B173 Mic Pre
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  • B173-FRONT BLA
  • Black Lion Audio B173 Mic Pre Back

B173 Mic Pre

Introducing Black Lion Audio’s own 1073-style microphone preamp, the B173! Don’t let the price tag fool you. This is not only a serious contender for the most “bang for your buck” preamp in existence, but sonically stands on its own at any price point. Our goal was to capture the essence of the original 1073 at a price anyone can afford, and we’re proud to say that we’ve accomplished our goal! Tape Op gave it a run, and couldn’t agree more. Give the B173 a try and prepare to be blown away!

SKU: B173 Categories: ,

The B173 is Black Lion Audio’s homage to the highly revered 1073 mic pre. The B173 is a single channel mic preamp with input and output transformers, stepped gain, output level control, phantom power, and phase. It features a DI, 80dB of gain, and is housed in a 1U, 1/2 rack chassis.

Additional Information

Weight 6 lbs
Dimensions 13 x 13 x 5 in


  1. POWER: flip switch up to turn preamp on (there’s a 2-3 minute “warm up” time for lowest distortion), flip switch down to turn preamp off
  2. MIC GAIN (stepped, 12-position switch): clockwise rotation yields an increase in input signal amplitude, counterclockwise rotation yields a decrease in input signal amplitude
  3. 48v: engage to turn phantom power on, disengage to turn phantom power off
  4. PHASE (Ø): engage to adjust input signal polarity by 180°, disengage to leave input signal polarity unchanged
  5. OUTPUT LEVEL: clockwise rotation yields less attenuation, counterclockwise rotation yields more attenuation (for beginners, it’s best to leave the output level fully clockwise and increase Mic Gain as needed so as not to saturate the input transformer)
  6. DI: engage to select front panel TS jack as input source, disengage to select rear panel XLR jack as input source


  1. OUTPUT: balanced, line-level TRS output
  2. INPUT: balanced, mic-level XLR input
  3. GND: internal chassis ground
  4. POWER: 24VAC input jack (only use a BLA-specified power supply)


  • Cinemag Input Transformer
  • Edcor Output Transformer
  • 80dB Gain
  • D.I. Input (active, unbalanced)
  • Phantom Power
  • Phase Switch
  • Output Attenuator
  • XLR Microphone Input
  • TRS Line Output (balanced)


Mic Section

  • Max Microphone Input Level: +1dBu
  • Input Impedance: 200Ω
  • Pad: None
  • Gain (no pad): +13dB to +80dB
  • Equivalent Input Noise (noise floor): -105dBu
  • THD+N (@ +4dBu output):
    • .10% @ +9 dBu
    • .12% @ +35 dBu
    • .13% @ +45 dBu
    • .16% @ +60 dBu
    • .85% @ +76 dBu
  • Bandwidth (1kHz, 150Ω source, unweighted): 10Hz to 30kHz

D.I. Section

  • Max D.I. Input Level: +18dBu
  • Input Impedance: 1.1MΩ
  • Pad: None
  • Gain: Up to +25dB of gain
  • Equivalent Input Noise (noise floor): -100dBu
  • THD+N (@ +4dBu output):
    • .021% @ +10 dBu
    • .016% @ +20 dBu
  • Bandwidth (1kHz, 600Ω unbalanced source, unweighted): 10Hz to 30kHz

Output Section

  • Max Output Level: +28dBu
  • Output Impedance: 600Ω

Power Supply

  • 24VAC, 500mA External Supply

Product Dimensions

  • 9.5” x 6.5” x 1.75”

Product Weight

  • 3.2 lbs

Shipping Dimensions

  • 13” x 13” x 5”

Shipping Weight

  • 6 lbs


The sound was as creamy and full as would be expected from a device based on a 1073… the B173 has ‘that sound’!

– Tape Op Magazine (full review here)

At one point, I just wanted to run everything though it,” commented the electronic musician, “it just gave the sterile virtual synth sounds that much needed analog cellulite that’s desperately missing.

FutureMusic (full review here)

Black Lion Audio set out to ‘capture the essence of the original Neve 1073’… I think that they’ve succeeded admirably…

– Sound On Sound (full review here)

Just wanted to thank you guys for a great product, i.e. the Black Lion B173! This half-rack monster is a straight up beast! It arrived last week and I used it on my first session today. This was a return client who is very familiar with my current mic-pre .i.e.Groove Tubes Vipre and a Peluso P12 microphone. I tried the B173 44db of gain and Output level set to 11 o’clock with the P12 and we all were blown away. I’ll pass this info along to my colleagues and my 4700 FB friends!

– Randy Seale, Reflective Productions And Recording

I used the B173 on the bass, lead guitar, kick and snare. I also hit it on the vocal after the Avalon 737SP pre. I always hit the Distressor for compression after the B173. It adds a nice thickness to things that need it. The Cinemag and Edcor really work out well together in that little box. Thanks for making great gear at an affordable price point.

William Smith

It sounds amazing. Best mic pre I own including AEA and UA units.

Jimmy Harris

“The sound was as creamy and full as would be expected from a device based on a 1073… the B173 has ‘that sound’!”  

Tape Op Magazine


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