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Alta Moda Hippo 500-Series Stereo VCA Compressor  From Alta Moda

The Hippo is a classic high performance VCA stereo bus compressor.

Alta Moda Audio


Retail:  $1,295.00

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What We Think

Are you looking for a more affordable, more sonically flexible SSL-style Bus compressor? (But really though, who isn’t?) Take a close look at the Hippo. It’s a VCA bus compressor with the sound you’ve been searching for, but with additional modern conveniences like a hi pass filter and a wet/dry control. As if that’s not enough, it’s also got a variable warmth control and ratios both between and beyond the traditional 2,4 and 10.  It’s got the sound you’ve been looking for, with a deeper level of control.
In use, I found the hippo to be quite versatile - without introducing any of the unit’s warmth, I can get a very clean, glued sound on my mix bus.  The hippo can get pretty grabby when you go for the shorter end of it’s attack and release controls, but slow them down and it can get a lot more subtle.  Bring up the Hi pass filter a couple clicks to re-introduce your kick drum to the world, and if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, pull the threshold down lower and blend in some dry signal for a parallel compression that brings up your quieter moments without destroying all your loud transients.
Where the hippo really gets fun though is with the warmth control.  More than just an On/Off switch, this saturation knob features 6 positions of varying warmth - brought to you by harmonic distortion. It bulks up the low end of your mix and further smoothes over the edges just a bit, for one last stage of glue. Set low on cleaner, gentler mixes or cranked hot on a rock track, you’ve got full control over how much “liveliness” you breathe into your mix.
With it’s rich, complex harmonics, incredible functionality, and a very appealing price tag, there’s no need to break your bank on one of the $3k VCA bus compressors to get that quality tone you’re after. Go with the Hippo, you won’t be disappointed.

Manufacturer's Description from Alta Moda

The Hippo is based on a VCA topology made popular in highly successful recording consoles of the 1980's, but includes many modern features not found on typical bus compressors.


  • Dual high resolution meters
  • Unique Side chain linking
  • Built-in Blend control
  • Handmade in USA
Alta Moda Audio


Wide Control Ranges
The Hippo features extended attack, release and ratio settings for wider control ranges. Selected controls are continuously-variable for enhanced resolution and versatility.

Enhanced Bass Control
Six-position High Pass Filter on side chain for better control of bass-heavy material.

Warmth Control
Six-position Warmth control adds rich harmonic distortion to fatten tracks.

Dual/Stereo Detectors
Unique channel linking options allow for better control of stereo imaging, including the ability to run the channel detectors independently of one another (Dual mode).

High Resolution Metering
Dual, 20-segment gain-reduction meters monitor both detectors with 1dB resolution.

Blend Control
Blend control allows varying the output between dry and compressed signal for more subtle compression effects.

Hard Wire Bypass
Gold-contact relays completely remove unit from signal path when bypassed.





Quick Start Guide