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Chameleon Labs 7802
2009 TEC Award Nominee

2009 TEC AWARDS NOMINEE - Outstanding Technical Achievement in the category of Signal Processing Technology/Hardware

Chameleon Labs 7802 Stereo Opto Tube Compressor

$849.00 MSRP


"Please please please don't make me give this thing back..... It can be a soft and slow lover just like you want your classic Opto to be, or it can be a quick, dirty and grabby little mistress that colours up the party. The only Opto Compressor that I would strap across a mix."

- Martin Feveyear
- Producer/Mixer, Jupiter Studios, Seattle,
   (Brandi Carlile, REM, Queens of the Stone Age, Blue Scholars,
     The Saturday Knights, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Mark Lanegan)

Product Reviews

The 7802 Stereo Opto-Tube Compressor started with a sonic target of the classic optical limiter that's a bit dark and very well known from the mid to late 60s. Did we copy it or replicate it? No! What we ended up with in the 7802 was our own take on the classic, very much in the sonic family but with circuitry that's a bit more modern. One key difference between this and the classic is the way we handle the optical circuit: we use LED's as emitters instead of the filament (light bulb). We see some high end manufacturers pitching this LED emitter in an optical limiter as their key innovation! We offer it for under US$1,000!

The 7802 makes use of several unique US parts that we buy and ship to the factory. We start with the Perkin Elmer Vactrol Optoisolator from Massachusetts, employ selected, more expensive, but better sounding National Semiconductor high slew rate Op Amps from California and follow that with a special "Burr Brown" Texas Instruments Op Amp. Again, we use our outboard power supply for the lowest possible noise. The 7802 uses high end parts throughout to make this is a wonderful bargain for that person seeking high end quality with the sound of an old school compressor.

Model 7802 Features

  • Two channel opto-isolator / tube-based compression
  • Stereo linkable channels
  • Vactrol optical electronics
  • Hand selected 12AX7 tube
  • Five position attack/release selector
  • Two position ratio switch (2:1 and 4:1)
  • HPF switch for compressor side chain (6dB/octave roll off, 3dB down @ 90Hz)
  • Drive control to adjust the amount of tube overdrive
  • Output control to set the overall output level
  • LED metering of input and clip levels
  • VU metering of compression
  • XLR balanced inputs
  • XLR transformer balanced outputs
  • External, in-line power supply
  • One year warranty


External In-Line Power Supply : Each Model 7802 ships with an in-line power supply, type-dependent on country of operation. This is not a traditional "wall-wart" but simply an outboard AC transformer. DC filtering and regulation is accomplished inside the 7802 itself.

Model 7802 Specifications

Input impedance:                   10k ohms unbalanced

Output impedance:                 600 ohms balanced

Maximum output:                   +20dBu (0dBu = 0.775v)

Gain:                                     39 dB

Frequency Response:              +/- 1 dB from 20Hz to 20 KHz

THD:                                      Not more than 0.6% from 20Hz to 20 KHz output into 600 Ohms

Equivalent Input Noise (EIN):   -98 dBu

Sidechain Highpass:                90 Hz (-3dB, 6dB per Octave)

Dimensions:                           19” x 1.75” x 12.25” (482mm x 44.8mm 311mm)

Shipping weight:                     14.4 lbs. (6.5Kg)

Power Requirements:              115VAC, 110 mA.; 230VAC, 55mA.


7802 Review by Paul Vnuk Jr. (Recording Magazine Oct 2009) (.pdf)

7802 Review by Barry Rudolph (Mix Magazine Aug 2009)

7802 Review by Warren Dent (May 2009) (.pdf)





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