Black Lion Release Updated B173 and B12A Models

This month Black Lion Audio released revisions to two of their renowned microphone preamp models, announcing the B173 Mk II and B12A Mk III.

The new designs feature a new classic black finish more inline with the rest of the Black Lion range, improved build quality, an additional Cinemag transformer, and - rather unexpectedly - an even more competitive price point.

The B173 and B12A models have been cornerstones of Black Lion’s product range for a number of years, bringing the vintage recording flavours from British and American consoles to the modern outboard studio preamp environment.

Here we take a closer look at the improvements made in each preamp’s second and third respective incarnation.

Black Lion Audio's B173 Mk II preamp with 1073-style toneB173 Mk II

The B173 inherits its dark British sound from the classic 1073 preamps on consoles from the mid 1970s. Black Lion’s mark two revision upgrades the internal circuit in-line with the design used for the 4-channel B173 Quad model and reduces the already impressively low noise floor.

The transformer count has been upped to two for the second generation and USA Cinemag transformers have been selected to give that creamy depth that the 1073-style tone deserves.

On the front panel the usual modern preamp trimmings are available such as phantom power, phaser reverse and a Hi-Z input for recording instruments, while separate input and output potentiometers are also available to gain maximum control over the preamp’s tone.

Black Lion Audio's B12A Mk III third incarnation API 312a-style microphone preampB12A Mk III

Channeling the sound of countless hits from the 1970s to the present day, the B12A is an homage to API’s classic 312a console preamplifier, scaled down to a 19” half-rack and spruced up with enough modern features to accommodate even the most demanding tracking engineer.

As with the B173 Mk II, the front panel of the B12A Mk III is kitted with every necessary tools to accommodate the widest range of microphones and inputs, including high-impedance switch, individual gain controls, power indicators, switchable pad, phase and phantom power. Fans of ribbon microphones will also be thrilled to hear that the B12A Mk III and B173 Mk II are packed with enough headroom to handle low-power ribbon mics even on quieter sources.
After numerous rounds of tests, Black Lion have opted for a compact external power supply to minimise interference during operation while maintaining the signature low noise floor that aids clean, efficient recording.

Coming Autumn 2020

Black Lion B173 MkII and B12A Mk III preamps will be hitting the UK in early November 2020. For all information regarding pricing, availability and authorised dealers, contact our pro audio sales team.

Black Lion release two new revisions to their widely acclaimed B173 and B12a preamp models


  • Posted on 21 October 2020 by Roy Brockington