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All-Tube, Transformer-Balanced Optical Compressor


msrp $1,199

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Legendary Compression At Your Fingertips

The WA-1B accurately recreates world-class Scandinavian compression combining smooth tube-optical warmth with precision controls. Like its original inspiration favored by producers and engineers from Chris Lord-Alge to Rick Rubin, the WA-1B delivers that revered “forgiving” musical compression of tube-optical circuitry with speed and control more closely associated with modern dynamics processing. As the compressor of choice for many of the most profound vocal performances, this style of compression has shaped the sound of recordings by artists such as Adele, Dr. Dre, Lenny Kravitz, Norah Jones, The Black Keys and many more. With premium components and meticulous circuit design, the WA-1B has all of the tone and characteristics of the most celebrated compression that blends vintage tone with modern control.


Tube-Optical Tone, Modern Dynamic Control

Hand-wired to authentically recreate the sound of a renowned circuit, the WA-1B uses carefully selected components to recreate a style of compression that remains sought-after, yet unattainable. Select tubes are paired to achieve the perfect balance between vintage tone and modern performance. The WA-1B uses custom, large-core transformers from Lundahl Sweden, which help transfer all of the rich, articulate, “forgiving” analog tone from the tubes to the signal. As a catalyst for its impeccable “transparent” compression, the WA-1B features a premium optical attenuator for smooth and musical compression, making it a clear choice for vocals, instruments, and any highly dynamic source or program material that requires control without sacrificing tone. All of these critical components are handwired with through-hole soldering in a true-to-spec, 100% analog 270 volt circuit. Following the Warm Formula of true-to-original tone driven by premium components, all WA-1B compressors are carefully hand-inspected & tested at Warm Audio Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Natural, Musical, & Forgiving: Even At Fast Settings

The WA-1B compressor delivers a signature Scandinavian style of compression renowned for its exceptional analog performance with modern features. Delivering the sonic versatility of the original, the WA-1B spans pristine, transparent compression that maintains the clarity of audio sources to create rich and harmonically saturated tones when the tubes are driven to saturation. Ready to take recordings to the next level, the WA-1B has all of the key controls normally absent from more vintage optical compressors. Using the threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain controls allows for precise dynamic control and tone shaping without sacrificing vintage tube-optical tone. The controllable attack time with faster available speeds and program-dependent release controls contribute to the very forgiving character of the compressor. The dedicated sidechain bus selector offers three positions (Off, Bus 1, Bus 2), allowing you to interconnect and link up to 10 WA-1B compressors in your signal chain. Rounding out the set of critical pro recording features on the WA-1B is the front-mounted meter-adjust control. By having this knob on the front panel, there’s no pause in creativity and no need to unrack gear in the middle of a session when you need to zero out the VU meter. The original style of Scandinavian tube-opto compression has earned its place among the most coveted studio compressors, and the WA-1B makes all of these tones and features readily available to producers and engineers - no waitlist required.

Premium Components - Elite Build Quality - Superior Sound

Premium Name-Brand Tubes

One of the key elements of the WA-1B’s sonic signature is the analog warmth of the makeup gain. Using premium vacuum tubes, the WA-1B adds rich character after the compression stage to deliver a dynamically-balanced signal without sacrificing tone.

Custom Transformer From Lundahl Sweden

We paired the true-to-spec Scandinavian circuit design with two custom large-core transformers from Lundahl in Sweden. Transformer selection plays a critical role in the rich analog tone and signal transfer that help deliver smooth compression with more control.

Technical Specifications

  • Accurately recreating world-class Scandinavian compression combining smooth tube-optical warmth with precision controls 

  • True-to-spec 270 volt, 100% discrete analog signal path - handwired with through-hole components

  • Premium vacuum tubes

  • Transformer-balanced fully floating input and output - Custom-core large transformers from Scandinavian Manufacturer, Lundahl in Sweden

  • Frequency response @ -3 dB: 5 Hz to 25 kHz

  • Self-Noise: < -75 dBU @ 30 dB gain

  • CMRR: > 60 dB @ 10 kHz

  • Ratio from 2:1 to 10:1

  • Variable Threshold: Off to -40 dBU

  • Continuously variable, fixed, or fixed/manual attack and release times
    • Fixed - Attack: 1 millisecond | Release: 50 milliseconds 
    • Manual -  Attack: .5 - 300 milliseconds | Release: .05 seconds - 10 seconds
    • Fixed/Man mode blends the release times of fixed and manual mode

  • Output gain: Off to +30 dBU

  • Input impedance: 600Ω

  • Two bus connectors to connect multiple sidechains

  • Meter (VU) input, output, or compression amount

  • Linear, low-noise power supply with toroidal power transformer

Sound Samples