Recording equipment by Magic Death Eye LLC.


January 2024


New Magic Death Eye BLISS vocal channel


The Bliss channel is a two stage tube mic preamp and tube vari-mu compressor. The compressor is similar to the mono and stereo compressors but with different sidechain timings.
I worked on six different settings with vocals in mind. Meant for tracking. The compression is not heavy handed and additional compression can easily be layered on top in the mix.
The compression is smooth and thick. Lots of harmonic content.
I wanted a high quality tube mic pre and compressor combo that is easy to dial in a beautiful vocal sound without having to “tweak” attack and release settings.
The DI is wonderful especially through the compressor. Just perfect for guitar or bass or use it to liven up an amp modeler. The compressor settings are mostly slower attack allowing
nice transient punch from instruments.

There is a XLR 1/4″ combo jack in the front and another mic input XLR on the back of the chassis that is in parallel to the front input. This allows an instrument cable to be plugged in front and mic cable to be plugged into the back at the same time. To go from DI to mic, you just need to flip the input switch from “INST” to “MIC”. Great for a quick change from playing to singing without unplugging cords. (The switch bat is blocking the “MIC” selection in the picture. Its a three way switch, LINE/MIC/INST.)

There is also a line in XLR in the back if you just want to use the compressor without the mic pre. This input is engaged with the input selector on LINE.

***Input Transformer Option***

The input transformer I choose was a large Lundahl line transformer that loosely mimic’s a UTC LS-10. It has loads of headroom. I have also used a CAPI CA2622 which is an API clone. This transformer had a darker tone. Bit more “woolly”. I personally like the Lundahl and decided it would be the stock input transformer, but if a customer wants a darker sound, the CA2622 can be used.

Going back and forth between the transformers got me thinking. I decided to add a few relays that can switch in a totally different input transformer with a switch on the back of the unit. The customer can choose a vintage transformer for me to put in or I can suggest one. I personally use a UTC O-1. These were used in the original UA 610 mic pres. They are small input transformers that have limited headroom. They produce lots of harmonic distortion in the low end if pushed. Pretty much any step up transformer can be used for interesting alternative sounds.




June 2023


New design Magic Death Eye Stereo Compressor

With the cost of 6386 tubes skyrocketing because of only one company (JJ) making them, and other difficult manufacturing hurdles, I spent 3 years redesigning my compressors.
The new models use the very abundant and still manufactured 12AU7 dual triode. This is not a remote cutoff (vari-mu) tube. It does have the widest bias range of all the common 12A(X)7 type tubes.
The 12AU7 can still deliver 5mA of current at -20 volts bias at 350v plate. A 12AX7 shuts off at -3 Volts.
All this means is that the 12AU7 can be slowly turns off over a wider control voltage range, closer to how a vari-mu tube like the 6386 or 6BC8 works.

So I set out to match the performance of my old design with a new design. I rewound transformers, introduced discrete op amps, amassed piles of prototypes and after 3 years, finished a design I’m proud of.
Both the stereo and mono use four 12AU7’s per channel flanked by an input and output transformer.
The stereo has a new EQ loosely  based off the Sontec, using a discrete op amp (Jensen 918 circuit) with the filter circuit in the feedback loop.
There is 6dB of cut and boost for both high and low bands. Each band has 2 frequencies. There is also a 20Hz 24db/octave low cut filter.
I made sure the unit is very serviceable and robust in design.

The Op Amps in the EQ section are my version of the Jensen 918 discrete Op Amp. This was the predecessor to the famous Jensen 990.
I designed them 2 amps to a module and they are socketed and can be switched with another version of the op amp I have designed.

I have been using vintage GE 12AU7’s but any brand 12AU7 works just fine. Some go deeper into compression than others.
Matching isn’t that crucial with the new design. There is no more balance pot as its not needed. Better matching means deeper compression but even an unmatched pair
will easily give you -10db of compression. A good matched pair will go to -20db of compression with very reasonable distortion specs.
The new “DANGER” lights show when the compression is bottoming out. This is more useful than the previous “balance” lights.




Experimental 7 segment display model:

Using this new design, I wanted to experiment with relay based attenuators. Instead of the Elma switches on the standard model, I built modules containing a microchip
that controlled a set of relays and resistors for perfect stepped stereo matching. The audio sees exactly what it would see with regular stepped switches. Resistors and mechanical (relay) switches.
There is no digital processing of the audio.
The micro controller is controlled with a rugged wirewound pot. So the turn is continuous but the steps are shown in 7 segment LED displays.
I really like the 80’s look (hence the Jordache horse) of this system and the clicking sound of the relays when turning the dials. Its more work and complexity so I’m just testing the waters for now.

The new mono¬† compressor uses the same four 12AU7 transformer “block” as the stereo but the path is much simpler with no EQ.
The signal path has no electrolytic capacitors. There is a 990 discrete op amp driving the input transformer that can be
swapped out with any discrete op amp that fits the standard 990 footprint.

The compression sound and feel is just like the old units. This is the ultimate vocal or single instrument compressor. Its smooth tube compression is a real treat.
Any setting sounds good and doesn’t fall apart. You can slam things or just put a gentle touch on a vocal. I’m very excited about this new design.




The first couple units will be shipped with rare, vintage, clear epoxy JH 990’s.







STEREO compressor plugin


Available for $149 at the DDMF web site.

Demo it before you buy it!