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Slate FG-MU / UAD 660+670 / MJUC
Old 7th February 2016
  #1
Slate FG-MU / UAD 660+670 / MJUC

I know that Fairchild plugins have been discussed here a bit, but all those threads are fairly outdated. Some of the newer plugins haven't really had a chance to become a part of people's workflow yet. Slate has the FG-MU for about half the money of UAD, and I already have MJUC which is fantastic but I've noticed that the gain reduction happens before the meter shows, so I feel like I am bus compressing in the dark. Now, the UAD comes with a 660 as well, which is very intriguing to me as one of my main producer influences uses a pair of EAR 660's on the mix bus.

I am starting this thread because I want to know Fairchild fans "field notes" about each of these plugins. I am mainly interested in how these perform on the mix bus, but will take any insight as to how these plugins behave in comparison to one another.

What are some of the things you love about each plugin?

Which one do you enjoy the most?
Old 7th February 2016
  #2
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28 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic ➑️
I know that Fairchild plugins have been discussed here a bit, but all those threads are fairly outdated. Some of the newer plugins haven't really had a chance to become a part of people's workflow yet. Slate has the FG-MU for about half the money of UAD, and I already have MJUC which is fantastic but I've noticed that the gain reduction happens before the meter shows, so I feel like I am bus compressing in the dark. Now, the UAD comes with a 660 as well, which is very intriguing to me as one of my main producer influences uses a pair of EAR 660's on the mix bus.

I am starting this thread because I want to know Fairchild fans "field notes" about each of these plugins. I am mainly interested in how these perform on the mix bus, but will take any insight as to how these plugins behave in comparison to one another.

What are some of the things you love about each plugin?

Which one do you enjoy the most?
I have no idea how any of these compare to a hardware Vari-Mu style comp.

No experience with the UAD

The Slate FG-Mu adds a really pronounced hi mid boost. Slate says this is just like the unit it models: i don't know if it's true but I find it a little heavy handed and have stopped using it. If you mix into it you adjust for the mid boost and it's not a problem, but in practice I found myself wanting something more neutral there. It won't load on mono tracks

MJUC remains, in my opinion, a fantastic plugin. It sounds better than the slate plugin to me--it has more weight to it, I wish I had a better way to describe it--and it can load on mono tracks. It does not let you do each stereo channel separately. The Slate plugin does

I don't use MJUC on the out bus very often though. i tend to want something cleaner there since I've usually added a fair amount of analog sim beforehand
Old 7th February 2016 | Show parent
  #3
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heraldo_jones's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB+J ➑️
I have no idea how any of these compare to a hardware Vari-Mu style comp.

No experience with the UAD

The Slate FG-Mu adds a really pronounced hi mid boost. Slate says this is just like the unit it models: i don't know if it's true but I find it a little heavy handed and have stopped using it. If you mix into it you adjust for the mid boost and it's not a problem, but in practice I found myself wanting something more neutral there. It won't load on mono tracks

MJUC remains, in my opinion, a fantastic plugin. It sounds better than the slate plugin to me--it has more weight to it, I wish I had a better way to describe it--and it can load on mono tracks. It does not let you do each stereo channel separately. The Slate plugin does

I don't use MJUC on the out bus very often though. i tend to want something cleaner there since I've usually added a fair amount of analog sim beforehand

Exact same opinion here. MJUC sounds awesome and adds a sweet weight to the source while Slate is very harsh. I also have used originals and clones and although they add some colour to the source they sound great.
Old 7th February 2016
  #4
M2E
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic ➑️
I know that Fairchild plugins have been discussed here a bit, but all those threads are fairly outdated. Some of the newer plugins haven't really had a chance to become a part of people's workflow yet. Slate has the FG-MU for about half the money of UAD, and I already have MJUC which is fantastic but I've noticed that the gain reduction happens before the meter shows, so I feel like I am bus compressing in the dark. Now, the UAD comes with a 660 as well, which is very intriguing to me as one of my main producer influences uses a pair of EAR 660's on the mix bus.

I am starting this thread because I want to know Fairchild fans "field notes" about each of these plugins. I am mainly interested in how these perform on the mix bus, but will take any insight as to how these plugins behave in comparison to one another.

What are some of the things you love about each plugin?

Which one do you enjoy the most?
To be honest, you got what you need. The MJUC is better than Slate's MU.
The MJUC is a Fairchild/Retro 176/MU type plugin that is just fantastic.
Nothing compares in my opinion! Though I have not used the UAD.
On another note, users have been begging for mono since 2 years ago but they just ignore them and keep bringing out new stuff.
The Slate MU does add a mid tone to the path that can be annoying but good for some stuff.
You should demo it (Slates MU) since it is Native.
Was a big fan of Slate stuff since I have all their plugins but now, ah, I'll shut up.

Try them out and see what'cha think.

Marc

Last edited by M2E; 9th February 2016 at 04:37 PM..
Old 7th February 2016 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB+J ➑️
I have no idea how any of these compare to a hardware Vari-Mu style comp.

No experience with the UAD

The Slate FG-Mu adds a really pronounced hi mid boost. Slate says this is just like the unit it models: i don't know if it's true but I find it a little heavy handed and have stopped using it. If you mix into it you adjust for the mid boost and it's not a problem, but in practice I found myself wanting something more neutral there. It won't load on mono tracks

MJUC remains, in my opinion, a fantastic plugin. It sounds better than the slate plugin to me--it has more weight to it, I wish I had a better way to describe it--and it can load on mono tracks. It does not let you do each stereo channel separately. The Slate plugin does

I don't use MJUC on the out bus very often though. i tend to want something cleaner there since I've usually added a fair amount of analog sim beforehand
Thanks for your reply. I absolutely love the flexibility of the MJUC and the sound is there, but the metering seems inaccurate, as it begins compressing before it registers on the VU. Have you had the same experience at all?

I will also add that MJUC behaves scarily like a tube compressor. Below I have some graphs of the MJUC, no gain reduction, and everything at it's nominal position, and my Summit Audio TLA-50.
Old 7th February 2016
  #6
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🎧 5 years
The Slate FG-MU isn't based on any particular hardwear model, it's a tweaked combo piece that has its own character. I like it a lot and the bump is very wide and sweet IMHO. I really like smashing things with it and using the mix knob .

The MJUC is better than almost any plugin compressor I've ever used..at any cost! An essential! The fact that it compresses a tiny bit at 0 doesn't bother me at all. It sounds great and the design(s) it's based on behave that way anyway. Another reason I don't regret moving away from UAD.

Also, don't forget the Audified U73b, which is right along MJUC is the best mu style compressor I've ever heard. It just does incredible things to the sound. Different, and less versatile than MUJC, but liquid gold nevertheless .
Old 7th February 2016
  #7
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🎧 10 years
i usually try a few comps out if i'm trying to decide. for rap i don't like to put fairchild-type comps on the master, i use the shadow hills, both sides barely compressing, just mainly bringing the volume up in the cleanest mode. brainworx did an incredible job!! i prefer the slate fg-x, again 1-2db gain, because the fg-mu colours the sound really drastically.

for rap vocals i've been using the uad cl1b but i'll try the fairchild or manley vary-mu. sometimes i'll throw the ampex on but usually i don't put it across the whole 2 bus because it can mess up the sub bass and overall loudness. it really depends on the track and if i feel it needs to be gritty, clean, etc. i tend to use the compressors for tone more than actual compressing, and i try to get that in the mix and not on the 2 bus

the vsm-3 is my current fav plug-in. i just love what it does to soft synths
Old 8th February 2016
  #8
Shadow Hills is pretty nice. It definitely polishes up the mix in a unique way. The transformer options are really cool too, and really help for fine tuning to the song/genre. I would totally use the SHMC, but I can't help but to feel like it's over featured for what I am doing. It would be awesome to see a plugin version of the Dual Vandergraph!

I've got the demos for FG-MU, UA670 here, and I own the IK 670 and MJUC. I am going to do some listening tonight/tomorrow and take some notes on each one so I can contribute to this thread instead of just consuming the knowledge of others. I really want to emphasize "field notes". I don't have too many people in my life to talk to about in depth listening/use of bus compressors so this is great! Keep up the dirty details of each comp! Don't be afraid to throw in some notes on other comps in comparison to the Fairchild style Vari-Mu comps like the Manley, and that U73b.

Also, I tried to upload some graphs earlier but I guess it didn't go through. Let me try again...
Attached Thumbnails
Slate FG-MU / UAD 660+670 / MJUC-summittla50.jpg   Slate FG-MU / UAD 660+670 / MJUC-mjuc-1.jpg  
Old 8th February 2016
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Just guessing, but it's possible (likely?) the MJUC compression that happens while at zero is consistent with behavior from real hardware units. I've never noticed but don't see it as a problem, because when I insert the plugin I want it to compress. Have you tried the Mark III model? Since that is his own creation, it's possible the behavior is different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic ➑️
I know that Fairchild plugins have been discussed here a bit, but all those threads are fairly outdated. Some of the newer plugins haven't really had a chance to become a part of people's workflow yet. Slate has the FG-MU for about half the money of UAD, and I already have MJUC which is fantastic but I've noticed that the gain reduction happens before the meter shows, so I feel like I am bus compressing in the dark. Now, the UAD comes with a 660 as well, which is very intriguing to me as one of my main producer influences uses a pair of EAR 660's on the mix bus.

I am starting this thread because I want to know Fairchild fans "field notes" about each of these plugins. I am mainly interested in how these perform on the mix bus, but will take any insight as to how these plugins behave in comparison to one another.

What are some of the things you love about each plugin?

Which one do you enjoy the most?
Old 8th February 2016 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Slightly off topic, but I've noticed that the Slate modeling in VTM is also very heavy handed. The head bump at 60hz is extremely heavy handed at the default setting. Thankfully it is adjustable or I would find it useless.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PB+J ➑️
The Slate FG-Mu adds a really pronounced hi mid boost. Slate says this is just like the unit it models: i don't know if it's true but I find it a little heavy handed and have stopped using it.
Old 8th February 2016
  #11
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Stack a few of the same plug in a row with no GR to exagerate it's default effects for evaluation.
Old 8th February 2016
  #12
Just spent the last hour or so shooting out with the UAD, IK, FG-Mu, and MJUC. Here are some of my findings.

- Slate is indeed "heavy handed" with it's mid bump. I liked what my snare was doing before adding the FG-Mu, after adding, I had to re EQ the snare.
- Slate is light, airy, feathery, and can add some brightness to a dark mix. This was the brightest comp of the 4 I tried, although the MJUC can be as bright as I want it to be.

- UAD is nice, really nice. It seemed to be more vertical sounding; it left the lows virtually untouched while brightening things up a bit and adding realism to the snare. It also added punch to everything and seemed to gel together well. It definitely helped the track sound more finished.
- The UAD had the least amount of "wow" factor upon engaging. It was the most transparent at first - really impressed me after multiple listens.

- MJUC is such a chameleon that I could totally make it work. Again, at GR 1-2db it is compressing WAY more than it's competitors. I dialed in the amount of GR by ear to match what the others were doing. Once I felt good about how much it was compressing, it is very rich sounding, and definitely added a weight to the kick, toms and bass that brought realism to the track.
- MJUC also felt a little more hazy and dreamy than the others, as if it was adding more harmonic content in a good way. Definitely good for adding more depth in your track is feeling a little 2D.

- The IK is definitely more rounded, and a little more choked sounding on the top end. You can help with this by lowering the input gain and readjusting output and threshold to taste. The less input gain, the more top end; but it never really gets as clean as the UAD and still retains it's rounded tonal characteristics.
- The UAD and the IK are so insanely close that I couldn't tell the difference at first after the input gain was reduced on the IK. Only after repeated listens did the differences settle in. I wouldn't be surprised if they both modeled the same unit, but one was before and one was after re-tubing/recapping (mere speculation).
- The UA leaves the low end pretty clean, and the IK boost the lower mids giving it more boom. One is not better than the other, just different.

I love Slate Digital products; VCC and VTM are essentials for me, however FG-Mu was my least favorite of all these. My taste may change later, but I can't see myself using FG-Mu on any of my upcoming projects.

MJUC came in 3rd place for this round. I really really don't like that the meter is so behind. I know that this may or may not be more along the lines of how a hardware Vari-Mu might work, but I just haven't had that experience with any hardware or software compressor so it bothers me. The sound is nice and rich though, and I could totally mix with that on my mix us and be fine, making small adjustments along the way.

Being that I already own the IK, and it kinda just "sat in the closet" is surprising to me. It's a very very good compressor. I wouldn't mind using this until I can afford the UA Fairchild 670 & 660. I really liked how cinematic and open the UA was, it was very unobtrusive, very detailed, and genuinely added to the mix I was doing. I felt like it did some of the work for me, and I was EQing less high end. In my setup, I always feel like I am adding a little 2-4k to get things to pop out, and the UA did some of that for me which was nice. If I didn't try the UA, then the IK would have won me over based on GUI and it's added low end bounce, though the MJUC could get me there and work great, the IK could probably get me there faster with less tweaking.

Am I overthinking this whole mix bus thing? Probably, but it's been a whole bunch of fun comparing all these and all of the plugins sound a lot better than stuff did 15 years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if I switched it up between UA, IK, and MJUC just to add some variation from track to track; tailoring the mix bus to the feel of the song.
Old 8th February 2016
  #13
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6 Reviews written
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Slate makes good stuff, but I feel like the FG-Mu is a flop. Seems like it was rushed and most their time and effort was put into red and gray
Old 8th February 2016
  #14
I just received a reply from Tony Frenzel regarding the metering. Here is a quote:

"The gain reduction meter only shows the actual gain reduction from the gain reduction cell, i.e. the actual variable-mu-stage(s). Since Mk1 is the most colored model in MJUC, it makes sense that the effect you’re describing is most prominent there, as the other elements, such as input and output transformers and tube stages have also some slight compression going on, just like in the real world."
Old 8th February 2016 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart ➑️
Slate makes good stuff, but I feel like the FG-Mu is a flop. Seems like it was rushed and most their time and effort was put into red and gray
Or...it's exactly as they intended. Funny, it reminds me of a friend who didn't like it because of that mid boost. He swapped to the FG-Red on his master bus and then eq'd a mid boost anyway. Made me smile .
Old 8th February 2016
  #16
In the case of the FG-Mu, I personally don't like the frequencies in which it boost, and it seems to boost too much for my taste. But sometimes switching bus compressors 3/4 through a mix to something brighter might be the perfect solution for a dark mix; making the FG-Mu a useful card to have up your sleeve. Slate VBC is still with the money, as FG-Grey and FG-Red are pretty awesome.

I've seen a number of people that think the Slate Digital stuff is heavy handed. In comparison to other plugins, it may be, but I can't say that any of Slate Digitals other stuff has ever disagreed with my taste. I genuinely feel that the stuff they are making exceeds expectations and that in that context FG-Mu didn't have the same "wow factor" as other Slate stuff.

Being familiar with using tape and how it sonically differs from digital, the 60hz bump on VTM isn't all that unexpected, though it is useful to be able to dial that back when needed.

Last edited by justinheronmusic; 8th February 2016 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: Edited for spelling
Old 8th February 2016
  #17
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Reverb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
MJUC has been a godsend for me - best dongle-free compressor I've used by a long shot.
Old 8th February 2016
  #18
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🎧 10 years
out of those I use the UAD fairchild most. I can't get MJUC to act as aggressively in a way that I like and not a fan of fg-mu. I guess they're all worth having around at some point though.
Old 8th February 2016
  #19
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Hardtoe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would also check out U-he Presswerk, which is my favourite ITB mix buss compressor (I also own the Slate and the MJUC) - Presswerk can be set to model many different types of compression, and is very good for adding density in a high fidelity manner - it's underrated around these parts, but well worth an audition...
Old 8th February 2016 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Which is what I would have expected to hear. Just like in the real world.

The rare case where it truly is a feature, not a bug.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic ➑️
I just received a reply from Tony Frenzel regarding the metering. Here is a quote:

"The gain reduction meter only shows the actual gain reduction from the gain reduction cell, i.e. the actual variable-mu-stage(s). Since Mk1 is the most colored model in MJUC, it makes sense that the effect you’re describing is most prominent there, as the other elements, such as input and output transformers and tube stages have also some slight compression going on, just like in the real world."
Old 9th February 2016
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Guess I'm the only one who loves the slate MU. I enjoy all 3 slate bus comps, but the MU is the one that gives me the most polish and glue.
Old 9th February 2016 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Rose ➑️
Guess I'm the only one who loves the slate MU. I enjoy all 3 slate bus comps, but the MU is the one that gives me the most polish and glue.
It's great that you've found something that works well for what you do! What were you using before FG-Mu or the VBC bundle? Was the VBC bundle a huge improvement for your mixes? If so, how?
Old 11th February 2016
  #23
Bump! Does anyone else have anything to chime in?
Old 11th February 2016
  #24
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🎧 15 years
I have used all 3...

I demoed the UAD 660 MKII twice, didn't do much for me so I didn't buy it. I used the MKI all the time back in the day. I usually like UAD plugs a lot. You should consider the Manley compressor...

The Slate doesn't work for me...I use the other bus compressors on almost every mix.

The MJUC is pretty good. Maybe use it on every other mix.
Old 11th February 2016
  #25
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Peter Primo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Personally I have used all of them and to me MJUC is the best. Another reason why I have no regrets selling my UA plugs. Native stuff is getting better & better.
Old 11th February 2016
  #26
Mho
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🎧 10 years
I find the Slate Mu too agressive in the mids for 2bus, but I love it on piano tracks and rooms...
Old 11th February 2016 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic ➑️
Don't be afraid to throw in some notes on other comps in comparison to the Fairchild style Vari-Mu comps like the Manley, and that U73b.
The U73b is quite nice but you find there's a noticeable high-end rolloff.
I wish there was an option to either turn it off, adjust the slope or freq curve.
They did end up adding a hpf @100hz as it also cut off quite a bit of lo-end too.
Old 11th February 2016
  #28
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I like MJUC a lot and I'll chime in for FG MU as well. The coloration that people seem to dislike is the exact reason I use it. It's indispensable to me as a distortion box and a kind of familiar EQ, always used in parallel. It has a great way of tightening the low and and pushing forward the high mids in a way that is perfect for some instruments. It also has kind of a "flattening" effect that is a 2-D-sounding, but also useful for pushing distorted guitars, vocals, etc to the foreground.
I have the new UAD 670/660 and just haven't really gotten into it for whatever reason. I'd love to hear what you all like it on.
Old 11th February 2016
  #29
I'm really liking the UAD 660 on the mix bus. I like the trick that it does. It's hard to describe what it's doing - to me it feels like it tightens the low end then adds some air in the same way the FG-Mu does but just not as apparent and wide open. Out of everything I tried, it was the most even sounding of the bunch. Like something shot on modern film as apposed to HD - it didn't have any sharp edges. MJUC mkI adds a pretty nice weight to everything, but I get a similar effect when I am using VTM, so it's almost too much when I combine the two - unless I am dialing out the 60z bump in VTM settings. I'd love to hear about more experiences with the Manley Vari-Mu.

I really like MJUC mkIII on the drum bus at the moment. It adds a lot of energy to everything. So far my favorite drum bus comp by far.
Old 11th February 2016
  #30
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🎧 10 years
I always use UAD 670 on parallel drums, fastest release. You lose a fair amount of low end which is normal with fairchilds but it doesn't matter in parallel as this is for blending in. The HPF in the side chain is great for letting the lows back in though. I can't get MJUC to react fast enough in the way I like for parallel drums. I also really like it on piano (release depends on the music). Also occasionally very lightly on the mixbus can be cool (MJUC is way too strong for my liking here).
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