The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Vari Mu or SSL/Smart Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 14th October 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
Vari Mu or SSL/Smart

DOes anyone have opinions for stereo mix buss compressor between the manley-Pendulum vari mu's or the SSL - Smart VCA compressors for mix? Anyone tried both?
Old 15th October 2002
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Cold..

My love for anything AL Smart is well documented and ppl must be getting sick of me going on about it....and is used to own a Variable MU as well!..

Big ups to KEV and his homebrew SSL G+ clone that is on the way... we are gona do an A/B with our Al Smart C2 and will post a full and comprehensive review for all and asunder to drool over like me..... drool... ahh wiggy ur're drooling on the c2 clone. again!!!!!

http://recording.org/users/kev/progress_G_SSL.htm

The Smart is IMHO the best allround stero buss comp around.. ok i am yet to try the STC8 so dont flame me yet!....smart is also very flexible in other roles.. like kik, snr, bass, overheads... stax!!

The MU is pretty cool just not that suitable IMHO for mix buss duties. Its kinda slow and compresses very gently, so if thats what ur upto all well and good. MU is best in Overheads when tracking etc or on bass. Pesonally i think the Mu is overated and very over priced but thats just me... others seriously cream their jeans and fawn and grovel at the mere mention.. so whatever gives u a woody!

The best combo i found was to go out of console, whatever into Al smart C2 ---> MU. This like an avalon 747 is a killer combo for controlling little peaks, getting great consistent level to AD or tape and set correctly can make the song very dynamic and make the song acutally move in time wiht beat/rythm etc.. so i ahve found and least.... also using a killer combo like this also means that it will not require a more severe mastering 'job' when the project is finished.. so u just put ya feet up and listen to the great tones...

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 15th October 2002
  #3
The SSL/Smart can be a little aggressive for the whole mix...best to put that on the drum submix IMO. The Manley low end can be a little squishy and the top a little too soft for my tastes. The Pendulum sounds wonderful, tight lows, big open top with all the attributes of that Vari-Mu tone we all have come to love....somewhere in the perfect world between an Opto and the SSL VCA sound to my ears.
Old 15th October 2002
  #4
SSL IMHO has to much grab / bite-in on my mixes...

I'm gonna stick it on the drums only..

Old 15th October 2002
  #5
Lives for gear
Thanks guys.
Hey Jules have you ever tried a Vari Mu?
Hey Nathan do you like the lower priced Pendulum as well as the more expensive model? I know there is a difference in tubes but is there a difference in sound?
Old 15th October 2002
  #6
"Hey Jules have you ever tried a Vari Mu?"

Never! But I WANT TO!

But I understand the latest T Bar Mod (standard on new models?) makes them even more suited to Mix buss duities....

Old 15th October 2002
  #7
Quote:
Originally posted by Coldsnow
Hey Nathan do you like the lower priced Pendulum as well as the more expensive model? I know there is a difference in tubes but is there a difference in sound?
I personally can't hear any difference at all. They both sound equally great.
Old 15th October 2002
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I used to own a Vari mu. It's very good for slow overall gain adjustmant of the 2 mix but is no where near as fun as the SSL. I would prefer the Vari mu if I did more classical or jazz.

BTW, for two mix work, I really think the Smart C1 excels over the C2, but the SSL 384 (especially one with the Mastering Lab mod) is the top of the heap for that punchy pop/rock sound on the 2 mix. The C2 in crush takes top honors for drum subs, though.

A great alternative is the Neve metal knob 33609 or 2 33314b's strapped in stereo. Punch of an SSL but fatter than the SSL or Smart. My personal preference for 2 mix work.

Phil
Old 15th October 2002
  #9
Lives for gear
 
groundcontrol's Avatar
 

I use both when I'm mixing and substitute one for the other depending on the program/style at hand and what I'm trying to achieve. When I want "punch" and "pump" and "not too subtle" I'll use the SSL on the 2-buss and the V-MU on something like BG's, if I want the opposite I'll use the V-MU on the mix and the SSL on a drum group or similar. They are both very useful tools and are sort of exact opposites as far as functionality and strenght/weakness goes. You definitely NEED BOTH! grggt

What can I say... I AM a true gear slut!!!heh heh heh

btw:... the Neve 33609 is also quite nice, especially the earlier versions... yuktyy
Old 15th October 2002
  #10
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

The Vari Mu (I use the first version without any upgrades) beats out the SSL 9000J board comp about 7 out of 3 times on my 2 mix. I usually take off no more than 2 db. The manley is much softer, which some engineer's hate. Seems to work well on most of my mixes.
Old 15th October 2002
  #11
Lives for gear
 

I had a C2 on demo for quite a while. I usually found it too much for the mix. It's not what you might call a subtle compressor! If you want 'that' sound, it's definitely the best way to go about it (without going to an ssl room). I couldn't use it on everything though.

I ended up getting a chiswick reach in the end, which is similar to the vari mu in the way that it works and also has really slow attack and release times. In that way it can often be unsuitable too, but it was just so good for tracking that I couldn't resist! When cash permits, I will get a C2. They are the other extreme. All that will then remain is to get something that falls in the middle!

J
Old 15th October 2002
  #12
Gear Head
 

Where I work as a Pendulum Vari Mu(you can see it in the new tape op in the Alan Douches Interview), It is probably one of the best pieces of gear ever I regularly reach for it first for Bass, Clean Guitars, Certain Vocalists and Submix Compressor. I also bought a C2 as well which I love. I use it for the same things except I also reularly use the C2 for Kick and Snare and love it to Death on Electric Guitars(as good as sex I tell you). I do 60% if not more of my mixes in Pro Tools and the main thing about the Alan Smart is its color. I dont think for digital recording on a mix buss the Alan Smart is bnenficial cause it brings out he silbance and for lack of a better word it kinda makes the bottom end a little more sissyish. I dont find the Smart to be an exciting compressor. The Pendulum really brings a buetiful color to things. It definitly brings up the resolution and the magic. As well I will say it cant do everything an Alan Smart does but It does the thing I think people usually like the smart for (1/2 db gain reduction with the attack at 10 and release @ 0 with the ratio @ 2:1 or 3:1) very well. you can get that same lock on a mix just with a diuffrent color and a slightly diffrent feel. I would choose between these two based on color.
Old 16th October 2002
  #13
Lives for gear
 
chap's Avatar
 

2 cents

I've had the Vari Mu for years. The new mod is fantastic. I've tried the Pendulum with no success
(more coloration than I care for). I'll let you know about the SLAM soon......and believe it or not, I've heard Greg Calbi work wonders with the Focusrite Blue. I have the 215s so I was amazed
that he did what he did.
He also uses a Vari Mu
cheers,
chap
Old 16th October 2002
  #14
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

I really rarely use the SSL 9000 quad comp. It doesn't do it for me most of the time.

The Tubetech SMC2B is my main mix buss comp, for the simple reason that it's the only machine I can stand at the moment on the mix, EQs included. A little tiny, tiny bit of it really helps a lot.
Old 16th October 2002
  #15
Moderator
 
EveAnna Manley's Avatar
 

Hey Chappie, Thanks for your thumbs up on Paul's T-Bar mod.

This topic was already covered on Fletcher's prosoundweb board

For more details about our T-Bar mod, give a holler to Paul, my service tech at [email protected]

Give him your serial number in your request so he knows which version of the mod you would need as over the years there obviously have been a few different production versions of the Variable Mu. I think the Stereo Variable Mu's 10th year anniversary is next year actually...

Paul has all the details.
Old 16th October 2002
  #16
Re: 2 cents

Quote:
Originally posted by chap
I've had the Vari Mu for years. The new mod is fantastic. I've tried the Pendulum with no success
(more coloration than I care for)
The Manley has less coloration than the Pendulum?? Are you sure you didn't get that mixed up? The entire Pendulum line tends to be on the bigger/open/clearer side as opposed to soft and colored like the Manley. YMMV.
Old 16th October 2002
  #17
Lives for gear
 
chap's Avatar
 

yeah!

Thanks EV, I'm just telling the truth. Pauls's mod works great. Tighter bottom, more air (the mod, not Paul). Tell him . Now can I have my Slam before someone (family member) convices me it's not needed?
My new room will be up and running by the weekend
(provided the stimulants don't run out). I don't want it , I need it. Pull some strings. Tell the people at Manley that you know someone in management.
safe riding,
chap

ps- rack space is disappearing fast.
My dog (Lulu) is complaining that we don't have one. My Mom keeps asking 'How's the SLAM punk?' What do I tell her? and of course, my daughter (named after you with a few discreet changes) wants it bad. That didn't sound right but it still might help. Tomorrow works for me.
Old 17th October 2002
  #18
Lives for gear
Anyone into the API 2500 or the Drawmer 1969?
Old 17th October 2002
  #19
Lives for gear
 
chap's Avatar
 

drawmer

I have an odd take on the Drawmer. I've a/b 'd
the Drawmer with the Vari Mu and the Vari Mu wins hands down. The Drawmer seemed to add a veil over the sound. It's a darker sounding piece that adds more coloration than I was looking for. With the Vari Mu I can control the coloration or transparency.
On the other hand, I'm probably one of 3 people on the planet who routinely uses the Drawmer TDM plug ins because I like how the expander works and the whole package seems to have more control than the actual box. Go figure.
The actual box is useful for tracking and less (for me) for mixing.
Old 17th October 2002
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
vsl666's Avatar
 

opinions r like bottoms (everyonehas one)

funny you should say that e cue grggt coz thats me..
i didnt have much fun with the manley ...it was classey but boring
and didnt really do what i wanted (be a fairchild) (it tried)

i love the ssl but maybe its had its day ? and well .. i wouldnt buy one..

never used the pendulem ...looks good...

i recommend 2X dave marquette M66 linked together ...

but out of the two listed i would vote ssl coz thats what it does
and it does it well and can be polite or not so polite..
only problem is not to overdo it !

xxxx

one love (jah is my co pilot)

Old 17th October 2002
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Ditto dakings....

they are great and extremely rare around these parts.. i only know of one pair an dthey sound freaking GREAT!

Still waiting to hear a detailed report from anyone RE: API 2500? who has used one.. pls tell me!!!!!!!

WE have a fully loaded API luinch box in @ the mo... with every type of module around.... its gona get kaned tommorow and well let u know!!! we is got some big guests in this week!

...dfegad .what about a composer piped into an Alesis 3360?.... its must be good for something?

hehe

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 17th October 2002
  #22
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Re: opinions r like bottoms (everyonehas one)

Quote:
Originally posted by vsl666
funny you should say that e cue grggt coz thats me..
i didnt have much fun with the manley ...it was classey but boring
and didnt really do what i wanted (be a fairchild) (it tried)
Okay, we are disagreeing again. Good. The planets are back in alignment. I don't want my bus compressor to go ape **** on my Stereo Bus. If I did, my mixes would sound like some dookie stained over compressed Lord Algee mix. If that's your thing, go with the SSL. It's hard. Sometimes I need this. The way I mix, my drums are LOUD. Big Time (2 db louder than most engineers mix them). The manley pillows them softly with other elements I keep overly dramatic (over dramatic by like a DB, so maybe I should just say dramatic, but we are talking stereo busses here).

The drawmer did NOT do it for me. But if your looking to go this route, the MERCH series (1969, not 61) is the way to go. They achieved what they wanted to IMO, but it's just not the type of compression I dig on my stereo bus. I would use it on a background vocal bus maybe or not, but not my stereo bus. The Varu Mu, SSL comp, or the 33609 would get used first here.

Futhermore on the limb, I'm not the biggest fan of the Fairchild on my stereo bus. I know, blasphemy right? Well, here's why: Time constant?! Come on... Give me an attack and release setting. Why the hell haven't the "emulators" on the 660 added this option?! I don't like overcompressing my s bus. And the fairchild doesn't make it easy for me to shave a db or 2 off my 2 mix. I do love the sound and coloration I get if I run audio through it without compressing at all, but that's one expensive assed unit to run in a semi-bypass mode for a little 'color'.
Old 18th October 2002
  #23
Jax
Lives for gear
 

For all who mention having used the 1969 Merc, I see nobody mentions flipping in the BIG switch. I'm disappointed by the 69 unless I flip the BIG on (run with the pun). For most basses, the regular tone and color doesn't get more exciting until BIG goes on. The switch does what it says and the sound gets huge. Don't know how else to describe it, but it's not just getting louder.

I also like the '69 following an RNC on drum overheads. I follow the RNC's well-controlled yet boring sound with the 1969 with a fast attack and release, and lots of gain reduction so the tubes work hard, flip the BIG switch in, and the drum overheads get silky, full, and huge!

Still, I wish that sound was achievable on each channel in mono 'cos otherwise the 69 shines best as a linked stereo comp only. Haven't liked it in mono at all yet.
Old 18th October 2002
  #24
Jax
Lives for gear
 

To stick with the V-Mu part of the topic, I have the Manley and it can either be great or just not the right sound, but not bad. It is slow and gentle, but when it works for me, it does so because it glues everything together. Sometimes I don't want that, and I find that especially true for music that's predominated by a lot of fast, short transients which need to keep their edginess. Think busy rhythm guitar lines or tom work. Often the low end can go to mushy hell too. If you mix with the V-Mu strapped across the main 2 mix the whole time, you can dial it in quite well and work around all of those problems, but I'm interested in that T-Bar mod.

I think the V-Mu does more to the sound than people are prepared for if they haven't been thinking about what will happen when it's switched in at the last stage of a mix. I do this will the L2 for the same reasons. I know I'm going to want to pump most mixes up at least 5 dB, so it's on the whole time.

OTOH, I have recently started following my V-Mu with my Massivo, which, although it shouldn't be able to affect the transients, seems to slightly restore and sharpen stuff while adding richness and "sing" to boot!
Old 19th October 2002
  #25
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Yeah, you are right. It is all about the "big" switch I guess. In context, it's just not what I want in a stereo bus compressor. I really like the DBX160xt's too, but never on a stereo bus. The polarity switches and stereo link on the Merc series one is pretty cool. Lord knows I loves me some Brown Burr circuitry, but this just doesn't do it for me on my Stereo Buss. I like most of my stereo bus compression with a soft knee which the Drawer has, but this unit has been compared to the 670 so many times, I expected that and didn't get it, and sinc the unit has seprate attack and releases I was even MORE disappointed. I dig in on BG vocals and Drums mostly.
Old 19th October 2002
  #26
Lives for gear
 
TinderArts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Coldsnow
Anyone into the API 2500 or the Drawmer 1969?
I've stated my like for the 2500 many times before. I find it to be the most versatile for me, and the 'thrust' circuit does wonders for the mix. If you can get a hold of one, try it!
Old 19th October 2002
  #27
Jax
Lives for gear
 

I was turned on by the 2500 when it first came out, but IIRC, it only operates as linked stereo? I seem to remember shying away from the high price tag because of that. Still I want to try it someday.
Old 20th October 2002
  #28
Gear Head
 

Wiggy, it does seem hard to find info on the API 2500, have been looking myself. I found this site of UK producer/engineer George Shilling interesting and it contains some reprints of gear reviews he's done for magazines. Yeah, magazine reviews can be overly optimistic but it does have useful info on the API 2500. George notes the compressor and technique Shelly Yakus purportedly used on The Rasberries' "Go All the Way". I always wanted to know how that sound was achieved, very dramatic. Here's the link to his site:

http://www.george.shilling.com/
Old 19th December 2003
  #29
Here for the gear
 

API 2500

Try the API 2500. 100% of the engineers that have one can't shut it off.
Old 19th December 2003
  #30
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Re: drawmer

Quote:
Originally posted by chap
I have an odd take on the Drawmer. I've a/b 'd
the Drawmer with the Vari Mu and the Vari Mu wins hands down. The Drawmer seemed to add a veil over the sound. It's a darker sounding piece that adds more coloration than I was looking for.
You're talking about the 1960 not the 1969... they're two entirely different animals... with the 1960 being a veiled sounding piece of monkey ****... and the 1969 being a very useable, exceptionally musical unit.... I kid you not, there is a huge difference.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
rxfit06 / High end
4
passionmax / So much gear, so little time
4
PIMP / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0

Forum Jump
Forum Jump