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Retro Instruments 175B Compressor - Vintage King Edition

Retro Instruments' famed 175-B compressor featuring the original circuit designed by Bill Putnam in 1961 - made in collaboration with Vintage King

MFR# 175B

Product Description

This recreation of the classic compressor, the Retro Instruments 175B - Vintage King Edition is sold exclusively through Vintage King. While the new compressor uses the same chassis as Retro Instrument’s beloved 176, our collaboration birthed a more purest incarnation of this classic. For this edition, Retro Instrument’s has returned the 175-B to its original circuit as designed by Bill Putnam in 1961 and it sounds absolutely incredible.

When Bill Putnam began designing the 175-B, he set out to create something that was designed specifically for the recording studio. Previously, there were really only limiters and compressors for radio stations and mastering studios. With the 108 mic pre as the foundation, Putnam would ultimately create the 175-B, the grandfather to arguably the most famous compressor ever made, the 1176.

The 175-B had something special though. It’s huge and clear sounding tube circuitry and aggressive nature made it a favorite of many engineers on drums, guitars, and vocals. It can take lots of gain reduction while still sounding huge, smooth and super exciting.

This new version of the 175-B closely follows the specs of the original, as it features the same tube complement and has custom designed transformers to match the specs of the originals. The input and output controls feature 21 position Swiss-made Elma stepped attenuators for input and output controls with fine tune vernier controls to adjust level in between steps. The 175-B also features a VU Meter, switchable between Input, Output and Gain Reduction. The unit’s input and output connections are balanced XLR on the rear and true to the original there are front panel patch jacks for I/O included (TRS), but not connected (Functionality by special order).

Imagine the tube warmth and smooth compression of the 175-B on your next recording or mix session. They work great in pairs as well and are sold with factory tube matching and custom 1ru link panel for those wanting to use them on their 2 bus mix or on stereo sources.

If you’ve been looking to add the sonic characteristics of the classic 175-B to your studio, without the maintenance concerns and extremely high price of excellent condition vintage examples, then this new Retro Instruments/Vintage King collaboration could be just the thing you are looking for.

Product Specifications

Condition New

Product Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars.
Review Count (8)

write a review

It’s perfect!
Use it on vocal tracking as a tone shaper
While dialing the attack to 3 o’clock, get more weight on vocal, get more warmth in air. And the release time can alter the brightness in a natural way, too. even just bypass (off mode) the tone colour mojo is lovely.

By Celebration M on February 17, 2022

Both Retro and Vintage King are awesome for doing this piece. It’s one of those units you’ll wish you got when you could! Sounds amazing and looks so good in the rack. Get it!

By Dave K on November 8, 2021

I purchased the VK Retro 175b to use mostly as a dedicated voice compressor. The music I work on is heavily influenced by 60’s pop records out of the LA studios like Western Recorders. Things like Nancy & Lee, Mamas & Papas, Brian Wilson etc... I found an original Bill Putnam manual for the 175b where he writes gain reduction should be around -3 for most material & peaks at -5. When you follow his instructions the compressor is a very pleasant sound on voice. It adds a little weight and “sound.” I find it not very useful on things with low end information like drum kit or bass. I am happy with it. It’s very sensitive and can distort very easily. Hope this helps anyone considering this compressor!

By Matthew S on September 30, 2020

I’ve owned two of the originals over the years- they were magical but temperamental. Aside from being rock solid reliable, this unit is a bit more versatile- works well on a larger range of situations-

A+ 👍

By Doug M on April 25, 2019

Mixing vocal with 175b and sounds great every time. Amazing. j

By YONG on March 17, 2019

Sounds great on vocals and bass. I use it on every session.

By Spare M on February 23, 2019

Just received the Retro Instruments 175 B, beautiful replica, the attention to detail is fantastic! The sound is amazing as the original version (we own one). The clarity and smoothness that it gives to the vocals is great, also very good for bass guitar.
Thank you Vintage King, waiting for other reissues!

By Luis G on February 13, 2019

Great sound !
make us magic !

By EIJI M on January 31, 2019

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How do you rate this product?
I would like to thank VK for the wonderful sales assistance, service and prices. This was my first purchase with you and it won't be my last. I only wish I'd discovered you years ago!
Matthew R.
I had two Grammy wins this year - Ray LaMontagne & Carolina Chocolate Drops. Both made with help from Vintage King!
Ryan F.
In almost 20 years in Pro audio buying, never did I receive a unit so well packed and exactly as described. Works flawlessly. The whole process has been so smooth. I will never hesitate to do business with you guys in the future and will recommend you to everyone I know.
Martin C.
This was my first experience buying something from Vintage King (although I surf the "used" categories on the website frequently!), and, despite being on the other side of the world, I had absolutely no trouble and everything went very smoothly.
Phil T.
The speed of delivery exceeded my expectations! I was VERY pleased that my shipment arrived in time for a scheduled vocal tracking session. The packing insured that my order arrived safely. And the sales staff responded quickly to questions regarding the product.
James P.
Thank you so much! Vintage King has been so fair and easy to work with. I can't thank you enough. It feels good to trust such a hefty purchase to folks who are so helpful and knowledgeable. Vintage King is a sound designers dream store.
Noa L.
You guys have excellent customer service and I am excited about the next upgrade I complete on my fifth recording facility. I've been in the studio business for forty plus years. The salesman I worked with at Vintage King was the best of the best. You all rock!
Robby T.
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Jake D.
My experience with Vintage King was excellent. The order was here fast considering it was out of stock. The sales person had SKB send it to me directly and I couldn't have been more pleased.
Michael D.
From the minute I placed my order I was kept well-informed through each step in your process. Even though I was buying a comparatively modest piece of gear, your attention to detail made me feel like I was purchasing a six-figure mixing desk.
Thomas W.
I am a new customer of yours. You guys provided me the absolute best deals in ordering all the equipment to power my brand new recording studio. Your customer service is amazing and i will always deal with you from here on out.
Rob M.
Thanks for your great service and getting this out today. You guys really are the Kings!
Alan B.
Better than expected! Truly impeccable service. Your team was professional, knowledgeable, provided speedy delivery above and beyond standard. Vintage King Audio is definitely my go to for all of my audio and information needs.
James O.