Unbelievably the wizards at Retro Instruments have released a single-channel tube microphone preamp/line amp module that fits into a single slot of a 500 rack. Inside are three premium TAD 12AT7 tubes and CineMag input and output transformers.
The 500PRE has both high (75dB) and low gain (48dB) modes available using either two or three of its tube stages. Total 500 slot current drain is 160-mA and just over the allowable VPR spec.
The front panel has full size switches and control knobs for: Input Gain control, Low or High Gain Modes, 48-volt phantom power on/off, Invert off/on “flips” the polarity of the balanced mic input line, and the Output control sets final level.
I ran the 500PRE in an API 8P High Current 500 rack (250mA per slot) and..
We took the circuit topology of the Sta-Level and packed it into a single width 500 module. The Retro 500PRE three tube gain stage exhibits the same detail and depth. As with all Retro products, the feeling of the musical performance is delivered with the Retro Instruments 500PRE.
Distortion, Noise and Frequency Response of the Retro 500PRE are outstanding; but overload characteristics are not generally revealed by standard measurements.
The Retro 500PRE tubes gracefully limit the signal at +18 dBu. Whether you’re just going for clean gain or pushing the 500PRE into overdrive, it won’t ever sound plastic and brittle like solid-state amplifiers can. Transient detail is unrestrained The Retro 500PRE doesn’t sleep when you’re done tracking. Use the 500PRE as a high-energy limiter during mix-time. The 500PRE design purposely has the limiter effect of tube amplifiers. You’ll love to use it as a limiter to fatten all kinds of tracks.
The Retro 500PRE works within API 500 rack power limitations. Each 500PRE consumes 160 ma of power, slightly above the 130 ma VPR-compliant allocation. We recommend racks with quiet linear power supplies like the API models. When power requirements are observed, the rack and 500PRE will provide years of reliable service.
The Retro 500PRE uses three 12AT7 tubes that are readily available as new production or new-old-stock. A user can select from a wide variety. Your unit uses the new production TAD 12AT7 and these tubes are expected to last for a very long time under the 500PRE operating conditions. We use soft-start circuitry that minimizes stress to the tubes and power supply. The Retro 500PRE takes less than a minute to warm up and perform.
Last week we set out to visit with Grammy nominated producer RomePalermo aka ~RomesEmpire mixing and demonstrating how he uses using his pair of Retro 176 Limiting Amplifier’s and his 2A3 Dual Program EQ with his mixes of current artists he’s producing.
He’s quite the cook in his kitchen and recording studio.
Since the 500 Series format became en vogue, the Retro Instruments Doublewide has been one of the best selling modules at Vintage King. As its name implies, the DOUBLEWIDE takes up two rack spaces offering premium single channel compression with huge, tube-powered punch via your lunchbox.
Late last year, Retro Instruments announced a new successor to the compressor, the Doublewide II.
This new version features faster attack and release time, stereo linking capabilities and a greatly improved signal to noise ratio. The Doublewide 2 still features the signature Single and Double timing modes that made the original such a favorite on drums, bass and well… Just about everything.
The Pultec Sound
The sweetest thing about a Pultec is how you can alter the frequency spectrum in such a drastic and desirable way. I remember the first time I used one (on a Russ Taff record in the 1980s). I was floored by how I could add all the presence and brilliance I wanted without any sibilance or harshness.
How was that possible?
And I could grab as much warmth and fullness as I desired without the bottom end getting muddy or thick. Again, how does it do that?
The Retro Instruments 2A3 distinguishes itself by offering two channels in one unit and also adds a switchable subsonic filter (40Hz or 90Hz).
Find out more about the Pultec EQ Shootout at SweetWater Sounds post
Make sure you stop by our booth # 12100 at the NAMM 2019.
See and hear some of Retro Instruments latest gear!
Find us in the MAP below!
Vintage King wanted to create something special to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, so they teamed up with us at Retro Instruments to release a reproduction of the 175-B compressor. There will only be 100 of these limited edition 175-B recreations available worldwide and they will be sold exclusively through Vintage King.
Why bring back the 175-B? Simple. It’s a classic compressor that has been a staple since its release. Designed by Bill Putnam, the product was created to make up for the lack of compressors created specifically for recording studios. It’s huge and clear sounding tube circuitry and aggressive nature has made it a favorite of many engineers on drums, guitars and vocals.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
San Francisco, CA. November 8, 2018 – Retro Instruments, Inc. has just released the DOUBLEWIDE II, the long-awaited update to the original 500-Series DOUBLEWIDE tube compressor.
Retro is known for building authentic tube-based recording equipment for over 12 years. Phil Moore, Retro Instrument’s president and chief designer says: “we listened to our customers ideas and advice and developed our next-generation 500 series compressor, the Retro Instruments DOUBLEWIDE II!”
The DOUBLEWIDE II is a single-channel compressor that installs into two slots of a standard 500 series rack yet it requires only 130-milliamps of current—just like the original Retro DOUBLEWIDE compressor. Also retained from the original are the gray painted front panel, high-quality US-made Simpson gain- reduction meter, and hand wiring throughout (no troublesome ribbon cables). DOUBLEWIDE II’s excellent build-quality is apparent starting with the American-made PC board and extends to the durable and attractive stainless steel case and, don’t forget, we only use Cinemag’s highest-quality input and output transformers for authentic tone and weight plus the complete freedom from external interference and noise.
During initial user testing and comparison, the DOUBLEWIDE II immediately exceeded all expectations with increased flexibility and control that many original DOUBLEWIDE users have demanded. With both faster attack and release (recovery) times now possible, the DOUBLEWIDE II excels at energizing vocal tracks as well as controlling bass, guitars and drum tracks in an elegant and transparent way or go extreme and radical—or dial in anywhere in between!
Our beta testers/recording engineers found the new DOUBLEWIDE II nearly magical for processing all percussive sounds easily; it’s capable of tight, sonic consistency all the way to explosive, full-bodied impact on snares, kicks and tom-toms. With the addition of the new stereo linking feature (in a 500 racks that support linking), two DOUBLEWIDE IIs are just amazing for drum overheads, pianos, stereo pads, backing vocals; the list grows daily with new uses coming in from our customers.
Media Contact: Len Estrada Media Relations T 209-810-3344 firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you join this list of happy and satisfied Retro Instruments customers who depend on the awesome sound and processing power of the new DOUBLEWIDE II 500-Series Tube Compressor!
Published December 2014
Is Retro’s recreation of the legendary Gates Sta-Level more than just a reissue?
Trawl through old interviews and you’ll find that plenty of big-name producers offer nothing but praise for the Gates Sta-Level compressor. It was one of the most successful and enduring compressors of the post-WWII era, and its unique sonic qualities mean that it remains in demand today, although for a rather different application. Second-hand units change hands only rarely, and for a high price. Retro Instruments, though, offer a version of the Sta-Level, which remains true to all the important aspects of the original design, while also incorporating some very useful additions.
Bettering The Sta-Level
As with Retro’s take on the Urei 176, the build quality is flawless. It combines the heavy-duty nature of studio kit from the ’50s with a few key qualities of a well laid-out modern design. In fact, Retro took everything that was good on the original unit and enhanced it, to make the compressor more suitable and more convenient for daily use today. XLR connectors, a standard IEC outlet, the possibility of coupling two or more units, facilities on the rear panel for..