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Someone in here with a Manley VariMu Limiter? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 12th November 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
dimme3's Avatar
 

Someone in here with a Manley VariMu Limiter?

I'm interested to buy one of these units for giving my tunes a certain character.
But i don't know one who has on of these, so i can't test it out.
If someone in here has one, is it possible i send you a beat from 30seconds and you process it with the varimu so i can hear what it is doing? If you're up for it let me know!

Thank you
Old 12th November 2006
  #2
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bgrotto's Avatar
That thing works wonders on the low end. Very tight-sounding. I end up using em more on subgroups than whole mixes.

The metering's really slow, though. I know this upsets some people.
Old 13th November 2006
  #3
Gear addict
 
the russian's Avatar
 

Well if you're looking for a compressor that hits... this isn't the one. But it's good for coloration.

A lot of people don't like it for that reason. But I love mine and recommend it highly. Better for mastering than it is for mixing.
Old 13th November 2006
  #4
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dimme3's Avatar
 

some one of you want to process something for me, so i can hear what it is doing?
Old 14th November 2006
  #5
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robot gigante's Avatar
That's not going to help you much.

Try renting one.
Old 14th November 2006
  #6
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inlinenl's Avatar
 

Verified Member
fly over a track to my server ... you're welcome !!!

greetings Wim

www.inlinemastering.com
Old 22nd November 2006
  #7
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perun's Avatar
 

Well, after AB testing VariMu with Neve 33609, Thermionic and Avalon, we've discovered that it sucks! Really. I have no intensions to piss on anything without arguments, but this unit has no "big" character, really and at the first place it makes Low end sound like Paper/Carton... I just don't like what we got after testing it for MasterBus purposes!

Well, it's all about the matter of tastes, but... It just ain't punchy enough for me... Neither it's warm or colourful.

To be honest, I didn't expect Thermionic to be this tight in the low end, it sounds great "down there", but the winer of our tests was NEVE, definatelly. Everything sounded tight (well, not so punchy like through Thermionic), but it was all very compact and smooth... Avalon sucked also, but not like Manley!

Cheers.
Old 22nd November 2006
  #8
S75
Gear maniac
 

Did you do the test only on master bus?
Old 22nd November 2006
  #9
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perun's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S75 View Post
Did you do the test only on master bus?

YES!

And as I said, 4 "oponents" were battleing!
Old 23rd November 2006
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

looks like all those many world class mastering engineers using the varimu
were wrong all this time. go figure.
I'm sure they're all glad to know they're using an inferior compressor.
I'm sure they're all quaking in their boots in the fear that you may
tell them that their GML eq is also below par.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #11
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by perun View Post

To be honest, I didn't expect Thermionic to be this tight in the low end, it sounds great "down there", but the winer of our tests was NEVE, definatelly. Everything sounded tight (well, not so punchy like through Thermionic), but it was all very compact and smooth... Avalon sucked also, but not like Manley!

Cheers.

I use the Manley,Thermionic,Neve
No winner,No loser.
..completely different flavors ...
all useful tools for music production/mixing/mastering.
every single one of em' is good for one application or another..thumbsup

You have to some spend time with all three boxes to discover their strengths/weakness'
Old 23rd November 2006
  #12
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundroid View Post
looks like all those many world class mastering engineers using the varimu
were wrong all this time. go figure.
I'm sure they're all glad to know they're using an inferior compressor.
I'm sure they're all quaking in their boots in the fear that you may
tell them that their GML eq is also below par.
I've been speechless since I saw the Manley Vari-Mu put-down post but like your comeback!

I have ten mastering level outboard units (not counting converters) that I use for my work and the Vari-Mu is the one I've missed the most when its out for service or updates!

However there is one possible explanation and that is that there are different revs. of Vari-Mu's and at least one is not as impressive as mine. I know b/c I had a loaner that didn't sound or work the same. All the engineers here continued to use it, however, but we were glad when ours was back.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #13
Gear addict
 
perun's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundroid View Post
looks like all those many world class mastering engineers using the varimu
were wrong all this time. go figure.
I'm sure they're all glad to know they're using an inferior compressor.
I'm sure they're all quaking in their boots in the fear that you may
tell them that their GML eq is also below par.
Well, nice to have you here Smart ass! Welcome...

All I said was it lost the battle in one ABCD test! As a Masterbus, do you know what Masterbus comp. is??? Nothing more, nothing less, Ok? Who the **** are you? Manley representative, a PR?

Because it's your debut here, I won't take a dfegad on you snapperhead... But, easy... we have much time!fuuck

My 2 cents...
Old 23rd November 2006
  #14
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Ben F's Avatar
 

Verified Member
It's good for rock and warming up mixes, but not amazing. I personally don't like the way it handles low end that well even with the HPF option. I find it has a sort of low-mid resonance (someone quoted cardboard) which suits some styles of music. You can be quite creative with the Vari-mu, and I think it's a great compressor to have in conjunction with others, but wouldn't like it as the only one. I do like the way it grooves.

IMO the Pheonix is a much better sounding vari-mu. It's a bit of a one trick pony but the best I've heard for thickening ITB mixes and low end punch.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by perun View Post
Well, nice to have you here Smart ass! Welcome...
Because it's your debut here, I won't take a dfegad on you snapperhead... But, easy... we have much time!fuuck ...
Well that previous comment really lends credibility to your findings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by perun View Post
All I said was it lost the battle in one ABCD test! ...
no you didn't 'just say that' kind sir.
you said that "the varimu sucks"; check your post. I think that's far too strong a comment to brand this compressor with. Essentially your saying that everyone using
it as a master buss compressor are ill-informed novices.
and no I'm not a manley rep, just another poor soul using inferior equipment.

Funnily enough, I do agree with you on one point.The manley is not the world's
most colored comp, that's why i like it. The notion that passing a signal through this comp and it will suddenly be filled with warmth and other fuzzy feelings is over stated in a lot of posts. But most engineers I know love the fact that it's not super colored and imparts just a subtle flavour.
Having said that, everyone is entitled to an opinion.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #16
Moderator
 
jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
There are indeed multiple versions of vari-mus, and they do differ, but there are some things that stay pretty much the same among all. There is definitely a fabulous little slice of the input dial, a range at which you are starting to hit it a little harder, but not quite slamming it yet, where it just turns into magic. Below it and it's a bit boring, above it and it gets mushy, but when you get in that little range, the thing just sings with a pleasant color, great glue, and a little presence enhancement. It's not the right choice for everything, but on many tracks in popular styles, especially rock, it is a welcome addition.

And a quick note with my moderator hat on: keep it civil!
Old 23rd November 2006
  #17
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
These Manley Vari Mu put down posts come around every so often.

Seems as though opinions fall into two main camps; love 'em or hate 'em.

They're not for everyone... don't operate as a conventional compressor... i.e. no ratio control.

I among other ME's (like Andy Krehm), Love the Manley Vari Mu.

Been using mine for about ten years, won't even mention how many CDs.

To add to the flavor, both of mine are stock, no mods, not the "mastering" versions.

But I do find the idea of the HPF mod interesting.

These things sound great, majestic in fact... perfect antidote for digital audio.

They're quite transparent, but also add some warm color, yes both characteristics.

But you have to spend a little time to find good workable settings.

I won't divulge mine on the forums, (like anyone cares hahaha ), oh what the hell...

Look to the Medium Recovery setting, Slow Attack, Input/Output set for Unity, Threshold set to yield less than a dB of Gain Reduction, then open up the Input a little to bring the level up a few dB... up to a dB or so of GR. Work the Threshold a bit to control the amount of HF transients you let through and... voila' you've got it! (or at least a good start)

For mastering I usually don't deviate too far from this. It also plays well with others, on a recent project we put a peak limiter (1178) in front of the Manley to ease up on peaks working the Vari Mu too much. This is where I can see how the HPF Mod could do wonders on Big Bass material. It also works well in conjunction with other more conventional compressors.

I like putting my VM last in the analog path, for a little extra level boost, just before the Lavry ADC and L2.

I will agree that some criticisms of the VM are valid to a degree, you have to be careful not to drive it into distortion, but sometimes even that's kewl too... and yes you do have to watch how it affects the low end, but that goes for any comp.

A decade ago before I bought my first Manley VM, I tried the Crane Song compressor, and didn't really care for it. A few days later tried the VM and loved it. (with apologies to Dave Hill and the CS lovers, I know it's a well loved device, may give it another go at some point)

Rather than type out my Manley VM defense every time someone posts one of these threads, I should put together a stock statement to keep on my iBook and simply paste it in each time... but that would be too easy and passionless, wouldn't it (?)

Cheers, and props to Andy Krehm...

~ JT ~

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 23rd November 2006 at 04:56 AM.. Reason: clarification
Old 23rd November 2006
  #18
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
There is definitely a fabulous little slice of the input dial, a range at which you are starting to hit it a little harder, but not quite slamming it yet, where it just turns into magic.
That's the Majestic Spot, Jay !!!

I've been living ~there~ for a decade!

Must be the folks that don't like the VM, have never found that Spot.

JT
Old 23rd November 2006
  #19
Moderator
 
jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
That's the Majestic Spot, Jay !!!

I've been living ~there~ for a decade!

Must be the folks that don't like the VM, have never found that Spot.

JT
When I read your post about your mu-methodology, I knew you knew the mu spot!
Old 23rd November 2006
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

I think that's why the MU may suffer when people do a quick 15 minute shoot out.
It takes a little longer to really get the hang of it, it's such a unique compressor. I would suggest the minimum required would be at least a couple of days to get a real feel for it. Even then, I feel it's true potential is only discovered after many months of solid use. That's when you really start to uncover the sweet spot of your particular unit.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #21
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundroid View Post
I think that's why the MU may suffer when people do a quick 15 minute shoot out.
It takes a little longer to really get the hang of it, it's such a unique compressor. I would suggest the minimum required would be at least a couple of days to get a real feel for it. Even then, I feel it's true potential is only discovered after many months of solid use. That's when you really start to uncover the sweet spot of your particular unit.
Thats true with all lot of this stuff..

I think its hilarious when guys on these forums completely write off a piece of gear they've had on demo for maybe a day.
[not targeting you perun..i don't know how long you had the thing]
Some of this stuff does have a learning curve.

I had the Phoenix comp on demo for ages[thanks to places like Vintage King]
before i decided to purchase one..
Old 23rd November 2006
  #22
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
These Manley Vari Mu put down posts come around every so often.

Seems as though opinions fall into two main camps; love 'em or hate 'em.

~ JT ~
Sure it is a carachterful unit and not a plain boring one if it can inspire feelings!
Some people like it better than others ..........and that's fine....
Old 11th February 2007
  #23
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Bob Yordan's Avatar
I luv my VM.



Old 12th February 2007
  #24
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
That's the Majestic Spot, Jay !!!

I've been living ~there~ for a decade!

Must be the folks that don't like the VM, have never found that Spot.

JT
Hey Jerry:

As you know, I love my Vari-Mu but until an earlier post of yours, didn't always find that Spot.

How an experienced engineer (me!) wouldn't have the sense to adjust the input control is beyond logic. My excuse is that I've had my Tube Tech just before the unit for years and always did my gain staging with its output control thinking that it didn't matter.

Anyway, thanks to you, I've been having much better luck with controlling the sound of the unit. In fact, it sometimes makes a difference adjusting both units.

When I bought my VM, I ordered the mastering version which has a stepped dual input control with 2 dB steps.

So my question is, should I be considering replacing the expensive Greyhill rotary switch with the normal conductive plastic pot used in the recording unit. The manual says that these pots have only a 10 to 20% tolerence and the stepped pots are a ten-fold inmprovement in L/R precision. It also says there is a subtle audible improvement with the rotary switch.

In other words, will the improvement in finding the exact Sweet Spot with the rotary pot be worth the slight sonic loss and the pain of having to recalibrate the L/R signal after moving the rotary pot as well as having less than precision recall?

Comments please!
Old 12th February 2007
  #25
Moderator
 
jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Krehm View Post
In other words, will the improvement in finding the exact Sweet Spot with the rotary pot be worth the slight sonic loss and the pain of having to recalibrate the L/R signal after moving the rotary pot as well as having less than precision recall?
Mine isn't stepped, and I wouldn't want to be limited to 2dB steps on the input to find the Mu Spot (I wonder if I could trademark that name...heh ). Sometimes it's a pretty subtle move and you can really dial in just the sound you want. Optionally, if you had some way to control gain in an earlier stage, you could adjust what you are feeding the VM that way. If not, It's six of one, half dozen the other. There are ups and downs, and you have to choose based on your personal priorities for that piece. My reason for having a Vari-Mu is for that sound, so I'd skip the stepped pot because of that priority. If I'm going for precision and neutrality, I use other tools.
Old 12th February 2007
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Mine isn't stepped, and I wouldn't want to be limited to 2dB steps on the input to find the Mu Spot.
IIRC the Mastering version - w/ switches not pots - has a different range of time constants than the standard version: slower attack and faster release.

The 2dB/step input gain has never been an issue, for me at least.
Old 12th February 2007
  #27
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by glassmaster View Post
IIRC the Mastering version - w/ switches not pots - has a different range of time constants than the standard version: slower attack and faster release.

The 2dB/step input gain has never been an issue, for me at least.
The 2dB steps don't limit your ability to dial in the color? Or do you run it pretty neutrally and not push it a little sometimes for effect? I still think it's a great piece even if you don't play with input levels, but for me, the input flexibility is appreciated and eliminates my desire for something like a Hedd.

As for time constants, the stock unit gets plenty slow on the attack, but I might not mind one more faster release setting for some things.
Old 12th February 2007
  #28
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Mine isn't stepped, and I wouldn't want to be limited to 2dB steps on the input to find the Mu Spot (I wonder if I could trademark that name...heh ). Sometimes it's a pretty subtle move and you can really dial in just the sound you want. Optionally, if you had some way to control gain in an earlier stage, you could adjust what you are feeding the VM that way. If not, It's six of one, half dozen the other. There are ups and downs, and you have to choose based on your personal priorities for that piece. My reason for having a Vari-Mu is for that sound, so I'd skip the stepped pot because of that priority. If I'm going for precision and neutrality, I use other tools.
I can easily control the gain before the unit but my big discovery was that controlling the dual input makes it react differently than feeding it different levels.

I suppose a compromise would be to ask Paul at manley if he can recommend a 1/2 step replacement switch.
Old 12th February 2007
  #29
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
The 2dB steps don't limit your ability to dial in the color? Or do you run it pretty neutrally and not push it a little sometimes for effect? I still think it's a great piece even if you don't play with input levels, but for me, the input flexibility is appreciated and eliminates my desire for something like a Hedd.

As for time constants, the stock unit gets plenty slow on the attack, but I might not mind one more faster release setting for some things.
I sure thought of it as a pain when I tried the mastering version. Most of the time the sweet spot where I usually go with my stock unit was somewhere right in between the steps!

I'd rather have the input not stepped at all even if everything else was.
Old 12th February 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
The 2dB steps don't limit your ability to dial in the color? Or do you run it pretty neutrally and not push it a little sometimes for effect? I still think it's a great piece even if you don't play with input levels, but for me, the input flexibility is appreciated and eliminates my desire for something like a Hedd.

As for time constants, the stock unit gets plenty slow on the attack, but I might not mind one more faster release setting for some things.
One of the interesting things about these discussions is learning other folks' techniques, and how they differ. I've found - and this is true for the VariMu and each of the other compressors I use - that there is usually a pretty small range of settings that work for me. For the VariMu, I don't push it very hard, and (usually) use only a very small amount of gain reduction. There are exceptions, and every now and then I'll try something different but I usually return to those comfortable settings. That said, when compression is needed, the VariMu gets used about 35% of the time.
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