Manley® Variable Mu Limiter Compressor
Tube compression royalty for your mixes.
As Manley Labs' flagship compressor since 1994, the Variable Mu is a tube and transformer-driven classic that exudes hand-made craftsmanship. A gold standard among mixing and mastering engineers, the Variable Mu adds clarity and cohesion to stereo buses or your entire mix.
Developed under Manley Labs' rigorous scrutiny, the Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor plug-in is a thorough emulation of this legendary tube limiter, and is based on the coveted “6BA6 T-BAR Tube Mod” unit. Now, its famed sound is available exclusively for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces.
Now You Can:
Add definition and fidelity to individual tracks, stereo buses, or an entire mix
Glue together difficult mixes with signature Manley tube compression
Link channels for a precise, perfectly matched stereo image
Select from Left/Right or Mid/Side operation for precise control of stereo imaging
Use the plug-in-only Dry/Wet Mix control to easily dial-in parallel compression
Mix with artist presets from Tom Elmhirst, J.J. Blair, Mike Larson, and more
Take A Listen
Manley Variable Mu Under the Hood
While the Manley Variable Mu uses the remote cut-off style gain reduction found in the Fairchild and other classic limiters, it has a sound and character all its own. Its classic dual-triode gain reduction design is constantly re-biased by the sidechain control voltages, creating a unique variable gain compressor with stunning transparency. This lets you treat source material with velvety-smooth gain reduction, while infusing warm harmonic content, free of audible compression artifacts.
King of the 2-Bus
The Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor plug-in can be used on single instruments such as bass or a lead vocal, or on subgroups like strings or horns. But its raison d'être is on the mix bus, where its expert features can unify your mixes with a rich, hi-fi fit and finish.
Parameter linking allows simultaneous adjustment of both channels with stereo signals. When unlinked, the plug-in's Mid/Side processing is actually improved over the hardware, providing phase accurate stereo imaging. The High Pass Sidechain filter prevents compression to frequencies lower than 100 Hz — letting you compress, say, overheads, while retaining punchy bottom-end. Plug-in-only controls Dry/Wet, Mix, and Headroom give you more colors to paint your mixes. Dry/Wet Mix offers easy parallel compression — perfect for polishing vocals and more. Finally, the Headroom control lets you optimize the Variable Mu’s overall level to your playback system.
“If you've got a ragged mix, this plug-in will give it a big hug. It's a stunning emulation of our Variable Mu hardware, right down to the last detail.”
– EveAnna Manley President of Manley Labs
“The Manley Variable Mu is one of my go-to compressors for all types of sounds – especially when I’m looking for an upfront, in-your-face tone. It's fun to distort too.”
– Mike Larson (Pharrell, Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar)
“I used to lament that I had only one Manley Variable Mu. Thanks to UA, those days are in the past! Now I'm like that little old lady on the hot sauce commercials — I put that s*** on everything!”
– Phil Tan (Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Rihanna)
January 3, 2015
I seriously hate compression. I guess the perfect mix would need no compression. Most samples nowadays come mastered and rock and metal guitars need no compression. Other than channel...Read More
September 22, 2017
very well for mastering
All is in the titleRead More
September 11, 2017
Really like the hardware
I worked with Manley Varimu for 3 years. The plugin works differently like hardware but available "the sound".Read More
July 13, 2017
Love it on Piano, Mix Bus and anything you need to just hold in place.Read More
July 5, 2017
Fijne compressor/limiter met karakteristieke Manley Sound. Ik gebruik hem regelmatig voor vocals maar ook drums.Read More
June 17, 2017
sounds amazing. Fantastic!!Read More
Exclusively licensed and rigorously scrutinized by Manley Labs, modeled by Universal Audio
Transparent Variable Mu tube compression for master fader, subgroups, or individual sources
Models entire stereo stereo Class A circuit, including custom tubes and transformers, input gain and gain reduction
Continuous Dual Input, Stereo Output, Threshold and Attack controls with five position Recovery controls
Sidechain Filter, L/R or M/S operation plus plug-in only Dry/Wet parallel processing Headroom and Controls Linking
Requires UAD-2 DSP Accelerator Card or Apollo Interface, available from authorized dealers worldwide
Manley Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor
I seriously hate compression. I guess the perfect mix would need no compression.
Most samples nowadays come mastered and rock and metal guitars need no compression. Other than channel strips, the only compressors I need are the neve 33609, fatso and this vari-mu (and precision series) I can't stand 1176, any story you have heard about how great this compressor is is false, their 1176's are completely modded to their specs. Same thing with the Fairchild and Pultecs. You will never get THE sound you want without spending$$$$. I trust Manley products and own their hardware. You won't be sorry. Vintage gear is well,vintage. Manley products are like the next generation, not exactly better but more refined.
very well for mastering
All is in the title
Really like the hardware
I worked with Manley Varimu for 3 years. The plugin works differently like hardware but available "the sound".
Love it on Piano, Mix Bus and anything you need to just hold in place.
Fijne compressor/limiter met karakteristieke Manley Sound. Ik gebruik hem regelmatig voor vocals maar ook drums.
Nice warm hug
I've often heard the term how compressors are "the glue" that bring all the elements together. Well after using the MU, I decided to use my own analogy and say "this compressor gives your mix a nice warm hug"
this is freaking awesome
I've waited for the price to go down on this box for a long time and when the june sale came on it was a no brainer I'm SO SO SO Glad i picked this as part of a 3 Plug package omg on vocals its amazing you can turn the gain to full and threshold to 0 and the result is just jaw dropping on the master buss its the Cream if your thinking of buying it then go right ahead it will be the best things you have done for your music
A mastering glue unlike any other
The Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor has this way of not just compressing, but bringing all aspects of your mix to the front. It really has this 'glue' factor that many other compressors do not possess. It is best used as a mastering compressor, although it has infinite uses on individual tracks too!
D. van Haarlem
Love it like the Hardware!
I really like the hardware Variable Mu as a compressor on vocals to smooth things out and 'put some icing on the cake' as well as the 'cherry on top of the cream' :-) UA did a Fantastic job in copying that quality in their software equivalent. Now I can simultaneously use a second instance on my mixbus!!!
Msnley Varible Muu
The Manley Varible Mu add a beautiful clarity to my mixes that I had not heard. It is amazing how my mixes set just right with the Manley Variable Mu. Excellent!
I like it more than other buss comp! Thank you UA!
Limpio y eficaz
Grande en el mastering, pone todo en su lugar sin deformar la señal. Una gran emulacion del hardaware. Top en mi lista.
As a owner of the "real thing", i'm completely bluffed on how they could get so close to it. There are of course some "colour" diversities, but nothing so crucial that you can't integrate in the signal with other great UA devices. Love you Universal Audio. Nothing else to say.
L. Costa e Silva
Great plugin! I've been using it a lot in my mastering chain, combining it with other plugins and hardware gear. Very well modelled!!! Highly recommended!!!
Great compressor plug-in. Very useful in my scoring work to help mixes retain fullness when mixed under dialog. Thanks, UAD!
Just throw this on your mix bus, or your master, and this will make things huuuge1
Sounds great! Looks great!
Very close to the hardware
As a plugin, it's just great. Very close to the hardware' sound (maybe a little bit of glue less), but very usable and always "right" on tracks. Puttin' this plug on a mix is never a mistake, it works everywhere in the mix.
Cream add your track
The vari mu is awesome gear.
signal in this your track add the cream.
cream is high freaquency dessing.
its so nice.