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Thinking about a Vari Mu, Anamod 660 or AM670 VS Pendulum Audio ES-8?
Old 21st November 2009
  #1
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Thinking about a Vari Mu, Anamod 660 or AM670 VS Pendulum Audio ES-8?

After a lot of research, I've kind of narrowed things down to these two units, but I'm saving up for an Xmas gift to myself...I'm just wondering if anyone has had the pleasure of using both of these? Obviously Greg Gualtieri is the man behind both units, ...I've just read / heard so many great things about the ES-8 over the past three years. The 660 looks fantastic as well, but I don't own an API 500 series rack and spending the extra cash to get a stereo unit with more options looks appealing.

My question is pros and cons concerning both units. But I really only want to hear from people who have at least used a 660 and the ES-8...I'm not really interested in the Manley Vari-Mu...
Old 21st November 2009
  #2
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
there are some more
Thermionic Culture Phoenix
Knif (link)
There's also a "simple" version
Tegeler VT1 (discontinued)
EAR 660
Gyratec X
I'm sure I missed one or two.. heh

Last edited by Reptil; 21st November 2009 at 04:00 AM.. Reason: ===
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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4blades's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have worked with a few of them:
Tegeler Vari Tube Compressor, but never impressed me, what I really liked the most:
Pendulum ES-8 is a modern gear, based on that vintage sound, but more on the linear side.
Qes labs Variable-Gm tube compressor, a great and round body, still retaining transparency and focus. Great 3D depth.
Both units are top notch, and go for around $ 3.5k.

Didn't have personal experience with the 660, so won't comment.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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kokoa's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Pendulum ES-8 is a modern gear, based on that vintage sound, but more on the linear side.
Qes labs Variable-Gm tube compressor, a great and round body, still retaining transparency and focus. Great 3D depth.
I listened samples of the Qes Labs here : Variable-Gm stereo compressor demo sound clips
It's really beautiful.
Big differences with the Pendulum?
Which do you prefer?
Thanks
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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DONNX's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Regret the sale on the ES8 to this day. Mix bus compression doesn't get much better than this. The ES8 sounded better to me than the 6386 thank god! Those tubes are getting harder and harder to find.

The AM660 just wasn't my slice of cheese
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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radicalron's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The ES8 has a more Modern edge to ot. Its Faster, and has a good "Grip" The Manley Vari Mu has that Vintage early 70's tone in spades! More Creamy! = They are both Awesome! But do completely different things.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
You should check this one out as well:

https://gearspace.com/board/new-prod...ompressor.html
Old 22nd November 2009
  #8
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RoundBadge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman ➑️
My question is pros and cons concerning both units. But I really only want to hear from people who have at least used a 660 and the ES-8...I'm not really interested in the Manley Vari-Mu...
Different units.
660 is modelled after a fairchild 660.if you know that sound it works great when you need that sound
using it on kick drum right now for an older stonesy vibe kinda project to get that pillowy honky tonk women vibe
The ES is a cleaner more transparent deal.nice clean comp but not something i felt compelled to buy.
but the vari mu is cool.I've had them come and go over time.depends on the track but if theres one in the rack i might use it to touch ovrheads or a stereo buss
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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4blades's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokoa ➑️
I listened samples of the Qes Labs here :
Variable-Gm stereo compressor demo sound clips
It's really beautiful.
Big differences with the Pendulum?
Which do you prefer?
Thanks
As I wrote, the pendulum is very clean and linear.
Really nice piece of gear.
The QES Labs Variable-Gm is an outstanding piece for the mastering sessions as well as 2-bus.
It has it's color, a nice and carved bottom, creamy top end.

Used the variable-gm in a 2-bus, a classical music recording, done with an ORTF pair. A Concerto for Double-bass and Orchestra (A major concerto from Dragonetti).
Listen to the samples.

I was not the studio owner, so I don't have samples of the es-8. It is a pity we are not able to compare. Anyway I hope it helps.

As I said, both are wonderful and useful pieces.thumbsup
Attached Files

dragonetti_flat.wav (5.63 MB, 1372 views)

dragonetti_vari-gm.wav (5.63 MB, 1484 views)

Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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kokoa's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Oh great!
Many thanks...very interesting.
Quote:
As I wrote, the pendulum is very clean and linear.
no add color yet?...just clean and transparent, that's just it.

Quote:
I was not the studio owner, so I don't have samples of the es-8.
If someone can do that, it could be cool (on the same sample please).
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
that sounds absolutely beautiful heh
(I didn't check the volume increase on a meter though... typing on a laptop far away from anything remotely civillised)

I ordered the Tegeler unit. It's not here yet. It's my first vari-Β΅. Be patient please, this is all new to me.

Some questions please:
What didn't you like about this machine? (less "round" tone? no "focus"?)
Can I change the stock tubes? (I expect something modern like JJ or simular in there - rip those out, put NOS in - difference? ECC82 cutoff, ECC88 makeup gain)
Is calibration really hard? (I like having some control over maintenance in the future)
Did you ever open it up and wonder about modding it? Seems to me these compressors are technically not so complicated, and rely on choice parts.
It lacks a HPF in the sidechain. Does this matter on program material (modern electronic music, jazz)

Thanks guys!
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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bewareofdogs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil ➑️
that sounds absolutely beautiful heh
(I didn't check the volume increase on a meter though... typing on a laptop far away from anything remotely civillised)
LOL
I think you should do a check in your studio, with decent monitor systems.

Quote:
I ordered the Tegeler unit. It's not here yet. It's my first vari-Β΅. Be patient please, this is all new to me.

Some questions please:
What didn't you like about this machine? (less "round" tone? no "focus"?)
Can I change the stock tubes? (I expect something modern like JJ or simular in there - rip those out, put NOS in - difference? ECC82 cutoff, ECC88 makeup gain)
I had some experience too with the Variable-Gm from Qes, I know that it ships (except for the output tubes) with NOS tubes.
Reading the pdf: 6BA6 and 12AT7....
I think that if you change in favour of nos tubes you will gain something.
It's still a matter of design: the 6386 (and the 6ba6 mod) is a real remote cutoff tube, and as you know, when you are in GR, you starve their plate current, and those tubes can still work without relevant dist.
ECC82 still a sharp cutoff tube, are you sure it's in the vca circuitry?

Quote:
Is calibration really hard? (I like having some control over maintenance in the future)
Did you ever open it up and wonder about modding it? Seems to me these compressors are technically not so complicated, and rely on choice parts.
It should not be that hard if you have the right tools, use your card's balanced output as a signal generator, and get a second hand scope, send in a burst and the trick is done.

Quote:
It lacks a HPF in the sidechain. Does this matter on program material (modern electronic music, jazz)
It helps when you don't want the bass drum to drive your compression action.

Quote:
I listened samples of the Qes Labs here : Variable-Gm stereo compressor demo sound clips
It's really beautiful.
Big differences with the Pendulum?
Which do you prefer?
Thanks
Yes, it's really beautiful.
Sadly I never had the chance to ab it with an es-8.
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
LOL! thanks for the reply.
Yes, I do have a scope, and test signal generators (both digital and analogue)
I emailed Tegeler, not recieved a reply about the tubes used or calibration procedure.
I got the info about the ECC as cutoff from here: Techtalk :: View topic - Tegeler Audio Manufaktur vari-Tube Kompressor

Please carry on, Pendulum ES-8 clips very much appreciated.
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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jamwerks's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4blades ➑️
As I wrote, the pendulum is very clean and linear.
Really nice piece of gear.
The QES Labs Variable-Gm is an outstanding piece for the mastering sessions as well as 2-bus.
It has it's color, a nice and carved bottom, creamy top end.

Used the variable-gm in a 2-bus, a classical music recording, done with an ORTF pair. A Concerto for Double-bass and Orchestra (A major concerto from Dragonetti).
Listen to the samples.

I was not the studio owner, so I don't have samples of the es-8. It is a pity we are not able to compare. Anyway I hope it helps.

As I said, both are wonderful and useful pieces.thumbsup
I don't at all like what that vari-mu does to the orchestra.

Might be nice on a horn bus in a "Hollywood" orchestra context
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks ➑️
I don't at all like what that vari-mu does to the orchestra.
I'm not with you. Liked it a lot

Quote:
I emailed Tegeler, not recieved a reply about the tubes used or calibration procedure.
I got the info about the ECC as cutoff from here: Techtalk :: View topic - Tegeler Audio Manufaktur vari-Tube Kompressor
Ops... it's in German language.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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bewareofdogs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks ➑️
I don't at all like what that vari-mu does to the orchestra.

Might be nice on a horn bus in a "Hollywood" orchestra context
I don't agree with you either.
After levelling up the files at the same volume, it is really nice what it does with the sound:
The string instruments have their attacks brought to life, you really feel the bow striking the string.
The soloist double bass has a nice and round body, warm and still present.
Soundstage doesn't go in the mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil
that sounds absolutely beautiful heh
+1 thumbsup
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canopus ➑️
snip....


Ops... it's in German language.
I'll have mine soon, and will post a little review.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #18
84K
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I use the Manley Vari-mu, the ES-8, and the Anamod ATS-1 everyday. Greg also services our Fairchild 670.

The Manley Vari-mu is an awesome compressor. The Pendulum Vari-mu (ES-8) gets much more work around here. It may be my favorite compressor of all. Very useful on many sources. It reacts faster than the Manley, so for quick release stuff, I like it more. Most of what I do is quick release.

I have not tried the anamod 670 or API module, but knowing Greg and Dave and having their other products, I am sure it is spot on.

The Anamod ATS-1 is not a compressor, although when pushed it gives you tape compression.

If you want a compressor, I would get the ES-8. But not having heard the AM Fairchild units, I am only half informed.

If you want tape compression and harmonic enhancement, then definitely go Anamod ATS-1.

Good Luck!! Good thing is, I doubt you can go wrong.
Old 25th November 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
bewareofdogs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil ➑️
I'll have mine soon, and will post a little review.
Please do that.

I still can't imagine how an ecc82 can behave in a remote cutoff application.
6386 apart, which is the best tube for this app.,
the 6ba6 (Manley Vari-Mu T-Bar mod, and QES Labs Variable-Gm) and the 6bj6 (Retro Sta-Level) get very close indeed.
The Retro Sta-Level and the QES Labs Variable-Gm, still have the option to have the 6386 mounted.

In some other thread some asked to test the behaviour of a genuine GL-6386 with the current production tube 6386 LGP from JJ.

Anyway I'm aware that the jj version has been mounted in the at-101 fairchild clone, so I think it's doing its job.
Old 26th November 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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4blades's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil ➑️

Tegeler:
What didn't you like about this machine? (less "round" tone? no "focus"?)
....

Thanks guys!
I prefered how the Variable-Gm had the control of program material way more than the tegeler unit.
Also suggest a clip on YouTube.
Old 26th November 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
moved from ssl buss comp to the ES-8. loving the results
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #22
84K
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konkaos ➑️
moved from ssl buss comp to the ES-8. loving the results
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

try the SSL in parallel hits hard but remains thick with your big tube box glue
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokoa ➑️
I listened samples of the Qes Labs here : Variable-Gm stereo compressor demo sound clips
It's really beautiful.
Big differences with the Pendulum?
Which do you prefer?
Thanks
As I said, I liked those samples.
@4blades: it would be nice if you could post some more ...
Old 27th November 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canopus ➑️
As I said, I liked those samples.
@4blades: it would be nice if you could post some more ...
Check this thread in the gear shoot-out section.
Old 28th November 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
yikes!!!!!!!!!
Tegeler VT-1 for cheap seems to be a fake!!
I just got an email saying a bunch of gear sold at a big audio reseller in germany (where I ordered my VT-1) is not made by Tegeler!
I'll cancel my order now. Its still not here. phew!
https://gearspace.com/board/high-end...eler-vtc1.html
I'd really like to see the inside of these machines !

Oh... this is an optical compressor but it seems to do some cool magic.
AI Electronic HVC :: AI Electronik ::
I'll try to get one of those on trail instead.

ES-8 sounds wonderful in that shootout!!!!! I like the italian one too (a lot), that one is more like the Anamod 660 module (more gold then platinum of the ES-8 opinion on the internet of course LOLZ, but I like the tone across the whole spectrum that the ES-8 has. Don't like the fet limiter, it's much more 2D.
More distortion too (maybe because of that). Cool, but a different thing.
I need clean and wide. Not slamming, I got slamming covered.
IMHO of course heh

Cheers!
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Kaneepa's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
just ordered

Just ordered my am670...

anyone using it ?
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Paul_G's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thermionic Phoenix mastering version is the ****.
The ES8 was too smooth and bright for me.
I love the gluey bottom from the Phoenix.
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G ➑️
Thermionic Phoenix mastering version is the ****.
The ES8 was too smooth and bright for me.
I love the gluey bottom from the Phoenix.

i agree! just got mine racked up last week. one of my new favorites for sure.
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K ➑️
I use the Manley Vari-mu, the ES-8, and the Anamod ATS-1 everyday.

The Manley Vari-mu is an awesome compressor. The Pendulum Vari-mu (ES-8) gets much more work around here. It may be my favorite compressor of all. Very useful on many sources. It reacts faster than the Manley, so for quick release stuff, I like it more. Most of what I do is quick release.

If you want a compressor, I would get the ES-8.
I am starting to build up my Portico collection with the pre's, EQ's and compressors. I initially was more attracted to the Manley Vari Mu for the color it adds. However each Portico unit has input and output transformers. So with all the big-ness and fullness that the transformers give (which I love), I am now thinking the ES-8 may be a better option for me for 2 bus and mastering duties since it is transformerless and it offers a cleaner option than what I already have. Sometime, I will compare it to the OCL-2, and finally make up my mind which one to get..I know get both...but I can't afford to get both. I will have to get one other compressor to work with my Portico compressor, and the ES-8 is looking better these days.
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