New Gear/New Toys Review: Retro Instruments Revolver Dual Compressor

Revolver is an all-tube dual channel audio compressor based on the single-channel British-modified Altec 436C compressor from the 1950's. Like the Altec, Revolver is based on a variable-mu circuit that makes it perfect for dynamic control when recording or mixing.

I've been using Revolver here at my studio as a tracking processor for grand piano and stereo synthesizer pads when I want just a slight amount or subtle control. Just passing audio through it without any compression changes the sound for the better. When hard pressed for maximum gain reduction, I found Revolver never to "dull out" or sound distorted like many compressors.

I found all sources to sound better through Revolver. In particular, great uses are for drum overhead tracks or an entire stereo drum mix, bass guitars, vocals--especially stereo backing vocal stems were all enhanced greatly. Low level, subtle nuances in acoustic guitars usually obscured by other tracks in the mix were now easier to hear with Revolver.

I could better enjoy my drummer's creative stick work. Cymbal touches and the 'ghost notes' played on the snare were all more defined in the overhead tracks processed through Revolver.

I wanted a colorful and big, upfront sound for a funky drum loop. I just cranked up the Input gain control and readjusted the Ratio/Threshold control and Revolver changed the loop's whole personality in an instant! Further refinements in the adjustable attack and release time controls put another basic-sounding drum loop right upfront in the mix with lots of sonic personality! This is awesome sounding!

I think Revolver makes an excellent addition to any studio. It is an all-pro stereo compressor worthy of any source! It sells for $2,995 MSRP.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com