Retro set their sights on modernising a classic design from the golden age of recording — did they hit their target?
I’ve reviewed a number of variable-mu compressors over the years and almost always end up loving them, but considering the conceptual simplicity of the basic vari-mu design I’m often surprised about the learning curve I find myself travelling along as I explore a new variation on the theme. This was very much the case with the new offering from California-based manufacturers Retro Instruments. As I’ll discuss in more detail later, it took a little while for the penny to drop on just how this particular unit could prove itself really useful in both tracking and mixing scenarios, and, potentially, in mastering too.
The Revolver is the latest addition to Retro Instruments’ modest-sized but very highly regarded product line. I’ve previously had the pleasure of reviewing their Doublewide 500-series compressor, and other Retro products have received equally enthusiastic SOS reviews. So it’s fair to say that expectations were high when this dual-channel tube compressor turned up for its audition.
For a product called the ‘Revolver’ and pitched by Retro as “The sound of the British invasion,” it doesn’t take a huge amount of detective work to guess which era and which classic compressors might have inspired this design: the last few years have seen a number of designers doffing their caps to the...
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