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.’
Acme Audio Manufacturing Co. was founded by Al Sutton, who is no stranger to the music scene. Al Sutton has been producing, engineering, writing, and recording music for well over 20 years. He has a long list of production credits under his belt, from the Detroit Cobras, to the Sights, and most notably Kid Rock. Al has been producing, and engineering for Kid Rock on a full time basis for over a decade.
OPTICOM XLA-3 MKII
MTP-66 Motown Tube Preamp
The Opticom XLA-3 MKII
The Opticom XLA-3 plugin
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.
Introducing the Opticom XLA-500
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.
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.
Introducing : The MTP-66
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 in limited quantities to capture all of your most important tones.
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.