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UA LA2A

Jeff, you are killing me, did your LA2A arrive yet, how do you like it?

Sweetwater has them on sale now for 3499.00

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LA2A

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Profile picture for user thatjeffguy

thatjeffguy Fri, 02/17/2012 - 11:03

I tracked a female vocalist yesterday, using my Mohave MA 200 mic > GR MP-2NV preamp > LA2A > Board. She was singing the US National Anthem A Cappella. Turned out beautifully. At the loudest peak "...and the rocket's red glare..." the LA2A was knocking some 15 Db of gain reduction. So transparent it just sounds 'right'. And so easy to do the settings with just two knobs to twist. I'm very happy with this purchase!

Jeff

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thatjeffguy Wed, 02/29/2012 - 11:14

Wow, 70, that's a lot of LA2A to me!

Well, the backstory is that I was tracking a VERY soft-voiced singer through a dynamic mic (SM7b), already had the preamp cranked and was still getting barely a slight dip on the gain reduction meter. Had to really crank the reduction dial to get the desired result from the relatively low signal.

I've got some sessions coming up to track some acoustic bass and I'm thinking I'll try the LA-2A for this application. I have gotten good results using my avalon on acoustic bass in the past. Unknown, with the LA-2A, having no 'Attack' adjustment, is will enough of the 'pluck' get through before the compression kicks in. I'll let you know!

Jeff

bigtree Fri, 02/17/2012 - 16:41

right on Jeff.

Its easy to know when you have too much eh. So smoooOth

I've been messing with the 1176LN > LA-2A chain and it definitely takes some time getting familiar on setting the gains between the two. Both compressors stay very smooth until you know its too much. A fine line but once you get it, its a beautiful thing. I wish they had a hard bypass. I do get around that somewhat with the MixDream's insert bypass (right on SPL). However, having them both on the same channel still makes auditioning hard to do.

Seems the best method was setting the 1176 up first and then bringing in LA2A to taste. Setting the gains though, going to be experimenting for a while. I can tell it will be a very effective once I get onto it.

If I had to choose between the two, the 1176 would go first. The LA2A is amazing. But I'm still getting used to the 1176.

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thatjeffguy Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:10

You're up to the challenge, Chris!

I can imagine this will be a bit tricky until you really get familiar with both units and how they respond. Might be a good idea to work with each box independently in order to gain that familiarity, then chaining them together will be more intuitive.

It's like most of the mics in my collection I know so well that I can intuitively choose the most effective mic for any given application. But it came about by constant experimentation until I really knew the individual characteristics of each. Similar experience when I first got my Avalon. Had to push it too hard a few times 'til I knew where its limits were. I'm still learning the Great River, and I'm pretty comfortable with my AEA RPQ pre because I use ribbon mics a lot which is why I bought the RPQ.

When you've got a bit more time under your belt with both units post an update, I'd love to know how they work together and what application you have found for that configuration!

Jeff

bigtree Sun, 03/04/2012 - 23:19

Davedog, post: 385255 wrote: Jeff is your patchbay half-normaled?

BTW, Slam the bee-jeezus outta that thing. 70 and 70.......Set the pre to compensate. Run it across an already recorded track like that. Vocals especially.

Dave, I was reading

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct07/articles/insidetrack_1007.htm"]Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli[/]="http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct07/articles/insidetrack_1007.htm"]Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli[/] where he hit 80! So there ya go! I'll have to try that.

Profile picture for user Davedog

Davedog Mon, 03/05/2012 - 07:40

audiokid, post: 385669 wrote: Dave, I was reading Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct07/articles/insidetrack_1007.htm"]Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli[/]="http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct07/articles/insidetrack_1007.htm"]Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli[/] where he hit 80! So there ya go! I'll have to try that.

These type of settings arent for the faint hearted.!! This really shines as an insert to a well recorded clean and clear track to begin with. Its like adding a stage of tubes to anything you might want that type of sound on. Actually, now that I think about it, its EXACTLY like adding a stage of tube goodness!

I have been a fan of this type of sound for a long time. A tube pre done correctly over a full-range and complete solid-state power section. Not for guitar amps necessarily but for audiofile uses, its got a lot of subtle nuances you cant get otherwise. But there are exceptions.

A friend of mine developed a guitar amp some years back based on this principle. He had two different tube preamps and a great solid-state power amp with a huge power supply. Anything you threw at it it would do. I thought they sounded brilliant every time I heard one or played on one. Unfortunately they were spendy since he didnt scrimp on the right stuff and now I dont think he builds them anymore. The preamps were set up with one set being a Fender Deluxe circuit with a midrange control and the other being a JTM45 Marshall circuit. There was a blender between these and even a remote pedal for this function. Gerlitz . If you ever find one and can try it out, do so. pretty amazing amps.

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thatjeffguy Sat, 02/11/2012 - 10:40

Chris... Yes, the LA2A arrived just a few days ago. I had my first session with it yesterday. It is, in a word, STELLAR! It is exactly what I had hoped on vocals. You can crunch the heck out of your signal and it still sounds good. This is what I had originally hoped my Avalon 737 would bring me when I bought it 5 years ago, but it never lived up to my expectations.
I'm driving it with my Great River MP-2NV preamp. What are you feeding yours with? Do you use a separate Phantom Power supply?
I've got a lot of testing to do... want to hear this thing with all of my vocal mics.
And yes, I noticed that the going price has gone up... got mine for USD $2699.00 at Front End Audio. It was your tip about the impending price increase that prompted me to act when I did, so a huge "THANK YOU" goes out to you for that tip.

Jeff

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 11:18

YES! **** YA!
I am so ecstatic over that box. 30 years I have been wondering how to get that sound. Now we know. smoke

Everything sounds awesome with the MP 2NV! Its a wonderful preamp, clean or vibe.

I recorded an operatic vocal over the weekend using, oh my, you got to get some of these now... SPL Premiums, WOW! I just bought 8 of those. Talk about sweet and big. I'm certain they will excel on everything. U87> LA2A straight into a Premium was glorious. Matched DPA 4011's on piano, stellar. I now know I have to treat my house because its so obvious what sucks. I have stellar gear, poor acoustics. This is next.

I added an 1176LN to the vocal chain, ordered it before the price increase too but it didn't arrive on time for this last session. I'm going to put it in front of the LA2A. Do you have one? She did some high level staccato and the LA2A could have used a faster comp in front for that stuff. As you noticed, being able to clamp down really gives it the vibe eh! But when she hit those fast attacks, I had to compromise. If I would have had the 1176, it would have been the bomb and some!
I messed around with it yesterday and its another choice comp but nothing like the LA2A. Wow hehe. I'm very pleased to hear your same rave. Not very many times have I bought something that did it for me like this.

Separate Phantom? You mean a dedicated 48V? I just use the phantom provided by the micpre. Is that what you mean?

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 11:34

I used a RODE Classic 2 and it was no disappointment. That's another mic that doesn't get the praise it should. It has a rich vibe to it and loads of options. I like it on ballsy baritones.

This will improve all vocal mic. Its a must have compressor.

Did you track with it? After hearing it going in, I will always track with it now. I've been afraid to compress vocals going in, but this is such a no brainer.
I've been trying it on older tracks and it definitely improves the VOX in the mix, but they don't have the glow like this last session. But, I never had the SPL premiums either so I'm using a lot of new things all at once. Difficult to be anything more than just thrilled right now.

(This is turning into a good vocal compressor / LA2A thread so I might move it into its own thread.)

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thatjeffguy Sat, 02/11/2012 - 15:55

Re: Phantom Power... the LA2A does not have phantom power, and it has relatively little gain. Hence my preceding it with the MP-2NV.

Yes, I tracked with it. Over the years I gotten comfortable compressing on the way in on vocals, and now with this box it is, as you say, a 'no brainer'.

I don't have an 1176 (yet!). Right now I'm quite impressed with how fast the LA2A is compared to my Avalon. Is the 1176 that much quicker?

Interesting about the prices... this is the first time I bought a new piece of gear that instantly became more valuable!

Jeff

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 18:05

Davedog, post: 384326 wrote: innerTube Atomic Squeezebox. Nuff said.

I contacted them, had a few exchanges and a wallet full of cash and passed with no return. Bought the STC-8 and the Nail instead. I've heard its a nice box but the LA-2A is plenty cool for vocals and some. I think the Squeezebox is better suited for the 2-bus.

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 18:10

thatjeffguy, post: 384325 wrote: Re: Phantom Power... the LA2A does not have phantom power, and it has relatively little gain. Hence my preceding it with the MP-2NV.

Yes, I tracked with it. Over the years I gotten comfortable compressing on the way in on vocals, and now with this box it is, as you say, a 'no brainer'.

I don't have an 1176 (yet!). Right now I'm quite impressed with how fast the LA2A is compared to my Avalon. Is the 1176 that much quicker?

Interesting about the prices... this is the first time I bought a new piece of gear that instantly became more valuable!

Jeff

Why would you need Phantom for it? Go into the micpre first, then the LA-2A! You are going to flip when you dop that. It has loads of makeup gain that is the bomb.

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 18:22

The 1176 has a fast attack, the LA-2A is slower and rich, hence why it is so perfect as a vocal leveling amp. If you have fast transient peaks, the LA2A won't catch them in time. If you chain the 1176 together, putting it in front so it grabs the fast stuff first, the LA-2A takes whats left and does a glorious thing to the vocals. Its a perfect marriage, the golden combo. The 1176 is great for this and so much more.

If you have another fet comp with a fast response, try that in the mean time. Put it in front.

The 1176 has an edge to it, which you will want eventually. Besides, you are in it this deep now, go for it.

Theres a video on UA, I'll post it for a reference.

bigtree Sat, 02/11/2012 - 18:26

Chaining the 1176LN and LA-2A Compressors for Maximum Control

Sometimes you can’t reign in the dynamics the way you need to with one compressor without causing audible compression artifacts. For example, if you like the sound of getting 5 to 7 dB of compression with the LA-2A, a large peak might suddenly cause 12 dB of compression and the release might not recover in time for the next audio transient. You'll hear the level slowly come back up: your basic “pumping and breathing” effect. So using a fast compressor right before the LA-2A does the trick. Some people use three or more compressors on a track! One basic rule is that each successive compressor has a lower compression ratio than the one before it, and the first one is typically just catching the peaks.

To review the two compressors, the [="http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/compressors/1176ln.html"]1176LN Classic Limiting Amplifier [/]="http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/compressors/1176ln.html"]1176LN Classic Limiting Amplifier [/] is a FET-based compressor. It has Input and Output gain, Attack and Release controls, and four compression Ratios. It doesn’t have a threshold control, but turning up the input gain has the effect of turning down the threshold. Aside from that, it is very much like most utility compressors.

The [[url=http://="http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/compressors/la-2a.html"]LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier[/]="http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/compressors/la-2a.html"]LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier[/], on the other hand, is an opto-based compressor, which means it uses a electro-optical device to perform gain reduction. There are no attack, release, or compression ratio controls. There is Peak Reduction, which increases the amount of compression by lowering the threshold. The tube-driven output Gain control makes up for the gain lost by the peak reduction. Finally there is the Limit/Compress switch, which increases the compression ratio from around 3:1 (compress) to 10:1 (limit).

The most common combination is to put the 1176 first and set it up as a peak limiter. To do this, set a high compression ratio, like 12:1, and a fairly fast attack and release. The point here is to just flatten the higher peaks. This compressor should not be doing a whole lot, just knocking 2 to 3 dB off of the loudest peaks.

The input gain needs to be adjusted carefully to do this. Usually it is best to find a part of the track with the highest peak or peaks and cycle that, and adjust to get the effect I described. Then use the output gain to match the level. To do this, disable the compressor and listen to the average level of your track, then enable it and adjust the output gain until you can’t really hear a difference in level.
The LA-2A should be set up just like you would if it were being used alone, with the Compress/Limit switch set to Compress, and Gain Reduction and Gain set to taste. But the 1176 knocked the big peaks down, which would have thrown the LA-2A into quite a bit of compression.

You can also reverse the order of the two, using the LA-2A in Limit mode to knock down the peaks, and the 1176 to smooth out the rest of the track. Just like all audio tools, there are no hard and fast rules. If something has the desired effect, go for it!


Watch the video here:

They're using plug-ins in this demonstration, everything applies, but we have the real deal and are tracking with it. Copper, tube and voltage is part of the signature sound/magic. Welcome to vocal heaven.

Chaining the 1176LN and LA-2A Compressors for Maximum Control
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.uaudio.com/blog/chaining-1176ln-la2a-compressors"]Chaining the 1176LN and LA-2A Compressors for Maximum Control - Blog - Universal Audio[/]="http://www.uaudio.com/blog/chaining-1176ln-la2a-compressors"]Chaining the 1176LN and LA-2A Compressors for Maximum Control - Blog - Universal Audio[/]

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Here is some history on the 1176LN

(y)

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Davedog Sun, 02/12/2012 - 10:51

audiokid, post: 384327 wrote: I contacted them, had a few exchanges and a wallet full of cash and passed with no return. Bought the STC-8 and the Nail instead. I've heard its a nice box but the LA-2A is plenty cool for vocals and some. I think the Squeezebox is better suited for the 2-bus.

Ah, thats too bad. "better suited for the 2-bus" is probably true in comparison to an LA-2A which is way too slow for a whole mix but lovely on voices and strummed guitars.....Hammond organ etc....But you were talking about a 'fast compressor' and the Squeezebox is that as well as having no discernable "edge" as you described the 1176. Theres a setting for the 1176 which isnt in the manuals. Try pressing all the buttons at once. Run a signal through it alone. Or latch the 4 and the 12 together. I dont know if the new allow for this but old ones did. Try it and run a guitar through it.

This is the classic compressor sound of the 'majors' for a very long time.

Another 'biggie' not mentioned a lot but is one that is something of itself is the GloryComp. Groovetubes mate to the ViPre. Now theres a vocal chain.

RemyRAD Sun, 02/12/2012 - 19:23

Funny, I generally follow my LA-3 with the 1176 not the other way around. Though on occasion I have done it that way but rarely. And the Great River... isn't that patterned after a Neve?

Welcome to the improved sounding world of tracking this stuff while recording it. That's truly old-school, the way I used to do it and the way I still do. You just have to rely on your expertise not to overdo. You can do do even more later. And end up without any do do.

Do Doobie Brothers do do also?
Mx. Remy Ann David

bigtree Sun, 02/12/2012 - 21:09

Well what took you so long to chime in! I would never have realized this until I got this gear, Remy (gear is important). As soon as I plugged into this, I instantly knew it was right and felt 100% confident to track with it. I will never settle for less now.

Yes, I believe Great River is modeled after Neve so you don't need to leave North America to get that sound.

bigtree Mon, 02/13/2012 - 01:31

UAD LA-2A plugin vs Teletronix LA-2A

Here is an A/B between the UAD LA-2A the the UA LA-2A. Tracking with it, is even more of a difference.

x