll love the Tone Beast. Subjective listening tests played a big part in the development of this amazing preamp. Test equipment can tell you only so much, and there's a point in the design process where you just have to let your ears call the shots. You wouldn't mix with earplugs and an oscilloscope, would you?

Top-tier performance - and amazing value

At Sweetwater, we understand that outfitting your studio is a balancing act between performance and value. Warm Audio gets that, too, and their Tone Beast delivers on both counts. In spite of its ultra-reasonable pricing, Warm Audio gear is made in the USA and uses only the finest components such as genuine Cinemag input and output transformers. Look at it this way: at this price, you can pack your rack with two or more Tone Beast preamps - perfect for recording live drums or more than one track at a time.

Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp Features:
  • Discrete 312 preamp design with Cinemag transformers delivers stellar tone
  • Choice of Melcor or Jensen op-amps for varying character
  • Op-amps are socketed/swappable - add your own op-amps to the mix!
  • Choice of steel or nickel output transformers provide more tonal options
  • Choice of tantalum or electrolytic capacitors for even more character variation
  • Transformer bypass switch provides an ultra-clean character
  • Tone switch allows for variable mic impedance
  • 80Hz highpass filter cuts the mud and rumble
  • 20dB pad tames really loud sources
  • Output attenuation for saturation flexibility of both op-amps and transformers
  • Insert allows the use of inline processors
  • LED VU meter lets you monitor your levels
Give your mics a kick in the diaphragm with the Warm Audio TB12 Tone Beast Microphone Preamp!

Additional Media

Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Hi-pass Filter
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS, 1 x TRS (Receive)
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS, 1 x TRS (Send)
Rack Spaces 1U
Height 1.75"
Width 19"
Manufacturer Part Number TB12

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
Write your review

It's true... It's all true.

After watching and listening to many youtube review/demo videos on the TB12 Tone Beast, I decided to pull the trigger and pick up this bad boy. I could not be happier with this purchase. Several of my friends that work in professional studios also have commented how surprised they are with the great sounds that come out of this piece of gear. Goofy name? Yes. Excellent tone? Yes. Thanks again to the best sales rep Mike Godlove.
Music background: Touring musician/tech, home studio noodler.

tone beast

Well, I had the WA12 and loved it on everything. I starting researching the Tone Beast and was against a trade for fear of having too many options, ( paralysis). What I was missing with my WA12 was the ability to really push the unit without clipping my converters. I bit the bullet and made the swap. At first pass, this is what I'm loving: 1. Tone button in all the time 2. Vintage sound-x731, steel transformer, vintage capacitor button 3. Less vintage-modern- x18, nickel transformer and clean capacitor 4. My favorite feature of the Tone Beast vs. my beloved WA12 is the output attenuator which allows me to dial up the gain to the point where I can really discern the differences between the two setting mentioned above, and/or drive this thing into some warm distortion; bass guitar for example. If I'm careful recording, I'm not needed saturation plugins.....so far. In time, I'll fiddle with various combinations, but I'm fairly convinced that any more fine tuning won't make a difference in the context of a busy mix; perhaps they would in an acoustic mix??

TB12 Tone Beast is a real Beast!

Can's say enough good things about this Beast. I use it on everything. Love it on vocals, bass, guitar etc.
Music background: Producer

Wonderful Preamp

First things first, this is a phenomenal preamplifier. Ive used it on vocals, drums, electric bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and horns. All the tracks I run through this beast come out amazing. It is definitely NOT a "clean" pre. This thing has soul and color built right into the circuitry. You can dial in whatever tone floats your boat. I generally go for the most colored sound i can get. My audio interface already had decent clean preamps so i wanted to try something new. This was an excellent installment to my studio. Recommended to anyone who wants an affordable way to beef up their sonic potential.

Just amazing!

I have been picking up gear and using it so much, I haven't been putting up reviews like much of it deserves. This particular piece of gear deserves my attention, big time. I own an LA-610, ISA-One, and 8 channels of API clone by Classic Audio Products of Illinois. They are VP-28s, in kit form, basically an API 312 but with output fader for controllable mega-crunch. All this to say they are amazing pre-amps that will cost you $800-$900 bucks a channel to have someone build them for you (I lucked out because my cousin is amazing at this stuff) but the TB-12 will get you there in less time, for less money, and give you tonal options you don't have with other API clones. It sounds SO good. So far I have used it for vocals with a Lauten Atlantis and a female R&B singer, DI on bass, and a pair of them on overheads. What can I say, it sounds beutiful on ALL of it. On the bass, I was able to make it grind hard when pushing the gain but trimming the signal with the saturation knob, giving me a perfect -16dbFS recording level but still getting tons of purposeful overdrive. All I can say, is that I can't imagine wanting anything else in this price range. It is truly unbeatable as far as I can tell.
Music background: Producer, Recording Engineer, Composer of 12 years
See also: Warm Audio, Warm Audio Preamps