two fat ladys on the bench


upper fat lady (excuse that please) is a single channel 6 tube varimu limiter with a two stage transistor mike amplifier as a front end. a killer channel strip. the lower unit is a dual channel limiter amp 12 tube – bloody fat sound. thick and warm – ultra fine tune-able

estonia dan and the fatlady

2015 model

dan warren from estonia just got back after getting to know his new fatlady for a bit.


This thing is very aptly named – while it’s fatter than hell, it is still elegantly transparent and full spectrum, no “rolled-off” anything here – which is fine by me, I’ll roll it off myself thanks.  Actually this is one of the most striking revelations from this until – I no longer need 90% of the EQ I’ve grown so accustomed to using.  I had the exact same experience with the kaimaitron channel – it’s a selective view of reality – it makes a nasally voice interesting rather than obnoxious, it reveals emotion in a lazy delivery.  3D, 4D, it reads your good intentions. 

Lady: It sounds down to earth and organic – I would not say that there’s a lot of glamorous, glossy shine here – it sparkles in its own way.  Pure and transparent but you can get tons of grit and edge.  That’s what happens when you rinse with grain alcohol instead of water.  The squeeze itself is magic – the presence is a self-contained world, living in its own space, super thick, and nothing to do with hype, brightness, or tizzy excitedness. 

Fat: it is a weighty, weighty signal that comes out.   It adds like a full lower octave to bass – again, EQ is out of that chain now, which blows my mind.  I’ve been running electric guitar through it with no limiting just to get the saturation – which, speaking of saturation, I’ve been trying to find a deal on a good tube reel to reel for some time but now I’m thinking the drive knob on this compressor may have rendered that whole search moot.  The saturation I get with the drive has the same grit and bounciness as tape; even the subtle noise floor from cranked drive settings is tape-like to my ears.  So that could save me like 4 thousand bucks and all the pain in the ass of dealing with a reel to reel – and that’s always nice!  Pretty soon I’m going to record a baritone sax – I cannot wait for the meeting of this box and that sax. 

Can’t thank you enough for your creation.  I do have a question though: under the meter there’s a Zero knob and at the bottom left there’s a V1 knob – what are they?  

ah haaa… yes.. that’s cunning stunt method to fine align the balance of the twin push pull varimu gain cell. 2 of EF83.  1. mute input signal. 2. select V1 and V2  by  rotating the meter select switch. that comparison of v1 v2 will show on the meter .3. fine tune V1 measurement with the V1 fine gain control (below the meter switch). adjust V1 as  necessary to make reading within bees dick bang on  .  of v2 reading. . this fine adjustment reduces the amount of signal distortion in the limiting state. 

the ‘0’ position on the meter switch will deactivate the limiting dynamic control function and render the fat lady as a beautiful fat juicey line amplifier.

the ‘lim’ position turns the limiting control to GO of course.

thanks for the  review dan.  great writing.



sold to one of my biggest fans. leslie boinkin. he wanted this stack of gear  because ”  I love it love it love it, and  so many thanks. this is all i ever wanted and dreamed of ! no shit. it is like a dream come true”. i made the price of this ‘threesome’ low low low for leslie because i want to clear my studio out and build all new gear with all the parts i got. more limiters and eqs and a flash new mixer extension.  a new tape echo design. and a control mixer/tester for mr ampex. anyways … back to the stack. ROJER VALVE EQ is on top. boosting – cutting top and bottom end with a graduated hi cutting filter too. for taming those sometimes too scratchy high frequencies. rojer’s final amp is a PULTEC MB1 (my clone) so it has a real powerful line sound. theres a microphone stage before the eq that has adjustable negative feedback gain control. phantom 48 volts is swithable.  BRIAN IS A FATLADY VARI MU LIMITING AMPLIFIER . i use a matched pair of EF83 remote cutoff tubes and a balanced voltage amp 12ax7 12au7. the control signal is derived from a 6al5 and a regulator tube 150b2 is also in the circuit. the metering is driven from a 12au7. the attack / release controls have very useful & dramatic characteristics. at bottom FENKNER 08 is  several devices built into one. a whole studio in a box. twin channel mic / direct instrument amplifier AND outboard stereo panning mixer 8 channels AND control room monitor switcher  AND heaphone monitor switcher. all with neve B535 & B538 electronics.