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Old vs. New LA-2A Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 16th August 2007
  #1
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soupking's Avatar
 

New LA-2A vs. Old (un-aged) LA-2A

Okay, I've heard a bunch of varying responses of the new UA LA-2A versus the old school one.

Opinions of greatness aside, original LA-2A's have been around for 30-some years. I've been told that this has made the originals evolve a certain color from aging. To me, that sounds like a vintage guitar that has been worn in.

My question is, like the guitar, vintage instrument, or good bottle of wine, would a brand-new LA-2A sounds like one of old, 'brand-new'? Is there much difference in the matter minus the aging?

I know that's close to impossible to judge unless you've been listening to them for years and years.

i was wondering if that distinction is possible to make.

Anybody know?
Old 16th August 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The original would have been point to point wired. The re-issue probably a printed circuit board. Thats gotta sound different. Not that one is better or worse, just different. So you can't really compare fruit. Maby this is some of the "worn in" sound that people are talking about? I would also doubt that there are any carbon comp resistors in the re-issue, if this is true, the re-issue would be quieter & cleaner......just my thoughts.
Old 16th August 2007
  #3
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

I would argue that a new LA-2A in 1966 would sound better than the new LA-2A reissue now. The reissue is not bad, but it's missing the "mojo" of the transformer, which was the H100 UTC, long since unavailable.
Old 16th August 2007
  #4
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I'm wondering if the reissue LA-2A is the same as what's in the LA-610. Doesn't seem likely, as the LA-610 streets for half what the LA-2A goes for alone. Is the huge price difference just for the vintage looking chassis?
Old 16th August 2007
  #5
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pulse_divider's Avatar
 

Nope, my reissue was all point to point wiring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesman714 View Post
The original would have been point to point wired. The re-issue probably a printed circuit board. Thats gotta sound different. Not that one is better or worse, just different.
Old 17th August 2007
  #6
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soupking's Avatar
 

It amazes me the contradictions of this machine. There's more on the LA-2A than any other that I've seen.
Old 17th August 2007
  #7
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hurd300403's Avatar
 

new ones are all completely hand built like the original. resistors are built custom for UA to match the original too i believe...

la-610 compressor is similar to the la-2a in that it has the t4- optical compressor to give it the la-2a "feel," but other than that they're totally different.
Old 17th August 2007
  #8
Led
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Not to sound like an ass, but in the interests of accuracy, the original input transformer was a UTC HA-100X, replaced with an A-10 in the later revision and the Urei 70's reissue. (which is the one I have)
Old 22nd December 2013
  #9
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Anyone know where I can hear/watch a demo shootout between a vintage unit and a reissue?
Old 22nd December 2013
  #10
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
...
Opinions of greatness aside, original LA-2A's have been around for 30-some years. I've been told that this has made the originals evolve a certain color from aging. To me, that sounds like a vintage guitar that has been worn in....
Keep in mind at the time when the records with that vintage sound were being made, the units would have been new.
Old 22nd December 2013
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesman714 View Post
The original would have been point to point wired. The re-issue probably a printed circuit board. Thats gotta sound different. Not that one is better or worse, just different. So you can't really compare fruit. Maby this is some of the "worn in" sound that people are talking about? I would also doubt that there are any carbon comp resistors in the re-issue, if this is true, the re-issue would be quieter & cleaner......just my thoughts.
The reissues are point-to-point hand-wired also and Universal Audio claims they are created with the same authentic components as the original and that they have the same sound. Of course companies claim a lot of things and only a shootout is going to tell me one way or the other. I've heard the reissues though and they do sound fantastic, and I've also heard a couple vintage units... they're legendary for a reason... but I've never heard them both side by side in a back and forth comparison. Would really like to so I can decide for myself how much trouble it's worth going to to get a vintage unit. They're harder to find and of course there are maintenance issues and subtle differences between them after all these years. But I love owning a piece of history as well as a great compressor. We shall see!

If anyone knows where I can see a side by side comparison video, link me!!
Old 22nd December 2013
  #12
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And if you compare a new one to an original, which of the originals are you going to compare it with?

There were many incarnations of a Teletronix LA-2A, including from UREI to when it was even under
Harman Electronics in the early 90's.
Old 22nd December 2013
  #13
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
Okay, I've heard a bunch of varying responses of the new UA LA-2A versus the old school one.

Opinions of greatness aside, original LA-2A's have been around for 30-some years. I've been told that this has made the originals evolve a certain color from aging. To me, that sounds like a vintage guitar that has been worn in.

My question is, like the guitar, vintage instrument, or good bottle of wine, would a brand-new LA-2A sounds like one of old, 'brand-new'? Is there much difference in the matter minus the aging?

I know that's close to impossible to judge unless you've been listening to them for years and years.

i was wondering if that distinction is possible to make.

Anybody know?
Any top 40 mixing engineer from the 70's or 80's I know feels the reissue is lacking.

I think the current IGS clone is closer to right than the UA. Also I'm curious about the 500 series LA2A clone "One LA" they've just released.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magicpowers View Post
The reissues are point-to-point hand-wired also and Universal Audio claims they are created with the same authentic components as the original and that they have the same sound. Of course companies claim a lot of things and only a shootout is going to tell me one way or the other. I've heard the reissues though and they do sound fantastic, and I've also heard a couple vintage units... they're legendary for a reason... but I've never heard them both side by side in a back and forth comparison. Would really like to so I can decide for myself how much trouble it's worth going to to get a vintage unit. They're harder to find and of course there are maintenance issues and subtle differences between them after all these years. But I love owning a piece of history as well as a great compressor. We shall see!

If anyone knows where I can see a side by side comparison video, link me!!
UA is ultimately charging highway robbery prices for something which is not true to the originals (no matter what they claim), and therefore doesn't have the same gain-structure, meaning there's a much smaller window for a sweet spot, and the end result is a bit different in a "thinner" "colder" sounding way.

The reissue is not a total dog, but there are far more cost effective compressors which are not built solely to capitalize on a trademarked brand name.
Old 22nd December 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicpowers View Post
Anyone know where I can hear/watch a demo shootout between a vintage unit and a reissue?
Mixing today but if I finish early I will try and remember to do a little shoot out between my new one and old one:

Old 22nd December 2013
  #15
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

I am under the impression the difference is in the tone of the old transformers which are no longer made. Hence putting an old transformer in a new unit will get you there, or near enough. This sort of makes the difference clear, even though it obviously isn't apples against apples:

Vintage LA2A vs. ADL 1000 Tube Compressor Shootout (Universal Audio UREI Teletronix LA-2A) - YouTube

What a lovely way to set up a rack, Trevor! Pairs NEXT to each other. So obvious, yet never seen it. Makes complete sense and I bet makes a palpable 'mind organization difference' when using on stereo sources.....

I had a browse over your studio site the other day. Very impressed with your chosen priorities, the stone room looks amazing! What a cool studio you have created. Respect!
Old 22nd December 2013
  #16
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Apparently, Richard Dodd thinks the LA-2A reissue is great.
Attached Thumbnails
Old vs. New LA-2A-richard-dodd.png  
Old 22nd December 2013
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
[snip]
What a lovely way to set up a rack, Trevor! Pairs NEXT to each other. So obvious, yet never seen it. Makes complete sense and I bet makes a palpable 'mind organization difference' when using on stereo sources.....

I had a browse over your studio site the other day. Very impressed with your chosen priorities, the stone room looks amazing! What a cool studio you have created. Respect!
Thanks man. Yeah it certainly works for me. Mentally i just don't even have to think about it now.

Glad you like it! Am very happy with he way it turned out so far. I have a couple of other projects still to do but the place has been pretty much solid since May at this point so I can't complain.
Old 22nd December 2013
  #18
Gear Addict
 

my experience with the LA2A reissue

I had an LA2A reissue something like 5 years ago. I never had the chance to compare it to an original and I used it more for tracking than mixing and this was before I knew much about compressors and how to tell the difference but my experience with it was I was very underwhelmed. It didn't seem to have much color to it and since it was such a simple piece it seemed like it should have a more distinct sound to justify its existence. I have a retro sta now with NOS tubes and for the moment im cool enough with that, I dont lust too much after a la2a but if i did want to get one again it would be a vintage one
Old 22nd December 2013
  #19
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Thanks man. Yeah it certainly works for me. Mentally i just don't even have to think about it now.

Glad you like it! Am very happy with he way it turned out so far. I have a couple of other projects still to do but the place has been pretty much solid since May at this point so I can't complain.
Nice! Great to hear of success of the good vibes invested!
Old 22nd December 2013
  #20
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Anyone compared the Requisite L1?
Old 29th December 2013
  #21
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a few years ago we picked up a used pair of RI UA LA2A's for 1800 each. at that price point we are very happy. Guest engineers love them too unless they are old school and have experience with the original LA2 or any of the other early originals... luckily we do not know what we are missing and we are happy to make good music without worry of gear snobbery to ruin our day... you know what?
we love our BAE 1084 console modules ! have we ever used the vintage originals? no...
we love our pair of new Lucas CS4 tube mics ! have we ever used an original U47 ? no... do they compare to the original? who cares ! these are awesome tools for recording great music, everyone gets caught up in the hype and forgets about the song... that's what we need more of these days... good songs ! now get t work!
Old 29th December 2013
  #22
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dabigfrog View Post
a few years ago we picked up a used pair of RI UA LA2A's for 1800 each. at that price point we are very happy. Guest engineers love them too unless they are old school and have experience with the original LA2 or any of the other early originals... luckily we do not know what we are missing and we are happy to make good music without worry of gear snobbery to ruin our day... you know what?
we love our BAE 1084 console modules ! have we ever used the vintage originals? no...
we love our pair of new Lucas CS4 tube mics ! have we ever used an original U47 ? no... do they compare to the original? who cares ! these are awesome tools for recording great music, everyone gets caught up in the hype and forgets about the song... that's what we need more of these days... good songs ! now get t work!
$1,800 is a fair price for them...but I wouldn't pay full price for those LA2A clones. Sorry. I completely agree that getting to work is more important than the tools, but it's a price Vs performance thing at full retail that irks me in this case.
Old 29th December 2013
  #23
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hasbeen's Avatar
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.
Old 29th December 2013
  #24
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Salty James's Avatar
UA La2a's rock. Very versatile if you know how to use / hit em.

And I like the over under approach to pairs. Makes it a lot neater in the patchbay.
Attached Thumbnails
Old vs. New LA-2A-photo.jpg  
Old 30th December 2013
  #25
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Hey, this is GS, so contemplating subtle differences between old and new LA2as is interesting but does anyone really feel that this difference is going to make the difference between a good sounding recording and one that is merely average.

I honestly think UA does a fairly good job with their hardware. By no means am I an expert but having some limited recent experience with both the differences to me seem negligible especially if taken on their own. Even if you want to isolate the track and compare back and forth their isn't a whole lot of difference between vintage and reissue.

At the end of the day I find the signature thing about the la2a is the very natural organic easy way it reduces gain. It also seems to make things a touch bigger and softer. I'm not sure if this effect is from the transformers or the optical cell but it is usually a nice effect and I think both RI and vintage units do this.
Old 30th December 2013
  #26
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"Bigger and softer" only if you hit it hard from the pre.

It is tighter and clearer if you don't hit it to hard from the pre.

I record great vocals all the time with the gain reduction at 3:00. Though normally it is at 9-12:00
Old 30th December 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
"Bigger and softer" only if you hit it hard from the pre.

It is tighter and clearer if you don't hit it to hard from the pre.

I record great vocals all the time with the gain reduction at 3:00. Though normally it is at 9-12:00
Interesting maybe I'm not describing what I am hearing correctly but tighter and clearer is definitely not what I hear maybe tighter and clearer with the La3a but I typically always hear a dry softness with the la2a it's hard to describe because the signal is more present as well maybe I should call it fatness but I typically always hear this from most of the LA2as I've encountered, even under minimal compression
Old 30th December 2013
  #28
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...thats people hitting them too hard on the way in. They are pretty transparent if you maintain proper gain staging on the way in.
Old 30th December 2013
  #29
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clark_savant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
...thats people hitting them too hard on the way in. They are pretty transparent if you maintain proper gain staging on the way in.
Interesting. Whats you procedure for tracking. Not your exact settings, but your mind frame/ questions you're asking yourself as your setting it?
Old 30th December 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clark_savant View Post
Interesting. Whats you procedure for tracking. Not your exact settings, but your mind frame/ questions you're asking yourself as your setting it?
Easy:
DON'T OVERCOMPRESS THE SIGNAL!!
..lol!!

Although if ever I do overcompress a signal on the way in I make certain that the attack and release are still musical. Sometimes can be tough to do. If I'm trying to intentionally make an overcompressed signal sound good and can't get it right in 20-30 seconds I immediately switch to a transparent / light compression setting. Or none.
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