Gearfocus: A closer look at the hardware
In gearfocus we take a closer look at the hardware we use. In part 1 of gearfocus: the ART Pro VLA II tube compressor.
The ProVLA II is a tube-driven Vactrol®-based Compressor/Leveling amplifier designed to excel in any professional audio environment. Superior performance and incredible tone make the ProVLA II an indispensable tool for tracking, mixing, mastering, dynamic control of live sound sources or for use in broadcast audio.
Capable of delivering a much more musical, natural sound and sonically transparent compression than competitive units in its class, the ProVLA II uses an optoelectronic circuit instead of the more typical VCA-controlled level detection circuitry. This VCA-less design combined with a 12AT7 vacuum tube in the amplification stage makes the Pro-VLA II the ideal dynamic control device for critical audio applications.
Exceptional signal integrity with extremely low noise and low distortion is achieved in the ProVLA II by using a transformerless design throughout.
Unlike typical compression units that use voltage controlled amplifiers (VCAs) to handle level detection, the Pro VLA II's optoelectronic design allows for much more transparent and musically sounding compression without sounding aggressive or unnatural. This Vactrol-based optical electronic circuit is the basic component of the classic, highly sought-after compressors of the past. The Vactrol® design allows the ProVLA II to respond to an audio signal in much the same way the eye naturally adapts to fluctuations in light levels - smoothly, quietly and almost imperceptibly.
Soft Knee Leveling
The ProVLA II is a gentle knee-leveling enhancer by nature. While capable of providing dramatic compression effects, the ProVLA II is designed to excel in any application where transparent, expressive musical dynamics control is desired.
Large, highly visible backlit analog VU meters accurately display input and output levels, while extremely fast 10-segment LEDs display gain reduction. For added functionality, the LEDs display either a medium level for mastering and mixing applications or peak hold for monitoring individual sources when tracking audio.
At Synchro music we mainly use the Pro VLAII on buses. Vocals and drums in particular come into their own with a touch of tube compression from the Pro VLAII.
In our mixing and mastering sessions we often use analog gear, including this Pro VLAII.
Questions? Feel free to contact us.