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About Retrospec Audio

About Us

Retrospec Audio has been making all tube audio equipment for almost 30 years, combining the best of classic analog circuitry with the reliability of modern components. We strive to make great sounding audio tools that will help you sound your best, play your best, and last a lifetime of road and studio use.

 

Our company had it's beginnings in the tech shop of the venerated Bearsville Studios circa 1994, where Ken McKim was on staff as the Chief technician. One of the clients wandered in and asked if the studio had a tube DI. Ken's response was "No, but give me a day and I'll build you one". It took more than a day, and a few prototypes before the performance was up to snuff but there it was, the most unpresentable bud-box project ever. Unfortunately, the original client who made the request had left, so it was left with the session that had moved into Studio A and it stayed there for the duration. The box itself went through a number of design iterations, but the guts of the currently available Juice Box are essentially the same as that 1994 version.

The Squeeze Box was almost the same story, starting in the shop at Bearsville Studios the following year. An artist working at the studio was extolling the virtues of the "incomparable" Teletronix LA-2a compressor/limiter, but he wasn't happy that there wasn't something like that that he could use in his stage rig. A few modifications- a way to make the power supply smaller, and some adjustments to the input and output circuitry to eliminate the transformers, and the Squeeze Box was born. Ken passed it on to the engineer doing King Crimson in Studio A. At the end of the session he asked the assistant how they liked it; he said "Oh, Tony (Levin) took it with him." A year later Ken caught up with Tony. Turns out he had used it in his stage rig and on several records. Not long after, the Squeeze Box joined the Juice Box in our product line. As we began to get feedback from the industry professionals who were buying them, we realized they were using the Squeeze Box to do vocals and piano and drums(!), and a whole host of things Ken never imagined it being used for when I designed it. The present-day version is exactly the same as the 1995 version audio-wise, however, the control circuitry has gone through a number of refinements to make the threshold and ratio control much more responsive.

 

Lately we've been designing some exciting new equipment that we can't wait to share. Sign up for our mailing list for all the latest news, deals, and promotions.

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