The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Manley ELOP vs ART Pro VLA II
Old 6th February 2020
  #1
Manley ELOP vs ART Pro VLA II

I’d like a pair of optical compressors for tracking/mixing. From what I’ve read these both seem to excel on similar sources. I gather the Manley has more character, which would be nice, but at 1/10th the of the price the ART is tempting.

I supposed I could just buy a Pro VLA II, since they’re so cheap. But, I’d rather not waste my time if I’m just going to wish I had the Manley. My main uses will be for vocals and acoustic guitars. I’d like to be able to cover a number of genres; from very clean subtle compression that barely moves the needle, to more aggressive and creative techniques. The ability to control attack release and threshold parameters has me thinking the ART might be better...? But it’s all about the sound...

So simply put:

If you had an infinite number of each, would they both get used?

If yes:

Say you don’t have room for both, which would you chose (specifically for vocals and AGs)?

Why?
What audible differences do you hear?

Thanks,
Old 6th February 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
I think that the biggest thing that the ART has going for it is that it doesn’t suck as much as it should for its price point. Their two channel tube mic pre is similar... full volt tube stages... I have both, loaded up with NOS JJ and RCA tubes... A few pals of mine who work in big rooms in LA raves about them and their word and the raving here on GS and tapeop pushed me into slut purchase mode... I haven’t used either for years lol

Here’s what I would tell you:

Use plugins and save the money to buy better gear later down the line.

Or, pick it up!
Old 6th February 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Konfus's Avatar
 

Had a vla II for a few years sitting in a rack, never liked it.. it's ok, but your stock-compressor plugin is also ok and a lot plugins out there are much better.
Old 7th February 2020
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
I think that the biggest thing that the ART has going for it is that it doesn’t suck as much as it should for its price point. Their two channel tube mic pre is similar... full volt tube stages... I have both, loaded up with NOS JJ and RCA tubes... A few pals of mine who work in big rooms in LA raves about them and their word and the raving here on GS and tapeop pushed me into slut purchase mode... I haven’t used either for years lol

Here’s what I would tell you:

Use plugins and save the money to buy better gear later down the line.

Or, pick it up!
I had one of their MPAII pres years ago. “Doesn’t suck as much as it should for its price point” is a very apt description in my experience there. While I did like it for blanket distortion rhythm guitars, I never did love it, and eventually sold it. I guess that’s what I’m afraid of with the VLAII... wasting my time.

Thanks,
Old 7th February 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konfus View Post
Had a vla II for a few years sitting in a rack, never liked it.. it's ok, but your stock-compressor plugin is also ok and a lot plugins out there are much better.
Plugins are fine for mixing.

To be honest, once I get it ITB I usually just keep it there. I guess I’m mostly looking for hardware to track with. I have a Buzz Audio DBC20, IGS Volfram, Audioscape VCA, and a DIY LA2a. I would really like a pair of optical compressors to compliment the LA2a. I also have a pair of Distressors on my short list...

Thanks for your input on the VLAII.
Old 7th February 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessUnknown View Post
I had one of their MPAII pres years ago. “Doesn’t suck as much as it should for its price point” is a very apt description in my experience there. While I did like it for blanket distortion rhythm guitars, I never did love it, and eventually sold it. I guess that’s what I’m afraid of with the VLAII... wasting my time.

Thanks,
People (with credits) swear by those vla ii’s, though... me? I just didn’t get it at all... not worth patching it in from the daw and I have much better stuff that I use when tracking... but, if your workflow is mostly outboard, it might be worth it to add another “flavor”... although, again, I’m not quite sure about how this one “tastes” lol
Old 7th February 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
People (with credits) swear by those vla ii’s, though... me? I just didn’t get it at all... not worth patching it in from the daw and I have much better stuff that I use when tracking... but, if your workflow is mostly outboard, it might be worth it to add another “flavor”... although, again, I’m not quite sure about how this one “tastes” lol
Fair enough. Appreciate the input. Any of those people chose it over an ELOP?
Old 7th February 2020
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Ken Lusk's Avatar
Had a Pro VLA for a few years. They are slow, they are boring, they end up sitting in the rack unused.

Buy the Manley box.
Old 7th February 2020
  #9
Gear Nut
 
dranzangos's Avatar
I have a vla ii that sat in my rack, unused, for years. On a whim, I threw it on a vocalist tracking on the way in. Sounded good, so I thought, hey maybe there’s something to this box. And well, I use it from time to time. Does its thing when it’s called for. Swiss army knife? Nope. Quick and transparent? Nope.

I don’t much care what the resale value is. When it’s the puzzle piece I need it’s the puzzle piece I use.

Last edited by dranzangos; 7th February 2020 at 04:05 AM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 7th February 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessUnknown View Post
Fair enough. Appreciate the input. Any of those people chose it over an ELOP?
No... buss... gtrs drums bass, too
Old 7th February 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dranzangos View Post
I have a vla ii that sat in my rack, unused, for years. On a whim, I threw it on a vocalist tracking on the way in. Sounded good, so I thought, hey maybe there’s something to this box. And well, I use it from time to time. Does its thing when it’s called for. Swiss army knife? Nope. Quick and transparent? Nope.

I don’t much care what the resale value is. When it’s the puzzle piece I need it’s the puzzle piece I use.
Yup
Old 7th February 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lusk View Post
Had a Pro VLA for a few years. They are slow, they are boring, they end up sitting in the rack unused.

Buy the Manley box.
Yup

Lol
Old 7th February 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Man, have you considered an La2a? Or even a mU?

Check out AudioScape’s stuff...
Old 7th February 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
Man, have you considered an La2a? Or even a mU?

Check out AudioScape’s stuff...
I have AudioScape’s VCA comp. I also have a DIY LA2a, 6RU for a pair of compressors is just too much space. Looking for a stereo box to compliment or possibly replace it.
Old 8th February 2020
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Kristofer Harris's Avatar
 

I can't tell you how it'd compare with the ART products but the Manley ELOP stacks up against the best in my opinion. It's a relative bargain.

It has a type of compression you can trust explicitly but the general tone is something you kind of have to learn to appreciate, as it won't smack you in the face like an LA2A.

The make up gain is super classy though and I always want it in the chain.

I fall in and out of love with gear on a daily basis but never this! I have one of the old unbalanced/transformerless versions, so it's either more or less magic than the later models. I have no concerns.

Option of a lower ratio like with the ELOP+ would be great though.
Old 8th February 2020
  #16
That is kind of what I’m gathering about the ELOP, I am curious about the + version. Does the higher ratio setting sound like the older units? I have heard that it’s more subtle than the older models, but that may just be at 3:1, which would make sense.
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
Forum Jump
Forum Jump