In 2013 we released the Colour Box, a guitar pedal that pushed the boundaries of what a pedal could do. Over the years we saw countless examples of engineers, producers, instrumentalists, programmers and studios across the globe put the Colour Box to use in every way imaginable. It found its way onto major albums and recordings that spanned from vocals, bass, keys, acoustic instruments, beats, and voiceovers. The natural progression for us was to take what made the Colour Box great and make it even greater by using a format that would essentially let us redesign it from the ground up. We gave the core circuit that everyone loved more power, flexibility, control and improved it in ways that put it par for par with the big boys of pro audio. Let us introduce you to the Colour Box 500 "Lunchbox" preamplifier and equalizer.
In a market that has more preamps and EQ's than ever before, you might be asking "Why is this thing different, better and something I would need or even find useful?" Our answer is that it is extremely different and unlike anything ever offered before. We believe that you will find colors, tones, functions and sonic landscapes that you have never had at your fingertips before. Let us break down why we believe this and why you should be excited about adding the Colour Box 500 to your lunchbox. The circuit is inspired by several legendary pieces of gear that we love, and it is designed with the idea that the classics can be improved upon and made better all while keeping what we love intact. The heart of the Colour Box is two cascaded Neve BA283 stages as found in the Neve 1073 preamps. This unique approach to series stages offers you prestige cleans or destructive gains, all within the span of a few controls. The output stage borrows its origins in the fashion of class A discrete op amp design much like the Neve 1272, and the EQ is a combination of several styles, ideas, and classics. All of this along with top-shelf components like the matched Carnhill transformers, audio grade components, and rugged construction make this unit a force to be reckoned with in the studio or live environment. We guarantee that the Colour Box is nothing like your other pre's or EQs and we say that with confidence. Let's finish up by breaking the design of the Colour Box down into four sections or blocks; we will cover the essentials of each block so you can understand in depth what the unit offers.
The Input Section
The Input Section is where everything starts. You have three ways to input signal, DI (The front instrument jack), Mic (The Back of the Lunchbox) and Line Level (The back of the Lunchbox). You also have a -20db pad toggle for dampening down hot source signals, as well as +48v phantom power toggle for powering any microphones that may require it. This section also boasts the Carnhill VTB9046 input transformer as well as a switchable input impedance toggle.
The Gain Stages
The Gain Stages are where the magic starts. Here we have the two discreet stages in series. A unique thing about this section is our use of separate gain and volume level controls. Most all Neve style preamps, and clones, use the traditional step gain/level control combined. These are fine and very useful for matching pairs or recalling a setting, but if you have ever needed the in-between settings, then you understand the frustration of not being able to venture into the ranges that are not included in that step control. We have added the unique Pre Volume control that allows you to adjust volume level within the step ranges. This opens up a vast amount of tones, gain levels and fine tuning that just isn't available in step-only preamps. It uniquely adjusts the level between the two cascading stages for clean-and-pristine or distorted-and-destroyed gain levels. The step control sets the overall gain of each stage at 18db, 23db, 28db, 32db, or 37db. Combined, these stages offer over 60db of clean gain and an unbelievable amount of distortion gain. Essentially you can destroy a source beyond recognition if needed.
The EQ Section
The EQ Section is a massively powerful seven control EQ that can sculpt any signal with ease. The Treble control is a fixed peaking style treble control that cuts and boosts with noon as the off or flat position. The Air Band is a very musical +26dB boost at 50kHz, perfect for room mics, vocals or any other source where you want to broaden the upper range. This control is off or flat when at zero or fully counter clockwise. The Mids are a swept style that features the Mid and Mid Shift controls. Use the Shift to change the frequency range, and then cut or boost with the Mids control. The Mid control is off or flat at noon. The Bass is a fully parametric style with Bass, Bass Shift, and Bass Q controls. Use the Shift to change frequency range, and the Q to change the width of that range. The Bass control is off or flat at noon as well. The last of the seven controls is the High Pass Filter (HPF). It is a variable style from 50-150Hz. This is a powerful tool for cutting out unneeded frequencies in the lower register in a smooth and pleasant way.
The Output Section
Last but not least is the output section. Here we see the final class A discreet Neve 1272 style stage. The Carnhill VTB2514 is here as well as the Master overall volume control. You can also switch polarity (phase) here.
The Colourbox 500 is not another clone, replica or traditional preamplifier; it is designed to stand out in the crowd and offer you the most power, options, and abilities of anything in its price range. Add the Colour Box to your pallet of tools today and give new life to your tracking, mixing or mastering!