I do most of my work on computer although lately I want to rely more on my Alesis Ion synth as well as add a Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver Keyboard. So I'm looking not only at a front-end compressor unit that will feed into my Mackie Onyx Satellite recording interface, but also act as a master bus compressor to bring out the final 2-track mixdown, add a little compression and warmth, and take it back into the computer for digital mastering via Waves plugins or Izotope Ozone. I guess I'm basically looking for high quality subtle compression and analog warmth going into my computer and out. I can't decide between the Focusrite Penta, Art Pro VLA or the FMR RNLA. I'd like to keep it under $500. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Are there any other units that would be good at doing this that I haven't mentioned? I used to have an HHB Fat-Man tube compressor which I regret selling, but I was out of work at the time. It was great for fattening up individual tracks, but not for the final mix. It wasn't clean enough for that.
I definitely don't want to be guilty of spamming or selling where inappropriate, but feel free to contact me offline.
I have a ProVLA which I modded (using Burr Brown OpAmps and Analog Devices OpAmps as well as new tubes. I also replaced the pots with stepped switches by gold point, but at over $100 a piece x 6, they don't come with it.)
In any case, I'm looking to sell it since I don't find myself using it any more. It falls within your budget.
(PS - you can read up about the mods if you google Black Lion. I did the same stuff they do basically).