ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier


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Product Code: 7536
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The ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier is a soft knee leveling amplifier by design. Although capable of providing dramatic compression effects, the Pro VLA II is designed to excel in any application where transparent, expressively musical dynamics control is desired.

The ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier is a tube driven Vactrol®-based Compressor / Leveling amplifier designed to excel in any professional audio environment. Superior performance and an incredible tone makes the ART ProVLA II and indispensable tool for tracking, mixing, mastering, dynamic control of live sound sources or for use in broadcast audio.

Capable of delivering a far more musical natural sounding and sonically transparent compression than competitive units in its class, the ART Pro VLA II uses an Opto-electronic circuit rather than the more typical design VCA driven level detection circuit. This VCA-less design coupled with a 12AT7 vacuum tube in the gain stage makes the ART Pro VLA II the ideal dynamic control device for critical audio applications. Exceptional signal integrity with extremely low noise and low distortion is achieved in the ART Pro VLA II by utilizing a transformerless design throughout.

Vactrol® Technology
Unlike typical compression units that use Voltage Controlled Amplifiers (VCA’s) to handle level detection, the ART Pro VLA II’s Opto-electronic design allows a far more transparent and musical sounding compression without sounding aggressive or un-natural. This Vactrol based optical electronic circuitry is the basic component of the classic highly sought after compressors of past. Vactrol® design allows the ART Pro VLA II to react to audio signal in much the same way the eye naturally adjusts to fluctuations in light levels – smoothly, quietly and almost imperceptibly.

Soft Knee Leveling
The ART Pro VLA II is a soft knee leveling amplifier by design. Although capable of providing dramatic compression effects, the ART Pro VLA II was designed to excel in any application where transparent, expressively musical dynamics control is desired.

Comprehensive Metering
Large highly visible backlit analog VU meters accurately display input and output levels while extremely fast 10-segment LED’s display gain reduction. For added functionality, the LED’s display either average level for mastering & mixing applications or peak hold for monitoring individual sources when tracking audio.

Versatile I/O
XLR and 1/4-inch TRS balanced inputs and outputs are provided to ensure the ART Pro VLA II can connect with any audio source or hardware. A +4dBu/-10dBu mode switch optimizes ART Pro VLA II I/O for either consumer or professional equipment.

ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier Features

  • VCA-Less Vactrol Opto-Compression Design
  • Mastering Quality Audio Signal Path with Tube Gain Stage
  • Enhanced Link Mode – While in stereo link mode, channel 1 level control acts as a master output level and channel 2 becomes a balance control between them, – optimizing the Pro-VLA II for use as a mastering tool
  • Variable Threshold, Ratio & Output Controls
  • LED Backlit VU Input/Output Level Metering
  • LED Metering Indicates Both Average Level And Peak Hold
  • Accurate Ten Segment LED Gain Reduction Metering
  • +4dBu/-10dBu Mode Switch Optimizes Pro-VLA II For Interface with Professional OR Consumer Grade Components
  • Active Balanced XLR And 1/4-Inch Inputs & Outputs
  • Toroidal Transformer Reduces Mechanical & Electrical Hum

ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier Specifications

  • Equivalent Input Noise: @+4dBu: -99dBu (”A” weighted) / @-10 dBV: -107dBu (”A” weighted)
  • Maximum Attenuation: 30dB
  • Input Impedance: 10K Ω
  • Maximum Input Level: +20dBu (in +4dBu mode) / +10dBV (in -10dBV mode)
  • Maximum Output Level: +20dB max
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 100KHz (+/- 0.5dB)
  • Dynamic Range: > 100dB (20-20KHz)
  • Attack Time: 0.25msec. to 50msec. variable
  • Release Time: Variable 150ms to 3s
  • Slope: Variable 2:1 to 20:1
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.1% (typical)
  • Dimensions: 3.5″ x 19″ x 9.2″ (8.9cm x 48.3cm x 23.3cm)
  • Weight: 10.5lbs (4.76kg)

ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier Includes

  • ART Pro VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier
  • IEC Power Cable
  • Owners Manual
  • Manufacturer Warranty

12 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 4

    A good hardware compressor for someone new to hardware. Good value for the money compared to other "quality" compressors. Fairly forgiving controls and has the ability for using while tracking, or routing through when mixing. I also like that it can link both channels for applying to a stereo track, stereo buss, or the master buss.

  • 5
    New Tubes and You are Rocking
    scott neilson

    Ok so When I first got this unit Id say I was less than stocked. I was like what the heck, its a tube comp and it sounds kind of sterile... that being said I got a recommendation on a popular gear forum that suggested I order a pair of NOS mallard tubes to swap the cheap stock Ruby tubes out.... Holy crap when I did it opened the unit right up. I would say the units top brightened up and the bottom got tighter. After that swap the unit had a present character. There is a reason you see these "cheap" units in a lot of studios, even high end ones.

  • 5
    If you are outside US and ...
    Vladimir Koldomasov

    ... you have 220V just remove the fuse box, turn it and then reinsert. Your amplififier now 220V device! I have no idea about that on other ART products...

  • 5
    the other bang for the buck classic

    Along with the RNC, RNLA, and DBX 160 I think this is the other bang-for-the-buck classic dynamics box. This one sets apart from the others with a largeness and beefiness of sound thanks to the tube/optical design. It has great clarity or fidelity at the same time. I used it on things that I wanted to thicken up like bass and vocals, most of the time. It also worked really well on drum rooms for some pumpy action. If you drive it too hard it will act a bit crazy, but, that can be good for pumpy drums, and, in other cases I never wanted to drive it that hard anway. Two sides for the price of one is another great feature. I don't think you need to swap the tubes in this I think they are JJ which are high quality tubes. If you're going to throw money around like that just go higher on the ladder, something like the FMR PBC-6A.

  • 4
    I rarely curse at it : )
    Matthew Moorman

    I like this. I use it. It's colored but not nearly to the level that I would say it has "mojo". Most signals will get rounder, fatter through this box. Beefs: The bypass switches are horribly crackly which really damages A/B analysis, and I don't entirely trust the meters, and the stereo link function does something weird to the signal (sounds better with both channels separate and matched). But I am overall happy with it. If you're just gearing up, try to remain honest with yourself and remember that when a signal gets louder 9/10 times the listener/ear is going to say that it just got better. Also, I put an expensive "matched" set of mullard tubes in the unit, and while I do believe there was clarity improvement, it was verry, very slight. For the bang for buck factor, I would not recommend the tube upgrade. If you have them try em out. If not , don't bother...unless you need mental placebo.

  • 5
    Can't live with out it
    nicholas d&#039;angelo

    this is my 2nd one. i bought the earlier version back in the mid 90s and have used it on every recording i have done since then. so now i use both versions for tracking vocals and instruments. this thing is ir-replace-able. it defines my sound. i use one channel for limiting and one channel for leveling. either parallel or series i get perfect predictable recordings every time. Vocals sit in the mix like "breasts in a bra"; direct bass sounds like "McCartney's sound in "Come Together"; electric or acoustic guitars are given new life. and for the price... it's a no brainer. wish i could take these with me on the road, but in my situation that would be quite impractical. but if i could. you know i would.

  • 5
    Art Pro VLA 2
    Eric Livingston

    Very classy look and performs above the standards it is truely a great buy for you buck.

  • 5
    Great home studio compressor with NOS tubes
    Chris Hall

    This is a great entry level compressor for the home studio owners. I very much like it on vocals and acoustic guitars so far. I did swap out the tubes for NOS Mullard 12AT7 tubes and found that it gave the compressed signal a smoother midrange and an overall more polished sound. I'd definitely recommend the upgrade to get the most out of the unit. The unit does cut a little high frequency and I hear that the NOS Telefunken 12AT7's are recommended for this unit as it restores some of those highs. This was the first time I've purchased from Front End Audio, and overall I've been impressed with their range of product, packing shipping and followup. I'll buy more audio equipment through them for sure. The ART Pro VLA II compressor is excellent value for money and I can highly recommend it for home studio owners on a budget.

  • 5
    great affordable compressor
    christopher smith

    This an excellent compressor for starters. big VU meters and easy to use. I used it on vocals, kick, and snare. I find it to be pretty transparent to. Even with the input all the down and no compression the VLA warms up anything running through it. Its very easy to recall setting on this compressor as well. I lot of people switch the tubes in them but I'm fine with the stock tubes for now.

What We Think


The ART Pro VLA II is a great bang for the buck limiter. The pots are smooth, the metering is clear (you can even calibrate the VU meters to match the LEDs), it can be used for mono, dual mono, or stereo (with the channel linking function), and looks good while doing it. It can be subtle and light, or punchy and thick with good breathing. I personally like it on vocals and drum buss. The tubes give it an extra bit of character that nicely smooths things out and adds a touch of presence. The VLA II is definitely a great buy for those on a budget that need a quality two channel comp to add so character and control to their tracks.

Ryan Ferris, Pro Audio Sales

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