UAD Spark: Get 20+ of the best UAD plug-ins for a low monthly price. Learn More ›

$299.00

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.

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

Take A Listen
Manley Variable Mu Under the Hood

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

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.

Powerful Controls

Powerful Controls

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.

Key Features

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

Customer Reviews

Manley® Variable Mu Limiter Compressor

Overall Rating

J. Szeszel

January 13, 2023

Yes!

I thought for a long time. I tested. This plugin finally beat me to it. First choice of master bus compression for me.

J. FALCONERY

January 10, 2023

Profissional

Compressão espetacular. Sempre tive o desejo de adquirir esse simulação. Estou impressionado com a textura e capacidade de cola desse plugin.

G. Grinko

January 9, 2023

Very powerfull!

I use this on drums and mix bus. Its great!

R. Mangile

January 3, 2023

Mix Bus Compressor

The main choice in the mix bus and mastering

S. Gara

December 20, 2022

Drums bus

Lo uso solo per incollare tutta la drums. Funziona alla grande , da quando lo uso le mie tracce suonano benissimo.

A. Litwinowicz

December 15, 2022

Excellent Compressor and irreplaceable!

Excellent Compressor and irreplaceable! Sounds very close to hardware (90-95%). One of the best plugins I've used. I use it for all my music projects.

P. Sviyazov

December 11, 2022

Smooth

This plugin shape sounds very close to hardware for my opinion. I tried many and this one is the closest. And as well one of the smoothest and softest vocal compressors.

S. Bhatti

November 14, 2022

Simply the Best

It’s been on EVERY single one of mixes since 2018, just buy it, no regrets here!

S. Nascimento

September 18, 2022

Musical color

Nice option when I mastered in the box without my NuMu unit. Similar color.

. Oliveira

August 30, 2022

Very Good!

Thanks Universal Audio and Manley
Essential Plugin!!!

E. Larson

August 13, 2022

Incredible

Just a couple of db on the two bus and you're golden

M. Ramos Jiménez

July 24, 2022

Essential in the mix bus.

I mainly use this plugin in the mix bus. If you want a paste mix with analog color, this is your plugin.

O. Levi

July 11, 2022

Comp and M/S colour

Brilliant comp and also M/S comp with beautiful curves.
I love it!

h. kim

July 8, 2022

wow.. this is..

very good.. butter sound.. good...!!

J. Grylls

June 21, 2022

Transparent

This is gold on mixbus, transparent glue.

C. Carroll

June 11, 2022

The Butter to the Bread

I’ve been obsessed with this compressor for years now. It’s the warm hug that every “cold” mix that arrives for mastering. This plug-in is spot on to the hardware unit we’ve all grown to love.

J. Loureiro

January 17, 2022

A Must have on your Collection

I bought this after a demo test against a few different compressors plugins and some hardware too and it is a very versatile compressor that you can use easily on mix bus, Vocals , Bass... and it becomes your favorite one for sure, im just in love with it ...

D. Marshall

January 14, 2022

Very unique vibe

I tried the demo of this thing about a year ago and normally I’m like oh god here we go another compressor just what I need but when I used it , I was very impressed how much of a vibe it gave the mix. So when Christmas deal rolled around I had to get it. I really missed it.
Cheat code

The Phil Tan mix buss preset is pretty much set it and for get it. Just tweak the threshold and bam it’s the vibe. If you’re are getting serious about your mix work this thing is amazing.

L. Martella

January 9, 2022

Excellent Plug in

Excellent Plug in particularly suitable for the master. I am very satisfied!

P. Rackley

January 8, 2022

This is a staple of studio awesomeness

This compressor is a must have for glue and warmth. If you buy this comp and use the Manley Passive, you will not regret it!! II IS HOT!!!!