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Hcl Varis or Igs Tubecore for mastering electronic music
Old 24th August 2016
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Hcl Varis or Igs Tubecore for mastering electronic music

Hi,

As I cant demo any of them, I have asking you which one will work better as a sec compressor after Foote p3s a me. I master mostly electronic 4/4 music now.
Ive read good things about Varis and not much about Tubecore. It there any one who used both and can tell me how thy sound, the differences etc. I like In my face sound for dance music. Tubecore have mid/side and a mix mix knob which can be useful, but most important is the sound. I have Very clean and fast Foote so looking for colour 3d etc now.
I was thinking as well about Avalon 747 as last comp and touch eq.
Old 24th August 2016
  #2
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Come on dont be shy.......
Old 24th August 2016
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
No one using it?
Old 25th August 2016
  #4
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teebaum's Avatar
 
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
knif pure mu, rockrueppel and manley vari mu are IMHO much more versatile and they have a more noble boxtone.

i have a varis & use him mainly parallel for hard rock / metal
Old 25th August 2016
  #5
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🎧 10 years
Any other suggestions?
Old 26th August 2016
  #6
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thermos's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I actually have both a Tubecore and a Varis. A few things to note.

- There are many many different version of the Varis and they are all different. The one Teebaum has (I believe) has the Torroid transformers and lower tolerance parts. I had one of those, I really liked it but it had a strong character. Currently I have a newer generation one which still is a bit bright, but way flatter and more versatile than the older ones. I actually have the newest model coming soon, which has more linear transformers and bigger output tubes. I heard a sample of it and it sounds sweeter. I'll post files once I get it.

- The Tubecore is really good. Teebaum and others haven't dug it, but if its gain staged correctly it can sound great. The key for me with the stock tubes is to use it lightly parallel (not fully wet). When doing that, I actually think I prefer it to the Knif Vari Mu 2 (haven't tried the Pure Mu). I tried the Knif Vari Mu 2 for a day on a record and it was super good, but the way in which it brightened the material had a character I didn't love. By contrast, the high end character of the Tubecore has made every set of mixes sound better since I got it. Its definitely possible that if I spent more time with the Knif it could win for me, but the Tubecore kind of cured my lust for one.

- The Tubecore with the JJ 6386 in the input section is a whole other beast I think. Unfortunately there is no clear calibration method for biasing the tubes, so its a bit of a shot in the dark. The new units have the ability to 0 the meters with the 6386 which wasn't possible with the older ones, but even still the meters are not accurate with those tubes. With the 6386 I find the boxtone to be very subtly flattering, and I actually think it changes the source a little less than the Knif. Also the action of the compression is way way classier than with the stock tubes. That being said, it is good right out of the box as well. I actually wish I could switch between input tubes depending on the project.
Old 26th August 2016 | Show parent
  #7
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos ➡️
I actually have both a Tubecore and a Varis. A few things to note.

- There are many many different version of the Varis and they are all different. The one Teebaum has (I believe) has the Torroid transformers and lower tolerance parts. I had one of those, I really liked it but it had a strong character. Currently I have a newer generation one which still is a bit bright, but way flatter and more versatile than the older ones. I actually have the newest model coming soon, which has more linear transformers and bigger output tubes. I heard a sample of it and it sounds sweeter. I'll post files once I get it.

- The Tubecore is really good. Teebaum and others haven't dug it, but if its gain staged correctly it can sound great. The key for me with the stock tubes is to use it lightly parallel (not fully wet). When doing that, I actually think I prefer it to the Knif Vari Mu 2 (haven't tried the Pure Mu). I tried the Knif Vari Mu 2 for a day on a record and it was super good, but the way in which it brightened the material had a character I didn't love. By contrast, the high end character of the Tubecore has made every set of mixes sound better since I got it. Its definitely possible that if I spent more time with the Knif it could win for me, but the Tubecore kind of cured my lust for one.

- The Tubecore with the JJ 6386 in the input section is a whole other beast I think. Unfortunately there is no clear calibration method for biasing the tubes, so its a bit of a shot in the dark. The new units have the ability to 0 the meters with the 6386 which wasn't possible with the older ones, but even still the meters are not accurate with those tubes. With the 6386 I find the boxtone to be very subtly flattering, and I actually think it changes the source a little less than the Knif. Also the action of the compression is way way classier than with the stock tubes. That being said, it is good right out of the box as well. I actually wish I could switch between input tubes depending on the project.
interesting - the tubecore i tested (with the original tube set) sounded a bit narrow, the gainreduction was never as "round" as the rockrueppel or knif and there was just a bit a "cheesy" boxtone - maybe bad tubes, bad luck or a bad interaction with the gear around.
Old 26th August 2016 | Show parent
  #8
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Magnus Lindberg's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I never tried the IGS but what I can say is the Varis is a great unit and is great for electronic music IMHO.
Old 27th August 2016 | Show parent
  #9
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum ➡️
interesting - the tubecore i tested (with the original tube set) sounded a bit narrow, the gainreduction was never as "round" as the rockrueppel or knif and there was just a bit a "cheesy" boxtone - maybe bad tubes, bad luck or a bad interaction with the gear around.
Calibration is key, and I really think its more of a contender with the 6386 tubes, amazingly closer to the source. I agree the compression fully wet with the stock tubes is a little greasy. With the 6386 tubes the compression is very nice and the box tone is as well. Hoping for a clearer biasing/calibration method from Igor to really optimize it.
Old 21st March 2017
  #10
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Riccardo's Avatar
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Well if he is the owner or is affiliated/works for HCL he will need to disclose it (i.e. make it public and include it in their signature)

Failing to do so may result in further actions like infractions/banning and removal of HCL threads altogether.
Old 2nd April 2017 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos ➡️
Calibration is key, and I really think its more of a contender with the 6386 tubes, amazingly closer to the source. I agree the compression fully wet with the stock tubes is a little greasy. With the 6386 tubes the compression is very nice and the box tone is as well. Hoping for a clearer biasing/calibration method from Igor to really optimize it.
Sorry to dig up an old thread....I'm thinking about putting in 6386 tubes in my Tubecore. I've got one of the newer models. Have you had any further luck in biasing and calibration?
Old 6th January 2019
  #12
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AudioKemestry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
IGS Tubecore...the complete package

Apologies for activating an old thread but just wanted to chime in for those who remain curious. Got my Tubecore 3U hooked up and have been running some mixes and vocals through it for the past few days, side-by-side with an A-Design Nail that I've had on demo. I'm not one to jump on any bandwagons based on hype. I have to put my own hands/ears on things first, but so far I'm very impressed with the Tubecore. Build quality is solid (surprisingly only 5-inches deep so its smaller than I expected). SC HPF, Elma switches, big tactile knobs, wet/dry mix, nice orange meters (which I did have to zero but it took 1 minute), M/S mode, carnhill and sowter transformers, the ability to change tubes, what more can you want?

As far as sound, the Tubecore was awesome at warming and gluing my ITB mixes together on the 2bus, which is mainly what I'm after. The range of attack/release times allows for very smooth and transparent compression (side chain at 120hz, with proper gain staging, as thermos has mentioned). The mix knobs are golden. The Tubecore added a noticeable weight/fatness to the bottom end of my mixes compared to the Nail, and a subtle (but not overhyped) brightness to the top end. If pushed hard, the Tubecore can definitely get down and dirty (which was not really possible with the Nail). On vocals, the Tubecore added some nice warmth, fullness, and shimmer, and the fast attach (0.1ms) is great to have if need be (although not as fast as the Nail). For mastering duties, the M/S mode really sets this unit apart from the rest. You can subtly tame the side transients or really add some pretty significant stereo imaging effects if desired. It would be cool if there were 'solo' switches for mid and side to quickly hear whats going on, but its no big deal to just turn down the gain for one or the other.

Overall, I love what I"m hearing from the Tubecore so far--so much so that ended up returning the Nail (which is a great unit, don't get me wrong, but for me it was just too fidgety to dial in settings/recall, and didn't have the features and sound I was after, e.g. stepped switches, M/S mode, and ability to push the tubes when needed. YMMV. Hats off to Igor @ IGS for making a solid product. I have some GE 5670 tubes on the way, so I'm curious to see how those sound. I was planning on demo'ing an Avalon 747 this week...but now I probably won't unless my gearslutiness kicks in again. Aside from the EQ, I just can't see how the Avalon can give me more than the Tubecore for mixbus/mastering duties. If I'm wrong please chime in. Now I just need a good mixbus EQ (looking at the A-Design Hammer and Xfilter). Peace.

SonicLegacy
Attached Thumbnails
Hcl Varis or Igs Tubecore for mastering electronic music-20190104_164101.jpg   Hcl Varis or Igs Tubecore for mastering electronic music-20190104_165041-b.jpg   Hcl Varis or Igs Tubecore for mastering electronic music-20190104_164013.jpg  

Last edited by AudioKemestry; 6th January 2019 at 06:59 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 11th January 2019 | Show parent
  #13
igs
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🎧 10 years
good on you son
Old 12th January 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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lee52813's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by igs ➡️
good on you son
Hi Igor, are you sure I can replace the 6386 for the latest tubecore with the meter zero calibration ? I am sure it cannot meter zero calibration with old one for I’m in this situation. So I plan to buy new tubecore for using the 6386. Thanks
Old 12th January 2019 | Show parent
  #15
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AudioKemestry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee52813 ➡️
Hi Igor, are you sure I can replace the 6386 for the latest tubecore with the meter zero calibration ? I am sure it cannot meter zero calibration with old one for I’m in this situation. So I plan to buy new tubecore for using the 6386. Thanks
For what its worth, I have the newer Tubecore (with the zero calibration ports on the back) and I just installed and calibrated a matched pair of GE 5670 (5 star) tubes. Was super easy (aside from the momentary stress of worrying about breaking a tube while pulling it out). I could have installed and calibrated the 6386 tubes just as easily I imagine.
Old 5th April 2019
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Feltman's Avatar
Bought a used a 3U and using it for electronic music...6386 were already tubes installed. Metering is kind of useless with those tubes but the sound is quite solid. I look at the meters, which never seem to be remotely matching, just to get a ballpark idea of what's going on reduction-wise, but have to rely on my ears in the end. Wish there was an reliable method to level those meters though.
A little dry (knobs at 18-21 or thereabouts) on the MIX control really tightens the sound.
The M/S feature is quite nice when used with discretion ( -9 works for me but it depends on the track). My perception of wet/dry MIX when in M/S is this: the MIX controls function as though the compressor were in stereo mode, that is to say, they route the dry signal INDEPENDENT of the M/S routing so whatever the left MIX knob setting is you'll want the right MIX knob matching or there will not be a balance at the output stage. Love to know if Igor can confirm that observation.
Old 20th April 2019
  #17
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2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
curious about the tubecore or VARIS, mostly for mixing, also in comparison to the nail comp, particularly for stuff like electronic music with real drums. anyone with experience with the varis? is tubecore the clear winner?
Old 21st April 2019 | Show parent
  #18
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AudioKemestry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle ➡️
curious about the tubecore or VARIS, mostly for mixing, also in comparison to the nail comp, particularly for stuff like electronic music with real drums. anyone with experience with the varis? is tubecore the clear winner?
Never worked with the Varis, but I did A/B tests with both the Tubecore and the Nail in the studio, head to head. Returned the Nail. Kept the Tubecore. Happy camper (especially after swapping out the stock tubes for NOS 5670s)
Old 21st April 2019
  #19
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So far heard only good things about the tubecore. Why did you return the nail? Also heard a couple of folks do that, curious why. From what I can tell, is it a great unit if its the only hardware compressor you've got, but kinda middle of the road compared to a lot of more distinct flavors? Or something else?
Old 22nd April 2019 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle ➡️
So far heard only good things about the tubecore. Why did you return the nail? Also heard a couple of folks do that, curious why. From what I can tell, is it a great unit if its the only hardware compressor you've got, but kinda middle of the road compared to a lot of more distinct flavors? Or something else?
The nail was just too fidgety to dial in settings/recall. It didn't have the features I was after as my primary 2-bus/mastering compressor (e.g. stepped switches, M/S mode)---and lacks the ability to push the tubes when needed. That being said, I would love to pick up a used Nail at some point for use as a peak limiter (before/after my MAS Overstayer). The hard threshold feature on the nail is top notch for that role.

AK

Last edited by AudioKemestry; 4th June 2019 at 05:04 PM..
Old 14th December 2019
  #21
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🎧 5 years
I’ll again resurrect this thread. I’ve been using the Tubecore 3U for a couple of years daily. In this time I also had and sold/returned a TFPro P38ex, a Charter Oak SCL-1 and a Pendulum OCL-2. The reason being, while those other comps all had their own strengths and sounds, I always *always* found something that worked just as good and maybe better with the Tubecore. deadly comp. all switched. can be punchy or smooth. Love it!

I tried the 6386 and couldn’t get over the lack of VU action but they did sound fantastic in the unit. Too bad they are so expensive. I swap between 5670 and 6BC8’s depending on the project. A bit time consuming, but that’s the kind of work I do. Both sound great, IGS’s take on the tube types being pretty accurate. Can’t get into the 6N1P’s though.

Anyway, I think Igor nailed it. I think when he says (you know it’s a bit tongue in cheek) “the finest mastering compressor ever built” or something, he actually might not be too far off. There are definitely slicker “reputation” options for compressors but after mastering a thousand or so songs with it I really am impressed.

The only con I can think of is sometimes when I find just the right sound, I’ve added too much distortion and need to rework the gain. On the other hand, it’s usually nice sounding distortion
Old 14th December 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jontornblom ➡️
I’ll again resurrect this thread. I’ve been using the Tubecore 3U for a couple of years daily. In this time I also had and sold/returned a TFPro P38ex, a Charter Oak SCL-1 and a Pendulum OCL-2. The reason being, while those other comps all had their own strengths and sounds, I always *always* found something that worked just as good and maybe better with the Tubecore. deadly comp. all switched. can be punchy or smooth. Love it!

I tried the 6386 and couldn’t get over the lack of VU action but they did sound fantastic in the unit. Too bad they are so expensive. I swap between 5670 and 6BC8’s depending on the project. A bit time consuming, but that’s the kind of work I do. Both sound great, IGS’s take on the tube types being pretty accurate. Can’t get into the 6N1P’s though.

Anyway, I think Igor nailed it. I think when he says (you know it’s a bit tongue in cheek) “the finest mastering compressor ever built” or something, he actually might not be too far off. There are definitely slicker “reputation” options for compressors but after mastering a thousand or so songs with it I really am impressed.
The newer Tubecores don’t have this problem with the 6386’s

The JJ 6386’s were cheaper earlier this year, dunno why the price of a matched pair went up like 50% in price?
Old 14th December 2019 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by XAXAU ➡️
The newer Tubecores don’t have this problem with the 6386’s

The JJ 6386’s were cheaper earlier this year, dunno why the price of a matched pair went up like 50% in price?
Do you know this from personal experience? I have a 2015 model and I’m pretty sure it’s the updated version. I could zero the meters but compression wouldn’t move the needles unless i was driving the unit so hard it was like 10% harmonic distortion.

Edit: now I wish I tried jamming the front end with my PL-2 instead of using it at the end of the chain. Turning the input up vs feeding it a hotter signal seems to get different results.
Old 15th December 2019 | Show parent
  #24
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AudioKemestry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jontornblom ➡️
Do you know this from personal experience? I have a 2015 model and I’m pretty sure it’s the updated version. I could zero the meters but compression wouldn’t move the needles unless i was driving the unit so hard it was like 10% harmonic distortion.

Edit: now I wish I tried jamming the front end with my PL-2 instead of using it at the end of the chain. Turning the input up vs feeding it a hotter signal seems to get different results.
I gotta echo all of your comments about the Tubecore. Been using it daily for a year now and anytime I get that gearslut itch to look at other compressors...I'm quickly reminded why I really don't need one. The Tubecore is a versatile beast. To your point about feeding it hotter signals, I'm running a Phoenix Audio DRS-Q4 before my Tubecore for adding tone and gain---and getting lovely results. This also gives me more wiggle room to play around with the amount of saturation I want to add from the TC's Carnhill (input) or Sowter (output) transformers. The mix knobs are clutch.

I'm running the 5670 Siemen tubes (which I love), but at some point I'll probably get a pair of the 6386 tubes to see how that works out.

Last edited by AudioKemestry; 29th December 2019 at 12:58 PM..
Old 18th December 2019 | Show parent
  #25
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jontornblom ➡️
Do you know this from personal experience? I have a 2015 model and I’m pretty sure it’s the updated version. I could zero the meters but compression wouldn’t move the needles unless i was driving the unit so hard it was like 10% harmonic distortion.

Edit: now I wish I tried jamming the front end with my PL-2 instead of using it at the end of the chain. Turning the input up vs feeding it a hotter signal seems to get different results.
Hmmm, no but I’m pretty sure Igor said that in one of his videos or posts on GS

He’s pretty responsive to emails
Old 18th December 2019 | Show parent
  #26
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jontornblom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by XAXAU ➡️
Hmmm, no but I’m pretty sure Igor said that in one of his videos or posts on GS

He’s pretty responsive to emails
Thanks for the information XAXAU. He is very responsive to emails, and we have already had about 6 back and forth emails about the use of 6386 tubes in the unit. I was hoping there was an update. He said that to have the VU/gain staging optimized for those tubes, the mods would have to be quite extensive.

Honestly though, if I had tons of money lying around, I might have just used the Tubecore with the 6386 as just a line amp; it sounded glorious. the compression just wasn’t clean like I wanted it to be.
Old 20th September 2020
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I’m gonna resurrect this thread also...I’ve been working with the tubecore for 3 months now on mix duties (it will be on the master chain when I start that). This things is wonderful on background vocal buss! I’ll report back when I put it on master duties inline with the the HCL Thermos.
Old 8th October 2020 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
 
Verified Member
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum ➡️
knif pure mu, rockrueppel and manley vari mu are IMHO much more versatile and they have a more noble boxtone.

i have a varis & use him mainly parallel for hard rock / metal
How do you use a varis in parallel? Do you use a console and sacrifice 4 busses, or do you somehow use the "split" out. I don't quite understand how the split out works to enable parallel compression.
Old 8th October 2020
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Will be getting a varis soon... Will post impressions.
Old 26th December 2020 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jontornblom ➡️
I swap between 5670 and 6BC8’s depending on the project.
I appreciate you all sharing your experiences. I've heard the Varis can have some issues here and there. Jontornblom, wondered if you'd care to elaborate on the differences between those two input tubes in the 3U, or if you'd care to share any other general impressions of the unit. I'm close to buying one.
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