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ART Pro VLA vs. ART TC3?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by amg1, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    What are the differences between these two or should I ask if you had to choose between these two which on and why?

    LRG :roll:
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have one question for you:Why limit yourself to those 2? ART is not exactly "quality audio" gear. There are fans of the VLA, and that's cool. But the TC box is very questionable. If your budget is say, $400-500, look at The Brick or (I know...) the RNP. More knobs and switches do not guarantee a quality product. IMHO...PEACE.
  3. jobu2u

    jobu2u Guest

    Any way you look at it IMO, the ProVLA is a very usefull piece of gear--despite what it costs. I use it for tracking many different instruments. If you spend some time getting to know it you'll realize that it can be VERY transparent, or add a pleasing and unique color to most things. Even when I use liberal amounts of compression on something it doesn't sound nearly as brutally "squashed" and poopoo sounding as many other inexpensive comps.

    I haven't used the TCS unit, but I haven't heard nearly as many great things (if any) about it compared to the proVLA.

    Note: I have heard that the latest ones have undergone some redesigning, (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and some of the "magic" may have been lost. So to be on the safe side I would keep my eye out for a used one if I were you.

    Good luck!
  4. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    Thanks for the replies. Moonbaby I think your referring to pre-amps. I've heard the Pro VLA and it would be my first choice. With the TC3 being newer model was wondering if ART had implemented anything, well, new to it. I'm looking for a used Pro VLA to purchase.
  5. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    The Pro VLA is a great buy. It's got the transparency of the RNC (meaning you don't really "hear" it working the signal) but it's got the character in sound of quality tube compression and is extremely versatile. I can't say enough good things about the Pro VLA.

    Honestly, I don't even know what a TC3 is. Sorry.

    As far as buying a used one goes you can count on not getting any "bargains". They resale typically between $240 and $270. A full manufacturers warranty may be worth the extra $20-$30 to you. Even on ebay they finish auctions at an average around $250. zzounds sells them for around $269 and MF blows them out once in a while for $229 but only in catalog promo's so you have to actually phone in the order. You can't get them on the web at that price.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I found these blurbs on the web ..ART - TCS Twin Compressor System

    The TCS is a two-channel compressor intended for a wide range of audio processing applications. Both an Opto-isolator compressor and VCA compressor are featured. Users may select one of the compressor styles, or combine the two depending on their needs and techniques. The unit also features a 16 position knob, which allows the user to select from several preset compression configurations. The TCS also allows for full manual control of all settings such as attack and release. Housed in a 1u space design, it can be used directly with instruments or with material captured by microphones, and is suitable for both studio and live performance uses.

    ART - Pro VLA Leveling Amplifier

    The PRO VLA (Vactrol-based Leveling Amplifier) is a multi- purpose tool for audio engineering and recording. Enclosed in a 2U (3.5" high) rack-mountable chassis are two independent channels of analog leveling/compression designed to work seamlessly with any recording, sound-reinforcement, or electronic instrument setup. ART’s PRO VLA circuitry is a hybrid design utilizing the latest and most advanced analog and tube technology. Using a transformerless design throughout, the PRO VLA maintains exceptional signal integrity and extremely low noise. Its VCA-less design utilizes optical electronics (Vactrol) coupled with a 12AX7 vacuum tube gain stage for superior musical performance. Developed in partnership with studio and live sound engineers, the PRO VLA possesses a "sound" that is not available from any other compressor on the market - at any price! A member of the ART Reference Series, the PRO VLA was designed and constructed with the absolute best components, assuring a lifetime of quiet, reliable performance.

    Both are pretty cheap.
    The question I would first ask you amg 1 is why are you thinking about a compressor? Second thing, what are you recording with.

    Until I have those answers, I can't even say if you would be well served by purchasing an outboard comp.

    Say got instance, you record to a Korg D1600 ... in that case, outboard comps and pres are pretty much worthless to you because the front end is not bypassable. And if you are recording to a DAW then either one of these comps will not do anything for you that you can't already do worth your plugs. In both those cases, I would suggest that your save your cash ...
  7. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    Hey Kurt, I record to my DAW and I'm using Pro Logic Platinum. I'm looking for some dynamics control and even some tonal shaping if possible. I do a lot of RAP, R&B and Hip-Hop and a lot of the vocalists I work with can get very dynamic as they get excited in the booth especially with the rappers. So I'm looking to get a little control prior to the conversion. My ultimate goal is a Tube Tech compressor which I'm a few gigs away from but until then with what I can spend now I thought about the PRO VLA.
  8. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    With all due respect and not to pick a fight with you but I couldn't disagree more with this statement.

    IMO that's like saying forget all about tone, dynamics, and shape if you're printing to a DAW no matter what you're recording.

    Don't get me wrong, I love plugs just as much as the next guy and I do have my faves but before my signal gets to the soundcard (for me) it's all about how much analog tone can you squeeze out of what you've got before you go into the box.

    Just my 2 cents.
  9. jobu2u

    jobu2u Guest

    Yeah, the ProVLA gives me a totally different sound than any plugs. Kurt, have you worked with it? I'm just wondering.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    With that in mind I suppose either one will do well. Yes I have used both and I personally don't think much of either one of those pieces. One would be a good as the other. The VLA has tube make up gain but the TSC has both opto and vca based processing ...

    The question is; "Is cheap processing better than none at all?" ... I can see the arguments for both. If you feel you must have a solution immediately, then go for one of these ... if you can wait a bit I suggest you just save up and get a very good piece that you can keep forever.
  11. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    OK, everyone who thinks the Pro VLA is "cheap processing" raise your hand. :?

    And don't forget...there's no such thing any longer as "different strokes for different folks". So nevermind the last question. Put your hands down.
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Sheer genius
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I see more of the TLS comps in live racks than anywhere else.They're fast and clean and apparently ,the live guys like em for the quick setup. The VLA is another story. For those who have had one around the house for a good length of time then you dont need me to tell you about it. For those who havent, get one and play with it...It wont hurt and you might actually learn something(perish the thought)..............Of course its not a MANLEY. but then what is....?

    Its all in how you use it.... :wink:
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Just popping the top and looking inside one of these things tells the story.

    (This is beginning to sound like a broken record but here goes again). The components on the ART pieces are assembled using robots, who "stuff" the PCB using surface mount technology. In many cases the traces on the boards are so thin and delicate that they glue the chips and other components to the boards because if they tried to solder them, the traces would be destroyed by the heat.

    Now we all know that big heavy traces are the sh*t when it comes to audio. Lots of power is the ticket. Dave mentioned Manley ... EveAnna's mantra is "Joules mean, Joules!"

    Not to mention that these robotically assembled boards are impossible to repair. Down the line, service will become next to impossible when new assemblies are no longer available .... all the while my UREIs and Manley will be happy with a visit to the local service tech.

    For those who haven't had the pleasure of using a Manley EL OP, a Sebatron THORAX, a UREI LA4, 1176 or a Millennia ORIGIN, just to mention a few, get one and try it out. It won't hurt and you might actually learn to hear the difference a really good compressor can make (perish the thought).
  15. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I would say then Mr. Foster that in your semi-professional review and analysis of the ART Pro VLA that you did not pop the top and have yourself a look-see inside, sir. Seems it would be wiser to actually "pop the top" and have a real look-see before telling "the story".

    The Pro VLA (at least the one I have which was manufactured in 2004) doesn't have a single surface mounted component in the circuit. And there is not one single component that is glued to the PCB. Not a single one.

    Just to clarify, for the record, Every single component on the Pro VLA by ART is soldered to the PCB. As Dave said, folks who have these around the house and in the studio already know this and it's one of the reasons they are so widely recommended by thousands of users (hobbyist AND professional).

    So, I'm not sure where you're getting your information from but it seems it's not from actual experience with the product. Since your "stock in trade" is the quality of your opinion in review and advice, you may want to re-visit the Pro VLA to make the necessary adjustments in the accuracy of your advice. Just a friendly suggestion.

    For us Po' Folk (and some "not so po'...just wise) a Pro VLA in hand is worth 2 UREI's in tha' bush.
  16. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    is it me or does kurt have a post stalker following him around to ridicule him?
  17. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    Okay everybody, I'm seriously looking at the PRO VLA and was wondering about changing out the tubes. I read in the forums that others have experienced some good results doing this and I was wondering what tubes would be good. I am looking to buy this comp as we speak and to enhance it to create more tonal effect would be a positive I think..

  18. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I think the tubes you choose as replacements will depend entirely on the type of music you're tracking but you might want to give the stock tubes a few weeks before making a decision on whether or not to replace them.

    Mine shipped with EH tubes and I've been very happy with the sound. I was expecting to have to replace them but haven't found a reason yet.

    If I were to replace these tubes though, I'm pretty sure it would be with a pair of JAN-Philips.
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yep, you nailed that one stickers ... I'm pretty sure this is a dealer who is pissed that I tell people not to buy cheap rack crap. Normally these dealers and manufacturers wouldn't care about a guy like me but it seems a lot of people pay attention to what is said on RO. The Rack Crap market is a huge boon to these dealers ... they make a lot more money selling sh*t that they do selling quality. here's an example .... this guy has been whining about us always recommending "The Brick" .... and I'll tell you why .... Dealer cost on it is about $300. We all know that we can hammer dealers down to $325 for one ... that's not even 10% mark up for him ... no wonder he squeals like a pig!

    People who buy rack crap are not as critical or discerning about the gear they buy ... so much easier to satisfy with mediocre equipment. They really are pissed that I say the things I say and that some people pay attention to me ... so about every six months or so. They send a new person around who attempts to ridicule me and to try to assassinate my character.

    Well I think Coyote Trax is mistaken about this. I'm sorry but I don't believe that a 2 channel vactrol / electro optical comp that sells for under $300 (and that they are giving a free MXL mic away with, just to get people to buy it) is not using surface mount technology in the construction.
    I have never had one of those things apart but I would bet the farm it's all SFM ... completely. I'll bet all connectors are attached to the PCB as well so if you ever trip over a cable that is plugged into the unit chances are you'll rip the connector off the PCB rendering the unit worthless.

    There's no way they could manufacture and sell them for that price other than them being made on a robotic assembly line.

    There's also no way for the common end user would know if a component is glued or soldered ... you would have to have access to the manufacturer to know whether or not parts were glued, or you would have to be a tech. Fact is most SFM stuff is glued ... and I would venture a guess that if someone were to "pop a top" on a VLA you would not see through the board construction ... Just look and see. If there are no holes with components sticking through them and soldered up ... then it's surface mount. And if it's surface mount, chances are the parts are glued and not soldered.
  20. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    If you look back to the beginning of this thread I posted here before Kurt did. So I'm not "following" anyone.

    And Kurt, I'm sorry man, but you have no idea what you're talking about.

    The Pro VLA's resistors and capacitors are Leaded/Through Hole (TH) components.

    You would "bet the farm" on a "guess"? I've never encountered such idiocy on the internet. Never. You assassinate your own character when you make statements like you've made in this thread.

    Don't tell me I'm wrong when I'm looking right at the PCB dude. Leaded, Through Hole, soldered resistors and capacitors.

    I think there are enough VLA owner's who can pop the top to back me up on that. I'd recommend doing a little homework on this one and have a look for yourself. :roll:

    And I'll say it again since you didn't get it last time this happened: I do not work for any dealer, or manufacturer, or anyone involved in industry. And I'm calling you out as a liar if you "go there" again.

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