Finding the right 500 Series for your rack can be a tough task, especially when you have discerning tastes and are on a budget. However, even if you don't have excess cash in your bank account, you can still find something that will be a useful tool in the studio. Check out these 500 Series modules that come in under $500 and get some great gear for less.
1. Empirical Labs EL-DS Derresser It's called the Derresser, but they could call it the "destresser," as this piece of gear can alleviate any pains brought on by high frequency issues. This 500 Series from Empirical Labs can help adjust high frequency gain that can come with trebly and spiky tracks. Eliminating massive fret squeaks and high hat bleed is only one part of this great module. You'll also be able to use it to color digitally recorded tracks and create a more analog sound.
2. Radial Engineering JDX 500 If you're getting started with a studio of your own, it can be hard to understand the miking process. This is when a DI box can come in handy. The Radial Engineering JDX 500 is essentially a DI box in 500 Series form that involves plugging both your cabinet and head into the module. By using a DI, you can preserve the sound that you've worked hard to get and capture the exact tone you want from your guitar and amplifier.
3. Little Labs VOG Analog Bass Resonance Tool If you're lacking oomph on the low end of your recordings, Little Labs VOG, or Voice of God, is an amazing 500 Series that will bring more power to the equation. Originally designed for vocals and voice over artists, this module was meant to boost the natural resonance of the voice while making it easier for performers to get a great take. However, in the hands of engineers and producers, the VOG was found to create immense bass sounds on rhythm section instruments that needed more depth.
4. Aphex Comp 500 With a smooth, gentle release, thanks to a Jensen JT-11DL transformer and optical components, the Aphex Comp 500 is a reliable compressor that won't take a huge hit on your wallet. Created specifically for the Comp 500, Aphex's photocell technology is known for precise compression and can also be linked together with another Comp 500 for stereo pairing.
5. Alta Moda AM-30 Finding a mic-pre with a unique sound can be a challenge, let alone one that doesn't have a hefty price tag. Alta Moda's AM-30 is the brands' first mic-pre offering and offers an original design that is capable of a wide range of sounds. At low gain settings, this module offers an exception ability to control overdrive, but pushing the knob farther will help create richer performances with more saturation.