Level-Or Mk2 DUAL
JFET LIMITER & HARMONIC DISTORTION PROCESSOR
The Standard Audio Level-Or Mk2 Dual is a two channel JFET limiter and harmonic distortion processor in a single space, 19” rack. The design is based on the 500 series format Level-Or Mk2 with some additional features & functions.
The Level-Or Mk2 Dual includes all the features and improvements of the Mk2 500-series module (lower noise, bypass switch, instrument DI) PLUS a mix knob, stereo linking, and a unique Cascade Mode. The unit includes an over-designed internal power supply and a rugged, corrosion-resistant steel chassis along with an aluminum front panel.
The core of each Level-Or Mk2 Dual channel is a JFET transistor-based limiter, originally inspired by the Shure Level-Loc PA limiter. In Level mode, this section acts as an extremely high ratio limiter. In Crunch mode, this section uses (and abuses) a series of Class A discrete transistor stages to provide anything from subtle harmonic enhancement to complete destruction of the audio signal.
Those familiar with the 500 series version will notice the addition of the mix knob as well as the center Link/Cascade toggle switch. The mix knob allows the engineer to blend in the dry, un-processed input signal with the processed “Level/Crunch” signal. This allows for much more control over how aggressive or subtle the effect is through the unit.
The center Link/Cascade switch has 3 positions: S/C LINK, IND, and CASCADE. When set to IND (or independent), the two channels are separate. When set to S/C LINK, the JFET limiter sidechains are linked together, vastly improving Left/Right balance on stereo sources. This only applies when both channels are in Level mode.
When set to CASCADE, the output of Channel A is fed into the input of Channel B and the unit becomes a mono processor with both channels in series. All the controls are
still independent – it is just like you have patched the output of one Level-Or channel into the input of a second. Along with the mix control, this allows for a ton of flexibility: limit first/then distort, distort first/then limit, distort twice, limit twice.
The function of the speed switch depends on whether the unit is in Level or Crunch mode. In Level mode, the speed switch controls the release time of the limiter, with FAST, MEDIUM, or SLOW options. In Crunch mode, the speed switch controls a variable low pass filter in the audio path. This is useful to control harshness from high frequency harmonics that can be a side effect of harmonic distortion. The speed switch offers 3 low pass modes: OFF, 15kHz, and 8kHz.
The rear panel of the unit contains line-level XLR input and output connectors, a ground lift switch, and an IEC inlet plus fuse for power.
AT A GLANCE
• Dual Channel, 19” 1U format
• Same features as Level-Or Mk2 plus Mix Knob
• Limiter Sidechain Link
• Serial channel CASCADE mode
• Line Level balanced input with relay bypass
• Line Level Output capable of driving balanced 600-ohm loads
• Discrete JFET Limiter with Level and Crunch operating modes
• Instrument DI on front panel
• Universal Power Supply, 90-240VAC @ 50/60Hz
• Sturdy, corrosion resistant steel chassis
SOME RECOMMENDED USES
• Smash drum room mics to pull out room sound and add excitement (in stereo!)
• Add grit and drive to bass guitar or synth
• Blend in crunch mode with Mix knob to add extra character to vocals
• Add weight and attitude to close drum mics and acoustic instruments
• Process stereo busses directly using mix knob to dial in just the right amount of character
• Use in cascade mode on mono sources to unlock unique serial processing
THE WORD AROUND THE STUDIO
“Just wanted to let you guys know that your units can be heard on the number one and number two album in the country right now: Muse and Of Monsters and Men.”
“I love the Level-Or MK2 – It keeps everything I love about the original while lowering the noise and the additional options open up all new sounds. The new instrument DI sounds killer on synths and I love the additional release options, but most importantly it now matches my STRETCH units! It’s really awesome.”
“Just wanted to drop a line about the Level-Or. I have mostly been using it on playback at the moment, but it really has a killer tone minus all of the noise of a Level Loc and WAY more versatile.”
“Wow, I love this (Level-Or MK2) … so much cool and so little noise… Love the low pass in the crunch mode, nice for adding that “thing “to the snare while not making it too hyped. All around a great upgrade! Great job! You made something great even greater!”
“OK… so we love this thing here! (Level-Or) It’s been seeing use on snare, vocals, guitar, and room mics. It’s really improved and the fact that it is so quiet is marvelous. I must say it is amazing how useful it is because of the changes and being so quiet now. It has been crushing it on bass direct!”
“It (Level-Or) sounds great on bass, drums , piano, vocals. It basically does everything that a Level Loc would do but with so much more control and finesse, not to mention so much quieter. The quality of the audio is great. It’s simple to use and it always amuses drummers”