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LA-2a as an overall compressor?

Hi I currently use a RNC compressor for overall mixes. Would an LA-2a either alone or after the RNC be a good second compressor to purchase for overall mixes?


hollywood_steve Tue, 05/29/2001 - 13:51

Well, one thing to consider is that you will need two of them; unless you are printing mono mixes. Even at the biggest discount pricing, that will run you $5k for a pair of the new reissues, more for originals. I'm sure others will suggest other compressors that would work better than the LA2A in this situation for well under $5K.


hollywood_steve Tue, 05/29/2001 - 14:08

I don't want to hi-jack this thread, but while we are on the subject of stereo bus compressors, what does everybody think of the AMEK 9098 compressor? Is this a "contenduh" in the 2-bus compressor rankings? I've yet to actually see one in person (or hear it), so I'm looking for opinions from anyone who has. Thanks.


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atlasproaudio Tue, 05/29/2001 - 14:58

LA-2a for that application is not recommended IMO. Drawmer 1969 is very good for 2-bus and less than $2700 street. Links like a charm also and does a few other really cool tricks. This thing is the ultimate bang for the buck IMO. ;) See it here:

Mac support

Best of Luck,

Nathan Eldred
Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.

Rick Powell Tue, 05/29/2001 - 15:04

AMEK 9098

I was at a mix session once that had a choice of AMEK 9098, Logic FX (SSL), Manley Vari-Mu and CraneSong STC-8 available for strapping across the 2-mix. We wound up using the Logic FX followed by the Manley. The STC-8 is also a very nice 2-mix compressor/limiter and we could've gone that route easily.

The 9098 just doesn't seem to make a mix come alive like the other units, in my limited experience. But we did use it successfully as a lead vocal de-esser, sidechained with a 9098 EQ module. It seems to work OK as an "individual track" compressor fairly well.


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anonymous Tue, 05/29/2001 - 19:09

I've had similar experience as Rick with the 9098 as a 2-bus compressor...but Nick Launy (sp?) seems to love it...and I like the way his records what do I know.

To each their own I suppose...needless to say, I'm a big fan of the Drawmer 1969 [really? go figure...], but the STC-8 is probably the clearest choice of the lot.

I really don't like what the Manley Vari-Mu does to the 'low end' when I strap it across the 2-bus, kinda makes it a bit mushy and indistinct for my taste. A Pendulum ES-8 on the other hand is a joy to behold.

I'm also not too wild about the SSL "good box" [Logic FX or onboard compressor...or even the Alan Smart], they work well for me inside the mix, but not over the whole mix [taste, or lack thereof I suppose]. for the original question...if you really want to try an 'optical based' 2-bus compression unit...try an Avalon 2044, a 747 even...a Pendulum OCL-2, even a Manley El-Op...but trying to get a pair of LA-2A's to "lock and track" in stereo? Unless you've got a 'black cat bone and a mojo' it ain't gonna happen worth a fuck...not in this life time.

If you really have a hardon to try a "pair of something"...try a pair of Crane Song "Trakkers", in the 'air optical vintage' mode of operation, you get close enough to an LA-2A for my 2-bus requirements...without the unfuckingbelievable frustrating hassle of trying to get those sumbitches to follow each other. Even a pair of Daking 91579's will track better than a pair of LA-2A's.

BTW Nathan...since when does the '69 have a pair of EQ's? I swear the only thing resembling an EQ was on the mono DI...if there's a stereo EQ in there, I better lay off the drugs.

coldsnow Wed, 05/30/2001 - 02:16

When I mentioned LA-2 I meant in style not necessarily the old model. I do have my eye on the Manley El op because it is the only one of the bunch that I have heard and I know I love it. But I have only heard it on individual tracks and wondered how it would sound on an entire mix.

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anonymous Wed, 05/30/2001 - 03:01

Depends on the day, depends on the song, depends on alot of stuff. Working with 'optical based' compressors on a mix bus is often a tad tricky. At times not having the ability to get into the 'attack' and 'release' parameters of some models is a plus, more often than not, it's a minus.

I have found the Pendulum OCL-2 to be better than the El-Op in 2-bus applications. The greater flexibility of the timing is marvelous, and the sound of the unit is also the same token, I've had nearly orgasmic experiences with the Manley El-Op...but it was maybe 1 in 35-40 mixes that really shined when put throught the El-Op [if it's left at the end I will often give it a go].

The Avalon 747, also opto based, has the benefit of having 'side chain' controls right on the face panel. This can go along way toward tailoring your 2-bus compression to the song [and frankly, the little 6 band EQ on the back is very often the balls!!].

I've heard very good things about the Tube Tech 'multi-band' compressor. I haven't had an opportunity to play with it, and am not sure if it's 'opto-attenuator based' or not...but I've heard a most excellent buzz on the street about it.

Your best bet is to try a bunch, and see (hear) what works best for the way you work. Some guys find a couple of units that become their 'go to' 2-bus units, there are still some folk out there mixing without any 2-bus compression and frankly, a lot of their stuff sounds fabulous. In the seemingly never ending struggle to have the least dynamic range, to be the loudest thing that ever came out of the stereo in "Jimmy's bitchin' Camaro"...perhaps your stuff might stand out better if you bucked the trend? seems to have worked for Lenny Kravitz...made a whole new generation conscious of the old techniques and hardware.

coldsnow Wed, 05/30/2001 - 07:20

Yea but would the FMR work when the Manley EL OP does not. I guess what I'm asking, would this be a good combination to have? Also if I think I'm getting the M.E. 737, would the Manley EL Op be about the same thing as the 737 op compressor? Again I'm in a market that does not have a place to try things so I need to go with what I read so please excuse all the question. Thanks again Mike.

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anonymous Wed, 05/30/2001 - 08:22

I'm afraid the answer to that is 'Yes, No, Maybe'. Sometimes the RNC will work better than the Manley, sometimes vice-versa. The only thing that's ever constant is that there are no 'absolutes'.

As for the Manley El-Op being even remotely similar to an Avalon Design compression device that employs an 'opto attenuator' more than Corvette is similar to a Pickup truck even though they both have "Big Block V-8" motors.

They work on the same principle, but in different ways, with different circuitry around the actual gain reduction cell.

Everything has a sound, sometimes it complements the music, sometimes it interferes with the music...the hardest part is knowing whether any particular box is "helping" or "hindering" in any specific application.

Jon Atack Wed, 05/30/2001 - 16:02

I have a Tubetech SMC2B (the 3-band stereo tube comp) and concur that it sounds good for mastering, the mix bus, subgroups. But I never throw it on the mix bus.

If the mix isn't rocking, my thing is working on it until it does -- with nothing on the mix bus. Getting the mix to stand out and sound good on its own. If the mix has problems, fixing it before it hits the 2-bus.

Why not just put a great mix butt-naked down to 1/2" and leave all the 2-bus shit, SMC2B or no, for the mastering step.


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atlasproaudio Wed, 05/30/2001 - 18:22

My whole take on the LIMITER El-Op for two bus is that is doesn't work for anything that I have personally tried. You need something that reacts more consistantly, what elop have you met that does? Its supposed to be non linear, thats the magic. I would rather use the SSL before those. My advice, get one of the following....1969 Drawmer, Pair of Trakkers, haven't heard the new API 2-bus, but API rocks and it is supposed to be super versatile.

Nathan Eldred
Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.

MadMoose Tue, 06/05/2001 - 18:35

Originally posted by hollywood_steve:
, what does everybody think of the AMEK 9098 compressor? Is this a "contenduh" in the 2-bus compressor rankings? I've yet to actually see one in person (or hear it), so I'm looking for opinions from anyone who has. Thanks.


I've used it a few times on individual tracks and instruments, never on the 2-mix. It definatly has a "sound" to it. I hate to compare it to a 32264a but it sounded like a modern version of that to my ears. Maybe a little cleaner and less gritty but sort of effecty. I wouldn't go out of my way for one but if it fell into my hands at the right price I would pick it up.

Fletcher, have you tried the new API stereo comp yet?