Locomotive Audio does not simply create clones of the gear of yesteryear – they are awsome processors for today's needs.
Locomotive Audio – American heritage streamlined for today
Yes, it is. Locomotive does not use scratch metal from old trains for their hardware, as you may imagine.
Locomotive Audio gear is really reasonably priced. And in case you want to spend gear in a smaller budget range: They run a daughter company called Weight Tank. Weight Tank produces splendid gear aswell!
Yes, 1176s, LA-2As, 1073s are good classic units. And there are hundreds of companies cloning them. Locomotive offers processors that do not attempt to clone a specific unit. The company uses classic American gear as role models. If you buy Locomotive Audio, you acquire what they think are the best features of several vintyage units combined and brought to today's standards. This works perfectly well like the tube compressor 12B and the preamp 86B-2 show. And there is more upon their sleeve!
The Locomotive Audio Model 14B is a tube compressor. It's design is vari-µ (or: „vari-mu“), so the sidechain signal affects the tube bias. The higher the signal, the higher the amplification attenuation. There are many vari-µ compressors, but instead of developing the millionth clone, Locomotive designed the Model 14B after the sought after Gates Sta-Level, the devine Collins 26U and the beloved Universal Audio 175B. It is both quick and soft, making it an ideal match for vocals. But of course, the tube compressor can be used on literally anything. From gently soothing out volume changes to smashing drums to the wall.
With the Locomotive 86B-2 you can easily amplify any microphone from transparent and nice to fat and aggressive. It may sound crazy, but the mic preamp is modeled after a tape machine, the glorious Ampex 601. The 601 was well-known for its ability to sound anything from tame to raging. The tube preamp is a true chameleon! There is full control over the sound character as there are gain and level dials in order to set character and level for the gear downstream. Big pros: Both channels feature two impedances to choose frome, DI input and Line – in case you want to use the character on other sources than mics or while mixing. And we promise you you will!
Alright, it sounds outlandish. The Locomotive Copperline really is a separate 19“/2U processor delivering phantom power! But actually, this device fills a gap, and a big one, too. Of course there are quite some stand-alone power supply units. But Copperline delivers supply precise voltage that is steady as a rock – unlike many preamps, interfaces and mixers out there. Phantom is not simply switched on abruptly: It is ramped! The star attraction is truely Copperline allows you to decrease the phantom way down to just a few Volts. This leads to sometimes massive sound variations of your microphone. The two-channel unit boasts also with switched high pass up to 300 Hz, attenuation down to 40 dB, mute, polaritiy inversion and an impedance switch to match the microphone to vintage mic preamps.
It is highly convenient to use a DI box and a mic preamp to record an instrument and to reamp it later on. That way, you can dial in amp and pedal settings and set microphones while mixing. So you need a DI box as well as a reamper? No you don't: Locomotive Z Car is both units in one combined.