The Standard Audio Level-Or is an API 500-Series rack compatible JFET limiter / distortion processor. The design was inspired by the Shure Level-Loc PA limiter, popular for its trashy, ultra compressed sound. The extended features of the Level-Or allows it to achieve what the Level-Loc does and much, much more.
In "Level" mode, the Level-Or acts very much like the Level-Loc. An additional, faster release time has been added for even more flexibility and a broader range of compressed sounds.
In "Crunch" mode, the Level-Or sets itself apart from anything else like it. By sweeping the input level over the range provided, a huge palette of sounds can be reached from slight harmonic enhancement, to aggressive crunch, to buzz-saw like distortion, to complete and utter destruction of the original source material.
Between these two available modes, there is a huge array of sounds that can be produced from this unit. Simple drum loops can be taken from boring to unique and drum room mics can be crushed or distorted to taste adding size and character to the overall sound. Bass, guitar, and keyboard sounds can be manipulated, taking on completely new and different sounds than the original source material.
*Note: Due to the nature of the design of this unit, it is very aggressive sounding; with noticeable pumping, distortion, and some noise.
We consider this a good thing!
Sound Clips: Click instrument for sample
Drums: 0-4 seconds = straight signal; 4-9 seconds = level mode; 9-13 seconds = crunch mode; 13-17 seconds = crunch mode maxed
Synth Bass: 0-5 seconds = straight sound; 5-19 seconds = crunch mode gradually; turning up input until maxed
Piano: 0-5 seconds = straight signal; 5-10 seconds = level mode; 10-15 crunch mode gradually turning up input until maxed
- Transformer balanced input
- Electronically balanced, line level output stage capable of driving balanced loads as low as 600 ohm
- Two modes of operation:
- Level – Sound of unit is dominated by JFET limiter
- Crunch – Sound of unit is dominated by harmonic distortion from the discrete transistor-based, Class A amplification stages
- Additional release time added that is twice as fast as original release
- Output level control to enable the input of the Level-Or to be driven hard without clipping the device that the Level-Or is driving (DAW input, Tape Machine, Console Line Amplifier, etc)
- Fast / Slow - (Level Mode only) Switches between slow (same as original Level-Loc release) and fast release times
- ¼" line input on front panel
- Hand wired and assembled in the USA
Word on the Street:
“...It sounds great on bass, drums, piano, vocals. It basically does everything that a Level Loc would do but with so much more control and finesse, not to mention so much quieter. The quality of the audio is great. It’s simple to use and it always amuses drummers....”
“Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I came across some “LEVELOR-ed” drums tracks and loved them! I’m engineering a record for Joe Chiccarelli and he’s already got a unit and tracked a mono drum room thru the LEVEL-OR to add grit to the drum sound. $%*ing mission accomplished! I used the LEVEL-OR as a parallel distortion track for a wulritzer and it added a nice grimy sparkle as well. You guys have any other 500 series designs in the works? I’ve got one more space in my lunch box!”