Brian Dane Hansen’s in-depth deep review of our 500PRE 500 series tube compressor, complete with sound files examples

Based on the Sta-Level, which is an incredibly vibey compressor with a ton of tone and compression abilities (hopefully I can do a review (and own) one of those bad boys some day!) the 500PRE has a deep, rich sound with the ability to add warmth to your source, saturate and even distort your signal if you desire (and I do). With up 75db of gain on board the 500PRE is a great match for ribbons, dynamics or condenser mics. With this pre if you want warm and clean, you got it.
If you want some more saturation/color/harmonics/tube squish with the high gain toggle engaged, you’ve got it.

The output knob is your friend on this unit, think of it like a..
COMPLETE REVIEW ON HIS BLOG


I think you’ll hear that the first one track has some dynamics and sounds the most open and clean and then as you move into the second and the third clip, the dynamics decrease and the sound thickens. This is the tubes giving you some sweet compression! The differences between Low Gain and High Gain 1 are subtle but I think thats the great thing about this pre amp! You can dial in exactly what you need. If the low gain file was just a little two clean and dynamic you could set it to something like the high gain 1 file and get a little warmth, thickness and transient control. Check out the screenshot below.
BDH Screenshot
You can even see how with each pass the transients gets more and more leveled out as the input gain continues to get turned up. This happened on every source that I recorded.

The high gain passes were….
COMPLETE REVIEW ON HIS BLOG
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Retro/TAPE OP Magazine, DOUBLEWIDE Giveaway

Win a DOUBLEWIDE II Tube Compressor!!
Giveaway by Retro Instruments
  • PRIZE
    Win a Doublewide II Tube Compressor!!! REGISTER HERE

  • DETAILS
    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).


  • You must be 18 years of age or older to enter/win.

  • No purchase necessary.

  • You need not be present to win.

  • Winner will be contacted via email

  • Void where prohibited.

  • All taxes relative to the prize package are the sole responsibility of the winner. No prize substitutions, assignments or transfers. No cash equivalents.

  • By participating, all entrants acknowledge and agree that they have entered the contest of their own free will, that the full rules and details of the contest have been made available to them in writing and they therefore understand and agree that neither Tape Op or Retro representatives or employees have any liability with respect to any damages out of acceptance and use of a prize.

  • By entering this promotion, participants agree to be bound by these rules.

  • Tape Op and Retro employees or their affiliates are not eligible to enter or win.
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NAMM 2020 Highlights

Booth setup with Chris Howard hiding..

PHIL MOORE himself in front of his new 500PRE 500 series Promo


Grammy winner, record producer/mixer and Retro Supporter Jacquire King drops in to catch up with Phil.

Will the real Phil Moore please step forward

Phil Moore from Trickfish amps stops in to trade credentials with our Phil.

Composer, Producer and Retro supporter Devin Powers looks in on phil in the Retro Booth.

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Barry Rudolph’s Review of NEW Retro Instruments 500PRE

 


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..

More on Barry Rudolph’s website

 

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Introducing the NEW Retro Instruments 500PRE

INTRODUCING THE NEW RETRO 500PRE

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.

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Vintage King – Retro Instruments Doublewide II Compressor DEMO

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.

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Retro instruments Pultec EQ Shootout – with Sound Samples

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

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Vintage King And Retro Instruments Team Up

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.

READ MORE…..

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