Barry Rudolph Review: Retro Instruments Revolver

Dual-Channel Tube Compressor Recalls the Vintage Audio Gear of Yesteryear

Retro Instruments’ Revolver is the company’s latest all-tube processor, having started out as an experiment back in 2011. It seems that Retro’s Phil Moore was not satisfied with it as a viable product until the 2018 Winter NAMM Show, when he showed the first units. Revolver fits perfectly into the Retro Instruments product line and upholds the company’s unwritten mission of building—to the highest-quality standards—the “new classics” that recall the most coveted and vintage audio gear of yesteryear.

Revolver’s ratios range from a 1.5:1 (full CCW) to 5:1 (full CW). A good starting point is to set the Dual Threshold knob fully CCW so that the compressor’s threshold is least-sensitive. By using the input level control and driving more level into the detector, not only will you control the saturation of the fully differential tube path, but be able to compress to any amount using a low 1.5:1 ratio. As you turn the Dual Threshold clockwise, you get more compression at higher and higher ratios, although it may require readjusting the input gain control and the unit’s output level.

The entire detailed review you can find here.
https://www.mixonline.com/technology/review-retro-instruments-revolver-dual-channel-tube-compressor

Brian Hansen’s review of Retro 500PRE 500

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

MIX Online: Barry Rudolph’s Review Retro 500PRE

 


The 500PRE is Retro’s third 500 Series module, joining the original DoubleWide I and the updated DoubleWide II–both dual-slot, single-channel tube compressors. The 500PRE incorporates the same basic double-balanced Class-A circuit topology as in the company’s Sta-Level limiter.

WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?

The 500PRE works both as microphone preamp and line-level amplifier; it has an input operating range of -72 dB to +12 dBu. The output clips at +18 dBu, with maximum output at +24 dBu. The 500PRE has two switchable gain ranges: high gain at 75 dB using all three of its TAD 12AT7 tubes, or low gain at 48 dB using just two of the tube stages.

SOME TECHNICAL DETAILS

The total slot current drain for the 500PRE is 160 mA. This exceeds the allowable current drain in the API Audio VPR Alliance specification of 130 mA for a single-slot module. A check in a tube manual shows that the 12AT7 requires 150 mA filament current each, and there are three.

Taking an idea from old ’50s tube television sets, the three tube filaments are wired in series and powered directly from the 500 rack’s +/-16-volt rails, or 32 volts total–that’s nearly 11 volts DC for each tube. The tubes’ plate voltage is supplied by the 48-volt phantom power supply, and the current drain is just 3 mA.

If your Lunchbox or rack does not have phantom power, the 500PRE will still work, albeit with reduced headroom as the plate voltage will automatically switch over to the +/-16-volt rails.

I ran the 500PRE in an API 8P High Current 500 rack (250mA per slot) and..

Finish reading this detailed review @ Barry Rudolph’s website: https://www.barryrudolph.com/mix/retro_500pre.html

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.

Vintage King Review Retro Doublewide II

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.

SweetWater Retro Instruments/Pultec EQ Shootout

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

Vintage King And Retro Instruments 175B

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…..

Retro Instruments DOUBLEWIDE II Release

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 info@retroinstruments.com

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!