The Altec 1567A is an interesting piece of audio equipment. Originally designed more for public address and broadcast applications, this 5-channel tube line mixer was notoriously noisesome and gritty when pushed, which is why it has been reborn of late as a studio dirtbox for artists like The Black Keys. Black Rooster Audio just released a reimagined emulation of the 1567A called Omnitec-67A, which turns the design of the original on its ear and redeploys it as a single-channel preamp with 3-band EQ and three different tube models to choose from. I took the new Omnitec-67A for a spin in my video review:
With a similar footprint and the same green painted faceplate with white lettering as the original, Omnitec-67A has the visual flavor right, but with a few twists. The racing stripes on the input and output give it a more modern vibe, and the knobs, switches, and VU meter have the look and feel of other Black Rooster plugins. Everything is easy to find and logically laid out, for a quick 5 stars to start our review.
Let’s deep-dive into each of the features in Omnitec-67A:
Phase, Level, Input, and Power
The Phase switch flips the phase of the input signal, while the Level control simulates turning on the higher input gain of a mic-level source. The input is where the real magic happens in Omnitec-67A, as it introduces the saturation and sparkle into the mix. The pretty orange jewel light can be clicked to turn Omnitec-67A on and off.
Tube Type, Bias, Mix, and 3-Band EQ
There are three selectable Tube Types in Omnitec-67A, and each can be biased hot or normal with the Bias knob. The different tubes give different frequency responses and saturate at different levels. There’s a standard dry/wet Mix knob, and three-band EQ with center frequencies at 50Hz, 400Hz, and 1kHz.
Output and VU meter
Rounding out the controls are an overall output level and a VU meter calibrated to -14dB.
I tested out Omnitec-67A on a bunch of sources, and was consistently impressed not only with the level of harmonic saturation and all-out spank that the various gain and bias levels imparted, but also with the musicality of the EQ. On bass it allowed me to both add grit and round out the tone, while on drums it added sparkle and pleasant fizz to the hi-hats and snare. I also enjoyed it on busses, where just a touch of wet brought out a whole lot of flavor in the overall mix. There wasn’t a single source I threw it at where it didn’t catch it and run it down the field for a touchdown.
Hear it in Action
Here’s the same sample without Omnitec-67A:
Next up, a drum loop:
And here’s the dry sample for comparison:
Finally, here’s the master with Omnitec in the pole position:
And the same master without:
Black Rooster Audio Omnitec-67A Review – The Bottom Line
Omnitec-67A isn’t the only option on the market for Altec 1567A emulators, but it is the most affordably priced. Also, it offers more control and granularity than any of its direct competitors, which is a winning combination that makes it an easy five stars for value.
Black Rooster Audio has a real winner on their hands with Omnitec-67A. It looks great, sounds even better, and is usable on everything that you could want to punch up, both sources and busses alike. I’d say it’s well worth the price of admission, and a solid option for adding flavor to your mixes. Omnitec-67A earned each of its five stars, and it commands a wholehearted recommendation from me.