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When Phil Moore founded Retro Instruments, the first major project was to recreate his favorite piece of equipment from 1956, the Gates Sta-Level, a compressor that thrived in the radio industry during the 1960s. The Retro Instruments incarnation of the Sta-Level celebrates the original while adding three flexible compression attack/release modes to bring a uniquely familiar intimacy, air, and warmth to your tracks. Under the hood you’ll find hand-matched audiophile-grade coupling capacitors and high-quality, custom-wound transformers used throughout. Like all Retro Instruments pieces, the Sta-Level is a classic rackmount workhorse with a tasteful blend of modern features on top.
The Retro Instruments Revolver Dual-Channel Tube Compressor is a revolutionary rackmount design, inspired by the sound that defined one of the biggest cultural waves to hit music in the 20th century: the British Invasion. After years of experimental development and extensive field testing in select studios, Retro Instruments is proud to offer a vibrant tube compressor that excels in all aspects of tracking, mixing and mastering. Aside from harnessing legendary-quality compression heard on countless records, Retro Instruments added a side-chain filter, stereo linking and continuously variable threshold to the Revolver to make it useful for a variety of scenarios. Made using only the best components, the Revolver passes strict quality control tests here in the USA.
Retro Instruments took the same circuit topology from the Sta-Level and packed it into a 500 series preamp with the same detail and depth: the 500PRE. This mic preamp retains the integrity of the signal source, never sounding harsh or brittle if overdriven. Transient detail is never strained. Uniquely, the preamp also excels as a mixing limiter to fatten tracks. The Retro 500PRE uses three 12AT7 tubes that are readily available as new production or new-old stock, and soft-start circuitry to minimize stress to the tubes and power supply. The result is years of long-lasting service.
In 2018, Retro Instruments introduced the successor to the well-received Doublewide, the aptly named Doublewide II. Retro Instruments kept everything hard-wired throughout, and vibey in terms of sound. They maintained the easily recognizable, high-quality US-made Simpson gain-reduction meter and classic gray front panel, but also made some great alterations to the 500 series tube compressor, such as adding a wider range of attack and release times and improved signal-to-noise ratio. The end result is another excellent tube compressor option from Retro Instruments, now with even more flavor and flexibility.
Retro Instruments Sta-Level, Revolver, and Doublewide II add depth and transient control, while the passive 2A3 Dual Program EQ provides a very useful palette of colors and textures ready for tracking, mixing, and mastering. The 2A3 is a unique 2U rack compressor that packs dual channel EQs into one space to add shine, presence, and punch for a variety of applications. The 2A3 follows suit with classic Pultec-style functions, such as the useful bass boost/cut method of attenuation that made Pultec EQs popular. The Subsonic Filter allows you to do peaking low frequency boosts that tame the excessive subsonic energy. This same filter also adds interesting tonal characteristics to frequencies found between 40Hz and 90Hz. The 2A3 Dual Program EQ is a great companion during tracking or mixing.
Retro Instruments provide true vintage compressors, preamps, and EQs with a modern twist. Ask Vintage King about which Retro Instruments gear we can recommend for your studio.
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