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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Compressor Wars


I`m in the market for a high end stereo compressor. Right now I`m looking at 3 specific
compressors. If anyone using any of these compressors I`d really appreciate your
insights/views on these pieces:
1.) AVALON VT 747 SP (Compressor EQ)
2.) MANLEY VARI-MU (Compressor)
3.) AVALON AD 2044 (Dual Mono Opto-Compressor)
Right now I`m leaning towards the VT 747 SP simply because of the addition of EQ and my
past experiences with AVALON have been superb.
I realize the MANLEY is already considered "a classic" & would love to have it but $4000, it
is alot for just a compressor. On the other hand, the AD 2044 is $3000 & just a compressor
as well. I own and run a "high end" project studio that is used primarily for my own work
but am looking to produce, mix & master other artists material.
My current setup is like this:
Mackie D8b
Avalon VT 737 SP mic pre`s
MOTU DP 2.7 / 2408 MKII
16 tks. of ADAT`s
Various MIDI gear
Any suggstions are greatly appreciated!
September 5, 2001 @01:36pm
David Klausner

Can I assume from your post that you are looking for a compressor to strap across your main stereo buss? If so, obviously each unit has its own set of characteristics that may make it more or less suitable for a particular track. That's one of the reasons that mastering houses tend to have a number of different high end compressors. Having said that, while all three of those units are killer pieces, I would probably lean toward the Manley as being the right piece for more different types of music. It's one of those units that seems to have an almost magical quality to make the different elements in a mix really gel together. If you haven't heard one, I'd highly recommend checking one out.
What are other people's favorite pieces for this application?
September 6, 2001 @06:55pm

Yes, your assumption is correct. I should try to be a litter clearer next time. I forget people
can not read my mind just yet. I`m looking to put a compressor across the Main Stereo
Buss so I can do my own in house mastering. Considering the Manley price tag, it is the only
thing standing in my way. It`s tough to throw out $4000 for just a compressor.
When I look at the Avalon 747 it includes an EQ for $2500. Seems like a much better deal
yet at the same time the Manley is considered a classic already.
At this point I`d like to get as much feedback as possible from all those who have used
these pieces.
Have you used each of these pieces?
What did you think of each?
September 6, 2001 @11:05pm

The 747 does include EQ, and it is a VERY good EQ. But it is a graphic EQ. I'm not sure that this is really what you want for mastering?
My own personal experience with the 747 is that it is generally very "obvious". The compression is pretty apparent, and it is easy to make it pump and breathe. I do not think of it as very transparent compression, nor is it like your 737. I think it is great on keyboards. It'd be good on a set of drum overheads. I, personally, wouldn't use it on a pair of mains. I've had some customers buy it thinking they were going to use it that way and had to change their perspective upon using it.
If you want to step down a notch from the Manley financially I'd recommend looking at the Avalon AD2044. From my listening it's the most transparent compressor I could find. Being solid state there is no exaggeration of the lows, and the highs are not tapered off. The compression circuit itself is vdery transparent as well. Because of this, I think it works very well as a mastering compressor. It's not as warm as the Manley, but I like it that way. The Manley is tubes. The Avalon is solid state. I just tend to prefere solid state.
Then go buy a good EQ later.
Hope this helps!
September 7, 2001 @02:12pm

Ebay has one that has the but it now option for $2600. Just search for Manley compressors under music in the advanced search. Buy the way, I feel funny telling you about this on the Sweetwater forum, but a deal is a deal. Sorry.
September 28, 2001 @07:02am

Oh shoot! I'm sorry that's the George Forman Grill...sorry! Sweetwater is the best way to go....esp for tech support.....ebay? Man you're on your own
September 28, 2001 @11:52am

How much customer support do you need with a compressor? If you want to spend the extra 1600 go for it, I'm just offering a suggestion.
September 28, 2001 @08:00pm

Originally posted by clintonwstuart
How much customer support do you need with a compressor?

None...if you already know everything. And if the unit never fails, or acts wierd.
Never been a fan of used gear myself.
September 28, 2001 @08:07pm

I've bought many different things that were used.........never again! At least with a company like sweetwater you have a big brother helping you with any question you have.
September 30, 2001 @06:43pm

Have you considered the TC-native bundle from TC-Electronics. Or how about the Waves GOLD bundle? If your running a computer-based recording studio theres plenty of room on your 10, 20, or what the heck 60 gig HD to fit a 512 kb file... Why not? I've done a/b comparisons with hardware vs. Software and yea I hear a differance, however I cant tell wether or not the differance's yeild possitive or negative result's. I don't know how you feel about software effects, but I know that the average consumer (and the occasional audiophile) Can't tell the differance. And quite frankly I like the differance in price.
Dave K.
October 1, 2001 @04:42am

esp if you are just a small project studio and not lining up clients like Madonna or Janet Jackson. Then I might suggest going out and getting a Manely or Avalon or Summit Audio :)
October 1, 2001 @12:40pm

I use the Manley every day and I have to say that it is incredible.
Every good thing you have ever heard about the Manley is true and more. As a stereo bus compressor it is absolutly amazing, but it is also great for tracking bass and vocals. If you are unsure about it, see if you can try one first just to hear how amazing it is. If you are already spending $3000, I would just take the step and get something that will make you truely happy.
October 1, 2001 @07:08pm

Manley is exactly what I will get when I buy a great compressor...saving my pennies.
October 1, 2001 @07:39pm