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.
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)
“Three different hardware versions of the Manley Variable Mu have lived in my gear racks since the ’90s. Now the UAD version captures the same unique feel that the hardware adds to my mixes.”
– Mark Needham (The Killers, Neon Trees, P!nk)
April 4, 2023
I love this plugin!
it is just great! I love its character, it really does glue your track nicely. Manley products are not famous for nothing. If the hardware sounds better than this, I want one!!...Read More
February 26, 2023
Hi folks, I'm impressed with the accuracy of this plugin, especially on Mix Bus. By the way, I have used it a lot in Mix Drums, Bus Guitar because of its excellent glue....Read More
January 13, 2023
I thought for a long time. I tested. This plugin finally beat me to it. First choice of master bus compression for me.Read More
January 10, 2023
Compressão espetacular. Sempre tive o desejo de adquirir esse simulação. Estou impressionado com a textura e capacidade de...Read More
January 9, 2023
I use this on drums and mix bus. Its great!Read More
January 3, 2023
Mix Bus Compressor
The main choice in the mix bus and masteringRead 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 love this plugin!
it is just great! I love its character, it really does glue your track nicely. Manley products are not famous for nothing. If the hardware sounds better than this, I want one!!
Hi folks, I'm impressed with the accuracy of this plugin, especially on Mix Bus. By the way, I have used it a lot in Mix Drums, Bus Guitar because of its excellent glue.
I thought for a long time. I tested. This plugin finally beat me to it. First choice of master bus compression for me.
Compressão espetacular. Sempre tive o desejo de adquirir esse simulação. Estou impressionado com a textura e capacidade de cola desse plugin.
I use this on drums and mix bus. Its great!
Mix Bus Compressor
The main choice in the mix bus and mastering
Lo uso solo per incollare tutta la drums. Funziona alla grande , da quando lo uso le mie tracce suonano benissimo.
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.
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.
Simply the Best
It’s been on EVERY single one of mixes since 2018, just buy it, no regrets here!
Nice option when I mastered in the box without my NuMu unit. Similar color.
Thanks Universal Audio and Manley
Just a couple of db on the two bus and you're golden
M. Ramos Jiménez
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.
Comp and M/S colour
Brilliant comp and also M/S comp with beautiful curves.
I love it!
wow.. this is..
very good.. butter sound.. good...!!
This is gold on mixbus, transparent glue.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.