The MANLEY 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 our 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, that we know of. 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 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 our Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor does better than
anything else: final mix, 2-track, or mastering limiting and
compression. Like one reviewer put it: “It’s like pouring a bowl of
sweet cream over the mix.” Mmmmmm. Yummy. Give your music a big hug.
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