The Acme Audio Opticom XLA-500 is an impressive dual-slot single-channel valve limiter designed for the popular 500 series format, drawing inspiration from the renowned Opticom XLA-3 MkII. Meticulously crafted to retain the essential character of its larger sibling, the XLA-500 cleverly incorporates a tube in its makeup gain circuit, resulting in a more focused and rich sound. It remains faithful to the triple optoelectronic circuit of its predecessor while benefiting from the added enhancements of Cinemag input and output transformers, ensuring it delivers the same functionalities as the original but with a distinct sonic personality.
The XLA-500 captures the same fat and warm sonic character typical of traditional tube optical limiters while surprising users with impressive speed and versatility. Its forgiving handling of vocals and instruments makes it a reliable go-to for any audio source. But unlike older opto compressors, this unit is far from a one-trick pony. It offers diverse tones, from clean and transparent to harmonically rich and even saturated and dirty. With compression curves spanning from slow and gentle to very fast and aggressive, the XLA-500 showcases exceptional flexibility.
Multi-Mode Optical Limiter with Innovative Triple Compression Curves
The XLA-500 features three distinct modes: Normal, Fast, and Slow. In Slow mode, it preserves initial transients, offering subtle transient enhancement and dynamics control characteristics of conventional opto compressors. However, it doesn't stop there—thanks to its proprietary triple optoelectronic circuit, it blends the most desirable characteristics of three different compression curves into one unit. Add a Class A gain stage and CineMag input and output transformers to the mix, and you have a high-speed optical limiter capable of rivalling the performance of FET designs.
A Versatile 500 Series Optical Limiter
Considered one of the most versatile 500 Series optical limiters available, the Opticom XLA-500 facilitates a myriad of audio applications. Whether it's gently controlling the dynamic range of a vocal, adding thickness and weight to a bass guitar, or achieving aggressive drum track compression, the XLA-500 accomplishes it all effortlessly. With its ability to produce a wide range of nonlinear dynamic effects, this limiter is a perfect fit for any musical setting, allowing artists and engineers to explore and create confidently.