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AML 54f50 vs Manley Vari Mu
Old 5th June 2015
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

AML 54f50 vs Manley Vari Mu

Hey sports fans,

I'm looking for a stereo comp with character, weight, and color to compliment my Serpent Audio 4001.

My intended use is on the mix bus, and/or when mastering things myself. Being able to track with it would be great to, though not mandatory as I've got some other nice comps for mono sources.

Anyway, I'm eyeing 2x AML 54f50's or a Manley Vari Mu...

Is there a clear winner? Another option I should be considering?

Thanks!
Old 5th June 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Hi
Those two are completely different animals, different technologies with individual strengths and weaknesses and will both be fantastic at many things but not necessarily the same.
Spending this sort of money you should audition them for yourself.
Matt S
Old 5th June 2015
  #3
Gear Nut
 
duo jet's Avatar
Maybe consider a sweet EQ to compliment the viby, super tweakable comp you already have on your 2bus.

Retro 2A3 seems to be in your price range.
Old 5th June 2015
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
Those two are completely different animals, different technologies with individual strengths and weaknesses and will both be fantastic at many things but not necessarily the same.
Spending this sort of money you should audition them for yourself.
Matt S
Sound advice (pardon the pun). I live in Canada, and there's no way to audition the 54f50 ... I'm sure I can get my hands on a Vari Mu tho.
Old 5th June 2015
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by duo jet View Post
Maybe consider a sweet EQ to compliment the viby, super tweakable comp you already have on your 2bus.

Retro 2A3 seems to be in your price range.
I've got a number stereo options for eq that I use now... But still not quite the flavor and weight that I'm after.

I imagine it will be a combination of things that will get me the weight I'm after...
Old 5th June 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0b0 View Post
Sound advice (pardon the pun). I live in Canada, and there's no way to audition the 54f50 ... I'm sure I can get my hands on a Vari Mu tho.
There are now some youtube samples here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/Audiomaintenance

Colin
Audio Maintenance Limited - Support Zone
Old 5th June 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slenderchap View Post
Thanks, Colin!

I actually had a listen to these yesterday -- sounds great! It's actually in part what's made me wonder if they're potentially the right "next comp" for me that fills the gaps I've identified.

As an aside, Colin -- you need a Canadian distributor. Cheers!
Old 5th June 2015
  #8
Gear Addict
 
t-hiho's Avatar
Just a short comparison, not level matched:

ADDA loopback dry (Lynx Aurora 16 @ 48k, Antelope 10M):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qhrdproind...pback.wav?dl=0

AML 45F50:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e20dfxzgbb...45F50.wav?dl=0

Manley Varimu (10dB limiter mono block, first rev):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ofil73pxn3...arimu.wav?dl=0

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (early rev):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t5ipem1pv7..._SHMC.wav?dl=0

Dangerous BAX Compressor:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4bz9cge1h5...t_BAX.wav?dl=0

Anamod 660 VPR-module:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4dpfivo94h...od660.wav?dl=0

AL.SO Dynax 2:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0f3n8fht55..._ALSO.wav?dl=0

The song is an all acoustic session done in 2011, all live, all real instruments and amps, premixed ITB to one mono stem and then compressed with roughly similar settings (4:1, relatively fast attack, medium release).

I really LOVE the AML45F50 - currently thinking of buying one more. It sounds just so wellknown and simply "right"! Best sound I recorded for a long time was a snaredrum with an old KM84 via AMS Neve 1073LB pre into AML 45F50 comp - just simply magic - nothing comes close, I've put my AMS 2264ALB to rest since that day.

The Manley seems to steal away some bass frequencies. By doing that it seems to focus on the midrange in a very beautiful way. Not right for bassheavy music, but sometimes it can really help clearing things up.

What I consider very interesting is the fact, that many compressors out there tend to overreact on certain mixing situations, again and again. Typical "overreactors" to me are e.g. Anamod 660, Amek 9098, Manley Varimu, Drawmer 1960, Valley People Dynamite, AMS 2264ALB, Great River PWM501, Spectra Sonics 610, DBX160S. On the opposite side we'd have candidades like the Shadow Hills MC, Retro 176, AML45F50, Tube Tech CL1B, UA LA2A, Also Dynax 2, Pendulum OCL, Vac Rac, Summit TLA100 and ADR Compex. While I really like that overreacting compressor sound, I find it much faster to get a nice result with the tamer ones mentioned. How do you feel about this? Am I nuts, regarding the wild variety of circuit designs mentioned in my list?
Old 5th June 2015
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t-hiho View Post
Just a short comparison, not level matched:

ADDA loopback dry (Lynx Aurora 16 @ 48k, Antelope 10M):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qhrdproind...pback.wav?dl=0

AML 45F50:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e20dfxzgbb...45F50.wav?dl=0

Manley Varimu (10dB limiter mono block, first rev):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ofil73pxn3...arimu.wav?dl=0

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (early rev):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t5ipem1pv7..._SHMC.wav?dl=0

Dangerous BAX Compressor:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4bz9cge1h5...t_BAX.wav?dl=0

Anamod 660 VPR-module:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4dpfivo94h...od660.wav?dl=0

AL.SO Dynax 2:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0f3n8fht55..._ALSO.wav?dl=0

The song is an all acoustic session done in 2011, all live, all real instruments and amps, premixed ITB to one mono stem and then compressed with roughly similar settings (4:1, relatively fast attack, medium release).

I really LOVE the AML45F50 - currently thinking of buying one more. It sounds just so wellknown and simply "right"! Best sound I recorded for a long time was a snaredrum with an old KM84 via AMS Neve 1073LB pre into AML 45F50 comp - just simply magic - nothing comes close, I've put my AMS 2264ALB to rest since that day.

The Manley seems to steal away some bass frequencies. By doing that it seems to focus on the midrange in a very beautiful way. Not right for bassheavy music, but sometimes it can really help clearing things up.

What I consider very interesting is the fact, that many compressors out there tend to overreact on certain mixing situations, again and again. Typical "overreactors" to me are e.g. Anamod 660, Amek 9098, Manley Varimu, Drawmer 1960, Valley People Dynamite, AMS 2264ALB, Great River PWM501, Spectra Sonics 610, DBX160S. On the opposite side we'd have candidades like the Shadow Hills MC, Retro 176, AML45F50, Tube Tech CL1B, UA LA2A, Also Dynax 2, Pendulum OCL, Vac Rac, Summit TLA100 and ADR Compex. While I really like that overreacting compressor sound, I find it much faster to get a nice result with the tamer ones mentioned. How do you feel about this? Am I nuts, regarding the wild variety of circuit designs mentioned in my list?
What a great post -- thank you!

Super interesting to listen to them all. Certainly there are nuances, many more slight than others in the grand scheme of things.

I can truly say that none of them sound bad, and can truly say that the mix itself is great (which is a double edge sword in comparing the comps).

With this particular tune, I don't hear the Vari Mu softening too much bass, and in fact I think the high end is a bit sweeter (though that may be a volume difference).

That said; I think I know what you mean about the 54f50 just sounding 'familiar'. Sounds really great.

So yeah...thanks for doing this! Lots to think about.
Old 5th June 2015
  #10
The Manley is very sweet, and is one of the best complements to the Serpent. If that's what you decide on get one with the T bar mod and low frequency side chain option. It makes it significantly more flexible than without those added.
Old 5th June 2015
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0b0 View Post
Hey sports fans,

I'm looking for a stereo comp with character, weight, and color to compliment my Serpent Audio 4001.

My intended use is on the mix bus, and/or when mastering things myself. Being able to track with it would be great to, though not mandatory as I've got some other nice comps for mono sources.

Anyway, I'm eyeing 2x AML 54f50's or a Manley Vari Mu...

Is there a clear winner? Another option I should be considering?

Thanks!
I have both. Both are great. The AML gets more use. While the AML has a sparkle about the highs the Manley is quite a bit brighter. It doesn't though have have the authority/weight in the lows that the AML has. We recently moved the Manley into our mastering room. The AML is great for both tracking and mixing. There are few songs done here that don't get some AML love.
Old 6th June 2015
  #12
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I have both. Both are great. The AML gets more use. While the AML has a sparkle about the highs the Manley is quite a bit brighter. It doesn't though have have the authority/weight in the lows that the AML has. We recently moved the Manley into our mastering room. The AML is great for both tracking and mixing. There are few songs done here that don't get some AML love.
How is the AML on mix buss or as a mastering compressor?

I am just dying to get my hands on a pair of these at some point!
Old 6th June 2015
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
How is the AML on mix buss or as a mastering compressor?

I am just dying to get my hands on a pair of these at some point!
I don't do mastering so no idea on that. It's cool on mix (though I still prefer the obsidian 90% of the time)
Old 7th June 2015
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I don't do mastering so no idea on that. It's cool on mix (though I still prefer the obsidian 90% of the time)
Trev -- what do you usually use the 54f50's on? I interpreted your comments to be that you used them on the mix bus....

Cheers!
Old 7th June 2015
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0b0 View Post
Trev -- what do you usually use the 54f50's on? I interpreted your comments to be that you used them on the mix bus....

Cheers!
Sorry. Just spotted this. Anything where I need a bit of authority and a little fairy dust on the top end. I've tried it on most everything from vocals, to acoustic guitars, to piano and strings.
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