Heritage Audio’s BritStrip console channel strip creatively combines a real-deal 73 mic preamplifier, an expanded 73 equalizer, and a discrete Class-A DI (Direct Input) with the acclaimed diode bridge compressor found in the European pro audio manufacturer’s multi-award-nominated Successor stereo bus compressor, the latter already acknowledged as a noteworthy development by virtue of its bringing a whole new lease of life to a 60-year-old patent, thanks to expanded features and incredibly fast attack/release times. The closest equivalent of the BritStrip would be chaining together a 73JR II single-slot 500 Series true 73-style mic preamp module, a 73EQ JR fully-featured 500 Series line input module, and a ‘mono’ Successor — already a $3,000.00 USD-value proposition in itself, but with added routing flexibility!
The BritStrip begins its journey to tasty console channel strip glory with the same preamp found in Heritage Audio’s 73JR II — flavoured with a new custom input transformer co-designed with renowned British company Carnhill, also responsible for the custom output transformer that completes its all-discrete, Class-A, three-gain stage design. Flexible features worth noting from a preamp perspective include -80dB of gain, a 20dB PAD, phase reversal, and an impedance switch for 1,200 or 300 ohm input.
The BritStrip console channel strip’s D.I. is also taken from the highly-acclaimed design found in the 73JR II, an all-discrete Class-A JFET (Junction Field-Effect Transistor) circuit fronting the microphone transformer to provide all the colour and weight any present-day demanding engineer could conceivably ask for. Furthermore, the D.I. also includes a passive THRU output to feed a separate amplifier.
As an expanded 73 equalizer, effectively, the BritStrip’s EQ features three Vinkor pot core inductors in the MID band and H.P. (high-pass) FILTER sections, such that the impact is hard to believe with extreme boosts being exceptionally musical. Moreover, the MID band is great for sculpting fat and punchy snare, kick, guitars, vocals, and anything else! No need for subtlety — as is the case with most EQs — since the BritStrip does not sound ‘phase-y’ or lose headroom in extreme settings. Indeed, its inductor-based low-pass filter, directly taken from the 73 design, lets users control out of range low end without affecting the quality of sought-after frequencies. Furthermore, the BritStrip’s HIGH SHELF and LOW SHELF settings have been extended to include a bell mode, making them more versatile.
Veering into compression territory, its implementation in the BritStrip renders it perfect for tracking, thanks to the BLEND control and elaborate SC. (sidechain) FILTER flexibly giving instruments ‘record-ready’ dynamics to provide performers with a ‘finished feel’ in real time. The compressor section provides plenty of sidechain flexibility, with five frequency choices and an external sidechain (SC. EXT) option. Owners of two BritStrip console channel strips can even LINK their respective compressors, creating the ultimate stereo tracking solution!
Further flexibility abounds as the BritStrip allows for compression and equalizer routing, with pre-compression EQ’ing making the compression detector more sensitive to the boosted frequencies and less sensitive to those cut, while post-compression EQ’ing makes the compression detector unresponsive to the EQ settings.
Saying all that, then, as the culmination of 50 years of analogue design, BritStrip is surely specified to nail the sound of yesteryear’s iconic recordings for present-day demanding engineers as a British-spec discrete Class-A console channel strip with a Successor-like compressor, conveniently housed in a single-space 19-inch rack- mounting chassis that looks and feels the part.