Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp

Locomotive Audio

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Product Code: 1408
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The Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp offers two huge channels of sweet & harmonic tube preamp gain. This is the unmistakable vintage sound of tubes & transformers!

From beautiful glowing vocals, natural acoustics and punchy drums to overdriven and saturated classic tube warmth, the two channel 286A preamplifier offers a huge sonic palette for engineers and producers to explore.

The Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp offers a huge sonic palette for engineers and producers to explore. Its single-ended Class A tube signal path is what makes this preamplifier so special. Inspired by the great vintage Ampex 601 vacuum tube tape recorder, the 286A features four tubes; there is one EF86 and one 12AY7 per channel. The 286A can play nice by acting clean and natural with gentle even-order harmonics for a smooth, sweet touch. Get more aggressive with the “Gain” knob and drive the first 12AY7 stage for a warm and colored thickening effect. Go all-out and slam the final 12AY7 stage and output transformer through the “Level” knob for a fully-driven, saturated tube amp sound! Clean and natural to overdriven and fuzzy warm; your choice!

Along with its classic tube gain stages, the 286A has been given the modern front panel features that allow for flexible interfacing with today’s studio equipment.

Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp Features

  • Microphone and high impedance instrument inputs
  • One EF86 & one 12AY7 per channel
  • Polarity reverse switch
  • 20dB pad switch
  • 100 Hz low cut filter switch
  • Microphone load impedance switch
  • Mic/DI selection switch
  • +48v phantom power switch
  • 3-position VU meter switch: CH1 - Off - CH2
  • Custom Sifam backlit VU meter
  • XLR input and output connections
  • Cinemag input and output transformers
  • High-grade Solen capacitors in signal path
  • Hand-built in USA
  • Heavy 16 gauge steel chassis
  • 115v/230v AC mains option on rear

Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp Specifications

  • Microphone input load impedance: 500Ω or 1800Ω
  • Output impedance: 300Ω
  • 1/4" DI impedance: 169kΩ
  • 72dB of gain
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Maximum 20Hz & 1kHz input level for 1% THD: -18dBu (+2 dBu with Pad)
  • Maximum output level: +24dBu
  • THD+N: <1%
  • S/N ratio: >70dB
  • Dimensions: 19"w x 3.5"h x 10"d (2u rackspace)
  • Shipping Weight: 18 lbs.
  • Power Consumption (120/240VAC): 25 watts

Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp Includes

  • 286A Preamp
  • User Manual
  • IEC Power Cord
  • Lifetime warranty parts and labor

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What We Think


Oh the Locomotive Audio 286A Preamp, what can I say? One thing you will never think, is that this preamp lack detail. Now that isn't to say it is bright, it just maintains a nice presence. But, when you are talking an input transformer, two tube gain stages back to back, and then an output transformer...... you are talking about some serious mojo. A serious mojo is what this box has. It is rich and creamy, and when it breaks up or distorts (if you like pushing preamps like I do), it sounds sexy. Dimension, depth, saturation, and vibey life is what this box is all about. The Locomotive Audio 286A instantly became one of my favorite preamps.

Ryan Ferris, Pro Audio Sales

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