In the continuing effort to faithfully recreate classic Motown audio products for today’s recording studios, Acme Audio is proud to announce the highly anticipated release of our Motown EQ. An absolute legend among audio engineers and producers, only 48 of the original Motown EQs were ever produced – and it’s considered one of Chief Engineer Mike McLean’s pinnacle achievements at Motown Studios. With its transformer balance audio path and gain makeup amplifier section, this 7-band graphic equalizer was a vast improvement to the products that were commercially available in the Motown era. Acme Audio had the honor of spending several weeks with the late Mike McLean reverse engineering an original Motown EQ and had his ongoing guidance to faithfully recreate and reintroduce this classic piece of equipment to the recording world. No components were compromised in this reproduction… every inductor, capacitor, and transformer was either sourced from original manufacturers or painstakingly recreated to match the performance and sonic quality of the original Motown EQ. In essence, this is the closest you will ever come to owning this essential piece of recording history.
The year is 1966. Deep in the heart and soul of Detroit, a young, ambitious chief Motown engineer is tasked by legendary producer Berry Gordy to design a better way to record multiple guitar and bass instruments at once, with minimal bleed and no isolation. His solution: the 5-channel Motown input box – dubbed the “Motown guitar amp” by its creator. James Jamerson’s magnificent performances, as well as Dennis Coffey, Bob Babbit, Robert White, Joe Messina and many more, were captured through this circuit from 1966 to 1972, and now, the MTP-66 Motown Tube Preamp is available now from all our dealers.
Newest in the series of Acme Audio Manufacturing’s line of faithful recreations of legendary Motown gear, this single-channel lunchbox preamp has been exactingly reborn using the original 1966 engineering schematics, and features an all-tube signal path, with hand selected tubes that drive a Cinamag output transformer. Besides being an instrument-to-line-level all-tube preamp, Acme Audio has added a microphone amp section that is also based on Motown Engineering’s original designs, featuring a fixed gain pentode with the Acme Audio/Triad input transformer. Other key features include adjustable input and output controls (not made available on the original,) giving you the ability to adjust your sound to the desired amount of drive and compression.
During Motown’s heyday, a major technical component of “The Detroit Sound’ was the direct input box (DI). Designed by a young Motown audio engineer in the early 1960s, the musicians plugged straight in and achieved a distinct, colorful distortion that would become recognizable all over the world. The DI box was adopted by such Motown greats as James Jamerson Sr., Dennis Coffey and Bob Babbitt, who defined the sound of a generation with their soulful playing and crisply captured notes.
Recreated by Acme Audio, the new Motown D.I. WB-3 brings the exact character as the original DI box. Modern updates include the improved variable attenuated for high-level input and the custom-made, rugged steel case (the original DIs were built in Aluminum boxes). Owners of the Motown DI will find that it increases sound quality in a marginal acoustic environment, for the cleanest, purest sound source possible.
The Opticom XLA-3 is an all-tube optical limiter inspired by the classic Teletronix LA2A. Loving the la2a’s smooth natural compression characteristics but seeking to improve upon its single compression speed inspired us to develop the XLA-3. The heart of the XLA-3 is a unique triple optoelectronic circuit that combines the best characteristics of 3 separate compression curves into a single unit. The result: a high-speed optical limiter with tones that range from ‘clean’ to ‘harmonically rich’ to ‘dirty.’
The Acme Opticom XLA-3 is a powerful and flexible optical compressor with glorious tube-powered, triple optoelectric, cold-rolled steel covered military-grade componentry. Slap it across the drum buss for solid and seamless LA-2A styled leveling. Force vocals through the input to add grit and attitude to a wimpy take. Use Amp mode to add harmonic color to a guitar or bass line without even touching the dynamics. The Opticom XLA-3 is a bombproof beast of an optical compressor, and thanks to Acme’s cooperation with Brainworx, it’s now available in plugin form to tame and/or soothe any sound you throw at it.
The original XLA-3 hardware features three compression responses that each treats sounds in a totally different way, affecting spectral regions with varying envelope behaviors and distortion characteristics. On top of that, an Amp mode allows for gain boosting without dynamics reduction. Whether using the Fast, Normal or Slow setting, optical CdSe (Cadmium Selenide) photocells will always leak a perfect little transient through while allowing you to smash sounds to oblivion, or simply tame your peaks. Brainworx faithfully emulated the XLA-3 and captured these features in plugin form, right down to the Light History behavior exhibited by light-dependent resistors when returning from a resting state, or being constantly assaulted with input. Additionally, several new features were added to the plugin version, including a parallel mix knob, an output trim control, and an adjustable noise floor. All of the complex and sonically beautiful behavior has been faithfully rendered in the plugin version.
The Acme Opticom XLA-3 is the simple solution for powerful optical compression and harmonic coloration. Drive the input. Set the behavior. Level to taste. Done.
Acme Audio Mfg. Co. is proud to introduce the OPTICOM XLA-500. Taking inspiration from the acclaimed XLA-3, Acme Audio has painstakingly squeezed the XLA-3’s topology into a convenient two space 500 series module. The XLA-500 is a tube optical audio limiter designed to produce a full range of non-linear, dynamic audio effects.
The heart of the XLA-500 is a unique triple optoelectronic circuit that combines the best characteristics of three separate compression curves into a single unit. Combined with Cinemag input and output transformer and a class-A gain stage, the result is a high-speed optical limiter with tones that range from ‘clean’ to ‘harmonically rich’ to ‘dirty’; and compression curves that range from subtle and slow to very fast and aggressive.
The Opticom XLA-500 is the most versatile 500 series optical limiter on the market. Whether trying to gently control dynamic range on vocals, adding weight to a bass track, or even crushing a drum track – the XLA-500 can perform all of these tasks effortlessly and with great satisfaction to the user, and, ultimately, to the listener.
“After receiving my Opticom I thought I would try it on everything to see what it worked best on.. and I found it it works best on everything. Drums? Awesome. Bass, BIG and LOUD. Guitars and Keys? Awesome, but now I need more of them, and Vocals, Oh WOW! Right in your face. Absolutely love…
“The Opticom’s sonic character is …. smooth and polished sounding, distinctly vintage, and a good antidote for those who feel digital systems are too clean and bright.”
If you want gentle compression or ton’s of attitude the Opticom has you covered! On a recent mix for Fergie’s new album the amp section on the Opticom provided the character we needed to make her vocal stand out.
The Acme Opticom plug-in has become an essential tool in my studio – I just turn it on and it does the larger than life thing, it sounds like a real vintage tube compressor, and it has become one of my favorite plug-in’s!
Kid Rock’s music spans so many genres, Metal, rap, country, rock, motown,…Having a flat and true DI lets me sit the bass in the right attitude for all of that effortlessly. The Motown DI doesn’t have the artificial sounding characteristics in the low end that many other DI’s have. It is smooth and flat and…
The Opticom XLA-3 MkII is giving me some serious golden honey-glazed love! Really digging the transparency in Normal Mode. It never goes off the cliff even with the needle pinned! I love switching through the three different cells to find the perfect enveloping for the track, it’s just fast and effortless. It sheers transients with…
The Acme Opticom is one of the most amazing sounding and versatile compressors I’ve ever used. From full-blown crushing of a drum track to minor compression on a vocal and everything in between, the Opticom does it all.
The Opticom XLA-3 is my one-stop drum shop: no matter what goes in, it come out sounding miles better. It’s one of those magic boxes that makes everything sound bigger, wider, warmer, fatter. Vance has one – I bought two. Gimme more.
“The sound is so luscious that nothing I recorded was ever regretted the next day.”
“It brings out hidden emotions in Eminem’s vocal performance, Aggressive without being disruptive. Easy level matching and easy gain bypass set up. This allows for quick comparison. It sets vocals in the mix well. I used to use an LA2A. You can’t get the same sound out of the LA2A … no dirt.”
One of my absolute favorite new pieces of gear is the acme audio opticom … It’s like going to the Tone Zone… not just a terrific compressor/limiter but it also offers a wonderful harmonic richness to just about everything I put it on.
I have been using the Wolf Box for the last month and this is my favorite DI. It seems to have an extra half-octave of low end when I use it on the bass guitar, and the players have been unanimous in their love of the Wolf Box.