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Retro Sta Level - User review - Gearspace.com
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Retro Sta Level
4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews


15th November 2007

Retro Instruments Sta-Level by syra

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Retro Sta Level

A couple days ago my dealer sent me a Retro Sta level to try. My expectations weren't extremely high because although everyone is pleased with what they do, the people with the vintage units seem to think 2K for these is a complete rip-off (since they got theirs for 300 bucks 5 yrs ago...)

I was right in the middle of a mix so I thought "good timing"... at the time I was using a TSL3 on the lead together with an LA2A in parallel for the verses. So I plug it in and start playing around... ... ... ...I'm thinking is this thing broken? ... ... cause
a) the meter says 20db of reduction but I can't hear any artifacts...
b) The sound is very open (not the vintage darkish sound I was expecting...especially with 20+ db of reduction!)
c) The sound is very even...not at all those super thick low-mids some people have been complaining about

8 seconds later I realize this thing IS on! ...wow.

First of all it sounds nothing like an LA2A, TSL3, EAR 660, TG1, Phoenix or any of the usual suspects (1176s, Distressors, Tubetechs...) ...its the most transparent compressor I have ever heard...and I mean compression-wise. It definitely has a color...big, open with balanced mids and tight lows. I used it on vocals, bass, electric and acoustic guitar and drums (both hits and buss parallel). Besides drums it made everything else 100 times better! Especially vocals and guitars...amazing. On 2 different basses I tried it on I preferred the 660 but it held its own.

So what makes this compressor so special? IMO its the best example of what compression is. Just keep turning the input mode clockwise and hear how this device eliminates any dynamic range while still sounding as open and big as before! None of my other units can do that. And for that alone, considering the price of the compressors mentioned above, its worth every penny of the 2K.

Now if only I had another one...or two

  • 3
25th March 2014

Retro Instruments Sta-Level by fcm creative

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Retro Sta Level

The Retro Instruments Sta-level rocks! When I use it to mix my lead vocal track it makes it shine like nothing out there. The Sta-level adds texture and size much like my vintage Gates and is a great compliment to my rare mix arsinal. Retro has recreated a new classic for sure!

2 days ago

Retro Instruments Sta-Level by seawell

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Retro Sta Level

You may think seeing 30-40db on a gain reduction meter is an area you'd never want to wander into but that's not the case with a Retro Sta Level. Some of my favorite vocals I've recorded with a Retro Sta Level were very dynamic singers that could hit 30db of gain reduction without any negative compression artifacts. It's also a monster on bass. I like just tickling the meter on acoustic to give it some weight.

If you're in the market for a special vocal or bass compressor in particular then this should definitely be on your list to check out. I put together a video with a bunch of audio samples you can check out here:

 

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