ART Pro VLA II valve/tube compressor, any good?

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ART Pro VLA II valve/tube compressor, any good?

Post by squatski » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:38 am

I see a lot of people rave about these because they're one of the cheaper real valve/tube compressors
from the specs it looks good, just a shame it doesn't feature a wet/dry control

my question is, does this comp actually use the tube for the compression or is it just some sort of pre-gain drive thing? and even if it is the latter, does the drive on it sound nice and sweet?

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Re: ART Pro VLA II valve/tube compressor, any good?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:34 am

Hey squatski, I have one of these, and it's good. It's a Swiss army knife compressor, not so much a huge tube warmth sound coloring device. They sell an upgrade that gives it more warmth, I think saturating the tube more? Don't quote me on that. It's an opto, like an LA-2A, and I think; like the LA-2A, the tube is essential to how it functions, not an afterthought.

You can do both envelope shaping and level balancing tasks with it. It's not as fast as an 1176, not as smooth as an LA-2A, but it's great with high frequency sources. I love it with cymbals or field recordings. Mostly stereo sources. I mean for the price, the Pro VLA 2 hits it out of the park. Everyone recommends the FRM RNC as a cheap compressor, and that's nice too, but there's certainly room for the ART. I've zoomed in with an oscilloscope to see what it's doing when it's shaping sound sources, and for the most part if you know what you want to do to your source, you can get the pro vla to do it. I haven't had much luck using it on a 2 channel stereo master bus, but I have had luck using it with stereo drum buss, or other more focused stems. One day I'll need to sit down and see what I can do with the ART on my master bus to try to get something I'm happy with. It's easy to get good results with the DBX Quantum, so I usually use that.

My current compressors are:

1. 3630
2. Warm WA76 (x2)
3. Warm WA2A
4. DBX Quantum
5. Art Pro VLA2
6.* Stam Audio Stamchild 670 ( built, and arriving sometime this century, hopefully...)
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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