After a more careful listening through good monitors, I have to say that the comparison between the Variable-Gm and the ES-8 is embarassing.
The es-8 looks like a digital plug-in, too bright for my tastes, and squeezed.
The stereo openness the vari-gm imparts to the 2-bus is wonderful, nice also with the pl-2, didn't like that of the es-8.
Again, in the lower end, I liked the variable-gm more of the other two.
ES-8: It was more like I was hearing a little harder sound in the mix, it did not handle the mix the same way as the others.
PL-2: very transparent, across the whole spectrum. A bit cold.
Variable-Gm: my favourite one, offered a big, clear, sound with greater definition. The mix sounded larger and still very musical.
Thanks for the test.
Art is the lie that lets you know the truth.