500 SERIES LIMITER / DISTORTION PROCESSOR
The Standard Audio Level-Or Mk2 is a 500 Series JFET limiter inspired by the infamous Leveloc PA-limiter, providing aggressive compression and distortion.
The Standard Audio Level-Or Mk2 boasts several improvements over the original Level-Or Mk1, released in 2007. The main improvement is a 12 to 15dB lower noise-floor without sacrificing the sonics of the original. We have also added a true bypass, instrument DI, and more.
The core of the Level-Or is its two operating modes, Level and Crunch. The Level mode provides heavy compression thanks to its extreme, high-ratio JFET limiter. The Crunch mode utilizes a series of Class-A distortion stages to provide anything from subtle harmonic enhancement to complete destruction of the audio signal.
The Speed switch has also been improved; its function depends on operating mode. While in Level Mode, it offers a choice of three release times (SLOW/MEDIUM/FAST) instead of two in the original Mk1 (SLOW/FAST). In Crunch mode, it adds the ability to introduce a low pass filter into the audio path. This is useful to control harshness from high frequency harmonics that can be a side effect of distortion. The speed switch offers a choice of two low pass frequency points:15kHz in the MEDIUM position and 8kHz in the SLOW position. The low pass filter is bypassed when the Speed switch is set to FAST.
We have replaced the Mk1’s front panel ¼” Line-Input jack with one that can accept both passive instrument and line levels. Any instrument with Hi-Z pickups (like electric guitar or bass) can be plugged directly into the front panel jack. When a ¼” cable is plugged in, the unit automatically switches to DI Mode.
AT A GLANCE
• Line level balanced input with relay bypass
• Line level output stage capable of driving balanced loads as low as 600 ohms.
• Two modes of operation: Level & Crunch
• Level – Sound of unit is dominated by JFET limiter
• Crunch – Sound of unit is dominated by harmonic distortion from the discrete transistor-based, Class A amplification stages
• Level -Additional Medium release time added
• Crunch –New 15kHz and 8kHz selectable Low Pass Filter
• ¼” DI input on front panel
SOME RECOMMENDED USES
• Smash drum room mics to pull out room sound and add excitement
• Add grit and drive to bass guitar or synth
• Use in parallel to add extra character to vocals
• Add weight and attitude to close drum mics and acoustic instruments
• Use a pair to process busses directly or in parallel for more subtle effects
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”