Manley Mastering Stereo Vari-Mu Limiter Compressor

SKU: Mastering Stereo Vari-Mu Limiter-1
$ 5,750.00 -10%
$ 5,175.00
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An industry standard for professional mastering studios, the Mastering Version of the Stereo Variable Mu Limiter Compressor employs metal-film resistors loaded onto beautiful Grayhill sealed gold-contact switches for absolute repeatability, accuracy, and reliability. 1/2dB steps ensure precise and subtle adjustments. This is what defines mastering. High Pass Side Chain mod now comes standard.

Proudly from their beginning, MANLEY LABS have been closely involved with numerous mastering facilities around the world. For these most demanding engineers in our industry, they have created specialized products such as their all-tube tape repro head amps, digital converters, high-powered vacuum tube monitor amplifiers, through to custom monitoring consoles, all the way up to complete facility design and installation.

The Mastering Version of their Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor incorporating detented and logable steps built with 1% metal film resistors on sealed gold-contact Grayhill switches is available. NO, they will not mod a "normal" unit to the Mastering Version.

The High Pass Side Chain mod comes stock on all Manley Variable Mu limiter/compressors since 12/2009, on both regular and mastering versions. This mod adds two switches to the front panel, one for each channel, so that when engaged, the side chain will not respond to frequencies lower than 100Hz. (We standardly use 100Hz as the -3dB point. Other frequencies can be custom ordered.) This HP SC Mod can be used with music with heavy bass lines or bass-heavy mixes where you don't want the bass driving the whole action of the compressor.

The filter is a very gentle 6db per octave 1 pole filter, and will typically be down 1-3db at 100 Hz, and down 4-6db at 50Hz. As you decrease the frequency the amount of limiting will decrease also. At the extreme LF (less than 20Hz) there should be very little gain reduction going on. The whole intent of the filter is to keep very LF stuff (like a heavy kick drum) from activating the compression/limiting so that the overall level doesn't duck with every drumbeat. 

MOD Options

MS Mod Option
The MS Mod turns the left channel into “middle” and the right into “sides” to compress each phase component independently. For example, squash the vocal, kick, snare, bass (in-phase info) while keeping the out-of-phase program intact to make the stereo image super-wide. Do the opposite to make the result more mono and radio-friendly.

T-Bar Mod Option
The ideal choice for routine extreme limiting, this mod makes the Variable Mu® even smoother when pushed past 6dB of compression. Using two matched 6BA6 pentodes strapped as triodes makes this choice better than an unobtainable & unsortable 6386.

“The Works”
Includes both MS Mod & T-Bar Mod Options. The power switch must be relocated to the rear panel whenever the MS mod is applied.

  • MANLEY input & output transformers with nickel laminations in mu-metal cases with flat frequency response from 20Hz-25KHz
  • BALANCED INPUTS & OUTPUTS (600 Ohms)
  • Fully differential ALL-TUBE circuitry using one each 5670, 5751 (or 12AX7), 7044 (or 5687), & 12AL5 per channel
  • Independently regulated B+ and Heater supplies
  • Hard-wire BYPASS switch
  • Stepped switch INPUT attenuator as of 10/2011. (older units use Silent dual-ganged potentiometer)
  • 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)
  • HP SC: High Pass Side Chain Filter -3dB @ 100Hz
  • Large ILLUMINATED Sifam METERS (older units before serial number MSLC61642 shipped before 12/2003 use: 26V 1.2W FESTOON LAMPS; Manley's Part Number: VAR016B) Order spare bulbs using our parts order form. (newest units after serial number MSLC61642 shipped after 12/2003 use white LED lighting)
  • STEREO LINK SWITCH
  • 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
  • Unit is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
  • Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer changeover switch and fuse value change.
  • Mains Fuse Value for 100~120VAC operation:replace with 1.25A as of 10/2011
  • Mains Fuse Value for 220~240VAC operation: replace with 0.6A (600mA) as of 10/2011
  • Mains Fuse Type: MDA or MDL SLO-BLO Time delay 1 1/4" x 1/4"
  • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~60Hz
  • Dimensions: 19” x 3 1/2” x 10” (chassis occupies 2u) Power transformer protrudes 3.5" out the back of the chassis.
  • Shipping Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Input: -4 to +4 in 2 dB steps
  • Output: -11 to 0 in 1/2 dB steps (24 detents)
  • Threshold: -11 to +1 in 1/2 dB steps (24 detents)
  • Attack: 11 positions
  • Release: 5 positions
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