Louder Than Liftoff

HITMAKER 4000 80's E-Series Console Colour


  • Fully Assembled

This HITMAKER 4000 was inspired by the 4000 E-series console Quad Bus Mix Amps through which thousands of hit records have been mixed since the early 1980's.

The HITMAKER 4000 is not an emulation of the circuitry and parts of a solid-state, British console—it is that circuitry and parts. Use a pair on buses to achieve that perfect console saturation sweet spot, and on individual tracks to add a rich high-end sheen that grabs the listener's ears.

The heart of the famed Quad 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 peformance of the NE5532 is not the same 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 for 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 gives Quad Bus Compressor it's famous 2-bus smack and leveling. We have included this essential ingredient along with original spec bipolar coupling capacitors to help achieve the harmonic texture of the vintage console.

One of the signature features of these consoles was its powerful yet musical 4-band EQ. As a tribute to the favorite high-frequency-shelving EQ setting of one particular award-winning mixer dude, we have included an optional 8 kHz shelving boost to add an in-your-face presence and sparkle your tracks and mixes.

To expand the range of tones beyond what the original console offered, we have provided two 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 give the low end more roundness and depth; the top end thus feels more refined and less edgy.

-Brad McGowan, Designer, Louder Than Liftoff


  1. Unity gain signal path
  2. Inspired by the complete the Quad Bus Mix Amp signal path of the 4000 E-series 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

Real analog plugins.

Colour is a new format for analog audio gear designed for and by the DIY community. We took our favorite sounding analog circuits and put them on modules that are small, affordable, and swappable.

The Colour format consists of Colours and Palettes:

Colours are ultra-compact, pluggable analog circuit blocks that impart various types of analog color. Check out our ever-growing selection of Colours. Colours can be designed and released by anyone.

Palettes provide controls, power, and support circuitry for Colours. We currently offer the Colour 500 Palette and CP5 Mic Preamp with Colour.

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