Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor


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Product Code: 9999-17032
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The Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor is inspired by the remote-cutoff / vari-mu design principle of the Sta-Level, but it is actually it's own unique compressor design and sound. Two modes of operation optimize the reaction of the Doublewide to best handle vocals, bass, etc, or to get fast for drums and percussive instruments. The Retro Instruments Doublewide delivers BIG classic analog sound in a two-slot 500 series module, fully compatible with any VPR Alliance conforming 500 series power supply.

The Retro Doublewide is a mono tube compressor unit designed from the ground up for the 500 series format. It's authentic tube compression in a go-anywhere package! So now, whether you're in the studio, on location, or on the road, you can enjoy classic Retro compression without compromise.

The Retro Doublewide takes its cue from the legendary Sta-Level compressor but is ultimately its own design. Under the hood there are four NOS 6BJ6 variable-mu tubes doing the actual compression work configured in a fully complementary push-pull design, delivering the sonic characteristics typical of a full-sized Retro compressor.

The Doublewide's tubes are arranged in two gain stages, working in delicate combination alongside two high-quality Cinemag transformers. Input and output are fully floating and transformer balanced for use with line level signals, while a hard-wire bypass switch allows for quick evaluation of the compression signature. Compression attack and recovery times are continuously variable.

The Doublewide is a small tube compressor with a big sound. It excels at processing all manner of sources like bass, vocals, even whole mixes (but for that you'll probably need two!), adding a luxurious compression signature to your audio that's unmistakably analog. Like the Sta-Level and 176 before it, the Doublewide has two timing modes; Single and Double. "Single" is slower: perfect for taming things like harsh vocals and unruly bass; while "Double" provides a dynamic program-controlled attack and recovery timing that's arguably better for drums and other fast transients. Between these two modes you won't want for anything else.

The Doublewide is designed to provide the user with years of reliable service. Special circuitry eliminates excess current inrush and component stress when power is applied. Power required is 180 milliamps (6 watts), which is well within a two-slot power allowance. The tubes are self-biased and balanced without the need for user adjustments and there are no internal controls. A meter-zero adjustment is accessible from the side of the unit to compensate for tube variations. Tube replacement is straightforward and the tubes are readily available.

Like all of their gear, Retro is very proud of the Doublewide. It might be small but there's nothing small about its sound. It's the perfect antidote to the stark world of digital technology.

Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor Features

  • Single channel tube compression in a two-slot 500 series module
  • Continuously variable input and output levels with fixed threshold
  • Continuously variable attack and recovery time
  • Single and Double time-constants
  • Fully complementary push-pull signal path
  • Cinemag transformer balanced, fully-floating Input and Output
  • Hard wire bypass switch with gold-plated contacts
  • Gold-plated edge card connections
  • Stainless steel chassis construction
  • Side-accessible meter zero trim
  • Uses new-old-stock U.S. Tubes
  • Authentic U.S.-made Simpson gain reduction meter
  • Hand built and tested in the U.S.

Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor Specifications

  • Remote Cutoff / Vari-Mu Operating Principle
  • Operating Modes:
    • Single (slower response is best for smoothing duties, like for vocals and/or "wild-card" bass tracks)
    • Double (dynamic program-controlled attack and recovery, best for fast transient sources)
  • Input, Output, Attack, Recovery Controls
  • 4 x NOS 6BJ6 variable-mu pentode tubes
  • Up to 30 dB of available gain reduction
  • Up to 70 dB or greater signal-to-noise ratio
  • Frequency response rated at +/- 0.5% from 20 to 20,000 Hz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 1% or less with 25 dB gain reduction
  • Nominal input operating level: -15 to +24 dBM
  • Nominal output operating level: -10 to +12 dBM
  • +4dB input signal will produce about 12dB of gain reduction
  • Nominal input and output impedance: 600 ohms
  • Total power consumption is 180 mA

Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor Includes

  • Doublewide Tube Compressor
  • Manual
  • Product Literature
  • 2 Year Manufacturer's Warranty (w/ Registration; 90 days without)

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What We Think


The Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor will win you over with it's gigantic sound, serious build quality, and quick ease of use to solving and sweetening sonic quandaries. You'll find that you'll always find a place for one or more of these in your recordings and mixes. The circuit has the effect of improving the audio passing through it. But a true Bypass is included for accurate A/B comparison perspective. Two modes of operation optimize the responsiveness of the Doublewide to adapt to slower transient material like vocals and bass (Single Mode), and to fast transient audio like drums (Double Mode). Retro Instruments' designs thrive off of the soul of celebrated vintage gear, but combine today's best parts to deliver a reliable and satisfying result and experience. Retro Instruments' gear is money well spent!

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