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Spectra 1964

Spectra 1964 revives the old Spectra Sonics C610 and its topsyturvy design: The FASTEST analog limiter out there that should be FIRST in the chain!

Spectra 1964 – The Complimiter Company

What does the name Spectra 1964 stand for?

If you want to buy a „Spectra“ Complimiter, you might get a bit confused. The original products were branded Spectra Sonics.

But when Bill Cheney revived the brand, there as been another company using the name: Spectrasonics are known for their audio software products. So, Bill decided to name the company Spectra 1964.

Spectra 1964 developes true to it's heritage, but does not hesitate to put the legacy designs into today's context. Of course, Spectra 1964 services all vintage Spectra Sonics equipment.

Name Spectra Sonics Spectrasonics Spectra 1964
Company Original Hardware Company Unrelated Software Company Revived Hardware Company

Founder: airplane pilot, war hero, audio equipment designer

Does that sound a bit odd? Well, it's true: William Dilley, who initiated the original company Spectra Sonics, was all of that. We in the audio industry can be thankful he did not bless another industry with his wisdom. For instance, kitchenware, irrigation, or textile industry industry. Otherwise, we would surely miss some genius designs!

The Spectra 610s are a limiter and a compressor – and a preamp

Now those are maybe two claims that might make you wonder.

• A preamp? Yes, because technically, nearly every compressor or limiter out there has an amplification stage. It makes up for the level losses due to the reduction. Make up can always be used to amplify microphones (try a 1176 or anything for that). Only the make up gain in Spectra 1964's 610s does have massive amounts of gain. The circuits used are in fact mic preamp boards.

• Threshold is not really a threshold: As the 610 being a rotation point design, there can be no threshold, as it is fixed. Threshold however sets the input level for the signal. With slope, the compression ratio can be varied between 1.1:1 and 100:1. With slope set to minimum, signal levels above the threshold will still be limited. So it's rather „limiter and compressor“ than „limiter or compressor“. It seems very comprehensible Spectra name the 610 units „Complimiter“.

The fastest analog limiter in the world.

The 610 limiter circuit features is fast – attack is at a stunning 100 ns. Yes, that is an „n“ there. So the attack time is down to one hundred nanoseconds, not microseconds. The limiter reduces peaks so fast, you won't notice. This feature alone make people buy a Spectra 1964 C610 or V610! For decades, 610s are a trusty safeguard for equipment downstream, tape machines, vinyl cutting machines and nowadays of course ADCs.

Limiters first!

„A limiter should be last in the chain – right before the ADC.“ ist complete nonsense if you listen to Bill Cheney. Or if you try on your own! There is big pro to use the limiter as soon as possible in a signal chain: Reducing peaks allows following gear to operate at much higher levels without distorting because of the peaks created by snare drums, hi-hats, even guitars and vocals! And we are talking up to 12 dB here! Putting the limiter first is also a good idea for microphones. That's right: Entering the Spectra 1964 V610, a signal sees a limiter, then the preamp with 48V phantom, followed by the compressor. Sounds weird at firste glance, but using it, you will immediately ask yourself why on earth not everybody is doing it this way.

What is the difference? – Spectra C610 vs. Spectra V610

The Spectra 1964 C610 is very close to the original 610 Complimiter design. Technically it has been improved, but all in all it is pretty much the same like the vintage unit. The V610 however is a step up the ladder of audio evolution: The Input section is equipped with phantom power to be able to handle all studio microphones. But this is by far not the only difference:




Height 2 HE 3 HE
Controls Mostly Continuous All Stepped
Tolerances Very Small Mastering Grade
Amplifier 101 110A
Phantom Power No Yes
Max Gain 54 dB 65 dB
Max Output +18 dBU +24 dBU

Furthermore, both 610 units have in common, that they use boards that can easily be removed and swapped. In case of service, it is a relief to ship a small board instead of bulky 19“ processors! If you hear „service“, don't be alarmed. The units are handmade in Utah with finest parts, omit OP-amps, are thoroughly qc'd and do not become warm at all!

Spectra 1964 goes Lunchbox: Series 500 processors

There are several Spectra 1964 modules for API's lunchbox format „Series 500“ available.

Spectra 1964 STX 100 is a discrete mic preamp module. It features highest technical specs and up to 64 dB of gain at 600 ohms.

• Spectra 1964 offer a passive equalizer called STX 500. It features +/-12 dB for the high and low band. It cannot be used stand-alone! The STX 500 needs to be piggybacked to an STX 100 and equalizes it's negative feedback signal. This means: No distortion or phase issues at all!

STX 600 is a combined preamp/Complimiter module, STX 100D is sonically closer to the early original spectras.

Spectra's little helper: DI boxes

Spectra 1964 BB-DI are passive and transformer-based DI boxes of outstanding linear response and very low distortion. The rugged, small and lightweight DIs are available in mono or stereo configuration.

Spectra 1964 at a glance

  • classic gear, faithfully recreated, modernized and exceeding today's standards
  • fastest analog limiting in the world
  • super-smart concept, flexible use from tracking to mixing and mastering
  • a real blessing for all processors downstream
  • highest quality parts and switches
  • Made in USA
  • fully discrete, very service-friendly
  • Spectra 1964 BB-DI-S Spectra 1964 BB-DI-S Spectra 1964 BB-DI-S

    Spectra 1964 BB-DI-S

    Introducing the Spectra BB-DI 2-CH: Elevate Your Instrument's Sound with Enhanced Performance and Versatility Experience enhanced sonic performance with the Spectra BB-DI 2-CH, a two-channel version...

    €479.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €402.52 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 BB-DI Spectra 1964 BB-DI

    Spectra 1964 BB-DI

    Introducing the Spectra BB-DI: Elevate Your Instrument's Sound with Unmatched Clarity and Fidelity Unlock the full potential of your instrument with the Spectra BB-DI, a passive direct box...

    €379.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €318.49 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 STX 100D

    Spectra 1964 STX 100D

    Introducing the Spectra 1964 STX 100D: Bringing the Legendary Spectra Sonics Sound to the Modern Studio Setup Experience the iconic Spectra Sonics amplifier circuit, revered for its contribution to...

    €1,269.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €1,066.39 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 STX600

    Spectra 1964 STX600

    The STX 600 is Spectra 1964’s latest effort that adds to the fifty year Complimiter history, in an affordable 500 series format. At the heart of the STX 600 resides the original,...

    €1,269.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €1,066.39 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 STX500

    Spectra 1964 STX500

    The STX 500 is the rebirth of the Model 500 2-band passive equalizer. The STX 500 has four frequency selections per band and up to 12dB of boost/cut in 2dB increments. This passive EQ...

    €949.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €797.48 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 STX100 MKII

    Spectra 1964 STX100 MKII

    The Spectra 1964 STX100 Mk2 500 Series Preamp is a compact, affordable 500 series version of the classic Spectra 101 amplifier circuit—the same discrete preamp design used in the...

    €999.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €839.50 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 C610 Comp/Limiter Spectra 1964 C610 Comp/Limiter

    Spectra 1964 C610 Comp/Limiter

    The Spectra 1964 Model C610 Complimiter is a modern spin on the V610 Complimiter. While the V610 is a near-identical recreation of the classic Model 610 Complimenter by Spectra Sonics, the...

    €2,389.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €2,007.56 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter Matched Pair Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter Matched Pair

    Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter Matched Pair

    In 1969, Spectra unveiled the Model 610 Complimiter, a revolutionary audio compressor and limiter.  At the heart of the Model 610 was the 601 Compressor/Limiter module.  This module allowed...

    €7,159.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €6,015.97 (Ex. Tax)
  • Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter

    Spectra 1964 V610 Comp/Limiter

    In 1969, Spectra unveiled the Model 610 Complimiter, a revolutionary audio compressor and limiter.  At the heart of the Model 610 was the 601 Compressor/Limiter module.  This module allowed...

    €3,579.00 (Inc. Tax)
    €3,007.56 (Ex. Tax)