500 Series Effect Processors
Up until now, on our website we covered the most important points of the 500 series game and what are the most important modules that you can get your hands on. We have a full guide on the chassis – the basic and most important unit where you are going to slot your modules.
After that, we covered the 500 series preamps, compressors, and equalizers. With that already being up, what is left are various effect processors that we cannot fit in separate sections, but we are going to place them under one roof – effect processors.
Besides getting the basics, these modules are also pretty important because they also bring the analog flare to the signals you will be processing and there are some really cool gems between those modules.
In this article, we are going to cover what’s left from the 500 series modules and we are going to provide a brief review for each one of them that we are going to mention here.
We just want to let you know that we’ll list these best 500 series effect processor reviews in no particular order. They’ll be randomized as we don’t wish to sort them from best to worst.
Listed below are our Top 15 Best 500 Series Effect Processors for 2023:
1. Rupert Neve Designs 542 500 Series Tape Emulator
As a 500 Series follow-up to the Portico 5042, the 542 delivers the identical thick, musical simulation of tape whereas drastically enhancing artistic control through various new options.
Along with the the “true tape” circuitry – nice for bringing out Third-order harmonics – the 542 incorporates a soft-clip circuit that tames the harshest sources and enhances 2nd-order harmonics, a variable and versatile Silk/Texture circuit for 3 transformer tones in a single, and a wet/dry management to mix in the good quantity of saturation.
The Portico 542’s “True Tape” emulation circuit offers the nostalgic rounding and compression normally only achieved by way of tape, and may offset the harshness usually present in digital recordings. Not like digital emulations, the “True Tape” drive circuit works by feeding a tiny magnetic “record head”, which in turn is coupled to an accurately equalized, replay amplifier.
As the voltage rises on the “record head”, saturation will increase, and a delicate clip circuit engages at greater ranges to round off peak transients. The sound of the tape circuit could be additionally modified with selectable 15/30 IPS modes and a pre/post-tape mix management.
Along with the tape circuit, the 542 additionally has the variable Silk & Texture circuitry found within the Portico II sequence of modules, which permits the engineer to fine-tune the harmonic ratio and tonality on the output transformer.
2. SPL BIG 500 Series Stereo Image Processor
German developer SPL has introduced an expansion to their collection 500 product portfolio with BiG – a double-slot module for stereo stage processing. Based on SPL, BiG enlarges the stereo image in a brand new method and opens up new artistic methods of sound-shaping with simply three intuitive controls:
- Range Management selects the frequency range to be processed
- Stage Management strikes the frequency range backward and forwards on the stereo stage
- BIGNESS Management adjusts the depth of the processing
One other spotlight is the BASS operation, which many customers already know from the SPL IRON Mastering Compressor. This bass enhancement is created by a passive filter, which is applied in the same circuit to the AirBass operation of the IRON.
Additionally with BiG, SPL developed not only according to plan but in addition by ear. All elements are put in on the circuit boards utilizing Through-hole expertise, in order that the best-sounding elements can be used. Like all SPL gadgets, BiG is manufactured in the firm’s own manufacturing facility in Niederkrüchten on the Lower Rhine, Germany.
3. elysia karacter 500 Series Saturation/Distortion
The karacter 500 is a box filled with vibrant colors. It covers a whole spectrum including mastering-grade saturation, tube-inspired distortion, and wonderful destruction. Gone are the times when only racks filled with outboard gear may achieve these elusive and extremely fascinating types of tonal coloration.
The whole unit is designed with discrete class-A topology, so even probably the most lo-fi sounds will profit from the karacter’s high-end contact. Improve your tracks or decimate every part – It’s a matter of karacter.
The karacter 500 affords two individual channels that can be utilized in dual mono, linked stereo, and Mid/Side configurations, making it a fantastically versatile device for any studio or live scenario possible.
Its distinctive Color filter network permits for refined or excessive harmonics-frequency relation tweaks, whereas the built-in Mix management for parallel signal processing helps to dial in simply the correct amount of enhancement or grit. Stepped potentiometers guarantee quick and exact recall of earlier settings.
The elysia karacter 500 is a device for bending sound. You’ll even have to use it to completely perceive the sensible implications of what it may well do. Believe us: you simply have to listen to it for yourself.
4. Little Labs VOG 500 Series Analog Bass Resonance Processor
The Little Labs VOG analog bass resonance device is a creation from Little Labs, and is Little Labs first entry within the fashionable API 500-Series module format.
The VOG was initially designed to seize the chest resonance of vocalists or voice-over artists, enabling them to nonetheless have a proximity kind effect without having to be so near the mic, therefore the name, VOG, or Voice of God. Nevertheless, after we heard it on kick drum and bass, it turned clear this could be the go-to gadget to make these devices sound big.
The VOG lets customers sweep a sharp peak resonance from 20 to 300 Hz, while something under the peak is rolled off at a steep -24dB per octave. This lets customers concentrate on the low end they need while eliminating low-end mush and pointless woofer excursion.
A subharmonic may be the main target, the basic, or the higher harmonics. On a kick drum, for instance, the general impact of turning the VOGs frequency knob feels like somebody is tightening or loosening the drumhead. In a mix, VOG permits customers to put the bass spectrum instruments so they don’t intrude or get in the way of one another.
5. Radial TankDriver 500 Series Reverb
With the Radial Engineering Tank Driver, you’ll be able to take any balanced line stage signal or prerecorded track and play it via your favorite spring reverb. Consider it like a Reamp system for the reverb tank in your amplifier, permitting you to send vocals, drums, or any audio materials through any spring reverb for a completely new palette of sonic choices.
The design begins with a transformer-coupled output driver with regular and high settings for brand new and outdated spring reverbs alike. Separate drive and return controls enable signal optimization to maximize signal to noise. To further tailor the tone, the Tank Driver is provided with two-tone controls that allow you to alter the high end (shimmer) in addition to low-frequency content material (boom).
In case you have an old amplifier that isn’t working, you’ll be able to pull the spring reverb out of the box and set it on a desk. Connecting to and from the spring reverb and the Tank Driver is straightforward and most spring reverbs are clearly marked with input and output.
For much more fun, take a pre-recorded stereo track and send it by means of two Tank Drivers. This retains the total stereo effect and allows you to alter the reverb tank to create distinctive spatial effects. Try it on a drum track after which mix it in – it is wild!
6. Neve RMX16 500-series Digital Reverb
The AMS RMX16 500 Series Digital Reverb module was launched at the 2020 Winter NAMM Show and is a way more compact unit that matches into simply three slots of the favored API “Lunchbox” racks. Apart from the original, and by now acquainted 9 programs, the brand new RMX comes with 9 extra rigorously chosen from the Remote Terminal’s assortment, for 18 total.
The brand new RMX uses 24-bit, 48 kHz sample-rate audio and 32-bit DSP processing for over 100 dB of dynamic vary and +22 dBu of headroom. The A/D and D/A converters and authentic hardware input/output efficiency specs have been modeled to sound the same as the unique hardware.
The factory presets embrace numerous Room, Hall, and Plate reverbs as you’d count on, together with Echo, Delay, and Chorus effect settings. Aficionados of huge 1980s snare drum sounds will instantly acknowledge the sound of the Nonlin setting, which supplies a brief blast of reverb with an abrupt cut-off, fairly like a gated reverb effect.
Reverse reverb can be available, as is a particular Freeze setting, which might sound much more difficult than it’s if we tried an explanation here. One of many nice things about this unit is its intuitive model of operation. Choosing fundamental presets is extremely easy and tailoring them to suit particular needs takes next to no time to grasp.
7. Drawmer DS101 500 Series Noise Gate
The DS101 is the primary noise gate designed particularly for the 500 Series rack system and takes its place alongside the Drawmer family of industry-standard Noise Gates, such as the DS201, DS501, and DS404. Anybody accustomed to these models will instantly be at home with the DS101.
Based mostly on a single-channel of the DS201 the DS101 is a noise gate that has a variety of features made by Drawmer, that are important to the sound engineer, equivalent to variable high and lowpass filters for “frequency conscious gating.”
Different options embody complete envelope management, attack, hold, decay, and range, plus a complete host of different options, all including as much as one superb processor.
When positioned side by side in a 500 series rack two or more gates could be linked utilizing the brand new infrared triggering mechanism employed on the DS101. This means that any variety of gates could be linked with every having their very own envelope shaping while the set off pulse passes unchanged, this opens up a complete world of “envelope follower” effects restricted only by your creativeness.
The unit could be switched to simply accept a key input, which permits the gate to be triggered externally. An instance of this is able to be to make use of a snare drum signal to open the gate on a separate ambient microphone to create a pure alternative to gated reverb.
8. Meris Hedra 500 Series 3-Voice Rhythmic Pitch Shifter
Add large transferring harmonies to your guitars, keys, vocals, and extra with the Meris Hedra 500 Series rhythmic pitch shifter. Layer three impartial voices beneath your authentic signal and set them to a number of intervals starting from two octaves down to two octaves up, with the power to set the key and scale.
With Hedra’s glide control, you may simply transfer from trendy hard-tuned-style pitch shifting to extra natural actions between notes. And, Micro Tune management creates synth-like detuned effects to fatten or warp your sign. Moreover, Hedra’s 4 delay configurations serve up advanced echoes and slapback effects for producing deeply textured harmonies.
Musicians of every type have gravitated to Hedra. For solo singers/songwriters, it brings dimensionality to vocal efficiency. Synthesists like it as an inventive engine for taking their patches to the next stage. Even those that play strings and horns are utilizing Hedra to add experimental parts to their playing. A really cutting-edge pitch shifter, there’s nothing fairly just like the Meris Hedra.
This streamlined interface grants access to a number of creativity-inspiring options and controls. Choose delay intervals for every of Hedra’s three voices for cascading pitched delays. Use the half-speed and auto-swell capabilities for morphing, and tidal wave effects. With Hedra, you will have a whole musical ensemble at your disposal!
9. Radial EXTC 500 Series Guitar Effects Interface
Guitar effects on vocals, drums, and extra? Sure, it’s been achieved. However not like this. The Radial EXTC guitar effects interface helps you to simply incorporate the pedals you need, whereas sustaining the utmost sound high quality. Wah on vocals or tremolo on strings? The EXTC makes it happen, opening up inventive potentialities while conserving sound quality central, all within the handy 500 Series format.
With the Radial EXTC, you’ll be able to simply tap into the wild world of effects pedals at any section of the recording process, whereas sustaining the signal high quality your professional recording rig calls for. Simply connect a line-level audio signal, then let the EXTC work its thing.
The EXTC will convert to a hi-Z signal, so you’ll be able to patch in any stompboxes you need through 1/4″ send and obtain connectors on the front panel. Send and Receive knobs are there for setting ranges, whereas blend management helps you to attain just the correct quantity of the effect.
Radial constructed the EXTC with signal integrity mainly in mind, opening up the doorways to inventive stompbox use past simply lo-fi applications. The EXTC contains Radial’s award-winning, totally discrete Class A guitar buffering in addition to transformer isolation to eradicate ground loop buzz and hum.
There’s additionally a 180 degrees polarity reverse to maintain your effects and balanced signals in phase. The EXTC is one other high-quality instance of Radial at its best, able to go in any 500 Series suitable rack.
10. Heritage Audio BT-500 v2 500 Series Bluetooth Streaming Module
The Heritage Audio BT-500 V2.0 frees you from these dreaded mini-jacks and supplies a professional answer to the everyday drawback of streaming audio in a studio surrounding. What has grown to be an increasingly more frequent practice within the trendy studio now has a fast and trouble-free answer.
Providing coverage of over 100 meters you will by no means come up short with the BT-500 V2.0. Now there isn’t any excuse to not do a fast reference check together with your favorite audio from Spotify, YouTube, or Apple’s iTunes Store. Need to rapidly access a file from an email? No drawback!
Received over Bluetooth your audio seems on totally differential Burr Brown balanced outputs providing you with +24 dBu able to drive a load of 600 Ohms. What that means is that you will have sufficient high quality to do direct-level comparisons whereas mastering or mixing. There has merely never been something like this before. Offered in the handy 500 series format to make it accessible to everybody at a really accessible price.
Whether or not you are utilizing a cell phone, a tablet, a watch phone, or no matter you could be sure that the BT-500 V2.0 will detect the best choice accessible for seamless integration. It actually has never been simpler to access your iOS or Android gadget when wanted in the studio.
On top of all that you just additionally get one classy-looking piece with the BT-500 V2.0. A pure and uncluttered design keeps things easy whereas additionally being engaging.
11. Meris Ottobit 500 Series Bitcrusher
Designed and manufactured within the USA, this 500 series module is just a little on the quirky side and is able to take your sound to places you most likely never even thought of.
The Meris Ottobit bitcrusher takes the sound of classic gaming consoles and expands it right into a multifaceted 500 Series module for superior sonic manipulation. The core of the Ottobit is its variable sample rate and bitcrushing controls, which let you add a dose of down-sampled grit or devolve a signal into sputtering, mangled nonsense.
However, Meris pushes the boundaries of typical bitcrushers, with LFO modifiers and ring modulation. Geared up with easy controls, Ottobit is simple to use out of the box, but it invitations deep exploration and yields a slew of effects, together with rhythmic tremolo, wild filter modulations, and extra.
The Meris Ottobit 500 Series module has a novel set of options distinguishing it from the pedal model, together with an LFO, for modulating the sample rate and a hoop modulator. You’ll be able to sync the LFO to a tapped tempo and alter the depth of the effect.
And the ring modulator features mix management for balancing amplitude and frequency modulation, for dynamic tremolo and vibrato effects. Both the LFO and ring mod boasts selectable waveforms, permitting you to experiment with completely different textures and discover limitless new sounds.
12. dbx 510 500 Series Subharmonic Synthesizer
For many years, dbx’s patented Subharmonic Synthesis has rattled foundations enhancing the bass in quite a lot of professional purposes together with nightclub and DJ mixing, theatre and movie sound, music recording, live music performance, and broadcasting. dbx’s Subharmonic Synthesis process really produces a brand new, waveform modeled bass note, precisely an octave under the bass in the unique audio.
The dbx 510 500-Series Sub Harmonic Synth answers the call of audio professionals in all places delivering Subharmonic Synthesis within the handy design of a 500 Series module. The dbx 510s two separate bands of subharmonic synthesis present the very best mixture of smoothness and management, whereas the independent low-frequency boost circuit is designed to get probably the most out of high-performance, low-frequency speaker methods.
Whereas an EQ can only improve bass frequencies that might be already present in your audio tracks, the dbx 510 subharmonic synthesizer 500 series module generates a rock-solid low end an octave lower than the unique audio you run through it. Electronic musicians and DJs know the ability of subharmonic synthesis, including unbelievable bass punch and energy without affecting your mids and highs.
From adding weight to kick drums to beefing up synth lines, you’ll dominate any subwoofer with the dbx 510 subharmonic synthesizer module in your 500 sequence rack. Not like different attempts at bass synthesis, the dbx process produces musical low frequencies that don’t intervene with mid and high-band info, even when the utmost synthesis and boost are utilized. The result’s a low-end punch that people actually feel!
13. Meris Mercury7 500 Series Reverb
The Mercury7 module occupies one rack slot, and its substantial faceplate is painted an excellent shade of blue. That is an ‘open’ style module, with the top surface of the primary PCB uncovered and the rear protected by a full-length metallic backing plate. Named for the unique group of American astronauts, the Mercury7 is a space-traveling reverberator that options handcrafted algorithms and intensive modulation capabilities, for swirling, ethereal, and evocative reverbs.
Multiple Mercury7 modules might be linked collectively for stereo or encompass working to generate huge and spacious soundscapes. When linked together, usually the left-hand unit acts as the master and the right-hand slave module follows the settings established on the master routinely.
Audio high quality is assured via using a Burr Brown INA137 balanced line receiver and DRV135 balanced line driver for the rack’s rear-panel line-level XLR connectors, and the digital conversion is thru a 24-bit AKM AK4621EF converter which claims a dynamic vary of about 116dB.
The Mercury7 boasts high- and low-frequency dampening to regulate its tonal traits and a superior auto-swell operation for epic ambient crescendos. So as to add harmonic complexity to the wet signal, Mercury7 affords a Pitch Vector management with a number of intervals, together with a slight pitch up and down, 5th up, octave up and down, and shimmer.
Like all Meris effects, the Mercury7 has a deep function set, accessible through a press-and-hold Alt management, permitting you to tweak parameters akin to pre-delay, modulation, vibrato speed and depth, and attack time for the swell operation, and mix management for the pitch-shifted reflections.
14. Radial X-Amp 500 Series Re-amping Distro Module
The Radial X-Amp is a 500 series module that permits you to take a pre-recorded guitar track and send it again to amplifiers and effects in an effort to tailor the sound to suit. The benefits of Reamping are many: when recording, the guitarist need only focus on the efficiency. Understanding particular sounds and optimum mic placement might be finished later. This eliminates hours of tiresome repetition whereas permitting the producer to regulate the character of the track as the production evolves.
Utilizing the X-Amp is ‘plug and play’ straightforward to use. The design starts with an XLR balanced line level input placed on the 500 series rear panel that feeds the X-Amp. To make sure the very highest constancy, 100% discrete class-A circuitry is employed.
The X-Amp unbalances and buffers the pre-recorded signal the place it then feeds two transformer isolated hi-Z guitar degree outputs. The 1/4″ jacks are mounted in front for desk-top comfort and outfitted with ground spots to help get rid of the hum and buzz brought on by floor loops. Impartial level controls allow you to regulate the drive going to every amp for optimum tone. If one of many amps is out of phase, depressing the 180º rapidly brings each in line.
The X-Amp converts the line-level signal to proper pedal/guitar amp input impedance, so you’ll be able to record guitars or different instruments direct after which dial in that good amp sound later! The X-Amp contains two Class A transformer-isolated outputs that allow you to drive up to 50′ of hi-Z cable.
15. Fredenstein F605 500 Series Headphone Amplifier
The Fredenstein F605 is a high-efficiency professional headphone amplifier, providing an effective headphone volume management for live or studio purposes together with a Fredenstein Bento rack. The Bento racks present two inputs per slot so stereo modules are possible.
The Fredenstein F605 500-Series Headphone Amp options 5 toggle switches to offer convenient monitor modes. The highest switch merely swaps Left and Right. The next two toggles choose Left or Right and present them as mono to the phones. You usually use these to match two mono sources. The bottom two switches merely reverse the polarity (phase) of each of the outputs.
These switches are most helpful for vocalists, where there could also be some phase change between the voice heard by bone conduction and your complete recording path of microphone, pre-amp, processing, and presumably converters.
The Fredenstein F605 options balanced inputs, prolonged signal manipulation, and a low output impedance to attach headphones from 20 Ohms to 600 Ohms. It’s an uncommon module in comparison with typical 500 series choices, however, it’s remarkably helpful in real-world everyday use. How many times have you ever needed a pair of phones on the outboard rack or a pair dedicated to monitoring one factor or a separate feed for the producer or talent?
As we explained at the beginning of this article, we mixed what we thought are the 500 series modules that are used for various practices and points. These 500 series effect processors will surely improve the sound if you have use for them since they are developed by brands that are recognizable for their work.
In case you want to try them out, head over to the respective websites that are selling them and check if you have a try-out option. Also, if you have any questions for any of those modules, please let us know in the comment section and we will try to answer!