The Neve 1073 channel strip in my opinion is the best channel strip you can get for your buck. Both the pre-amp section and the compressor section are extremely useful. Most of the time I will record using the compression straight to Pro Tools, but many times I'll go back and use the compressor on previously recorded things. It has XLR inputs and outputs and is it rackable.
In terms of ease of use, it doesn't get much easier. The pre-amp has a bunch of equalization options as well as gain and a leveler. The compressor is only two knobs which it is based off of. I haven't had a need to use the manual, it is easy enough to use if you have any sort of experience with recording and compressors.
I couldn't be happier with overall sound this thing produces. It sounds great on vocals (I'm using a Neumann TLM103) as well as on guitars and drums. For bass I just plug directly in...I have no need for my direct boxes anymore when recording keys or bass, I just use this. The pre-amp is pretty transparent if you run it with no EQ, but I love having the options of boosting or cutting using the pre's EQ.
I've been using the 1073 for about a year now. The thing I like most about it is that it is a compact channel strip that I can use over and over again for my overdubs. I haven't had any complaints, although I wish there were some 1/4'' connections in addition to the XLRs. If I lost it or broke it I would definitely buy a new one. Being that I work out of my project studio mostly and I am on a limited budget, I couldn't have asked for anything more. I suggest you check these out, they are going for pretty cheap online now.
The Brent Averill Neve 1073 Module is an analog piece of outboard gear that is a direct copy of a 1073 channel strip. It consists of both a microphone preamplifier and an equalizer. It has a phase reverse button as well as one for phantom power. As far as connections go, it has XLR in the back and a 1/4" TRS input in the front to use this as a DI, along with a button to choose your line selection. It is rack mountable and will take up a single space.
Even if you don't have experience with Neve channel strips or consoles, the Brent Averill Neve 1073 Module is pretty straight forward and easy to use. The mic pre simply has gain knob, while the EQ has three bands, as well has a high pass filter. If you know how to use a basic parametric EQ, you'll be able to use this without a problem or without the help of a manual.
In terms of sound quality, it doesn't get too much better sounding than the Brent Averill Neve 1073 Module. Since it has the same make up as the 1073, it has the same sound as well. I haven't had the chance to test out the two of them back to back, but I have used an original 1073 and I would be hard pressed to be able to find a real difference. This version of the 1073 is certainly suitable for recording anything you throw its way...
If you're looking for the Neve sound without having to get a full console, the Brent Averill Neve 1073 Module is a great replacement for getting that big sound in a single channel. It is perfect for either the home or professional studio, but I would imagine that most home studio owners would only be able to afford one, if any at all as the price isn't cheap, although it is definitely reasonable for a genuine Neve module. All in all, Brent Averill is one of the best, if not the best in the business when it comes to reproducing Neve modules, and this 1073 falls right in line...