Valley International 610 Stereo Compressor (Refurbished & Recapped) #2


In stock


This Valley 610 has been refurbished & recapped to a high standard. The power supply has been rebuilt with larger smoothing caps & better decoupling. All the electrolytics have been replaced with high-spec Panasonic caps, uprated where necessary. Tested & working 100%, though stereo matching with 610s is not perfect. The 610 was sold under the Valley People and Valley International names. Photos show the 610 for sale

Valley International was one of the later incarnations of Allison Research. The company was started by Paul Buff, an engineer who worked with Frank Zappa in the early days. Buff designed the amazing Gain Brain compressor for Allison Research and the equally extraordinary Dynamite compressor for Valley People. He patented the Valley People TA-101 VCA which formed the basis of many of his later designs. The 610 in this auction was the last Valley International device built with Paul’s input

On the face of it the 610 a straightforward VCA compressor. However, it has hidden depths… VCA compressors use a Voltage-Controlled Amplifier as the gain control element. VCA design has been the subject of much design effort & optimisation over the years and high-end products offer extremely transparent gain control. Examples of clean, transparent VCA compressors include Aphex products, various SSL bus compressor clones and this Valley International 610

Despite similar topologies, some VCA compressors offer more than others. In this area, experience is key and companies & designers with a long history of compressor development tend to bring more to the table. Paul Buff is a great example – his list of compressor designs is remarkable

The 610 combines two channels of compression and expansion in one chassis. Each channel has separate controls and a stereo link switch links gain reduction to maintain stereo balance

Front panel controls:

  • Threshold
  • Compression Ratio
  • Attack Time
  • Mode switch (Compressor / Voiceover)
  • Expander Threshold
  • Expander Range
  • Expansion shape switch (1:2, 1:20, Out)
  • Release Time
  • Auto Release switch (On / Off)
  • Release Mode switch (Normal / FM / External)
  • Gain
  • Bypass switch
  • Stereo / 2-Channel switch

Most controls operate as you’d expect and first-timers will have no problem getting around the front panel. Starting with lowish compression ratios, up to about 4:1, the 610 is subtle and punchy. Most of the action is set by the attack & release times, and by tweaking the release time with the threshold set quite low you can pull & push snares in a loop or backing track

With higher compression ratios the 610 turns into a monster. Unlike many compressors, where higher ratios tend to mean less flexibility, the 610 digs in and starts to show what it can do. If you want super-compressed drums, the 610 will deliver. The release time enables compression to be matched perfectly to tempo and pumping, over-the-top compression is yours for the asking

By contrast to the super-clean SPL Dynamaxx, and the subtle Orban 424A, the 610 will do nasty as well as clean. It has a dual personality that isn’t apparent at first. It may take a little time to find out what it can do, but the 610 is capable of many different types of compression and delivers them all with great fidelity

The 610 is my favourite from the Allison Research / Valley People / Valley International compressor range. It retains the speed & attitude of the original Dyna-Mite and has probably the best control layout. It sounds fantastic. Whether compressing subtly at 4:1 or pounding drums into submission at 20:1, it always sounds clean & super-dynamic

Quotes from the web:

“Jamais entendu un compresseur avec un punch pareil !!” (I have never heard a compressor with a punch like it!)

Le moins qu’on puisse dire, c’est qu’il est incroyable sur les loops de drum, capable des compressions les plus drastiques

Le comp idéal pour ceux qui recherche le son qui cogne !!!

Rare piece that can get a Dyna-Mite kind of effect or be more subtle. Attack times down to 20µs

“Vicious is the word that comes to mind! I loved mine on drums. Could be more subtle, but they were very flexible and pretty potent.”

Had one since the mid-80’s . Still patch it in now and then…She’s a grabber, for sure. Using compression and the extender together nicely tightens up drumtracks. A bit of a trip to finetune the settings though. Auto and manual release controls are cool. Dual mono or linkable stereo…”

Buy it !

I had a Valley 610 and it was VICIOUS!

I have one, I find it a fairly aggressive and fast compressor. Great for Big Spanking”

VCA compressor with mostly manual settings. The unit can be used as a twin-channel device - each channel has its own set of controls - but a stereo link switch can link VCA action to maintain stereo image. Gain reduction is displayed on LED bargraphs

Inputs, outputs and External Inputs are balanced on XLR connectors. VCA control voltages are available via TRS jacks (send & return)

Standard 2U device suitable for 19" racks. Power input is via a standard IEC socket and supply voltage is switchable between 100-140 / 200-250 Volts via a back-panel switch. UK, Euro or US power cable supplied on request

Operating manual

Valley People History

Sound on Sound Classic Compressors Review

Gearslutz Valley People 610 Discussion


This Valley 610 has been refurbished & recapped to a high standard. The power supply has been rebuilt with larger smoothing caps & better decoupling. All the electrolytics have been replaced with high-spec Panasonic caps, uprated where necessary. Tested & working 100%. Photos show the 610 for sale