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Do I need an LA2A?
Old 1st February 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Do I need an LA2A?

I currently have an 1176 & a Distressor. I was wondering for things like vocals and bass, does an La2a style compressor make it that much easier and make things pop? Is the Distressor capable of a good opto sound? (Asking cause I've never used a real opto) If so, would you still go with an re-issue La2a these days or opt for something different, like a Retro 176? Just curious on your opinions...
Old 1st February 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I have an original la2a, retro176 & retro ST level.
The 176 gets the most use and the la2a the least.
Old 1st February 2017
  #3
LA-2A's don't "make things pop". They Are leveling amplifiers. They squish the sound.
Old 1st February 2017
  #4
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
might want to check out an innerTube Audio Atomic Squeezebox .. i have 2 of them and they are quite special ..
Old 2nd February 2017
  #5
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its still my favourite compressor. maybe not for in your face modern sound. but anything else. so yes - i think you should get one
Old 2nd February 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
LA-2A's don't "make things pop". They Are leveling amplifiers. They squish the sound.
hell no. they level in the most natural way i know in any compressor.... they maybe squish if you completely overuse it...
but no, they do not "pop". they do the opposite. the reissue is **** btw - unless you replace the transformers and tubes.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
hell no. they level in the most natural way i know in any compressor.... they maybe squish if you completely overuse it...
but no, they do not "pop". they do the opposite. the reissue is **** btw - unless you replace the transformers and tubes.
I dont care what words you use to describe it,

Irrelevant
Old 2nd February 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
I dont care what words you use to describe it,

Irrelevant
this thread is not about your ego have a good night and sober up!
Old 2nd February 2017
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
LA-2A's don't "make things pop". They Are leveling amplifiers. They squish the sound.
Sorry bad choice of words, ha. I guess I meant to say push things forward, to the front. Not sure if that's any better of a description. Had you tried the 176 against the La2a Doc? Just curious.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
this thread is not about your ego have a good night and sober up!
Yea, Right. Tomorrow ill be regretting all the coffee im drinking. Dont worry tho, Those are just words,
Old 2nd February 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Sorry bad choice of words, ha. I guess I meant to say push things forward, to the front. Not sure if that's any better of a description. Had you tried the 176 against the La2a Doc? Just curious.
Sure have.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Sure have.
oh cool! What did you think? Hope you're doing well btw!
Old 2nd February 2017
  #13
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Everyone should have one. Actually, everyone should have two.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
oh cool! What did you think? Hope you're doing well btw!
they are pretty different,
but the 176 smokes the la2a on versatility, tweakability for different things..shapes, actions you can go way further with a 176, and thats a different compressor type anyway, vari-mu,
the La2a is a optical compressor,
The 176 does not sound like a LA2A though, so there is that, I think its more dense and punchy and has way more control. I would say, you can make something bear hug your face with a 176...Probably a much better tool for making something stand over or ontop of a mix. LA2A sits things more in the mix. IMHO
Old 2nd February 2017
  #15
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IanBSC's Avatar
Everybody needs an LA2A. They sound excellent right after the 1176. Use the 1176 to catch fast transients, and the LA2A to level the body of the sound with 3-4db of gain reduction. This might not be exactly the sound you are looking for. There are endless examples of what LA2As sound like, they steady the dynamics and a really musical way, add some presence and harmonics, but also de-ess and and roll off some highs and upper mids. Better for slow moving sounds than fast transients, so I tend to use it in combo with a faster comp like 1176. The Distressor opto basically has the the attack/release of an LA2A, but the sound is pretty far off.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #16
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
I currently have an 1176 & a Distressor. I was wondering for things like vocals and bass, does an La2a style compressor make it that much easier and make things pop? Is the Distressor capable of a good opto sound? (Asking cause I've never used a real opto) If so, would you still go with an re-issue La2a these days or opt for something different, like a Retro 176? Just curious on your opinions...
The Distressor in opto is brighter than an LA2A.

The thing I like most about the LA2A is that on vocals it is almost like a rubber band stretching the sound in a warm, pleasing way. You can push it pretty hard without it having overaggressive artifacts. There's a reason it is on so any hit records. It's a great piece of gear.
Old 3rd February 2017
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

I've got four 1176s, and recently added an LA2A. I think I've had it long enough to not simply be influenced by the new purchase, and I'm really finding it useful. I use it in maybe 8 out of 10 sessions, and I think it's got a really useful sound, especially as an addition to faster comps like 1176s. It doesn't have the widest variety of sounds it creates, but the sound it does create is incredibly versatile, if that makes sense.
Old 3rd February 2017
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Fabio's Avatar
I don't have la2a but I heard the UA version in another studio and it's on my whishlist (or something similar). For voice and bass ...and not only..it's perfect.
So if you need another compressor go for it or something close to it.
However distressor and 1176 for bass and voice are really good.
Old 3rd February 2017
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Hit the net for sound examples if you can not audition the gear directly.

Compressors tend to sound particular to their circuit type including how fast or slow they grab. Thus FET / VCA / Diode / Opto / Varimu / etc. each have their own range of sound and there will be differences by model within type. Some models will cover more ground while others are one trick ponies but again their main usage / sound correlates with their circuit type. So when you bring up the VCA Distressor which covers more ground and go for a fast grab FET sound or a slow grab opto sound out of it, the Distressor will cover the ground but nowhere near as good as an actual FET or Opto canidate. This is where Gearslutz members break down into two camps with neither being right or wrong. On camp will have have one / few versitile compressors as Swiss army knives to cover a lot of ground while the other camp will have racks of compressors, each with it's own personality and choose the right one for the job.

In your particular case since you already have a fast grab FET type 1176, and a medium grab VCA type Distressor, then a slow grab Opto or Varimu would round out selection choices and work well with the others.
Old 6th February 2017
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
LA-2A's don't "make things pop". They Are leveling amplifiers. They squish the sound.
Well, I don't really agree. Ok, sure if you pummel the heck out of the sound, then it will sound squished.
But if you're just getting a bounce from 0 to -4db, I think it imparts a subtle magic on almost anything. The sound seems to become more 3 dimensional. It breathes. You take it off, then suddenly the track sounds boring and static in comparison.
That's just my experience.
It sounds nothing at all like an 1176 or Distressor. Different animals.
Old 6th February 2017
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabio View Post
I don't have la2a but I heard the UA version in another studio and it's on my whishlist (or something similar). For voice and bass ...and not only..it's perfect.
So if you need another compressor go for it or something close to it.
However distressor and 1176 for bass and voice are really good.
Honestly, I have both the UA plug and the real thing, and in direct shootouts on identical sources, they sound absolutely nothing alike. Don't get me wrong, the plug has its place, but it sounds flat and wooly to my ear, whereas the real thing imparts a 3D quality.
Old 6th February 2017
  #22
Quote:
Everybody needs an LA2A. They sound excellent right after the 1176. Use the 1176 to catch fast transients, and the LA2A to level the body of the sound with 3-4db of gain reduction.
That's pretty much how I use them.
Old 6th February 2017
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBuffaloCave View Post
Well, I don't really agree. Ok, sure if you pummel the heck out of the sound, then it will sound squished.
But if you're just getting a bounce from 0 to -4db, I think it imparts a subtle magic on almost anything. The sound seems to become more 3 dimensional. It breathes. You take it off, then suddenly the track sounds boring and static in comparison.
That's just my experience.
It sounds nothing at all like an 1176 or Distressor. Different animals.
You are disagreeing with ONE word right now


Pretty dumb
Old 6th February 2017
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Fabio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBuffaloCave View Post
Honestly, I have both the UA plug and the real thing, and in direct shootouts on identical sources, they sound absolutely nothing alike. Don't get me wrong, the plug has its place, but it sounds flat and wooly to my ear, whereas the real thing imparts a 3D quality.
I didn't talk about the plug in but about the Universal Audio LA2A hardware of course, unfortunately never heard the original.
Old 6th February 2017
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Lando Calrissian's Avatar
I bought one about 2 years ago. I added it to my vocal chain and never took it out. Sometimes I'll even leave it in without any compression.
Old 9th February 2017
  #26
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toneguru's Avatar
Anyone that does not like the sound of a solid vintage LA2A... well they are no friend of mine....

Unless of course they decide to unload it on the cheap... to me :-)

Actually, check that - The LA2A sucks. It doesn't have enough knobs. It doesn't have cool lights either. No versatility. Some are shiny chrome some dull, some painted beige some grey... how can you trust that?

PS. If you do have an LA2A laying around, I have some cool stuff here in LA for trade.
Old 9th February 2017
  #27
I couldn't live without something very close. I sold my vintage one and got the Stam which is fantastic and the ADL 1500 for stereo stems - that is slightly more subtle but they are very similar in colour. I love them on Bass mostly.

I have a 176 too and although they are a lot of money, they are beautiful machines and far more deep and subtle than the LA2A style fuzzy fun.

It's funny as I get older I don't need the instant gratification so much anymore. I've almost gone off Fet comps altogether. Trouble is the expensive, good, subtle stuff is so subtle it's almost not even there. We seem to pay more to hear less. Where's the reassurance?

Experience.
Old 1st June 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
I couldn't live without something very close. I sold my vintage one and got the Stam which is fantastic and the ADL 1500 for stereo stems - that is slightly more subtle but they are very similar in colour. I love them on Bass mostly.

I have a 176 too and although they are a lot of money, they are beautiful machines and far more deep and subtle than the LA2A style fuzzy fun.

It's funny as I get older I don't need the instant gratification so much anymore. I've almost gone off Fet comps altogether. Trouble is the expensive, good, subtle stuff is so subtle it's almost not even there. We seem to pay more to hear less. Where's the reassurance?

Experience.
Paul, are you still enjoying that SA-2A? Feels like I need to hear something at least approximating an 1176 -> LA2a chain before I die.. and I've got a splice 500 on the way...
Old 2nd June 2018
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
great sound when you hit it ..like an acoustic gtr etc just brings up the tonality and sustain
Old 2nd June 2018
  #30
I have the Stam,sounds good but kinda bright vs. vintage.
I prefer the JLM LA500 pair i have,way more flexable.
THe little suckers sound big and open,funtastic.

I bought my JLM500'z used and had a problem.
Joe Malone went beyond the call of duty via email
to get me fixed up and going again.
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