- Dec282020Royce RichmondRead more
We put BLA’s feature‑rich and keenly priced 1176‑style compressor to the test.
Black Lion Audio’s Seventeen clearly draws heavily on the classic 1176 FET compressor, but it’s not a straight clone. As with several FET devices we’ve reviewed in recent years, it builds upon that design, adding features that should be popular in modern studios, and taking advantage of modern devices to keep the noise floor low. BLA have managed to deliver all this at an asking price that’s within reach of mere mortals, without any obvious sacrifice in the audio quality and both ergonomic and aesthetic appeal.
The review model was tidily packaged, and I was instantly enamoured by its classy appearance which, in keeping with the unit itself, is somehwat retro but with a modern twist. The solid construction and smooth‑yet‑sturdy feel of the controls and switches also inspired confidence. It’s a 2U 19‑inch rackmount device, but it ships with screw‑on metal‑and‑rubber feet, which allows more secure positioning on a desktop when not racked.
- Nov292020Royce RichmondRead more
A classic piece of studio design is brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century. How has Black Lion Audio achieved this astonishing feat?
The Seventeen isn’t an all-out replication of the 1176, like Warm Audio’s WA76 for example, as it boasts several useful features not found on originals or clones. On its website, Black Lion Audio makes this clear with possibly the best opening gambit I’ve ever read about an audio product: “The Seventeen is not the ’76 compressor that your grandfather recorded with. It isn’t even a remake, but rather the Black Lion spin on what the ’76 should have been”. You’ve got to admire the chutzpah…
- Nov152020Royce RichmondRead more
A top-class analogue recording channel input makes all the difference in the digital domain. Plug-ins that emulate vintage kit and effects can go a long way to spicing up audio recorded through clinical-sounding interfaces but little beats creating the vibe at the source. It follows the trash-in, trash-out philosophy of programmers or the front-end-first mantra of audiophiles who realise that upgrading your loudspeakers is pointless if you’re pumping low-grade audio through them.
Aside from the authentic analogue sound of the Eighteen, there’s something satisfyingly tactile about adjusting the relative levels of input and output to inject the right amount of harmonics before sweetening with a touch of EQ on the way in. The Eighteen can also be used as a standalone EQ or to add colouration from the unit’s transformers.
- Mar242020Nicole WynnRead more
Black Lion’s designers set out to bring versatility and lower noise to a classic preamp without sacrificing character — have they succeeded?
Black Lion Audio first made a name for themselves through their popular ‘modding’ service — the idea being that they’d apply their analogue electronics know-how to upgrade the performance of other companies’ products. Starting in 2006, they were probably most well known for ‘hot-rodding’ the old Digidesign 002 and 003 audio interfaces — this was back in the pre-Avid days when you could only use the Pro Tools software with the same company’s hardware, and these were the most affordable multitrack interfaces that were compatible. The hot-rodding typically entailed upgrading the analogue input and output stages, the power supply and the internal clocking — small individual improvements that collectively added up to a significant improvement.
- Feb282020Nicole WynnRead more
Streaky tries out the word clock made by Black Lion Audio in his mastering studio.