A brief review of the ART Pro VLA 2
PoorGlory
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#1
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #1
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Thread Starter
A brief review of the ART Pro VLA 2

I just got the new VLA 2 today, and immediately hooked it up and gave it a try. Note: I never owned or used the original VLA (American or Chinese version), so I can't make any comparisons between the two.

So far, I've only tried it on one thing, that being a stereo drum bus for a hard rock tune. One word: Awesome. Way more expensive sounding than the $280 I paid for it. It seems very clean, fat (warm, although I hate that word) sounding... Fast attack times sound really good and natural, not "grabby" at all. It starts to pump at extreme settings, but even those sound good. As far the result on the drum mix, it really "glued" things together, especially where the overheads/room mics were concerned.

Bottom line: I've only played with this for 5 minutes so far. And I can say I am immediately satisfied. After about 1 minute, I said to myself: "I want another one of these."

I realize that kinda sounds like a sales pitch, but its not... trust me.
#2
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #2
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peeder's Avatar
 

Yeah nice to hear they didn't destroy a good thing at least. Would like to hear a comparison opinion from someone who knows how to re-tube and gain stage these units...

(These days I have one of each, JAN Philips 12AT7 retubed, and the VLA II is quite a bit richer and gooier but I still like the VLA I better on drum bus)
#3
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #3
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

In comparison with the old unit, it's a huge step up. Better stereo imaging (it's interesting, in link mode the right side gain pot becomes a pan pot...! so you can tweak if needed) and it has very little self noise, and you gain a ton of control of course over attack / release times vs the switch selectable original VLA. The finely detented pots are very nice also. For under $300 it's a very versatile compressor, ART moved it in the right direction with the II version for sure.

War
#4
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #4
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kingofswing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
In comparison with the old unit, it's a huge step up. Better stereo imaging (it's interesting, in link mode the right side gain pot becomes a pan pot...! so you can tweak if needed) and it has very little self noise, and you gain a ton of control of course over attack / release times vs the switch selectable original VLA. The finely detented pots are very nice also. For under $300 it's a very versatile compressor, ART moved it in the right direction with the II version for sure.

War
Having not heard any Art products, how does the VLA I or II sound on synth sounds? Are we talking transparent compression or something with a little mojo?

Cheers.
#5
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
I have a VLA. I haven't used it on synths because, quite frankly, I almost never compress them. I primarily use it on vocals and bass, for which it is insanely good.

I have run tones and noise through it and it's remarkably flat, even at heavy reduction - what goes in is what comes out, and it's flat. THAT SAID, I don't think the detection circuit is flat. I find that it is a little more sensitive to higher frequencies. I actually like this because it applies some very subtle de-essing if you slam a vocal when I otherwise might need to add a separate de-esser. I can't verify this sensitivity in the detection circuit, I'm just surmizing based on how it reacts to sibiliant vocals vs. pumping white noise through it.

I think the way it reacts to the higher frequencies is why people say it has "character" or "mojo" or whatever. Otherwise, it's very transparent and incredibly smooth. It will pump, but you really need to slam it hard to get it to pump noticeably.

I can't comment about the VLA II as I don't have one. My VLA is the Chinese version BTW.
Quote
1
#6
14th May 2008
Old 14th May 2008
  #6
Gear addict
 
apadua's Avatar
 

I have the Original PRO VLA and use it alot on vocals and Bass.. I use it sometimes on the mix buss for some glue but it would be nice to have the attack and control functions to dial in exactly what i am looking for.I am tempted to try the VLA II.. You are right @ $280 for 2 channels...that is a steal..
Valleyman
#7
11th September 2008
Old 11th September 2008
  #7
Valleyman
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Switchable voltage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorGlory View Post
I just got the new VLA 2 today, and immediately hooked it up and gave it a try.
Just wanted to know if you can switch the voltage without changing the transformer, this was the only option with the vla 1.

regards
Valleyman
TCW
#8
14th September 2008
Old 14th September 2008
  #8
TCW
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Is it possible to get fairly transparent compression (no high freq loss, not too much color) out of the new ART VLA?
#9
14th September 2008
Old 14th September 2008
  #9
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valleyman View Post
Just wanted to know if you can switch the voltage without changing the transformer, this was the only option with the vla 1.

regards
Valleyman
Hey Valleyman- the rear of the VLA 11 unit has a fuse plug, you pull it out and re-insert the plug aligning the 220 v insert. Big relief for me as I bought 2 units- and I was worried that in Oz I needed to buy external step down transformers.

Quote
Is it possible to get fairly transparent compression (no high freq loss, not too much color) out of the new ART VLA?

The VLA 11 is not transparent, smoothens off the high end by taking bright edges away- very useful on drums overheads/rooms. You can use minimise by using lower db gain reduction- but its not transparent even then.

If you want transparent try the neve portico in FF - pretty transparent to about 8 db gain reduction.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
Valleyman
#10
14th September 2008
Old 14th September 2008
  #10
Valleyman
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ART Voltage

Quote:
Originally Posted by asagaai View Post
Hey Valleyman- the rear of the VLA 11 unit has a fuse plug, you pull it out and re-insert the plug aligning the 220 v insert. Big relief for me as I bought 2 units- and I was worried that in Oz I needed to buy external step down transformers.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
That's great news - off to a shopping I go. Where did u get yours from?

Dale
#11
14th September 2008
Old 14th September 2008
  #11
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valleyman View Post
That's great news - off to a shopping I go. Where did u get yours from?

Dale

Hey Dale- I got a couple from Front End Audio.

I got them for drum compression on tracking, just did a session last week, used 2 channels on fathead II's for room mikes, and a 3rd channel on electric bass.

Great sound on the drum room mikes (Fathead 11's->sebatron VMP's->VLA11's->DAW.

On electric bass my favoured buzz essence was occupied on a TM1 3 foot in front of kick, so I had to use a VLA 11 on the electric bass. Is a very large optical bass sound -tubes give it a large softness- needed to eq a fair bit lower out -but a good sound.

I also find the VAL 11's are great to treat snare in parrallel in mix- squashed- you get that pillowy lower cushion, sits well with more aggressive snappy compressors on snare in parrallel in mix

Enjoy

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
#12
14th September 2008
Old 14th September 2008
  #12
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Iggy Poop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by asagaai View Post
Hey Dale- I got a couple from Front End Audio.

I got them for drum compression on tracking, just did a session last week, used 2 channels on fathead II's for room mikes, and a 3rd channel on electric bass.

Great sound on the drum room mikes (Fathead 11's->sebatron VMP's->VLA11's->DAW.

On electric bass my favoured buzz essence was occupied on a TM1 3 foot in front of kick, so I had to use a VLA 11 on the electric bass. Is a very large optical bass sound -tubes give it a large softness- needed to eq a fair bit lower out -but a good sound.

I also find the VAL 11's are great to treat snare in parrallel in mix- squashed- you get that pillowy lower cushion, sits well with more aggressive snappy compressors on snare in parrallel in mix

Enjoy

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
That's a cool idea. The parrallel compression idea seems to be coming up on GS quit a bit lately in different forms. Is this a new or an old trick?
#13
15th September 2008
Old 15th September 2008
  #13
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy Poop View Post
That's a cool idea. The parrallel compression idea seems to be coming up on GS quit a bit lately in different forms. Is this a new or an old trick?
Parrallel or New York compression is an old trick.

However, I have only recently been treating tracks in "parallel"- using triplicate/quadruplicate tracks using different compressors/different settings to get different treatments on each track to get the sonic stamp I am after that is also as a secondary consideration voltage efficient as possible.

If you are eqing as well- need to be careful about phase issues as against other mikes - for instance the treated/eqd parrallel kick/snare may need phase switching as against untreated overheads/room mike/in front of kick LDC.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
#14
11th June 2009
Old 11th June 2009
  #14
Gear interested
 

Techtube Valves

I have just put in 2 Techtube valves into the art pro VLA2
nothing can describe how good it now sounds it is absolutely phenominal ...so fantastically clear and rich...its removed the edgyness sound the VLA produced,
Dont get me wrong I loved the Pro VLA but now I cant leave it alone it sounds so bloody good., The valves I put in are the Ecc82 equivs from Techtube
www.techtubevalves.com!!!!

Im almost sure its now the best sounding compressor I have ever heard for any money

please can someone else do this and confirm!!!!!

Last edited by George Mass; 11th June 2009 at 06:25 PM.. Reason: incorrect web address
#15
24th June 2009
Old 24th June 2009
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Mass View Post
I have just put in 2 Techtube valves into the art pro VLA2
nothing can describe how good it now sounds it is absolutely phenominal ...so fantastically clear and rich...its removed the edgyness sound the VLA produced,
Dont get me wrong I loved the Pro VLA but now I cant leave it alone it sounds so bloody good., The valves I put in are the Ecc82 equivs from Techtube
www.techtubevalves.com!!!!

Im almost sure its now the best sounding compressor I have ever heard for any money

please can someone else do this and confirm!!!!!
Great to know that george! Where did you get that tubes?
#16
24th June 2009
Old 24th June 2009
  #16
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yes - let us know where you were able to purchase them.

Does anyone sell this pre-modded?
#17
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #17
Question

Im still looking forward to get my hand on a pair of that valves.

Maybe someone can help.. Anyone?
#18
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #18
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon View Post
yes - let us know where you were able to purchase them.

Does anyone sell this pre-modded?
Pre-modded? Do you mean with new tubes? It's simply a matter of taking the cover off, popping out the old ones and putting in the new ones. If you can change a light bulb you can swap the tubes out.

Frank
Quote
1
#19
2nd July 2009
Old 2nd July 2009
  #19
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BOWIE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beto_larski View Post
Im still looking forward to get my hand on a pair of that valves.

Maybe someone can help.. Anyone?

You might want to take a look at his post history and decide if you think he's just spamming. Especially due to the fact that he recommended ECC82 (12AU7) tubes in a unit that uses 12AX7s. (EDIT; oops, I meant 12AT7) That's simply bad advice (I'm sorry George Mass, but there's no other way to put it). Also, I don't think they're even available yet. My understanding is that they were having a lot of design issues they had to resolve that delayed their release. A lot of us are hoping that they will be nice but they are going to be expensive and a lot of doubt already surrounds them. We'll see.
D K
#20
2nd July 2009
Old 2nd July 2009
  #20
D K
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Call BOWIE and get a pair of Telefunkens and throw them in there

It made my unit run much hotter (hot to the touch even!) but man does this thing sound the business on the drum bus!!

Hope it doesn't burn up - LOL - cause i am definitely a fan of this box!
#21
3rd July 2009
Old 3rd July 2009
  #21
@Bowie: I have no experience regarding Valves but I figured it out also... So better stick with the mullards!
#22
3rd July 2009
Old 3rd July 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy Poop View Post
The parrallel compression idea seems to be coming up on GS quit a bit lately in different forms. Is this a new or an old trick?
It was a new trick -- around 1965.
#23
8th July 2009
Old 8th July 2009
  #23
I've received a email from Tech Tubes. Their online shop its now up and running, i think i will give these tubes a try.
#24
8th July 2009
Old 8th July 2009
  #24
Gear interested
 

No need for the sceptisim it neither welcome or productive The 12 AU7 (slightly less gain) and 12 ax7 are very similar in gain structure, the problem with the Vla is that the HTvoltage is very low therefore the gain difference is of little consequence, I concluded from that in order to remove part of the element distortion that the VLa produces a different type of tube is required, The tech tube is in my opinion exactly what the VLA needed, However choose the best option that suits you, I believe that you should always get the best you can afford and use it to your best ability,
And as an engineer try to solve the many misteries using your analytical approach to your best endevour,
I have not the time or inclanation to sit at this forum so farewell and good luck.
#25
11th July 2009
Old 11th July 2009
  #25
My VLA-I came with 12AT7's stock.
Has this changed on the VLA-II?
#26
22nd December 2009
Old 22nd December 2009
  #26
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
You might want to take a look at his post history and decide if you think he's just spamming. Especially due to the fact that he recommended ECC82 (12AU7) tubes in a unit that uses 12AX7s. That's simply bad advice (I'm sorry George Mass, but there's no other way to put it). Also, I don't think they're even available yet. My understanding is that they were having a lot of design issues they had to resolve that delayed their release. A lot of us are hoping that they will be nice but they are going to be expensive and a lot of doubt already surrounds them. We'll see.
the pro vla 2 uses ecc82's, not ecc83's. I put a pair of telefunken 12au7's (a nos pair from 1956) and it smoothed out the top end of the compressor TEN FOLD! It is defiantly worth changing the tubes.

I have used the gold JJ Tesla 12au7' in it as well, and they are a VAST improvement over the chinese tubes that came with it.

I find the PRO VLA 2 to be really cool on drum bus, and on bass guitar. I really don't like it on vocals, it is a little too dirty. It is GREAT on a dirty rock vocal, where you want to "filth" up the vocal.

I actually LOVE the single channel ART LEVELAR on vocals. I have a NOS Phillips 12ax7 in mine, and it is simply amazing! I leave it inserted into my vocal channel, and use it 90% of the time.

Defiantly worth the $280 i paid!
#27
31st December 2009
Old 31st December 2009
  #27
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Iggy Poop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by von Wagner View Post
the pro vla 2 uses ecc82's, not ecc83's. I put a pair of telefunken 12au7's (a nos pair from 1956) and it smoothed out the top end of the compressor TEN FOLD! It is defiantly worth changing the tubes.

I have used the gold JJ Tesla 12au7' in it as well, and they are a VAST improvement over the chinese tubes that came with it.

I find the PRO VLA 2 to be really cool on drum bus, and on bass guitar. I really don't like it on vocals, it is a little too dirty. It is GREAT on a dirty rock vocal, where you want to "filth" up the vocal.

I actually LOVE the single channel ART LEVELAR on vocals. I have a NOS Phillips 12ax7 in mine, and it is simply amazing! I leave it inserted into my vocal channel, and use it 90% of the time.

Defiantly worth the $280 i paid!
Just came across this thread and had a question about this. What exactly does the code ecc82 or ecc83 or 81 mean? What does that mean to the application in which you use the tube?
#28
31st December 2009
Old 31st December 2009
  #28
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Iggy Poop's Avatar
 

Nevermind. I just found this: "These are the european ways of identifying what we consider a 12AT7(ECC81), 12AU7(ECC82), and a 12AX7(ECC83)." Question answered.
#29
7th January 2010
Old 7th January 2010
  #29
Gear addict
 
chribble's Avatar
 

UM george mass.

I'm pretty sure the 12au7 has considerably less gain than a 12ax7

with 12ax7 being more closely related to say a 12ay7 or 5751

Retubing Fender amps at the moment and that's my understanding.....

also that website doesn't work for your tubes. Which. You have posted 4 out of you 5 posts about...
#30
9th January 2010
Old 9th January 2010
  #30
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Iggy Poop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
In comparison with the old unit, it's a huge step up. Better stereo imaging (it's interesting, in link mode the right side gain pot becomes a pan pot...! so you can tweak if needed) and it has very little self noise, and you gain a ton of control of course over attack / release times vs the switch selectable original VLA. The finely detented pots are very nice also. For under $300 it's a very versatile compressor, ART moved it in the right direction with the II version for sure.

War
So you're saying it was a big upgrade in features right? But is the overall sound still the same or has that also gotten better in the VLA 2?
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