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Retro Instruments' Doublewide Tube Compressor

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Mix Magazine "Compression And Compressors"

Retro Instruments' Single Channel Doublewide Tube Compressor
 Retro Instruments' Doublewide
Retro's Doublewide compressor is a single-channel tube compressor built in a two-slot 500 series module. Doublewide uses four, NOS 6BJ6 pentode tubes in two gain stages that are self-biased and balanced. The Doublewide has a fully complementary push-pull compressor design that uses Cinemag input and output transformers.

Like Retro's much more expensive Sta-Level and 176 compressors, Doublewide offers two sets of attack and recovery (release) time ranges of operation called Single and Double selectable by a front panel toggle switch. In addition, there are both continuously variable front panel Attack and Recovery controls for further refinement.

Retro Instruments' Single Channel Doublewide Tube Compressor
 Retro Instruments' Doublewide Inside

For mixing and recording in my Pro Tools sessions, I find Doublewide in Single mode perfect for vocals and bass guitars to increase their "density" and make them more consistent in level. In Single mode, Doublewide exerts solid dynamic control with up to 30dB of gain reduction if required but without sounding overly "squashed" and "clamped".

For loudness enhancement and/or stricter, tighter dynamic control, I use the Double mode. If I set Double mode with a fast attack and slow recovery time, I can tame "spikey" drums and percussion instruments.

Because deep compression with a fast recovery time settings can bring on audible distortion particularly in the low frequencies, Double mode uses program-dependent attack/recovery timing and is better suited for program bus compression such as is used in mixing and mastering. Your stereo mix bus could use two Doublewide modules if you're going for a vintage studio mix sound.

Other features include: a hard-wire bypass switch, special circuitry eliminates excess current inrush and component stress when power is first applied, and no user adjustment over the life of the tubes which are readily available and easily changed. A meter-zero adjustment is accessible from the side of the unit to compensate for tube variations. Finally, Doublewide consumes 180ma total (6 watts), which is well within the two-slot VPR power allowance of 125ma per slot or 250ma total.

Retro Instruments Doublewide single-channel compressor sells for $995 MSRP and makes a fine addition to any 500 series rack and a great way to get into the warm, huge sound of tube compression in your studio. I have one and I love it!

Much more about it at:

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