Retro Instruments Doublewide Tube Compressor
The Retro instruments 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 instruments 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 Retro instruments DOUBLEWIDE 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 our gear, we’re 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.
- 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.
Sound On SoundMarch 2014
“The Retro Instruments DOUBLEWIDE both looks and feels great. The controls and switches are all reassuringly solid and clunky, and the simple, bold layout makes it one of the best-looking 500-series units I’ve seen.”