Warm Audio TB12-500 Tone Beast
The Warm Audio Tone Beast TB12-500 is a tone shaping microphone pre-amplifier and DI in a 500-series format module. The TB12-500 features a massive 71db of gain, Cinemag transformers and multiple discrete signal paths. The Tone Beast likes to be pushed, and when driven hard, the difference between the two Op Amps can be heard.
The TB12-500 features balanced XLR and TRS inputs, as well as a hi-z 1/4" instrument input, the line and instruments inputs have buttons to engage them. The output transformer can be switched between steel or nickel, and the discrete amplifier can be switched between an x731 or a x18.
The x731 (Melcor 1731) and x18 (Dean Jensen's 918) Op Amps saturate a bit differently. The 1731 breaks up faster and has more colour when pushed. The 918 is fairly linear/clean with a smidge of character and does not break-up/saturate as quickly.
The 100% steel output transformer colours the signal more than the 50% nickel transformer when pushed. However, both are designed to impart character. The 50% nickel transformer will impart less character and provide greater high and low frequencies. For an ultra clean, character-lacking tone, try the x18 while bypassing the output transformers completely.
Other buttons on the front panel include a phase reverse, -20db pad, +48v phantom power, a 80hz high pass filter, a 'Tone' switch to select 150 or 600 ohm input impedance, vintage or clean switch and an output transformer bypass switch.
Warm Audio TB12-500 Features
- Discrete 312 preamp design with coupled CineMag Transformers
- 71db of gain
- Transformer selection provides both Steel and 50% Nickel CineMag output transformers for varying character
- Transformer bypass switch allows for removal of the output transformer from the circuit
- Discrete Opamp selection provides both the classic 1731(vintage) and 918(cleaner) style opamps. These are socketed/swappable with your choice of 2520 6 pin footprint opamps.
- Impedance switch labelled TONE to switch between 150 and 600 ohms input impedance
- Capacitor selection between Tantalum and Electrolytic for different characters
- 80hz hi-pass filter
- Polarity Reverse
- +48V phantom power
- Output attenuation allowing for saturation flexibility of both the opamps and transformers
- Balanced XLR mic, balanced TRS line, and ¼" instrument inputs
- 20db Pad
- LED VU Meter
- Compatible with standard 500 series power racks