All about Tubes, Tube Circuits, Tube Gear

Friday, July 11, 2014

RCA Golden Age Microphone Preamps BA-71B

 What equipment did Elvis and Harry Belafonte use to get those sweet sounds?
Well, RCA equipment back in the day (1950-1970).

There were the now famous 44 and 77 Ribbon microphones,
and of course the RCA consoles, with their modular microphone preamps,
first off the OP7 (tube gear) and finally, in the 60s and 70s, the first transistor preamps, like the BA-71B.

The care in design and pioneering skills of the early RCA engineers became legendary, alongside the artists that helped make recording equipment coveted.

Being a bit of a packrat, I had picked these up surplus and squirrelled them away to restore and use them. 

RCA BA-71-B Microphone Preamps! 

I replaced the wiring and removed the connector sockets, in order to hook them up to XLR plugs in the early 1990s to test them as outboard units.   My boss at the time didn't think they amounted to much, as people back then didn't think of these as 'vintage' but just 'recently old'.   Now however, interest in vintage gear has both revived and expanded to include a wide array of audio gear.

 I've decided to finally follow through and restore at least one for myself, and possibly sell the others.  These units are now fetching interest at a much higher price-point than what I first got them at.

Here are some examples of prices (at least asked) on Ebay for both unrestored ('As Is') and fully restored and enhanced versions:

So it doesn't seem unreasonable for me to ask about $275 each for mine,
'As Is'.

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