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Hi there

It's in the title really. I always come here for the sensible grounded advice that other forum's can lack at times. That's a compliment in case you're wondering. :biggrin:

How well can a Distressor's Opto mode carry off an LA-2A sound?

The reason I ask is because I'll be buying one of them at the end of this month. So far this year, I have already picked up a Mohog Audio MoFet76 and an API 2500, both of which I am delighted with.

Back to my question. Here in the the UK, I can pick up 2x Distressors (w/brit mod) for around £200 GBP more than 1x LA-2A reissue. Yes...2 Distressors for slightly more than 1 LA-2A .

One of my aims is to use my MoFet76 along with an LA-2A /Distressor (opto) in the same chain in order to get the best of both worlds in relation to their different compression characteristics. However, I would also be using them exclusively on other things too.

A part of me is drooling over the 2 Distressors due to having a stereo pair for things. However, I wouldn't want to go without an LA-2A if it can do something a Distressor can't.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.



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BobRogers Tue, 06/07/2011 - 04:07

Davedog, post: 372327 wrote: ... I think you do the 2 Distressors giving you something for across the 2-bus and never look back.

I've never used either unit in hardware form, so I wasn't going to reply. But Dave's point here was my first reaction. You don't mention if one of your other compressors is stereo. If not, you might (depending on your workflow) get a lot more use out of the stereo Distressor than the mono LA2A. They are both great units.

lostindundee Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:37

Davedog, post: 372342 wrote: Yeah, I think Dave is really good too......!

Ha ha ha. This made me laugh. I wondered if DVDHawk had posted and then deleted.

@ Dave - I think Dave is good too. :biggrin:

Thanks guys. Your input is much appreciated. There are very few places I trust online for good advice. I can always count on sound advice here though. The Distressors are looking good. But first:

@ Bob - I actually do have other stereo comps. I have 2x FMR RNC, 2x DbX 160x and 1x Dbx 166 (old revision). The API 2500 that I mentioned is also a stereo comp. I don't find the Dbx ones particularly suited to bus duties. The RNCs can be okay sometimes. The Api 2500 is great on drum or 2-bus duties. The MoFet76 is a mono 1176 clone.

The logic in my thinking was to either:

  • Buy another MoFet76 and an LA2A. This would enable me to to use a pair of MoFet76s on my drum bus and use my API 2500 across the 2-bus (or vice versa) and have an LA2A to use either on its own or in series alongside a MoFet76.

  • Buy 2 Distressors so that I can have 2 reasonably close opto(ish)/Fet-like comps which can also be used on a drum or 2-bus. I've heard a pair of distressors can be good at bus duties. However, you don't hear so much about this particular use for a Distressor as much you do for say an API 2500 or pair of 1176s...but then...if Distressors are in the 1176 and LA2A ballpark (and anywhere in between) then I can easily see a pair of Distressors being a flexible and usable bus comp with good mono usage too.

  • Buy a Distressor and LA2A. This would (due to already owning a MoFet76) give me the option of using 1 Fet comp, 1 Opto comp and another one with both FET/Opto characteristics. However, this option would mean I wouldn't have the stereo application which the above two options bring. Having said that, most of my drums are currently triggered ITB using Superior Drummer 2. Therefore, I was considering getting by using UAD plugs for my drum bus...but then this may change in future.

Although options 1 and 3 are 1k more expensive than option 2, this is not a factor. I would rather have the correct setup than be regretful later on wishing I'd gone with x setup. I guess I have some workflow projections and values to resolve before I make my final decision.

soapfloats. Tell me about it...The UAD Manley Massive Passive allegedly eats up a whole UAD Solo card. If previous plugin technology development is anything to go by then things appear to be getting worse. As plugins get better and more akin to their hardware counterparts, I think it's inevitable that processing power requirements will increase.

Some of you may be wondering why I'm wanting to go outboard. Well...I would like to learn things more traditionally and develop the skill and reliance to trust my ears to be happy with the sounds I get before recording them instead of being an endless twiddler of plugs with a fear of commitment in the digital domain. I'm not against having the odd tweak ITB. However, as implied to Soapfloats, I'd rather buy some nice outboard gear and learn how to use it properly than upgrade my PC/UAD capacity every other year to keep up with digital developments.

Any thoughts?



soapfloats Thu, 06/09/2011 - 22:30

My aplogies, Dave. Long night of multi-tasking and I got my wires crossed. Honestly though, I'll take advice from either of you, any day.

@Lid: I use Antress plug-in versions of the 1176, LA2A, and Manley. Not sure how they compare to the UAD or the actual units, but they are fairly easy on the CPU. I use the 1176 comp on individual channels mostly primarily drums and bass), the LA2A on group buses (mainly vox) and the Manley mostly on my stereo bus for a little glue.

If I feel I need to have a little compression during tracking my dbx 166s and RNC get the call (and they have to, as they're all I have).

I don't worry so much about the software/plug-in upgrades. I've got a pretty solid machine now and a nice collection of favorite plugs. I figure these will serve me well even as others may upgrade to better versions. I like what I have, and it does the job, so I save my money for mics/pres/monitors/treatments/etc.
That wishlist is long enough and expensive enough as it is.
Now, when the time does come that I feel I MUST upgrade, I'll be revisiting this thread for help in picking out my hardware units of choice. :wink:

All that said, my initial response was to indicate that I envied you for going for the hardware units, and that although I could offer little help myself, I would trust Dave's advice in your position.

lostindundee Sat, 06/11/2011 - 07:22

Hi Soapfloats

I'm totally taking on board what you're saying regarding being happy with the current effectiveness of plugins. I'll just stick to the current version of the UAD software I have. Any improvements are likely to be subjective. The upgrades usually just bloat users' systems with their new plugins anyway. Regarding DSP usage/capacity, we're subject to different circumstances given that you're able to use your CPU. I'm limited to one Duo and one Solo UAD-2 card. Once they're used up, I'm done for and some of the plugins eat those cards up fairly fast. To be more comfortable, I would need to look into other brands of native plugins or new UAD cards - all of which cost. Hence my hardware leaning.

I've decided I'm going with the 2 Distressors at the beginning of next month. I'll see how I get on with these and am looking forward to it. I thinking it all boils down to values and work flow requirements. My last post was kinda like..."tell me what you think I should do"...when in fact only 'I' could answer which of the three potential scenarios would suit me.

By the way, I also have the RNC and 166. I'll always have them. They're lovely comps regardless of what some folks say on other boards.



MadMax Sat, 06/11/2011 - 20:50

No experience with LA2A's, yet... but someday soon, I hope to have a pair or two.

But having a lil' bit of outboard hardware , I can tell you that I MUCH prefer outboard iron compared to plug-in compressors.

The Distressor(s) are really quite versatile... from subtle squeeze to outright slam.

I've used them everywhere with mixed results, but have found them quite acceptable on everything from vox to groups/bus work.

I really don't(wouldn't) put too much emphasis on strapping a comp across the 2-bus, other than some very subtle compression for glue. Whether it's the API 2500 to the Distressors, to the SSL, to the L2, or even a pair of 160XT's. I'd much rather send a lightly compressed final 2 mix to mastering that the mastering engineer still has plenty of life to work with.

If it's a project I KNOW won't go to mastering, then yeah.. you do whatcha' gotta', to get it as close to a solid final mix as you can.

The RNC gets a nod from time to time here for certain flavors of things, but with the caveat that it is what it is... as it is with most compressors.

But the decision to unload the CPU from plug-in's is just an added bonus of using external hardware... IMVHO, it just plain sounds better.

I think you'll find the Distressor to be quite a nice piece of kit... enjoy!!