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2020 Vari-Mu with a strong character
Old 12th June 2020
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrane View Post
No but I do have Overstayer Saturator and MAS and UBK Fatso that I occassionally use as a distortion box. Also some Aurora Audio preamps I can overdrive to get some fat distortion.

Thanks for the tip, I'm sure these are great tools and there might come a time for checking these out as well but here besides distortion I also need the MU compression characteristics.

On suggestions form here, Highland and HCL units seem to be the most interesting by now. My "audio dealer" wants to sell me a Manley since he has straight relations to the factory and in the beginning I really wanted a Manley but I've now found more interesting sutff on the way, haha .


-- M
There's a long Vari Mu post from 2016 and it doesn't seem like that much has changed.
Old 12th June 2020
  #32
Gear Nut
 
copiapoa's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrane View Post
Thanks everybody for your answers...Would be cool to get some more...

I've read most of the Vari-Mu threads here and in Mastering forum...But the problem is, there people use their super compressors only in the master bus and discuss about which is best for that and why...

I will definitely check out Handcrafted Labs stuff...Anyone owning a Varis or Islander care to smash some drums and ac guitars through their units so that I (and all the others) could hear the character?

-- M
https://soundcloud.com/yuriy-smalius...dcraftedlabspl

https://soundcloud.com/gennadii-burz...lander-samples
Old 14th June 2020
  #33
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Ben F's Avatar
There is also this beauty

http://magicdeatheye.com/stereo-compressor/

Would love to try one out.
Old 14th June 2020
  #34
Gear Nut
 
BOMI's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
There is also this beauty

http://magicdeatheye.com/stereo-compressor/

Would love to try one out.
Magnifico
Old 4th August 2020
  #35
Here for the gear
 

The Locomotive 14B is an awesome vari-mu. I just bought one and love it. The SOS review has audio samples that you can download.
Old 4th August 2020
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted a2500d9 View Post
My understanding is that Thermionic has sorted the build quality a few years ago so if you are buying new or buying used (manufactured within the past 3 years) you will be fine. That said I haven’t used it for 10 years so cannot comment on its longevity.
oh man - I really wish there was some kind of confirmation of this, as I always loved the sound of the Phoenix but didn't want the TON of technical problems some unlucky users on here have had.
Old 4th August 2020
  #37
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
oh man - I really wish there was some kind of confirmation of this, as I always loved the sound of the Phoenix but didn't want the TON of technical problems some unlucky users on here have had.
Avoided them for that reason too. Apparently QC is better nowadays, but unfortunately once a rep gets around it's hard to shake!
Old 4th August 2020
  #38
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
There is also this beauty

http://magicdeatheye.com/stereo-compressor/

Would love to try one out.
@ Wiggy Neve Slut has one of those beauts on order if I'm not mistaken!
Old 4th August 2020
  #39
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Avoided them for that reason too. Apparently QC is better nowadays, but unfortunately once a rep gets around it's hard to shake!
Pretty sure a user on here had a issue with their Swift (fairly new product) - so won't hold my breath tbh!

I still feel pissed off that their stuff is cheaper to ship from USA than it is to buy in UK too
Old 4th August 2020
  #40
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
Pretty sure a user on here had a issue with their Swift (fairly new product) - so won't hold my breath tbh!

I still feel pissed off that their stuff is cheaper to ship from USA than it is to buy in UK too
Before the lockdown I went to a studio to mix a few tracks for someone and the owner had just got in a Phoenix Mastering Plus and The Swift (balanced) for his mix bus.

Wow, I was blown away by the sound, it was just sublime!

It had that 3D width and depth like falling into a well of sound, reminded me of those expansive and expensive sounding Dave Gilmour albums.

I put an SSL VCA before the Phoenix to get some bounce going and then hit the Phoenix inputs quite hard to get this beautiful euphoric sound going with only a few dB of GR on the Phoenix.

Then The Swift has these beautiful curves to the filters and I was genuinely blown away by the presence and air bands - just so smooth and not a hint of harshness just open sounding for miles - and the Low Shelf filter - wow - smooth, warm, tight bass. Big!

People talk about plugins - pah ....I have never heard digital sound like these Thermionic units.

Personally I thought the build quality of the units looked fantastic and they felt very professional to use, though I don't think the owner had had them that long, so I didn't ask about reliability.

But the sound - or crikey those two Thermionic units are my kinda sound.

Unfortunately, they are way out of my budget for outboard but if I ever win the lottery I'll be putting in an order!
Old 4th August 2020
  #41
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Before the lockdown I went to a studio to mix a few tracks for someone and the owner had just got in a Phoenix Mastering Plus and The Swift (balanced) for his mix bus.

Wow, I was blown away by the sound, it was just sublime!

It had that 3D width and depth like falling into a well of sound, reminded me of those expansive and expensive sounding Dave Gilmour albums.

I put an SSL VCA before the Phoenix to get some bounce going and then hit the Phoenix inputs quite hard to get this beautiful euphoric sound going with only a few dB of GR on the Phoenix.

Then The Swift has these beautiful curves to the filters and I was genuinely blown away by the presence and air bands - just so smooth and not a hint of harshness just open sounding for miles - and the Low Shelf filter - wow - smooth, warm, tight bass. Big!

People talk about plugins - pah ....I have never heard digital sound like these Thermionic units.

Personally I thought the build quality of the units looked fantastic and they felt very professional to use, though I don't think the owner had had them that long, so I didn't ask about reliability.

But the sound - or crikey those two Thermionic units are my kinda sound.

Unfortunately, they are way out of my budget for outboard but if I ever win the lottery I'll be putting in an order!
....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
Pretty sure a user on here had a issue with their Swift (fairly new product) - so won't hold my breath tbh!

I still feel pissed off that their stuff is cheaper to ship from USA than it is to buy in UK too
Case in point!

I've spoken to SXPro about the Phoenix a few times fwiw, they've been open to deals.
Old 5th August 2020
  #42
Gear Maniac
 

its a shame the Phoenix is THE comp that ticks 99% of users boxes. Its good for tracking/mix/vocals/drumbus and has character! I've heard it on hip hop, techno all sorts of stuff, sounds great!

unfortunately they can't do stereo units that reliably match L+R it seems (one of many issues people have complained of other the years), even with stepped controls! everyone else manages this, why not them?
Old 5th August 2020
  #43
Here for the gear
+1 for the TC Phoenix
Old 5th August 2020
  #44
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
its a shame the Phoenix is THE comp that ticks 99% of users boxes. Its good for tracking/mix/vocals/drumbus and has character! I've heard it on hip hop, techno all sorts of stuff, sounds great!

unfortunately they can't do stereo units that reliably match L+R it seems (one of many issues people have complained of other the years), even with stepped controls! everyone else manages this, why not them?
Yes, your right they also make great tracking compressors too, especially vocals, bass and acoustic guitar.

I must say, on the times I've used the Mastering Plus Version with the 24 position ELMA rotary input switch and stepped output pots I had absolutely no issue with L+R balance it seemed as accurate as anything else tube I've used over the years.

If I wasn't about to pay for my son's to go through university then I wouldn't hesitate buying one (and a Swift EQ) I'd be using them on everything, also the Phoenix sounds bl**dy fantastic smashing a drum bus in parallel.

Definitely my current all around favourite vari-mu comp.

Al Scmitt and Dave Gilmour use a Phoenix MP on their records so Thermionic must be doing something right!

But I get it, it you're not 100% confident in a product it's hard to make the purchase, especially when it's a big investment.
Old 5th August 2020
  #45
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
I must say, on the times I've used the Mastering Plus Version with the 24 position ELMA rotary input switch and stepped output pots I had absolutely no issue with L+R balance it seemed as accurate as anything else tube I've used over the years.
lucky you - other users less so...
Old 5th August 2020
  #46
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
lucky you - other users less so...
Lucky indeed!

I think Thermionic have listened to user feedback and seen the complaints from a few years back and upped their build quality.
Old 5th August 2020
  #47
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Lucky indeed!

I think Thermionic have listened to user feedback and seen the complaints from a few years back and upped their build quality.
cool - I'll send you the repair bill
Old 5th August 2020
  #48
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
cool - I'll send you the repair bill
Lol ....
Old 5th August 2020
  #49
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Lol ....
sorry I know!

its just if I hadn't read so many user complaints about wonky Thermionic Culture gear on here over the years I'd be more enthusiastic. massive shame as I've never heard a single complaint about how their stuff sounds. I'd 100% have a Fat Bustard and a Phoenix by now otherwise!
Old 6th August 2020
  #50
I love Thermionic Culture. I agree the last few years things have seemed very solid based in customer feedback. Also Chandler RS124. Chandler make some of the best gear around, very solid.
Old 6th August 2020
  #51
Here for the gear
 
Space Man's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEED View Post
oh man - I really wish there was some kind of confirmation of this, as I always loved the sound of the Phoenix but didn't want the TON of technical problems some unlucky users on here have had.
I got a TC Pheonix earlier this year and just LOVE it, as has been mentioned by others in this thread the sound is just amazing. I can confirm that build quality is great on this unit I’ve had no technical issues and mine has remained matched well so far. Thermionic provides you with a small screwdriver tool do you can calibrate the VU meters L + R of each channel if required to ensure matching GR. Just like having to tune an instrument every so often it’s not that big of a deal and IMO well worth it for the sound you get out of this unit. I can and do use it on everything, tracking, mixing, 2 bus, drum bus etc etc. It’s capable of much and the more I use it and get to know it’s quirks and capabilities... the more I love it.
I had wanted a Pheonix for years, don’t let others horror stories hold you back, they gave me pause but I’m happy I took the plunge.
Old 6th August 2020
  #52
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Man View Post
I got a TC Pheonix earlier this year and just LOVE it, as has been mentioned by others in this thread the sound is just amazing. I can confirm that build quality is great on this unit I’ve had no technical issues and mine has remained matched well so far. Thermionic provides you with a small screwdriver tool do you can calibrate the VU meters L + R of each channel if required to ensure matching GR. Just like having to tune an instrument every so often it’s not that big of a deal and IMO well worth it for the sound you get out of this unit. I can and do use it on everything, tracking, mixing, 2 bus, drum bus etc etc. It’s capable of much and the more I use it and get to know it’s quirks and capabilities... the more I love it.
I had wanted a Pheonix for years, don’t let others horror stories hold you back, they gave me pause but I’m happy I took the plunge.
good to hear - although I tend to buy used audio gear in general, so without knowing serial numbers affected etc its still a risky purchase for me. if I've got the coin to buy a new unit off the shelf on day that comes with a guarantee one day (not completely impossible) maybe I'll give it a shot.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #53
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Bigbang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
I've heard them, same league. Great sound.
Working with the Vacuvox U23s is different from listening to a few processed samples. The U23s are very versatile. They excel on mix-buss, drum-bass, lead vocal, and bass. You really should try them out for a week or so.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #54
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
I just received the Highland Dynamics BG2 and it bout makes me sh^t my damn self every time I run something through it... it’s gorgeous
I picked up a second and you can link them just FYI... and then I sh^t myself two times
Old 4 weeks ago
  #55
Lives for gear
 

Can anyone share their experience comparing a BG2 to a Retro 176 or STA Level. Love my Retro comps but considering selling the 176 for a BG2 for something different
Old 4 weeks ago
  #56
Lives for gear
 

I've had my Phoenix Mastering for two years (along with a Vulture Super15), not a single issue. Build quality is great, sound is incredible. My one criticism is the feel of the output knobs, which seem to be of a lesser quality than all of the other controls, which are all really solid.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #57
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Whilst I loved my old 6386 manley vari MU, its not be first calling for drums.

Curious about the Tegeler remote controlled mu. A digi controlled 33609 or compex would be pretty sick!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #58
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sleepyhollos's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollieneedham View Post
I have a Thermionic Culture Phoenix Mastering compressor and it's brilliant. Sounds incredible, used most days. My only gripe is the quality/feel of the output knobs. The rest of the controls on the unit are all very solid but the output ones take some attention to ensure they're matched, despite being stepped.
probably similar to the stepped knobs on the Fat Bustard. Those are, in my opinion, terrible! Nice sounding unit though I think.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #59
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrane View Post
Thanks everybody for your answers...Would be cool to get some more...

I've got the Manley Vari-Mu with TBar and HPF. Great sounding unit, rock solid, killer overall.

I've got a pair of Weight Tank Comps which are also VariMu and sound great as well. Different. They get used on guitars a lot.

I've got a single V Comp from Audio-Scape - essentially a modernized Sta Level. Also great. I'm thinking maybe a bit too heavy for my particular mix bus uses, but really awesome on Bass, vocals, etc..

And....I'm kinda in the market for a stereo pair that I can alternate on 2 Bus with the Manley. Something vibey, but different than the Manley.


Right now, the main contenders are :

Locomotive Audio 14B. Tilts a bit towards a HF lift where the Manley pushes towards warm. Their new direct sales pricing has made them a SERIOUS contender IMO

A second V Comp, but I have the feeling that it will end up on individual tracks more than it would the stereo bus, so it's maybe a touch less of a priority.

And, the runner up for me would be the highland dynamics BG1 stereo unit.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #60
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midmost's Avatar
HCL Varis

relatively affordable but mojo and character for days
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