Vari Mu II has gone through a face lift. Front has got the same kind of frame structure with sub panels as Soma already had. Input and output attenuators as well as threshold switches are 23-position Elma switches and the rest 11 position Elma switches instead of the Grayhills in the past. There is only one reason for all the changes. Quality. To my regret dual needle meter is no more manufactured and getting increasingly difficult to get, so if you want one, there is very little time left to order.
Knif Vari Mu II has 1) MS-matrix 2) Lundahl's biggest line trannies 3) all Elma rotary switches 4) interesting variable Link and side chain HP filter 5) stereo width adj. 6) illuminated Sifam meters or (as in the picture above) extremely nice Sifam dual needle meter as custom option 7) very easy calibration setup with internal signal generator and front panel trimmers 8) low noise and lots of headroom in the bass. And much more. Also available with Lundahl amorphous core output trannies which are recommended for those requiring utmost neutrality and accuracy.
So, how does it sound? Mostly it does not "sound". That is the whole point. But there seems to be somewhat "enhancing" character, especially with the amorphous core transformers. Wide open with a lot of details. This is not the overly "fat and big" tube compressor sound which in fact is too often just messy, woolly and dark sound of bad transformers and too much distortion. I believe that the informed mastering engineer appreciates versatility and transparency. And this is what Knif Vari Mu offers. It can be driven into controlled soft clipping if desired but it also offers this "is it really on" feeling if used in a controlled fashion.
It is very easy to use because of separate input and output trims and a ratio switch. In MS-mode you can fine tune the stereo width according to the compression or your taste. Note that you can normally not adjust the width with input and output pads, because they are located "outside" the coding and hence work in normal stereo mode. MS-coders can be switched on independently to make the compressor to work as MS-coding or decoding device in the signal chain.
|Frequency response 0 / -1 dB||15 Hz - 55 kHz|
|-3dB point||100 kHz|
|Input impedance||5 kOhms|
|Output impedance||150 Ohms|
|Maximum output level (1% THD)||+26 dBu|
|Maximum clean compression||20 dB|
|Release||30 ms - 1.5 s + optional secondary slope release of 1 or 2 seconds|
|Attack||from very fast to 50% of release time|
|Tube complement||4*ECC189 2*6H30Pi 2*E88CC 2*12AL5|
Updated Mon Mar 11 20:45:50 2013