Locomotive Audio Model 86B-2 Two Channel American Style Tube Preamp

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Two Huge Channels of Sweet and Harmonic Tube Preamp Gain

Warm and Clean to Aggressive and Grungy 

An American-Style Stereo Tube Preamp Designed for Versatility

From beautiful glowing vocals, natural acoustics and punchy drums to overdriven and saturated classic tube warmth, the 86B-2 preamplifier offers a huge sonic palette for engineers and producers to explore.

Rooted in 1950s American-style tube circuitry, the 86B-2 has a huge harmonic footprint and will remedy what you're missing from a lifeless modern signal chain.

Missing some flavor?

Want more color options from one box? Tired of switching between preamps? Maybe you're low on rack space or just starting your first collection of outboard gear and need some versatility. You might just need the kind of versatility that offers recording with mics, then sending recorded audio back through tubes and transformers in 'Line' mode for more coloration.


Super Premium MuMetal shielded inputs and nickel & steel outputs set the stage


An EF86 input tube and 12AY7 output tube amplify the signal with 75 dB of max gain


A 3-color LED indicator shows signal level.

Green -> Yellow -> Red


Dedicated XLR input connectors for sending audio 'out-of-the-box' without fear of phantom power being applied

Tubes, Transformers and an Amplifier Design You Will Love

The 86B-2 is designed to get any amount of tube coloration into your audio easily. Its two-knob system allows the engineer to fine-tune the type of character needed. You can drive the 86B-2 and control the amount of tonal coloration in your audio. Save time with one preamp that can achieve a variety of sounds.

​Rounded out with features like a 20dB pad, 100Hz high pass, two mic input impedances, line level mode and high impedance front panel DI on each channel, the 86B-2 won't sit idle in your valuable rack space!

86B-2 Lineage 

Introduced in 2014 as a modernized version of the Ampex 601 "suitcase tape recorder," the Locomotive 286A (86B-2 predecessor) showcased several of the best attributes from the 601. A pentode EF86 and dual triode 12AY7 were a crucial part of the sound worth keeping. The 601 could sound so smooth, but also be pushed into full distortion due to its wild amount of gain. This was a great way to get a large amount of use out of one piece of gear. On the contrary, the 601 was never designed to be used with high-output mics, so it lacked input headroom and needed input padding much of the time.

Taking this into account, we designed the Locomotive 286A by using the Ampex 601 circuit and modified it for modern use. We also added all the important mic preamp features like phantom power, pad, polarity, low cut and DI.

Now, the all-new 86B-2 updates the 286A with a new front panel, new circuit layout, separate mic and line XLR inputs, as well as a much higher DI input impedance. And best yet, a much lower pricetag!

Unlock Your Creativity

Finding the right piece of gear to give your sound that "special something" might be one of the hardest parts of engineering. In our opinion, having an exciting combination of tools at your fingertips is the best way to get your creative juices flowing. The 86B-2 will help to unlock your audio engineering mind and allow you to focus on creating truly impressive audio.


  • Microphone and high impedance
    instrument inputs
  • One EF86 & one 12AY7 per channel
  • 4-Position Input Switch: 500 Ω & 1.8K Ω Mic, 10k Ω Line, 1.6meg Ω 
  • Polarity reverse switch
  • 20 dB pad switch
  • 100 Hz low cut filter switch
  • DI on for each channel
  • +48 V phantom power​
  • XLR mic input, line input and line output connections
  • Premium input and output transformers
  • Wima polypropylene capacitors in signal path
  • Built in USA
  • Heavy 16 gauge steel chassis
  • 115 V/230 V AC mains option on rear
  • Backed by lifetime warranty parts and labor, excluding tubes

Technical Specs

  • Microphone input load impedance: 500 Ω or 1.8k Ω
  • Line Input load impedance: 10k Ω
  • Output impedance: 300 Ω
  • 1/4" DI impedance: 1.6meg Ω
  • Output Level LED Color:
    Greater than -10 dBu = Green
    Greater than +10 dBu = Orange
    Greater than +18 dBu = Red 
  • 75 dB of gain
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Maximum 20 Hz & 1 kHz input level for 1% THD: -18 dBu (+2 dBu with Pad)
  • Maximum output level: +24 dBu
  • THD+N: <1%
  • S/N ratio: >70 dB
  • Dimensions: 19" W x 3.5" H x 10" D (2u rackspace)
  • Shipping Weight: 18 lb
  • Power Consumption (120/240 VAC): 25 watts


 As an audio engineer, we know you want to use the best tools to shape your sound. And if you are going to spend money on gear, you deserve hardware that's always in tip-top shape. You shouldn't have to worry about when something goes wrong. Rest assured, we guarantee the gear we build by backing it with a lifetime warranty.