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More than worthy of the Retro name, the Doublewide 500 Series compressor and its huge, punchy tube sound hangs with gear double, even triple the price. In fact, in some situations, the Doublewide has won shootouts against big-time, non-500 Series gear, including its bigger Retro siblings. That says a lot. Rather than try to stuff the Sta-Level into a 500 Series format, which could not be done while retaining the exact Sta-Level sound, Retro really went out of their way to build the Doublewide like any other piece of Retro gear. What you get is a USA-made tube compressor that's optimized for the format...one that's vibey, full of mojo, and perfect for your grab-and-go 500 Series rack.
Classic, vibey tube goodness in a compact format
Don't let the Doublewide's "500 Series" designation fool you. This mighty compressor proves that big things can come in very small packages. Retro would not have gone to surface-mount technology with the Doublewide. Instead, they chose to make the most out of the format and pack as much "Retro"-ness as possible. Sure, there are going to be design constraints with the format, but you'd be hard-pressed to hear them. The Doublewide has been consistently winning engineers over with its true tube personality. Inspired by the old B3 Hammond, you get that more vibey, more "rubbery" compression with the Doublewide that's a hallmark of classic gear. There's more spring to it, a little more liveliness and spunkiness than, say, the Sta-Level. Use it on vocals or bass and it'll make things pop really nicely. It's really adjustable, too. Send your drum overhead mic through it and you can bring out the rim sound. All in all, it's hard to name a compressor that gives you this much classic-vibed oomph in this price range or even double it, which is one reason we've seen more and more studios picking up pairs.
A full-fledged member of the Retro lineup
If you've been thinking about getting into Retro, there's no better gateway than the Doublewide. This USA-made 500 Series compressor is designed and painstakingly built like every other piece of Retro gear. You get a level of quality you won't find in most other 500 Series pieces. There's the REAL Retro meter, for starters. And, though it's hard to describe, there's just that Retro "feel" when using it – a 1950s sort of vibe. The Doublewide may be the most go-sized of its siblings, but without a doubt, it's a part of the family.
|Condition||Demo / B-Stock|
|Tube or Solid State||Tube|
|Module Type||500 Series|
|Module Slot Count||2 Slots|
|Compression Type||Variable Mu|
I wanted to build a 500 series rack that I could take between my home studio and my main studio in Santa Monica. I researched a lot of compressors and kept hearing over and over amazing demos with the doublewide, even some rave reviews and demos from Greg Wells. I finally got one a week ago loaded it up and EVERYONE is commenting on it. The unit is incredibly musical and forgiving, just about every setting is useable and tough to make it NOT work on something.
Since the only thing I am limited to are words to describe it's sound I'd have to say it smooths and thickens everything. Not in a mud way but with weight and presence that cuts the mix. It has 4 tubes in it somehow and has a lot of mojo!!! Even if you don't want to compress but you need some harmonic excitement or overtones you can just run through it if you wanna hit some tubey warmth before going in to the box. You can buy this with confidence. It looks cool, I do wish it had a lit VU meter so it looked sexy in a dark moody studio like with my Manley Voxbox, Shadow Hills DV and Avalon but I'm glad it saves the amps and voltage for it's tubes so that's just my 3 cents!! (do it)
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