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Wesley Manley
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3rd October 2008
Old 3rd October 2008
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Tube tech LCA 2b

Anybody Use the tube tech lca 2b for mastering, opinions? I saw it in a couple of mastering studio's....
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5th October 2008
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9th October 2008
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You'll find a pair of CL-1A s (or the replacement CL-1B) are more common for mastering, there is a stereo version called the CL-2A. The LCA-2B is a vari-mu design.
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9th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
You'll find a pair of CL-1A s (or the replacement CL-1B) are more common for mastering, there is a stereo version called the CL-2A. The LCA-2B is a vari-mu design.
Is the Lca 2b vari-mu? thought it was a vga based.. But anybody using this for mastering?
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5th November 2008
Old 5th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Manley View Post
Is the Lca 2b vari-mu? thought it was a vga based.. But anybody using this for mastering?
It has a VCA tube if that's what you're think of? It is a vari-mu design in the traditions of the fairchild, and that was confirmed by Lydkraft.
I find it transparent and warm. You can use this aggressively to a degree and still maintain the sonic integrity. I do use it for mastering. Just make sure you keep on the 6 month calibrations!
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5th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip100 View Post
...Just make sure you keep on the 6 month calibrations!...
That's why I sold mine. I'm not a fan of frequent gear maintenance. I couldn't find anyone who was willing to perform the needed calibrations on that thing, apparently a little tricky... and since I'm not a tech I surely wasn't going to screw around with it. It's a shame because I think it's a cool unit... if it weren't for the calibration issue, I'd likely still own it.
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5th November 2008
Old 5th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
You'll find a pair of CL-1A s (or the replacement CL-1B) are more common for mastering, there is a stereo version called the CL-2A. The LCA-2B is a vari-mu design.
Hi Ben,

I'm currently putting a couple of CL1B's into effect here...
Did you do anything special to make yours behave better for mastering?

Switches or detented pots?
Feel like giving all your secrets away here?
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6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Hi Ben,

I'm currently putting a couple of CL1B's into effect here...
Did you do anything special to make yours behave better for mastering?

Switches or detented pots?
Feel like giving all your secrets away here?
Phil,

I don't think I would be able to teach someone of your experience any secrets!

For mastering, the input gain is very touchy, like all Tube-Tech gear. I used to calibrate it (run a tone and flip the phase so it cancels), then control the input gain via the DAW. You could have the input gain dented. For stereo work you I generally had the S/C linked, however be aware that they will control each other: In that the L is not the master, the R channel will affect the left if the threshold is set lower for example. For M/S obviously you would have them un linked.

What sets the CL1Bs apart is the ability to focus the bass, vocals, and stereo image. They are just magic in that regard even without compression. We don't have the CL1As any more due to a few phase problems that no one could repair, but I miss them dearly! They do need to be calibrated every 6 months or so.
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6th November 2008
Old 6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Phil,

I don't think I would be able to teach someone of your experience any secrets!

For mastering, the input gain is very touchy, like all Tube-Tech gear. I used to calibrate it (run a tone and flip the phase so it cancels), then control the input gain via the DAW. You could have the input gain dented. For stereo work you I generally had the S/C linked, however be aware that they will control each other: In that the L is not the master, the R channel will affect the left if the threshold is set lower for example. For M/S obviously you would have them un linked.

What sets the CL1Bs apart is the ability to focus the bass, vocals, and stereo image. They are just magic in that regard even without compression. We don't have the CL1As any more due to a few phase problems that no one could repair, but I miss them dearly! They do need to be calibrated every 6 months or so.
Wow, cool! I absolutely take back everything bad I said about you.

I'm on a whole new learning curve these days...luckily part of my interest in this vocation is taking things as far as they can go. Yes, this backfires sometimes and always costs me a lot of money (mine). But it's fun.

The CL1B is case in point. I totally understand the interest in the CL1B - after hearing it. It's going to take so much work and money to get two going properly for mastering. I'll have a look at the xformer, PSU, pots, noise, (etc forever) and then get a second one to match it!
and the spare rackspace...OMG!

I hear you on the calibration....looks like I'm going back into tubes. I got out of tubes for that very reason! But I think it will be worth it in this case.

I just can't at all get into a lot of the current mastering gear that's available these days. Plus everyone uses the same stuff - so I am pursuing and rebuilding gear that is a bit more uncommon (read: not made anymore).

The CL1B is part of the mission for me.
Actually, your old CL1A is probably better than the 1B?
If it's anything like gtr amps hand-wired is always better than surface mount PCB's?
Right?

Thanks for the secrets.
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6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post

The CL1B is part of the mission for me.
Actually, your old CL1A is probably better than the 1B?
If it's anything like gtr amps hand-wired is always better than surface mount PCB's?
Right?

Thanks for the secrets.
Yeah apparently so, I'm a bit sceptical. Same circuit...I think having the tubes enclosed (ala CL1B) in the casing is a much better idea anyway, they are easy to bump and become damaged in shipping. That was a big problem with ours. The Electro Harmonix tubes on the out put also make a big difference- there's a secret!

I'd compare them to a CL-2A and save some money, I'd like to find one but they never come up second hand. It is apparently very close at low GR for mastering. Have you tried a Pendulum OCL-2? I have never heard one to compare. The Tubies have something special about them, that's for sure.
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6th November 2008
Old 6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Yeah apparently so, I'm a bit sceptical. Same circuit...I think having the tubes enclosed (ala CL1B) in the casing is a much better idea anyway, they are easy to bump and become damaged in shipping. That was a big problem with ours. The Electro Harmonix tubes on the out put also make a big difference- there's a secret!

I'd compare them to a CL-2A and save some money, I'd like to find one but they never come up second hand. It is apparently very close at low GR for mastering. Have you tried a Pendulum OCL-2? I have never heard one to compare. The Tubies have something special about them, that's for sure.
I did try the OCL-2 a couple of years back but it didn't wow me. Mind you, this is some time ago and things have changed considerably here. Most of my the equipment I use now - every now and then - makes me smile. It sounds good.

I was comparing the OCL-2 to the LTD-2 at the time.
I'll try it again.

Thanks, Ben!
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7th November 2008
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I have

I mastered a record using the lca2b a few years back. It was remarkable. It was a bit "pillowy" but the recording was a bit brash so it was a perfect compliment. I love the fast meters, and the lush textures, and the feeling of 3d. Its a winner if you can keep it well maintained. ted
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26th May 2009
Old 26th May 2009
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didn't plan on picking one of these up anytime soon, but I found a used one for sale from a store, so they'll tune it. It's selling for $3295.00 CAD Is this a good grab? Did some reading and it seems to be decently phat for mastering
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26th May 2009
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CL!A

Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Wow, cool! I absolutely take back everything bad I said about you.

I'm on a whole new learning curve these days...luckily part of my interest in this vocation is taking things as far as they can go. Yes, this backfires sometimes and always costs me a lot of money (mine). But it's fun.

The CL1B is case in point. I totally understand the interest in the CL1B - after hearing it. It's going to take so much work and money to get two going properly for mastering. I'll have a look at the xformer, PSU, pots, noise, (etc forever) and then get a second one to match it!
and the spare rackspace...OMG!

I hear you on the calibration....looks like I'm going back into tubes. I got out of tubes for that very reason! But I think it will be worth it in this case.

I just can't at all get into a lot of the current mastering gear that's available these days. Plus everyone uses the same stuff - so I am pursuing and rebuilding gear that is a bit more uncommon (read: not made anymore).

The CL1B is part of the mission for me.
Actually, your old CL1A is probably better than the 1B?
If it's anything like gtr amps hand-wired is always better than surface mount PCB's?
Right?

Thanks for the secrets.
Hey Phil, we spoke on the email years ago about the Kultube, I've got a pair of CL1A's and it's been one of the best purchases I've ever made. Ben's right about what they do sonically, though I find that they sound pretty different in MS to stereo and I mainly use them stereo as I find in MS they seem to sound a bit thinner. Also you've got to watch what you connect them too as there can be impedance issues - so be warned. Getting detents on the inputs may not be a bad idea, but I find that they're easy enough to cal and don't drift much at all.

I'm using EH tubes on mine (ip and op) and I find that they're great, you may have to go through a few pairs to get good matching however and their 12au7 seem more prone to problems. At unity I measured -92dB noise floor which is pretty astonishing for tubes!

Re the calibration it's a bit of a fiddly process - not too hard, just fiddly, and beware that the meters tend to move from their null position if you move bump or angle the box in a rack - once you get em on zero they tend to stay, and a gentle tap of the plexiglass may work for a bit of vernier scale work!

I very often have them late in the chain, and not moving too much, however in MS you can go a bit wilder sometimes with great results - you may even find that things like the snare can be made to seemingly pop out more rather than less. The compression characteristics are actually quite interesting. I generally find I use low ratios, slow attack, fast release for smoothing duties, and manual - fixed/man is a whole new ballgame (very interesting though).

They do have a real sound, so don't work on everything, and the super HF is elevated slightly - try running some tones up there!

Like you the OCL-2 did nothing for me, I just couldn't get it to do anything good at subtle settings and it was too easy to hear it doing stuff if I gave it some. Wasn't that keen on it's tone, but hey Calbi has one so what do I know!

I like having the tubes on the outside as in situ nothing goes near them, and the other day a 12au7 was making little noises down around -80, so I just whipped in another one - problem solved. I don't have many noise issues with mine except dud tubes occassionally - so you may not need to toally rebuild...

Not sure if the trannies are the same on the CL1B, mine are large round potted types.

Actually I'm a bit evangelical about the CL1A's perhaps I shouldn't be writing this...

As an afterthought, don't spose you'd care to tell us about that Muth eq, is it the old top and bottom unit they have at Sterling?

The King
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26th May 2009
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lca2b

To the OP, Howie Weinberg uses (still not sure...?) an lca-2b, they're not bad machines, but like Ben I much prefered the CL2A, and then having to give the review unit back I ended up finally with my CL1A pair.

I didn't find the limiter on the lca2b to be much chop and sonically I didn't think it sounded as expensive as it's cousins.

I seem to see lots of LCA2B's on ebay at times, usually for just over 2k US

The King

Last edited by William Bowden; 26th May 2009 at 04:07 PM.. Reason: more info
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26th May 2009
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I picked up a CL1b a while back and have been jonezing (sic) for another one (it's mate) ever since. I know they're not for the faint of heart (a little hard to tame 4 mastering) but what the hell.

Currently, just using it for m/s or when I get a vocal stem.
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26th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Bowden View Post
Hey Phil, we spoke on the email years ago about the Kultube, I've got a pair of CL1A's and it's been one of the best purchases I've ever made. Ben's right about what they do sonically, though I find that they sound pretty different in MS to stereo and I mainly use them stereo as I find in MS they seem to sound a bit thinner. Also you've got to watch what you connect them too as there can be impedance issues - so be warned. Getting detents on the inputs may not be a bad idea, but I find that they're easy enough to cal and don't drift much at all.

I'm using EH tubes on mine (ip and op) and I find that they're great, you may have to go through a few pairs to get good matching however and their 12au7 seem more prone to problems. At unity I measured -92dB noise floor which is pretty astonishing for tubes!

Re the calibration it's a bit of a fiddly process - not too hard, just fiddly, and beware that the meters tend to move from their null position if you move bump or angle the box in a rack - once you get em on zero they tend to stay, and a gentle tap of the plexiglass may work for a bit of vernier scale work!

I very often have them late in the chain, and not moving too much, however in MS you can go a bit wilder sometimes with great results - you may even find that things like the snare can be made to seemingly pop out more rather than less. The compression characteristics are actually quite interesting. I generally find I use low ratios, slow attack, fast release for smoothing duties, and manual - fixed/man is a whole new ballgame (very interesting though).

They do have a real sound, so don't work on everything, and the super HF is elevated slightly - try running some tones up there!

Like you the OCL-2 did nothing for me, I just couldn't get it to do anything good at subtle settings and it was too easy to hear it doing stuff if I gave it some. Wasn't that keen on it's tone, but hey Calbi has one so what do I know!

I like having the tubes on the outside as in situ nothing goes near them, and the other day a 12au7 was making little noises down around -80, so I just whipped in another one - problem solved. I don't have many noise issues with mine except dud tubes occassionally - so you may not need to toally rebuild...

Not sure if the trannies are the same on the CL1B, mine are large round potted types.

Actually I'm a bit evangelical about the CL1A's perhaps I shouldn't be writing this...

As an afterthought, don't spose you'd care to tell us about that Muth eq, is it the old top and bottom unit they have at Sterling?

The King
Hi William!
I remember... the Kultube is out getting transformers put in.
I managed to get a pair of CL1B's and matched up pretty well. I don't remember whcih tubes I have but they are very quiet. The transformers are stock (and square) in mine. They sound fine. Calibration is a bit of a headache on these if you're used to solid state stuff.. They do drift - I'm on my second+ setup since November 2008.
Knobs are fiddly but these comps sound very nice when suited to the track. I'll use a C2 when I need faster and an LTD2 when I need slower.
Like you, I use my compression down stream but not in M/S. I've used an LTD2 that way in the past but now have only 1 EQ in my MS circuit - and even then it's used maybe half the time.

I worked with Greg Calbi sometime ago now. He has a bunch of compressors and a big patchbay. Anything goes.

The Muth EQ I own is one of four made. It's based on a shelving design by Peter Baxandall. If you're familiar with the Dangerous Music equipment then this sounds a bit like that - maybe a bit faster due to different IC's inside. It's pretty cool. The one at Sterling is made by in-house Tech Phillip Sztenderowicz. There was a lot of R&D put into that one. it's beautiful to look at - custom Sterling Logo and stepped controls! Nice!
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28th May 2010
Old 28th May 2010
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tube tech lca 2 b vs cla2b

hi there,
i'm about to buy one of those compressors!
Any advices???
Thanks
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28th May 2010
Old 28th May 2010
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Mine is for sale right know, its in great condition.

Pm if you are interested
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31st May 2010
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Looking back I have gotten some great results from my lca-2b . Is the calibration a procedure doable on my bench? or is it a factory only --
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1st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finn View Post
Looking back I have gotten some great results from my lca-2b . Is the calibration a procedure doable on my bench? or is it a factory only --
It's simple just run some tones with a screw driver to adjust the trimpots.
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1st June 2010
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Does anyone have the calibration procedure for an LCA-2b ? thx jerry
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1st June 2010
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1st June 2010
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None of that looks too overly hard. The only thing that struck me was this business:

2) Apply a DC-voltage of +5,000 V into the sidechain jack socket (tip)

It appears earlier too, surely they mean 5 volts DC, not 5000? After all it's only a control voltage in the sidechain!!

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1st June 2010
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yeah I'd say its 5.000 volts, commas = dots
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1st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerman View Post
yeah I'd say its 5.000 volts, commas = dots
Funny though, cause they have dots for some of the other values. Must be a language thing I guess.

I sent my CL1As off with the tech this evening for some new tube bases and some stepped pots (Input and Ratio). Can't wait to get them back, but 5 weeks in the south of France, the UK and Singapore will keep me distracted!

The King
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17th June 2010
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LCA-2B + NOS vintage tubes = yummy !

I am using an LCA2B for mastering purposes (or on the mixbus), especially now that I replaced the stock (chinese !) tubes with NOS vintage ones bought from Bowie (contact found on GS).

I now have a combination of Mullard and NOS Telefunken tubes. The Tube-Tech is not "pillowy" anymore, the highs and lows are extended, better punch and clarity, enhanced sense of space.
It's like everything just sounds better through it.

This calibration thing is a bit scary, I must admit, though ...
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