Vintage Digital & Analogue Studio Effects

Vintage Digital

Manley Stereo Variable MU

Manley Stereo Variable MU Limiter Compressor

There are few modern classics in the world of professional studio effects hardware, but the Manley Stereo Variable MU limiter compressor is most definitely one such processor. An all tube limiter built in the great tradition of the Fairchild 660, the Manley Stereo Variable MU has been a cherished part of many studios for decades.

The Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor is the GLUE that holds the mix together while crystallizing it into a professional, final product. All-tube, all transformer, an all-American legend. High Pass Side Chain mod now comes standard.

Details

The Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor has been Manley’s best selling product for many years. It is one of the very few compressors that has become a real standard in Mastering studios and contributed to most hit records over the last decade and probably the next. “Mu” is tube-speak for gain, and Variable Mu® is Manley’s registered trademark for this limiter compressor. It works by using the “remote cut-off” or re-biasing of a vacuum tube to achieve compression. The precious vintage Fairchild 670 also uses this technique and is one of few all-tube compressor to do so. Even the side-chain has glowing rectifier bottles. How’s it work? The unique 5670 dual triode is at the center of the peak-reducing and compression action constantly being re-biased by the vacuum tube rectified side-chain control voltages which cause this tube to smoothly change its gain. Just like that.

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. Distortion can be creatively used by turning up the Input and turning down the Output while using very little or no compression. See the gain reduction curves here!

You might notice that the Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor has a ganged input control, but do not jump to conclusions that it is mono-unfriendly. Track away! There are separate threshold and output controls to make compensations with plus you can always adjust your individual source levels elsewhere, right? The advantage of the stereo input control becomes dramatically clear when you switch to LINK mode, and that’s what the Manley Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor does better than anything else: final mix, 2-track, or mastering limiting and compression. 

Specifications

Released: 1994

Frequency Response: 20Hz-25kHz
Signal to Noise: 85 dB
THD: <0.1%
Maximum Gain: 35 dB
Maximum Output: 30 dB

Variable Attack: 25msec-70msec
Threshold: Continuously variable
Limit: (4:1 to 20:1) or COMPRESS (1.5 to 1)
HP SC: High Pass Side Chain Filter -3dB @ 100Hz

Dimensions: 483mm x 89mm x 254mm
Weight: 10.4 kg

Plug-in Options

IK Multimedia T-Racks Dyna MU

The Dyna-Mu is an amazing emulation of a well-known American tube compressor celebrated for its warm sound and vivid colored tone.

Pulsar MU

The most faithful emulation of a modern yet legendary tube compressor/limiter – perfect glue for mixing and mastering.

Universdal Audio Manley Vari MU
Developed under Manley Labs’ rigorous scrutiny, the Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor plug-in is a thorough emulation of this legendary tube limiter, and is based on the coveted “6BA6 T-BAR Tube Mod” unit. Now, its famed sound is available exclusively for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces.

Manley Stereo Variable MU Limiter Compressor Reviews

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