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IzzyRock 16th March 2016 01:43 AM

Stam Audio SA-4000
Today I had the chance to use the new SA-4000 Stereo Bus Compressor from Stam Audio at the studio, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, even though they did a fantastic job with the LA-2A which I believe is identical to the original Teletronix I had my concerns based on it´s price point.

I had about 4 hours to test it so I did what I would normally do with a buss compressor, I ran some drums and mixes through it today and I can honestly say that it surpassed my expectations, the unit sounds absolutely fantastic and feels great.
Soundwise it has the glue effect just like the original SSL that we all desire but in a much more musical way than my plugins or TK Audio BC1 compressor.

I wish I could have kept this unit at my studio but it has to travel around to other studios and magazines for reviews. I will be selling my TK Audio BC1 and get one of these as soon as they are ready.

Well done Stam Audio, again.


thejook 8th October 2016 08:05 PM

This recreation of the famous SSL bus comp is amazing. Immediate glue / punch, ranging from subtle to aggressive depending on the attack / release times. Grabs a mix and 'finishes' it in a way that definitely sounds like the original unit.

I've been using the side chain input to send a copy of the mix with low end rolled off as a HPF. That preserves the ultra-low end while compressing the rest of the mix neatly.

tl;dr: this is permanently strapped on to my mixbuss from now on. Along with the amazing SA-2A, Joshua has hit another home run with the SA-4000.

P.S. there's a reason these are going second-hand in GS Classifieds for $1k - they're that good. But I'd suggest just placing an order with Joshua for under $500 rather than spending that kinda dough :)

Nacho M 9th November 2016 09:03 PM

I've recently bought the SA4000 and i can't be more happy. Fantastic unit that
is outstanding in drums, in just a few seconds of mixing, i had the best drums sounds i've ever mixed.

I've started opening old sessions and printing Drum Busses ,Vocal Busses, and some Pianos, and the impact in the mixes where HUGE. In the mixbuss is really nice too, with a 2:1 ratio, .30ms attack, and just a bit of compression it glues your mix instantly. Once you try it you realize that the plugins emulations are a freaking joke.

Buy it.

sryanlangley 14th November 2016 09:15 PM

I have to give it up to Stam Audio from Chile. Bought an audio compressor from them (SSL G4000 clone), had a minor issue with it & they didn't even flinch. Send it back & we'll get you out a new one (covered the shipping cost too). Way to stand behind your gear. Awesome! Not to mention the thing sounds really killer.
First I smashed some drums with it (awesome) then I used it on my 2 mix buss with amazing results (very nice glue). Quality build too, the knobs are solid, the meter is well lite, the push buttons are tight, it looks cool, & it's a very solid piece of gear. Did I mention it sounds KILLER?
This piece is a no brainer for any studio. Kudos to Stam Audio! rockout

tonysss13 15th November 2016 04:02 PM

I tool delivery of this yesterday and spent the evening messing about with it. I haven't used a FXG 384 but I do own the SSL x rack stereo buss compressor and the new SSL 500 series version and I was keen to see how they compare.

Well the SA 4000 doesn't disappoint, does the SSL Buss thing very well. Slamming the drum buss with a 10-1 ratio or gentle 1 or 2db reduction at 4-1 on the master buss worked a treat. It is maybe a little grittier than my other two buss compressors but in a good way. Build quality is solid as well.

I donlt need 3 SSL Buss compressors so I am selling the X Rack one and replacing it with the SA-4000, an absolute bargain.

MixingFactory 25th November 2016 03:11 AM

Stam Audio SA-4000 review
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I received my SA-4000 this morning and I spent a few hours running a few mixes and drums through it, the truth is that it does sound great and it does what it says on the tin: It sounds like an SSL bus compressor!

The sound:
Great on the mix bus and almost magic on drums. I run the SA-4000 along an original SSL bus comp (500 series) borrowed from a friend and also an instance of the Waves Audio plugin version, the Stam somehow seemed to have a little bit more body than the original SSL. Surprisingly, it wasn't very easy to tell the difference between the plugin and the Stam box, however the signal levels seemed to be very different between the two but once I set similar output levels (using my ears and the VU meters on my Neve 8816) the resemblance was striking, but again the SA-4000 seemed to be ever so slightly beefier than the plugin.

Overall a great sounding box and very quiet noise wise. I must admit that although I have mixed many times throughout the years with an original SSL compresor in the mix bus, I haven't ever used or owned any other G-Bus type clone that I could compare it to but I can say that next to an Elysya X-Pressor, also a VCA type comp of a similar price if not a little more expensive, the SA-4000 stands out again and in a much more cohesive (and gluey!) way.

The unit feels "expensive" and has a certain gravitas when you take it out of the box, probably to do with the fact that inside the unit there is a toroidal transformer that probably weighs as much as half of the overall weight of the unit! The pots are nice and smooth and the overall construction is as you would expect from a unit twice its price; nice and solid.
The one thing I didn't like is the lack of XLR ins and outs, I would have much prefer them to the balanced 1/4" TRS sockets but I can understand the need to keep the manufacturing costs down to be able to sell the unit under the $750 price tag, this is not a major issue but it would have been nice to have consistency with everything else in the studio but in the end it's just something that a couple of adapters can easily fix.

An absolute bang for the buck, you get something that looks and sounds like an SSL G bus compressor for a fraction of the price, a no brainer. I bought this unit with the idea of having an SSL'esque type of compressor for the drum bus and as an every so often alternative flavour to my Manley Vari-Mu, which is permanently stapled to the mix bus insert, but I liked it so much that I am already planning to order in January a second SA-4000 so one can permanently live inserted in the drums bus and the other can live between the mix bus and any other duties.

It has been a very, very long wait since I ordered it (back in March), it seems that Joshua has had all sorts of issues with components not being right, hurricanes and an incredibly long national strike of the Chilean public services (including the postal services) that hasn't made this purchase particularly smooth and really out of his control but it was definitely worth the wait.

Highly recommended...

TK DRUMMER 7th December 2016 09:52 AM

I used to use the ssl g buss compressor uad plug-in, i really liked on drums; I much more prefer this version of the sll compressor; analog makes all the difference, for me its like night and day, the "glue" really comes thru; it takes all these individual drum microphones and glues it together into a kit. I am quite impressed. The owner is a nice guy and really worked with me to make sure I got what i needed.

At first, I was thinkin who is this "stam" and its in chile, "is this going to be a good transaction?" well it was, and now i am a proud owner of a really kick ass compressor that quite honestly i don't know how I compressed without it...actually i do know its called ITB (in the box).

More and more plugins vs analog is becoming to me the difference between interacting with someone over a video chat on the computer or in person. I much more prefer the analog gear. I feel this compressor is a great long-term investment, that can be put to good use for many years.

Its important for me to have a hybrid studio: computer for editting but use "real" compressors and summing buss. I highly recommend this, I don't know anyway of getting this sound other than getting the plug-in (:tut:) or SSL hardware used or one of their new units costing 3-4k.

I will gladly use my <1k stam ssl compressor; its a no-brainer for me.

thanks Joshua for making a truly awesome piece i can use to craft my music.

SteoP 10th January 2017 03:16 PM

Hello folks,

I'm really happy with my new SA-4000! I'm glue dabudee dabadaa :lol:

This is a fantastic piece of gear! It works great on drums and perfectly on the mix bus.

The construction is solid and looks very nice!!

One thing I don't like is the lack of XLR I/O but at that get something that looks and sounds like an SSL!!!!!! Amazing!!

It has been a very long wait since I pre-ordered (February) but Joshua and Miguel always answered with patience and kindness, to the multitude of emails I sent, but at the end it was worth the wait. Buy It!!!

Happy customer from Italy

bs44 14th January 2017 01:29 PM

This is the biggest no brainer on the market. Their products are actually too cheap. These are not "Warm" style clones with cheap parts, these are replica units of the originals. The only slight negative is TRS connections instead of XLR's on the back but I'm well over that. Potential buyers try ordering when he has them in stock, as build/lead up times can be very stretched.
10/10 for the unit.

xandrewax 30th January 2017 07:21 AM

Tested this bad lad out on some drums and then mixes I was working on, and my goodness it IS that glue that everyone's talking about, which is so highly sought after in the SSL. But not at the price of the SSL! If you can get this, I highly recommend it. Was an absolute game changer for my mixes. Analog will always beat any plugins. And this thing is well built, and gets the job done. Can't wait to use it on literally everything.

audio911 1st February 2017 02:52 PM

I decided to purchase an SA4000 for Dirt Floor Recording Studio in Connecticut. We had been using an SSL knock off made by Vintage Audio for our buss compressor. I was a little nervous that I was putting a $100 down payment on a unit that was not built yet, was not in the USA, and could not be tested at a dealer, but I thought it was worth the gamble. The unit took about 2 months to show up. Upon opening the box, I saw that the exterior build quality was first class. I got the phillips screwdriver next and opened it up to make sure it was what I thought it was, and sure enough the guts were first class build all the way!

I believe the website said it was XLR I/O but the unit has balanced TRS. Not a big deal since it's going to sit in a rack in the studio. Well, we wired it up to the patch bay and strapped it across the stereo buss of our Toft ATB 24 and BOOM!!! There was that SSL sound! Punch all day long, lots of gain make up, and input headroom that we have not hit the top of yet! The metering is nice and easy to see across the control room. Knobs and switches are solid. Even the power switch is top quality. We have not wired up the sidechain yet because the unit is in service around the clock!

I would highly recommend this unit to anyone that may be using an SSL master buss plug-in in your DAW, or if you are mixing on a console through a lower quality stereo compressor. If you can go out of the box through this and back into your DAW again, you'll be very happy with the results!

US distribution or an authorized US repair facility would be a nice thing to have for peace of mind for the studio owner, but buying this without a demo was a gamble that has paid off big for Dirt Floor! Like I always say, Vintage gear is only as cool as the repair bill. We considered a vintage SSL 384, but decided to try the SA4000. The sound of the SA4000 is about 99% of the SSL and saving $3,000 makes it sound even better than the SSL 384!

This unit costs about $600 US, so you're losing money if you don't buy it. I'd consider any product made by STAM in the future. Nice job Joshua!!!

Steve Wytas
Dirt Floor- Recording & Production

Stam Audio

aschinoff 1st February 2017 02:56 PM

I'm trying my new SA-4000! Amazing big fat sound, my new mixes sounds like I always wanted!
Congratulations to Stam Audio for this great bus compressor. Great for Master buss and drums!
Excited for trying more stuff.
Thanks Joshua!

DorGuzman 1st February 2017 04:47 PM

After a much anticipated wait, I finally got my SA-4000 Buss Compressor.
Boy, what a product.

Might be on the soft side for time to time, but that's just the character of the compressor...

As far as pricing, it is a true bang for the buck!

HOWEVER, I'm a little disappointed with the lack of SCF knob.
It's a shame I'll have to waste another output from my converter for sending a Hi-Passed signal to tame the meters.
Some might say the original unit didn't have one, but man, this is 2017 and I think it seems only logical to put a variable SCF knob with the modern workflow.

All and all, It is a great unit.
Really excelled on guitars, vocals, mix buss & some some drum busses.

Great job STAM AUDIO.

rosso 5th February 2017 08:41 PM

For years i've mixed using an SSL 9072J using the stereo compressor for the final mix as the "magic touch", also the SSL 1U G 4000 series compressor and Smart C2.

There are many detailed reviews in here already that i agree with so i won't go into a lengthy description, all i can say is that the SA-4000 does the SSL "glue", it may have a distinctive way of doing it from the other compressors i mention here, having said this, they all have their own distinctive way in a high quality, great analog sounding way including the SA-4000.

I think it is a no brainer acquisition, as many i had my doubts as i've never bought gear from Chile but Joshua was always fast in his communication and the unit arrived perfectly and in time, i am waiting for the SA-2As to come out to grab a pair.

john1056 10th February 2017 04:46 AM

In a chance bit of synchronicity I fell in love will a demo of UAD’s SSL compressor plugin and discovered the Stam SA4000 in the same week. I love the feel of real knobs under my fingers and I was impressed by the youtube videos I found of the SA4000, so I decided to try it out rather than purchase the UAD plugin. Unboxing it looks fantastic, and the controls feel great. I racked it and tried it on drums, guitars, and across the entire mix and I have to say it really delivered. Even at low compression settings the ‘glued together’ polished sound the SSL G series is famous for just makes the buss sound better. At more aggressive settings the compression remains smooth and the controls make it so easy to dial in just what I need. This is a piece of gear that I will use on every mix. I think the last time I was wowed this much was the first time I used an LA2A on vocals. I would without reservation recommend this compressor to anyone.

rmaruani 22nd February 2017 01:05 AM

I've been using the SA-4000 for a month or so and I'm very satisfied with it ! I basically run all my tracks through it, and it does wonders ! My mix comes out sounding much more punchy and tight, it glues the whole mix perfectly, as expected. I use it on the drum buss as well, and it does a beautiful job !

I did a side by side comparison with the SSL plugin, and the Smart Research C2: the SSL show his weaknesses very early, nothing like the SA-4000 and the C2.
The SA-4000 is softer in the mid frequencies whereas the C2 is more aggressive. Then the C2 goes harder when you use more extreme settings, but I wouldn't normally use these kind of settings with a buss compressor. For the price difference, I would definitely go with the SA-4000.

The shipping delay was pretty long, I've waited four months between the order and the time I received it, but it was worth it. I'd definitely consider getting a Stam product again.

Pierrix 9th March 2017 06:50 PM

Already a lot of things has been said about this comp but I wanted to add a few words about it for my 1st review

It has been a long wait to get the Stam 4000 but it was totally worth it!!

This compressor is what I always expected from a ssl compressor, it's punchy but always smooth even with a large amount of compression. It doesn't suck the low frequencies, and it's just a perfect choice for drums bus or a mix bus.

FWIW I did had a SSL XLogic stéréo comp but didn't like it much and get rid of it (I won't sell the SA4000), the waves or even the uad plug-ins are a joke compare to the SA4000, I did use the ssl G384 here and there on differents studios and the SA4000 seems very very close. The build quality is really good, I wish it had xlr in and out, but it wouldn't be the same price.

Plus Joshua is a great guy, unfortunately when he first sent me the unit we had a Post Service issue here in France and the unit went back to Chili... Joshua sent the unit back to France a 2nd time free of charge! He responded quickly to my emails and was always nice.

Thank you Josh I couldn't be happier. Keep on the good work!!

jeb stuart 14th July 2017 08:28 AM

We all know there is a wait for these units but i'll tell ya. This guy sound great. It gets gluey with a closed attack or punchy on the adverse. Have not looked inside so I have had to use my ears. I likey. For the record I have never had a SSL and the only other stereo comp I have is the drawmer. The Drawmer 1978 is for my drum buss. Stams ssl clone is on the 2. For this price why the hell not. I do wish it had the fade function but... Thats not what this was.

bobsyouruncle 27th September 2017 06:42 PM

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Joshua and his crew are onto something here..brilliant version of this classic, sounds AMAZING and does exactly what the brochure says. I'm in for a listen to anything these guys come up with.. especially the EQ we know Joshua is thinking about.. Right Joshua???

demode_iowa 11th March 2018 11:42 AM

I definitely love this unit as Stam Audio went to great lengths in providing not only a high quality sounding clone, but also the look and feel of a classic piece.

On the face you have a sleek and luminiscent VU meter accompanied by variable knobs to adjust both the threshold and make up gain as well as stepped knobs to dial in attack/release and ratio settings. The bypass button works quite well and the added feature of the side chain input is pretty convenient to have.

So far mixing into this thing has made my mixes more together and punchier where drums are concerned. The unit handles transients pretty well and tightens up the low end like nothing else i've ever heard from it's itb counterparts. It is superb on drums, sweet on the mixbus and can be quite useful on other things such as piano, bass, guitars or any type of stereo syths. It's a fantastic unit to add as a centerpiece tool for any studio whether home or pro.

Overall I'm pretty damn happy that I got this unit and for the price it was more than worth it. Wayyyy more than just a steal! Like some other folks here I was saving up for a much higher priced clone, but this certainly caught my attention and totally exceeded my expectations. Fantastic unit! The Stam team surely delivers.

Thanks again Stam Audio!


(Feel free to check out the SA4000 in action in one of my videos here to see how it performs and compares to it's digital counterparts)

JPAudet 24th March 2018 06:17 AM

First I have to say I've never had the chance to work with an original SSL G-bus compressor.

Alike other folks have said, this unit lives up to the expectations. It really shines on drum buses and it add a "glue" effect when apply to a whole mix. Even with extreme settings, everything seems to react in a really natural and musical manner. This is why hardware is money IMO.

It's a VCA style compressor so don't expect a lot of character or tone to be add to the original sound. I don't say it's good or bad, It's just not what this type of compressor does.

On the other hand you can expect a lot of punch and loudness out of this guy. A hi-pass filter would be a great addition (on the frontpanel), but there's a side chain input (TRS) on the back of the unit that easily can fix the problem.

Otherwise, the unit feels solid, it's very classy, the knobs are top notch and the VU meter is gorgeous. Under the hood everything is neat and clean. Honestly, at this price it's a no brainer.

Personally, I don't really care if it sounds EXACTLY or not like the real thing. I'm really happy with how it sounds and how great of an addition it is to my studio. I understand why some guys crave to have the real deal in their racks, but compression for me is a subtle art and the SA-4000 has plenty to offer, more then I will probably ever need.

Besides, Joshua and his team are a small crew and they are very dedicated to make the best product. They always answered kindly and swiftly to my emails and where very professional. Don't be to harsh on them, the waiting is the hardest part like Tom petty says ;)

I will for sure do business with Stam again.

javamad 6th May 2018 08:35 PM

I have had my SA4000 for a year now. It's absolutely fab on 2-bus and drum bus. With a fast attack on anything with transients it can pull them in in a very musical way.

I have never used an SSL console but form demos and plugins you can understand what it should be doing and the SA4000 does it very well.

On the mix bus with slow attack, at 2db compression you can just play with teh threshold and bring it in so it just tickles the meter and it brings the mix together very nicely without loosing any width in the stereo field. I use this on an RND 5060 mix bus insert and when a mix is rockin' it puts out over +20 of signal. IN that case I don't even have to use the Threshold control because the signal is already triggering the compressor. That said, it handles the high signal like a champ.

I gave it 4 for the features because the HPF is external only. I know they are following the original design but so many hardware units add an internal HPF that its expected I suppose.