LA2A, VT747,Fatso?????

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by OneMan, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. OneMan

    OneMan Active Member

    May 8, 2001
    Ok, I am adding another comp to my room and I wanted your opinions. I will be adding the device mainly for character, smoothness and yes I want the "tube sound" for tracking and mixing mostly midi? My options are LA2A a VT747 a Fatso or maybe even a Peavey VCL2? My budget is just about 2k. I know they are all tube and the LA2A is just a single channel and a bit more than 2k. I already own an UA1176 and a tc GoldChannel so keep that in mind when making a suggestion. I am using a DAW and a digital console and I also have external AD & DA so I will be interfacing the device digitally. A lot of you may be thinking HEDD which is where I was at first but it's just too much dough. What do you suggest and what did I leave out?

  2. mixfactory

    mixfactory Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    First of all, that tracking midi through tube stuff can be misleading. There are plenty of tube units that are clean sounding, and solid state units that are "tube" sounding. If I am tracking Midi instruments, I much prefer something that will help them glue together in a mix. My favorites are Neve 1073's and Api's. A combination of both usually covers everything. I only track through a valve based compressor these days if its vocals or bass. I think the LA2A is perfect for this, lots of character, though sometimes a smoother valve is better(Tubetech CL1B). I think all of the other units you named serve a purpose: The 747 is great for working with sampled loops. The Fatso(not tube based), is great for pseudo emulation of analog tape(I use the Hedd 192 for this purpose instead). The Peavey is its own thing, a more cost effective solution. I think a preamp would serve you better for your needs(Tubetech MP1A, or a character pre-Neve,Api,Trident,Great RiverNV,Avalon, etc).
  3. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    May 14, 2001
    Mogadore, OH
    The Peavey VCL2 is an increadible bargain at around 900. Very warm sounding, gets a real pretty sound. The 747 is a great unit but I wouldn't classify it as warm even with the tubes but with the side chains and eq you can get some very diverse sounds out of it and it's also great for mixing bus. Gives more of a high fi sound than a vintage sound. The Neve suggestion is a good one as well. I also use a PResonus 2 channel preamp (not the tube model) for things like drum modules and keys. The IDSS control give a great sound to those things. It warms up and expands the bottom end and cuts the edginess off the top.
  4. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    i'm gonna be slightly off topic here, but what do the LA-3 and LA-4 compressors sound like? It seems that you can get pairs of either on ebay for a reasonable price, so i was just wondering how they compare to the LA-2 and if they are worth getting.

  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    These Urei comps are all Opto and quite simple as they don't have attack and release controls.

    LA2a is all valve with a T4B (the opto bit)
    LA3 is transistors with a T4B
    LA4 is op-amps with an LED and LDR combination. (LDR - light dependant resistor)

    They all have transformers in and out.

    The do sound different to each other BUT do learn the same way by comparison to say the 1176 which is FET based or a DBX which is VCA.

    It is too hard for me to put the 'sound' of a compressor into words but I hope this has helped.

    Back on subject though.
    The Fatso is more about making a tape simulator.
    I don't know the Peavy. LA2a is a classic but one sound. You already have the 1176 classic so that leaves the VT747 .... not a classic yet???

    You left out the Distressor!
    A 'do it all' almost classic!
    But like the HEDD is expensive.

    Win the lotto and then buy them all! :w:
  6. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    Thanks for the info. That was really helpful.

  7. And full of shitty slowish op-amps at that! Not at all in the same league as its tube and discrete predecessors IMHO. Its attack/release characteristics also make it really pumpy sounding.

    There even is an LA-5 but i've never heard one and don't know what is different in it...

  8. SlideMan

    SlideMan Guest

    Yes, a stock LA4 sounds shi**y because the opamps slew rate goes waaaaaay down as you hit 'em harder, thus producing a progressively rolled off and dark sound.

    Eddie Ciletti who most of you know as technical editor of Mix Magazine has concocted a serious hot rod upgrade for the venerable LA4, which upgrades the opamps and gives you a slew rate so fast that square waves look pretty, and music sounds killer. Instead of having nasty artifacts "limit" how hard you can squish something, you can squash to your hearts content, the artifacts are gone!

    Check out his website for details and photos at From the main page select "UREI LA4 upgrades".

    For those of you who make the trip to Eddie's site and read the LA4 story, I'm the guy with the 1176 that he fixed up and 8 LA4's.

    And don't think I'm nuts for having 8 LA4's until you've heard Eddie's upgrade. I think they sound as good as other comps in the $1500-$2,000 per channel range.

    Jeff Roberts,

    Basking in geothermal heat
  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Yep Eddie Ciletti is very cool and yes the RC4136 is an old shity op-amp.

    I have made a few opto comps based on the LA4 and like Eddie made a few changes to the op-amps. They are not mod but new PCB boards.

    I have different options with the LED and LDR but I did chose to stick with the RC4136 in the detector chain. My favourite has the SSM2142 and SSM2143 handling I/O duties. I am in the process of doing a similar thing with the 1176 circuit.
  10. Blesscurse

    Blesscurse Guest

    And while we're on the LA4 theme....

    Alactronics is also known for it LA4 mods.

    I agree that the Peavey VC/L2 is a great value.Used it today on a vocal subgroup, and it sounded just great.

    I'm also big fan of the Urei/JBL 7110, which, I believe is the successor to the "LA-" series. You can probably find a used (stereo-linkable) pair for about $650. Quite flexible. Similarly, you can find a pair of used Aphex 651 Expressors (not the pseudo tube version) for around the same price. (I have two modded by Audio Upgrades that I'm thinking of selling.)

    So, you could get a pair and then also get the Peavey for around $1600, which in combination with what you already have would give you quite a number of "flavors."

    The Peavey is probably the least expensive "quality" tube compressor/limiter on the market.
  11. Blesscurse

    Blesscurse Guest

    A further low budget thought: old green-faced tube Altec mixers/mic pres do a fine job of "warming" up synths for very little money, as do the old Hughes & Kettner "Cream Machine/Blues Master" series of tube guitar processors, which can be found for about $120 each. I'm talking some level of distortion here, which sometimes helps with the sterility factor, and provides a degree of "natural" compression.

    On the other hand, one can do an awful lot with a nice sounding mic pre (API, Neve) and a Distressor.
  12. Baughb

    Baughb Guest

    Get the Fatso. It isn't tube and as a compressor it has a few settings that are very usable and the manual is actually useful but the thing that hooked me was the warmth and tranny options that really work as advertised. I love the basic function as a tape simulator and it does add a certain thing to non acoustic instruments when I record through it. I've used it across the stereo bus on many occasions and it does a good job for me. BTW, I don't have any kind of connection to the company or distributer, I just think it's a very useful tool at a reasonable price.

  13. maor appelbaum

    maor appelbaum Active Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    i have a tla fat-man (fat 1)steriovalve compressor.
    its cheep -but its great.
    i use it for the mixing bus-it warms up everything.
    i also use it for mastering.
    i recommend it.
    does any one here oun this unit?
  14. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Fatso gets my vote in your situation..

    But it's always nice to learn something about classic recording gear!

  15. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    If you're looking at those don't forget about the Manley El-Op. I just mixed an EP and I used it on every lead vocal and most of the bass DI tracks. It's going on my gotta get one list.
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