Thermionic Culture’s The Earlybird 1.2 (approx. $2,452) 2-channel tube-based mic preamp is now available. The Earlybird 1.2 is a simplified version of the company’s The Earlybird 2.2, incorporating the same tubes and transformers as the 2.2 model, but offering fewer features.
Although The Earlybird 1.2 lacks Thermionic Culture’s Pullet EQ inputs, it offers a 3-position lowpass filter. The company reports that the unit’s phase shift is 10 to 14 degrees, down to 3 percent at 10 kHz at the lowest gain setting and 4 percent at 45 and 50 dB of gain, improving on The Earlybird 2.2 specs. Thermionic Culture measures the new unit’s distortion at about 0.005 percent at 40 dB of gain. Input impedance with pad engaged is 2k-ohm (otherwise 1.2k-ohm or 300 ohms). Gain settings are accurate when 300 ohms is selected and the output level is set to "M" with a load impedance around 10k-ohms. Like The Earlybird 2.2, The Earlybird 1.2 unit’s maximum gain is 62 dB.