Louder Than Liftoff has introduced the Chroma+. The 1U channel strip operates in stereo or dual mono. The developer says that it’s designed “for hybrid studios that want more results in less space”. Its best feature: You can customize it to suit your sonic ideas by adding various Colour modules, or analogue plug-ins.
Louder Than Liftoff Chroma+
The Twin Tone-Amp architecture and equalizer are based on the same circuits as the company’s Silver Bullet Amp. The Chroma+ offers twin-topology line processors and mic/instrument amps, which allow you to to change their character at the touch of a button. You can select “A” for American and “N” for British. The preamps provide a maximum gain of +52 dB for instruments and +60 dB for microphones. They also supply phantom power and reverse the polarity, if needed.
The instrument inputs of the Chroma+ offer FET-input DI’s, which impart “definition, punch, and low end girth” to the signal, according to Louder Than Liftoff. They can be switched into a retro mode, which LTL claims makes the sound “more rounded and vintage, with a tighter bottom end and mellower high end”.
The Chroma+ also includes a Baxandall Tone Boost EQ with two bands. LTL says that the boosts were “derived from drBill’s favorite Silver Bullet settings for sweetening and enhancing individual tracks or mixes”. Each band offers two selectable frequencies, which are set with jumpers on the inside of the unit. That’s a bit inconvenient, but since this is more of a “broad stroke” EQ for pushing a signal, rather than a surgical mixing tool, the idea is to figure out a setting that works for what you do and then leave it that way.
Colour modules: analogue plug-ins
This is where it gets really interesting. Each channel has a slot for an “analogue plug-in”, to which you can add one of the manufacturer’s Colour modules. Depending on your taste or application, you can add 1176-style limiting, Pultec “air”, British console sound inspired by the Neve 1081 or the Pentode “tube gigantifier” to the Chroma+, for example. Colour modules are controlled with two knobs on the front panel. Seven Colour modules are currently available. They cost between USD 69 and 129, which makes it easy to keep a few of them around. That’s a great concept and makes for a highly customizable channel strip, which can even change its character when you need it. In addition to the standard version, which does not include any Colour modules, three pre-configured variants are also available: Tube, Comp and EQ.
Mega mono mode
In addition to stereo and dual mono, the Chroma+ offers a “Mega mono mode”. This feeds the output of the first channel into the second channel, allowing you to use two Colour modules on a signal, for example. The output of the first channel is still available through its XLR output, though, which is kinda cool and allows you to come up with all sorts of creative processing chains.
Price and availability
The Louder Than Liftoff Chroma+ is scheduled to begin shipping in January, 2020. The standard version without any Colour modules costs USD 1549. The Tube, Comp and EQ versions are USD 1649. If you pre-order until the end of 2019, the price for any version is USD 1499.