CTX Transformer Console Colour
- Full Kit
- Step-by-Step Guide
The punchy, forward sound of a vintage American console.
Transformers and discrete opamps (DOAs) are the core building blocks of the American console sound. The punchy, present sound of those classic 70's consoles derives from the unique character of the DOA and transformer and the complex ways they interact with each other. Countless plugins have tried to imitate this sound, but why imitate when you can have the real thing?
The CTX combines the RED-25 DOA with a Cinemag transformer and then cranks the gain to pack the sound of a channel strip into a single Colour. At moderate operating levels, the module's effect is vanishingly subtle, but makes everything sound more "finished" when stacked over numerous tracks in a mix. As levels increase the transistors of the DOA and core of the transformer saturate, thickening the signal with low-frequency harmonics and natural compression.
In 2019 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Colour Format, we redesigned the first three Colours, the 15IPS, CTX, and JFT, to use only discrete, class-A transistor circuitry. You could think of this as the opposite of an update—we’ve revered the technology of the Colours back to the late 60’s. The result is an authentic vintage character that’s more nuanced and refined.
In the process of revamping the CTX, we realized that incorporating a 2520-style DOA would be a natural choice given the history of API and Cinemag. Thus the CTX went from being a simple transformer Colour to a more full-featured American console Colour.
The DOA adds another layer of saturation that complements that of the transformer. The overall effect is more pronounced than the mkI, with higher harmonic distortion at low levels and the ability to impart noticeable compression effects at high levels.
- Transformer wound by Cinemag in California
- Steel core emphasizes the phase distortion and hysteresis effects associate with the "iron" sound
- Compatible with the Colour format
- Red PCB!
- Full, step-by-step assembly instructions and guaranteed support
What the Pros are Saying
"CTX may be my favorite of the bunch. As you push the input level, it substantially 'thickens' just about any source. A stereo pair across a drum bus can dramatically change the character of the drums without sounding heavy-handed."
TapeOp Magazine (review of the CTX mkI)
Easy to build with the included guide. Even a beginner like me found it no problem to put together. I own quite a few pre’s but first time venturing into 500 territory. I decided to give the CP5 with the CTX colour a try and glad I did. If you are on the fence don’t be. It definitely punches way above its weight class! DIYRE thank you for making amazing gear at an affordable price so that everyone can enjoy it!
I now have five of them in my DIRE preamps. They just sound bigger without increasing level. I've owned high end preamps with this kind of circuitry and the sound from this module in a clean DIYRE CP5 or Colour Duo preamp sounds as good, and maybe even better - at a fraction of the cost per channel. And unlike the genuine preamps this is loosely modelled after, you can dial in as much of the sound as you want.
Ive have almost every colour module mad(yep.... a LOT) and this is still #1 in the chain to track.
CTX Transformer Console Colour
Use this one all the time on most anything—The one time I “accidentally” recorded bass guitar with “too much” CTX drive , if turned out great in the mix. CTX is sort of like a modern API attitude , while Mass Driver is leaning towards vintage API —-though the difference is somewhat subtle , I like both.