New Toys: Hazelrigg Industries VNE Single Channel Tube Compressor

The Hazelrigg VNE is a 2U, single-channel tube compressor—one channel of D.W. Fearn's VT-7 stereo tube compressor. With all the same circuit design, Doug Fearn designed the VNE (that's aviator jargon for "velocity never exceed") for Hazelrigg Industries. Like the VT-7, the VNE uses pulse width modulation technology to carefully control gain reduction in this all Class-A unit. The PWM methodology offers extremely precise and deterministic control over the audio gain without the deleterious sonic artifacts of typical compressor/limiters. 

The VNE is very simple to operate with just five controls on the front panel plus an 11-segment LED gain reduction meter. Additionally, it has a bi-colored output LED that stays green normally and only blinks red on output level peaks. Both the Attack and Release controls are continuously variable, and there is a switchable 6dB/octave 150Hz high-pass filter in the side-chain.

I liked the VNE's sonic transparency, especially for compressing lead vocals. It is almost impossible to get a bad sound when setting the controls on the VNE. I saw up to 7 dB of gain reductions without "dulling" and crunchy distortion.

The VNE has two internal side-chains with different attack, release time constants and also different ratios and compressor knee shapes. Like the VT-7, these parameters are according to Doug Fearn's preferences.

The Hazelrigg VNE is a top-notch single channel compressor that provides nearly transparent control, especially on lead vocals without sonic artifacts even when hard pressed.

It sells for $4,500 MSRP.