Retro Instruments STA-LEVEL

A faithful replication of the renowned Gates Sta-Level variable-mu limiter incorporates modern revisions for greater flexibility while retaining the rich, vintage sound of the original



12-Month Special Financing**

SKU: RETSTALEVEL Categories: , Brand:


Retro Sta-Level – Classic Compression for the Modern Studio

The Retro Instruments Sta-Level is a modern recreation of the 1956 Gates Sta-Level limiter, an automatic gain amplifier that was designed to keep a constant average level in program material for radio broadcast. The original Sta-Level was a crucial factor in shaping the sound of hit radio in the 1960s and was capable of highly musical and transparent compression at a normal operating range of 30dB (with an additional 10dB safety factor). Like the Gates, the Retro Sta-Level also features 40dB of near distortion-free gain reduction and improves on the original with six selectable recovery time(release)values and three modes of operation, each with a specific musical focus. These new features give you the tools and flexibility to dial in the optimal dynamics control for your specific needs.If superior bass management is your goal, or you want to glue a mix with character for days, the Retro Sta-Level is one of those rare units that improves a signal just by passing through it, and make us all looklike better engineers without breaking a sweat.

Retro Instruments Sta-Level limiter unique features:

• 6 selectable recovery (release) times
• 3 operational modes; Single for bass, Double for program material, and Triple for fast transient peaks
• The Retro Gold Edition celebrates the Gates Sta-Level’s fiftieth anniversary

Retro Instruments Sta-Level limiter in one take

• Tube balance can be instantly aligned without test equipment
• Easily obtainable 6BA6 gain reduction tubes with 6386 socket provided
• Two or more Sta-Levels can be coupled together for stereo, surround or sidechain operation
• Continuously adjustable output from -40dBm to +18dBm
• Continuously adjustablegain-reduction threshold from +24dBm to -20dBm
• XLR transformer-balanced input and output
• IEC Power Connector
• Hand-matched audiophile-grade coupling capacitors
• High-quality, custom-wound transformers
• Internal component safety cover

INSIDE THE BOX— Retro Instruments Sta-Level

Electronics, like life, is a series of compromise and tradeoffs, and nowhere is this made more obvious than in audio electronics, where dynamic range is the friend of musicians and listeners, but the enemy of playback systems. The Sta-Level was designed to provide a transparent bridge between wide dynamics and the need for smooth, even playback. To accomplish this task, the Retro Sta-Level has incorporated new features includingsix settings of recovery (release) time and three operating modes: Single, Double, and Triple. Single is super smooth for bass tracks. Double is perfect for most every source you throw at it. The Triple mode allows the Sta-Level to clamp down on fast transient waveforms while retaining stellar musicality.

To accomplish variable Mu (or tube-based) gain reduction, the Retro Sta-Level uses a pair of readily available 6BA6 tubes. However, for the vintage purists among us, the Sta-Level also has sockets for the original GE 6386 tubes (or modern reissues), which were standard on the original Gates Sta-level, as well as other legendary compressors, such as the Fairchild 660, GE Uni-Level, and CBS AudimaxI.And speaking of tubes, another unique feature of the Retro Sta-Level is that its tube balance can be instantly aligned without test equipment.

The Retro Sta-Levelhas aunique program-controlled release circuit for set-and-forget operation, andprovides density and consistency to sound sources while minimizing typical compressor sideeffects at up to 40dB of gain reduction (less than 1% @ 30dB). The program path is transformer balanced throughout to cancel control-induced distortion. Push-pull circuitry with 6V6 output stage provides wide voltage swing for gain control and line output. The result is that the Sta-Level brings a uniquely familiar intimacy, air, and warmth to your tracks.

OUTSIDE THE BOX— Retro Instruments Sta-Level

Retro features boat-anchor build quality and uses only the finest, high-quality components. The front panel hascontinuously variable input and output controls, gain reduction meter, 3-position mode switch, 6-position recovery (release) switch, and power toggle switch with red indicator light. The rear panel of the Sta-Level has balanced XLR input and output, IEC power connector, and a socket for the coveted and rare 6386 compression/input tube. Of course, like most designs from the ’50s, the transformer and tubes are mounted on the outside rear panel.

Who’s using the Retro Sta-Level:

The Retro Sta-Level can be found in the racks of Grammy-winning producers and engineers, including Sylvia Massy (Prince, Johnny Cash, Tool), Glenn Rosenstein (U2, Madonna), Joe Henry (Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt), Grammy-nominated producer-engineer, Justin Stanley (Eric Clapton, Wynton Marsalis), and multiple Latin Grammy-winner, Armando Avila (RBD, AleksSyntek).

Even the most modern studio can take a quantum leap forward in sound by going Retro. For more information on the Retro Sta-Level, call or chat with your Westlake Pro audio specialist today.

Retro Instruments Sta-Level specifications:

• Gain Reduction Threshold: Continuously adjustable from +24dBm to -20dBm
• Available Gain Reduction: 40dB
• Total System Gain: 35dB (with standard input and output pads)
• Distortion: 1 percent or less from 0-30 dB gain reduction
• Frequency Response: ± .25dB from 20-20,000 Hz
• Noise: -70dB or better referenced to gain reduction threshold
• Output Level: Continuously adjustable from -40dBm to +18dBm
• Input Impedance: Accepts low impedance active or transformer balanced 0-600 Ohms
• Output Impedance: 600 Ohm transformer balanced, terminated and resistive pad coupled
• Tube Complement: 2-6BA6, 1-12AT7, 2-6V6GT, 1-6AL5, 1-OB2, 1-5Y3GT
• Power Requirements: Three prong IEC – Switchable 115-230 VAC – 50/60 Hz
• Mounting Requirements: 3U metal rack 5.25″ high, 19″ wide, 8″ deep

Additional information

Dimensions 8 × 19 × 6 in

Don't see what you're looking for?

We carry all of the top brands for audio and post-production, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need something specific!

Westlake Pro Card

No Interest if paid in full within 12 Months**

On qualifying purchases made with your Westlake Pro credit card. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional purchase is not paid in full within 12 Months. Minimum monthly payments required.

**No interest will be charged on the promo purchase if you pay it off, in full, within the promo period. If you do not, interest will be charged on the promo purchase from the purchase date. The required minimum monthly payments may or may not pay off the promo purchase by the end of the promo period. Regular account terms apply to non-promo purchases and, after the promo period ends, to the remaining promo balance. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%. Minimum interest charge is $2. Existing cardholders: See your credit card agreement terms. Subject to credit approval.

book a consultation

Contact Westlake Pro’s Design Services Group for a free consultation about your next project.

Apply For A Lease From
All Media Capital

Insider Access to Pro Audio's hottest deals, new gear, and free software.

We hate spam. We don’t share your information with any third parties.

Sign up now!