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Tube compressors
Old 16th February 2013
  #1
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dietrich10's Avatar
Tube compressors

Getting time to take care of the weakest link in my chain.
Summit DCL200 was my first mastering compressor but I have rarely used it in the past year-It is wired in for m/s right now which works nice when needed- i could leave it there and add another valve option in stereo mode.

Replace options Knif Varimu, Manley Varimu and Tubetech SMC.
Main compressor is Foote P3SME
Old 16th February 2013
  #2
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Chris Bauer's Avatar
I also use the FCS P3S ME as the main outboard compressor and, when needed, a Gyraf G10 for some tube coloration. Quite a flexible combination, I think.
Old 17th February 2013
  #3
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Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
I'm very happy with my Manley Vari-Mu. I sometimes use it in combination with an FCS P3S which can be a killer combo. And it integrates well with the rest of my chain. When combined with a few other key units, I get a very nice subtle boost in the lows and highs. Not exactly transparent, but a color I jive with nonetheless.

I would love to try the Knif Vari-Mu II at some point. That's definitely next on my list.
Old 17th February 2013
  #4
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Ben F's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Manley vari-mu still gets use here.

I really want to try out the Cartec THC

Cartec audio t.h.c
Old 17th February 2013
  #5
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dietrich10's Avatar
the issue now with the Summit is that it goes from gentle to too much quickly

i should trade out a manley finally as a start
Old 17th February 2013
  #6
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thermos's Avatar
Check out the handcrafted labs Varis as well. Love mine.
Old 17th February 2013
  #7
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Strut78's Avatar
It would also be worth considering the thermionic phoenix, I had the opportunity to choose between the phoenix and the Manley, and I chose the phoenix.

I also use it a lot with the foote P3S ME, they work really well together.
Old 17th February 2013
  #8
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JP__'s Avatar
 

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Are you looking for a vari mu or a comp with tubes?
Phoenix, Varis, G10, Manley or Tubetech are all sounding very different in my opinion even with no or very small compression.
What sound you are expecting?
Old 17th February 2013
  #9
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Virtalahde's Avatar
 

Verified Member
The Knif Vari-Mu (II) is the most talked option, but I really like the Knif Pure Mu, myself. In fact, I think it's the ideal mastering compressor. Sounds clean and good, single set of controls with variable linking options.

I always go back to it, and for the ~5 years I've had it, it has proven to be a stable backbone, the one piece I haven't considered changing.
Old 17th February 2013
  #10
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dietrich10's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Are you looking for a vari mu or a comp with tubes?
Phoenix, Varis, G10, Manley or Tubetech are all sounding very different in my opinion even with no or very small compression.
What sound you are expecting?
I want to be able to have the slow warm tube compression and also have the unit be more versatile.

For all the electronic music I do want to try the SMC . anyone try using it as a one band as well?
Old 17th February 2013
  #11
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
Tubetech (at least CL2A) is what I would call elegant, smooth and warm with big lowmids.
Phoenix or especially Varis is more crisp and a big tight bass in my ears. Bass can be incredible with those, or sometimes lame. Depends on the source. The "3D" effect can also be extraordinary.

or this one:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5244078-post1.html
Old 17th February 2013
  #12
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SASMastering's Avatar
Quote:
the issue now with the Summit is that it goes from gentle to too much quickly
Gain reduction, tube saturation or timing? I would get dialing, it is a very interactive compressor, flexible albeit you need to work at it a bunch to get what you want cause it covers some ground.

You don't get much obvious 'tube warmth' till 3dB GR to my mind (even though the actual clamp down can be quite benign if you want) pretty clean till then and so much depends on the Slope/timing. I would miss it pretty quick. I have the HCL VARiS for vari mu options and it can be surprisingly spritely, a great vitalizer for a overly warm or dark track.

Make sure you have a good listen to your next choice it might not be what you expect it to be.
Old 17th February 2013
  #13
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dietrich10's Avatar
I have had the Summit for a long time now. With any bit of compression it loses any transparency at all compared to other compressors i have/had

luckily I plan to keep it around for what i like it for.

so what i am after is tube unit can b
Old 17th February 2013
  #14
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SASMastering's Avatar
Thats the beauty of the differences.
Old 17th February 2013
  #15
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by dietrich10 View Post
I want to be able to have the slow warm tube compression and also have the unit be more versatile.

For all the electronic music I do want to try the SMC . anyone try using it as a one band as well?
I think any good comp or most high end signal chain stuff is personal like speakers. People will rave about and defend what they currently have and use everyday or they probably wouldn't be using it. Having said that I've used the SMC for quite a long time and couldn't imagine looking to replace it with much else anytime soon. I like the sound of the box and especially like how it handles the low end/sine wave/sub bass. It works across a wide range of genre's and excels on the ones that feature a heavier bottom (ie: EDM/Dub, Reggae, Hip Hop). My recommendation is try/buy
Old 18th February 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 

I have a Knif Vari Mu in the works right now. I should have it in the next few weeks I hope. I can post some thoughts once I've gotten it if you'd like. He recently updated the design and will be changing the tubes. It's also going to get a face like the Soma. I'm pretty excited. The tube tech is a great box but I just never got along with the sound. Probably just my err not using it correctly. The SMHC is great as well and you can definitely "tell" it's in there. Nice and chunky I'd say. (maybe not who knows)
Auto reply - "demo stuff and see whatcha like"
Old 18th February 2013
  #17
I used to have the summit great unit for mixing but in the mastering field not that transparent as the Pendulum ES-8, with RCA tubes good fatness
I love the summit, I don't want to let it go but less toys the better.
Old 18th February 2013
  #18
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Ben F's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by dietrich10 View Post
I want to be able to have the slow warm tube compression and also have the unit be more versatile.

For all the electronic music I do want to try the SMC . anyone try using it as a one band as well?
The CL-2A is the best one band option. I liked the SMC but I think these days there are better options out there for mastering. It got plenty of use, but I don't really miss it now...prefer the MLA-3.

The phoenix is great for electronic music, and would work well with a VCA compressor like your P3S. The Phoenix handles big low end kicks very well, and can sound thick and rich. It can be a one trick pony though. The Manley is better suited to rock/hip-hop/indie music IMO, I would never use it on more house/techno music. These are obviously mass generalisations! Just from my experience. The Knif is kind of another level but many would find it too subtle, I like it that way though plenty of EQ options for tone. You should add the Fairman TMC to your list its wonderful.
Old 18th February 2013
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dietrich10 View Post
I want to be able to have the slow warm tube compression and also have the unit be more versatile.

For all the electronic music I do want to try the SMC . anyone try using it as a one band as well?
Chiswick Reach is exactly this in my opinion. Lovely beast of a compressor, sounds amazing, lovely lovely solid, pure sound.
Old 18th February 2013
  #20
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SASMastering's Avatar
My existing view is that tube compressors tend to be chosen for coloration (colour) so the fact they are not transparent is one of their beneficial uses. Of course colour can mean a lot of things so you need to determine a useful colour based on what kind of work you see a lot of. If it is anything like my daily jobs that means all sorts.

Not all tracks will be darker, not all too bright so covering both options is ideal. And importantly some need not be changed if that conveys the message. If I tally up I do more brightening than darkening over all so have never gone for a heavy thick processor that is fantastic for one job a month. I use other means of obtaining this type of result. As well as the tone you have consider if the stereo image change which can happen is appropriate. A lot to think about.

Always a nice position to be in so enjoy it and check out a lot of options.
Old 18th February 2013
  #21
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lu432's Avatar
 

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Dietrich,

You can't go wrong with the Manley Vari-Mu.


Luis
Old 18th February 2013
  #22
Nau
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And the budget would be?..

There is a tons of great options!
Old 18th February 2013
  #23
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dietrich10's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nau View Post
And the budget would be?..

There is a tons of great options!
ahh yes the budget.
not exact yet. 2500-4000 USD
Old 18th February 2013
  #24
Gear Nut
 

I also do electronic music and I have a phoenix in combo with an MLA3 here, its a very powerfull pair.
I think the phoenix is great at controling big bass and can give you some very solid low end, it can sound tough but in a very nice way, great for banging dance music.
The only down side, I wish it was more flexible and a bit more creamy.
Also you shoud had the Rockruepel to your list, it look very flexible,but I never hear one.I think Magic mastering in france has one.
Old 18th February 2013
  #25
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dietrich10's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by inflater View Post
I also do electronic music and I have a phoenix in combo with an MLA3 here, its a very powerfull pair.
I think the phoenix is great at controling big bass and can give you some very solid low end, it can sound tough but in a very nice way, great for banging dance music.
The only down side, I wish it was more flexible and a bit more creamy.
Also you shoud had the Rockruepel to your list, it look very flexible,but I never hear one.I think Magic mastering in france has one.
This re-opens my thoughts from this time year-MLA3 vs SMC for multi band.
Old 18th February 2013
  #26
Gear Head
 

Your budget rules out any Knif options, and the Rockruepel has been discontinued so you'll have to track one down. I have an MLA 3 and it gets a lot of use. It's versatility is it's best attribute and they're easy to find on the cheap used or to demo. The tube tech is great but like I said before, it's sound disagreed with my mastering skills. (or lack thereof) Someone mentioned the pendulum ES-8, another great option that sits right in your budget. Another post mentioned Fairman, which is even more out of your budget than Knif's offerings but the Knif and the Fairman are both on a much higher level than anything else mentioned. Knif and Fairman make even the SHMC look a bit dinky by comparison.
MLA 3 for versatility and a general "use it all the time" compressor. Tube Tech SMC for gooey tube OOMPH. Try em both and see whats up. If you have the cash, Knif or Fairman cannot be beat in terms of 'ideal'(clean and consistent) sonics and build quality.
Old 18th February 2013
  #27
Gear Nut
 

There is also Old World Audio Vari Mu would be within price. For versatility against the MLA3 am not sure it competes. But if I was choosing it would be OWA or the fairman.

It really is a personal choice when it comes down to it.
Old 19th February 2013
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by snax_box View Post
the Rockruepel has been discontinued so you'll have to track one down.
Hops sorry my bad! I didn't know the Rockruepel was discontinued.
Old 19th February 2013
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dietrich10 View Post
This re-opens my thoughts from this time year-MLA3 vs SMC for multi band.
Im not sure if it's a one VS the other one situation, I think its more what you like or what you need.What I need and like about the MLA3 is that its more than just a multiband, to me it's a creative dynamic mastering tool, for example you can link the low and hight to duck the hihat or link the low and mid to catch beats in the mid range like in psytrance music for example. And with a vari mu behind I don't miss the tube of the SMC.
Old 19th February 2013
  #30
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dietrich10's Avatar
You guys have me considering adding the MLA3 and keeping the DCL200 for now....
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