Louder Than Liftoff

HITMAKER 4000 80's E-Series Console Colour


  • Fully Assembled

HITMAKER 4000 brings solid state British console sound to the Colour format. This circuit was inspired by the classic VCA console's Mix Amps through which thousands of hit records have been mixed since the early 1980's. The heart of the famed mix bus was a balanced summing architecture with a hybrid combination of a discrete quad-matched transistor input and a then-state-of-the art Signetics NE5534A op amp to provide open loop gain and load-driving capability. While a dual amp NE5532 could have been chosen to simplify the design and reduce cost of this Colour module, the audio performance of the NE5532 is not the same in terms of distortion, soundstage, and overall tone. Our design respectfully pays homage to the original console's Mix Amp by using multiple IC stages of a carefully selected modern production NE5534A that best matches the depth and tone of the out-of-production Signetics part. Another critical component defining the gritty and punchy sound of these consoles was the VCA used for master fader level control. This is the same VCA fader that the legendary Quad Bus Compressor sidechain controls for 2-bus smack and levelling. We have included this essential ingredient along with original spec bipolar coupling capacitors to help achieve the harmonic texture reminiscent of the vintage console. HITMAKER 4000 isn't merely an enhancement effect trying to approximate the harmonic distortion characteristics of hybrid transistor summing amps and VCAs - it is those very kinds of circuits using the correct components.

One of the signature features of these consoles was its powerful yet musical 4-band EQ, which many mix engineers have used to shape sounds into hit records. As a tribute to the most favorite high frequency shelving EQ setting of one particular award-winning mixer dude we have included a jumperable 8 kHz shelving boost to add an in-your-face presence and sparkle your tracks and mixes.

To further expand the range of tones possible in a way the original console could never offer, we have provided two user-selectable THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) settings. The RICH setting has a more forward and aggressive character with its dominance of 3rd order harmonics pulling sounds to the front of the mix as the module is driven harder. An alternate FAT setting configures the module for more 2nd order harmonics, which gives the low end more roundness and depth; the top end thus feels more refined and less edgy.

The HITMAKER 4000 module is one of our most ambitious designs to date and offers a versatile palette of console-style saturation and tone-shaping, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the Colour format. We are confident you will enjoy using it on your busses to achieve that perfect console saturation sweet spot, and on your tracks to add a rich high end sheen that grabs the listener's ears.

-Brad McGowan, Designer, Louder Than Liftoff


  1. Unity gain signal path
  2. Inspired by the complete the Mix Amp signal path of the vintage console including the VCA and summing amp
  3. Two THD settings (via jumper): Rich and Fat
    1. Rich: increased 3rd order harmonic for original console tone
    2. Fat: increased 2nd order harmonic for alternate, fatter texture
  4. 8 kHz high frequency shelving boost
    1. Bypassable via jumper
    2. +2.8 dB of boost
    3. Recommended applications: bus sweetening, mix-ready vocal and guitar presence, snappy in-your-face drums
  5. NE5534A op amps chosen for proper vintage tone closest to the famed Signetics 5534
  6. Panasonic bipolar caps as originally spec'd in the 80's consoles
  7. 4-layer PCB design (most parts on bottom of the PCB)
  8. Compatible with DIYRE Colour

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Richard Vandiver
It’s a hit!

This module has the sweet mojo that I can get from the turn of a knob. A+.

Yevgen Stupka
Every mix

I have Hitmaker in my COLOR DUO, use it every mix. Now I bought second COLOR DUO for drum buss, and Hitmaker will be there as well.

Josh R
honeymoon phase over, 1 year later.

Tracked vocals... Sm7b to great river pre to super filter to hitmaker to implode compressor. The hitmaker makes a big difference in the sound. This is my go to chain. Vocalist was so impressed with his "dry" sound at playback today I just had to write a review. Didnt have to put any plugins during tracking. The sound was polished, clear, punchy, and has an immediacy in the attack that gives the sense of energy and excitement. Thank you again for your designs.

Josh R
It just adds VIBE, makes whatever you run through it just sound more exciting/inspiring.

I bought this after hearing over and over the sample tracks from the different modules like the the American and British transformer modules and this one stood out to me alot. It seems to tighten up the lows and make them sound deeper, add adds a sheen to the high end which aids in clarity, and it makes transients a tad more punchier. This is what I look for in outboard gear, anything that makes things more exciting on the way in. I want my vocal takes to sound as close to the finish product as I can while tracking which helps limit plugins needed before sending into mixing. The 8k boost is nice because it gets me closer to that sound I am looking for. Very worth the purchase.

Dancy Sizzly Crispy

However you wanna call that SSL sound. Def has a nice lift with eq bump. Really loving a pair of these on the 2bus. makes the mix lighter on its feet, feels bright without any harshness. makes my dmx and juno slap! Feels like the harmonics naturally compress/glue things together. thx!

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