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TECHNOLOGY REVIEW


Harrison Lineage Preamp and 832c Filter Unit


PREAMP & FILTER UNIT Can these two units recreate the magic of Harrison’s vintage consoles? Rob Tavaglione finds out. A


C/DC’s Back In Black, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours,


numerous Queen releases and even Michael Jackson’s Triller weren’t mixed on a Neve or SSL, but on a Harrison, an upstart 1970s desk manufacturer based in Nashville. Harrison made a name for itself with the 3232 console (or the 32c), a desk known for very low noise, exceptional musical clarity, and a punchy yet round bottom end to die for. Tat sonorous era and others


are found in the Lineage preamp and the 832c Filter Unit. Each are eight-channel units, sharing a certain synergy that makes them ideal when utilised and viewed as a single front-end system. According to Harrison, the Lineage incorporates four decades of Harrison mic preamp designs, with two channels per decade range: 1/2: Harrison’s latest Trion


preamps that utilise a Lundahl transformer on the input, DI, numerous additional features, and 70dB of gain. 3/4: Te 70s/80s, with the


32c’s transformerless parallel discrete input stage with a static bias scheme (which sounds like transformers). 5/6: Te 80s/90s, with the


Series 10, a low-noise, single discrete input stage design. 7/8: Te 90s/00s, with the


Series 12, a single input stage, a dual output stage and FET- compensated headroom. Te 832c Filter Unit


provides four key features: seven segment LED metering, continuously variable high and


44 June 2014


low-pass filters, and the Bump circuit, which provides a resonant boost slightly higher in frequency than the HPF filter point. Te two units connect via a single DB25 cable and the 832c outputs +4 audio via DB25, too.


In Use


Te Lineage provides classic Harrison sounds with differentiation between the mic amps that novices may barely notice, but vets will labour over as ‘secret weapons’. I put together a band of local musicians and recording pros to lay down some old-school style tracks using all Harrison


‘If you value the legendary sonics and production methodologies of the 70s this will take you places only time machines can’ Rob Tavaglione


pres and filters. Te 32c preamps clearly


provided the ‘classic rock/ vintage’ sound we know and love. Tey achieved saturation the most readily and showed a warmth, natural compression, and plumpness to their voicing. Te guys loved them on most everything (except drum overheads) and I liked them too, with a little more reservation (they can get kind of dark). We used them on snare and drum room (via AEA ribbon) for our drum tracks and really admired them


on kick, toms, guitar, and bass. Te Series 10 pres were our least favourite. Despite being not as linear, pristine, or as colourful as the others, they remain very fine mic amps and eminently usable. We used them on kick for our drum tracks and again on lead vocals. Tey conveyed a certain detail in the vocals that we liked. Te Series 12 preamps


might’ve just been my favourites. Te stereo image, soundstage, dynamics, quickness, and seemingly perfectly flat response on drum overheads blew me away! Tis accuracy and linearity is not bland, mind you, just true and impressive. Beyond overheads, we used these beauties on guitar, bass, and backup vox with nothing but transparent and impressive audio. Te modern Trion preamps


are quite cool in their own right. Sonically, they’re closest to the Series 12 pres with punch, power, and clarity but they pack some extra user conveniences including front panel inputs, instrument 0.25in inputs (bypassing the transformer for an FET input stage), and ‘Fix’ (allows the storing of exact gain settings to memory on little tweaker trims for one-button recall). Tese amps are hot, too – watch those levels, as they will saturate pretty nicely (there’s no output level control, so a compressor in line will likely help). We loved them on toms where a little saturated fullness is often welcome, and they did a fine job on lead guitar. Overall, the Trion preamps are the most versatile.


Te 832c Filter Unit may seem like a luxury, but it’s a necessity, as far as I’m concerned. First off, you’ll need the metering as the Lineage only sports red peak LEDs. Te LPFs I seldom use, but they get the job done. And the key of the 832c is the wonderful HPF set. Like a 3232 and its gorgeous bottom (remember Rumours and its sonic euphony?) these resonant filters put a little ‘junk in the trunk’ and a little bounce in your walk when you’re using ‘Bump’. Te well-tuned HPF


with Bump actually fattens while it thins – it rules!


Conclusion


As much as I loved the units, they aren’t perfect. Te switches don’t feel particularly impressive and it’s hard to see their position. Te gain pots are better, but they’re not great. Other than that, though, these units offer sonic excellence, range, and flexibility. Most importantly, they offer a musicality that is hard to match.


The Reviewer


Rob Tavaglione has owned and operated Catalyst Recording in Charlotte, North Carolina since 1995. Rob has also dabbled in nearly all forms of pro-audio work including mixing live and taped TV broadcasts (winning two regional Emmy Awards); mixing concert and club sound; and mixing and music supervising for indie films. www.catalystrecording.com


INFORMATION


Feature Set Lineage Preamp        


          


www.harrisonconsoles.com www.audiomedia.com


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