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Discussion in 'Recording' started by musicalhair, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    There is pair of LA-4a's in my local gear-mega-store, black face. They are asking $2200 which appears to be way too much for it, from what I've been reading.

    I have a lot of questions about the unit before I go in and try to evaluate it.

    1) are the black face ones any better or different that the silver face ones? Along those lines, is there a better year of manufacture that I should look for?

    2) Assuming it has not been modified and works, what is the best application for this kind of unit, kick/snare or stereo micing of horns or guitars or singers, bass ... ?????

    3) I understand a common mod is switching the op-amp for a faster one that will allow the unit to be hit harder without getting "darker"; once modded in this fasion does this change the range of sources the unit would work on, or just make it better at what it is meant to do.

    4) I understand the stereo-linking of the 1176's was problematic (hopefully not so in the new 2-1176), so should I be suspicious of the LA-4a's stereo linking capabilities?

    Price wise it is not so different from a single LA-2A, clearly the LA-2A is a better and different unit, but right now my only real compressor is a 1176 that is on the side of the 6176.

    Anyway, any info that would help me evaluate this thing to see if I want it or not would be appreciated.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    $2200 is about right for them. I think that is what they have been going for lately. I paid $1650 for mine several years ago, ('96) and now look what they are worth.. You will never take a beating on them.. offer 2K and see what they say.. buyers for this kind of stuff are a bit rare..

    Blackfaces are worth more than silver faces, that may be what you are thinking of.. .. I believe there were a few mods done to the silver ones and they supposedly don't sound as good ... I had a pair once and I liked them too.

    I never mod my gear. It hurts the value.. just like with guitars. If you don't like the sound of it, get something you do like.. otherwise IMO, leave them stock.

    The thing about linking LA4 units is that you should try to find two that are as close to each other as possible in regards to the serial numbers.. That way they track together best.. The new 2-1176 should track perfectly.. L / R parts are matched they say.

    The 1176 is a FET fixed threshold type comp.. a completly different animal. The LA 4 is an ELECTRO OPTICAL style comp, more like the LA2, only solid state, actually a evolution of the LA2a. Unlike the LA2a, the LA4 has the ability to adjust the compression ratio 2:1, 4:1, 6:1, (compress) 12:1, and 20:1 (limit), where the LA2a has 2 ratio's, compress and limit. Release times are ratio dependent and are not adjustable.

    I love my LA4s. They are great on guitars and vocals and many more things too. I am sure they will serve you well and IMO, it's a good investment..
  3. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    WHAT?!?!?! They go for $1200 on ebay all the time. They are, at most, worth $700 each. There is no way you should buy that. If it's the same mega store I'm thinking of, they tried to sell me an Altec 1591 compressor for $800 telling me it's as good as an 1176. They are crazy.
  4. Paladyne

    Paladyne Guest

    the studio i worked for(sorcerer sound) sold their set of LA4s for $800. Auctions are crazy, they were in a part of the studio that had not much other audio gear of that type, so I think people were snoozing. I met the guy who ended up with them, he flew all the way from england, crazy guy, REAL into audio too, we had drinks.

    The La-2a's went for $2,500-$3,500 each.

    The 1176's went for about $1,200 each.

    (i almost had the leslie for 500bucks, it was going going going, ouh, now its 1500, I was so disapointed! BUT I did get a 7 piece, 8 ch cue system, ea w/ eq for 7 bills, i love auctions.)

    IMO the LA2A and 1176 are two compressors that are so good for what they do, if I could afford to spend the money on a good one, I would. As to the LA-4, I didnt really care for it, i mean its OK,and I know lots of people who did use it, but there are many protools plugins I would use before I would spend money on them. The La4 sounds NOTHING even remotely like the la2a, IMO. The ONLY compressor/limiter for vocals I like better than the la2a is a good Manley Voxbox. I would prolly spend the money on a Voxbox first($3500, i think), cuz it has way more features than the la2a, and is partially based on the la2a optical piece.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Were those Black ones or Silver? Were they a close numbered pair? What condition and is that what they sold for or the highest offer..(was the reserve met) ?

    Vintage Blackface LA4s are worth at least $1650 a matched pair .. have been for some time and ones in vgc have been going for $2200 recently. I don't think they sound like a LA2a or even the solid state LA3s but they do sound very good on guitars..

    As Paladyne said, auctions can be a good place to get a deal if people aren't paying attention, but E Bay is well known for sellers misrepresenting themselves and buyers not being very happy when they get the item and it is not in good condition. I wouldn't pay top dollar at ebay for that reason alone.. I would be looking for a good deal. Buyer beware is the operative phrase here. If I could get Blackface LA4s in vgc for $1200 a pair, I could make a very good living re selling them..

    The Manley EL OP is also a "copy" of the LA2a but with a slightly modified output amp.. they call it a "Pultec on steroids". I like the EL OP a lot.. I sold my vintage LA2a because I had the Manley, it took up less rack space was stereo and sounded just as good to me.. more reliable too..
  6. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    Hey, thanks everyone for responding so quickly. It looks like the silver face ones go for like $700 each, this is a pair like already together of black face ones-- I'll check to see if they are consecutive serial numbers.

    I've not really seen black face ones on Ebay--but then I've not really been looking. I wasn't sure even if there were differences. This unit or pair of units have been sitting there a long long time, I mean that is unless they've had multiple units (not likely, right?).

    So, XHipHop and Paladyne: were the units you were referring to silver or black?

    Also Kurt, would you rather have a new 2-1176 or a pair of LA-4a's?

    Oh, and are you going to review those Great River pres? I'm thinking about getting either one of their two channel units or if I can swing it the four channel one.
  7. squizzy101

    squizzy101 Guest

    here are a couple:

    ebay #1

    ebay #2
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    here is a source you all might want to check out.

    Lot of used pro gear there.. it costs $25 a year to subscribe but for that you cn place ads too.. It is a great source for pro gear and reading it is an education in what good stuff is... check it out.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    here is a source you all might want to check out.

    Lot of used pro gear there.. it costs $25 a year to subscribe but for that price, you can place ads too.. It is a great source for pro gear and reading it is an education in what good stuff is... check it out.
  10. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    For me that is easy. Either two 1176's or the new dual 1176 that UA just released. The 1176 is one for the few comps that I always wanted but have never personally owned. I always had a friend or partner with one or two of them that I would use. The LA-4's are ok, but I never really thought they were amazing or must have units. I prefer optical comps with tubes, and the only solid state optical I like is the Joe Meek.
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    A 2-1176 or 2 LA4s? hard to say.. they are different things.. 1176 is a FET type fixed threshold with attack and release controls, the LA 4 is wave dependent for the release.. they both have different sounds..

    I have an older original UREI 1178 which is very close to a stereo 1176 .. and the LA4s as well as the Manley EL OP and a Valley Dynamite for the VCA thing, so I have all the bases covered pretty well.

    The new 2-1176 sure is a looker though... it's hard not to want it..

    I guess I would go for the 2-1176 ... It is so popular, clients will recognize it a lot quicker than LA4's .. and you could probably use it on more kinds of things effectively ..

    Have you ever used a LA3? Solid state version of the LA2a.. I had a pair, quite nice.. kinda wish I had kept them now but I had too many comps for my current set up so something had to go ..
  12. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Nope, Never got the chance. The only old UA I want is the 175 tube comp.

    I think you ought to dump that Valley unit and get a real VCA comp. Even the RNC would be a step up.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I usually use it as a gate / expander. It's cool for that. I like the key input for the sidechain.. I have a little DBX half rack thing, 266 also. I don't like VCA compression myself.. I mean, I know other people like it but it has too much of a "sound" for my taste.. I had a Drawmer 1960 for about 6 months .. I hated it! Traded it for the EL OP at Audio Images in SF.. Ron Timmons always treated me good when I lived down there.. Great guy..

    A guy that was engineering for me at the time was bummed when I sold the Drawmer.. he did most the rap hip hop stuff that went through the studio and he liked it a lot.. but he didn't have the money to buy it from me so I traded it for the EL OP.
  14. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well if I was stuck with the Drawmer 1960, dbx 266, 163 (half rack) and the Valley, I'd hate VCA compression as well. No, I talking about real good to great VCA stuff like the dbx 160SL, the Crane Song Tracker, the Distressor, API 525 and 2500, Focusrite Red-3 or Blue 230/330, the SSL and Alan Smart SSL versions, the GML 8900 and several others I'm leaving out. You owe it to yourself to jump off that VCA crap wagon and jump into the VCA Limo...
  15. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest


    That link, if it works correctly, is an article in this months UA web-zine (z"ee"n???) There is a little info about the various incarnations of these units. There is a lot of info in the back issues of there web-zeen.

    I'd love to check out a 175, and an LA-3a-- maybe someday. Right now I think I'll pass on this LA-4A, unless it has a chick that jumps out of the back of it that makes Margaritas at the end of the night-- I'll check to see if this one has that feature, since it is a pair maybe ther'd be two. :c:

    I think my money will be spent new gear it seems, between distressors, the 1176, 2-1176 all cheaper, or even one a LA-2a for roughly the same price.
  16. Paladyne

    Paladyne Guest

    the ones at the auction were silver face. no idea about numbers, did not check.

    I'd go with the 1176's. Tho, I just got 2 JBL/UREI 7116's off ebay that are SMASHING. Firstly, I loooove the Distressor, secondly these guys sound like the poor mans distressor. Very fast. I paid less than 5 bills for both of them, I dont think to many people "know" about these... I pop these guys on my overheads, whoa!!! I love audio!!! Is there anything better than having the right piece of the puzzle exactly as its supposed to fit?!?!?!

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