SA4000 MK2 – Analog VCA Stereo Buss Compressor

Classic VCA Buss Compression

Stock Price: $890

Pre-Order Price: $790

Modification: +$200

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(11 customer reviews)

$790.00$990.00

The SA4000 MK2 is the most authentic recreation of the stereo buss compressor found in the center section of the legendary G Series Console.

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The legendary stereo buss compressor that will give your mixes glue and character

With a lot of companies coming up with an affordable stereo buss compressor clone, we decided it was time to step up our game and take it to the next level. While we were proud of the first SA4000 units and still think they are great sounding machines, we knew there was something missing, and the best word to describe it was character.

In 2018 we set out to build the best sounding bus compressor we could achieve and the only way to do that was to get closer to the original design. However, there was one problem; we had to bring back to life the DBX 202C VCA can, an obsolete, fully discrete and extremely time consuming piece of hardware that was the heart and soul of every early Oxford made desk, so we did.

The SA4000 MK2 Stereo Buss Compressor is the most authentic recreation of the bus compressor found in the center section of the legendary G Series Console. An overwhelming favorite among mix engineers, the G Comp has very likely shaped more hit records than any other over the past three decades. Strap it across your 2-bus and hear your mix get punchier, bigger, more powerful, and glued together with unmatched cohesiveness. The SA4000 MK2 Stereo Buss Compressor gives you the same famous character, compression behavior, and frequency response as the original. And it does it at a fraction of the price.

The SA-202C is an identical discrete reproduction of the original VCA used on every single desk from the 80’s. It imparts a unique coloration and harmonic distortion which led these desks to be recognized for two things: glue and character. Each Stam Audio SA-202C is built in the same old fashion as the original with a complex system to hand match the very same transistors and values.

We have also upgraded the capacitors on the audio path and incorporated Ohmite carbon resistors to add more character to the unit. We auditioned 16 brands of capacitors to find the best sounding ones and Elna Silmic were by far the winners; they present a wider frequency response than any other brand. The ohmite carbon resistors were the icing on the cake, known for adding distortion and imparting coloration that were present in the early SSL construction and should not be avoided.

We also took this opportunity to perform several upgrades to the original SA4000 and added the following features:

  • True stereo side chain
  • Mix Blend knob
  • HPF (5 selecting frequencies)
  • New ratio configuration (1.5 and 3.0 ratios added)
  • Transformers switch for optional MOD

 

Further enhance the SA4000 MK2 with an optional mod

You have the ability to add either a “British” or “American” mod to the SA4000 MK2

The “British” mod adds two BV283 cards (the output section of the 1073MP preamp) as a Class A output buffer with 2 Carnhill transformers to the signal making it the perfect way to add low end and effortlessly warm up a mix.

The “American” mod adds two SA-2520 opamps (an exact replica of the original 2520 op amp) with 2 transformers to the signal making it the perfect way to add mid-range to your drum buss giving you the famous American sound.

Due to space constraints inside, only one MOD can be selected.

Each MOD is only 200 USD. This includes all parts and labor.

 

The SA4000 has true balanced outputs.

At the heart of the SA4000 MK2 are two Stam Audio SA-202C VCA cans, which are fully discrete and identical replicas of the original DBX 202C gold cans found on the original vintage SSL consoles. This makes the SA4000 MK2 the only bus compressor in the world to faithfully replicate the inner circuit of the original desk. Each SA-202C can is made by hand in Chile, where transistors are carefully matched in a proprietary circuit.

The SA-4000 has true outputs to ensure the best audio performance possible.

Plus, to make it feel great and look right, the unit comes with premium Sifam knobs and VU meters.

There is no compromise in parts throughout the entire circuit, which ensures you get a compressor that behaves and sounds 100% accurate to the original. All our units are hand made and calibrated in our workshop in Chile where they get a full health check twice and burn for 24 hours.

 

The ultimate cure for “digititis”

While plugins have come a long way and are incredibly useful, there’s a reason the top engineers still have analog gear in their racks. And some of the biggest gains to be made if you’re mixing “in the box” is to use quality hardware on your master buss.

When you strap the SA4000 MK2 Stereo Buss Compressor over your master buss, your mix will instantly glue together and sound more cohesive. Small adjustments will bring more punch, tightness, power, and size to your mix…all without sacrificing clarity. Simply put, your mixes will sound like a record should!

Legendary on the mix bus. Magic on the drum bus. Its one of those rare pieces that just makes things sound better regardless of the musical style.

 

100% satisfaction guarantee – if you don’t love your SA-4000 MK2, we’ll refund you

If you’ve worked on a classic SSL G Series desk and strapped the G Buss Comp across your mix, we’re extremely confident the SA4000 MK2 will put a big smile on your face every time you use it. However if you’ve never touched the original before, as gear lovers ourselves we understand that the only way to really know if this compressor is for you, is to put it through its paces. That’s why the SA4000 MK2 Stereo Buss Compressor comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. This allows you to get it into your rack and see how it impacts your recordings. If you love it (and we think you will!), great…keep the unit and create amazing music with it. If not, no problems. Just send it back to us and we’ll fully refund your purchase. And don’t worry, either way you decide to go we will remain friends.

Technical Specs

  • 2 Stam Audio SA-202C discrete VCA (DBX 202 replica)
  • 2 THAT 2180CL VCAs
  • True to the original G Series Desk circuit and schematic
  • Elna Silmic premium capacitors
  • Ohmite carbon resistors
  • 5 ratio settings
  • 5 release settings
  • True stereo side chain
  • 5 position High Pass Filter
  • Mix blend knob
  • Bypass Switch
  • Gain Reduction meter as fitted to the classic SSL consoles
  • Sifam Knobs
  • Less than 0.5% THD
  • TRS inputs
  • XLR and TRS outputs
  • Stereo Link
  • Voltage switch selector (115V or 230V)
  • Final assembly by hand in Chile
  • 1-year warranty
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Additional information

Modification

American Mod, British Mod, No Mod

11 reviews for SA4000 MK2 – Analog VCA Stereo Buss Compressor

  1. szyam

    3/16/16
    Today I had the chance to use the new SA-4000 Stereo Bus Compressor from Stam Audio at the studio, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, even though they did a fantastic job with the LA-2A which I believe is identical to the original Teletronix I had my concerns based on it´s price point.

    I had about 4 hours to test it so I did what I would normally do with a buss compressor, I ran some drums and mixes through it today and I can honestly say that it surpassed my expectations, the unit sounds absolutely fantastic and feels great.
    Soundwise it has the glue effect just like the original SSL that we all desire but in a much more musical way than my plugins or TK Audio BC1 compressor.

    I wish I could have kept this unit at my studio but it has to travel around to other studios and magazines for reviews. I will be selling my TK Audio BC1 and get one of these as soon as they are ready.

    Well done Stam Audio, again.

    Javier

  2. szyam

    10/8/16
    This recreation of the famous SSL bus comp is amazing. Immediate glue / punch, ranging from subtle to aggressive depending on the attack / release times. Grabs a mix and ‘finishes’ it in a way that definitely sounds like the original unit.

    I’ve been using the side chain input to send a copy of the mix with low end rolled off as a HPF. That preserves the ultra-low end while compressing the rest of the mix neatly.

    tl;dr: this is permanently strapped on to my mixbuss from now on. Along with the amazing SA-2A, Joshua has hit another home run with the SA-4000.

    P.S. there’s a reason these are going second-hand in GS Classifieds for $1k – they’re that good. But I’d suggest just placing an order with Joshua for under $500 rather than spending that kinda dough

    thejook

  3. szyam

    11/9/16
    I’ve recently bought the SA4000 and i can’t be more happy. Fantastic unit that
    is outstanding in drums, in just a few seconds of mixing, i had the best drums sounds i’ve ever mixed.

    I’ve started opening old sessions and printing Drum Busses ,Vocal Busses, and some Pianos, and the impact in the mixes where HUGE. In the mixbuss is really nice too, with a 2:1 ratio, .30ms attack, and just a bit of compression it glues your mix instantly. Once you try it you realize that the plugins emulations are a freaking joke.

    Nacho M

  4. szyam

    11/14/16
    I have to give it up to Stam Audio from Chile. Bought an audio compressor from them (SSL G4000 clone), had a minor issue with it & they didn’t even flinch. Send it back & we’ll get you out a new one (covered the shipping cost too). Way to stand behind your gear. Awesome! Not to mention the thing sounds really killer.
    First I smashed some drums with it (awesome) then I used it on my 2 mix buss with amazing results (very nice glue). Quality build too, the knobs are solid, the meter is well lite, the push buttons are tight, it looks cool, & it’s a very solid piece of gear. Did I mention it sounds KILLER?
    This piece is a no brainer for any studio. Kudos to Stam Audio!

    syranlangley

  5. jorgenberg

    I have had this unit for sometime now, and it’s a beautiful peace of gear, highly recommended. It lives on my master bus, oh man it’s happy there. Instant mojo and glue!

  6. skead.ferdinand3

    I’ve bought the first version of the SA4000 and oh boy what a great sounding unit! Stam Audio won me over with their prices and most important of all, sound quality ! The SA4000 is untouchable by all software emulations I’ve used. The stereo field just opens up and the whole mix glue together amazingly. The sound is superb and with the new added features of the SA4000 mk2 , you can’t go wrong. Would buy it again in a instant! Looking forward to my next gear from Stam Audio.

  7. skead.ferdinand3

    I’ve bought the first version of the SA4000 and oh boy what a great sounding unit! Stam Audio won me over with their prices and most important of all, sound quality ! The SA4000 is untouchable by all software emulations I’ve used. The stereo field just opens up and the whole mix glue together amazingly. The sound is superb and with the new added features of the SA4000 mk2 , you can’t go wrong. Would buy it again in a instant! Looking forward to my next gear from Stam Audio.

    Ferdinand

  8. RyanRuin

    This unit lives on my mix bus (and occasionally used on drum buses). Amazing glue, punch, and attitude. Destroys any plugin by miles. Highly recommended!

  9. omegason28

    I’ve bought the first version of the SA-4000 and I Love it! The SA-4000 is a great sounding unit!
    STAM Audio hands down has the BEST prices and most important of all, sound quality and build quality of their gear!
    Thanks for making Such Great Gear!

  10. Steve Wytas

    We decided to purchase an SA4000 for Dirt Floor Recording Studio in Connecticut. We had been using an SSL knock off made by Vintage Audio for our buss compressor. I was a little nervous that I was putting a $100 down payment on a unit that was not built yet, was not in the USA, and could not be tested at a dealer, but I thought it was worth the gamble. The unit took about 2 months to show up. Upon opening the box, I saw that the exterior build quality was first class. I got the phillips screwdriver next and opened it up to make sure it was what I thought it was, and sure enough the guts were first class build all the way!

    I believe the website said it was XLR I/O but the unit has balanced TRS. Not a big deal since it’s going to sit in a rack in the studio. Well, we wired it up to the patch bay and strapped it across the stereo buss of our Toft ATB 24 and BOOM!!! There was that SSL sound! Punch all day long, lots of gain make up, and input headroom that we have not hit the top of yet! The metering is nice and easy to see across the control room. Knobs and switches are solid. Even the power switch is top quality. We have not wired up the sidechain yet because the unit is in service around the clock!

    I would highly recommend this unit to anyone that may be using an SSL master buss plug-in in your DAW, or if you are mixing on a console through a lower quality stereo compressor. If you can go out of the box through this and back into your DAW again, you’ll be very happy with the results!

    Like I always say, Vintage gear is only as cool as the repair bill. We considered a vintage SSL FX384, but decided to try the SA4000. The sound of the SA4000 is about 99% of the SSL and saving $3,000 makes it sound even better than the SSL 384!

    This unit costs about $600 US, so you’re losing money if you don’t buy it. I’d consider any product made by STAM in the future. Nice job Joshua!!!

  11. Fabrizio Guido Cremaschi Valenzuela

    Por esta maravilla espere cerca de un año, nunca fui impaciente debido a que sabría que lo que llegaría me sorprendería considerablemente, y así fue. Podría estar todo el día moviendo las perillas para encontrar diferentes sonidos, desde los “seteos” más extremos hasta clásicos que sirven en cualquier mezcla, jamás me cansare de esta gran maquina, al nivelar volúmenes y presionar el botón de bypass el cambio es sumamente notorio y satisfactorio.
    Excelente trabajo del equipo Stam y felicitaciones.

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