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Old vs. New LA-2A
Old 31st December 2013
  #31
Gear Maniac
 
woodsman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
When ever I see these LA2A threads I always chime in and say the same thing.

I have UA reissue number 276. I have never had a problem with it and I have always thought it sounded every bit as good as any other LA2A I have used, vintage or clone.

One thing about the LA2A in general. Mine is very sensitive to changing the tubes. More so than most any tube gear I have encountered, and I own a few. Just changing from an RCA black plate to a Telefunken can change the character of the compressor. If you think your reissue is not up to par, give this a try.
i agree. tubes choices can make a difference. i will have to experiment with my modern la-2a. thanks for pointing that out. i put good vintage tubes put in it and called it a day. i did notice on my pultecs a difference between modern tubes and 50'-60's good stuff. i can do much more boost without it sounding nasty or "wrong". and the boosts sound nicer, its hard to quantify.
Old 1st January 2014
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Lol, got it.
Old 27th June 2014
  #33
Many claim they like original versions more than new units, but I have found so called original units 30 years later don't sound the same, and many times can cloud the signal with its worn out parts.

After checking out a new UA 1176 I was blown away by the clean but fuller sound it produced on tracks. The new UAD 1176 Collection can't replicate what the hardware unit does though they can help tracks sound better. I have a feeling the new LA-2A will also bring something quite special to the table as well.

How many own the newer LA-2A's and what is your opinion of them?
Old 27th June 2014
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
Many claim they like original versions more than new units, but I have found so called original units 30 years later don't sound the same, and many times can cloud the signal with its worn out parts.

After checking out a new UA 1176 I was blown away by the clean but fuller sound it produced on tracks. The new UAD 1176 Collection can't replicate what the hardware unit does though they can help tracks sound better. I have a feeling the new LA-2A will also bring something quite special to the table as well.

How many own the newer LA-2A's and what is your opinion of them?

I think the new LA2A is great. But, be sure you upgrade the tubes especially the input 12AX7. I would say Right there with the vintage units and more open transparent than the software versions which I think for some reason try to be more colored.
Old 27th June 2014
  #35
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post

How many own the newer LA-2A's and what is your opinion of them?
I have a very early release from the first batch. I agree about the tubes. It took me years to try changing the 12AX7 but I noticed the change in timbre immediately. This was way more obvious to me than when I rolled tubes in my other gear. The LA2A seems to be sensitive to this procedure.

Recently I switched out the T4B to a Kenetek. Response time is so much faster. Recovery way smoother. The old module starts to distort way earlier. Gets muddy. But the Kenetek does not even seem to distort. And I love the tone. Clarity while maintaining that famous buttery vibe.

I am not sure if my 14 year old UA T4B had simply worn out a bit over the years but the Kenetek currently lives in my LA2A.

The UA build quality is like a tank. I love my reissue. And the ability to 'mod' the sound with just a few tubes is a bonus.

I too own an 1176 reissue. Also an early release. I sent it in this year for service and had it back within 2 weeks. And the cost was shockingly low. Great communication.

So there you go. I am a happy UA guy in general. I also use the Apollo. Thunderbolt recording is the best thing to happen to me in years.
Old 27th June 2014
  #36
How do the stock tubes sound with the unit? Cleaner than the ones you put in? Is it just a personal preference or does different tubes really make it better?
Old 27th June 2014
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
How do the stock tubes sound with the unit? Cleaner than the ones you put in? Is it just a personal preference or does different tubes really make it better?
yes, different tubes really make it a lot better i cant say for every la2a re-issue but the one i have had terrible chinese tubes in there. i mean terrible. it sounded as flat as a piece of paper. had no character at all and was pure vanilla.
i changed all tubes to rca/ge and the transformers to original utcs. it now sounds as good as my diy builds
as you can tell, i would not recommend to buy a re-issue la2a. that's if they have the same parts mine had. maybe they improved. i dont know.
Old 28th June 2014
  #38
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
How do the stock tubes sound with the unit? Cleaner than the ones you put in? Is it just a personal preference or does different tubes really make it better?
The tubes that came with mine were branded 'Teletronix'. I don't know where they were manufactured but I can tell you that changing the 12AX7 and 12BH7 made an immediate difference. I wouldn't say the stock tubes were cleaner. Just the opposite in my case.

The good thing is that you can try several different 12AX7 and you are sure to find one that suits your needs.

I do recommend the reissues. No complaints here. Mine is an old one. Under 300 serial number.
Old 28th June 2014
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
The tubes that came with mine were branded 'Teletronix'. I don't know where they were manufactured but I can tell you that changing the 12AX7 and 12BH7 made an immediate difference. I wouldn't say the stock tubes were cleaner. Just the opposite in my case.

The good thing is that you can try several different 12AX7 and you are sure to find one that suits your needs.

I do recommend the reissues. No complaints here. Mine is an old one. Under 300 serial number.
mine had the same tubes in there. swapping the tubes might do the job just fine. i did swap tubes and transformers at the same time so its hard to say for me what actually contributed most.
Old 28th June 2014
  #40
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reissues fine no complaints… replace the tubes with better ones and your fine , changing tubes makes more difference than dropping $$$ on a utc transfo …
and the kenetek opto TB4 is really good @ 125.00 if your opto needs changing… we run two ri's here with better tubes… everyone likes !
we buy everything 2nd hand and paid less than 2k each.
Old 28th June 2014
  #41
I've got two here, I replaced the tubes and my LA2A are to die for. The originals tubes were beautiful too, but not quite this lush. They are reissue and they will be the last thing I sell, I hope that never happens. Nothing is better for tracking vocals. I use mine for other things in a hybrid chain as well but for Vox, sheer love.
Old 28th June 2014
  #42
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Tubes make a sizable difference. More than the trafo's? That's a tough call, but to my ears they're roughly equal; I like what tubes do the mids, I like what the iron does to the lf's.

What is more important to the personality of the box (for me) is that T4, because it impacts the silkiness and overall musicality of the squeeze itself.

I haven't used/tried the Kenetec, but I swear by the Innertube T42. It's so much more musical than the stock T4, a slower attack so there's more air in the compressed sound, and the release always seems to know how to flow. The stock one is no slouch but it's less 'liquid', if that makes any sense, and liquid LA2a's are a magic unto themselves.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 29th June 2014
  #43
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
yes, different tubes really make it a lot better i cant say for every la2a re-issue but the one i have had terrible chinese tubes in there. i mean terrible. it sounded as flat as a piece of paper. had no character at all and was pure vanilla.
i changed all tubes to rca/ge and the transformers to original utcs. it now sounds as good as my diy builds
as you can tell, i would not recommend to buy a re-issue la2a. that's if they have the same parts mine had. maybe they improved. i dont know.
Curious, Salomander ... did you manage to find a ha100x or an A10 to swap in for the input?
I'm considering swapping UTCs into a Skibbe Red Stripe i have here, but ha100x quite unobtanium.
Old 30th June 2014
  #44
Gear Maniac
I've had a reissue for years and was about to sell it a while back. Then I tried putting in NOS tubes and an HA100x and now it's the last compressor I'd sell. I thought the transformer made a large difference. The tech who put it in and I calculated, in jest, that it was a 30% improvement. I have not yet replaced the output transformer, though the opinion was handed down to me that it wouldn't make as large a difference. I have no way of knowing for sure.

When I bought my HA100x I actually got a pair. The second is currently sitting in a custom DI box. Ever since I read UBK's post somewhere on here about paired LA-2A's, and then look at that DI, I wonder if it's time for a second LA-2A... I'm at least going to look into a new T4. Thanks again, Gregory Scott. :-)
Old 30th June 2014
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tree View Post
Curious, Salomander ... did you manage to find a ha100x or an A10 to swap in for the input?
I'm considering swapping UTCs into a Skibbe Red Stripe i have here, but ha100x quite unobtanium.
yes, i did put an a-10 and an a-24 in there. the ha100x is almost impossible to get and was too expensive for my taste. as i have said, i swapped the trafos along with the tubes so i cant say what contributed more. but it made a BIG difference all together.
Old 30th June 2014
  #46
Gear Addict
 
rob61's Avatar
 

Most people swap tubes and transformers to improve the sound yet few ever mention replacing the T4B. When Harmon purchased UREI in 1992, they built a few from left over original parts. In the manual it stated:

"The heart of the LA-2A (and its first successor, the solid-state LA-3A) is the T4B Electro-Optical Attenuator. This plug-in assembly utilizes an Electro-Luminescent light source, which will deteriorate with usage. Replacements are readily available at modest cost. When significant changes are noticed in PEAK REDUCTION control settings to achieve a certain amount of gain reduction (based on previous experience) the T4B is probably due for a replacement. In normal daily usage, this should not occur sooner than 3 or 4 years."
Old 30th June 2014
  #47
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
yes, i did put an a-10 and an a-24 in there. the ha100x is almost impossible to get and was too expensive for my taste. as i have said, i swapped the trafos along with the tubes so i cant say what contributed more. but it made a BIG difference all together.
Thanks. A10 sure does seem more accessible. Picked up an A24 a while ago, so kind of feeling i should get both sides done - like going to the barber!
Old 30th June 2014
  #48
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob61 View Post
Most people swap tubes and transformers to improve the sound yet few ever mention replacing the T4B. When Harmon purchased UREI in 1992, they built a few from left over original parts. In the manual it stated:

"The heart of the LA-2A (and its first successor, the solid-state LA-3A) is the T4B Electro-Optical Attenuator. This plug-in assembly utilizes an Electro-Luminescent light source, which will deteriorate with usage. Replacements are readily available at modest cost. When significant changes are noticed in PEAK REDUCTION control settings to achieve a certain amount of gain reduction (based on previous experience) the T4B is probably due for a replacement. In normal daily usage, this should not occur sooner than 3 or 4 years."
Good info.

Curious ... shouldn't a faulty T4 only affect attack and release performance, not tone quality?
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