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Louder Than Liftoff Announces CHROMA - Twin Tone-Amp with Analog Plugins (Colour) 500 Series Preamps
Old 21st January 2017
  #1
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BradM's Avatar
Louder Than Liftoff Announces CHROMA - Twin Tone-Amp with Analog Plugins (Colour)


It is with great excitement that Louder Than Liftoff and drBill announce Chroma - the world's first 500 series audio processor with Twin Tone-Amp™ architecture and the ability to accept real analog plugins for expanding its feature set. Answering the call for a single channel Silver Bullet, Chroma delivers with its twin topology (A or N) line processor and mic amp, but adds an exciting twist - an analog plugin slot accepting Colour Modules. This feature allows additional processing and effects to be inserted into the signal path and mixed with Chroma’s classic "A" or "N" inspired MOJO Amps..

Introductory Price: $599 (normally $749)
Early adopter discounts: Definitely! See the website for details:
  • Multiple quantity discounts
  • FREE and discounted analog plugin modules
  • Void Corp member discounts
Availability: Available for pre-order now!
Shipping: On or before 7/4/17


Chroma features the same classic American and British MOJO Amps developed for , but adapted for a single slot 500 series module. The functionality and tonal versatility of Chroma can be further expanded by installing optional analog plugin cards conforming to the Colour Module standard created by DIY Recording Equipment. Once again, the collaborative effort between Louder Than Liftoff and drBill has resulted in a truly unique and innovative feature set, unparalleled by any other 500 series processor or mic pre available.

Uses:
  • Dual mode Mic Amp – toggle between classic API or Neve inspired mic amps - no more swapping mic preamps mid-session
  • Dual mode Mix Bus / 2-bus processor (in pairs) - yielding similar MOJO and image enhancing sonics as the Silver Bullet
  • Achieve saturation, 3D widening, or audio mangling for mix elements suffering from “digititus” by re-amping
  • MOJO-powered host for your favorite analog plugins (Colour Modules)

Colour Slot:

Although perfectly ready to work without them, Chroma comes ready to accept a wide variety of fully assembled analog plugins affordably priced from $79 - $129 that may be easily installed without tools in the Colour Module slot on Chroma’s printed circuit board. Just pop your favorite Colour Module into the slot, adjust the drive (C-DRV), and blend in (C-MIX) to taste. When EQ modules are installed in Chroma, the C-MIX knob functions as a variable amount of boost and cut depending on the module.

Louder Than Liftoff offers the following analog plugins for Chroma:
  • Pentode - a subminiature tube saturator
  • Implode - the world’s smallest compressor
  • Pulse - a textured tape echo/delay
  • Rogue Tec Air - a Pultec HF shelving EQ
  • Mass Drivr (NEW) – a classic American channel in pired by API 325 Line Amplifier
  • FET Filter (NEW) - a FET buffered tone-shaper with low shelf, high pass, and mid EQ
  • Many other third party modules are also available from the DIY Recording Equipment store
Other exciting new analog plugin modules from Louder Than Liftoff are in development and will be announced in the future.

Tone Shaping:

To round out its feature set, Chroma also features switchable HF and LF EQ boosts derived from drBill’s favorite Silver Bullet settings to enhance a track or add final polish to a mix. The user can select PRESENCE or AIR, and SUB or BASS frequencies via onboard jumpers. The HF switch can be programmed to add the Silver Bullet’s VINTAGE filter as well.

Other Specs:
  • Mic or Mix/Line mode
  • 48V phantom power
  • Polarity reverse
  • Mix/Line Gain: 0 to +26 dB, +26 to +52 dB (High Gain mode)
  • Mic Gain: +8 to +34 dB, +34 to +60 dB (High Gain mode)
  • Colour Drive: -6 to +18 dB
  • Custom American made transformers
  • ROGUE FIVE discrete op amps designed by Louder Than Liftoff, conforming to standard 2520 footprint
  • Signal present indicator and bi-directional meter
  • Designed and Assembled in Silicon Valley, CA, USA.




We packed a lot of love into Chroma and are looking forward to sharing it with you all.

For more information or to pre-order, visit: https://store.louderthanliftoff.com/products/chroma

Last edited by BradM; 15th July 2017 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: updated pic and pre-order details
Old 21st January 2017
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
2Low's Avatar
 

Great Design + Features
Old 21st January 2017
  #3
wow - you definitely packed a lot in there! And nice to see the Colour plugin series expanding...
Old 21st January 2017
  #4
Great and innovative as ever

R.
Old 21st January 2017
  #5
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drBill's Avatar
Guys, been using this for a bit now. Really loving it next to the Silver Bullets.


I think you will all enjoy this one......
Old 21st January 2017
  #6
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Yes!
Old 21st January 2017
  #7
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wow holy moly!! can this do A / N / A>N / N>A like the silver bullet?
Old 21st January 2017
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Guess David Friend and Korg aren't gonna do an Arp Chroma.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #9
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Cody's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Guys, been using this for a bit now. Really loving it next to the Silver Bullets.
What colour modules do you like using with it? Seems to me the Mass Drivr would make this like a vp28!
Old 22nd January 2017
  #10
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Low View Post
Great Design + Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by oudplayer View Post
wow - you definitely packed a lot in there! And nice to see the Colour plugin series expanding...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolf Ebitsch View Post
Great and innovative as ever

R.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack View Post
Yes!

Thanks for the kind words guys. Hope you enjoy it. I am....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
wow holy moly!! can this do A / N / A>N / N>A like the silver bullet?
A = Yes
N = Yes

A>N = No
N>A = No - Kinda*** (see below)

The 500 format only has so much juice. We packed as much as we could into it. It's technically NOT a mono Silver Bullet, but it shares a lot of the Silver Bullet's DNA. And with the Analog Plugin architecture, it actually does some things a Silver Bullet doesn't do.

If you have or want a Silver Bullet, you're probably going to want a few Chroma's as well. I'm headed towards 5 Silver Bullets and 5-6 Chroma's. I dunno, maybe more. I like having that color and saturation capability on all my DAW outputs and before and after other outboard to drive and color them. My methodology is a bit extravagant, but I work fast and write / mix a lot of music quickly for TV/Film. Having all these at my fingertips on DAW inserts has changed the way I make music - for the better. And it's FUN!!!

(NOTE : On the N into A scenario you asked about - putting a Mass Drivr into the analog plugin color slot will get you into that zone. Essentially what you're doing is going from the Chroma's N mojo amp into an API 325 line amp card. The Mass Drivr is the card with the big a** transformer on it. :-))


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody View Post
What colour modules do you like using with it? Seems to me the Mass Drivr would make this like a vp28!
Yes, the Mass Drivr is cool, and it is essentially a 325 Line Amp, so yeah, I can see the similarities. Conversely, choosing the N and going into the MD can get you into the zone of the Silver Bullet N>A mode or an AML into VP28 kinda thing which I used to do a lot before we created the Silver Bullet. There are a lot of possibilities with the Colour Modules, and many more on the design board right now. Some GREAT stuff is going to be available for the format.

The proto's I was using didn't have all the color modules with them - so I was using the Chroma without plugins most of the time. The only ones I had were the Pultec HF EQs, and they are sweet, although I didn't have enough time with them to fully explore all their options. Look forward to that after NAMM and recovery from trying to get these bad boys finished.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #11
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Cody's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Having all these at my fingertips on DAW inserts has changed the way I make music - for the better.
This is where I see the awesome value in these modules. I really like the idea that I can track with the flavour that I want (with the addition of the colour plugin) and then mix through them again with very little repatching. I don't think I'd really miss the cascaded modes from the Silver Bullet because I tend to stick to one flavour for tracking... it's easier to dial in the sound without overcooking anything. The cascaded modes come in to play on the 2bus because I can get the push from the A, and euphonic blanket of the N.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #12
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Audio Child's Avatar
 

I'll wait for the void corp edition!
Old 22nd January 2017
  #13
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody View Post
This is where I see the awesome value in these modules. I really like the idea that I can track with the flavour that I want (with the addition of the colour plugin) and then mix through them again with very little repatching. I don't think I'd really miss the cascaded modes from the Silver Bullet because I tend to stick to one flavour for tracking... it's easier to dial in the sound without overcooking anything. The cascaded modes come in to play on the 2bus because I can get the push from the A, and euphonic blanket of the N.
Cool. That sounds like it will fit you well. Keep in mind that the cascading is not the ONLY thing that separates the Chroma from a Silver Bullet (there are power supply, size and current restrictions that precluded us from employing EVERYthing that's in a Silver Bullet into the Chroma, but they are firmly in the same camp sonically.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #14
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PVJesper's Avatar
Being a student, my 500-series budget is stricly limited (as in, a VP28, and a colour palette with mainly self-built modules are what i have managed to accumulate in quite a while) and I have not been able to get these or other LTL products. But LTL will get my money, sooner or later. The chop shop, the colour modules and now these. I think it all looks brilliant, and have nothing but respect for mcGowan (and in this case drBill), adding more than his fair share of innovation to an otherwise pretty conservative market.
Old 23rd January 2017
  #15
Noa
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Noa's Avatar
A home run, Brad! Geez, I'm getting two. The best of NAMM 2017, IMO
Old 23rd January 2017
  #16
could would love to hear some audio demos to see how much drive you can get out of it...
Old 23rd January 2017
  #17
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa View Post
A home run, Brad! Geez, I'm getting two. The best of NAMM 2017, IMO


Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
could would love to hear some audio demos to see how much drive you can get out of it...

I'm guessing Brad is going to want to wait until we have production models in hand, but that's up to him. When you say "drive", what are you looking for - 3D saturation / widening, or more heavy handed mangling. It's capable of both. On the mangling end, moreso than the Silver Bullet. More gain on tap.
Old 23rd January 2017
  #18
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
could would love to hear some audio demos to see how much drive you can get out of it...
Send me some audio and I'll make Bill process it for you.

The HI GAIN switch was designed for the Mic mode so that you can get upto 60 dB of gain, but it also happens to function in Mix/Line mode which allows for some stupid amounts of distortion. The Colour slot of course opens up a whole range of overdrive and saturation options depending on the module used.

Seriously, send me a clip and I'd be happy to process it for you and post it here.

Brad
Old 23rd January 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
When you say "drive", what are you looking for - 3D saturation / widening, or more heavy handed mangling.
a bit of both would be nice...by the way do you plan on having any UK dealers? edit thanks ok will look for a clip to send...
Old 23rd January 2017
  #20
Old 23rd January 2017
  #21
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
a bit of both would be nice...by the way do you plan on having any UK dealers? edit thanks ok will look for a clip to send...
Hi,

I do not plan on having any UK dealers for the foreseeable future. I ship all over the world and offer a very flexible return policy. If I had dealers I would not be able to offer my products at the prices I do or have sales on a whim. Nobody wants to pay 30-40% more for gear (ever wondered why some 500 series modules cost $1k?). If a dealer approached me and said they would accept a 10% sales commission and I just drop shipped that would be another story. For now I'd rather have relationships with the end user and save folks as much money as possible.

Brad
Old 23rd January 2017
  #22
When switching the colour plugins out, I'm guessing the 500 modules have to be removed from the lunchbox. Is there any issue with continually removing / replacing the modules from the lunchbox?
Old 23rd January 2017
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Hi,

I ship all over the world and offer a very flexible return policy.

Brad
From one's own experience.
It works superb !



R.
Old 24th January 2017
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Any chance of Chroma being offered as a DIY kit in the future? Cause that would be awesome.
Old 24th January 2017
  #25
Lives for gear
Does phantom power works in line/mix mode also? is there any jumper setting for disabling phantom power. While using in mixbuss scenario 48v switch is a very dangerous thing as if pressed by mistake it can damage converters.
Old 24th January 2017
  #26
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by amit monga View Post
Does phantom power works in line/mix mode also? is there any jumper setting for disabling phantom power. While using in mixbuss scenario 48v switch is a very dangerous thing as if pressed by mistake it can damage converters.
No fear. We're out in front of it. Even if the 48v switch is depressed, when switching from Mic to Mix/Line, 48v is disabled. No worries about frying anything that is not happy with 48v.
Old 24th January 2017
  #27
Rea
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Id love a 24 channel Transformer/OpAmp (like the Mass Drvr) front end for my SSL AWS900 which is incredibly clean and huge sounding but lacks character.

If i could get the AWS to sound a little more like an Electrodyne or API ill have best of all worlds...

I wonder if a 24 channel box can be designed for less dough then buying 24 full 500 modules....

A 3 or 4U perhaps that can house 24 cards with simple I/O pots...?
Old 24th January 2017
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Em Dash's Avatar
 

Dear Brad,

You're killing me. January isn't even over, and I'm already having to modify my planned purchases and budget for gear in 2017.

I'm in the middle of working out the most useful Colour modules to stuff into a Palette with the Rogue-Tec Air to make a little "Colour EQ" for my desk, and I went to the LTL site to price-check the Pentode (cause I think I need another one)... And I saw this thing in the "products" section.

If you keep going at this pace, it may only be a few years before my entire studio is silver and white with pink knob accents.

Love,
Em
Old 24th January 2017
  #29
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Id love a 24 channel Transformer/OpAmp (like the Mass Drvr) front end for my SSL AWS900 which is incredibly clean and huge sounding but lacks character.

If i could get the AWS to sound a little more like an Electrodyne or API ill have best of all worlds...

I wonder if a 24 channel box can be designed for less dough then buying 24 full 500 modules....

A 3 or 4U perhaps that can house 24 cards with simple I/O pots...?
Rea - I get where you're coming from. First, I'd try a silver bullet on the 2mix insert point. Brad has a very generous return policy that would easily allow you to live with it for awhile.

I think that might get you 90% + of the way there. That's one of the main uses for the Silver Bullet - Brad and I both have uber transparent consoles (D&R's) that we wanted to juice up a bit. The Silver Bullet is the right tool for that being a stereo box, and it's a way cheaper solution than what you are envisioning.

I think there's a guy with a Neve V series that's running a Silver Bullet on his mix bus inserts. I know it's not an 80 series, but it might be something other than a V, but he wanted more mojo - and got it.
Old 24th January 2017
  #30
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
Hi all,

Thanks for all the great questions, guys. Let me see if I can answer some of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mozumbo View Post
When switching the colour plugins out, I'm guessing the 500 modules have to be removed from the lunchbox. Is there any issue with continually removing / replacing the modules from the lunchbox?
That is correct, you have to remove the 500 series module. It's not really an issue. I swap modules in my 500 racks all the time. You can even install thumb screws to facilitate this so you don't have to get out a screwdriver each time. The production units will have gold fingers on the card edge (just like my Chop Shop) to allow the unit to have a long life of being removed and re-inserted without issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolf Ebitsch View Post
From one's own experience.
It works superb !
Hi Rolf! Thanks for chiming in. Hope your Silver Bullet is still treating you well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer Horse View Post
Any chance of Chroma being offered as a DIY kit in the future? Cause that would be awesome.
That's a solid "nope". While I'm a big fan of DIY (it's how I got started in all this gear making), offering kits doesn't fit into my business model. Really it comes down to me being such an anal control freak and wanting every user to have exactly the same experience when they unbox and use my products. The only way I can ensure that with a high degree of certainty is if I'm controlling the production and testing. Also, Chroma is super jam packed with hundreds of surface mount components, many of which are hidden underneath the switch/LED board you see in the photos. I don't know about you, but I go crazy after I hand solder about 10 SMT parts. So trust me, a DIY Chroma would really not be awesome. It would be masochistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit monga View Post
Does phantom power works in line/mix mode also? is there any jumper setting for disabling phantom power. While using in mixbuss scenario 48v switch is a very dangerous thing as if pressed by mistake it can damage converters.
While the user always has some responsibility to pay attention to what they are plugging into a unit featuring phantom power, I have taken some measures to mitigate the risk. On the 500 series racks there is only one XLR input, so any product that has a Mic and Line mode requires the same care. As Bill mentioned, the circuit has been designed so that the 48V is only applied when both the MIC and 48V switch is engaged. If you disengage MIC then phantom power will be disconnected even if 48V is still depressed. I have also included circuitry that slowly ramps up and ramps down phantom power so that pops are minimized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Id love a 24 channel Transformer/OpAmp (like the Mass Drvr) front end for my SSL AWS900 which is incredibly clean and huge sounding but lacks character.
Rea, I think Bill's recommendation is a very appropriate one and I would second it. While it's certainly possible to build a box like you are describing, I don't think I'd do a 24 channel version. If I were to do something like that I'd do an 8 channel version, which I think would be more universally appealing. And I wouldn't just limit it to one sound. Maybe you get where I'm going with this...

Brad
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