EZ1290: The Ongoing Saga

It was right after I had finished my GSSL. Having been my second successful DIY project, my confidence was high, and the possibilities seemed endless. I was trying to find out what my next project should be, so after some research online, I bought three PCBs for three separate projects.

2017-02-15 20.40.59
Because that’s just the level of foresight I’ve come to expect from myself.

The top red board is the GSSL Cavendish mod that I talked about in my last post. The larger red board is for the EZ1084 EQ project and is still sitting untouched behind my workbench almost six months later (much to my chagrin, but more on that in another post). The green board is the subject of this post. It’s for an EZ1290 preamp. A clone of the very highly sought after Neve 1073 sans the EQ section.

NEVE1073
Featured here.

The 1290 is basically the same circuit, but just the preamp section (the EZ1084 will eventually be a more robust version of the EQ section).

So the EZ1290 ended up getting top priority if only because I was hurting for some nice preamps, and it’s hard to say no to something that claims to sound like a Neve.

2017-02-15 20.37.06
Pictured here: a good sounding preamp?

As it turns out, building just one channel of this preamp was a bit more difficult than I’d though. After stuffing the PCB, I still needed to get the case, the special rotary switch, both input and output transformers, and the power supply. Not to mention all of the XLR jacks and the assemblies for providing switchable phantom power, pad, and phase. Eventually, I did end up getting those things, but still for only one channel. Out of four…

2017-03-08 22.18.44
A single channel wired incorrectly to the output transformer.

Once everything was hooked up, I tested it out and was delighted to find that everything worked more or less perfectly. Not only that, but the preamp sounds fantastic. Definitely worth the investment.

2017-03-08 22.24.33
One glorious channel of Neve goodness.

One channel wasn’t enough though, of course. Especially since I already bought the case that would fit four of them. It looked like my other two projects would have wait until these were all done first, which (spoiler alert), they still aren’t!

2017-09-28 09.20.53
Almost there.

I currently have the next three channels awaiting switches and transformers. I’m planning on ordering them soon, so hopefully sometime next month I’ll have a full four channels. Can’t wait to record with them!

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