After 10 years of production and over 1,000 units sold, Standard Audio decided that it was time to release a new version of the Level-Or that retains the sound and vibe of the original, but includes improvements and features suggested by our customers over the years.
For those not familiar with the original Level-Or, it is an aggressive JFET limiter and harmonic distortion generator inspired by the Level- Loc PA limiter from the 60s and 70s. The Mk2 versiontakes the original concept to a new level with improved performance and added features making it an extremely versatile studio tool.
NEW AND IMPROVED CONTROLS AND FEATURES:
Lower Noise – Due to the aggressive nature of the circuit, a common issue with the
original Level-Or was the noise present in Level mode. With extensive R&D and listen testing,
we found a way to lower the noise considerably while remaining true to the tone and vibe of the original circuit. As a result the Mk2 noise floor is 12-15dB BETTER than the original Level-Or.
Mode Switch – Switches between Level, Crunch, and Bypass modes. – Bypass Mode: We have included a relay based true-bypass.
Mode Switch – Switches between Level, Crunch, and Bypass modes.
– Level Mode: Sound of the unit is dominated by an extreme JFET limiter. Use this mode to slam, squash, and pummel your audio signal.
– ï Crunch Mode: Sound of the unit is dominated by distortion generated from a series of discrete transistor based, Class A amplifier stages. Use this mode to provide subtle saturation and harmonic enhancement all the way to heavier distortion and outright destruction of your audio signal.
LED Indicator – A dual color LED serves two functions. When the unit is in Crunch mode, the LED is red and in Level mode, the LED is green. While in bypass, the LED is off. While in Crunch or Level modes, the LED will get brighter according to how much compression (Level) or THD (Crunch) is occurring. This can provide helpful feedback to the engineer.
Speed Switch – Formerly, the speed switch provides two release times (fast/slow) while in Level mode, and was un-used in Crunch mode. We have expanded to a 3 way switch and added functionality that changes, depending on mode.
Level Mode: There are now 3 release times, FAST, MED, and SLOW. The FAST and SLOW settings are the same as the original, with the added medium time constant
Crunch Mode: The speed switch now controls a 3 way low pass filter on the output. This can be very useful for reducing harsh, higher harmonics while distorting. When set to FAST, the filter is bypassed. When set to MEDIUM, the LPF is 15kHz. When set to SLOW, the LPF is 8kHz.
Instrument DI – The original Level-Or had a line input via a front panel 1/4” jack. While useful for interfacing with a drum machine or synthesizer, it was not useful for guitar, bass, or any other instrument level source. On the Level-Or Mk2, we have changed this to an instrument-level DI input.
DI MODES – The unit detects when a 1/4” jack is inserted and switches over to the DI input.
DI Bypass Mode: When the DI is used, putting the unit into Bypass mode sends the clean DI signal to the output of the unit. The unit functions as a clean DI with gain, no external amplifier required. The output control is active to adjust level as needed.
DI Crunch Mode: The DI signal is sent through the input gain stage and all controls work as normal including the filter switch.
DI Level Mode: The DI signal is sent to the limiter and all controls work as normal.
*It is possible for the user to configure the front panel 1/4” input to be configured as a line input if desired.
FULLY ENCLOSED STEEL CHASSIS –
A 100% enclosed steel chassis reduces the chance of electrical interference or noise from adjacent modules, gear, etc.
After delivering over 1,000 original Level-Or modules out into the world, the reliability
of the design has been incredible. The Level-Or Mk2 follows the same robust design approach and attention to detail