NAMM 2018: Retro Revolver is a vari-mu compressor for the modern age
At NAMM 2018, studio gear maker Retro Instruments presented Retro Revolver – a hardware dual compressor with a very interesting set of functionality and features. The machine started out as an experimental project way back in 2011 when a few prototype units were build and tested with select studios. Retro began by modifying the well-known Altec 436 * compressor with additional features required for tracking, mixing, and mastering. It’s now done with Revision A, and here’s what the unit has to offer:
- Fully differential, all-tube signal path
- Independent controls with stereo linking
- Continous variable input, output, attack, release, and threshold
- Dual Threshold control for control over ratio and amplifier saturation
- Illuminated VU meters and front panel meter zero controls
- 120 or 240 volt operation
- High-pass side-chain filter with selectable 6dB detector rollof at 90 or 250Hz
- A pair of XLR inputs and outputs
- And plenty more…
Price and availability
The Revolver will ship in March and will be priced at USD 2995. Pretty typical boutique gear pricing, all in all, but it’s got to be worth it for that sweet, musical tube compression! Besides, the unit certainly looks well-made and engineered.
* The Altec 436, the compressor on which the Retro Revolver is based on, is a 1950s studio classic that saw heavy use in Abbey Road during the Beatles’ reign. It’s an all-valve, vari-mu design where the amount of compression depends on the input signal level.