Retro Doublewide 500-Series Tube Compressor


Single channel tube compressor inspired by the Gates Sta-Level. Optimally designed for bass and vocals, but performs remarkably well on many other studio sources. This is a compressor that’s tough to over push!

What we think:

The Retro Doublewide is one of the first 500-series compressors I’ve heard that is nearly impossible to “push too hard” with. What exactly does this mean for you? Due to its impeccably well-designed circuitry, inspired by the Gates Sta-Level (variable mu design), the Doublewide is able to adapt to and control an incredibly dynamic vocal/bass/guitar/keyboard/what-have-you without the typical gasping or unpleasant pumping associated with over-compressing. To add even MORE versatility on top of this already flexible tube compression circuit, independent Attack and Release controls are available to custom tailor the movement and transient control over your compression. 
In short, this is a vari-mu style 500-series compressor that behaves and sounds just as powerful, opulent, and flexible as a $2,000 19” unit. Everytime I use the Doublewide, I’m amazed at both how little time it takes to dial it in, and by how well it handles wide swings in dynamics on virtually any type of source material. 

Manufacturer Description:

The Retro Doublewide is a tube compressor module designed from the ground up for the 500 series. It's authentic Retro compression for the masses. The Doublewide delivers the tube compression sound you expect because it has four actual variable-mu tubes under the hood.  While not precisely like any other tube compressor, the Doublewide methodology takes after the Sta-Level. As such, it excels at processing delicate sources like bass and vocals.  It's all Retro and is built with the same quality components in our U.S. shop alongside our other products.

The tubes and transformers in a fully complementary push-pull topology deliver sonic characteristics typical of a full sized tube compressor. The Doublewide incorporates four NOS 6BJ6 variable-mu tubes in two gain stages as well as two high-quality Cinemag transformers.  Input and output are fully floating and transformer balanced for use with line level signals.  A hard-wire bypass switch allows for quick evaluation of the compression signature.  Compression attack and recovery times are continuously variable.  Like the Sta-Level and 176, the Doublewide has two timing characteristic modes; Single and Double. Double mode provides a dynamic program-controlled attack and recovery timing.  With these two modes, the Doublewide is versatile in the studio, with full control of weight and punch versus transparency.

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.


  • 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.

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