Preamps: OpAmp Labs 10x4 sidecar


Chances are you haven't heard of an OpAmp Labs console before. They're no API or Neve, even though they were a modestly well-known contemporary. Not many of their own consoles exist, and those that do are generally smaller frames, maxing out at 20x8 and usually had channel counts somewhere in the low 10s. Most of the time, OpAmp labs was just a component manufacturer, selling amplifier modules in Octal modules (the same plug used by many vacuum tubes) but every so often, they built their own recording consoles. 

Our example is a 10x4 frame from 1973, with 4 echo returns. This console's preamps sound like a mix of late-60s Quad-8 and API 2520 amplifiers, and have more than enough clean gain for old ribbon mics. The two-band EQs are unique in tone, with gentle shelves and strange whole-number set points. When you boost the high-end from a good mic, it's like you're massaging the details out of your source... an effect that's really quite divine.