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Manley Variable-Mu NOT on mix buss or mastering
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lowswing
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14th August 2006
Old 14th August 2006
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Manley Variable-Mu NOT on mix buss or mastering

anyone using Manley Variable-Mu for any other application than buss work or mastering?
where else does it shines?
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14th August 2006
Old 14th August 2006
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I have just done a record at a studio that has one. I used it on Bass guitar tracking. It was pretty good for that. To me the Manley is a pretty slow compressor...didn't care for the behavior of it on some of the things I had tried it on. A Neve 33609 was used on vox and guitars on this particular record for tracking. I did run the kick and the snare through it and and barely touched it and it did ad a bit of tube sound to the signal. The preamp was neve 1073 Brent Averill on kick and snare. Pretty lovely.

-C
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14th August 2006
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We have a Manley mu (from the DM days) with 6386 tubes. It is nice on bass guitar, and drum room mics when you want a thump in the lower midrange but not the extreme low end. It also works well when matched with U67s on our piano (which naturally has a very dark sound).
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14th August 2006
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we track alot through our Var-Mu. vocals, piano, guitars, bass (usually electric...though sometimes upright)...basically almost any acoustic instrument. we tend to
use other compressors for fast-attack type things like drums and trombone, etc.

i'm also replying to this thread to give a shout-out to their maintainence deptartment. we have sent 2 of our 3 units back for refurb/repair and they always do it pretty quickly and affordably. great support from Manley all around in our experience. sorry...kind of off the subject, but i just had to give them a public thanks.

marty.
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15th August 2006
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Just used one tracking bass a few weeks ago, really gave some glue and warmth to the DI'ed bass.
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15th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marty lester View Post
i'm also replying to this thread to give a shout-out to their maintainence deptartment. we have sent 2 of our 3 units back for refurb/repair and they always do it pretty quickly and affordably. great support from Manley all around in our experience. sorry...kind of off the subject, but i just had to give them a public thanks.

marty.
You're telling me!
I sent my Vari-mu in for the T-bar and sidechain mods and he got it done just a couple of days after receiving it. I don't think I've ever had anyone work on my gear so quickly!

I've used mine tracking vocals and bass with good luck. Unintentionally got a very cool 70's era "Ozzy" sound when double tracking vocals with it using the same settings on both tracks... when the singer got loud and hit it a bit harder it did that weird stoner phasing thing....
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15th August 2006
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Like most, I use the Vari-Mu for traditional mix buss/mastering but also use it for tracking. While not as fast as a VCA comp, I don't find it slow enough to be a problem most of the time.
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15th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowswing View Post
where else does it shines?

For a portable radiator in the winter time and for a hot skillet for cooking eggs and bacon for early morning sessions.


Lately i've been trying it out for grilled cheese sandwhiches...works great.
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15th August 2006
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I hate it on Mix Buss... it's cool for some drum buss work and vocal work but I really hate it for 2 buss applications.

As always, YMMV.
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15th August 2006
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used it on drum overheads and drum rooms its in the mp3 section.
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16th August 2006
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I like it on accoustic stringed instruments, especially mandolin and violin. With the input up, the output down and just a bit of compression, it does that tube warmy thing real nice. Also great on drum OH.
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sweet on vocals group
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12th October 2006
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Paired with a very open-sounding Neumann M149, the Vari-Mu gives vocal tracks that lo-mid wunk that just sounds meaty as hell. I can't get that tone any other way.
My philosophy of tracking now digital when I used to track Analog/Studer/Dolby SR
has really changed. To my ear digital really demands capturing very rich low end on the way in.
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12th October 2006
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Hi

There are some mastering options available for the vari-mu. thumbsup

http://www.manleylabs.com/containerpages/mu99.html#mods

And there is a special mastering version of the Vari-mu.

If should order a Vari-Mu today, I would probably include at least the 'Mid/Side mod upgrade'. If planing to use it on a stereo mix.
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12th October 2006
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Drum OH!!!!
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12th October 2006
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I do not know of anything where I would not like the Therm Phoenix better.
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12th October 2006
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the record i'm mixing right now it has performed quite wonderfully as a guitar sub mix comp, and today it turned out to be the most amazing string sub mix compressor, try it in limit mode on a string sub mix, and eq to taste, sounds quite tasty to me
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12th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I do not know of anything where I would not like the Therm Phoenix better.
I know a couple of places where I prefer the Manley to the Thermionic [have them both]. There are some vocals where the Therminoic is a bit too euphoric and the Manley controls them in a fuller, clearer manner. There are some bass applications where the Manley smokes the Thermionic on like the mic channel [which I'll run through an IBP then sum with the DI channel and run the sum through an MC-77 for master bass compression].

They're two different boxes with two different tones for what I have found to be different applications... as always, YMMV.
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I also don't like it for most mix bus applications. Especially with a faster attack, I don't like what it does with the low end. But maybe I just need the side chain, and or T-bar mod. Oddly though I will use it for rock bass. (maybe for the same reason others like the 1176 there, it kind of screws the sublows, but the low/mid lows sound kind of cool.) I really started wondering if I didn't know what I was doing with it for a while because it seemed so many other people seemed to like it for the mix bus. Then I heard the mixes and thought, "yeah, that's what I don't like about the box." Oh well, at least somebody agrees. I will use it an many other applications, so overall I'm happy with it. Manley service is great!
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In thinking about it a bit more... there are several acoustic instrument applications where I would prefer the Manley to the Thermionic as well... though in that regard there are probably more acoustic instrument applications where the Pendulum Audio ES-8 might be the best choice of the group.

As always, YMMV.
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I would never even consider using it on the stereo buss. I hate it on vocals, too.
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15th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
I hate it on Mix Buss... it's cool for some drum buss work and vocal work but I really hate it for 2 buss applications.

As always, YMMV.
Hi Fletcher !

What compressor would you prefer for 2-buss electronic music ( House stuff )



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16th June 2008
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I've gone through different phases of loving, then hating it, then loving it.

A few tricks I've found to loving it on the 2 bus: T-Bar Mod, Hi Pass Mod, don't expect it to be an SSL comp. It's not tight and punchy, it's more of an oozy glue. Nora Jones type artist? Great. Modern Metal or Urban R&B? No. However if you try it after a tight punchy bus comp you might like the added glue and control, especially with the hi pass filter option. Of course with 2 bus comps, your getting close to mastering and there's a decent chance your mastering engineer might have one anyway. In general, those meters should barely be moving, -3db on this is way too much. Compress mode (not Limit).

Like others, I've found it very nice on bass and vocals. It is also great for adding flavor, thickness, and some level control to synths (especially digital synths).
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16th June 2008
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I used it for everything ..set it right and it works for anything. '
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16th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flex nes View Post
Hi Fletcher !

What compressor would you prefer for 2-buss electronic music ( House stuff )
I've never heard your music so it's pretty difficult to comment. On the bit of "house" stuff I've done I've found the Dramastic Audio "Obsidian" to give me a bit of an aggressive edge without sacrifice to the integrity of the audio or "pumping and breathing" in what I consider to be a manner that interferes with the music.

As always, YMMV.

Peace.
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16th June 2008
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I'm using the mono version (sometimes called the Lim-com in the early 90's)..anyway it still has its 6386 so I expected it to be amazing, and honestly
except for bass guitar havent found it too useful any for anything else. Its not
horrible, I'm still in the quest for the perfect setting...and it too runs HOT so its not on unless It's part of the recording channel that day.
Next drum session I'm assigning it to mono room mic/comp duty and see how that
works out.

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22nd March 2010
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anyone else wanna chime in?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
anyone else wanna chime in?


I use mine for re-amping bass (sometimes) Sig chain = Out of tools into the Manley then into a Radial JD7 then bass head etc.... I find it works well in limit mode to get a bit more of a leveled off signal to the bass amp.

To be honest, it's my least fav piece of outboard compression that I own in the studio, it's really limited IMO in its uses, and mine has always sounded a little flat / almost digital....
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22nd March 2010
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Often used for vocals, tracking and mixing purposes, sometimes on bass tracks....rarely for mastering, never on mix bus, response just doesnt work for the music I deal with!I like pushing lifeless vocals to high input stages!
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