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Manley Nu Mu vs. Manley Vari Mu: Does the Nu Mu replace the Vari Mu?
Old 28th January 2016
  #1
Gear Head
 
Ladderwalker86's Avatar
Manley Nu Mu vs. Manley Vari Mu: Does the Nu Mu replace the Vari Mu?

Hi all,

I just took the leap and finally ordered a used Manley Vari Mu (non-mastering version, with T-bar mod, still waiting for it to come in the mail). However, I've noticed that Manley just released their "Nu Mu" unit, which seems to be an improvement on the Vari Mu, and yet at a lower cost (for what they say is just the result of scaling up their production but not reducing quality). Here is the link on their site.

My question is:
Is the Nu Mu basically a replacement for the Vari Mu? Or is it it's own separate beast? Manley states that the front end (with tubes and t-bar mod) is the same, with an "all solid-state" signal chain following. Does this mean it is some sort of transistor-based compressor that simply uses tubes for the gain stage, which is different from the basic operation of the Vari Mu? My knowledge of compressors is limited, but I think the Vari Mu uses one type of compression (using the tubes and rebiasing to adjust the level based on the input, in the same manner that a Fairchild does), versus something that uses solid state electronic components to perform the compression operation.

I may still be able to return my used Vari Mu, get one of these Nu Mu units new, and save $500 in the process. I usually assume that price is fairly correlated with quality, but in this case it may just be that since the Vari Mu is two decades old, and Manley has probably streamlined their processes and perhaps negotiated lower costs for their parts, you're getting just as good of quality and sound for less price in these new models (the ELOP+ also, as compared to ELOP, but I don't want to get side tracked on that unit).

Any input is appreciated, especially if you have 1) insights into how the Nu Mu actually works as opposed to the Vari Mu, and 2) obviously if you've tried the Nu Mu.

Thanks!
Old 28th January 2016
  #2
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Slug1's Avatar
Wow. I missed that one. It looks cool. I may demo one of those. I with they would do something similar with the Massive Passive. Tube input and SS backend. Its an amazing eq but there are times when that syrup is just too much. Lovely eq though. Cool to see EveAnn doing something nu!!
Old 28th January 2016
  #3
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mattcollen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladderwalker86 View Post
Hi all,

I just took the leap and finally ordered a used Manley Vari Mu (non-mastering version, with T-bar mod, still waiting for it to come in the mail). However, I've noticed that Manley just released their "Nu Mu" unit, which seems to be an improvement on the Vari Mu, and yet at a lower cost (for what they say is just the result of scaling up their production but not reducing quality). Here is the link on their site.

My question is:
Is the Nu Mu basically a replacement for the Vari Mu? Or is it it's own separate beast? Manley states that the front end (with tubes and t-bar mod) is the same, with an "all solid-state" signal chain following. Does this mean it is some sort of transistor-based compressor that simply uses tubes for the gain stage, which is different from the basic operation of the Vari Mu? My knowledge of compressors is limited, but I think the Vari Mu uses one type of compression (using the tubes and rebiasing to adjust the level based on the input, in the same manner that a Fairchild does), versus something that uses solid state electronic components to perform the compression operation.

I may still be able to return my used Vari Mu, get one of these Nu Mu units new, and save $500 in the process. I usually assume that price is fairly correlated with quality, but in this case it may just be that since the Vari Mu is two decades old, and Manley has probably streamlined their processes and perhaps negotiated lower costs for their parts, you're getting just as good of quality and sound for less price in these new models (the ELOP+ also, as compared to ELOP, but I don't want to get side tracked on that unit).

Any input is appreciated, especially if you have 1) insights into how the Nu Mu actually works as opposed to the Vari Mu, and 2) obviously if you've tried the Nu Mu.

Thanks!
No, the Nu Mu has a solid state amplifier. It is a lower cost, hybrid box that may be great, but it is not replacing the Vari Mu. It is a related but substantially different unit.

Conversely, the ELOP plus will be replacing the the older ELOP, according to Manley.

Check out the info directly from Manley at this link.

http://youtu.be/-bvSEeilRCA

Matt

Last edited by mattcollen; 28th January 2016 at 06:43 AM.. Reason: Typo
Old 28th January 2016
  #4
If you're not familiar with a Vari-Mu I can tell you that.. the majority of what a Vari-Mu is used for is it's colouration from the input and output stages. The gain change is kind of an after thought really, usually if you see the meters move you're compressing too much already.
Old 28th January 2016
  #5
Gear Head
 
Ladderwalker86's Avatar
Ah, I didn't think to check YouTube. From that video, and the two others, it sounds like:
1. Manley Nu Mu is not a replacement of the Vari Mu, but a new, somewhat similar product. The compressor part of the unit is the same as the Vari Mu, but the amplification is solid state instead of tube. Evanna Manley said that for music such as electronic music, the Vari Mu might be "heavy handed" and the Nu Mu might be better suited, for example. She also stated it was not a replacement for the Vari Mu.

2. The ELOP+, on the other hand, is indeed a replacement for the old ELOP. Bummer for anyone that owns an old ELOP. I like that they added the 3:1 option in addition to the 10:1 limiter.... That was one of the reasons I went with my UA lA-2A reissue instead of the ELOP or the ADL (I prefer a light-handed touch).
Old 28th January 2016
  #6
Wow !

I really like this concept, being a huge fan of vari mu curve compression and not so much fan of (too much) color I really digg this concept.
Vari-mu compression + class A Fet stages... I need to hear this !

And it looks simply stunning.
Old 28th January 2016
  #7
The first thing I noticed with the Nu-Mu was the lack of an input knob. There's a three position toggle instead.

The input knob is the main thing I adjust. Compression is just a kiss.
Old 28th January 2016
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by harbar View Post
The gain change is kind of an after thought really, usually if you see the meters move you're compressing too much already.
Bit of an overstatement there. 'Been using a Vari-MU for mastering these past 16 years or so, and my meters definitely move, though only 1 or 2 dB of GR most of the time. Definitely sounds better when they move a little. If I set it to "Compress" instead of "Limit" then it's easy to avoid over-compressing. Slow attack/release times help a lot too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robby in WA View Post
The first thing I noticed with the Nu-Mu was the lack of an input knob. There's a three position toggle instead.

The input knob is the main thing I adjust. Compression is just a kiss.
No input knob = no thank you! The input knob is where all the magic happens. Hmmm... Nu-MU must be a very different unit...
Old 3rd February 2016
  #9
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mattcollen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
No input knob = no thank you!

I completely agree!
Old 17th February 2016
  #10
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<Tempest>'s Avatar
 

I totally agree that the variable mu's input control is where the magic happens, but to be fair this isn't a variable mu.

Has anyone heard this guy yet? I'm actually really excited to hear what Manley has done. Their new products have been real winners in my opinion.

-<T>
Old 22nd February 2016
  #11
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mattcollen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by <Tempest> View Post
I totally agree that the variable mu's input control is where the magic happens, but to be fair this isn't a variable mu.

Has anyone heard this guy yet? I'm actually really excited to hear what Manley has done. Their new products have been real winners in my opinion.

-<T>
I am intrigued, too.
Old 1st March 2016
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Johanz's Avatar
 

I combine a Vari Mu compressor and a Vari Mu limiter (no tubes on input output stages, just 8 for Vari Mu) and that works perfect. The Phoenix for glue-ing (if needed) and the POM Fairchild 670 mk 2 for clean magic limiting. The magic is in the transformers and the vari mu, the tubes on the input output are very unwanted in many mastering applications.
Old 1st March 2016
  #13
Yes the magic is in the Mu follower stage and not in the input pot....


Some people
Old 18th January 2017
  #14
I have the Manley Vari Nu and Vari Mu in my studio right now and going through the paces with both. You will see a review on both of these excellent sounding compressors in the near future. Initially impression of the Vari Nu is quite positive. It's not as colored as the Vari Mu which is a good thing in my opinion as they complement each other.
Old 19th January 2017
  #15
Thanks Glenn! Please include in your review how the UAD Manley Vari Mu compares to the hardware version.
Old 19th January 2017
  #16
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I have a Nu Mu and I have been very pleased with it. I have also used the older Vari Mu unit but never bought it myself. I do use the UAD Vari Mu a fair bit lately as well.

The Nu Mu is my first purchase foray into Variable Mu compression aside from my Retro Sta Levels. I will happily report that the Nu Mu does indeed have a smooth euphonic color typical of all the Manley gear but I hear an additional openness that is more modern sounding perhaps.

So far I have been mixing some indie electro rock and some hip hop pop stuff through it with good results. The combo of the Nu Mu into a Massive Passive is pretty stunning for modern sounding productions for sure.

The variable mu compression curve is definitely a cool spongey thing on the mixbus and I am enjoying how it responds very differently than my VCA style units (Duality bus comp, API 2500, Neve MBP).
Old 25th January 2017
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
I have a Nu Mu and I have been very pleased with it. I have also used the older Vari Mu unit but never bought it myself. I do use the UAD Vari Mu a fair bit lately as well.

The Nu Mu is my first purchase foray into Variable Mu compression aside from my Retro Sta Levels. I will happily report that the Nu Mu does indeed have a smooth euphonic color typical of all the Manley gear but I hear an additional openness that is more modern sounding perhaps.

So far I have been mixing some indie electro rock and some hip hop pop stuff through it with good results. The combo of the Nu Mu into a Massive Passive is pretty stunning for modern sounding productions for sure.

The variable mu compression curve is definitely a cool spongey thing on the mixbus and I am enjoying how it responds very differently than my VCA style units (Duality bus comp, API 2500, Neve MBP).
If you could only keep one, which would you keep?
Old 8th February 2017
  #18
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staudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actualsizeaudio View Post
If you could only keep one, which would you keep?
Only one bus compressor? Probably the Neve MBP since it is a really great "finishing" tool overall. The Nu Mu is fun for sure but I think it has a specific action which works well but isn't suited for everything. The MBP is more versatile in that sense though not as "smooth" and silky.
Old 24th February 2017
  #19
Hopefully my review will give you a little more insight.

Manley Labs Manley NU Mu Stereo Limiter Compressor
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