Just purchased an ART Pro VLA II

Wow, this is a really nice compressor, at least as compared to any of the software compressors I've used, which all seem to squash and color the sound. I don't have any frame of reference to compare it with other hardware compressors, but it got so many recommendations on the Interweb that I decided to take the plunge.

I've heard that it's really hard to make the Pro VLA II sound like it's squashing the sound, which for me was a huge selling point because I don't like to "hear" the compression in a mix.

This is my first outboard gear purchase besides the other essentials such as studio monitors (Yamaha HS80M), A/D converter (Roland Quad Capture), headphones (Sennheiser HD280), and a Focusrite VRM Box. My ITB items are Logic Pro and a 2010 iMac.

I'm really looking forward to getting this bad boy in on my next mixes!! If anyone has experience with the Pro VLA II I'd love to hear your stories and tips.

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FWIW, I don't mix with it but do track with it. (I mix ITB.)

I especially like it on vocals - I don't think it's as transparent as the RNC, but I like its flava.

I also sometimes do bass through it but it's not my preferred (dbx160XT is, sometimes a 166A, or a Meek VC3Q, followed by the VLA.)

Right now, I'm onna dbx kick for acoustic guitars and so haven't tried that.

Also, damn cool looking, ain't it?

I've not done any mods, but a tube change is said to be audible.