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Electrodyne Returns In 500 Series Form

Orphan Audio and Pete’s Place Audio have collaborated in a joint venture to reintroduce the Electrodyne name to the pro audio market in the popular 500 Series module format. The two companies are releasing the Electrodyne 501 discrete 2-stage studio preamp and 511 2-band inductor EQ.

Orphan Audio owns the Electrodyne name and its intellectual property, while Pete’s Place Audio will manufacture, market and sell the products.

“Electrodyne was one of the most significant console brands from the ’60s and ’70s, used by everyone from Capitol and Motown to the major broadcast networks, so we’re very pleased to have a hand in its return,” says Pete’s Place Audio President Lisa Montessi. “This, of course, is only possible due to [Orphan Audio founder and designer] Ken Hirsch’s passion for the brand and meticulous dedication to preserving the sonic authenticity of the original products.”

Electrodyne 501

The Electrodyne 501 ($895) is a 2-stage, discrete transistor, transformer-coupled preamp with active DI based primarily on the modules found in the classic 1608 console. Each amp stage is individually optimized for peak performance using detailed Electrodyne factory engineering notes and select high performance components identical to the originals. Electrodyne’s original supplier makes the 501’s transformers to exacting factory specifications.

The new preamp’s active DI circuit presents a load said to be more than six megohms to sensitive musical instrument outputs for accurate capture of the instrument’s true tone. Furthermore, the output of the DI circuit is designed to directly connect and interact with the mic input transformer to permit an extremely broad spectrum of tonal options. 

The faceplate of the Electrodyne 501 features a large rotary gain control offering up to 68dB of gain—adjustable over 50 dB in 2dB steps with two ranges via a 20dB pad switch—and a smaller output level pot infinitely adjustable from 0 (off) to +6 dB over unity. Additional switches for impedance selection (50 or 200 ohms), phase reverse, 48-volt phantom power and DI (with ¼-inch input jack) are also present, as well as a clip LED that monitors all three amp stages and illuminates when any stage is 3dB from clipping.

Electrodyne 511

The Electrodyne 511 ($1,050) is a classic 2-band, discrete transistor, reciprocal, active inductor-based equalizer using late ’60s/early ’70s design technology. As with the 501, the 511’s custom inductors and output transformer are made by Electrodyne’s original provider to strict factory tolerances as small as 2 percent. This affords a consistent EQ performance and repeatability from channel to channel that was simply not possible in the 1960s. Smooth performance and EQ response from minimum to maximum gain at all frequencies provides unusually broad sonic and tonal options not experienced since the 1970s. 

The module’s faceplate sports twin large rotary EQ controls, each offering ±12dB of boost and cut with four selectable frequencies per band (LF: 40, 100, 250 and 500 Hz; HF: 1.5, 3, 5 and 10 kHz). Shelving is available on all frequencies, with peaking offered at 250 and 500 Hz in the LF band and 1.5, 3 and 5 kHz in the HF band. An EQ in/out switch with accompanying LED rounds out the front panel feature set.

Both the 501 and 511 promise a maximum output of almost +30dBm into 600 ohms paired with extremely low distortion specs, high signal-to-noise, and wide dynamic range.

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