Manley Variable Mu Mastering Compressor/Limiter
The Manley Variable Mu is one of the most well-known analog, vacuum tube dynamics processors, ever made. It has a unique character, coming from the transformers and vacuum tubes used in the design, especially how the gain reduction is accomplished, using exclusively vacuum tube electronics.
Ours comes with the usual mastering modifications offered by Manley Laboratories, such as stepped controls for precision and repeatability, as well as a sidechain high-pass filter, which is extremely useful, when you want to ensure, that the compression is not driven by high energy bass content. As this is a symmetrically balanced circuit, care must be taken during service calibration to ensure, that it is always set to perfectly symmetrical. Failing to do that can lead to undesirable distortion. As you can expect, we keep ours perfectly calibrated at all times.
We use this mostly for compression during mastering, occasionally also using it as a limiter when more radical approaches seem necessary. As with a lot of the other gear in our studio, the Variable Mu can be driven hard for a rich creamy sound, or at more conservative signal levels for a more transparent sound.
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