Gates M-6543 Solid Statesman Limiter #1


This Gates Solid Statesman has been refurbished in our workshops and sounds great! It’s been recapped , the power supply rebuilt and the limiting section modified to make it more usable

The Solid Statesman was designed as a final limiter for TV, AM & FM broadcast chains. It has features including assymetrical negative peak levels and automatic peak phasing for AM broadcast and stereo linking for FM broadcast. It  was designed to offer maximum modulation of the downstream transmitter without over-modulation which might cause interference to other stations

This is a super-fast limiter with three selectable release times. It has an attack time of 3-5 µsec, fixed compression ratio of 30:1, and a slow release time to catch peaks but not disturb the program material unduly. In this form it’s great for broadcast but, as a music tool, it’s flawed. Happily, after some tweaking of the release time, brutal, fast limiting is easily achieved

I’ve recapped the Solid Statesman, replacing a number of capacitors dating back to 1973, switched it to 220V for the UK / EU, upgraded the power supply and put bipolar caps in the audio path. The release time changes leave the original slow release times available but I doubt they’ll see much use

Other modifications include bringing the input, release time & output controls through the front panel and fitting knobs, making it a lot easier to use. I’ve also fitted XLR connectors to the back panel

This is a transistor-based unit operating in Class A with no opamps. It has transformers on the input & output and there’s an interstage transformer, similar to a valve unit. The Solid Statesman has a less-than-stellar reputation sonically but I can say that, after a few mods, it sounds great and works wonderfully as a brutal limiter. It excels as a parallel compressor on the drum bus

“Among a MILLION other things I got while the board was down was a Gates Solid Statesman. I read that they were really gritty and good for guitars, but I tried mine on kick drum and was blown away. It gave the kick a definite hit to the chest quality that was so cool”

“It works well for most independent signals and well in a bus full of complex signals. …it can be very good on snare or kick even at high tempo double kick like extreme metal
live kick sound. Adds a very satisfying splatyness that even an 1176 can’t quite get without going too far and pumping down if you know what I mean.

Try it on bass and piano – it’s remarkably clean and, due to the fat transformers, imparts a solidity to digital piano that is a joy.”

“I love the Solid Statesman and have used the limiter in many applications that I might use an 1176. It only gets better that they are so ridiculously inexpensive to boot… You would not want one as your only Limiter but I have had loads of fun with mine and wouldn’t sell it.”

“You can turn the compressor limiter off and overdrive its amp and output transformer to hell and use it on electric piano, sounds gnarly! Not everything I want to use on a rock and roll record will sound good enchained in a classical music recording”

“This is a unit of evil. It exists pretty much to smash tracks and distorts quite wonderfully as you push the input – It’s by no means a Swiss Army knife sorta multitasker, but what it does, it does with appropriate horror”

There is more than one model of Solid Statesman limiter and I have two more in prep

Deep 2U rack mount

Gearslutz discussion


In good vintage condition with many case marks. The Solid Statesman is in a steel & aluminium chassis that can take lots of punishment