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Tube compressor shoot-out: Pendulum ES-8 vs QES Labs Variable-Gm Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 21st September 2012
  #31
Registered User
One more: By chance I heard the samples with a very low quality playback system barely above a kitchen radio with small speakers and no real bass frequencies. In this context the ES-8 delivered the most consistent and pleasant sound with most definition of the bass notes. The 747 was again less defined and a little clouded and the Variable-Gm with its emphasis on the midrange was a little harsh.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
M.o.T.s's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundKlang View Post
One more: By chance I heard the samples with a very low quality playback system barely above a kitchen radio with small speakers and no real bass frequencies. In this context the ES-8 delivered the most consistent and pleasant sound with most definition of the bass notes. The 747 was again less defined and a little clouded and the Variable-Gm with its emphasis on the midrange was a little harsh.
Ironically I've had a similar listen through some laptop speakers, then level adjusting.
Overall the Variable Gm won hands down, solid still not in the mud, the ES-8 was not as thick sounding, but very balanced. With it's veil, did not like the 747 at all.
The bottom end was more 'perceivable' through the Variable Gm sample, the ES-8 was more neutral on lows, while the Variable Gm was warmer.

Thanks for the test.
Old 25th September 2012
  #33
Registered User
Just thought the definition in the bass notes with the ES-8 was interesting and wanted to share that impression. With the little I know about perception of bass frequencies when the fundamental frequency is missing (small loudspeakers) - isn't that telling something about the quality of phase coherence in the ES-8? I am not saying here, that highest precision is always the goal.

Of course these devices may not be judged by playback with small loudspeakers. But still a lot of people listen through small playback systems. So I would not disregard them completely.

About the 'veil' in my 747 samples: please keep in mind that at least 50% of it is due to the lower quality of my DA conversion. Will post an update after getting a better DA.
Old 27th September 2012
  #34
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M.o.T.s's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundKlang View Post
Of course these devices may not be judged by playback with small loudspeakers. But still a lot of people listen through small playback systems. So I would not disregard them completely.
Sure! I agree with you!
Just for fun, I've had a listen through my iPod earpieces.
Still preferred the sparkle and solid body of Variable Gm sample over the ES-8.
Just my $0.02
Old 12th December 2012
  #35
Gear Maniac
 
Tanio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by M.o.T.s View Post
Overall the Variable Gm won hands down, solid still not in the mud, the ES-8 was not as thick sounding, but very balanced. With it's veil, did not like the 747 at all.
The bottom end was more 'perceivable' through the Variable Gm sample, the ES-8 was more neutral on lows, while the Variable Gm was warmer.
Got the same impression. Another flag for the Variable Gm.
Old 12th December 2012
  #36
Registered User
More samples with the QES Variable Gm on drums (and other highly acclaimed compressors like Manley Vari-Mu, Api 2500 and so on): High End Drum Bus Compressor suggestions.

And here only the QES Variable Gm, but on different sources: Qes Labs Variable-GM Compressor/Limiter (sounds and pictures).
Old 27th December 2012
  #37
The change on the tubes, can create a different unit
Old 27th December 2012
  #38
May be the Tesla E88cc that will work if you want something round.
Old 11th January 2013
  #39
Gear Maniac
 
Resis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBM View Post
The change on the tubes, can create a different unit
If I'm not wrong, I think those vari-mu comps can be based on the 6386 tubes.
The 6386 uses the gain control tube which is a remote cutoff triode, found in the vintage Fairchild limiters to provide the classic feedback response unique to the characteristics of this class of compression.
Old 26th September 2013
  #40
reactivating that old thread.

I just listened to the soundsamples yesterday. Levelmatched them and did a blind test with headphones (AKG 271)

It`s a pity that the QES seems to have faster attack and release times and heavier compression than the Pendulum. Anyway, I picked as my favorite the QES Variable-GM! I liked what it did to the signal and imagined what it else could do with proper settings. It imparted some kind of "The-Track-Is-Ready"-vibe which the Pendulum didn`t impart at all (at least to me).
Actually I had a hard time picking #2. In the end I voted the original on place #2 and the Pendulum on #3 Again, I did a levelmatched blindtest.

Anyway, I am very interested in the QES Labs Variable-GM and wonder why there is hardly information (reviews, tests, user comments, soundsamples... ) in the web.
Maybe somebody who owns the Variable-GM can chime in and tell us their impressions about it. I`d love to know about the build quality and if somebody already had to send it back because it was broken and things like that. I had some mail conversations with Val who seems to be a very nice, fair and technically skilled guy – But is his support and service nice and fair too? I believe in it and I trust him, but reading other person`s experiences can`t be wrong too =)

Cheers,
T.
Old 3rd February 2018
  #41
Gear Head
 

LUFs matched I dig the QES Labs (most natural, most inviting) and the PL-2 (most finished sound) the most. Thanks for this!!
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