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Warm Audio WA12 Mic/Instrument Preamp Reviews

5.0 stars based on 6 customer reviews
Questions about the Warm Audio WA12 Mic/Instrument Preamp?

Questions about the Warm Audio WA12 Mic/Instrument Preamp?

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  • from New Orleans September 8, 2016Music Background:
    Professional

    Unbeatable on Drums

    Just like the original API 312's these Pre's are amazing on toms, snare, and kick. Gives my mixed drum tracks a sound that everyone asks me about. I own eight of these pre's and I'll never do a drum session without them! Bryce hit it out of the ballpark on his first time to the plate.

  • from Tampa January 15, 2016Music Background:
    former simi pro gig guy; recording hobbyist

    Back to Warm WA12

    Well, awhile back I swapped my Warm WA12 for the Presonus RC500. I gave the RC 500 a very good review because I felt that it sounded great and did what it's supposed to do. What I missed was the vintage vibe of the WA12; what I won't miss is fiddling with all of the knobs!! I really do find that the tone button gives me two pre sounds. As I wrote earlier, I DO NOT need more choices and options going in. For me, its redundant eq-ing and compressing going in; thats probably just me?? I'm a hobby guy that needs things simple. I strongly considered the tone Tonebeast, but realized that the choices would paralyze a guy like me. The RAXX is perfect. Along with mounting my WA 12, I get a nice storage compartment for odds and ends making for a very clean cool looking rack.
    This WA adds a very classy tone to everything and really simplifies mixing. Less eq, compression and harmonic plugins!!! I'm very pleased with its simplicity and beautiful tone.

  • from Franklin, N.H. March 1, 2015Music Background:
    Singer/Songwriter/Studio Owner

    WA12

    I was looking for a mic pre to replace my old Focusrite Twin Trak Pro.I was doing my research, and came upon Warm Audio. I was torn between the TB12, and the WA12. If I settled for the WA12, would I be missing something that I needed. Finally, I decided that having fewer options/buttons to push, and knobs to turn would be good for me. I ordered the WA12. It arrived quick as always, thank you Sweetwater. I noticed as I lifted the wa12 box out of Sweetwater's shipping box the wa12 box had some weight to it. I opened the box, and saw what I hoped would be my savior. The bright orange front caught my eye, and my heart began to pound. I promptly mounted the WA12 to the Raxxess UNS-1 Universal Shelf that I had also purchased. The WA12 came with the mounting screws, don't forget to remove the rubber feet from the bottom of the WA12 prior to mounting. I plugged her in, connected my KSM44, fired up my DAW, and my Warm Audio relationship began. I started this review by saying that I was torn between the TB12, and the WA12 as the TB12 had more options. Let me say that the WA12, and it's tone botton allow this unit to expand your quest for sound. In my opinion the difference in sound between the tone botton on and off isn't suttle. It has it's own very distinctive sound. Vocals, Bass, Guitar, this mic pre does it all. I was fortunate, and also purchased the WA76 at the same time, so I am running the combo. I'm a singer/ songwriter and my life has become much simpler since using the Warm Audio WA12. Plug & play, very easy to dial in a sound. My recordings have never ever sounded this good. Last night myself and my writing partner sat down, took my Shure KSM44, placed it between us, switched it to Omni, he played Mandolin, I played Acoustic guitar, Harmonica, and sang. The sound that I got was just incredible. If your on the fence, and wondering whether or not to purchase anything from Warm Audio I have 3 words for you. "pull the trigger". You will not regret your decision.

  • from Dallas, Texas January 6, 2015Music Background:
    Studio Owner, Audio Engineer, Producer, Composer and Musician

    The Half-Rack 312-esque Preamp that started Warm Audio's stellar analog reign. A MUST HAVE!

    I'm one of those guys who reads reviews. Magazine Review, Forum Reviews, you name it. A few years, ago I started hearing a small amount of buzz about a small company called Warm Audio. Having just bought my API3124, I brushed off the claims of the WA12's great tone. I'd spent some serious cash on the API unit, and I didn't want to believe that similar tone could be had for less. Though I do appreciate gear reviews, the reviews on Sweetwater and sites like it don't have any particular shortage of people trying to convince themselves and others that their cash has been well spent. Now, certainly, there ARE many helpful reviews, written by people who know what they're talking about. I like to believe as a career audio engineer/producer, I'd fall into the latter catagory. Further, as it pertains to the WA12, I own both, the WARM AUDIO unit and it's inspiration the API3124 (in the form of the 3124, 4 channel preamp). I hope my perspective adds some knowledge as what you can expect from the WA12.

    I don't know if "Clone" is the right word for what Warm Audio has brought to market here. It's an overused word anyway. The API does one thing, one sound, and does it pretty darn well. It's a sound that's great on nearly everything, and quite recognizable to boot. The simplicity of the 312 adds to the reasons I like it. Plug in, set volume, "go to town".

    The WA12 is good for these reasons, but also has much to like aside from these factors. I can distinguish them apart by tone, they each have their very own distinct "flavor", BUT they have the same "type" (for lack of a better word) of sound. They're similar. But distinguishable. That said, they're both GREAT sounding, without one sounding "better" (once again for lack of a better word) than the other.

    People often don't believe me when I say it (until I work with them on a tracking date) but I tend to plug into my WA12's more often than the API 3124's. Why? Preference.

    When I'm "getting sounds" (finding mic placement, gain, signal chain, choosing instrument settings/variable, tuning drums, Eq'ing amps, etc)
    Regardless of the source, I find the WA12 more useful, because with its "TONE" switch, it's more like two preamps in one. For my purposes, it gets more mileage based on that fact. The tone switch makes the tone fatter, warmer, and perhaps a bit louder. It sounds like what you'd expect the original 312 to sound like when cranked and padded. So, it's easier to get the more colorful and harmonically rich, "pushed" sound out of the WA12 using more reasonable gain/volume levels. Yes, both have PAD switches, but the "Tone" switch makes that lovely "pushed" API sound without blasting your converters into the stratosphere, causing clipping and undesirable transient murder. I'd say the transients stay more intelligible when using the tone switch for more warmth/oomph as opposed to cranking the original API and using an inline pad (I used to do this often before I bought my WA12's.

    Other features keep it on par with preamps well above its price range: Cinemag Tramsformers, High Quality Components, Truely Discrete Signal Paths, etc. The WA12 includes a wall wart power supply, akin to those used in the Golden Age Pre73, and many other half rack single channel pres. The weight savings from foregoing a traditional built in power supply are noticeable, but the build quality of the WA12 is still very solid. The gain pot has a positive feel with detented increments, though it's not an actual stepped pot, I prefer it this way. The stepped pots/switches on my Golden Age Pre 73's come loose frequently, and one or two solder points have come unsoldered at one point. No such misfortune here.

    The quality of the WA12 opened my eyes to their fantastic products. I now on multiple WA12's, WA76's TB12's and have pre-ordered their next offering. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to spoil the surprise here, but let's just say another Warm Audio take on an analog outboard classic is on its way to stores In the very near future. I've never been more excited about a single piece of gear in my entire career.

    Their products are quality, the customer support is second to none and is handled 100% by their founder/owner, Bryce Young, who it turns out is a heck of a nice guy to boot. No customer service email I've sent to them (I've sent 3) has ever taken any longer than 2 hours to receive an initial reply and he often resolved the issue then and there.

    In summary:

    Don't buy a WA12: Buy Two.

  • from Dallas, TX USA August 4, 2014Music Background:
    Voice Over Artist, Enthusiast

    Brass Tacks

    At this price point, this is the best microphone pre-amp you can buy. It competes with $1000+ pre amps, with several professional testimonies actually preferring it over other popular, ubiquitous pre's.

    Warm Audio is an amazing company; I have emailed the owner with questions and he was quick to reply and very polite.

    The actual physical quality of this unit is top notch (even if it is constructed in China). The buttons, nobs, and connectors feel like they can take the every day use from a studio and keep working for years to come.

    The total +71dB of gain (with tone) is great for ANY microphone; whether a condenser, dynamic, or ribbon, you will get great, clean audio.

    Overall, this pre-amp is amazing; it takes studio quality audio and matches it with an amazing price point that when I punch it into my calculator, it makes a smiley face.

  • from Tampa May 10, 2015

    Two pre amps for the price of one

    First off, I'm just a home recording hobby guy that wanted more "oomph" going in. My Apogee Duet is pristine and works great, but I was looking to "get it right at the source". I don't know how a pro would evaluate this device, but for a person that wants a simple to use full sounding pre that "limits choices", this is wonderful. I wanted something that I could actually tell the difference and this is it. I suspect that if we hobby guy's were really honest, we would admit that too many choices can distract us from actually laying down tracks?? I do wish that it came with a rack mounting system, but Sweetwater sells a very nice RAXXES VNS-1 for about 28.00 which also acts as a small storage bin for odds and ends. The Orange color is actually reminds me of the cool Orange amps rather than the standard black/silver stuff. I forced myself to give it a 4 only because a 5 might reek of "look what I just bought" syndrome.

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