Handcrafted Labs Varis Compressor

Handcrafted Labs

(3 reviews) Write a Review
Product Code: 2253
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The Handcrafted Labs Varis Compressor is a mastering grade all tube hand built point-to-point design Vari-MU compressor.

First of all, boy it looks good in the rack. But more over, there's the circuitry that gives absolutely staggering sound, as smooth as it can be, with hugely valvey character and plenty of headroom to play with, not to mention exceptional control over compression. The thing is massive! And in terms of mastering you can get 8-10 db of gain reduction and your program would still sound musical with no “compressor feeling”. Those who know how much it’s worth in mastering chain would appreciate this. Precision rotary pots for fine level adjustment separately for triode and pentode modes of operation. Sidechain insert input on the back panel (TRS) and sidechain sensitivity switch. Mid-Side Option is now a Standard!

Handcrafted Labs Varis Compressor Specifications

  • Input Impedance: 600 Оhm
  • Output Impedance: 600 Оhm
  • Nominal Level: +4 dBu
  • Max. Level: +22 dBu
  • Max. Amplification: 10 dBu
  • Output circuit: pentode/triode (switch)
  • Compressor Side chain Filter: 75/150 Hz
  • M-S Coding/decoding: Transformer
  • Frequency range: 16Hz … 22 kHz +/- 1dB
  • Signal to noise ratio: -91 dB
  • THD at 1kHz and +16 dB: less then 0.4%
  • Power Supply: 115/230V 50-60Hz

Handcrafted Labs Varis Compressor Includes

  • Varis Compressor
  • IEC Power Cable
  • Manual and Warranty Information

3 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Varis compressor
    Kevin Grace

    Hi there I just received this compressor last night. I have used Manley massive passives and very mu on the compressor side of things. This is worth it's weight in gold. The construction is second to none, the usability and ergonomics is amazing. The sound is like nothing else I've ever heard as far as transparency under severe gain reduction. Highly recommended and can be used to track to mix and master jack of all trades. This is also offers feet forward and feed back molars which is very useful and can select tryout or pentode mode which gives different type of sound in a pleasant way depending upon what you're looking for I would say this punches way above its weight class and should be sold at a much higher price. The guys at front end audio were amazing to work with.

  • 5
    Master Buss
    HCL Varis

    Such an amazing piece of gear! Price point for something like this is crazy! My goal was to get an amazing mastering rig and with this I have found it. I love the Mid-Side function as well. So many options to tweak the tone also. I have this, their Thermos mastering EQ and then goes into my Bettermaker mastering limiter. Awesome!

  • 5
    HandCrafted Labs Varis Compressor
    Michael Bailey

    This is one of the nicest pieces of gear I have ever seen and now own. I wanted a Vari Mu compressor because I really like the sounds I can get recording a high quality finger style guitar with a good Vari MU tube compressor. This works beautifully with the acoustic guitar, and also with vocals, and the master track. I am still getting to know this thing, but it is very easy to get going with it. If you want to use it without the compressor settings, it is like an ultra cool preamp just lending its wonderful vacuum tube/transformer tone to whatever you use it on. The triode mode gives a different, to me more primitive feel to the recordings. There are plenty of cool features here, mid side transformer, feed forward and feed back modes, plenty to play with and try. The controls are solid, the compressor is heavy so get someone to help you mount it in your rack, and it is stunning in the rack. It also acts as a small space heater! It does get warm as those many tubes glow orange, so let it warm up a while before using it, at least 20 minutes, I give it about an hour. Give this thing room to breathe in your rack, keep an open slot above it and if possible below it. I look forward to learning more as I get to know this wonderful machine.

What We Think


The Handcrafted Labs Varis Compressor is a very cool comp. While it is built on the Variable-Mu foundation, it is anything but a Fairchild clone.Yes, there is that familiarity to it - for anyone that has used a Vaiable-Mu type compressor, but the Varis offers a lot more. The Varis really provides a new level of tonal shaping to it, from feed back and feed forward modes, as well as separate triode and pentode modes, and Mid/Side processing. The comp can get fast and grabby, or smooth and musical, all while maintaining a 3D rich tube character. The Varis is one of those pieces that can handle everything from tracking, to mixing, to mastering - easily adapting to the task at hand. This is the type of gear that brings a smile to your face.

Ryan Ferris, Pro Audio Sales

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