Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor
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Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor

Product Details

MANLEY's VARIABLE MU® LIMITER COMPRESSOR has been their best selling product for many years. It really is viewed by many engineers as a "must have" standard in Mastering studios and, as such, has contributed to the sound of countless hit records over the past decade.

"Mu" is tube-speak for gain, and Variable Mu® is Manley's registered trademark for the unit. It works by using the "remote cut-off" or re-biasing of a vacuum tube to achieve compression. The precious vintage (holy grail?) Fairchild 670 used the same technique and was one of few all-tube compressors to do so. Even the side-chain has glowing rectifier bottles.

So how does it work? The unique 5670 dual triode is at the center of the peak-reducing and compression action and is constantly re-biased by the vacuum tube rectified side-chain control voltages causing this tube to change its gain. Result? Silky smooth natural sounding compression.

The COMPRESS mode is soft-knee 1.5 to 1 ratio while the sharper knee LIMIT mode starts at 4 to 1 and moves to a more dramatic ratio of 20 to 1 when limiting over 12dB. Interestingly, the knee actually softens as more limiting is used. A little creative distortion can be acheived by turning up the Input and turning down the Output while using very little or no compression.

Although the Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor has a ganged input control, it's far from mono-unfriendly and and is a hugely effective tracking tool. There are separate threshold and output controls to make compensations and, of course, you can always adjust your individual source levels elsewhere. The advantage of a stereo input control becomes dramatically clear when you switch to LINK mode, and that's what Manley's Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor does better than anything else: final mix, 2-track, or mastering limiting and compression.

As one reviewer said of the Manley's VARMu® "It's like pouring sweet cream over the mix"

Technical Specifications

MANLEY input & output transformers with nickel laminations in mu-metal cases with flat frequency response from 20Hz-25KHz

Fully differential ALL-TUBE circuitry using one each  5670, 5751, 7044, & 12AL5 per channel
Independently regulated B+ and Heater supplies
Hard-wire BYPASS switch
Silent conductive plastic dual INPUT attenuator
RECOVERY 5 steps: 0.2s, 0.4s, 0.6s, 4sec., 8sec.
Variable ATTACK: 25msec-70msec
Continuously variable THRESHOLD
LIMIT (4:1 to 20:1) or COMPRESS (1.5 to 1)
Several units can be linked for Surround (custom order )
Maximum gain: 35dB
Max. output: +30dBu (26Vrms) 26dB Headroom
<0.1% THD @ 1KHz Noise floor: -85dB typical
Power Consumption (120/240VAC): 80 watts
Dimensions: 19" x 3 1/2" x 10" (occupies 2u)
Shipping Weight: 10.5kgs (23 lbs)

Owners Manual

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