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Warm Audio WA2A vs UA LA2A

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by audiokid, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Please share any comparisons you've done between the UA LA-2A and Warm Audio WA-2A seen below.
    Looking at the guts of the WA-2A, it looks pretty clean, not exactly the same as the originals but it appears to all be there.

    I wonder how it sounds? Compares? dada90_ce610007afa246228704f5835ca76e61~mv2.jpg
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    the guts aren't the same. the Warm uses printed circuit boards while the Teletronix has point to point and a breadboard. a lot of people think circuit boards impart a different sound than point to point. guitar amp freaks have been on this for decades.

    i would be curious to hear them in a side by side comparison.

    LA-2A_inside_hq_clipped-087720758ac94f760be14e119dd71db9.jpg
     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I tend to share this though but who knows, if its close enough, $900 vs $3500.
    Me too. I am trying to get them here. I have UA LA2A's.
     
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Guys, even if they don't sound the same, if the sound is good for the job, who cares ? ;)
    BTW LA2A's don't sound the same from each others unless they were bought and kept together as pair (and even then...) unless we buy brand new ones right ?
     
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  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Chris, in the past, you've mentioned that whenever you've heard Cinemag XFO's used, that you haven't really cared for "the sound" that they impart ... and the Warm unit does indeed use Cinemag trannies as part of its circuitry.
    Although in this case, you may find that the Cinemag's sound really good.

    Like you, I've used actual LA2's countless times, but I have never worked with Warm's gear, so I can't say whether I think it's a valid "clone" or not, or for that matter, whether it's supposed to be.

    But, I'm pretty much with Marco when he says:
    I feel this way about all kinds of gear. I even have this mentality when it comes to plugs.
    Regardless of whether (or not) I find the digital modeling on a classic piece to be dead-on, or even remotely close (or not), if it sounds good for what I'm using it for at the time, then that's all that really matters to me.

    As an example, I have no idea whether UAD, Waves or T-Rack's versions of the Fairchild 670 are close to the real deal or not... the plugs seem to attenuate low freq's, ( all of them do to an extent), but I can't say if a real 670 also does this ... or not.
    Years ago, back when I was an AE, I got to watch an actual 670 being used once in a session ( IIRC it was a rental from Dreamhire) but I've never personally had the privilege of actually using a real 670 myself.

    But, I've used these various 670 sims many times on vocals, and they have always sounded very good for what I was using them on at the time.

    IMO
    -d.
     
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  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Absolutely. .(y)

    Pretty much everything sounds good and has a use until it comes time to comparing, then we make choices based on the comparison. There has to be an outcome, clear winner :).
    That's what a comparison is about to me. It has nothing really to do with would I use this or that. Of course I would. Would I use this LA2A clone if I had all the choices too? That I don't know because I have not had the opportunity to compare it with other analog LA2A's. I wonder how the noise floor is. LA2A are pretty noisy but they sure sound lush.

    This might be wonderful and what a price in comparison. I want one.
     
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I know. I've had a few well known products (other than Warm Audio) that had a particular noise in the path that I didn't like. I have know idea if it was the Cinemag tranny or just the designs. I won't mention the other brands in this thread but I sold them after I did comparisons to other comps and EQ's in the same pro audio league, for the same use. They were fair comparisons based on what they did to the sound during tracking and OTB mixing.
    Indeed Kurt, what I am wondering too (y)

    By the looks of it, they appear to be half the rack size of a vintage LA2A. Nice to save some rack space, that's for sure.
    I'm thinking they might be a cross between the vintage Opto comps and a plug-in.
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Found this today. All round terrible comparisons because the tech didn't even match levels or compression properly but still fun to post it.
    More so for me to rant on how poor comparisons like this are all over the web.

    That being said, they all sound okay but if you read the comments on the youtube channel, I didn't find one that actually knows much about how to listen to a comparison in the first place.
    And including a plugin.. its ITB which is a different challenge to analog tracking, irrelevant here, for me that is.
    I would like to hear other ITB comps in another challenge though. That would be fun.

    The Warm sounds like it would be worth trying though. Looking forward to that some day.
     
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  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I feel the real LA-2A sounds louder and have more HF then the others.
    The warm audio is the one to tame the HF more. Could be nice with an hyped budget condenser.

    This makes me reinforce my thoughts about this. If you buy budget gear they may be a better match together than a mix with highend gear.
    Do you see where I'm going. The warm audio might have been designed to have less HF to compensate for budget mics since people who buys budget mics won't go for a real LA2A.
    Am I wrong ?? High end gear does good job with highend gear and Lowend with lowend ???
    Nah, I'm just too tired, a cheap mic will still sound better with a highend preamp... ! ;)
     
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  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Indeed. Not sure Warm thought about it like this but good gear sounds like cheap gear through cheap preamps and cheap converters (etc).

    Lots of 2k to 8 k rip your face off products sell lots of plugins and budget analog stuff that do the "warming" analog modelling. To my ears, most I've tried sound like mud filters best for taming down raspy gear targeted for that raspy market.
    Its less expensive investing in a few good products in the long run. Granted, yes it costs a bit more money to get started but after that... you are no longer fooled/ harder to convince cheap gear is ever a deal.
     
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  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Exacly my thoughts !!
    Wouldn't be great if newcomers understand that at the beginning of their journey !
    I was unsatisfied for a very long time because of bad gear choices.
     
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  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I agree with you on this, but I'll just throw this out there... not arguing, just looking at it from another angle, based on my own past...

    For those who are just starting out, "cheap" gear is often all they can afford. When I first caught the bug, I was using a Dokorder 4 track ( R to R, 1/4").
    Actually, if I went back farther than that, when I was 12, I used to use two desktop Panasonic cassette decks ( the kind that were typically found in offices at the time; my dad had two at his office for dictation that he would bring home on the weekends and let me use) and I can vividly recall doing two part harmony with myself, doing a version of the Beatles' "If I Fell". Back and forth I would go with guitar and vocal parts until there was more noise than music...LOL
    My point is... very few of us started out on "pro" gear. I didn't sit down at an SSL until I was 23 or so - and that was after years of using Dokorder, then Teac, and eventually Otari...
    I guess my thought is that I'd rather see someone get started on budget/entry level gear, and begin to hone their craft, as opposed to not doing it at all just because they can't afford a Neve pre, or a Dangerous ST, or Neumann mics...If those things are a prerequisite for learning, and doing it, then I'd have never been an AE.
    I think it also serves a useful purpose, in that the people who do move on to getting more serious about it, and investing in higher caliber gear, can hear the differences in a more obvious way... because they have a baseline of results using budget gear in their history to compare to the better stuff.

    IMHO
     
  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Cheap gear is here to stay, what ever we say. In a sens, it's good because it allows a lot of people to learn about recording and have fun at home.
    But, it's a BIG trap for those who starts recording more seriously.
    All the marketing plots make you believe you can sound pro for less money.
    Thing is, they take advantage of those who can't differenciate what sounds good or not. And they always end up unsatisfied and discouraged.
    I know I've been caught in it for years, M-Audio delta cards, DBX silver preamp, soundcraft LX7, cheap condensers, cheap monitors...
    Those are the mistakes I made and would like to prevent others from.
    Thing is, if anyone of you would have Knock my door and said, Marco, don't buy this it's not sounding good. I might have not believed you because I didn't know better.
    So I can understand when newbs buy cheap gear. We're all been seduced by low prices and too good to be true deals at some point...

    That's why I talk good gear all the time on RO, If I can save time and money to just one person; It's Worth the effort ;)
    I know no newbs will buy a Bock 47 at 15k.. But there's some affordable gems that are Worth it. Hey we could make a list as a sticky, no ? ?
     
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  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    I agree 100%. in the past i had a different take on it but with things the way they are now, i find it difficult to advise anyone to spend any significant amount on gear for any reason. the home studio market is so saturated with operators who are willing to work for nothing it is difficult at best to recoup any investment made.

    unless you want a piece of gear just because you want it stay with the inexpensive stuff. i wouldn't put more than a few grand into any home studio these days unless someone was paying me bank to do the work or i was a high profile cooker (thanks Donny) who needed a home studio to do tweaks. chances are you will never get back what you have spent on recording gear.
     
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  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Better tracking gear, better sound. No plugin is going to make bad tracking sound better.

    (Edit)
    Good converters, good preamps make ITB sound better and usually mean, less goofing around with plugins to fix it all.

    If I was starting out again, I would most likely get a StudioLive console and a PC and call it done. Then spend all my time making music. That would be about $2500.00. Plus a few mics and so it goes. Mics, preamps and converter lanes. That's pretty much what this is all about, up until we want better. Sadly, that comes at a price in a world that isn't easy to pay for it all. But thats another topic. .

    Some of us can't afford better and some can. Some of us will work 20 hours a day to get that extra whatever and die holding onto our dream. Not much different to the guy wanting a better guitar. Its all part of our love of sound. And thats what I am always discussing. The love of sound and how to make it happen.

    Am I rich, no. Do I stop learning and sharing the details of how to improve what I do when I can no longer afford the stuff I know sounds better. No. Just because I can't afford it, doesn't me I stop learning or push cheap.
     
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  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Agreed. The days of making $80-100 per hour are long gone, unless you happen to have Gold Records hanging on your wall, or are in a situation where you profit is driven by corporate endeavors ( national commercials, music for film...)

    I think there are some decent pieces that offer "pro spec" sound, pieces that one can acquire as time goes by, but I would stress that investing in them should be because you love the craft, and not because you'd see any decent kind of return, other than better sounding tracks. I've said it all along ... I think it would be foolish to buy a Neve or SSL console as a business investment these days.
    But if that's what pleases you, and you can afford it, then you should get that kind of gear... but do it for no one else but yourself.
    'Cause at the end of the day, the majority of clients couldn't come close to affording the rate you'd have to charge to have those pieces, if your idea was to use them as a business venture.

    As far as home pro gear, to start, there are some tried and true pieces that you just can't go wrong with, IMO:

    Sm57's / 58's
    EV RE20
    Sennheiser 421's
    Shure SM7
    Royer R121 Ribbon
    AKG 414 ( older is better but the new ones are still great, and in any form, they're still the quality "Swiss army knife" of most good studios)
    Any other GOOD condenser that will offer multi-patterns
    Universal Audio Preamps
    Grace Preamps
    Millennia Preamps
    Presonus SL console

    With a few exceptions, (such as the pres, the SL, the Royer and the 414,) most are fairly reachable in price, even for the "home recordist"... and even those more expensive items are still pretty reasonable, at least in the grand scheme of things when it comes to recording gear.

    IMHO
    -d.
     
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I love your list Donny !
    You know me :
    I might just add Focusrite ISA preamp and RME interfaces ;)
     
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    You missed the greatest vocal leveler made lol! Just plugging into an LA2A (or I suppose a clone) is shear silk. imho :)

    Well, we are getting away from the threads direction which was about analog LA2A comparisons.

    But, not to brag or toss any additional resentment towards me (I'm ducking lol....) I actually started making 3 times that when I upgraded my analog studio with certain analog products to sound better than average. LA2A were for certain the main part to that. Followed by converters that are smooth and full sounding and of course, better than average preamps. Plugins never make money. The ability to to capture vocals that sit in a mix through collaboration is where I would be looking for business today (another topic) .
    I believe business is there for those who know how to produce music that makes money/ is the buzz. Whats not there is a large pool of talent and my ability to kill my ears listening to raspy music that was tracked through crap and is so screwed up that you have to be iron man to try and make it better. Which can be fun but the hours you have to put into that, its a losing battle. . And I am being a bit of a joker in this topic too.

    I do share this opinion: Our business is pretty difficult to make a living, especially "doing it the way many of us are accustomed to, years ago",
    I believe we have a better chance if we have the ability to make vocals sound great for today's market..

    I lost the desire to do this as a living when guitars and live musicianship became a dated sound in pop music but I haven't lost the ability and passion to learn more and more.
    Today is all about vocals and electronics. Which is actually a lot easier (less money$$ TOO!) than it is to make great sounding acoustic music, don't you think?
    If you want to make great sounding acoustic music, you need a good sounding studio and excellent recording equipment. That is, if you want to sound better than average.Just saying...

    I definitely wouldn't make a living "recording" if I was using budget gear and advertised, budget is all you need.
    Plugins are great when it comes to mixing and fixing, but not a replacement to tracking. And cheap gear sounds small and (ugly) noisy compared to the top level stuff people have been using for years, that still use for the people/ projects in this business to make money or be noticed.

    My vocals go where my LA2A's go. Anyone that tracks through these hear an instant difference of wow "thats how they do that".
    I would rather have a quality preamp, one LA2A and a quality converter to all the rack crap and plugins most people use and rave about today. Plugins or consoles don't make you money. Consoles look good but I would rather a DAW any day to mix on.. And this is thousands less than what most people are spending on software and time lost goofing around trying to compete in a market that is very much vocal driven.
    Again though, each of our reasons are different to why we are into recording and what we want back out of it at the end of our lives.
    I never did this just as a hobby. I do it because I just love sound and enjoy making the best sounding music I can, for me. It has nothing to do with money, ego, or trying to out do the next guy on RO or the planet for that matter.
    I am hooked on good sound and like talking about it all. If something sounds great and fits whatever I am doing, that really all that matters to any of us.

    This thread was about the difference between the real LA2A and the Warm clone. I was only wondering how it compares because the real LA2A's I have, sound crazy awesome. :) If the Warms WA 2A sounds anywhere close to LA2A's, that would be cool. I would love to have a few of those too.

    I'd say!

    You'd be miles further ahead buying one top end preamp and good converters apposed to something like either of these consoles. A DAW is a much better mixing format as well. You also need to invest in serious DA and AD lanes, a good hybrid outboard monitoring controller to mix OTB plus SR conversions loss. But thats why 2 DAW and so it goes. Where do we stop to advise those reading, this is beyond your comprehension lol. Warning, you are entering the analog forums !
    I think a few good products apposed to the thousands invested in cheap or a console would hopefully give those serious about recording thousands $ extra to buy an LA2A and stay focused on making good vocals. Vocals are about the only thing left that we haven't totally ^#$%ed up.

    :love:
     
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i had an LA2a. i found it in MC Hammers abandoned warehouse back in the 90's. i paid the guy who owned the warehouse $50 for it. it was burned out and the meter was broken. Michael Gore got it going for me for another $300. i sold it in 2001 when i closed the studio. i just didn't see keeping an expensive piece like that when there wasn't any work. i also had a bunch of other stuff like Neve 9098's LA3s 1178, LA4s, my MCI console and tape machines and a sh*tload of great mics that i let go of as well. it broke my heart but all that stuff needs maintenance and if there's no cash flow and it's not being used, why bother? i won't do for free what i used to be paid well for. i'm funny like that.

    kfrs outboard gear.jpg

    kfrs studio.jpg

    i would however be interested in a piece like the Warm. New enough it won't need recapping for a while and cheap enough that when it does i could chuck it into the dumpster. and that is how i view things these days. yes there are studios that get enough work to keep that kind of gear but it's still not the same as it was in the 90's. nowdays i look to what i can get that works ok and doesn't break the bank.
     
  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Right. Back on track. ;)
    I'd be very curious to hear how the WA sounds ( first hand). I've had several LA2's ( various versions) throughout my years as an AE; each had their own vibe.

    Even if the WA doesn't match up exactly to an LA2, ( as mentioned by Marco, even two LA2's side by side might be different) I'd still really like to hear what it can do, or talk to someone here who eventually uses one.

    There are other compressor/limiters that don't sound at all like the LA2, but that still shine in their own ways - The Focusrite Red 3, or any of the various 1176's, the Empiracle Labs Distressor, or even older DBX stuff...
    (I've left out the Fairchild because no one here could ever afford one anyway. ;))

    So, for the sake of discussion, let's just say for a moment that the WA doesn't sound the "same" as an LA, but that perhaps it has its own vibe, like those other models I just mentioned ...
    If what it does sounds great, for it's being used for, then does it really matter? ;)
     
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