Tonecraft Audio

Toneloc Level-Loc Compressor Colour


  • Full Kit
  • Step-by-Step Guide
  • Supported
  • Intermediate

The Shure Level-loc was a cheap, brick-wall limiter made in the '60s which seemed destined to languish in junk bins and obsolete public address systems. However, it's distinctive, trashy character earned it a second life as a secret weapon in the racks of 90's/2000's mixing engineers. And once the word got out that the Level-loc was behind some famously flavorful drum sounds, it's used price ballooned to $200-300.

Tonecraft Audio's John Erickson, of A-Designs Pacifica fame, has packed the Level-Loc circuitry into a Colour module, the Toneloc. The Toneloc recreates the Level-loc's peculiar attack/release time constants and dense distortion character.

As it contains all the circuitry of a full compressor, the Toneloc is an advanced kit recommended for experienced builders.

MKII Improvements

The Toneloc mkII contains the exact same circuitry that made the original such a popular Colour, with an added Release option and easier assembly.

The mkII version features a solderless jumper to select between two release times. FST is the default option which matches the behavior of the original unit. SLO is slower than the original release time, and will make the compression smoother and less aggressive. Part of the character of the Toneloc is that the release time varies based on the input level, so there is no single time constant for either setting.

The Toneloc mkII uses surface-mount resistors and ceramic capacitors. These parts come pre-populated, making the assembly process much faster and easier than the original.

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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