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Vocal Compressor with Neumann U87+Vintech X73i

Hi everyone, I purchased a Neumann U87 microphone (vintage "1980) and Vintech Audio X73i, now I want to counsel,
I want to buy a compressor but do not know what better jump suit in this chain ...
Thinking about
WARM AUDIO WA76, but maybe you have other ideas, not expensive but perfect for this configuration
Thanks

Comments

Boswell Tue, 04/07/2015 - 03:13

Nice mic, nice pre-amp, but you haven't said what converters you are using or what type of vocals you record. Is your intention to track through a compressor or track dry and then add compression in the mix? It's difficult to give you other ideas on compressors without knowing the rest of your chain and your way of working.

My preference has always been to record vocals completely dry, that is, no EQ, no dynamics and no effects. If the vocalist wants some of those in the headphones while tracking, that's fine, but the recorded track stays dry, as this gives me the greatest range of options at mix time, including compression. You do have to develop a skill in hearing a raw vocal track and thinking "yes, that's OK, an 1176 will tame those transients" or whatever is appropriate.

No single compressor will work as the best option for every voice. It's an instance where free limited-time trial plug-ins that are emulations of the famous compressors might help to show you differences between the types before comitting to hardware, but bear in mind that plug-ins are not the same as the real thing.

pcrecord Tue, 04/07/2015 - 04:01

The Warm Audio WA76 is not a bad unit but I don't think it's a quality match to the U87 and Vintech. The wa76 has a sound signature and will change the character of the U87/vintech combo.
I would go for a more transparent compressor like the Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor or
elysia xpressor.

But It very depends on what you want to record and what kind of sound you are looking for.

DonnyThompson Tue, 04/07/2015 - 05:11

It's not as necessary to record with gain reduction as it used to be - because with higher bit resolutions, you get greater headroom, it's not as necessary to record as hot as what used to be required. The result to this is that you can have an RMS as low as -20 and still maintain sonic quality, so even if you do have transient peaks of 5 or 6 db, you're still well below the digital limitation of 0db. You can then compress after the fact using a digital compressor, or, you can even draw a volume envelope curve to bring those peaks back into line. As Bos mentioned, different compressors act and react differently. For example, a FET model like an 1176 acts differently than an Opto based model ( like an LA2 or Focusrite Red) does, so you kinda need to develop a familiarity with the different compressor types to determine what will work best for a given situation, along with recognizing the changes in sonics that different various models will often add to the sound beyond the reduction.

For the most part, I usually prefer to track as dry as possible, and then use digital processing in the mix to compress.

But, there are many people who do like to route through hardware compressors before the signal hits the converters. It's not uncommon for some to use a model like an 1176, or an LA2, (or sometimes both) not only to compress, but to also add character to the sound before it reaches the DAW.

pcrecord Tue, 04/07/2015 - 05:58

Vitalie Andries, post: 427691, member: 48831 wrote: As pop music based only work 40% of all work is with children ....
which not yet have voice control ... :)

Thank god the X73i has a nice headroom ! Just hope they don't run on the walls... ;)
I've done some children recording too. Compress ITB or OTB, or Both, it's a choice.
Thing is, if you compensate while recording, they might never learn to stand at a good distance from the mic and sing at a steady volume.
When we start singing, it's sometimes better to hear it when we are getting too loud and learn to adjust. If you throw a compressor right from the start this Learning process will be disminish. Unless you just want a limiter to be sure the track will be usable..

DonnyThompson Tue, 04/07/2015 - 06:19

pcrecord, post: 427693, member: 46460 wrote: Thing is, if you compensate while recording, they might never learn to stand at a good distance from the mic and sing at a steady volume.
When we start singing, it's sometimes better to hear it when we are getting too loud and learn to adjust.

That's a good point, Marco. Mic technique is very important.

Nice catch, pal. ;)

pcrecord Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:00

If only the compressor of the Avalon could be isolated, you could have tried it with the X73i ;)
The Shadow Hills are very well regarded...

Another thing you could do is record clean and send a paralelle signal to the headphones with a cheap compressor. so the Performer has it but the recording doesn't.
That's what I do with reverbs...

audiokid Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:16

For vocals and kids, anything that is close to an LA2A is what I would be looking. For vocals, combined with an 1176, even better. If you can't afford that, I would without doubt avoid all this fuss and track clean. Don't waste your money. What everyone above has said , is spot on. Tracking clean and processing ITB works better imho over budget outboard solutions.

Vitalie Andries Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:51

pcrecord, post: 427705, member: 46460 wrote: If only the compressor of the Avalon could be isolated, you could have tried it with the X73i ;)
The Shadow Hills are very well regarded...

Another thing you could do is record clean and send a paralelle signal to the headphones with a cheap compressor. so the Performer has it but the recording doesn't.
That's what I do with reverbs...

I know avalon 737 has (balanced line input) on the back, I thought it would be a variant of connection ... to use only the compressor ... do not know if it's possible ... but I read somewhere that someone tried. .. :)

pcrecord Tue, 04/07/2015 - 11:42

Vitalie Andries, post: 427707, member: 48831 wrote: I know avalon 737 has (balanced line input) on the back, I thought it would be a variant of connection ... to use only the compressor ... do not know if it's possible ... but I read somewhere that someone tried. .. :)

The line in will make the signal travel to a part of the preamp stage and eq etc..
It's worth a try but it's not like an independant routing (compressor in/out)

kmetal Tue, 04/07/2015 - 12:59

Your never gonna find a cheap, good transparent compressor in hardware form, these days. DBX is the closest you'll get to a nice affordable compressor, but its got a rock type sound.

The only cheap compressor tha works transparently no matter how hard you hit it comes on the presonus eureka channel.

Other than that is UA which is expensive. Perhaps an empirical labs distressor would be good. It's mid priced, has 'Brit' mode, and well it's on ALOT of records. Just my 2cents.

By tracking clean, which. Agree is better than thru a bunch of budget stuff, you limit some things, like optimal gain staging. The presonus eureka will allow better, more consistent tracks, with no degradation in quality.

This is not cuz it's the only channel strip I use, it's because, it smokes things 3x it's price. It's excellent. We've got the 1176 and dbx and joemeek stuff as well. The eureka is transformer based pre amp, like your vintech, but the compressor it's very transparent. You might just find you like a couple db of eq too.

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:23

the "best buy" hardware comp still available would be imo a used DynaMite. they can be had for $400 for a stereo unit ...(note: i have always been interested in the ART stuff ... any opinions? )

the only reason to have hardware (other than it's sound) would be for use while tracking. that problem will soon disappear ... i see no latency audio in laptops in the next few years. so unless you really want hardware, i wouldn't invest at this time. very short shelf life. soon, you won't be able to give this stuff away. i am seriously thinking of disposing of all my hardware other than a few pres and /or maybe a channel strip.

kmetal Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:39

I use the ART pre at my house. It's a basic step up from a budget interface. Clean an non descript is it's sound. Its a reasonable extra set, but nothing I would run out to buy again. Althou tube swaps and mods were big discussions with these things a few years ago.

We have one of those dynamites, never plugged it in, gonna have to try it.

+1 realtime digital Input processing. It's the future. I'm limiting my hardware purchases to a couple eqs and conversion/monitoring for the next few years.

Hands on control, and dsp, I think is going to go leaps an bounds in the next decade of time. And i don't think your going to see Huge equipment racks, heating up the CR again. It's all about connectivity, networking, and communication, as far as cutting edge technology. They figured out tube pres and eq'd well over 5 decades ago. Besides recreations, and boutique stuff, all the RnD money, is going towards the dirstribution of content, and ideas, among peers, and clients.

Take one look at the professional sound reforment sector, and it's no surpise where things are going. Smaller, clearer, wireless, recall able.

I'm gonna build a faraday cage for myself, between wireless Power outlets, my phone, and the sheer amount of cell/wifi in my area im certainly concerned about the health effects, but I can't stop it, so it is what it is.

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:46

kmetal, post: 427723, member: 37533 wrote: We have one of those dynamites, never plugged it in.

try it. very cool. good gate and downward expander and all the dbx-ish "squish" you could ask for.

kmetal, post: 427723, member: 37533 wrote: I'm gonna build a faraday cage for myself, between wireless Power outlets, my phone, and the sheer amount of cell/wifi in my area im certainly concerned about the health effects, but I can't stop it, so it is what it is.

we all gonna die .... don't live with fear!

audiokid Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:01

Last year I sold around $80,000 grand of my stellar hardware off, and this year, I can hardly sell the last of it.
I just sold my Dangerous Master. Its awesome and an essential if you are hybrid with racks of Mastering hardware. BUT! those days are long gone for me now.
Sequoia is hands down better. Especially with the 2 DAW method.
Boutique gear (comps and EQ) is near over inho. The resurgence we are seeing is, imho, a group of people following the hype started 5 years ago.
I am so glad I sold off what I had last year at the perfect time.

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:17

audiokid, post: 427727, member: 1 wrote: Boutique gear (comps and EQ) is near over inho

i don't think so. there will always be a place for it. the large rooms that have big LF consoles will always need high end outboard but i do think the overall market will shrink. more than anything it will affect the budget end. we will see a lot less of the economy hardware processors like Alesis / Behringer / ART / PreSonus. this does not hurt my feelings at all. mic pres and maybe summing mixers will still be in demand but compressors and reverbs will all be in software. the only thing keeping this from going down yesterday is in / out monitoring latency. as we see solid state memory getting cheaper, this issue will be solved. the studio of tomorrow will be two laptops, monitors and interface - preamps. we don't need no steenkin' hardware!

audiokid Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:40

Boutique EQ and Comps can all be replaced ITB. The most expensive gear is the stuff that has the best imaging and S/N. However, once you "get it"and do accurate comparisons, using excellent conversion, and comparisons to tell you the truth, the expensive stuff suddenly becomes a thing of the past.

The low end gear is what will still keep going because it is my opinion, the naive or less experienced in today's methods who are still following the days of yesteryear.
The high end stuff is competing with the best plug-ins. How are they going to keep us spending $4500 for an EQ. Come on...

I expect the last of the surviving hardware with be added with some sort of DSP in it, which is only a distraction as I see it/hear it. As we see in the (sorry to offend) Dangerous Compressor, a gimmick. That is a classic example of something that can be had ITB for $300 combined with a wave rider. I'm not fooled for once minute with high end gear anymore.I do agree however, if you are going to being doing the round trip, you need the best gear so its a Pandora box really. You start that path, you better invest in the big bucks because a guy and a laptop will produce a mix just as good, if you let him try that is.

If you don;t use high end gear, you notice the SN and (size) loss in a hybrid system. If you use a lower end hybrid system, you don't hear the loss as much, because it is also low end. So, to keep the Size of ITB... you invest in big rail transparency. And as you increase transparency, it becomes a conflict of interest. Manufacturers can't hide this forever. So, they sell hardware as character until we figue it out or the big boys tell the rest of the sheep, whats really going on. . :rolleyes:

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:02

audiokid, post: 427732, member: 1 wrote: The low end gear is what will still keep going because it is my opinion, the naive or less experienced in today's methods who are still following the days of yesteryear.

i think it's going to be exactly the opposite. anyone who gravitates to the low end will not buy anything once latency is addressed. all they want is something they can use for nothing. as soon as we can track through plugs without latency cheap hardware is DEAD! these same people are currently tracking sans dynamics to track and verbs for the phones just because they won't pony up 60 bucks for a midiverb on CL let alone $400 for a Lexicon. i have some really good reverbs and dynamics here i can't give them away.

the only remaining market for hardware will be the major pro rooms with large consoles and patch bays to accommodate their use and they will be snatching up all the great verbs and dynamics on the market. i am afraid there's not much of a future for the builders of new gear other than summing solutions and DAW friendly mixers like the SSL stuff.

audiokid Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:11

Kurt, I can track and have been able to track without noticeable (distracting) latency for years now. Its all about the interfacing and your DAW and how you cook it. The problem people have is they have and are still being brain washed by UAD and Protools that they need to have 2o versions of EQ's and comps. What a (marketplace concept) . Who needs 20 EQ's of different flavours? In the old days, we used a console.

The newbies who can't mix keep buying the new and improved. Guys like me buy one DAW, great converters and hear that is all about the song, monitoring and how you use filters which are , to my ears... better ITB than any hardware product.

But, its an ongoing topic. Time will tell. The point when guys are mixing monster song ITB all the time (which is actually now) is really when it will kill it all.

I still love tracking with my hardware. I just love LA2A's. Love em...

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:29

audiokid, post: 427736, member: 1 wrote: I can track and have been able to track without noticeable (distracting) latency for years now.

is this with compression from a plug? how do you do that?

i have a 96k FW interface. if i record one track of say acoustic guitar, i have to monitor the input to the interface because i will have a slight delay in the phones or monitors if i monitor the DAW. it gets worse when i insert a plug even while tracking. this is why i still have an opto comp and a VCA comp and reverbs in my rack. i don't use them to mix, only for tracking and believe me as soon as it's possible i'm going to eliminate them. i would love to get rid of that huge rack. unfortunatly by the time i can do that they will be worthless ... i can't sell them even now.

audiokid Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:54

Well, RME PCIe interfaces are fast and stable which allow me to drop the buffer to 128. I never put reverb or delays on the individual channels , only one each assigned to a master group. I and don't add extra processing at all during the tracking or creation of a song. I think like its the old days (don't have excess to mess me up) and do not start mixing as I build. I used to but no more.

There is a real art to being able to go back to tracking once you are into the mixing to redo something. But matching the sonics is one thing, getting the latency down at that stage (bigger sessions at least) is not for the average interface then. That's when a PCIe interface makes all the difference. I tried to work with FW or USB interfacing, But I was never happy. My first interfaces after Avid was a couple of FF800. They are okay but nothing like PCIe on a good desktop.

I know people are having great success with FW and USB on laptops, but not me. I use FW or USB interfaces but only as capture devices,.

And last but not least, I optimize my DAW for tracking and mixing so I get its fullest potential. Here is where I feel is the big reason to use Samplitude. It has all that you need for tools stock. The moment I start adding other code, like all DAW's, it starts showing problems. So, can you imagine what Avid is about. No wonder people are investing in so much DSP. They have to have it to feed the addiction and redundancy. Meaning, I'm only guessing but I bet there is added conflict of cpu drain just because some code has their own something in it that isn't the best for the "whole" . PCIe cards are the way to better stability though, at least in my setup.

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/07/2015 - 16:31

audiokid, post: 427739, member: 1 wrote: RME PCIe interfaces are fast and stable which allow me to drop the buffer to 128

at 128 i hear the difference. it's not much but enough to mess with a groove. add a plug compressor and it starts getting worse.

audiokid, post: 427739, member: 1 wrote: PCIe interface makes all the difference. I tried to work with FW or USB interfacing, But I was never happy

PCIe and desktops! talk about on the road to perdition! it's going to be laptops / pads and pods .... and laptops will be considered "kludgy".

kmetal Tue, 04/07/2015 - 16:41

Uad is spec ing their latency like this

  • Simultaneous A/D conversion 8 channels
  • Simultaneous D/A conversion 14 channels
  • Analog Round-Trip Latency 1.1 milliseconds @ 96 kHz sample rate
  • Analog Round-Trip Latency with four serial UAD-2 plug-ins via Console application 1.1 milliseconds @ 96 kHz sample rate
class="xf-ul">
Not too shabby. I think it's 6ms with FireWire. I'm not awRe of any limits on pluggin type so Ypu can print pre amp emulations and comps eqs ect on the way in via dsp.

this reminds me of a digital console type setup just without the faders. I've never expericned latency problems on d8bs SLs or any of them from the common era.

With digital the analog design becomes arguably more important due to the high precsion digital, and digital relies on clean stable power.

I think power is a very interesting aspect lately. It something I lve taken for granted as long as it was quiet. But I think there is more to it than that.

DonnyThompson Wed, 04/08/2015 - 01:12

Kurt Foster, post: 427731, member: 7836 wrote: i don't think so. there will always be a place for it. the large rooms that have big LF consoles will always need high end outboard but i do think the overall market will shrink.

Agreed. I don't think that it will disappear outright, but it's sure been shrinking - to the point where it's not nearly as common as it once was, and eventually, I think that the real stuff will eventually become just a whisper of the past for most, and used by only a select few who can afford them.

Even major engineers, guys like the Alge Brothers, Pensado, Scheps, and Puig, are pretty much all using DAW's w/plugs now for mixing. They may still track through a real SSL, Neve, etc. - if they have them - but when it comes time to mix, these guys are relying a lot more on ITB processing than they are on OB gear anymore.

You've got cats like Andrew Scheps, who still owns and uses a LF vintage 8068 Neve desk to record with, coming right out and saying that he's hard pressed to hear the sonic differences between a real 1073 EQ and the plug version.

I can tell you that the stock EQ in Samplitude - the 116 EQ - is absolutely just as good - no, wait, strike that - it's better than the most expensive OB EQ's I ever worked with. If I'm looking for a transparent EQ, the 116 is a great choice, and it's not even an add-on, it came as a stock EQ in Samplitude. Other manufacturers also make great EQ plugs as well... Fabfilter, T-Racks 432 and Linear Phase EQ, Ozone and Voxengo - are all great detail-oriented and transparent EQ's, perfect for ITB mixing, and available for a fraction of the cost of real hardware.

Because the bulk of the real classic gear is so cost prohibitive, the majority of the smaller commercial studios are constrained by limited budgets to go with ITB processing. Even Chris is selling his 1176 and LA2A. He may not want to, and they do have a certain "mojo" to them, but he knows that they aren't necessary to get a great mix.

That's not to say that the big boys still won't have a few classic items - I doubt highly that you'll ever get Parsons to give up his beloved Fairchild 670, and with other bigger rooms, there will probably always be those classic real pieces available - 1176's, LA2A's, Pultec's, Focusrite Red's, etc., because there are many who already own them, and who still like to track through some of those models for the character they can provide. But I think you'll find that even bigger studios are headed for ITB processing.

So, I'm not saying that OB racks will completely disappear, but those racks are certainly shrinking - as more and more studios are headed for production being done completely ITB.

IMHO of course.

pcrecord Thu, 04/09/2015 - 06:46

I might be stabbed for this but for small and home studio, I think Cheap EQ, reverb and Comp can be use to make headphone mixes while you record clean and mix ITB. Thing is, more and more audio interfaces comes with DSP that do just that ; helping do headphone mixes while letting you mix later. So again some money saved.
Of course If I already had a 32 Channels classic neve console, I would do everything with it even if it would meen having one sound. But, I don't and not planning to buy one.

One thing that I think will never change is need for 1 or 2 channel strip with which you can record with a different character than your main recording preamps.
Also, if you are doing broadcast, you'd want Highend hardware units. Pre/EQ/Comp to do that in realtime without the risk of crashing down with a computer.

But going back to home studio, let's say I have a 12 channel pre interface like the Zen studio, recording everything with the same pre isn't ideal, so I might add some ISA430 or LA610 for lead vocal or other tracks that I want to set appart.

MAn I want this Zen Studio so much. I'd be fully set with 12 good pre, my 2 LA610, 4xISA and 4xUA710... Other than a few more mics, I wouldn't want anything else !!

As for latency, the mistake people do is to try applying effects in real time for monitoring purpose.. This isn't working very well with todays computer performances.
I often do a guitar track with emulators, this is a pain to do, I just remove all other processing and get something like 5-15ms. Barely workable...

pcrecord Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:14

A compressor is not 'needed' when tracking and the WA76 wouldn't be my choice to fit the U87 and Vintech (quality Wise)
That being said, do you like how your combo sounds ? Do you think it needs warming or saturation ? Audiokid has a La2a to sell I'm sure it could do wonders with the vintech. but as he says him self, it mostly could be done ITB...

You've done an excellent choice with the U87 and X73i, I'd be carefull not to degrade the signal with other units..

DonnyThompson Thu, 04/09/2015 - 23:29

Vitalie Andries, post: 427816, member: 48831 wrote: guys .. many have discussed in the post ... however if we gave a survey question mark instead ... ... compressor is needed or not? ... and please tell me it's ok for warmaudio wa76 configuration so?

That's nearly impossible to say - Personally, I don't think you need one - at least not to function as an actual compressor - as mentioned, you don't have to record that hot anymore, leaving you plenty of room for transient peaks to occur without clipping, that you could then attenuate in the DAW using either volume envelope editing or a good compressor plug in. But, that doesn't mean you might not want one - if you are looking for the "sound" of a particular compressor - like an LA2, 1176, etc., for its character/sonic texture possibilities.

I will say this... if you do decide that you want a compressor in your gain chain, the Warm model you are considering is using a Cinemag transformer - and you might not end up liking the result as much as you will by using just the 1073.

Recently, we did a mic pre transformer shoot out here, and the Cinemag was chosen last by nearly everyone who voted.

pcrecord, post: 427817, member: 46460 wrote: Audiokid has a La2a to sell I'm sure it could do wonders with the vintech.

I'm sure it would - but being that the WA76 is an 1176 knockoff - which is a FET compressor - you may want to consider looking at a real 1176 instead of an LA2, if that's the compressor style you are after.
FET and Opto are two totally different beasts. I'm pretty sure that Chris ( @audiokid ) still has an 1176 for sale, (along with an LA2 - which when together sound marvelous - but, they aren't as cheap as the WA76 is ) although he is selling them for a price that is more than fair, and, I would feel 100% confident in anything that Chris would sell being in great condition. ;) )

Short answer - you don't need one. But if you decide that you want one, consider other alternatives to the WA76, and one of those alternatives is to look at a real 1176.

IMHO of course.

d.

pcrecord Fri, 04/10/2015 - 03:11

DonnyThompson, post: 427839, member: 46114 wrote: Short answer - you don't need one. But if you decide that you want one, consider other alternatives to the WA76, and one of those alternatives is to look at a real 1176.

Donny I would use any of the LA2A or 1176 on vocals without any fear of having bad results. But one thing I like about the LA2A is that with only 2 knobs and the fact that it is very forgiving, I feel it would be a better choice to use it while tracking. You just place it so it gives a gentle kiss to the signal and if the performer starts to scream in the middle of the song, it would be there to save you. Same thing could be done with the 1176 but, you need to be carefull how you set it up and when it starts pumping, you're screwed with it and need to re-track.

I might be imaginating all this, mayby Chris has a better understanding of the differences sinces he has both... ;)

DonnyThompson Fri, 04/10/2015 - 03:28

The only reason I suggested the 1176 over the LA2, is because Vitalie mentioned the Warm Audio WA76, so I assumed he was looking at a FET.

I don't disagree with you at all about the LA2. I've used it many times over the years on vox. I love it.

But I assumed he was interested in an 1176 "style" because he mentioned the WA76 - and that's a FET knockoff. I figured he might be more satisfied with the real thing - especially since Warm seems to be using primarily Cinemag transformers in their gear - or at least that's how it appears, and there's been recent discussion here about Cinemag XFO's having a bit of a "harshness" to them, or at least that's what the general consensus was when we did the ADK Mic Pre shootout a few weeks ago and I did a take with a Cinemag on the in and the out. ;)

DonnyThompson Fri, 04/10/2015 - 04:53

I've never tried the WA76. For all I know, it might sound just like an 1176. Of course, if that really was the case, people wouldn't still be paying $1800 -$2000 for 176's - they'd pay the $500 for the WA76, right? LOL

The only experience I have with Warm Audio gear as one of their mic pre's (I don't recall the model, it was a single channel) that I heard at a client's studio about a year ago, and I thought it sounded "okay"....not terrible, but not great. It was very reminiscent of what we just recently discovered with the ADK pre when I did a vocal take where I used the Cinemag's - bright on the top end, a little brittle... which isn't a surprise being that Warm Audio uses Cinemag's in their gear...

Although I do find it a bit funny because of the name of the company, and from what I've heard and experienced with their pre, it wasn't really all that "warm" at all... although I get that this is subjective, and opinions on that will vary depending on whom you ask.

I've used other transformer-based preamps that sounded much "warmer" than the Warm Audio stuff I heard. ;)

pcrecord Fri, 04/10/2015 - 17:57

DonnyThompson, post: 427857, member: 46114 wrote: I've never tried the WA76. For all I know, it might sound just like an 1176. Of course, if that really was the case, people wouldn't still be paying $1800 -$2000 for 176's - they'd pay the $500 for the WA76, right? LOL

I'm just saying that if I had just bought a U87 and a Vintech 73i, I wouldn' risk degrading that quality by putting the WA76 in the chain. Of course, if I had it around, I'd certainly make the test and see if it sounds good.

Thing is, I must admit that if I analyse the LA-610 which I like a lot, it includes a simplified version of the LA2A which doesn't sound like a LA2A but does a very valid job anyway. So I realise that I should be carefull about choosing gear influenced by names and reputations.
One thing the OP failed to say is what's wrong with the actual signal that would justify adding something on signal path. (other than the obvious dynamic control that could be done ITB)

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