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Thread: Is the Art levelar tube compressor any good?

  1. #1
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    Dec 2000
    Long Island, New York- U.S.A
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    Red face

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    It's about $100 smackers. Should I even Bother with this thing? I hope it's not as good or even worse than the Alesis 3630 compressor; is it?

    I need help finding a merchant that sell RNC compressor. How much is it anyway?

    [Edited by frank_1 on 12-29-2000 at 22:45]

  2. #2
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    Aug 2000
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    Hmmm... should I?

    Awww heck.... skip it........


  3. #3
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    Jul 1999
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    I know this guy in Canada who will modify your ART levelar and turn it into a kick ass compressor.
    Here is some info he sent me. He knows his stuff and you should give this some serious thought.

    I had originaly asked him to modify some things for me as well as an ART preamp.
    as well as Schematics for several things.
    Here was his reply.

    LEVELAR (cant give this out, but can
    suggest using this unit with black plate 5751..)
    i have LA2a custom units, and 1176, and others, and i STILL
    track with my modded levelars..bypass all 8 electrolitic signal path caps,
    change the 5532 vactrol driver to a high current chip, and R32 to 50k.
    this opens up the " air " in the unit, speeds up the fast setting,
    and changes the UNUSABLE 6:1 limiter setting to 4:1, and sounds GREAT.
    these things are the best buy in transparent compression..
    i know the " expensive toys" guys are going to think i am crazy,
    but i have enough " expensive toys" to hear what is really going on here.
    when tracking, i like to use between 3 and 6db of compression max..
    these things aRE great for the money..two of them, modded, a pair of my mic
    preamps, a couple of RODE NTV, and a couple of ROYER ribbons, and you are set.
    the ART MIC pre, on the other hand, sucks bad.....I also dont think
    its worth buying the PRO LEVELAR...they are good for ONE THING, all those extra
    settings on the big boy will just be vaRIOUS permutations of useless.

    i charge $140 US to do a LEVELAR. ( thats selected military black plate
    tube, bypass caps, and military VACTROL driver chip.)
    I also change the Limiter ratio to a usefull 4: 1 from 6: 1, which is not
    really very transparent.
    this is a GREAT sounding unit when its finished..very transparant gain
    (not a special effects type device..more for keeping the tracks in the
    pocket while live recording...i tend to only use about 6db of compression
    normally..this is a GREAT unit for that)

    you cant really DO too much with the mic preamp..its using oP AMPS for gain..
    if you want a nice mic preamp, i can haPPILY build you one, or check out my
    millennia media class A jfet kit.
    its in use at REAL WORLD studios, and considered the best in the house by a
    long shot.

    End of quote
    If you want his email just email me.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2000
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    I used to have one. They are pretty good, and give a nice tubey sparkle to things, but mine didn't seem to have fast enough response to remain transparent, so you can definitely tell there is a compressor at work. If you like compression as a somewhat-audible effect, they would probably be fine. But they aren't very adjustable, and I wanted more transparency, so i sold it.

    By the way, I sold it to someone in Canada ! Maybe they have something going on up there !


    [Edited by The Axis on 12-31-2000 at 02:07]

  5. #5
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    Nov 2011
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    ART Levelar tube compressor

    I play electric bass and I've been using one of these for years in my pedal board rig. It's at the very end of the FX chain so everything is compressed all the time. It seems to work/sound better than the pedal types for guitar. It can limit/calm down the peaks one would experience with slap bass as well as auto filter effects (I have a Q-Tron in my chain). It has never been subject to RF interference, noise, hum, or any other sonic anomalies despite years of gigging indoors/outdoors, poor electric, even portable generators! I have played around with different tubes in it which is the best way to get different tones/gain factor. Stock tubes are cheap and should be replaced ASAP with a NOS 12AX7WA (ruggedized for rough handling), but there is no high voltage on the plates... which can be a turn-off for some tube gear afficianado's.

    NOTE: The manual states that the 1/4" and XLR output can be used simultaneously, but I find out this isn't so. Whenever I attempted to use both there is always a ground loop hum and/or some other noise problem.

    My only problem with this unit is I need to verify that the three select buttons between the two knobs are properly preset before each performance since they tend to get depressed during transport from cables changing their status. A cover plate would be ideal, too bad they weren't mini-toggle they would be easier to notice.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2005
    Vancouver Canada
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    I've in the not to distant past gotten to play with these and I found them to be at least as nice sounding as the pro vla in opto mode. Really really nice sounding comps. I'd like to know how they sound after modding considering how good they are stock. and they're so cheap (but hard to find).
    Don Kelley

    Remote online (and in person) session musician.

    Session Violinist/Violist (acoustic and electric), Bass Guitarist.
    Mandolin, guitars, synth, banjo, piano, drums, vocals, percussion.

    All styles

    B.Mus, A.R.C.T.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2009
    New Hampshire Lat/Lng: 42.8129750,-72.0248270
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    So is the ART Tube - MP - Studio the next generation of the original Levelar?
    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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